Deleted my prior post…I put it in the wrong forum! :oops:
Vichy France - Global 1940
I’ve played AA for a long time and, as many others on here, find 1940 to be awesome. Most of our games almost always have consisted of my dad, brother, and myself over the years. The play is something that, I wouldn’t call predictable, but you of course don’t see as many different things happen with different/experienced players. While I usually win regardless of which side I am, that’s certainly more of a reason for a lack of diversity in players I am sure.
Point being, we haven’t ever done a whole ton of HR’s, though they are something I’ve always wanted to do, though my dad is a bit hesitant on change in these games. As I’ve read posts here over time and see that the general consensus is that the Axis is too strong. While I would love to add HR’s to add Canada (and South Africa), Axis minors, paratroopers, etc., there is certainly a lot of balancing to take into consideration. While it may work for my own HR’s (because of that lack of difference in playing styles I pointed out), I’m trying to think of ways to try and evenly balance everyone’s games in this community at large. One thought I have on that is adding Vichy France rules.
When the France and Normandy/Bordeaux territories are overrun, the Vichy regime is set up. The territories of Southern France, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, and French Indo China become Vichy controlled, as well as the units on them and the naval forces in sea zone 93. The remaining French territories and units are considered Free French.
Vichy France gets it’s small income of 9 IPC’s to produce units in Southern France, while a Free French government is set up in London, using the remaining 4 IPC’s of French territory. Germany is still allowed to build units in Southern France, but the combined German/Vichy French forces can still not exceed the production amount (this is to allow Germany to build a navy in the Mediterranean still if they chose without having to build a minor in Yugoslavia if they don’t want to).
European Axis units are not allowed to enter Vichy French territories. They are only allowed to do so once an Allied invasion of North Africa happens (or we can just say once Allied units enter a Vichy French territory). Historically, the Vichy French government/cooperation with the Axis was very shaky, and Hitler did everything he could to make sure this wasn’t disrupted, for fear of the Vichy government turning on him. Mussolini wanted to take control of French North Africa, but Hitler would not allow it for fear of angering Vichy into war. It took a lot of diplomacy to get Vichy to agree to stage the Luftwaffe in Syria, which was only thwarted by a small, but difficult invasion by the Middle East Command.
The Japanese are still allowed to invade French Indo China as they normally are without any political repercussions. Historically, Japan was feeling pretty big about their Axis partners defeating France and wanted to get their share of the pie. They waltzed right into French Indo China and staged units there, essentially saying they had no choice as a defeated power to Japan’s ally Germany. This ended up a huge and important staging ground for Japanese units in the invasion of Malaya and Burma later on.
When the Allies attack, they roll a dice to see what the Vichy forces in that territory will do. On a role of 1-2 the Vichy forces will fight the Allied landing. On a 3-6 they refuse to fight and join the Allied side (this can be change to 1-3, and 4-6 if the odds don’t seem fair). Historically, neither side had much of an idea how Vichy units would react when Operation Torch (the American invasion of North Africa) commenced. Some were certain the French army would refuse to fight, but the French Navy was seen as more sympathetic to the Axis cause. Each time the Allies move into a Vichy territory this same sequence is done.
After the Allied landings the Axis are free to move in as they please, though it will be an act of war against the Vichy government and would have to fight as they normally would against them. So the Axis has the choice of hoping the Vichy units will stay on their side and fight the Allies, or chose to not risk it and attack to keep the ground.
I feel that this generally will not help the Axis, and potentially balances out a bit. Germany and Italy loose out on the potential money of the Vichy French territories. Even though they don’t need to risk the units to kill the French, thus preserving some forces, they also don’t get that money and also don’t know for certain what the Vichy units will do once the Allies invade. They also won’t have the same kind of defenses set up to stop a Torch invasion because of it.
This also allows the extra 4 IPC’s of French money to be put to use for the Allies under the Free French government, instead of wasting in purgatory waiting for the Axis to take them or Paris to be liberated.
I understand this takes away an Italian NO in not allowing them to take control of the French North African territories. This either further balances the game against the Axis, or another NO can be featured for them. Perhaps +5 IPC’s for the Axis holding Malta, Crete, and Cyprus.
Again, I’m more just spouting ideas out to see if anyone thinks this will help with balance. Too much in favor of the Allies? Just trying to think of ways to not have to include a bid. Please let me know what you think, I’d love to see. Brutal honesty is appreciated if you just hate the idea.
You have a lot of creative ideas in there, and I like the way you’re thinking about the game. I have several questions for you, but they’re more about implementation than anything else; I like your overall ideas.
What does it mean for the Free French to have “a government set up in London?” Can they build units there? If Germany occupies London, do they loot the Free French treasury? With 4 IPCs / turn in London, will any new Free French recruited during the game typically do anything other than garrison London? It seems like it’s hardly worth a pair of British transports and an escort to get, e.g., 2 French inf + 2 French art into the action, because they can’t attack jointly with the British, but on the other hand if you save up for a French transport and French escort, then you’re talking turn 10+ before the Free French start landing troops on the front lines.
What happens to the French navy?
What happens if Germany (or Italy) invades and conquers Southern France before invading Normandy, or, for that matter, before invading Paris?
Even if the Vichy troops stay loyal 50% of the time, i.e., on a roll of 3 or less, why would Germany bother to build them? Wouldn’t Germany be just as happy leaving southern France empty?
Do you really want to make it impossible for Hitler to invade France before the Allies land in Morocco? What if the Allies ignore north Africa – is Germany just stuck with a whole bunch of neutralish French territory on his doorstep for the entire game?
Have you tested the impact of Vichy on Sea Lion? Does Germany wind up with noticeably more troops in Normandy that can be used to invade London on G2/G3, or is Sea Lion still balanced?
Thanks for the feedback Argothair. Best way to make things matter is to bounce ideas off each other!
Sorry in advance, I meant to/should have been more clear in my original post on a few of your questions.
Should have been more clear on the Free French. Yes, I meant that they would be able to build units from London. I think it would be fair to also have Germany loot their treasury in the fall of London as well. You’re right, 4 IPC’s a turn isn’t much. But if you wait two turns, get 8 IPC’s and build a transport, it’s only one move to French West Africa with the naval base, from where you could further support the Allied effort in Africa. It’s not much, but the way I see it those 4 IPC’s wouldn’t be used otherwise unless taken by the Axis and retaken by the Allies. Couple extra infantry or mec, etc. once every couple of turns couple potentially help in the defense of Egypt, or at least help blunt a potential breakthrough of Italians if they take Egypt.
- What happens to the French navy?
I meant to answer this above, maybe I forgot. The French navy in SZ 93 would become Vichy, the destroyer in SZ 72 and the navy in the Channel stay Free French (thought the channel navy is probably dead).
- What happens if Germany (or Italy) invades and conquers Southern France before invading Normandy, or, for that matter, before invading Paris?
This was the question I thought would come up. To make Southern France the Vichy capital it could be similar to the liberation of Paris by the Allies. Once Paris falls to the Axis, the earlier mentioned Vichy territories revert back to Vichy control if they were in Axis hands before. So they could take Southern France if they wanted, but it would fall back to Vichy. This one could certainly be tweaked, but could work.
- Even if the Vichy troops stay loyal 50% of the time, i.e., on a roll of 3 or less, why would Germany bother to build them? Wouldn’t Germany be just as happy leaving southern France empty?
This can be answered two ways I think. 1) The French player controls both Free French and Vichy forces, Vichy can’t do anything anyways, and France just needs to do what makes the most sense for the defense of French territory, or both sides could decide together what is fair to build. 2) You let the German player decide, and you’re right, they could decide to not use the money, but then that’s still 9 IPC’s (7 if we just assumed Japan takes French Indo China) a turn that won’t get used for anything at all. Germany could decide that’s the best course of action, or take the gamble that the units will fight for them.
- Do you really want to make it impossible for Hitler to invade France before the Allies land in Morocco? What if the Allies ignore north Africa – is Germany just stuck with a whole bunch of neutralish French territory on his doorstep for the entire game?
I must have worded that wrong. I didn’t mean the Hitler couldn’t invade France. They still take Paris and Normandy G1, but after that and there’s a Vichy government the rest is generally an ally. This is very true that the Allies could just bypass North Africa and you’re right, Germany would be stuck with neutrals. But that money still wouldn’t be used against them any way at least. We could add that once the Allies attempt any landing in Europe the Axis can have the right to decide to attack Vichy territories or not. If they want the money badly enough at that point they’ll do it. Or if they like the security of North Africa being untouched they can do that.
- Have you tested the impact of Vichy on Sea Lion? Does Germany wind up with noticeably more troops in Normandy that can be used to invade London on G2/G3, or is Sea Lion still balanced?
We admittedly don’t have a ton of Sea Lion attempts in our games, but have tried it. True, a few less German troops have died by not taking Southern France (if any). But you’re also taking 7/9 IPC’s away from the Axis treasury each turn that would maybe normally be spent building two INF a turn to help defend on the eastern front while Sea Lion is attempted. Add in the 4 IPC’s of the Free French in London, and there’s an extra Allied INF a turn in London to help defend as well. Seems like kind of a wash to me, though would have to be tested more to see.
Hopefully those answers make sense. But again, the input is appreciated. The crux of it is that there’s an 11 IPC/turn swing (+4 to the Allies, -7 to the Axis), as well as the unknown of what Vichy units might do when presented with combat.
phd_angel last edited by phd_angel
Congrats on a quite realistic Vichy mod (I write this in 2020). Much better than the silly Tolkien-like options I see throughout this forum. I like realism and simplicity, with minimized luck of dice.
I raise four major points with suggestions, for your consideration:
The uncertainty of allegiances pre-battle is quite interesting. But I try to minimize dice randomness. IRL (in real life), Vichy troops (just like Italians) surrendered as soon as seeing enemy superiority: thus, in the game, if Allies send more land + air units than defending Vichy units, there is no battle but surrender. Or, make it unlikely that a battle would ensue (for example, need to roll a 1).
IPC system, however, is historically inaccurate (as in most, if not all, Vichy mods I’ve seen): IRL, Nazi Germany profited handsomely on Vichy which had to quite richly sustain 300,000 German troops stationed in Northern France! So, in the game, Germany should actually gain IPC bonus, whereas Vichy and Free France gain nothing. How much, certainly 3 IPC, at least.
Finally, Germany never fought Vichy. IRL, with Operation Torch, Germany simply occupied Vichy in 1942, with no resistance whatsoever. Vichy units were disbanded. That can be also the case in the game.
My main doubt is to what happens to colonial territories. I agree that the Vichy setup should reflect what happened IRL: North Africa, Syria and IndoChina go Vichy, while other French colonies stay Free. However, I’m not sure as to the best approach to subjecting them to invasion, and who benefits from IPCs, if any one.
Congrats again on a quite realistic and fun Vichy mod.
Thanks so much! Sorry for the delayed response here. I was on parental leave with my son, so I wasn’t online much the last few months!
I definitely appreciate the feedback. I’m with you, my hope for any houserule is to keep a semblance of realism while working out whatever game play issues there were that made the houserule pop up in the first place!
I definitely agree overall here, I think this one got away from A&A mechanics the most. Part of me didn’t want to make it completely against the Axis, but I think something like you suggest on bringing more men (or maybe twice as many), would void any combat.
- IPC system, however, is historically inaccurate (as in most, if not all, Vichy mods I’ve seen): IRL, Nazi Germany profited handsomely on Vichy which had to quite richly sustain 300,000 German troops stationed in Northern France! So, in the game, Germany should actually gain IPC bonus, whereas Vichy and Free France gain nothing. How much, certainly 3 IPC, at least.
I also get your point here. However, the main goal for me in creating the Vichy France rule was an overwhelming thought by players that the Axis has too great an advantage. By creating Vichy in this scenario it weakens the Axis some by taking away from them, as well as adding to the Allies by adding the Free French. I think if we were to give the Germans more IPC’s, it takes away the point of creating the rule in the first place (which again, was to try and help weaken the OOB Axis advantages).
- Finally, Germany never fought Vichy. IRL, with Operation Torch, Germany simply occupied Vichy in 1942, with no resistance whatsoever. Vichy units were disbanded. That can be also the case in the game.
I also agree that combat did not really happen, at least on a large scale. I suppose I don’t know enough to understand every potential action that might have happened, no matter how small. This was again something designed to make the German player think twice before just invading the Vichy territories. It’s going to cost them a bit. Again, just a device to hopefully help balance.
I personally don’t like the idea of bids at the beginning of a game. We try and either house rule to help change, or just deal with it how we can. But yeah, the main hope/goal here was to have a somewhat realistic scenario, while also hopefully tipping the scales a bit away from the Axis, while not ruining gameplay and design too much.
Thanks so much for your input! Hope 2021 is treating you well!