Axis and Allies - Which games are worth extra units ?



  • I see a lot of extra units on HBG for different kinds of infantry, tanks and whatnot, and I keep wondering if any of it is good for strategy-level combat - by strategy-level, I mean games where you conquer entire continents, not just fight for a region of a country at the division level.

    With IPC costs ranging in the 3-5 range for land units most of the time and with a d6 calculation for hits, I am having a hard time introducing new units in the mix in a way that they are useful or do not make other units pointless.

    The only way I found so far was in AA1914 since there are more mechanics associated with land and air units (tank absorption, artillery support, air superiority) so that means you can build chemistry around new units.

    What do you guys do to add new units to the game without breaking it or making it overly complex in WW2 strategy-level games ?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I don’t have any real answer that stays within the “without breaking it” part of your question, but one of my long-range future projects (if I ever find the enough spare time to get around to it) is to try to work out a completely different combat-resolution model for the game.  The model would take into consideration what types of units (OOB and specialized extra) each player has in the formations which are fighting each other, but would do so differently than the current rules.

    Apparently, there are strategic-level wargames (including professional military simulations) which resolve combat by simply comparing the gross force ratios of the formations which are fighting each other, without getting into too many fiddly details about the exact composition of each force.  This sounds a bit dull to me, and I would imagine that these methods make the assumption that the two sides are similarly equiped by weapons at the same technological level – an assumption that’s simplistic even if you stick with WWII, given that how much difference there was between the weapons of 1939 and those of 1945.  Still, the concept that the two formations fighting each other would be treated (for the purposes of combat resolution) as collective blocks rather than as a bunch of individual units is an intriguing one.

    I’ve been thinking that it might be interesting to combine the two approaches, meaning both the individual-unit approach and the collective-block approach.  Let’s say that the two land formations fighting each other in a given territory are X (the Allied force) and Y (the Axis force).  Using reference tables of some sort, the players would start by calculating the respective total combat power of X and of Y, based on both the number and the types of units that each force is composed of.  The tables would be based on the concept that each unit type brings a certain specialized capability to the overall force, and on the concept that the best option is usually to have a combined-arms force that blends these units together in particular ratios that are suited to particular types of operations (for example, with one ratio being optimal for offense and another ratio being optimal for defense).  Once the total combat power of X and of Y have been computed, then combat would be resolved on a collective-block basis by comparing the values computed for X and Y, once again through the use of tables (perhaps with a degree of dice-based modification within a defined range, so that there will be an element of luck involved).  Depending on the details of the system, the entire battle for that territory could be decided simply in that one step, or there could be a multi-step process in which casualties are applied, then the total combat power of X and of Y gets recomputed to reflect the casualties, then another round of combat takes place, and so forth.

    As I said, this is just a rough concept that I haven’t had time to develop (and that I may not have time to develop in the foreseeable future), but I’m mentioning it because extra units such as Arreghas mentions could be worked into such a system; the units would bring particular capabilities that would affect to some degree the computed total combat power of a given force, but once the figures have been computed then the individual features of every unit type in a force stop being considered and it’s only the collective total combat power of the forces that gets used for combat resolution purposes.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    That would be something to see. I think it would be pretty hard to come up with something. Gives me a headache just thinking about it.
    I can’t see losing all my troops in 1 round or 2. Wouldn’t you believe you would need a bunch of things to check long before the battle ? Like supplies, retreats, morale, accuracy, support and things like that.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @SS:

    That would be something to see. I think it would be pretty hard to come up with something. Gives me a headache just thinking about it. I can’t see losing all my troops in 1 round or 2. Wouldn’t you believe you would need a bunch of things to check long before the battle ? Like supplies, retreats, morale, accuracy, support and things like that.

    I should have mentioned (but forgot to do so) that this combat-resolution method probably wouldn’t be a stand-alone modification but rather part of a larger reconceptualization of the whole game – which is why this is such a long-range project, for which at the moment all I have time to do is jot down ideas for later use.  The result isn’t going to be the actual A&A game, and not even something that would even qualify as a substantially house-ruled variaant of A&A, but rather a different game that uses the physical components of Global 1940, meaning the sculpts and the map board…plus perhaps other components, such as differently-coloured A&A sculpts from the older A&A games in my collection.  (Example: one idea would be to use the red Japanese sculpts from the original Pacific game to represent Axis minor and/or co-belligerent nations.)

    The only part of this project which I’ve really completed so far is the creation of that customized G40 map table which I described over here: http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=32700.0 .  I didn’t design the customized map to reflect any particular rule concepts, since I didn’t have any such concepts at the time, so I’m not locked into the premise of using that customized map – but I’d be surprised if I ended up using something else, since the customization fixes (as best can be done by just adding roundels to it) several of the problems that bother me about the OOB map.  The customization tries to approximate the state of world prior to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, as shown by the under-the-plexiglass fixed roundels.  Working from 1931 forward, with chronologies of WWII in hand, I can then add more roundels on top of the plexiglass to modify the map to show the gradual changes in territories that took place over the years until I reach whatever point I might decide to use as the starting year for an actual game.  Part of the idea of working this way was to produce a fairly generic system that can be used to depict any phase of WWII as a starting point, rather than always being tied to a specific season and year (such as Spring 1942).  So what I’ll eventually end up wth might not even be “a” game as such, but rather a system for generating WWII game scenarios, combined with a general methodology for resolving combat.  We’ll see; at this point, this is all still at a fairly fuzzy conceptual stage.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    Cool ! Would Death Heads 40 map work for you ?

    I already have the map setup on my 2nd custom table. Being played right know.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @SS:

    Cool ! Would Death Heads 40 map work for you ?

    I haven’t seen it.  But in any case, I’d hate to see all the work and money I’ve put into my custom table go to waste, so my inclination would be stick with it, at least during the current scribbling-ideas-on-the-backs-of-envelopes developmental stage.  Thanks for the suggestion, though.



  • I would like to see Death Head’s map if you have a link.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    Go to Global War on this site. Then click on Global 40/41 post at top of page. Page 1 should come up. Then click on map.



  • Interesting conversation gentlemen.

    You are indeed proving to me that changing any rule set is complex indeed and requires very thoughtful analysis.

    Personally I like the die system although I also enjoy the 1914 concept of single combat round and unit synergies, and that is how I have been trying to modify the game instead of simply making units stronger or cheaper.

    I’m thinking right now of a “flanking” mechanic for mobile units… Hmmm, I’ll need to think about it more.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Arreghas:

    You are indeed proving to me that changing any rule set is complex indeed and requires very thoughtful analysis.

    Yes, that’s quite correct.  An important point to remember is that a complex game such as Global 1940 is similar to other complex devices (such as automotive vehicles): they are systems consisting of multiple interrelated parts which are designed to work together in a particular way and which reflect many design choices and compromises.  Sometimes it’s possible to make minor or even major alterations to some of those components without affecting significantly the performance the overall system, but sometimes even a minor adjustment to a single critical component can wreck the whole thing.  (Take as an example the recent Galaxy Note 7 debacle.  There’s been speculation that Samsung may have changed the electrolyte in the lithium-ion batteries to something less stable, or that it may have gone too far in thinning the separator which keeps the positive and negative sides apart so that the battery doesn’t short-circuit and overheat.)  And design considerations have to take into account the fundamental question of what purpose the system is supposed to serve.  A luxury limousine, a Formula One race-car and a semi-trailer truck are all automotive vehicles, but they’re all optimized to do specific jobs and they all place different leves of emphasis on different capabilities such as passenger comfort, baggage / cargo-holding capacity, speed, fuel consumption efficiency and so forth.


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