1942.2 New NAP, Soviet Japanese Non Aggression Pact

  • '19 '15 '14

    Edited based on feedback: I’d like to create a NAP that works for all World War 2 boards.

    New NAP: Japan and the Soviet Union begin play with a Non Agression Pact in effect. The relevant nations may not attack into or fly over the other’s territory.

    At any point, during either nation’s turn, before their purchase units phase, they may elect to “Break the Pact” with a simple declaration, for a cost in IPCs. These IPCs are immediately removed from the players treasury and returned to bank

    The exact amount is still under consideration, but I am suggesting 20 ipcs or half  (50% rounded up) of the nation’s total cash on hand. Whichever is greater.

    If a Nation does not declare their intention, but attacks anyway during the combat phase, then this is considered a “sneak attack” they will incur the following penalty: The aggressor may not collect income for that turn.

    Seem reasonable?


    The original idea below. Changed based on further input.

    I want a simplified Non Aggression Pact. I’ve suggested these rules before, but thought I’d do so again.

    The Rule is fairly simple. The nation that breaks the pact grants a one time bonus to the opponent.

    The nation being attacked may choose between +21 ipcs added immediately to income, or 7 infantry.
    The infantry units can be placed immediately at the territory being attacked, or at any territory, under the nations control, whichever the player prefers (full placement).

    If Japan attacks a red space, Russia gets +21 ipcs or 7 inf.

    If Russia attacks a gold space, Japan gets +21 ipcs or 7 inf.

    This rule effectively allows Russia to stack Bury and remain in place on R1, or withdraw, either way if Japan attacks them they gain an immediate warring advantage. It also makes Japan slightly more potent vs Russia in the case of a full KJF, as a counter balance. Both players have an incentive to avoid direct conflict immediately along their borders and to maintain the NAP for a time, but they do have the option to break it at any point, if they accept the consequences of going to war!

    The option to immediately place infantry units allows for a quick response if desired, but if the force attacking is overwhelming you can choose to place the units at the capital, or save the cash for income. Only infantry units can be raised immediately this way, with the call to arms!

    The lucky 7!  the Dread Reds to rescue? 😄

    Or the 7 Samurai! Last hope of the Emperor! hehehe

    If you choose to save your cash instead, you can purchase heavy equipment. But its all or nothing either 7 inf placed, or 21 ipcs saved. No splitting up the values. So it’s like choosing between the streets, or the banks.

    Basically the goal here is to provide a simple in game consequence for breaking the NAP.

  • Kudos for thinking out of the box, but nahhh…. a pact is just a piece of paper, its not like you get a magical million men strong army out of nowhere every time someone forget to honor your pact, man.

    If anything, the pact wrecker should get a bonus surprise attack if he breaks it.

  • Customizer

    What do these units represent?

    I prefer very simply that:

    Japan may not attack USSR until a major Allied capital has fallen/major Ally is out of the war;

    USSR may not attack Japan until Berlin or Tokyo is captured by the Allies/Germany is defeated

    Remember the Japanese only attacked the Western Allies when they’d secured their backs against Russia with the treaty.

    Another option is to allow Russia to place infantry in northern China representing the CCP; these are free to fight the Japanese in China only.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Predictably the first response would be dismissive 😄

    I’m trying to find a carrot vs stick approach, as an alternative to the hard rules restriction approach.

    The extra units/cash are an abstraction, they could represent many things, but their purpose here is more functional than narrative.

    The way the optional NAP is handled in the 1941starter board (e.g. neither side can attack until a capital falls, as Flashman suggested here for 1942.2) is rather unpopular. I think players just don’t like being put in the straight jacket. And its also very hard to achieve a situation where a major capital is captured. By the time the capital falls, it’s usually too late anyway, and players just quit at that point, so the functional effect of the rule is that Japan and Russia can never attack each other. I think this is a bit extreme, for a boardgame that is supposed to create what if scenarios.

    21 ipcs or 7 units is fairly major, it might not be enough of a deterrent to cover all situations, but it definitely gives the player pause. I think its important that the NAP work essentially the same way for both sides (for Russia and Japan) not with different consequences for each the way the situation is handled in G40 with Mongolia.

    Basically the Russian defender has several options. Mobilize the inf units immediately in the territory being attacked by Japan. Mobilize the inf units along the border with Germany (as a way to “punish Japan’s teammate” which is a very strong deterrent.) Mobilize the units in a safe zone for counter attacks the following round. Or save the money and buy heavy equipment. The Japanese defender can do the same, in the much less likely KJF scenario.  This way both sides have a similar incentive to maintain the NAP, but still have the option to break it if they wish.

  • @Black_Elk:

    I think players just don’t like being put in the straight jacket…

    ,…… for a boardgame that is supposed to create what if scenarios.

    Some people actually believe that if Japan had made a coordinated attack on Russia together with Germany, and kept USA out of the war long enough to take Moscow, they would have won for sure. We will never find out if it would have worked if we got the straight jacked scripted game.

  • Customizer

    I agree that I don’t like the “Japan and Russia can only attack each other if a major capital falls” rule. Or any type of rule like that where it basically makes it illegal for Japan or Russia to attack each other. I prefer the choice to do so.

    Having the attacked power receive 7 infantry or 21 IPCs seems a little high to me. Not sure if there should be that much of a punishment for the attacker (or bonus for the attackee). I just don’t think that area warrants so much of a response. Not enough of an important front.
    In the case of Japan attacking Russia, I suppose it could lead to a faster falling of Moscow to Germany. Japan would be taking a few IPCs from Russia’s income and destroying a few resources that could have headed for Moscow.
    As for Russia attacking Japan, I think it matters even less. It is annoying for Japan to lose Manchuria but they usually get it right back since it’s right next to Japan and then the Russian presence in the far east is over. So it might slow Japan’s expansion by one round, which I guess may be just what the other Allies need to keep Japan in check.

  • Great idea Black_Elk! I thought of very similar ideas on this. 😄

  • @knp7765:

    In the case of Japan attacking Russia, I suppose it could lead to a faster falling of Moscow to Germany. Japan would be taking a few IPCs from Russia’s income and destroying a few resources that could have headed for Moscow.

    If Japan had taken Vladivostok in the real world, they would have cut off 50% of the Lend Lease stuff to Russia from USA, and even get an oilfield too.

  • '19 '15 '14

    As for the specific numbers I chose them for a couple reasons, first because I think that the real advantage of the Japanese tank drive to Moscow is more positional than income oriented. When Japan stomps Russia it’s not so much the 5 spaces worth 1 ipc that they’re after, but rather a way to get their forward attack units closer to the center.  Under this rule Japan will have less incentive to drive across the northern route, and more incentive to push across China or the South, where it’s easier for them to converge their stacks. This means when they come rolling into Kazakh, Novos or Evenki they’ll likely be moving with a pretty large stack. By the time Japan breaks the NAP, the 7 inf or 21 ipcs the Russians will gain, equates to almost a full round’s worth of income, which I think is what would be required to prevent a simple steam roll.

    In the KJF situation, the 7 inf/ 21 ipcs is really just a way to keep the Russian tanks from blitzing all over coastal china, after USA/UK can opens the area. What I’m really trying to avoid is the situation you see in Global, where Russia has no incentive to maintain the NAP, and just declares war against Japan in the first round, because there is no serious consequence for doing so. Here Russia would definitely stand to gain more by waiting, than attacking in the first or second round.

    I went with 7 inf because, if Russia stacks bury with the 5 Far East infantry, that gives them a total of a dozen inf to face down a attack on J1/J2 (should they choose to rally the troops in Bury.) So they are able to stack defensively, but cannot really advance into Manchuria. It basically stalemates that northern border for a time. Alternatively, Russia could send these units into China (Mao style), where they can confront Japan indirectly on defense, instead of directly. I think this will make the NAP feel a bit more in tune with history, as opposed to an immediate all out conflict.

    21 ipcs seemed to offer a few interesting options at purchase as well, as there are some nice combinations of units you could purchase for that amount.

    Again this stuff is more abstract than one might prefer, but the trade-off and benefit is that its relatively simple to implement. You don’t have to explain things in terms of Mongolian units or whatever, its really just a gameplay driver meant to keep Japan off Russia’s back. Even in the KJF, the NAP still favors Russia over Japan (since Japan usually ends up adopting a strategy of stealing Russian cash or trying to operate up north as they lose ground in the south, and here that is clearly less advantageous.) So Russia has a strong incentive to just hold the line, and it’s Japan who stands to loose the most if the two nations go to war. Which fits I think with how most people see the history playing out. If Japan wants to say screw it, and crush the center, this means at least a 1 round set up to get into position, instead of just blowing the door open immediately, and then Russia gets a nice boost to help them deal with all the chaos that a center crush from Axis entails.

    If the NAP is preserved, the income Russia will save each round, (since they don’t have to deal with a Japanese invasion from the rear) can be pretty significant. On R2 they will have 1-2 ipcs more than they usually do, on R3 they’ll have 2-4 ipcs more than they usually do, on R4 they may have 5-6 ipcs more than they usually do etc, which adds up over time.

  • Customizer

    Depends on the starting date.

    If a game starts with Japan and the West already at war, then Japan has already secured itself against Russia with the treaty.

    If we are at a point before Pearl Harbor, then Japan’s choice is to attack the West OR the USSR; it would never have done both (unless of course one of them was already defeated).

    So, speaking of “What Ifs”; if Japan chooses a Russian strategy, then by what means is the USA to be brought into the war? Without Pearl, its unlikely Roosevelt could have persuaded Americans to go to war to save Britain, less still Russia.

    Perhaps the fall of a capital rule is too extreme; maybe the treaty is broken when either J or R fall below respective IPC income levels.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I dislike any house rules that outright prohibit Russia and Japan from attacking each other for part or all of the game; it kills the “what-if” historical speculation that makes the game so much fun for me, and it introduces very weird tactical considerations – you can wind up wanting to artificially delay your capture of an enemy capital so that you have time to shift your troops over to a new front against an enemy who you know you will soon be at war with but who is powerless to do so much as raid your transports until after a scripted game event.

    I also strongly dislike the idea of magically dropping a large stack of defensive infantry in the path of a Japanese invasion. It totally shatters my suspension of disbelief. I understand that the game isn’t trying to be a realistic simulation, but the commenters above are right – there’s just no way that being sneak attacked would provide a boost to your economy; the opposite would likely be true.  I can imagine the Russians raising a small additional militia in Irkutsk/Yakutsk in response to an invasion (at the cost of supply shortages and hunger), but Japanese-occupied Manchukuo had no loyalty to the Japanese – they might even have welcomed an invading Russian army as liberators.

    Leaving aside the issues of theme and story, and considering things strictly from a strategic point of view, I guess 7 infantry is balanced enough, but I would really rather structure the starting units and bonuses in the game so that players are naturally incentivized to avoid an unnecessary Russo-Japanese war. In another thread (the 1943 scenario), I suggested giving Russia an NO for +5 IPCs/turn if Russia controls Amur and is not at war with Japan, and giving Japan an NO for +5 IPCs/turn if Japan controls Manchuria and Korea and is not at war with Russia. That may not be exactly the right number, but that’s the kind of house rule I’d prefer to see – something that makes keeping the peace win-win for Russia and Japan unless one or both of them decide to launch a serious invasion.

  • '19 '15 '14

    I see what you’re getting at, but if you’re going for cost/benefit approach Axis and Allies is pretty limited in what we can use. You basically have IPCs, or units.

    My concern with a more modest bonus, like 5 ipcs per round to both, so long as they’re not at war, is that it would likely not be enough to prevent Japan from just deciding to go all gangbusters immediately. And if you start raising the amount by much more, up to say 10 ipcs per round to make it more consequential, then you wind up with an amount comparable to the 21 ipcs I suggested after just a few rounds. Perhaps much more cash introduced than 21. And again the incentive for Japan to attack might even be higher, because they know that the money is more valuable to Russia than it is to them.

    The issue I see with giving both nations a bonus, (as opposed to just the nation being attacked) is that then it becomes a wash. As Japan you figure, “well I’ll lose my bonus, but so will the other guy, and he needs the cash more than I do, so screw it, Invade!”

    I guess an alternative to what I suggested would be a direct cost to the attacker, rather than a bonus to the defender. Something like, cost=X ipcs for breaking the NAP, immediately removed from the treasury and returned to the bank.  Where X is some amount large enough to actually make the player think twice.

    The only kink there is that the attacker would have to save ipcs beforehand so that there’s actually something to take away. I guess that would be a little bit like the old Classic rules for invading neutrals, where you had to save 3 ipcs to do it. I guess here you’d want a much higher cost, like -20 ipcs to launch a sneak attack?

    Perhaps something like that would be doable?

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Yeah, I mean a cost for the sneak attacker is more interesting than a bonus payment of IPCs to the sneak attack victim. You could even have a choice of whether to pay the sneak attack cost or just declare war one turn in advance of when you actually invade. The sneak attack cost could represent the added difficulty of stockpiling supplies, ammo, etc. on the border without your rival detecting the buildup.

    I think if Japan wants to invade Russia simply because Russia needs cash more than Japan, then the game is broken on a deeper level than NAPs can fix – Japan should also be feeling pinched for cash in the opening. Japan should have lots of fronts they want to invade (potentially including Russia), and Japan should be unable to generate enough cash to invade all of them at once in sufficient force to actually win. Otherwise the Japanese player isn’t making any interesting strategic choices; the only valid strategy is “attack everywhere” and it all comes down to tactics.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Ok I actually like that a lot better. I will edit the lead post of this thread once we figure it out.

    Something like

    Before the purchase phase, either player (Russia or Japan) can “break the NAP” for some amount in IPCs.

    This could either be a set amount, like 20 ipcs, or it could be a percentage of their total cash, like  50%. Or perhaps either, whichever amount is greater.

    This has the advantage of being a lot simpler to implement, and also somewhat more believable.  The cost in IPCs can be explained as shock to the economy and military expenditure from the sudden onset of war.

    Now the trick is just to find the right amount. If done correctly this NAP system doesn’t need to be confined to 1942.2, it could work for Global, or Classic or Revised etc.

    What do you like better… set amount? or percentage based? Or some kind of hybrid?
    I can see advantages and disadvantages to either approach, but both still seem better to me than OOB with no NAP in play.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Ps. I redrafted the rule in the first post. What do you think?

  • Instead of a fixed penalty, what about randomizing the consequences of breaking the NAP by rolling a die (or dice) to determine the penalty? The randomness could reflect the somewhat-less-than-certain outcome that might result from breaking the pact.

    Penalty to the Attacker
    Cost of Betrayal! Roll [a number to be determined] of dice before the Purchase Units phase. Sum of dice determines the penalty to be paid immediately. I rather like the idea of a regressive penalty that would decrease in subsequent rounds.

    For example:
    Rounds 1-2: 4 Dice–Penalty between 4 and 24
    Rounds 3-4: 3 Dice–Penalty between 3 and 18
    Rounds 5-6: 2 Dice–Penalty between 2 and 12
    Rounds 7-8:  1 Die–Penalty between 1 and 6
    Rounds  9+: No Penalty

    Bonus to the Defender
    Rally the Militia! Defender rolls 1 die after the sneak attack is declared in the Combat Movement phase. The number rolled determines the number of infantry to be placed in territory being attacked before conducting combat.

    Hybrid Penalty/Bonus
    A combination of the two described above. Attacker pays a penalty and Defender receives a bonus.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Now that is a cool concept! And it has a gameplay element all its own.

    I think this is what’s missing from the game. A reward penalty structure instead of hard rules to govern the politics. The NAP would be a good way to test the concept.

    But it has potentially broader applications too. I like it!

  • '19 '15 '14

    Ps. I dig the regressive penalty, and the fact that it involves a roll.

    I’m pro rolling.  😄

    One of the things I like to combat with HR is this idea that the game has to be one dimensional, or to do away with the idea that one side always wins, or “has to do such and such” lest they lose.

    I think randomization (somewhere outside of combat but relating to income) is a good way to achieve that. If its beyond everyones control it’s harder to grumble about. SBR is a bit like this in the game, where you just gotta take it in stride if an aa gun hits, or a bomber rolls a six. This seems a bit like that, but expanded.

    The “rally the militia” idea is cool. It reminds me of like a combination land-scramble/SBR run, where you’re hoping to hit a 6. I like that better than an auto 7, for the same reason I like rolling for the penalty.

    Nice work dude. Thanks for the contribution!

    I think I will try it next FtF game

  • Customizer

    I am curious about something. In reading all the posts in this thread, it seems to me like we all want to keep Japan and Russia from attacking each other without making an actual rule stating that.
    If we are wanting to do this, it seems to me that apparently this is a problem for most people of either Japan attacking Russia and romping across the north toward Moscow or Russia attacking Japan and taking all the coastal Chinese territories.
    Does one or the other happen a lot in your games? So much so that you are wanting to design a deterrent?
    In most of our games, Japan and Russia usually don’t attack one another until things are under control in other sectors.
    In Japan’s case, they usually won’t go into Russia until they have the DEI and Calcutta, China is mostly conquered AND they are successfully fending off the US Navy and ANZAC Navy.
    In Russia’s case, they won’t go into Manchuria/Korea until it is a nearly sure thing that Germany will not be taking Moscow AND Japan is having a hard time of things and perhaps busy in another sector. In that case, either Japan will not be able to retake Manchuria/Korea right away or if they do then it will hurt their efforts against Calcutta, the DEI or the US Navy.
    This is kind of a mutual benefit thing. Russia doesn’t want Japan romping around in their far east territories and Japan doesn’t want to lose Manchuria or Korea.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Well the proposed rule had an emphasis on 1942.2, but if it works there I don’t see why something similar couldn’t be adopted for Global. In that game Japan doesn’t have as much to gain from going Godzilla against Russia (at least not until India/China are handled.) But the way that dance is achieved is pretty rules intensive, and it’s debatable how effective Mongolia is as a deterrent, once Japan is on the warpath everywhere else.

  • Customizer

    The reason Japan attacks Russia in most games is to combine with Germany to knock Russia out of the game - by far the most likely means of eliminating an Allied power.

    The problem is not as acute as when Moscow was placed in the middle of Siberia, but its still the optimum Axis strategy. Every power piling as many units as possible into Stalingrad/Moscow is something seen altogether too many times in Axis and Allies, and an effective NAP is the only solution. You may want the What If? scenario that there was no pact, but you may as well have the possibility of a Western Allies - Soviet war, something that very nearly happened over Finland while the Soviets were still Allied to Germany.

    But this fusion of two entirely separate conflicts is unhistorical and blocks any chance of a remotely familiar playout. The reason Japan initiated a Pacific war was because it had secured itself against the possibility of another conflict with Russia. Enact the Pact, and Japan must attack USA in the Pacific to drain American resources away from the European front. Russia becomes stronger and can concentrate on fighting a Germany less likely to be worn down by American attacks. Anything else just isn’t WWII.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Every power piling as many units as possible into Stalingrad/Moscow is something seen altogether too many times in Axis and Allies…

    Couldn’t agree more.

    …and an effective NAP is the only solution.

    That’s crazy talk. For any game design problem, there are always dozens of potential solutions, several of which will be interesting and fun for at least some types of players. I’m just going to brainstorm some other solutions that could help avoid the repetitive rush to Moscow:

    1. Give Russia lots more starting infantry and slightly less income so that conquering Russia is relatively less attractive
    2. Give the UK fewer starting infantry and slightly more income so that conquering London is relatively more attractive
    3. Shift the Axis starting troops toward the extreme periphery, e.g., in France, Norway, Morocco, Midway, and New Guinea, so that attacks against the USA and the UK are easier to pull off and attacks against Moscow are slower.
    4. Change the capital-capture rules so that conquering Moscow doesn’t automatically prevent the Russians from mobilizing new units or provide the Axis with a massive economic windfall
    5. Write a house rule for partisans and revolts so that ungarrisoned territories have a chance to shake off enemy control, making it less attractive to try to occupy all of Russia’s low-value territories
    6. Use national objectives to give Russia and Japan incentives to attack other nations
    7. Use national objectives to give Russia and Japan incentives not to attack each other
    8. Treat the USSR as a ‘third faction’ that isn’t necessarily on the same team as either the Allies or the Axis, so that if the Axis gang up on the USSR and ignore the US/UK, they risk throwing the game to the US/UK
    9. Write a house rule for supply lines so that it’s difficult for Germany and Japan to project power across 4+ land territories to get to Moscow, but relatively easy for them to project power across sea zones to London, Rio de Janeiro, Calcutta, Capetown, Sydney, and Honolulu
    10. End the game after a set number of turns, and put more victory cities in US / UK / French / Chinese nations than in the USSR, forcing the Axis to attack other nations besides just Russia if they want to win

    That’s really just off the top of my head. If you want a non-aggression pact, fine, enjoy it, but don’t pretend like the only way to get an interesting game is to force players into a rigidly scripted version of history. Some players enjoy alternate histories, and that’s a legitimate part of what Axis & Allies is about.

  • '19 '15 '14

    That reads like a 10 point plan, for a redesign.

    Honestly if you could fix the center issue between Japan and Russia using familiar mechanics like income, production, starting unit position etc, I think Japan would have incentives to attack America directly instead of trying to meet them somewhere near the center. Whether that’s in Europe, the Med or in Russia.

    And then you don’t need a rule telling players what they can’t do. You just make it less advantageous.

    I’d like a game where Japan stays in the Pacific oriented towards America and Australia, more so than India, Africa or the center. If their bonuses drew them more onto the islands that would certainly help in a game like global. 1942.2 doesn’t have an Objectives mechanic, it does have VCs but I don’t think VCs are enough. They need an income or production incentive to draw them here against USA instead of Russia.

  • @Argothair:

    I suggested giving Russia an NO for +5 IPCs/turn if Russia controls Amur and is not at war with Japan, and giving Japan an NO for +5 IPCs/turn if Japan controls Manchuria and Korea and is not at war with Russia. That may not be exactly the right number, but that’s the kind of house rule I’d prefer to see – something that makes keeping the peace win-win for Russia and Japan unless one or both of them decide to launch a serious invasion.

    I like that. Like Germany and Russia have a 5 IPC trade NO when not at war, why not give Japan and Russia the same kind of deal ?

    Or, a deal that was historical correct. Russia got Lend Lease stuff by 3 routes, the Murmansk route, the Persian Corridor and the Arctic Line. In game rules, that will be
    5 IPC for seazone 125 and Archangelsk
    5 IPC for seazone 80, Persia and Caucasus
    5 IPC for seazone 5 and Amur.

    Now, lets say Japan got a 5 IPC trade NO from neutral Mongolia.

    No non-aggressions pact nor treaties that are not worth the paper, but pure consequence if one choose to attack the other. Russia invade Manchuria, then Japan sail a Battleship into seazone 5 and block the American Lend Lease. Japan attack Russia, and they loose the 5 IPC trade NO. No straight jacket or scripts, just free will to choose.

  • Customizer

    Some nice ideas here, but always remember the long term goals:

    Japan’s main incentive to attack in the Pacific (if it is blocked from Siberia) is to aid Germany by forcing America to burn units fighting over the Pacific. This is a more palpable goal than IPCs or VCs. You can offer as many carrots as you like in terms of bonuses and NOs but in the long term throwing everything at Moscow is still going to be the  obvious way for the Axis to win. If you want a serious Pacific war enforce the treaty. A game in which USSR and Japan are at war before the Nuclear age is set in a parallel universe.

    I agree on changing capture the capital rules so that its not all about Moscow.

    Another alternative would be to introduce 2 complementary rules - rail movement and arms to Russia. That is, any western Allied unit moved into a Soviet factory can be converted into a Red unit. Then, allow unlimited non-combat rail movement (e.g. from Soviet far east to Moscow in one move).

    This gives Russia big a incentive not to annoy the Japanese; I prefer this sort of thing to the more abstract NO solutions.

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