Game Synopsis with Pictures

  • Here’s a game synopsis of a House Rules variant of A&A Global 1940.  Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas to this a few years ago in this thread:  You may notice I took a lot of your advice.  I’ve included links to pictures and you’ll notice custom painted pieces were used.

    We played with 5 guys with varying levels of A&A experience.  4 out of the 5 of us really enjoyed it and the guy that didn’t was up for playing one of the boards by itself in the future.  All of us had played A&A Europe (1999 release) at least once with this house variant:  This was the first time any of us had played any A&A 1940 version.  Veterans may find the unique moves interesting and possibly get a laugh at all the errors, but we still had a good time.  All in all, I believe our game lasted roughly 7 hours (not counting setup and cleanup).  If we play a few more games or play with more people, I imagine this time would be reduced.

    Here were the rules we played by:
    No National Objectives
    No playable nations are neutral.  You’re allowed to not attack anyone, but that’s your choice.
    You can build factories anywhere.
    Since I don’t have all of the cruisers painted yet, we substituted and/or had cruisers play exactly like destroyers.
    Anyone can attack any true neutral nation and will be at war with only that nation.  If the attack fails, any surviving units from that neutral nation are available for the opponents immediate use the next round.
    1. All Aligned Nations Have Simultaneous Play
    The turn order and rules would be:
    a.  All Axis nations play simultaneously:  Italy may not attack the UK or France on R1.  Use whatever historical excuse you’d like: didn’t have plans in place as/of May 1940, troops weren’t in position, etc., but killing the entire UK navy and taking Egypt with ease is not much fun in the Mediteranean.  They may attack neutral, allied neutral, or incorporate Axis aligned nations.  Germany and Japan can attack anything they want.
    b.  All Allied aligned nations play simultaneously and can attack anyone they want.
    (there are no neutral playable nations)

    2.  French Units are pro- either after the Fall of Paris
    a.  Starting in the turn after Paris falls, French units are unaligned, unmovable, and could be co-opted: isolated French units would defend with a roll of “1” in situations where the attacker cannot incorporate them and wants to prevent their enemy from doing so by attacking them with aircraft (ending an aircraft’s combat movement over the territory doesn’t incorporate them).  Any side that ends it’s combat movement with combat units sharing a sea zone or territory with isolated French units incorporates those units to their side.  
    b.  French units already stationed in the same territory as Allied units would start the turn incorporated and could be used immediately by the Allies and would defend at their normal roles in the event of an Axis attack.

    We used the starting setup for A&A Global Second Edition:

    Player 1 was Germany and Italy.  Player 2 was Japan.  Player 3 was US east coast, US west coast, and China.  Player 4 was England, India, and Australia.  Player 5 was USSR and France.

    For Axis R1:
    Germany was going for Sea Lion.  They invaded Paris with only ground units.  The Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe were focused on destroying the English fleet.  Germany also plunged a little bit into USSR by taking just one territory where the danger of counterattack was minimal.  Germany purchased a carrier and transports.  Since German carriers weren’t yet painted (waiting on HBG Germans), an Italian carrier was used.
    Italy conquered Yugoslavia and Greece while getting the Bulgarians to join their cause.  They purchased artillery and a tank.  Their goal was to take Egypt and then focus on crushing Russia.
    Japan’s strategy was going to be focused on getting units into Russia via China in order to not activate Mongolia.  They wanted to gobble up USSR territory and force the USSR to fight on two fronts; possibly making them retreat to their capital and keep units there as Germany advances.  They built a factory on the mainland and planned to pump out tanks and mobile infantry for a fast advance into USSR.  With their fleet, they planned to take the money islands and fend the enemy off as long as they could from those islands. Japan bought a minor factory to be placed on mainland Asia and a tank and mobile infantry.

    France rolled well, but the rest was pretty average.  Germany took some Luftwaffe casualties in order to maintain a sea presence and for convoy disruption of England.  England opted to scramble fighters, which decimated the RAF.  Germany’s battleship Bismarck was tipped and exposed.  Normandy was not taken in order to incorporate French units, but this was likely a mistake as the tipped Battleship couldn’t be righted.  Japan made huge expansions everywhere and took the Philippines

    Here was the global map after Axis turn 1 (you can click on these photos and then you can zoom in further from there).  I still needed to add chips to the neutral nations, but I was a very busy guy:
    Europe after Axis 1 with Allies beginning to make combat moves:
    Pacific after Axis 1 (some allied unit purchases are in the mobilization zone.):

    For Allies R1:
    For the Allies, the US player went with primarily carrier/Destroyer/fighter mixes on both fronts.  The Russian player bought primarily soldiers along with a tank first round.  The English player bought a bunch of anti-aircraft and placed them on England.  This was the first of three blunders I made of not explaining the rules very well to this player and not overlooking what he was purchasing.  A second was that I didn’t know that he didn’t know that South African units and the factory there were his.  He ended up having way more AA on England than were needed to shoot at all of the potentially invading aircraft and would’ve done much better to buy anything else.  In the Pacific, he bought very little: I wasn’t looking closely, but I think a tank for India and a DD for Australia.

    The Allies saw that Germany was going Sea Lion and knew this never worked in A&A Europe (1999 release), so they smelled blood and USSR went aggressive.  The England player sent his fleet through the Suez canal and defeated the Italians on Ethiopia.  They also sent one destroyer (which was substituted from the cruiser due to the above rules) to add the two French DDs (one was substituted for the cruiser, also according to the above rules) off Southern France to their cause (Italy should have employed DD blockers and then added the French to the axis on R2 if not destroyed by the RAF).  Additionally, they sent their South African ship into Madagascar waters to enlist that French boat into their cause.

    In the Pacific, the US pooled their navy into Hawaii.  The US Pacific plan was to send their fleet in one large lump through the Philippines and into Asia to wreck the Japanese’s Asia mainland back door and take over islands on the way there.  USSR attacked nothing and instead turtled while simply shuffling forces around.  They moved their northern sub (painted as the Red October) to the Norway convoy zone and took a buck from Germany. The US East coast sent a transport to Brazil to enlist them in their cause.  In the Pacific theatre, the Allies pushed back on all fronts.  The USSR congregated all of their east Asia forces just north of the Manchurian border. I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the end of Allies R1.  I had way too much going on at this time and we were on a tight timeline.  My wife and her Mom (the Mom of some of these guys) wouldn’t have liked it if this game went too long because we were all at a beach vacation.  In the Pacific, it looked like it was going to be inevitable that the Japanese line would crumble and that they wouldn’t have enough to back up the line that seemed due to be overwhelmed.

    For Axis R2: Germany bought mainly soldiers and a few artillery.  These were to be used towards finishing off England if they didn’t succeed this round and if they did, they would be used for the march towards Moscow and possibly a few shoring up France against a US counterattack.  Germany launched a full scale invasion of England and succeeded in planting one artillery on the mainland.  This is where the largest blunder appeared, which was the biggest thorn in the Allied side of this conflict.  After England fell, the English player was asked to hand over their money.  They said they just had a few bucks.  This is where it was discovered that the English player thought that the India income roundel was for all of English territories except Australia, which had it’s own roundel.  Looking back, it’s clear from R1 pictures that in the haste to get going, the England roundel wasn’t set up and it wasn’t clearly explained that India and England have separate incomes.  That compounded by the fact that England bought unnecessary anti-aircraft with what little money they had, caused the Germans to easily roll in.  At this point, the game had too much time invested into it to quit, and it was necessary to press on despite this blunder.

    Two of the German subs engaged the Soviet Red October submarine outside of Norway.  They missed and the sub submerged.  The German soldiers and the horde of Finland soldiers they added to their ranks last round broke into Russia and took a territory.  The Germans took all spaces that were one territory deep into Russia.  They left a thin line to block a Soviet invasion with the large bulk of their forces at the doorsteps of the northern Russian factory.  The victorious German conquerors of Paris moved into Normandy and enlisted French support to their cause.  A German soldier also did the same in southern France.

    Italy bought mobile infantry and I don’t recall what else.  Through amphibious invasions, they took Egypt and the two territories to either side of it, which removed the threat of the British mediterranean carrier group attacking Italy (which earlier had caused Italy to be guarded by units).  They also took Gibraltar and moved into French north African territory to enlist a French soldier to their cause.  Their tanks, mobile infantry, and soldiers located in Europe along with the horde of Bulgarian soldiers marched east towards Russia.

    The Japanese player bought a bunch of subs.  They took over the remaining money islands, destroyed China’s norther forces, and crushed the Russians that had congregated by the Manchurian border.  The Mongolians then all became available to the Russian player (we still needed to put chips under the Mongolians).  The Japanese didn’t threaten the Allied hold on the Burma road in order to advance on the northern half of the board. All in all, they were dominating the Pacific and the seemingly thin line they had turned out to be a behemoth when supported by the massive Imperial Army and Naval Air Forces.  They left two loaded carriers and the subs by Japanese waters because they felt threatened by the large US presence that was within striking distance of mainland Japan from Hawaii.  They crushed the Indian fleet and had a huge naval force sitting just a few squares from India.  This sealed the money islands for them for the next few turns.

    Here’s a picture of the board at the end of Axis R2:
    There were still non-combat moves to be made and the Allies were already making their R2 purchases and combat movements.  We allowed a blurring of these activities in order to make the game faster.  This game was very fast and very intense.  Simultaneous battles were rolled on both sides of the boards throughout the game’s combat time slot.  A couple of us had headaches (not sure if there was a virus going around or if it was just so much to think about in such a short amount of time).
    Europe board around the end of Axis R2/start of Allied R2:
    Pacific board around the end of Axis R2/start of Allied R2:

    To be continued…

  • …not sure if anyone’s reading this, but I’ll try to make it less wordy.

    For Allies R2:
    US bought battleships on both fronts and a transport for Europe.  India bought tanks.  Australia DDs.  Russia bought a fighter, two artillery, and a factory.

    US supported Brazilian forces took Gibraltar with the intention of the US Navy breaking into the Mediterranean, attacking the Italian fleet, and taking the soft underbelly of Italy.  The Brazilians took Gibraltar without a loss.  A multinational fleet headed up by the carrier USS Ranger delivered the Brazilians and hoped to obtain entry into the Mediterranean.

    For the English: a couple of brave Scotsman went toe to toe with a battle hardened German artillery crew to liberate England.  The Scots lost.  A brave sacrificial Canadian transport dropped off a brave sacrificial Canadian tank in Scotland.

    Russia struck back at the Germans by taking their territories form the thin line of German soldiers used as blockers.  They crushed the Finland-German horde that was creeping in. They left the massed group of Germans that were pressing in on their northern factory untouched.

    In the Pacific, the Australians took a small fleet up to Palau and captured it from the Japanese.  India and China had already dispelled the Japanese southern Asia invasion force and simply held their ground in the south.

    The US operated a successful amphibious invasion with a fairly large fleet headed up by the “Big E”, the USS Enterprise, landing three soldiers and an artillery unit.  A second fleet headed up by the USS Lexington and loaded with Wildcats moved into Hawaii.

    The Mongolian hordes moved towards the Japanese territories… looks like we still hadn’t placed the chips under some of them.  USSR built a factory there (not yet pictured, but you’ll see it on the board later).
    Here was the board after the Allies weren’t quite done with their turn:

  • For Axis R3:

    Looking at the pictures, Germany’s soldiers and artillery that were purchased in R2 didn’t seem to make it on the board.  This was largely due to the fast pace of this game: it was not a sit back and have some pretzels kind of game with this variation.  There could be a few conspiracy theories about this (lots of toddlers around, desperate Allied players snuck them off the board hoping the Axis wouldnt notice…).  This was the second big blunder of the game (the first being England thinking the India income went for both UK and India).  Germany continues the fight with absolutely nothing purchased from the previous round.  Could this swing things back in favor of the Allies?

    Germany and Italy were faced with this setup in Europe (German units and Belarus Russians were on the battle strip near the mobilization zone):

    Germany takes over Scotland and sent one of it’s subs off away from the pesky Russian Red October and destroyed the sacrificial Canadian transport next to Scotland.  The remaining sub took on the Red October and missed.  The Russian sub submerged.  Germany (along with an Italian tank and bomber) decided to hit Russia hard in Belarus.  They were victorious.  Here’s a close-up of the forces involved in what was the largest battle on the Europe board along with unit purchases for Italy and Germany:
    Germany bought a stack of Tigers (tanks), a mobile infantry, and a couple infantry.

    Italy bought all subs in order to deal with the threat of the US fleet moving into the Mediterranean.  The Italians and Bulgarians invaded a Russian territory due to the tempting cluster of unprotected Russian tanks.  They were supported by the Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) and German Panzers.  The Italians also invaded Syria while enlisting the help of the Iraqi army.  A primary goal this round was to take Gibraltar in order to destroy the US units so that they couldn’t mount an amphibious invasion on Vichy France or Axis England.  Little did Italy know that the US was actually planning on punching into the Mediterranean.  In any case, US hopes were dashed when the Italians re-took Gibraltar.

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a very wealthy Japan purchased the battleship Musashi, a destroyer, a sub, and tanks.  They kept aircraft carriers Shokaku and the Kaga along with their massive submarine force around mainland Japan to protect against catastrophic loss while moving their south Pacific fleet, led by battleships Yamato and Nagato along with aircraft carrier Zuikaku into a position to box the allied fleets out of the money islands.  In the characteristic Imperial Japanese style, they launched an aggressive sneaky invasion of western Australia.  The goal here was to distract and put Australia on their toes so that they might start building more defenses and focus their strategy on the defense of the mainland and not invest as much into boats.  Since Germany seemed to be doing well on it’s own, rather than punching straight into Russia with their forces in China, Japan decided to worry about themselves and take out the Mongolian hordes first.  They did have an armor division though that continued pushing towards Moscow from the north.

    Here was Asia towards the end of this round:

    At this point, we all took a break, ate dinner, went swimming in the pool (we were on vacation), the boys played some video games, and then we came back at night.  Worth mentioning is that throughout the game, we were listening to the Axis and Allies YouTube playlist, which turned out to really enhance the game.  It was even left on during our break and lasted past the end of our game!  This is the playlist we used:

    Here was the board after this turn and after the Allies R3 purchases:

  • Hopefully I can remember enough to add a quick finish to this after all this time.  Basically, Churchill’s morale was broken after England fell and realizing the mistake of thinking India’s IPC’s were England’s, so he went off to play cards.  Roosevelt took over control of all of the remaining Commonwealth nations and military forces.  Stalin still felt optimistic that he could push back the Germans.

    The following summarizes R4+5 (I think it was 5 rounds at least)

    Japan and the US clashed around the Caroline Islands in what was the largest naval battle of the game.  Japanese battleships Yamato, Musashi, and Nagato joined the carriers Zuikaku, Shokaku, and the Kaga complete with full loads of Tony, Oscar, and Zero fighters as well as Kate and Val bombers along with 5 destroyers against a multinational fleet consisting of US and Royal Naval forces lead by the “Big E”, the USS Enterprise loaded with Wildcat fighters and Dauntless bombers (still in their 1940 pre-war livery), the carrier USS Lexington with a Wildcat fighter group and Devastator bombers all in Battle of Midway camouflage, 5 DD’s, a sub and a bunch of transports, with the BB USS West Virginia not able to join the battle in time. The overwhelming Japanese force was successful, with the bulk of their forces surviving with battleships damaged.  Encountering success everywhere, they also wiped out the last remaining Chinese resistance.  On the follow up turn, an Australian tank corp raced across the country to defeat the sneaky Japanese and their infantry unit’s beached was eliminated.  The few surviving Mongolian troops and the Allied powers had little to celebrate.

    Roosevelt took huge morale blows with Churchill’s resignation and now this catastrophic naval loss, but he was still hanging in there by a thread.  The Japanese were pretty much the masters of mainland Asia.

    In Europe, Iraqi soldiers were charging towards India, backed by their Italian friends.  Germany kept pressing towards Russia.  They bought another carrier and a Destroyer to further intimidate the Americans, who were still equally distributing their money to each front, with some money left over given to land units to maintain parity with Stalin, with the idea of spending everything to land units against Russia on the following turn.  Italy steamed the Battleship Littorio, a cruiser, DDs, and subs past the “Pillars of Hercules” to further intimidate the Americans from making a move.  The naval intimidation moves succeeded on Roosevelt who decided to capitulate as he didn’t want to dare move the US fleet in range of all of those Axis ships, especially given all of the airpower that could support them.  Stalin tried to convince him to fight on, but after the demoralizing Pacific defeat, he didn’t have the heart to see the USS Ranger, California, and Arizona at the bottom of the sea (yes, the USS Arizona was stationed on the East Coast for this alternative history).  The Allies were essentially defeated and it was game over.
    Pacific after the Allies capitulated
    Europe after the Allies capitulated

    I’m betting this variant is not balanced, but there were so many mistakes and the skill level was so unbalanced between the Axis and Allies, that it’s hard to say that it favors the Axis.  It seemed like Sea Lion wouldn’t have worked with England collecting the proper income and making more strategic decisions such as supporting with Canadian troops and not scrambling all of their air force in the initial attacks.  The drawback of simultaneous play was that the newer players couldn’t be monitored as well as when play is one country at a time.  Perhaps playing one country at a time for the first round may be the way to go when there are new players, so they can be watched and have their questions answered.

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