A simple anti-stacking rule



  • We have all been subject to Russia buying 10 infantry and placing them on Moscow to bring thier grand total up to 50, or dark skies strategies that make it feel like Germany buys only strategic bombers all game. However, we haven’t been able to wrap our brains around the idea that there is no reason historically or geographically that a territory can’t contain unlimited quantities of one unit, making such a restriction for strictly game play purposes only. On the other hand, it was extremly unrealistic for a nation to ignore the contracts of multiple production facilities and spend only on one military arm, even more unrealistic to divert 100% of those previous resources and place it all into a totally unrelated military project within months. War time spending was diverse and rationed out to many military contracts, and every month of the year a nation would deploy units from every military arm while dealing with other expences like training, nurses, espionage, and prison camps. Therefore, here is my solution for limiting extreme and unrealistic purchasing…

    During the purchase new units phase, a power may not produce more than 5 of the same unit per complex.

    Thoughts?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Interesting idea.  I don’t have any immediate thoughts about what its advantages and disadvantages might be…but here’s something I’m wonderng about, in relation to the whole stacking problem.  One way to look at a real-world territory (during the period of WWII) that contains, let’s say, 99% infantry and 1% other equipment would be to regard it as a highly unbalanced military force.  That’s not to say that it could not exist realistically; rather, the point is that it would be the opposite of a combined-arms force.  WWII showed that combined-arms warfare had enormous capabilities, provided that the right mix of units was used in the right proportions (depending on the needs of the particular mission) in combination with the right tactics and the right command structure.

    A&A recognizes the principle of combined-arms operations by giving some units combined-arms bonuses – which is reasonable enough at first glance.  But let’s think about this more carefully for a minute in the light of the stacking issue.

    The rules generally state that Unit X and Unit Y, which get a combined-arms bonus if they’re paired, must be paired one-to-one for the bonus to apply.  This is reasonable because it would be silly (for example) for a whole bunch X-type units to gain a bonus from the addition of a single Y-type unit.  So it’s reasonable that only the paired units within a large force should benefit from such combined-arms bonuses.  This can still mean, however, that the large force as a whole is unbalanced, despite the presence of some combined-arms pairings within it.  Let’s go back to our example of a highly stacked force consisting of 99% infantry and 1% other equipment, and let’s assume that this 1% consists of artillery.  This means we actually have 98% unpaired infantry, plus a 1% of infantry paired with 1% of artillery.  It’s nice that 2% of this force gets a combined-arms bonus…but it still leaves the remaining 98% of the force as of plain old unpaired infantrymen, who in principle should be cut to pieces by a genuine combined-arms enemy force having, let’s say, just 50% infantry combined with a mix of tanks, artillery, ground-attack aircraft and so forth.  Or at least that’s how it would work in the real world, not in A&A’s rather quirky stacking-oriented combat system.



  • @CWO:

    The rules generally state that Unit X and Unit Y, which get a combined-arms bonus if they’re paired, must be paired one-to-one for the bonus to apply.  This is reasonable because it would be silly (for example) for a whole bunch X-type units to gain a bonus from the addition of a single Y-type unit.  So it’s reasonable that only the paired units within a large force should benefit from such combined-arms bonuses.Â

    …and yet a single destroyer can negate the abillities of 100 subs, so the 1:1 combined arms ratio is non existant at sea creating even more balance issues.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Young:

    @CWO:

    The rules generally state that Unit X and Unit Y, which get a combined-arms bonus if they’re paired, must be paired one-to-one for the bonus to apply.�  This is reasonable because it would be silly (for example) for a whole bunch X-type units to gain a bonus from the addition of a single Y-type unit.�  So it’s reasonable that only the paired units within a large force should benefit from such combined-arms bonuses.�Â

    …and yet a single destroyer can negate the abillities of 100 subs, so the 1:1 combined arms ratio is non existant at sea creating even more balance issues.

    A very good point.  In A&A, the land areas aren’t the only place where real-world behaviour doesn’t line up too well with how the game functions.

    This is kind of getting into territory that overlaps with Black Elk’s G40 redesign thread…but I guess what I’m brooding about here is the A&A combat system as a whole (which admittedly is a huge topic).  I once read a book on amateur and professional wargaming which stated that, in certain types of strategic-level games, combat is handled at an extremely high level of abstraction – sometimes to the point where the game system (or the referee) simply compares gross force ratios and allocates a whole block of casualties to each side on that basis, without getting into any fuss over who fired what weapon at whom.  It would be interesting if these force ratio calculations (whose details were not provided in the book) took into account not just the size but the composition (and hence the combined-arms effect multipliers) of the engaged forces, and somehow determined outcomes on that basis.  Something along the lines of : “Force X consists of 100,000 units, of which 50% are infantry, 20% are tanks, (etc.), whereas Force Y consists of 70,000 units, of which 40% are infantry, 35% are tanks, (etc.), so therefore a battle between them would destroy so many of Force X’s infantry, so many of Force Y’s infantry, so many of Force X’s tanks, etc…”


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    That is crazy.

    And so is this topic.

    No, just kidding. I think for certain units, there could be a cap of how many can be built a turn or how many can be on the board. I have seen this suggested with more advanced pieces like Elite units, Heavy Tanks or certain battleships.

    But as for a general ‘you can only build X number of said unit per turn’… No way. That, truly limits strategic planning and forces players to do things they may not want to do.

    I don’t know if your (5) unit limit was just an example or if that is what you really intend for the cap to be. But what if someone wanted to buy (6) infantry? Is (6) really that much worse than (5)? What if he hasn’t bought infantry all game and really needs some to balance his force out, but he can only get (5) and not the number he really wants. What is the threshold of pain? Also, I have more of a problem with the idea that it is (5) same-units total and not just (5) units per Industrial Complex. If it were (5) of the same type per IC it would be more reasonable.

    I haven’t run into the infantry stack very often. I do not think it is a winning strategy.



  • Yes… perhaps a limit of 5 of the same unit per complex would be better, I will edit the first post.



  • I thought limiting builds to the IPC value of the territory or Major and Minor IC were elegant solutions. They have a similar effect without complicating things.

    At the high level of abstraction of A&A, limits don’t make much sense. I’ve always viewed units as all being variations of the same thing.  For example, Tanks are elite mechanized divisons with generous numbers of half-tracks and trucks for the infantry and a larger than normal allocation of armor and artillery.  Infantry units would be the infantry heavy formations with smaller proportions of armor, artillery and motor vehicles. In WWII tanks were rare (compared to modern armies) and most infantry walked.  Another reason why I don’tr think elite units are appropriate in A&A (even though I agree they are cool) as they already exist in the form of the tank unit.

    The destroyer issue is a good point but it really works itself out in that DD are the most cost effective naval units and thus there is already an incentive to buy lots without adding rules.

    If you really want such a rule, I like the per IC limit much better than an overall limit.


  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    @Young:

    During the purchase new units phase, a power may not produce more than 5 of the same unit per complex.

    Thoughts?

    I don’t think I’d care for this - I enjoy the freedom I have when purchasing.


  • Customizer

    I’ve been thinking about replacing factories with “production tables” for each applicable territory.

    These would list, for each tt, the type and numbers of units that can be built there each turn. These would range to huge numbers of any unit for Eastern USA down to a single infantry for such areas as Finland or New Zealand.

    These can only be built by the original owner, but some small countries could be utilised to build infantry by other powers e.g. Germany or Russia for Romania; UK or Japan in India.

    For the difficult UK production spread this might contain mandatory production for some tts such as a minimum 1 unit per turn in Canada and Australia. This would force UK to, for example, build some ships or tanks in Canada (due to limited capacity in Britain), and force placement in far flung colonies rather than using Dominion’s money to buy British product. It allows merging the UK economies without losing colonial units. Using “Anzac” pieces is purely thematic, as in my rules all Western Allies move and fight together.



  • @Der:

    @Young:

    During the purchase new units phase, a power may not produce more than 5 of the same unit per complex.

    Thoughts?

    I don’t think I’d care for this - I enjoy the freedom I have when purchasing.

    Ya… I guess house rules are more fun when they lift restrictions rather than place more on a player.



  • It depend on the kind of restricting rule. For example a rule forbidding subs to fire on subs – since there is only one case in which a submerged sub sunk an other submerged – is far more easier to employ as a restriction in production.  🙂


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