Seeking House Rules experience

  • Hi,
    Was wondering if anyone on here had ever experimented in 1940 with house rules that allow defenders to retreat or “fog of war” in naval battles?

    Defenders allowed to retreat:
    I’m focusing on naval battles in particular as it is totally unhistorical and not logical to force a naval presence to fight to the death but I’d be interested in hearing about land based rules as well. Something along the lines of the defender has the right but not the obligation to retreat all units after each round of battle to 1 adjacent territory as long as it is unoccupied or occupied with friendly units.

    Fog of War:
    Sea zones represent hundreds/thousands of square miles on the map. The likelihood of enemy fleets finding or running into one another is relatively slim. Has anyone tried making a naval battle dependent on a dice roll? Something like the battle will only occur if a die roll of 1, 2, or 3 is rolled, if a 4 or greater is rolled the enemy fleets share the sea zone until the next players turn. If the next player wishes to engage in the naval battle they roll the die again to see if it happens.  If they do not wish to trigger a battle they are allowed to move there unit(s) from that sea zone.

    I’m interested to hear any experience playing with similar rules and what downstream implications these created.

  • '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    Sea zones represent hundreds/thousands of square miles on the map. The likelihood of enemy fleets finding or running into one another is relatively slim.

    Not necessarily.  It’s true that the Pacific Ocean – to use the biggest one as an example – is a very large body of water, but historically there were three factors in WWII which counterbalanced this and which made naval battles more than just a matter of two needles finding each other in a haystack.  First, both sides in the Pacific War had various means of reconnaissance at their disposal: not just surface ships (the traditional reconnaissance tool) but also submarines and – especially – aircraft.  These included land-based aviation, carrier planes, and long-range seaplanes like the PBY Catalina.  Radar could also be considered a reconnaissance tool at short ranges, and had advantages at night over visual detection.  Second, intelligence and code-breaking (as was spectacularly demonstrated at Midway) could allow one fleet to anticipate the movements of another.  Third, there’s the fact that many naval battles in history (not just in WWII) have tended to take place relatively near land (Midway being one example, and Leyte Gulf another).  The reason so few naval battles take place in the middle of oceans is partly (as you’ve noted) because of their size, but also partly because water can’t be “held” in the same way that land can be held.  Many naval battles have actually had land as their direct or indirect focus: for example, the objective of controling straights (which are defined by the land around them), or of landing forces on an enemy coast, or of trying to prevent an enemy from landing on your own coast.  The longest and biggest “deep sea” battle of WWII, the Battle of the Atlantic, was for the most part fought along defined shipping lanes, which in turn were dictated by the points of departure and arrival for the convoys, so its mid-Atlantic nature is somewhat deceptive in appearance.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    As always CWO !  😄 😄 😄

    I play were ships can share same sea zone. Its up to the player on his turn rather to attack or leave. So there you have found ships do to close range, ( Radar “”"

    But if any fleet is 1 sea zone away or more then you need sea planes to find fleet and a D6 roll of 3 or less means you have found ships and now you can attack.

    cwglee  you need to put this in House Rules tread.  Thanks for replies.

  • CWO - Agreed but for as many factors and technologies for finding enemy fleets there are as many for avoiding or missing enemy fleets as well. Planes couldn’t spot at night, bad weather created a literal fog of battle, and radar works both ways (if I don’t want to engage you in battle I can use my radar to detect you and avoid).
    You are correct that sea battles occurred in defined areas close to land. A lot of times an invasion force would instigate the battle. But if the player wishes to simply pass through a sea zone that contains an enemy unit I think in reality that would be an option. I just find the strategy of using destroyers as shields kind of gamey and fighting to the death as a defender absolutely silly.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    I am not a fan of the destroyer block either.

    You could have att and def in same sea zone retreat at anytime.

    We also use the auto retreat rule where any certain number comes up that piece misses and has to retreat. Its better used for D12.
          D12                          D6
    Germany - 12                  6
    Japan - 11-12                  6             
    Italy - 10-12                    6
    UK - 11-12                      6               
    Russia - 10-12                  6
    US - 12
    France - 10-12                6
    China - 8-12                  5-6
    Axis Minors - 10-12          6
    Allies Minors - 10-12        6

    So if you have 3 cruisers, 2 destroyers, 2 subs attacking and cruisers roll 3 D12’s and results are 12, 5, 4. Results using D12 would be 2 hits 1 miss and cruiser that rolled a 12 has to retreat. But you do have thee option of retreating at any time. In case of D6 the 3 rolls are 6,3,2  2 hits and 1 cruiser has to retreat for rolling a 6.

    We use this for ground also. The D6 way would be to strong for auto retreats. You could use 1 D12 while you throw for each group of ships.
    Like 3 cruisers would roll 3D6’s with 1 D12. So you roll 3 D6’s and get a 3,3,2 and D12 roll is a 12. You would then get 3 hits plus 1 cruiser has to retreat.

    If you just had 1 ship you would still roll a D12 with a D6.

  • That’s an interesting way of doing it! Any major downstream impacts or game unbalancing that comes up?

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    It seems to affect the smaller battles. You have to bring enough to win battle but then you may not hold territory or sea zone because if you have a few to many auto retreats you can’t hold. So you may retreat as a attacker or defender if thats the case.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    Also special ground troops, AA’s and planes are not forced to auto retreat and no auto retreats for Capitals with a Factory.

    The Auto Retreat = Lack of fuel, ammo, moral, missed targets, and Leadership.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17

    I’ve long thought on the subject of retreating in battle, and naval battles in particular as well. There are a couple of things that usually come into play in my mind on implementing this or not (focusing on naval combat here). I’ve never actually tried this, but something I’ve certainly thought of as well.

    First of all, I generally agree with CWO Marc here. There were a lot of ways to track naval movement and in a way “predict” what another force may do. I’ve also thought that having a dice role to decide if navies find each other would be a good idea. I’ve thought that multiple things can affect this within the game. If we say that on a role of 1-3, as you propose above, the navies miss each other generally, we can have things alter this. Examples being: if navies are adjacent to land, you’d change the odds to a 1-2, showing land reconnaissance as spotters. And if you have a fighter and/or sub or something, you increase the odds even more.

    The problem with this is using D6 in AA in my opinion. The odds become a bit difficult to calculate for me with a D6, a D12 would be better, but then you’d be adding a D12 for one component of the game, which could be fine.

    The other big issue for me is realizing the time frame of a single turn. I feel like we all sometimes forget one one turn of an AA game can entail. If a single turn is multiple months, then a single move/battle is simulating all kinds of smaller things. Logistics, combat, repair, reconaissance, etc. Point being, I think we begin to venture into the realm of unrealistic to think that naval forces within the same sea area over a multiple month period wouldn’t at some point run into each other and engage in combat. I personally think that implementing a retreat option is a better option here.

  • Good point in the last paragraph, a turn does encompass multiple months and you would expect some sort of naval engagement if both forces were conducting active operations and not sitting in home port. Adding a dice roll to determine if a naval battle occurs adds too many variables for the moment. But I’d certainly like to add a retreating rule in my next home game. I think this would create a much more aggressive game if the risk of losing your entire fleet on one bad round of dice was limited.

    Does anyone have any experience with this? How did you do it? What did you do with transports? etc.

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