1942.2 New NAP, Soviet Japanese Non Aggression Pact

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I’ve been glancing at this thread on-and-off for a while.  I don’t have any particular opinion on the NAP options being discussed, but here are a few bits of background information in case they’re of any use.  I’d also like to put forward a few arguments to suggest that an outbreak of war between Japan and the USSR in the early 1940s wasn’t a flat-out impossibility, and to suggest that any game scenario featuring such an outbreak might plausibly use Mongolia or Manchuria as its flashpoint.

    In the decades before WWII, there was no love lost between Japan and the USSR (or its predecessor, Tsarist Russia), with a lot of tension existing between them over areas like Korea, Mongolia and Manchuria.  These were all areas which underwent various degrees of jurisdictional flux in those years, as the  Chinese empire crumbled.  Japanese ambitions in mainland Asia led to the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, whose outcome helped (along with Russia ambitions for a Pacific warm-water port) to bring about the Russo-Japanese War of 1905-1906.  Japan’s intervention (along with other nations) in the Vladivistok region during the Russian Civil War, and its occupation of Russian territories in that area until around 1922 even after the other intervening nations had left, caused a lot of bad blood with Russia.  It also fueled the ambitions of the members of the Japanese military who dreamed of acquiring large tracts of Siberian real estate.  Also in the period from 1917 to 1922, Mongolia (on which Japan may have had an eye too) broke away from China with the help of the Russians and eventually became a nominally independent but heavily Soviet-leaning people’s republic.  Japan’s 1933 invasion of Manchuria, which it turned into a puppet state, didn’t help to calm things down in that part of Asia either.

    In other words, Mongolia and Manchuria were tinderboxes located on the overlapping outer fringes of three powers – China, Russia and Japan, all undergoing political convolutions of one sort or another – who for decades had been struggling with each other for influence in that area.  To complicate matters, some of the borders involved were disputed and poorly defined.  All of this finally led to a series of shooting incidents between Japan and the Soviet Union, starting in 1937 and eventually culminating in the Soviet–Japanese Border War of 1939.  To quote what Hirohito would later say about WWII, the outcome of this border war with the USSR was “not necessarily favourable to Japan” – due in no small part to the fact that one of the commanders on the Soviet side was a talented fellow by the name of Georgi Zhukov, who clobbered the Japanese in the last two weeks of August 1939.

    It’s at this point that events in Europe – specifically the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on August 23 – had a major ricochet effect on that little border war.  The Japanese were furious that the Nazis, with whom Japan had partnered in the Anti-Comintern Pact of 1936, would reverse their position and become (at least on paper) buddy-buddies with the Commies, with whom the Japanese were at war at that very moment (and by whom they were being trounced).  Japan therefore did essentially the same thing: it wound down the border war via a ceasefire and later (in April 1941) signed the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact.

    The Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, however, didn’t meant that Japan had given up its ambitions on the eastern side of the USSR anymore than the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact meant that Germany had given up its ambitions on the western side of the USSR.  The Japanese Army remained convinced that the proper policy of Japan should be to expand “north and west” into China and Siberia.  As I recall, some of its officers were completely serious about the concept of Japan taking control of all the Russian land east of Lake Baikal – which, as can be seen from a map, is not a trifling number of square miles.  Overly ambitious as the Japanese Army plans may have been (particularly considering that it was doing badly in China and had done even worse against the Russians in 1939), the Soviets still took the threat of a Japanese invasion very seriously, despite the fact that it had a non-aggression pact with Japan.  They took it so seriously, in fact, that it was only in the fall of 1941 – months after Germany has blitzed into the USSR – that Stalin transfered his elite Siberian troops from the Soviet far east (where the USSR was at peace with Japan) to the other side of the country (where the USSR was at war with Germany).  If there was truly no chance of war between Russia and Japan in 1941, Stalin wouldn’t have left his best troops twiddling their mittened thumbs for months on the fringes of Mongolia and Manchuria while the Nazis were overrunning the European side of his country.

    The reason why he finally moved his Siberian troops (in the nick of time to save Moscow, as it turned out) was that he’d received convincing information about Japan’s immediate plans from his top man in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, who – somewhat uncharacteristically – Stalin chose to believe.  Sorge basically told Stalin that Japan, rather than following the Japanese Army’s wish to expand “north and west”, would be following that Japanese Navy’s preference for expanding “south and east” towards the D.E.I. (for oil), Malaysia (for assorted resources) and the islands of the central Pacific held by Britain and America (to extend Japan’s defensive perimeter).  The Japanese Army wasn’t too happy about this: it still hankered to attack Russia, the officers of the Manchuria-based Kwantung Army being particularly inclined in that direction.  What nevertheless won the case for the Navy’s “south and east” strategy (in addition to what should have been the self-evident fact that the D.E.I. were a much better source than Siberia for the resource Japan needed most, oil) was apparently the argument that the “south and east” strategy would be to a large extent a naval operation, and hence would only require a minimum number of Army troops.  A huge percentage of the Japanese Army was still bogged down in China, where it had been fighting since 1937, so this limited the number of troops it could scrape together for any further campaign of expansion.

    So in a sense, it could be argued that the chief factor which restrained Japan from attacking Russia in 1941 wasn’t the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact, nor any lack of Japanese Army ambition or aggression directed towards Siberia, nor any lack of tension on the borders between the USSR, Mongolia and Japanese-controlled Manchuria.  The restraining factor was actually the fact that Japan’s war in China was going badly.  A war with the USSR could nevertheless still have broken out if Japan had shifted its priorities from China to Siberia, or if the Kwantung Army – which had a track record of provoking (on its own initiative) incidents leading to war – had taken matters into its own hands once again.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Excellent insights as always!

    If I thought it’d get much traction, I’d necromance any number of threads where I was pulling for a stronger China (including one or two on the Larry Boards going way back.) I even tried to make the case that we’d have a better chance of selling the game in China, where it’s made these days anyway, if we gave them a nod and made that faction into something other than a speed bump for Japanese expansion.

    Everything from a turn order that favors China, to a few more flying tigers (you know instead of just 1) or giving them a VC, or a production center. Or even just some more starting artillery. I’ve also suggested that a bid restricted to China might be the optimal way to achieve game balance (since its impact wouldnt be as outsized as giving extra units to Russia or Britain.)

    Global handles the Chinese a bit better than 1942.2, but I could definitely see ways in which a stronger China would to anchor the fighting here, instead of folding and allowing Japan an easy route into Russia.

    I think the Japan vs Russia at war situation is rather more pronounced in the 5/6 man games than the 1940 games. But I get the impression that it’s a pretty tough sell to our players.  I’m a fan of using objectives in the 1940 games to help bolster Russia vs a Godzilla Japan, though to do this in 1942.2 requires a bit more work, since there is no objective system in place OOB.

    Great feedback man

  • '17 '16 '15

    That was exceptionally well written CWO.

    Elk have you ever tried China with no restrictions?

  • '19 '15 '14

    You mean like in Global or AA50 allowing Chinese units to move outside of China? I haven’t tried this before, though it could be interesting. Usually my method was to give control of Chinese territories/units to the US, in which case they were able to move out of China (since the units were treated the same way as all other american units), though this was counterbalanced by the fact that it was harder for the US to mobilize new ground in the area. I’ve experimented with different production concepts before, or different VC spreads, but in general its pretty hard to get people on board with house rules I find. A simple NAP I thought had a better chance of being adopted than a broad scoped redesign of the production/income spread, or a new treatment of China.

    At least in the case of Global 1940, a turn order where China goes before Japan would be fun. Of course the problem with China turn order solutions, is that they don’t work on the 5 man boards (where China is not a separate nation, but just US controlled.) So on those boards, I guess the best you could do for something comperable would be like a USA bid, that has to be spent in China. Even then though, its probably just a matter of, stalling Japan by a round or two. If they are determined, it’s pretty hard to keep the Japanese from crushing the Chinese with a quickness and then pinballing around in Soviet territories until they get an opening on Caucasus/Moscow.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    If I thought it’d get much traction, I’d necromance any number of threads where I was pulling for a stronger China (including one or two on the Larry Boards going way back.) I even tried to make the case that we’d have a better chance of selling the game in China, where it’s made these days anyway, if we gave them a nod and made that faction into something other than a speed bump for Japanese expansion.

    And I think you’d have a good historical basis for it.  If you can get your hands on a copy of the book “Victory at Sea: World War II in the Pacific” by wargame designer James Dunnigan, you’ll find a section in there called (if I remember correctly), “The War (a Big One) in China.”  I haven’t read it for a long time, but as I recall Dunnigan argues that China made a huge and under-appreciated contribution to the Allied war effort by tying down (and inflicting substantial casualties on) the Japanese Army.  The Chinese had in fact been fighting the Japanese continuously since 1937 – four years before the Pacific War started, and two years before the war in Europe started.  And I think Dunnigan says that when Japan started around late 1944 to drain troops away from China and transfer them to the Pacific to bolster its inner line of defense against the advancing Americans, the Chinese were able to start pushing the Japanese occupation lines back to a significant degree.

    The G40 map of China is heavily distorted, being about half as wide as it should be relative to its height, and the orange-bordered zones of Japanese control are similarly distorted, and are overly-simplified in the southern portion…so the G40 map gives a very misleading impression of which parts of China were actually controlled by Japan in WWII.  In effect, Japan never managed to conquer comprehensively more than Manchuria, Jehol, the northern half of China’s coastal provinces, and certain territories inland of those provinces.  South of (very roughly) Shanghai, Japan didn’t control the solid block of provinces shown on the map; it only controlled the port cities and some limited areas immediately surrounding them.  (In fairness, this was all they needed to control to cut China off from supply by sea.)  Further inland, Japan concentrated on controlling major cities and the railways linking them…which explains the so-called “dot-and-line” pattern of Japanese occupation you can see on detailed maps of wartime China.  In terms of pure surface area, I think Japan never managed to conquer more than about one-quarter to one-third of China.  So in real life, China was hardly a “speed bump.”

  • '19 '15 '14

    Great feedback again CWOMarc!

    Its a well timed post too. I think the Chinese are holding a “World War II parade” in just a couple days, to commemorate their role in the conflict.

    In AA50, when I was experimenting with different turn orders, (before I decided to adopt rules to randomize the order completely), I had an idea that the turn sequence might mirror the order in which warring Nations “went belligerent.”

    So if China was at war with Japan since 1937, (and at war with itself since even earlier), then it makes a certain sense that China would be in an early position during the turn order. Similarly if Italy was at war since 1935 in Ethiopia, it also makes sense that they might be early in the turn order as well.  AA50 was a 6 “man” game, or 6 positions, 7 if you separate China from the USA by starting the first turn with China and ending with USA. Effectively 6 “back and forth” exchanges once the game is underway, as the last nation just piggy backs their turn onto the first.

    6 positions allowed for alternating between Axis and Allies (something not really possible on the 5 man boards, since a major power always has to double up). But vaguely the idea was to give a turn sequence that indicated “how late” to the show a given Nation was to enter “the War.”

    So for example, in this set up, I had the USSR early in the turn order, not because of the Barbarossa timeline, but because they were an early belligerent going back to 39. The Russians moved into Poland at the same time Germany did after all! So basically an order a bit like this…

    China (1937)
    Japan (1937)

    Russia (1938-39 vs Japan, Khalkhyn Gol etc.)

    Italy (1935-9, East Africa and then WW2.)

    Britain (1939)
    Germany (1939)

    America (1942)

    Now the British to German grouping could just as easily be switched around. UK declared on Germany in response to Poland after all, but here the desire to preserve an alternating order had me put UK before Germany. In the same way I put China before Japan. Basically to give the defender a way to organize their defenses, vs a stronger attacker. Italy going before these two was more a nod to their early involvement as a belligerent, though I put the focus on the war in China to open the order, because I think that’s a compelling start date for when the World at War period kicks off in earnest. In this way the turn order reflects a more abstract long-chronology for the turn order instead of just a narrow who-did-what-first this week in 1940, for whatever the exact start date/month is considered to be.

    C, J, R, I, B, G, A

    If you wanted to attempt something similar for Global, you might try something like…

    China (1937)
    Japan (1937)
    Russia (1938-39 vs Japan, Khalkhyn Gol etc.)
    Italy (1935-9, East Africa/WW2)
    France (1939), Britain (1939), Anzac (1939)
    Germany (1939)
    America (1942), back to China

    Which keeps the same basic order of play positions, since the 9 nation-sequence folds back into 6 main positions after the first round.

    I don’t know how many people are willing to explore turn order as a way to give the game a new lease on life, but I kind of like it, if for no other reason than that it allows you to keep the same set-up units etc, but creates an entirely new set of starting conditions.

    Would it be balanced? Who knows?
    Was the OOB game balanced to your satisfaction? Does it really even matter?
    Because if you have a bid process in place, you can always correct for that after the fact. The same way we do with the OOB game.

    Basically the thought here, would be to but the focus on the potential flash-point mentioned on the previous page… China, Japan, Russia and then leave it up to the player.

  • Great thread.  I have been doing some brain storming in this area as well.  How to keep Japan off Russia’s back and encourage more action in the Pacific?  There are two proposals I am toying with either alone or together.

    1)  Turn order.  USA goes First.  However, I am thinking of maybe just a production and placement round only.  No movement.  Beefs USA up to make a difference earlier w/out changing opening battles (except SZ 11).  Might also add China to this… not sure.

    2)  China production rules.  At the end of China’s turn, China spams 1 infantry in each Chinese Territory (including the ones that start “occupied” (Manchuria, Kiangsu, Kwantung) as follows:  If there are no Japanese units, automatic.  If there are any Japanese units, roll one die.  If the result is higher that the number of Japanese units, place one Chinese Infantry.
    If in an occupied space, on Japan’s turn, they must attack or retreat.  Finally, US can always rebuild the flying Tigers for 10 IPC’s if there is any Chinese controlled territory at the end of the US/China turn.

    Historically, there were a million or more Japanese troops tied down in China during the war.    With this rule, the China front never quite goes away unless Japan wants to keep 42 units there, they will have to keep dealing with China.

    I think this would make attacking Russia, much less tenable without any iron prohibition.  Thoughts?

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    If we go with the principle (which, as I’ve argued, has a historical basis) that China should be made a tougher opponent, this could solve the Russian problem if we were to have a rule which essentially says that Japan cannot attack Russia until it has fully subdued China.  This is based on the assumption (which I described earlier) that Japan did not have enough forces to go to war against Russia when so much of its army was bogged down in China fighting a war that was going nowhere.  And this was even more the case when Japan added to its workload a campaign against the Americans, the British and the Dutch.  Which raises the prospect of another variation of this rule idea: except in situations where war is declared against Japan by other countries (obviously something which Japan can’t control), Japan can be at war simultaneously with only two out of three of the following countries: China, the USSR and the US.  It starts the game at war with China, and can initiate a second war against either the US or the USSR, but owing to troop limitations it can’t go to war against both the US and the USSR unless it defeats China first.  This would actually open up two ways of handling China.  In option 1, China is unchanged and thus can be conquered in practical terms by Japan, but the “2 but not 3 wars” prohibition would delay a potential attack against the USSR until China is overrun.  In option 2, China would be made tougher so that China and Japan would essentially end up in a perpetual stalemate (which was pretty much what happened).  In that option, the “2 but not 3 wars” prohibition would basically rule out a Japanese DOW against the USSR.  And in both option 1 and option 2, Japan could in principle decide to attack the USSR rather than the US.  Japan, incidentally, could still be allowed to go to war against Britain, ANZAC and the Dutch without violating this “2 but not 3 wars” prohibition, which would allow it to make use of its naval units (which obviously are of little use against Russia).

  • I don’t think conquering China first is much of a hindrance for Japan under the OOB rules.  They simply mop them up on the way to the Russian border.  That is why I am proposing beefing up China to make it much more of a headache.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I think letting China go first is a great idea for 1942 and even moreso for Global, where getting a turn of consolidation could keep Yunnan in control for an extra turn and mitigate Japan’s huge air advantage a little bit. Letting China have extra income and artillery would make them a lot more interesting.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    I even tried to make the case that we’d have a better chance of selling the game in China, where it’s made these days anyway, if we gave them a nod and made that faction into something other than a speed bump for Japanese expansion.

    It’s just occured to me that making China stronger might not be enough to increase its appeal in its country of manufacture, the People’s Republic of China, because the Chinese roundel in the game is the one for the Chiang Kai-shek’s Republic of China, not the one for Mao Tse-tung’s Communists.  😄  Though it might increase the game’s sales in Taiwan.  You’d have to go back to a game set in 1919 to capture both markets, since as far as I know the only thing that Chiang’s side and Mao’s side were ever unanimous about was that Sun Yat-sen was a great man (owing to the fact that he helped overthrow the Manchu dynasty that had ruled China for the past couple of centuries or so).

  • '19 '15 '14

    My position, which I expressed on the Larry Boards when AA50 came out, was that we were missing out on a huge potential market, by going with the ROC instead of the PRC for the Chinese roundel.

    I even designed a couple second united front roundel markers that I thought would go over much better on the mainland than the KMT style roundel that the game currently uses.

    The Chinese love dice games, and as a “Victor Nation” I imagine they’d enjoy the prospect of beating up on Japan as a full player nation, (not as an extension of the USA, or as some kind of weird minor nation with its own rules.)

    I suggested that we go the way of the Security Council, and just give it to the PRC! Even if this is anachronous, it would certainly improve our chances of capturing more gamers from that market. Plus the Chinese dig all things luxury American these days, and we’re sitting on the Buick of boardgames right here! It’d be hotter than a big bucket of KFC, if only we did the Chinese player nation in a way that resonated with potential Chinese buyers. Just riding that special economic zone gravy train, back to a position of steady sales for A&A.

    I like that 2 out of 3 idea for Global.

  • Customizer

    If you give Japan the option of attacking Russia it will surely always do so as the attraction of the great Moscow Tank Magnet will always pull it in that direction if we bear in mind the ultimate objective of Axis victory.

    If you give Japan the option of NOT attacking the USA, it will certainly take that option as it will in effect keep the Americans out of the war altogether.

    This leave us with two options:

    1. A rigorously enforced NAT at least until one enemy has been eliminated (in effect the 2 of 3 rule suggested above but with the choices already made);

    2. The entire game recast as a four block contest in which Japan is not necessarily allied to Germany or opposed to Russia or the Western Allies, freeing it from the obligation to help Germany eliminate Russia. This recognizes that WWII was in fact two major wars (Europe and Pacific) that happened to overlap chronologically and involve some of the same powers. Japan, therefore, would have a separate and distinct victory objective from that of Germany/Italy. Similarly, Russia would have its own victory objectives which would primarily concern dominating Eastern Europe but might very well also include expansion south into Persia and India bringing it into conflict with the Western Powers.

    Any two blocks might be free to announce an alliance, but this would be temporary and could be renounced by either member at the end of its own turn.

    Co-operation between allies would be strictly limited and not involve sharing territory.

    Some interesting questions arise as to the control of neutrals; suppose Russia attacks neutral Finland; the Soviet alliance with Germany/Italy prevents the European Axis from taking control of Finland, so the Westerners could offer military aid to the Finns causing a Western-Soviet conflict. On the other hand they might leave well alone to avoid an unwanted war in Eastern Europe.

    Gobbling up neutrals becomes a game of Dare as you challenge other powers to stand up for the little nations.

    Regarding China, I’ve always favoured dividing Chinese forces up into the two factions, controlled by the USA & USSR respectively.
    In the four power version I describe these forces would be free to attack each other as well as the Japanese, and winning the Chinese “civil war” would become a victory objective for each of the future Superpowers.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I very much like the idea of a United Front rondel for the Chinese – it’s accurate, it’s diplomatic, and it’s fair. I apologize for injecting politics into a discussion about house rules, but I disapprove of using the Communist rondel across all of China. It feels wrong to me, like it’s erasing the Nationalists from history.

    I realize the Chinese Nationalists weren’t exactly paragons of ethics and liberalism, but Mao and his followers wound up murdering millions of their own people, often even when those people were trying to mind their own business and stay out of politics. You could be killed for having the wrong occupation, the wrong education, or the wrong relatives. The Chinese have backed off of these policies, obviously, but to my knowledge they still treat Mao as a national hero, and it is illegal on the Chinese mainland for ordinary citizens to criticize Mao in any way.

    If the Vichy French regime were still in power, I wouldn’t put a Vichy rondel on Paris to appease the French marketplace, and with respect for anyone who may disagree, I feel the same way about Communist China.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Well its kind of a tricky issue for the following reason… all the OOB markers are modeled on Airforce Roundels. And the PRC didn’t have an airforce at the time! hehehe.

    The obvious, though perhaps not often stated reason for the Air force roundel design decision, was to avoid using the Swastika anywhere in this game. That’s not just for PR purposes or to distance the game from the more grim aspects of the history. There is also a practical business aspect to this decision. The Swastika is basically an illegal symbol in the German market, so if you want to sell games there (which we obviously do) then you have to accommodate that market. Nova had it, but none of the big brand sale version that came after did. So not only does the game avoid decals of that symbol, but even the cover art keeps with this prohibition. The German national flag always folds, or flaps in the wind. Is it revisionist? Sugar coating? Yeah probably, but its expedient. And at the end of the day, this game is just an abstract excuse to play “WW2 plastic Army men” with dice.

    Like countless plastic army men sets of the 1960s, A&A just uses the Iron Cross instead. Its easy, recognizable, and its a symbol that Germany continues to use even now. I don’t think anyone really gets all that hung up over the fact that the Iron Cross has associations as well, or the Luftwaffe cross. Obviously the Germans killed millions, and that the political dimensions of that “game nation” are ignored, because we just want to play plastic army men with dice.

    I would draw an analogy there with the decision to use different symbols for the Chinese, as a gameplay expedient.

    You could make the case for a lot of different things, and a lot of millions of people getting murdered if you really want to go there. I don’t for sure, because again, its a game. But you could say that the ROC Airforce roundel, similarly diminishes the communist contribution by not giving it any representation. Or that having the US control China does in effect the same thing. My idea was to just pick an innocuous and generic “Chinese symbol” for the roundel, that way you don’t have to tie it to any one side. The CPC and KMT never like got together and decided to make a joint battle flag of any sort, so you have to pick.  KMT 12 sided star, or a Gold star on a red field. Or it’s possible to make compromises. ROC and PRC symbols both use the colors Red White Blue and Gold at various points. The peoples liberation army has all those colors, so does the president of the ROC, so in a bind you could still claim “one china” without pinning yourself down. Play it like a politician.

    Personally I think the 12 sided star for all of China is a bit charged, it reminds me of a map I once saw on the island of Matsu, where the ROC vision of China still included all the mainland and mongolia and beyond. It was a cool looking map sure, but fantasy really, just like Axis and Allies games. I think it is essentially the same thing to use the ROC star, as it would be to use a PRC Gold?red star for all of China. Either way one side gets ignored. Better to pick something more neutral, or comprehensive, even if its just invented up. My idea was a roundel that was predominantly Red, perhaps with some blue, white, gold accent rings. Which of course, is not a symbol of any historical Air force roundel, but seems like it might be accommodating.’

    Alternatively you could do as Flashman suggests, give control of the ROC to the USA, and the PRC to the Russians, using the 2 sets of roundel designs for China if desired. Russian/CPC = Red and Gold 5 pointed Star, USA/KMT = White and Blue 12 pointed star.

    ps. I agree with Flashman, the Moscow “magnet” is undeniable. We really have to create some counterweight incentives for going alternative directions, or I suspect that he’s correct, that Japan will always gun for the center as a way to knock off one of the Allies by double teaming them.

    I think China could play a role here, though it’s probably just one piece of a larger puzzle to get a real NAP situation working. Put those Japanese tank drives to bed! hehe

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    Well its kind of a tricky issue for the following reason… all the OOB markers are modeled on Airforce Roundels. And the PRC didn’t have an airforce at the time! hehehe.

    The “air force roundel” concept isn’t actually a limitation in China’s case because it’s not a hard-and-fast rule in the OOB game.  In fact, G40 deviates quite a bit from the concept of pure air force roundels.  The ANZAC symbol in G40 was, as far as I know, never used as a aircraft roundel in either Australia or New Zealand. I’ve seen film footage of Italian aircraft that used a black-and-white triple-fasces roundel.  The German symbol used in A&A – called the Balkenkreuz, or “beamed cross” – was used not just by the Luftwaffe but by the German armoured forces too.  Soviet planes were marked with a large red star, not the symbol used in A&A.  The American roundel used in the game is only correct for the period prior to the US entry into the war, and for a short time thereafter; the red dot was soon eliminated to avoid any possible confusion with the Japanese red-disk roundel.  And on that subject: the symbol used for the Japanese game roundel is the Japanese naval flag design, not the roundel that was used on Japanese aircraft.

    So frankly, given this wide range of practice in the OOB game roundels, I think there are no limitations on what could be used as an alternate Chinese roundel.

    Switching all of China in G40 from Republic of China roundels to Chinese Communist Party roundels would be a severe deviation from the political situation that existed in WWII…and I’m not even sure that it would help game sales in China.  For one thing, it would amount to erasing from history the CCP victory over the ROC in the post-WWII Chinese Civil War, and I doubt that the folks who run the People’s Republic of China today would appreciate the erasure of such a defining moment of their history.  Second, it’s possible that the CCP actually sees some value in the fact that China was mostly under ROC control when it was invaded an occupied by Japan, because that way they could plausibly argue “We’re not the ones who lost a third of China to the enemy; it was those incompetent other guys who lost it.”  Giving all of China CCP roundels would therefore shift the blame from Chiang’s people to Mao’s people, which would make things rather awkward for the CCP.

    Giving all of China a “unified China” gane roundel of some sort is certainly a viable option, if a plausible design could be worked out.  I have no idea what such a design might be.  Altenately, one option might be to do what I did on my own customized map: keeping most of the map as it is, but giving Shensi to the CCP, as shown in the “Pacific Left Panel.jpg” picture here:


  • '19 '15 '14

    On point as always! And a good argument for maintaining the ROC too.

    Well in that case we’re good to go in Global,  if not tied to the sky I’d just go with 2 designs. Seems easiest,  and the most historically accurate option.

    But that’s Global, what do you do with 1942.2?

    In 1942.2 there are no weird China rules, or attackable neutrals, or nations without capitals, or extra roundels or things like that which would seem to be required if want 2 Chinese factions that can take land from each other. In 1942.2 there are only 4 starting spaces in China altogether. Not a lot to work with if you’re trying to tie the China balance the Japan vs Russia balance.

    I think 42.2 is the map that stands the most to benefit from a NAP. Global may have a similar problem ultimately, but it’s not nearly as pronounced.

    The issue with a map like 1942.2 (or Classic or Revised for that matter) is that if you just bolster China so its strong enough to withstand Japan, this usually transforms into a KJF Allied triple team of some sort.

    Some kind of division between how Russian/Communist forces can opperate in China vs USA/Nationalists can operate there might be required, if the plan is just to beef up China somehow as an alternative to a hard rules restriction for a NAP.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Ps. I was just thinking that CWOMarc’s idea to make a rule such that Japan cannot attack Russia until China is subdued might be interesting in 1942.2.

    I think at best this buys Russia maybe 2 rounds until Japan has whacked China into submission. 3 at best if the Allies are putting some effort into it.

    But that’s still another 4-5 ipcs on income, and a landing spot for the Western Allies in Bury, at least during the opening round.

    I really like the other concepts mentioned on the previous page. It’s a hard rules restriction, but it seems a bit less daunting than no attacks till a capital falls.

  • Customizer

    Western Allies should never be permitted on Soviet tt. Why would they bother capturing all those Pacific islands if they can bomb Tokyo from Russian bases?

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I admit that the idea of the Americans rushing to fly fighters through Buryatia on the opening turns before the Russian pocket there collapses is dramatic and entertaining – I could see that being a lot of fun.

    As Flashman points out, though, having a bombing base in Buryatia kills the American motivation to capture the Pacific islands, and it’s also profoundly weird to have America bombing Japan from Russian territory while Japan dutifully honors a non-aggression pact with Russia.

    Worse, guaranteeing the Siberian income to the Russians on R1, R2, and R3 would pretty neatly remove the reason for Russia to leave more than one or two infantry in Asia. Under the OOB rules, there’s something of an interesting tradeoff – you can assign your Siberian infantry to guard your Asian income, generating a total of about 6 IPCs that you can use to buy 2 new infantry in Moscow during R2 and R3, or you can retreat the Siberian infantry to Moscow, resulting in about 5 ‘new’ infantry walking into Moscow on R4 and R5. It’s a classic “get some now or get more later” problem. With the Chinese-triggered Japanese/Russian NAP house rule, leaving your Siberian infantry in Siberia doesn’t generate those extra 6 IPCs until turns R4 and R5, which are the same turns that the infantry could just arrive in Moscow. What used to be an interesting decision now becomes an obvious choice: you should always retreat the Siberian troops immediately, because the troops themselves are twice as valuable as the territory they protect, and they can arrive on the German front at about the same time.

    Honestly, I have little enthusiasm for the idea of indirectly simulating the Japanese army’s overcommittment in central China via a house rule that prevents the Japanese from attacking America, China, and Russia simultaneously. I would prefer to just to directly limit the size of the Japanese army so that if they try to make all three of those attacks in the opening rounds, they are likely to be defeated! Japan starts with enough infantry in China to handily eliminate the Allied forces in the region even if the Japanese never send in any reinforcements at all, plus they start with two transports’ worth of reinforcements already sitting in Japan, plus another two transports’ worth of reinforcements conveniently located on nearby islands. That’s just overkill.

    An ideal starting setup would give the Japanese enough starting ground troops in east Asia to hold a stalemate (probably something like a total of 6 inf, 1 art, 2 ftr), where neither side can conquer the other’s territory, plus enough reinforcements on Japan and its island territories to launch one major invasion on J1 (probably a total of about 2 inf, 1 tnk, 1 bomber). That way Japan can easily win on one front, and can choose to build additional transport and ground troops that will let it win on a second front, but Japan will be unable to both build and deliver winning strike forces to Russia, China, and India in the opening – not because of an artificial house rule, but just as a natural consequence of the starting setup and the size of Japan’s economy.

    To preserve game balance, Japan could be given additional warships that make it harder for the Americans to beat down their door – although I’ve never heard anyone complaining that KJF is too easy! If nerfing the Japanese ground forces tilts the game too heavily in favor of the Allies, then I would prefer to give the Germans additional warships, or to simply give the Axis a flexible bid.

  • 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Perhaps a rule could be made where the Soviets don’t allow any Allied forces in its territories unless it finds itself facing a two-front war. So if Japan lays off Russia, then the British and the Americans can’t land fighters in Moscow, making Germany’s life a little easier.

  • '19 '15 '14

    I think the Pacific islands are basically a separate issue. I don’t think anything can bring them into play, short of money.

    The USA and Japan have no incentive to fight over the worthless islands. In virtually every A&A game, unless these islands are already on the warpath to the big money islands, they are routinely ignored by both sides. Even when the USA is making a full pacific press, and even if they take Tokyo, there are always worthless Japanese islands left over.

    AA50 was supposed to fix this with objectives.
    Global was supposed to fix that by introducing base units and objectives.
    Both failed ideas, the islands are still ignored. Anything less than 1 ipc, and I suspect they will always be ignored in favor of more valuable targets. Their value as bomber bases are just pretty underwhelming. Why base your bombers in Iwo or Okinawa (the only worthless islands that can reach Tokyo) when you could base them at Philippines, or mainland China?

    In Global the bases might have worked, but their distribution isn’t very exciting. There are way more worthless islands, no way to build factories, Kamikazes and all the rest, which conspire to undermine the idea that “the value of the islands is not the money, but in their potential to house bases.” But in any case, those units don’t even exist in 1942.2, so its not really a workable solution to use bases in that game.

    It seems that the NAP plan is suffering a bit from mission creep heheh. But I agree, it would certainly be nice if, in addition to preventing a China sweep, or a Tank drive to Moscow, if the rule could encourage a real war with the Americans. You know a war over territories that had actual historical significance to the conflict, where people actually fought and died, instead of everything hinging on ����ing Borneo and East Indies.

    The main issue I see with preventing the Western Allies from landing or moving in the Soviet Union, is that Russia will just get worked by Germany. Conceptually I don’t see anything wrong with the restriction, its just that the OOB set up seems to present real problems on balance when you take the Western Allies out of Russia. On the plus side, a movement restriction (preventing western Allies from moving into Red territories) would effectively create a wall in China, beyond which the US cannot retreat, so they’d have more incentive to battle things out instead of withdrawing to Caucasus or Moscow. Or you know, taking their flying Tiger and getting the hell out of the area ASAP. But this would seem to require a pretty extensive reworking of the unit balance in Russia, to prevent Germany from just murdering as soon as these Western units to Russia were removed.

    I mean, how quickly could Germany roll up the eastern front, if the British could not send any fighters there?

    Even with the extra far east income, I think Moscow would be on the ropes right away. Usually you have to send at least half a dozen western fighters to prop up Russia against the advancing Germans, and that’s not even including Japans contribution. If you restrict where Allied fighters can go, but don’t do the same to Japanese fighters, then the situation is even uglier.

    I’m torn. What started out sounding like a simple idea, has grown increasingly complicated. I’d go back to the original question. If everything else stayed the same as OOB…

    How much money on the line would it take for you not to attack Russia with Japan?
    How much money would it take for Japan to actually contest the USA in North America?

    I think there is probably a dollar amount that would give us what we want.

    Bonus to Russia  (if not at war with Japan) = enough to fend off Germany without Western Aid.
    Bonus to Japan (if not at war with Russua) = enough to contest North America.
    Direct penalty (if pact is broken) = enough to prevent them from breaking the pact purely to screw the other guy out of their bonus.

    What would that look like?
    I think its easier to work with money than with units, in general, but also to preserve as much of the OOB set up as possible.

    I’m reluctant to add or remove starting units to make the NAP work, as this always seems to deter people from trying things out. Maybe if it was a single unit, ok sure. But start taking away units from Japan, or adding a bunch wherever, and it’s not reallt a house rule fix for 1942.2 anymore, it becomes a full mod and an entirely new game.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    it becomes a full mod and an entirely new game.

    Here’s a radical suggestion which you might want to consider – either as a practical project, or just as a way to generate some out-of-the-box lateral thinking.

    There are many aspects of the Global 1940 game (and of other A&A games) over which people have expressed dissatisfaction and for which they’ve proposed house rule alternatives.  Some of these proposals have targeted just one or two specific game elements and have involved changes of a very modest nature (such as adjusting the turn order and nothing else).  Other proposals have been more wide-ranging in scope and more intricate in nature.  Generally speaking, however, all of these proposals have operated under an implicit restriction: trying to stick as closely as possible to the OOB game in order to keep things recognizable.  It’s a valid design principle, with the advantage that it makes proposed changes acceptable to a broader base of players, but the downside is that it acts as a straightjacket: it severely limits what you can change.

    So here’s an alternative you might want to think about: remove the self-imposed restiction of needing to come up with the same game.  Rather than starting from the premise that the end result of the design process has to be a game which is essentially the same as G40, eliminate this predetermined end result from the equation.  Instead, draw up an inventory of: 1) all the things about the game that you absolutely want to keep; 2) all the things that you’d be flexibily prepared to either keep or modify or discard, depending on what works best; and 3) all the things that you feel don’t work properly in the OOB rules and that you feel absolutely must be improved or replaced, whether by minor tinkering or total reconceptualization.  Then try to come up with a redesigned version of the game that addresses all of your issues and which works well on its own terms, regardless of how closely it adheres to the OOB game or how far it deviates from it.

    The thing to keep in mind here is that, in the redesign of any existing system, you can only make so many adjustments to the system while sticking to its original basic architecture.  Beyond a certain point, the original architecture becomes a constaining factor rather than a help, and instead of an improved version you end up with something that’s even clunkier than the unsatisfactory version which you were trying to fix in the first place.  So beyond a certain point, you have to throw out that constraining architecture, start with a clean slate, focus on the specific things you’re trying to achieve, find the solutions which achieve your aims, and then let those solutions dictate the eventual new architecture of the revised system.

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