"The Spy"


  • 2018 2017 '16

    Not long ago Young Grasshopper had started a thread about Combat Commanders;
    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=38860.0

    That got me thinking about the game Shogun and how you could bid on the ninja and have him for one round of play. That would give you the opportunity to spy on another player or kill one of their commanders. I thought that it would be a cool idea to add something to G-40 where only one player won the ability to do something in a round somehow.

    What I came up with is “The Spy.” As you all know espionage was a big part of WW2 but there has never been an attempt by the creators to incorporate it into the game. All nations would be involved in spying on each other but what I would like to do is have one nation “win the day” so to speak in each round. How that would work is that each nation that still owns it’s capital would roll a die at the beginning of each round. You would re-roll ties until only one nation was left and then they would get the token/card/whatever to display on the board to remind everyone else that they own “The Spy” for that round. I have been scouring the internet and toy stores in town to find something that looks like a secret agent but so far no luck.

    The question is what would the spy be able to do? I’m hoping you can participate with some ideas here because I can only think of a couple of plausible ideas. I thought maybe you could be given a choice of;
    a) Roll the die against another nation. Take the # IPC’s from them and add it to your own greedy little hands.
    b) Move one of your units up to the number of spaces it can normally move after someone else’s combat movement. The reasoning for that is you received intel that there was an attack coming and you either decided to move an expensive unit out of that territory to save it or move a unit in to help defend the territory. This does not mean that you can’t move it on your own turn as well (like scrambling or intercepting).

    What do you think of those options? Can you think of any other options?


  • 2017

    GeneralHandGrenade,

    Your idea might work…perhaps as a tech…it sounds like War Bonds (but you’re taking from another country).

    I’m not certain on how to incorporate intel in this game in that sense since we see the entire board. Intel in military terms has more to do information gathered for enemy plans, enemy strengths, enemy capabilities, and logistics information like how many ships can berth at a port for troop sustainment efforts. I have had my own thoughts on this concept. But they’ll never come to fruition. Curious to your thoughts on my idea.

    If I was rich…I’d pay people to referee an Axis and Allies Global 1940 game.

    There’d be 3 different boards set up in 3 different rooms all for the same game.

    1 board would be the Axis Room

    1 board would be the Allies Room

    1 board in the middle (Axis and Allies side players could not see) would be for the Administrators of the game room.

    Axis and Allies sides could only see numbers of enemy units on their border initially whether adjacent by land or sea. From then on, there would be a " Reconnaissance" or Spy turn in the game turn order. Only the Administrators’ room would have the complete setup of the board.

    House Rule would be to repair damaged facilities, purchase units, then the next step would be the Reconnaissance Step in the game turn order. Players could utilize submarines or S. Bombers for a recon mission. Each Sub or bomber, within it’s range of movement, could pass through or move to (if a sub wants to stay) to spy on one specific land territory or sea zone for a cost of 1 IPC per unit used in that part of the turn order. Players would have to smartly “save” IPCs for the RECON part of the turn order. Each side would be informed which territory was spied on. In the case of being spied on by subs, players would have to hunt the sub with a destroyer.

    Whatever intel is discovered, than the referees would put those units on the board of the side who just completed a RECON mission. On the opposing sides’ turn, if the “discovered” units were moved to a new location (not adjacent to an enemy controlled territory), than that intel would be lost and the administrators would come and remove the pieces from the corresponding sides’ board. Axis and Allies players could still place a specific color (I’ll call it purple units) on their board for their estimation of where they think the enemy units may have went to. Â

    In this game, each side would have to do their own S2 (Intelligence) estimate for where the enemy was concentrating. Japan for instance may send subs or bombers close to the Western US to see what warships were being built in dry dock. Germany would have to RECON Leningrad (so they don’t blunder into a Russian counter attack) or SZ91 in case a landing is coming.


  • 2018 '16

    Here are our house rules on espionage that we use in all of our Global games
    The espionage sequence is rolled at the beginning of the turn before Germans play.
    There is also an political world event sequence rolled before espionage as well.

    The mechanics of this may seem clunky but it’s really fun and adds some real spice to the game.
    I can answer any questions if needed. Slow day here at work due to the holiday vacations.

    Roll order is same a play order. China is not permitted to conduct espionage due to lack of infrastructure and government. France, if Paris is currently Allied controlled (liberated or uncaptured) is allowed at that point to conduct espionage.

    Germany USSR Japan USA England Italy ANZAC

    Espionage roll 2 dice for each power in turn order.

    5-9 No espionage. If a power is not at war, this phase is not conducted for that power.

    2 �Military leader assassinations. Spy networks successfully infiltrate enemy military headquarters.
    Result is limited combat movement. Combat can be conducted in total of 2 zones by nation .

    On a successful infiltration attacker rolls 2nd dice D6 to determine targeted country.
    Attacker roll one D6 for a successful assassination attempt on a 3 or less. Successful kill can be negated by defender on roll of 2 or less. Non-combat movement is unaffected.
    Germany � 1/2 USSR, 3/4 United Kingdom � England only, 5/6 USA
    Japan � 1/2 USSR, 3/4 United Kingdom � India only, 5/6 USA
    Italy � 1/2 USSR, 3/4 United Kingdom � England only, 5/6 USA
    USSR � If at war with both Germany and Japan, even roll is targeted at Germany and odd roll is at Japan.
    England � If at war with both Germany and Japan, even roll is targeted at Germany and odd roll is at Japan.
    Australia � Japan only.
    USA � 1/2 Germany, 3/4 Italy, 5/6 Japan
    3 � Technical espionage. Technology succeeds on a 5 or 6 this turn. Spy networks infiltrate and send back secrets about enemy weapons programs currently being developed.
    4 � Deception � Negates movement detected. All enemy units defend at -1 this turn for the first round of combat. Does not apply to AAA or AA guns or SBR combat.
    10 � Movement detected � negates deception. All units defend at +1 for the first round of combat. Does not apply to AAA or AA guns or SBR combat.
    11 � Spy networks sabotage industrial facilities and rail lines. Roll one die of industrial attack for the next two turns. Roll 2nd dice to determine targeted country.
    Germany � 1/2 USSR, 3/4 United Kingdom � England only, 5/6 USA
    Japan � 1/2 USSR, 3/4 United Kingdom � India only, 5/6 USA
    Italy � 1/2 USSR, 3/4 United Kingdom � England only, 5/6 USA
    USSR � If at war with both Germany and Japan, even roll is targeted at Germany and odd roll is at Japan.
    England � If at war with both Germany and Japan, even roll is targeted at Germany and odd roll is at Japan.
    Australia � Japan only.
    USA � 1/2 Germany, 3/4 Italy, 5/6 Japan
    12 � Counter espionage. Negates all adverse espionage from any enemy spy network.

    This is what we use and we like it “A LOT”!!!


  • 2018 2017 '16

    @ Ichabod. I really like your idea but it would seem unlikely to pull off since any person would be lucky to have enough table space in one house to set up one board let alone 3. It would be a heck of an idea for playing on the computer.

    @seancb. Wow that is a lot to digest, I had to read it a couple of times to understand it all. Lots of good ideas there. Do you have to write it down after all of that rolling at the start of the turn to state who does what each turn or did I miss something and only one of those things happen to one nation.

    I could see adding some of those ideas to my house rule. I was hoping to have 6 different things so “The Spy” had to roll a die to see what action they picked during their turn. Having a counter-espionage thing on a roll of 6 is a wicked idea for turning the tables on the nation with the spy. You could have some kind of action against them instead of negating their action.
    I like the tech thing too, it would be a way of getting some tech into the game finally without having to sell off one of your kids for IPC’s.

    Keep the ideas coming!


  • 2018 '16

    we always have a pen and paper (we call it the “combat log”) ready and it is your responsibility to remember to do any sabotage or advantages on your turn. If you forget after the other player purchases or rolls its like chess, you lose it.

    It’s not too hard to keep track of things.

    basically 5-9 odds are highest so usually nothing happens but it gives the beginning of each turn a bit more spice as we see it. Combined with the political and world events it adds maybe 4-5 minutes to a turn to roll all the “extras” at the beginning.

    Try it one time. if you PM me I will send you the full ruleset in a pdf and you can look at what we call our South Texas House Rules. They are pretty easy to play and it adds a bit of randomness to the game and we also have weather events as well.

    It makes the game a bit more realistic and also can change the ebb and flow considerably but that is war.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    Ichabod, the 3 tables would fit in my basement. Have 2 now. Just would need to put up  plywood walls. Ha Ha

    seancb, like your post but just seems to be to much. Got to keep it KISS.

    General, yes your idea is like mine. Have some kind of list of 8 things the spy can or can’t do and then have the defender roll a counter die.

    1. Spy dies
    2. Spy blows up ammo depot. Defenders ground troops -1 on first round of combat only in 1 territory.
    3. Spy blows up Fuel depot. Defenders motorized units in 1 territory move only 1 space.
    4. Spy steals tech development papers. Die break thru roll cost 8 icp’s on defenders next turn.
    5. Spy blows up Fuel depot at a naval base. Ships denied the extra space movement from a naval base.
    6. Spy damages a factory. Can only build 2 units at a Minor and 8 at a Major factory.
    7. Spy dies.
    8. Spy damages a factory. Defender pays 3 icps to bank for repairs.

    Somethings like that. You could make it a 10 item Spy chart. Defender rolls a D6 die and a roll of 2 or less denies the Spy.

    Keep it simple but also it can be counter every turn so it doesn’t get out of hand. Change the list around. I’m going to use this in my next  40 game that I have posted in the Others variants and games thread. I will add 2 more items to make it a 10 item Spy chart.

    Attacker rolls 1 die for Spy and Defender rolls 1 die to block Spy. Simple.

    I have event cards in game to so this will double spice up the game. If this is to strong (could make die counter roll 3 or less to) or I will add 2 to 4 of these items to the event cards where the defender can’t counter.



  • Interesting stuff here guys. Historical Board Gaming actually just released a great little “Spy” marker for their Global War game. You could easily use them for A&A:

    http://www.historicalboardgaming.com/HBG-Spy-Marker-Acrylic-x5-_p_2210.html

    The rules are pretty good too. With some minor modifications, you could easily make them work for A&A:

    http://www.historicalboardgaming.com/assets/images/HBG/HBGMarkers/00Marker%20Rules/Phase%201%20Marker%20Rules.pdf


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

    @SS:

    1. Spy dies
    2. Spy blows up ammo depot. Defenders ground troops -1 on first round of combat only in 1 territory.
    3. Spy blows up Fuel depot. Defenders motorized units in 1 territory move only 1 space.
    4. Spy steals tech development papers. Die break thru roll cost 8 icp’s on defenders next turn.
    5. Spy blows up Fuel depot at a naval base. Ships denied the extra space movement from a naval base.
    6. Spy damages a factory. Can only build 2 units at a Minor and 8 at a Major factory.
    7. Spy dies.
    8. Spy damages a factory. Defender pays 3 icps to bank for repairs.

    I’m struck by the fact that the spy is acting as a spy in only one of those eight roll results (specifically, in number 4).  In the other ones, he either dies or he’s acting like a saboteur rather than an intelligence agent.  I’m also wondering: in number 4, is the spy only allowed to steal data on tech breakthroughs that have already been achieved by the enemy power from which he’s stealing them?  After all, how could power X develop breakthough Y by stealing data from power Z if power Z doesn’t yet have breakthrough Y for itself?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    You could call the list Espionage Spy of our Spy Agencies.

    The Spies had many jobs along with gathering secret information.

    I read that Spy operations also worked to damage morale in the enemy and to disrupt supply lines and hamper the movement of enemy troops.
    All of these functions were vital services for the spies working with inside intelligence
    agents of the agencies.


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

    @SS:

    Spy steals tech papers. No tech roll for next turn.
    Defender gets a die roll to counter.

    It’s plausible that Power X would get a free tech upgrade (or perhaps a tech roll with easier odds) for a specific tech by stealing tech papers from an enemy power that already has that tech, but I don’t think it’s plausible that an enemy power that’s in the process of developing a tech would be stopped or delayed from that tech development just because a spy steals a few papers from them.  Just think of the Manhattan Project for example.  If Germany, let’s say, had wanted to seriously delay the American A-bomb project, it could not have do this by breaking into a safe somewhere and grabbing a handful of papers; it would have had to steal (or destroy) massive amounts of documentation located in multiple well-guarded locations, as well as assassinate all the scientists and engineers who were deeply involved in the project, and probably also destroy the industrial facilities that were contributing to the development effort (like the gigantic Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, a building which was the size of a small town).


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    It was meant to be some kind of delay for getting tech.

    Sorry but I removed my message and wrote a new one in the above post.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    @SS:

    You could call the list Espionage Spy of our Spy Agencies.

    The Spies had many jobs along with gathering secret information.

    I read that Spy operations also worked to damage morale in the enemy and to disrupt supply lines and hamper the movement of enemy troops.
    All of these functions were vital services for the spies working with inside intelligence
    agents of the agencies.

    I’m going to call it the Espionage Spy Chart.


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

    I think a distinction needs to be made between the concept of “a spy” in the singular and the much broader concept of wartime intelligence activities by entire networks and agencies.  In a strategic-level game like A&A, I don’t see any plausible way of introducing a house rule that models the activities of “a spy” in the singular because that’s not the level at which single spies operate.  The only WWII “spy in the singular” who had a major strategic impact on the entire war was Richard Sorge, Stalin’s top spy in Japan, who alerted Stalin in the fall of 1941 that Japan was planning to attack the US and the UK rather than the USSR; this allowed Stalin to transfer his crack Siberian troops westward just in time to save Moscow from the advancing Germans.  Sorge’s impact was spectacular, but it was also extremely exceptional; the vast majority of spies “in the field” simply serve to collect bits of information (often quite modest in importance), which they pass along – often by lengthy routes – to the military or civilian agencies that control their operations.  Those agencies then collate and analyze the masses of raw data that arrive from their network of field agents and try to extract useful conclusions from that data.  On top of that, these agencies not only take into account this “humint” (human intelligence), they also need to correlate it with “sigit” (signals intelligence), which brings us into the related worlds of radio signal interception and code-breaking.  Espionnage in WWII, in other words, was an extremely complex business involving vast numbers of people working in a great variety of tasks, with some of these jobs being extremely sophisticated and specialized, while others were very routine and clerical (though they were essential too).  Moreover, intelligence isn’t just a matter of learning the other side’s secrets; it’s also about counter-intelligence, which means either preventing the other side from learning your own secrets or finding a way to feed him false information that actually works to your advantage rather than the enemy’s advantage.

    In other words, it would make sense to develop a house rule built around the concept of representing in a collective way these wartime intelligence activities, and of translating these activities into modest bonuses of one sort or another, but I don’t think it would fit A&A’s strategic scale to focus on something as tiny as the activities of one spy, or to allow an espionage house rule to have a strategically major impact on the course of the game.


  • 2018 '16

    We actually call ours and espionage chart.
    If you read ours, it is very simple.
    You roll 2 dice at the beginning.
    if your roll results in 5-9 you have not succeeded in espionage and no further action is needed.
    the odd on that are 2/3 you will miss espionage.

    Its pretty simple in our version.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    CWO, I here where your coming from.

    I think I may just add 1 or 2 event cards to each countries deck saying something to the affect of a spy stealing tech design papers and getting a free D10 die tech roll that matches to my tech chart and/or they get to take away a tech from the enemy and keep for themselves.


  • 2017 '16

    Maybe a one time +1 attack or defense for all specific units of a Power winning intelligence ops,  at 4 IPCs or more, such as Artillery, MI, Tank.


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

    @SS:

    they get to take away a tech from the enemy and keep for themselves.

    If by this you mean “copy an enemy’s tech, so that you both get to use it rather than just him using it”, that’s fine.  If you mean “deprive the enemy of a tech, so that it becomes yours rather than his,” that’s not believable.  Stealing technology isn’t like stealing a car; you can’t deprive an enemy of technological knowledge and tecnological manufacturing infrastructure just by grabbing a secret plan from somewhere.  When the Soviets reverse-engineered the B-29 to produce their own copy of the plane, that action didn’t suddenly cause all the B-29s in the US inventory to suddenly disappear, or cause all the US factories that built the B-29 to suddenly stop working.  If you somehow stole the famous top-secret formula for Coca-Cola syrup, which is apparently kept in a safe at Coke’s corporate headquarters and which is supposedly known in its entirety to only one or two people at any one time, this would not bring the worldwide manufacturing of Coca-Cola to an immediate halt.  The subcontractors who make the various components of the Coca-Cola syrup – each one of them knowing just part of the formula – would keep right on manufacturing the stuff as if nothing had happened.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    @CWO Marc. In my original post I stated that there would be a whole range of espionage activities going on during the war. The concept of “The Spy” was to signify that one nation had the upper hand during that round of play. It could be that they had a major breakthrough of some kind in breaking a code or gathering intelligence or stealing technology or whatever.

    I also mentioned the ninja in the game Shogun. What I really liked about that was the fun that it brought to the game between the players (not the pieces on the board). We would all have to tiptoe around the guy that had the ninja and hope that he would use it against someone else. That’s the element that I want to bring to this game-the fun and the not-so-subtle razzing between the players. I could see my friends renaming the spy “The Sh!t Disturber” or something like that. By having only one piece that represents spying instead of everyone spying every round you would create a dynamic between the players that would transcend what is happening with the pieces on the board. Obviously this rule would be much more fun if there were more than 2 people playing the game because there would only be one player that you could use “The Spy” against.

    I’m starting to lean away from using dice to determine what action to use. The thing that makes Research and Development in this game a total failure is that there is only dumb luck and not sound strategy involved. Players should be rewarded for the choices that they make more and punished less for the dice that they roll IMO. I want to provide 3 or 4 clear, simple choices that the player has at their disposal for that turn. For example; France wins the roll in the first round. If given the 2 choices that I provided in my original post and maybe something to do with research and technology, the choice to move a fighter out of France before Germany invades would be hands down a better choice than taking money that they would surrender in 10 minutes or developing a weapon that they will never use. To do it this way would also keep the other players guessing as to how it will be used and would inform the choices that they will make. If you’re invading a territory of the nation who has “The Spy” you might want to bring extra units in knowing that they could move an extra unit into that territory. See what I mean, more strategy.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    Both sides would have same tech.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    How about some way of turning one strict neutral nation into a pro-axis or pro-aliies nation? Would it be plausible for an apparatus in WW2 to turn a nation using some sort of cloak and dagger method? I know coups have been staged since then but I’m not aware of it happening in the war.

    If so how would that work if you chose that option? It should be something difficult to achieve like rolling a specific number and perhaps paying the bank the number of IPC’s that territory is worth.

    Any thoughts on that choice and how to make it work?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    Naw. We have a rule for strict neutrals where you must roll a die and get the territories value or less on die roll. If you don’t u have to retreat and pay the bank up to the territories value.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    That seems way too easy to turn a strict neutral. Nations should be focusing more on fighting each other and not so much on strict neutrals during a world war.

    What I’m thinking is that;
    -You have to control an adjacent territory to attempt to turn a strict neutral
    -You can only make one attempt per nation to turn it (in reality if you fail they would probably be p!ssed off at you and hang your spies)
    -You have to roll a 6 to turn it. I like your idea of having to pay the number of IPC’s the territory is worth for failing, SS.
    -You wouldn’t move into the territory, you would simply make it a pro-axis or pro-aliies neutral. After that anyone could move into it without violating Starfleet’s Prime Directive (or strict neutrality).
    -You don’t have to be at war to do turn a strict neutral. Like all actions of “The Spy”, this would all be done covertly of course and denied vehemently.

    As far as Research and Development goes, I would reason this by saying that your espionage activities have accumulated enough intel from both friends and foes and combined with your own research that you have a 50-50 chance of developing a weapon. How this would work;
    -You roll 3 dice for free. A roll of 6 means you are successful. You only count one 6.
    -If successful you roll the die for a weapon. You then CHOOSE which table to apply that roll to. That’s the way the rule should have been written in the first place. Why on earth would you ever spend your resources in the real world to develop a weapon that does you no good? Oops, we developed rockets, what were we thinking? It started out as a good idea to have Research and Development but then it turned into a really bad idea because the whole thing was left to chance instead of strategy.



  • The only way you to use a spy logically is if you do a Fog of War game which would be a nightmare to do on a board game or the spy steals tech.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    I did add the spy steals tech ( defender keeps tech ) card ( 1 only ) to each of the 6 countries event cards. Each countries deck of cards has 20 to 22 cards in each deck. So the spy steals tech card may never get turned over during the game.



  • You could set up something that a spy could damage factories, airfields, or ports by dice roll.


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