Worst Rule Distortions and Misinterpretations


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    House Rules seemed like the best place for this topic, though it would be fitting in many places.

    What are some rule Distortions, Misinterpretations, Erroneous Assumptions or otherwise downright Wrong Ways of Playing that you or others from your group have used in the past?

    I suppose really bad made up house rules can apply too. However, I am more interested in incorrect rule interpretations which led to repeated misuse until one day you figured out you were wrong or someone pointed it out. Most times these are rookie mistakes when first learning the game, but can also be a rut that your playgroup may not even know they are in.

    Here are a couple of examples:

    One group I play with is dominated by a slightly older personality whose interpretation of the rules stems from growing up playing A&A Original, even though the group now plays Spring 42. His mental interpretation of the rules largely influences how the game is played.

    Anyway… his belief is that if a territory is captured during combat, you are NOT allowed to then reinforce it by moving unused units into it during non-combat.

    Particularly on the much contested Eastern European front, this drastically changes the dynamic of play and is a patently false way of playing. I can only assume his rationale is related in some way to making all your moves into territories for combat at once. I haven’t checked the rules for Original, but does anyone know if that was somehow true once upon a time or is this just a really warped interpretation?

    Another example, which is both more humorous and more ridiculous, comes from my cousin:

    When first learning to play the original A&A Europe, as Germany he would treat the Allied Convoy zones as if they were territories. Such that, if he had U-boats or ships on them, he took the IPC value of that convoy. This is laughable in hindsight and I am sure it made Germany impossible to beat. His brother had to deal with that as the Allies.



  • Hehe good stuff. The submarine where doing a lot of good looting then. U-Boat Pirates. 🙂

    I kinda hoped this thread would keep going.

    Hmmm…my worst interpretation of the rules I’ve made with my brother; was that fighters could not hit ground units and their only function was to escort and  protect air units. We assumed this because of historical precedent, but it is not really the designers intent.

    We also played that loading or unloading a unit onto a transport took the ground units full turn. So you could not rapidly invade a nation in a single turn and your opponent had to try snipe your ships before they landed.

    We learnt the rules on our own and rushed ourselves to get to playing the game. 🙂


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @Jinx1527:

    Hehe good stuff. The submarine where doing a lot of good looting then. U-Boat Pirates. 🙂

    I kinda hoped this thread would keep going.

    Hmmm…my worst interpretation of the rules I’ve made with my brother; was that fighters could not hit ground units and their only function was to escort and  protect air units. We assumed this because of historical precedent, but it is not really the designers intent.

    We also played that loading or unloading a unit onto a transport took the ground units full turn. So you could not rapidly invade a nation in a single turn and your opponent had to try snipe your ships before they landed.

    We learnt the rules on our own and rushed ourselves to get to playing the game. 🙂

    Hahaha, nice! Yeah, that makes fighters next to useless. Same for amphibious assaults.

    My cousins believed that you could carry as many fighters on an aircraft carrier as you could stack on there without any falling off. That’s a wacky one.


  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    For years I played thinking the Combat Move part of the turn was moving your units to the battle board, so we never moved everything first and then resolved the battles, we just did everything at once one battle at a time.



  • In one of these treads, A player had missunderstood the suez rule. He thought that you could not cross the suez with landtroops unless you controlled both the red sea and the eastern med with your own ships.


  • 2018 '16

    we used to play the original game (Classic 1984 version) where you could double your AA gun fire with more AA guns (i.e. 2 dice per plane). This occurred only once and then the rulebook was referenced afterward. I think we had played about 2 times total.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @Der:

    For years I played thinking the Combat Move part of the turn was moving your units to the battle board, so we never moved everything first and then resolved the battles, we just did everything at once one battle at a time.

    The game is still playable that way I guess, but gives you a ton of freedom to change your mind about attacks elsewhere if something goes well or poorly in another. Plus allows for self can-opening, which is a big no no. Now that you mention it, I am pretty sure we did something very similar at first; albeit minus the battle board. I think it was a carryover from having played Risk, where you can start and stop and resume attacks at will on the same turn.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @seancb:

    we used to play the original game (Classic 1984 version) where you could double your AA gun fire with more AA guns (i.e. 2 dice per plane). This occurred only once and then the rulebook was referenced afterward. I think we had played about 2 times total.

    Sounds like slaughter in the skies.



  • Growing up playing Classic, we never purchased units in the first round.  We always considered the original setup as each country’s “purchase” for that round.  Apparently we were wrong  😄


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @Staples:

    Growing up playing Classic, we never purchased units in the first round.  We always considered the original setup as each country’s “purchase” for that round.  Apparently we were wrong   😄

    Haha, nice. Fortunately that isn’t too egregious since everyone would be on somewhat equal footing.



  • Issues that stem from us is the fact we started with the original Axis and Allies and all the rule changes that followed in the coming version such as losing the ability to invade neutral nations, we used to keep that rule without researching new ones.

    A big issues that seems to come up is a friend of mine who usually plays as Germany can’t seem to get it into his head that you can travel from east to west or west to east on the board and doesn’t understand this is allowed as we are playing a 2D game as if it was 3D.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @Caesar:

    A big issues that seems to come up is a friend of mine who usually plays as Germany can’t seem to get it into his head that you can travel from east to west or west to east on the board and doesn’t understand this is allowed as we are playing a 2D game as if it was 3D.

    Maybe a good thing he plays Germany then. He wouldn’t have as much opportunity to move around the east-west ends of the board.


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

    @Caesar:

    A big issues that seems to come up is a friend of mine who usually plays as Germany can’t seem to get it into his head that you can travel from east to west or west to east on the board and doesn’t understand this is allowed as we are playing a 2D game as if it was 3D.

    An even more imaginative interpretation of the map wrap-around concept would be to move vertically off the top or bottom edge of the board on one part of the map and re-enter it vertically halfway across the board at the spot corresponding to the opposite line of longitude, to simulate movement via the North or South Pole.  Realism aside (and it’s a pretty big aside), however, this would have little practical value because an Axis invasion of North America via the North Pole would have to be launched from Russia rather than from Germany.



  • The only reason this game up as Germany as because one of his transports managed to escape destruction and he was basically taking one infantry around the world and annoying the US and UK jacking his loose territories. I play as USSR usually so this is never an issue for me.


  • Customizer

    I’ve always played with a single movement phase. A separate non-combat movement phase always seemed silly to me, as well as being more difficult to keep track of.

    One of the strangest ideas Larry came up with along with:

    Collect money at end of turn
    Trains carrying tanks move further than trains carrying infantry
    Armoured divisions take up more space on a transport than infantry divisions
    Russia and Japan are at war in 1942
    Moscow sits atop the Ural mountain range
    Brazil is at war in 1942
    East Prussia is part of Poland in 1914



  • @Flashman:

    One of the strangest ideas Larry came up with along with:

    Collect money at end of turn

    That was not silly, the way the classic SBR worked, it was necessary to keep cash that could be bombed. But now, that the SBR and Submarine convoying mechanic dont need the victim to keep cash, I figure the collect money phase should be moved to the start of a turn, to avoid dubbel dipping, and other gamey tricks.



  • Talking about misinterpretations, back in the day when we startet playing the classic MB second edition, there were a lot of confusion, based on the Rulebook was printed in English, and this was long before google translate. As usual, the MB 2 ed was short of chips and short of plastic units. It come with 2 pieces of Carriers, 3 pieces of Bombers, 6 pieces of Tanks, and so on, and we actually believed it was a limit, that you were not allowed to have more than the 3 Bombers in play. Today I know better, since the Rulebook says that if you lack units, just take a piece of paper and wright down what units you want that piece of paper to represent. Not as smooth as an actual plastic sculpt, but it works.

    This first misinterpretation made way for the next, namely the dice rolling. We actually believed, that if you attacked with 5 inf, 2 Tanks and 1 Bomber, you should roll all 8 dice simultaneously, and assign all the 1s to the inf, all the 3s to the Tanks, and if there was a 4 it would go to the Bomber. Of course this turned out to be wrong, according to the rulebook. But, in my opinion, this way was better than the correct way, since it favored combined arms. A mix of inf, tanks and aircrafts are stronger than a stack of inf only. Also, this wrong way of rolling dice was faster than the correct way, since you got more hits the first time, and less rounds of combat, and less dice rolling.

    The worst rule distortions that comes to mind, was the Revised Battleships bombardment. You could buy like 20 Battleships, then land one infantry, and the 20 battleships would all roll preemptive against the defender. So, for the price of a 3 IPC infantry, you could clean any sea adjacent territory. Luckily, that is taken care of with the current rules

    Another bad rule distortion was Trannies defending on 1. You did not need any warships. Just buy a huge stack of Trannies, and all the 1s would sink any attacking sub, Battleships or Bombers.

    The use of Trannies as fodder to protect the expensive Battleship was another distortion that is now luckily changed, to a more historical correct rule. To buy Trannies to protect a Battleship, really looked like children, women and VIPs sacrifice themselves to protect the Bodyguard. If that was not a distortion, then nothing is.


  • 2017 '16

    @Narvik:

    @Flashman:

    One of the strangest ideas Larry came up with along with:

    Collect money at end of turn

    That was not silly, the way the classic SBR worked, it was necessary to keep cash that could be bombed. But now, that the SBR and Submarine convoying mechanic dont need the victim to keep cash, I figure the collect money phase should be moved to the start of a turn, to avoid dubbel dipping, and other gamey tricks.

    On Triple A, it would not be difficult to make this change. Anyway, you can only purchase at the beginning of your turn.
    But on F-2-F, purchase phase and decision can take time. Knowing in advance how much you have seems a way to accelerate things. Don’t you think?


  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    @Narvik:

    Another bad rule distortion was Trannies defending on 1. You did not need any warships. Just buy a huge stack of Trannies, and all the 1s would sink any attacking sub, Battleships or Bombers.

    The use of Trannies as fodder to protect the expensive Battleship was another distortion that is now luckily changed, to a more historical correct rule. To buy Trannies to protect a Battleship, really looked like children, women and VIPs sacrifice themselves to protect the Bodyguard. If that was not a distortion, then nothing is.

    This did not work well in classic but it works fine after adding 2 hit capital ships, 6 IPC subs and 8 IPC DDs. This old thread explains it:

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=30618.0

    We’ve played with classic transports for years with no complaints. Why do so many balk at transports sinking a battleship but they are still fine with foot soldiers shooting down strategic bombers? Its all abstracted to a certain degree.



  • I honestly wanted to add a very complex rule where certain units do better against others but it forces the attacker to actually assign attacks during combat. It will slow the game down but make it interesting. For example. Fighters do 4 against other fighters, 5 against bombers, 3 against tanks, 2 against infantry, and 1 against any naval unit.


  • '16 '15 '14 Customizer

    @Caesar:

    I honestly wanted to add a very complex rule where certain units do better against others but it forces the attacker to actually assign attacks during combat. It will slow the game down but make it interesting. For example. Fighters do 4 against other fighters, 5 against bombers, 3 against tanks, 2 against infantry, and 1 against any naval unit.

    Yeah I tried something like that once but the battle board ended up looking so complicated I was scared away from it.


  • 2017 '16

    The simpler I got in that direction was to create a Fg Cost 7 with Attack @2 and Defense @2, which target air first.
    Allowing TcB Cost 8 Attack @3 Defense @2 to target any ground units.

    Fighters work very well if you start rolling planes first.
    Adding TcB targeting is manageable too.
    Combining both need a bit more focus when rolling dice. It slow things a little.

    But now, that I read that TcBs as an Anti-Tank weapon was more a myth than reality, I would keep only Fighter as a targeting unit.
    And it is within A&A game mechanisms if you look at 1914 planes.



  • The only rule I ever got wrong in my life was the rule where you can capture allied territories and claim them if their capital was under control by the enemy. My friend corrected me about this but he did so thinking that should be the rule via logic and didn’t know himself that was an actual rule.

    On the other side, he once tried to argue that liberating a territory should be under his control and not return to the original owner. This came up when he once played UK and he liberated several Soviet and US territories back when China used to be US instead of itself. I told him this isn’t the 1950’s.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 Customizer

    @Caesar:

    On the other side, he once tried to argue that liberating a territory should be under his control and not return to the original owner. This came up when he once played UK and he liberated several Soviet and US territories back when China used to be US instead of itself. I told him this isn’t the 1950’s.

    :lol:


  • 2017

    @Der:

    We’ve played with classic transports for years with no complaints. Why do so many balk at transports sinking a battleship but they are still fine with foot soldiers shooting down strategic bombers? Its all abstracted to a certain degree.� Â

    No. A foot Soldier in the game does not single handedly shoot down strategic bombers. That would be ridiculous. An infantry unit on the board of axis and allies represents an unknown size unit. Due to the size of the territory and battle representations on the board (even dropping 1 infantry on an island in the pacific represents at least the size of a division). Most infantry divisions have organic internal Anti-Air Artillery. So, it’s not like there couldn’t have been an internal capability. Albeit, not as good as the capability of an entire unit of AAA, as represented on the board or in real life.


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