All these problems are solved if you remove the extra movement and instead allow naval bases to shelter ships in harbour.
The ships can still be targeted by bombing raids; altogether this creates the mechanics for a much more realistic depiction of both the Taranto raid (and the copycat Pearl Harbor operation), and the general usefulness of Gibraltar (which by the way should not be a tt but a UK NB in Southern Spain).
Concerns and Balance Problems with 42.2
San Francisco Rules:
All naval units now move 3.
The Strategic Bomber is now defenseless (no hit-points in normal combat): Attack 0, Defend 0, at a new cost of 5 ipcs.
Its role is for SBR exclusively.
Trying to keep it nice and clean.
IMO, for 1942.2, it should be Move 3 NCMs but only Move 2 if doing Naval combat or amphibious landing.
That would certainly be more conservative. But I guess from my perspective, it just seems more interesting to go all the way with it, and then see what sort of play patterns emerge.
One of the criticisms of the game is that it moves rather slowly, and after hours of planning and building up to a crescendo, there is this kind of anticlimax, where the end is too predictible. Players can see it coming before it arrives, and this is often at the point when people have become somewhat fatigued. Many games end by concession before the war has really been decided, or more frequently the player with less endurance goes into “hurry up” mode and just starts doing reckless things to force a conclusion. I’m not saying that everyone shares this view, or thinks that something needs doing to address it, but I think many have encountered the kind of drag on pacing that I’m referring to.
I don’t know if move 3 is the answer, but it would certainly front load much of the action, and perhaps reduce the time requirements necessary to conclude an average game in a satisfying way.
The main advantage I see, is that it throws a totally new spin on the game. Not just on the opener, but on the midgame and the endgame as well. It’s also very simple to understand. There isn’t a whole bunch of new rules overhead you have to deal with, rather its more about puzzling through new strategies and seeing aspects of the gamemap in a new light. For a reset, it offers a pretty substantial change across the board for players to explore, while still retaining a familiar basic character at least in the broad strokes. It could be fun.
To Argo’s Q. I’m not sure if the play on sz50 would be scripted every game, but it certainly seems like a powerful move. There might be a better alternative I haven’t noticed yet, but right now, I think that’s the opening I would choose first time out.
IMO, for 1942.2, it should be Move 3 NCMs but only Move 2 if doing Naval combat or amphibious landing.
Oddly enough, the G40 OOB set up seems to recommend it more than 1942.2 hehe, on account of sz 8. I guess I’m not totally opposed, I just think its rather tricky to force a separation between combat movement and non combat movement at different values. I don’t know if tripleA treats movement that way. Or if it would be too confusing for players to enforce and track face to face. But more than that, I think it would prevent or considerably nerf the exact sort of attack patterns that I’m most intrigued by at the moment.
Even a couple days ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be taking up the mantle of arguing for Move 3 ships, but now that I’ve been sitting with the idea, it’s really growing on me. To build on the earlier thought, what I really like about this M3 idea is that it allows you to project power from your core production region against the opponent’s core production regions, without first having to totally show your hand and telegraph your plans so far in advance. The move 2 puts a very hard limit on what can happen on a given turn OOB. But the question “where might they attack next?” at move 3, and you see a number of possible targets that emerge in a given turn.
Part of why I like the tandem rules, defenseless bombers and M3 together, is that it would be such a dramatic reset of the midgame, that players would have to actually play it out, before making major pronouncements on which side is favored. There would just be too many new play patterns to explore for the opener and the midgame to be settled so quickly. And the hope is that changes to the bomber, might be offset by changes to the ships movement, in a way that produces a rather different balance than what we see OOB.I think rather than designer intent at this point, I’m more interested in whether these changes can make the game feel more exciting (or even more historical) with the broader strategies one could employ, simply by enhancing the movement rate on the water, and making the stratB into a purely SBR oriented unit.
Ideally 1942.2 could serve as a dry run for G40.
The implementation is somewhat simpler in 1942.2, and it might not even require a unit set up change, or a change in turn order to get up off the ground.
I once made the argument that the solution to the center crush dilema might be less distance rather than more distance, but with the caveat that Russia be able to actually threaten an offensive vs Japan, so both sides are on an equal footing. (The designer’s solution was to add more distance between Japan and Moscow, the low value “buffer zone” idea.)
I would make a similar argument here. The solution to the Allied/American dilemma at sea might actually be less distance or less time (ie M3 for ships), but with the caveat that both sides have an equal chance to project power and threaten an offensive vs the other guy. In the Pacific this is exemplified by the naval ‘stare down’ between sz 60 and sz 56. Same deal on the Atlantic side with sz 11.
That way, instead of gaming the map for movement and turn order exploits (with plenty of breathing room, and “safe places” to hide in between), it’s more like trying to hold the opponent on guard (or in place) at all times, with threats to their core coastal defenses. Movements away from these defenses on any given turn, have to be measured against the possible danger posed by the other side. More like a cascade of trading pieces in chess (‘if you go there, then I’ll go here!’), rather than a strat that relies so much on numbers crunching, and both sides knowing where the battle is going to occur a full turn out.
Does that make sense?
I know that 3 move NCM only is a back up plan.
You described well the on going gameflow over a long period of play.
And once the toothpaste is outside the tube, better to try 3 move Combat Move.
I’m sure people will be curious to try it.
For the M3 ships idea in 1942.2…
Ok just running the numbers on sz 50 and considering the options.
The Japanese fleet at Caroline Is (Truk) is 1 sub, 1 carrier, 1 cruiser, 1 fighter.
Against this the British could potentially bring 1 sub, 1 carrier, 2 cruisers, 1 fighter = odds to the attacker at about 90%. But making this play at those odds requires that you don’t deal with the sz 61 transport, potentially leaving India exposed. If you peel off just 1 fighter to handle sz 61, the odds to the British attacker at Truk drop to around 65%. This is lower odds than the blow out where you bring everything, but still high enough that the British player might seriously consider taking the risk just to shore up India. Its also possible to make a more compelling distraction with the Australian transport, into Borneo for example, or perhaps elsewhere, so that might factor into the British players decision about how much to risk at Truk. All they really need to do for a fairly decisive victory is to ensure that the Japanese carrier is sunk. I think its an interesting battle, where the defender might have to consider their casualty selection priorities on occasion.
I like what M3 does for the Aussie transport in sz 39, but its perhaps even more interesting for the India transport in sz 35. Because this transport could move to Egypt, pick up a tank or artillery unit, then make it back all the way to FIC, or East Indies again.
If they want to run, this transport could get all the way to South Africa (and then be in a position to move to sz 23 the following round.)
A possible alternative to the Truk attack (perhaps not a great one, but just thinking out loud), might be to cut and run to sz 29 off Madagascar with the whole British Pacific fleet. I struggle to see how this really pans out, unless perhaps the plan is to consolidate and then rush the Med if the canal remains open, maybe with like a DD block purchase at India to prevent the Japanese from just blowing past India on the way to Egypt haha?
Or if the canal is open on UK1 and Germany failed to sink the British DD is sz 17, perhaps this unit makes sz 37 somewhat more attractive again. Not least because now UK could grab the Egyptian Tank or Artillery and bring it all the way to East Indies, to ensure that the land battle goes off without a hitch. East Indies itself is somewhat more compelling, because ships stationed in sz 37 could reach one move farther from this position now (this is kind of a downside for Allies on UK1, since Japan could respond) but it also makes the island more attractive long term, if the Allies managed to secure it and expand production there.
I still think sz 50 is preferable to all these, but its hard for me to say. There’s just a lot more going on at M3 that you have to account for. Which is part of the charm I think
But even if the play was so strong as to be the obvious script, I wouldn’t really mind so much. Sure it would be cooler if the battle was a bit more historically grounded, but if this is what it takes to bring balance back to the Pacific, I’d say it’s at least an improvement over the current OOB sweep by Japan. It also really underscores the significance of Truk to Japan, for any Allied player who let’s that carrier slip away unscathed hehe.
Finally, it’s not as if we don’t have still have options to do more if needed. We could still explore a minor set up change, or the addition of a 3rd rule to the San Francisco HR set, if M3 needs something more to work the way we want it to (like to deal with an India crush or some other unforeseen issue over the horizon). There’s always a bid option as well, for a final fall back. But right now, I like what it does for the Pacific. I like what it does for Germany’s naval potential. And I really like what it does for the Atlantic crossings by US.
Without reading the rest of the thread, I’ve found that this map is difficult to lose as allies, regardless of the bid if you win the assault on SZ37 UK1 (Perhaps I haven’t played against enough experienced opponents though.). Otherwise it is difficult to win. That is what makes the map somewhat broken for me because that attack in SZ37 is a coin flip.
Strafe West Ukraine IIRC with everything that can reach (perhaps barring one plane).
Hit Belorussia, not Baltic States.
Attack West Russia with everything else that can reach
Pull back to Yakut IIRC
Build IC on China, fly fighters to Yakut. Later build 1arm per turn on China.
Losing West Russia is pretty much fatal. Max force needs to be applied to reinforcing this.
First of all, I’m thrilled that someone thinks the Allies have a major advantage on the OOB 1942.2 map, even if that advantage depends on winning a coin-toss round one battle. It’s fun to run into people with different playstyles and different standard openings. The more people disagree about who the map is biased for, the more likely it is that the map is actually just fine the way it is.
That said, I’m seeing a number of potential weaknesses in your recommended Allied strategy, and I wonder if you have responses for them. First, if you fly your Pacific fighters to Yakut, then what’s protecting the factory in China? Japan should be able to reliably conquer every territory in China on round 2, and the USA doesn’t get to build it’s first tank in China until after Japan’s second turn.
Second, if you hit Belorussia, hit West Russia, and strafe Ukraine, all with no bid, then after an average set of rolls, I would expect Germany can take and hold the factory in Karelia immediately, i.e., on Germany’s first turn. How do you defend against an early German factory in Karelia, especially if you plan on sending Russian reinforcements to China?
Third, even if you do win the battle in SZ37, what do you do about a fast Japanese attack on Burma and India? You are presumably not killing Japan’s transports on turn 1, so Japan can stack Burma on turn 1 with 4 inf, 2 art, 1 tnk. On round 2, the transports can pick up the 2 inf on East Indies and the 1 inf on Malaya and still make it to India, so you’re looking at a round 2 Japanese assault on India of roughly 7 inf, 2 art, 1 tnk, 2 ftr, 1 bmr, depending on air casualties elsewhere. How do you defend against that? Do you abandon Egypt? Do you spend UK cash on fighters to be placed directly in India?
US2 Yakut fighters fly to defend the Chinese factory. More fighters fly in from USA to replace them.
Yes, Karelia will fall G1. Been a little while since I’ve played this map but I think I was hitting Karelia USSR2. You can’t hold it though; the point would be to stop Germany producing there. If you win in Belorussia they can only get in a few inf + fast movers.
Not sure about India. Might have to have another look at it. Perhaps I am killing the transports.
I think the map might be OK if you changed the SZ37 BB for cruiser (preventing the wild swing if the BB gets its hit repaired) and perhaps downgraded one of the UK Cruisers to a DD.
As for the advantage - I wouldn’t call it that. They have the edge if they win the SZ37 coin flip (and hold Egypt G1). It is pretty much game over if the SZ37 coin flip is lost. Sorry I didn’t put it that way at first.
I like the idea of swapping the Japanese BB in SZ 37 for a cruiser to reduce swinginess. That’s a good insight! It hadn’t occurred to me that BBS produce swinging email@example.com in close battles, but I think you’re right.
Sadly, Japan moves before US, so US fighters moved to Yakut on US1 will not make it to Chinghai before J2. US2 is too late! This is crazy, hence our discussion about giving the US a “turn zero” before anyone else goes.
Also, typically to have a chance at winning the SZ 37 battle with no bid, UK needs to bring all available units, leaving nothing left over to kill Japanese transports.
You are talking like IJN is easily able to rebuilt its fleet. Really?
Once SZ37 is heavily damaged, IJN need to protect remaining TP all the time, and this hinder greatly mobility.
In KJF, does Japan built IC?
I saw a few encircling of Japan by USNavy, unable to do anything on land.
The issue is that Japan can turtle and Allies cannot conquer it.
So Germany can still beat Russia.
That is why you want to change Yamato for a Cruiser?
I think one issue with trying to achieve a balance by sides via adjustments to the sz 37 attack, is that it is kind of hard to fit into the timeline. I’m not really sure what this attack is meant to represent. I guess the second battle of Java sea?
I used to think sz37 had potential, but after many games and many discussions on the subject (particularly with Marine Iguana) my feeling is that this battle is just too risky OOB, and that even with a UK bid, the trade off here is rough. It’s still possible to run an attack on pearl as Japan, even if you lose 37, and allowing Japan that second transport in 61 is major headaches for the Allies. As Baron notes the main problem has more to do with USA’s inability to effectively exploit the UK attack than the UK attack itself. Even going 100% Pacific with US, Japan can still make a pretty capable defense of the home island while pushing into China or the North. By the time USA guts their underbelly and builds production on the money islands, Germany is coming at central/south Asia from the other side.
Would changing the Japanese battleship to a cruiser make 37 easier for the Allies? Sure. But at that point why not consider doing something that actually gives the US a way to compete in the Pacific?
Just as an example, if you went ahead and gave the Americans a Battleship at sz 53 =bid 20, this takes Pearl from 90% odds in Japan’s favor down to 30% odds (effectively off the table).
Assuming sz 61, this would leave you with a situation in the first round that has the IJN and USN at roughly equivalent naval forces. Japan has 1 more carrier and 2 more fighters, but the USA has the British, which basically offset each other.
Will anyone ever use a 20 ipcs bid for the Allies this way? Almost certainly not. The only way such a thing happens is with a set up change. For some a set battleship bid like that might be more acceptable than an A0 concept.
Sadly, Japan moves before US, so US fighters moved to Yakut on US1 will not make it to Chinghai before J2. US2 is too late! This is crazy, hence our discussion about giving the US a “turn zero” before anyone else goes.
I don’t remember ever losing the IC on China. Perhaps with bad bad dice. Between the Allies, it was able to be defended.
To increase US fleet in Hawaii, I would rather add a more historical Cruiser unit.
And if needed, an additional Submarine.
US Hawaiian BBs were not repaired on Pearl Harbor at that time.
New to the forum and have been following the balance discussion. I am really impressed with everyone’s thoughtful and well argued points about 42.2. This has been very helpful because I am thinking about purchasing the game but am worried about how the game seems very skewed toward the Axis. Global was okay when I played it a few years back, but I am hoping to find a game that is less “intense” so I can maybe convince others to play (1941 doesn’t look like it will be fun for me).
Looking at all of the possible house rules, the one that stood out to me was Black_Elk’s idea of the USA doing noncombat moves before the game begins. It seems that this simple and small adjustment could even things out a little in the Atlantic and help the US navy at Pearl Harbor. Is this enough though?
I think the consensus for the “A0” idea was to give the Americans a noncombat move and a purchase phase before any other player acts. That’s a minimum bid of 42 ipcs, plus whatever gains you can arrange by, e.g., defending against high-risk attacks like the German subs in the north Atlantic, and Pearl Harbor. You can also fly us fighters to cover some trouble spots like Egypt. If anything, the A0 adjustment might be slightly too powerful, and require am Axis bid. I am really looking forward to testing it as soon as I can get a set of opponents who firstname.lastname@example.org have some 1942.2 experience!
Thanks, Argothair. I am very interested in hearing about your results.
From what I have read about the huge Axis advantage, the A0 with noncombat will make the game feel more historical and give it some of the balance it needs.
I also think the ships moving 3 spaces could provide more excitement and speed up the game.
I think anytime I want to talk about 1942.2 I’ll just use this thread for now. Since I’m interested in possible solutions beyond the bid, and that conversation invariably drifts into HR territory.
It seems to me that what Larry really wants is for the Chinese units to stay in China (not used at the center to prop up Russia). In AA50 and Global this is enforced with separated nation specific rules. Frankly I think those rules are complex and uneccessary.
1942.2 is a 5 man game (like Classic and Revised) so such rules don’t work regardless.
I think what I would have done is to make the border between Russia and Sinkiang/Szech impassable. This would prevent Japan from just blowing through the middle on the way to Moscow. Sure you’d lose the option for Russia to support China directly, but you also wouldn’t have to worry about the Japanese just pushing through Szech with ground and aircraft in every game. If Japan wanted to get to the Russian capital they’d either have to take the long road in the north, or go through India.
This would simplify the situation considerably in central Asia. The “American” units in China would be basically stuck there, not pulling back through Kazakh. In a KJF, you wouldn’t have to deal with Germany blowing the lid off China, before they handle South Asia or the Soviet Far East. China itself would be more a detour or quagmire for Japan, since it would put them farther from the path towards the center. Russia might actually be able to wage a decent defense if they only had to cover 2 fronts vs the Japanese drive instead of 3.
It is possible to create these divisions without actually requiring that the physical map be redrawn. You just enforce it with the following…
Rule: No movement between Chinese and Russian starting territories.
The border separating Chinese and Soviet starting territories is now considered impassable for all units.
Szechuan no longer connects to Kazakh.
Sinkiang no longer connects to Kazakh, Novosibirsk, and Evenki.
The terrain here is now considered “too rough” for armies and aircraft to pass. As if an impassable neutral title was inserted along the border line between Russia and China, stretching from Mongolia down to Afghanistan/Himalaya.
OOB China would still likely be flattened by Japan, but with this restriction in place you could add American units to the set up in China if desired, without fear that the units just immediately get redirected to the Soviet front with Germany. Instead the Chinese units would fight the Japanese like they’re suppose to. This would still allow for Russia to enter China via Manchuria (which is what actually happened at the end of the war) but it would prevent either side from using the central Asian route to transit between China and the Soviet Union.
I don’t reckon that would help game balance.
I think you’re on to something interesting, Black Elk, although I agree with simon that totally blocking off China (with no other changes) wouldn’t necessarily help game balance. With no Russia-China connection, you couldn’t reinforce the Flying Tigers, so they would die J1 every game. Yes, Japan will have to walk some units into China that then have to walk back out, but that’s not a huge inconvenience, because we’re talking about a force of infantry and fighters that already start in the region. Many of the Japanese infantry in China would ordinarily die fighting the American Chinese in any case, and the fighters can fly out in one turn.
A variant that might be more interesting: only two land units per nation per turn can pass through the Russian-Chinese border. So, the Russians can send 1 inf, 1 tnk to Szechuan on R1 if they want – but then they can’t also send 1 inf to Chinghai the same turn, because they’ve hit their two unit cap. Then, if the Japanese eventually conquer the region, the Japanese could send, e.g., 1 inf to Kazakh and 1 inf to Novosibirsk on a given turn, but they couldn’t also send a tank to Kazakh, because the Japanese have hit their two-unit cap. Fighters and bombers do not count against the cap.
My hope is that this would have some tendency to nerf the Japanese tank rush to Moscow (which is historically implausible and not a huge amount of fun for most players) without totally shutting down the Chinese theater as totally irrelevant.
More broadly, I see the Japanese as having five basic directions to expand in 1942.2:
- West through China to Moscow
- Southwest through India to the Caucasus/Egypt
- Northwest through Siberia to Moscow
- Southeast to Honolulu and Sydney
- Northeast to Alaska and Western Canada
With OOB rules and even with most of the popular house rules, option #4 is terrible because at most you pick up 1 VC and 4 IPCs (West Australia, East Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii) – a lousy haul for a long campaign to the middle of nowhere. Same thing with option #5 – it might be a useful distraction to help with a German victory, but it’s never going to be a useful path to a Japanese victory. You max out at 0 VCs and 3 IPCs, because you can’t possibly conquer San Francisco.
So there are really only three viable Japanese paths to victory. If you completely nerf the “West through China to Moscow” path by sealing the border, now there are only two paths left, and that’s not as interesting for the Japanese player. Hmm, should I go north or south this game? It’s not nearly as interesting of a question as figuring out which and how many of three paths to use!
I’m still optimistic about giving America a non-combat and purchase turn before anyone else goes as a way of balancing the map and saving the Pacific as a viable theater for an American offensive, and I’m going to do a solo test today – but I don’t think it does anything to give Japan a reason to go on the offense in the Pacific, and I do think that allowing Japan a strategically viable path to expand to the east is a necessary requirement of a complete/perfect fix for an Axis & Allies game.
I would say there are about five big problems that need fixing in 1942.2:
(1) Game is unbalanced in favor of the Axis; the Axis win too often.
(2) Game is overly focused on a rush for the center; the periphery of the board can and should be ignored.
(3) It is too difficult to cross either the Atlantic or the Pacific with boats, so players often mostly ignore their navies.
(4) There are too many units on the board at setup that exist only to be killed off on the first turn, which is slow and frustrating.
(5) Russia has to pour 90%+ of its income directly onto the front lines of eastern europe just to survive, which can be boring.
You can fix (1) with an ordinary bid, but some people are unhappy with how large the bid has to get.
You can fix (2) by adding extra starting factories and/or victory cities on the periphery, but some people are unhappy with changes that are so “radical.” Sealing or partially sealing the Russian-Chinese border could help treat the symptoms of (2) by making the center rush harder for the Axis, but it doesn’t add any interesting new options.
You can fix (3) by giving navies a move of 3, but that would totally shake up the game in ways that we can’t easily predict.
You can partially fix (4) by giving the Americans a starting non-combat & purchase turn, although the British and German navies are still going to get crushed. The A0 turn also fixes (1) and fixes the American half of (3) by giving the Americans enough boats to cross the Pacific successfully.
You can partially fix (5) by giving the Russians a starting bomber, although I don’t think it really changes the overall dynamic – the Russians can make better trades with a bomber, but they still have to use almost all of their production to crank out infantry to trade with. You can mostly fix (5) by giving the Russians three starting fleets, but that’s a really drastic change to the map setup that requires extra set-up work and that might turn out to be unbalanced in favor of the Allies, especially if combined with the A0 turn.
Thoughts? Have I missed any major problems or proposed solutions?
Pretty good summary IMO.
Only sad that it will becomes buried somewhere in this thread in Houserule forum.
It provides a few points to check when trying to improve the game somehow.
I can say that Cruiser and TP M3 is promising because it opens more actual possibilities within 1 or 2 game rounds.
Otherwise, Naval is pretty focused on acquiring big targets not secondary objectives.
You can accept to invade a secondary objective if it is within 1 round from a loaded TP or it is on the way toward main objective.
M3 allows more secondary targets.
Well I wasn’t claiming that an impassable neutral tile on the map would fix overall game balance. Only that it would have accomplished the aim of restricting how starting units in China can be used without requiring separate nation/region specific rules.
For example, in such a situation (with no movement across the Chinese western border with the USSR) you could have then added additional “American” ground units in China, and these would not simply double back out of China on US1. Similarly you could have added a starting IC in China and Japan could not have used such an IC to immediately start pushing ground units across the central route towards Moscow once captured.
It just strikes me as a more straightforward way that could have been used to handle the situation here, with basic map design, rather than extra rules or a complex multi nation reinforcement along the central route. If the Allies wanted to reinforce the Chinese they’d likely have to do so through Burma, which would be more historical. If you wanted to give Mao a nod, this could have been done with a starting Soviet tile or starting units in China, instead of the Russians sending large armies into Western China.
Would it be less interesting for Japan? Probably sure. But the movement of large armies across this region never happened, for either side, and it’s completely unrealistic historically. As unrealistic as moving large armies across the Gobi or the Himalayas (or the Sahara for that matter). Its at least as easy to imagine active armies rolling over Spain or Turkey or Mongolia, and all those tiles are impassable in 1942.2. I just don’t see the need to give the Japanese such an obvious choice. At least the choice between the North and South would be consequential (you can’t do both at the same time.) With the central route open you can do all 3 at the same time!
The northern and southern route are both 5 turn routes…
Sz 62 into Buryatia, Yakut, Evenki, Novos/Vologda/Arch, Moscow: 5 turns from Japan
Sz 36 into Burma, India, Persia, Caucasus, Moscow: 5 turns from Japan
But Sz 61 into Yunnan, Szech, Kazakh, Moscow: 4 turns from Japan!
There is isn’t an interesting choice, the decision is obvious. Japan should use sz61 into Yunnan. Not only because it’s the fastest route to Moscow and an ideal shuck, but because it also covers India and the Southern route at the same time. Yunnan is adjacent to Burma, and sz 61 is one move from India, so this move only puts you one turn off the Southern Route, you lose practically no time at all on the redirect. But more importantly, if Japan sends 20+ units into Szech or Sinkiang (to crush China), they can just keep marching forwards towards Moscow without skipping a beat. If an impassable tile blocked this route, then such a move would be putting Japan 2 turns out of position on the either the Northern or Southern route should they decide to handle China.
That is an actual choice, because there would be a cost (in time) for executing the center crush, if Japan moves in from the coast to conquer the Chinese interior.
In other words an impassable tile would force a decision, where one doesnt currently exist. A decision that looks a bit more like the decision Japan faced in the actual war. Do they attack the Russians in the North? The British in the South? Or do they commit to the conflict in China? Historically they chose option 3 (with like their entire army) and ended up losing the wider War. The game doesn’t model this very well, because China here is a cakewalk conquest. It’s not a “speed bump,” but a smoothly paved super highway, running along the most direct route to Moscow. All I’m saying.
Well, sure, as a matter of map design principles, if we were making a new map and/or new unit setup, then an impassible Gobi Desert tile would allow for a starting factory in Szechuan. You could make Burma adjacent to Szechuan as well as Yunnan, so that British reinforcements weren’t too difficult, and you could even add one Russian tile on the southern side of the Gobi desert. Those are all very interesting ideas if we’re designing a new map from scratch (which I am not opposed to!).
As a mod for the current 1942.2 map, I don’t find these ideas as compelling. Making China stronger weakens or delays the Axis center crush, but it doesn’t change the underlying logic – the Axis can’t win the game in China, they can’t win the game in Siberia, they can’t win the game in Hawaii, and they can’t win the game in Australia, so sooner or later the Axis will have to converge on India/Egypt/Caucasus. If China is sufficiently strong, then you can weaken the Axis relative to the Allies or you can weaken the Axis Pacific relative to the Axis Atlantic – but you’d have to get the balance exactly right, or else China would be so strong that Japan’s only viable strategy will be crushing China first and then shifting to another theater afterward.
I take your point that you aren’t necessarily trying to fix overall game balance here, just trying to salvage the Chinese theater in a way that doesn’t require nation-specific rules…but I’m not convinced that the Chinese theater is on the top-10 list of problems with the 1942.2 map. To me the decision to invade Moscow through China doesn’t seem “obvious” for Japan. Yes, the central route is one turn shorter, but the southern route has the advantage of a juicy factory along the way, and the northern route has the advantage of choking off Russian income, helping the Germans to whittle Russia down to nothing while you’re marching. I think these are interesting choices, and I’d be really hesitant to close one of those choices off without replacing them with something equally interesting.
Part of my idea behind the “two land units per turn” rule is that it does simulate the difficulty of getting “large armies across the region” while preserving the central route as an interesting choice for Japan. If Japan can take and hold the Szechuan starting factory, then they can use it to harass the Russian (and Indian) rear in Kazakh. If Japan can put enough hurt on China to neutralize China as a fighting force, then at least that guards the Japanese rear in Manchuria/Kiangsu/Kwangtung, and the players might wind up lightly trading the Szechuan factory, which is an interesting and plausible alternate history. If Japan withdraws from China altogether, America has the option of slowly shifting some of the Chinese forces toward Moscow, but they can’t just suddenly redeploy the entire Chinese Nationalist army to Russian territory.
The initial A0 proposal was for a full combat turn, and if your playgroup sees the game as hugely biased toward the Axis, then by all means, give that a try and let us know how it goes!
If you’re also going to give the US an extra 10 IPCs a turn, and you’re also going to make all ships move 3 spaces, then that just seems broken to me. As just one example, the US could conquer France on A0 using its two starting transports. Britain could follow up with another loaded transport on B1, from Canada. America would build about three more loaded transports on A0 that would reach France on A1. The USA would get about 58 IPCs to spend on A1 – enough for 4 new loaded transports to hit the water, which will reach France on A2. So Germany would have to deal with 10 loaded transports (20 units) hitting France within the first two full rounds of the game. There’s no way Germany has the troops to deal with those invasions and also send enough to the eastern front to avoid getting crushed – I think if you actually play with all of the changes you suggest, you’ll see Berlin falling on A4 more often than not.
I guess my thought was that if you blocked the center route, then other balancing options might become possible. Because we wouldn’t have to deal with all the issues that free movement across that border produces.Unlike some other map adjustment proposals (such as adding new territories or sea zones) this one just cuts off the connections. Pretty simple to state and memorize.
I see it as being rather similar to the optional rule that closes off sz 16.
With an A0 turn, this might make an IC purchase in China actually workable. Similar to the Classic strategy where the Brits would buy an IC in India and the Americans would buy one in Sinkiang, with the idea that Japan might take one or the other, but would be hard pressed to take both. On this board the India IC is already in place. Even in Classic though, China presented similar problems to what we see in 1942.2. The Americans love to just pull out at the first oppertunity.
Restricting the movement to a certain number of units is novel, but also totally unprecedented. No other tile on the map is treated that way, so to me that’s similar to the approach taken in AA50… Like ‘let’s just make the rules for the Chinese different than everyone else.’ I prefer a game where all regions/players are opperating under the same set of universal rules, as opposed to what we see especially in Global, where there are special rules for practically everything.
I agree that this issue might not be the most salient, esp. when compared with other things like the capital capture dynamic or the VC spread. I was just trying to think of a simple way to alter the movement on the map, without having to actually alter the way the map is drawn.
To Holy Roller, I still think the game is playable with a full American turn to start. The game then becomes Allied advantage. That isn’t such a bad thing though. It just means you might need an Axis bid, or something else to make it balanced by sides, among players of equal skill. I think the play patterns would probably still be pretty entertaining though.
You might try it as is with a full A0 turn, and see how the game shakes out. Then if it’s too strong for the Allies in your play group, you can always scale it back to a restricted A0 opening.
I think your China rule does more good than harm, especially when combined with an A0 turn and/or starting factory in sinking.
It could be fun to try a game with:
- A0 noncombat
- Impassable Gobi Desert, and
- One free extra starting factory in a 1-IPC territory for each player.
I think those rules would all synergize well with each other!
If there is any hope for the Allies to have a chance, the US has to be more involved (as we all know). Along with the map problems, the game doesn’t give the US a real opportunity to threaten Germany or Japan, especially in the early to midgame. End game is too late.
Here are my suggestions:
Going off the A0 idea, why not just change the turn order and have US go first (combat and all)? Then keep the countries the same, thus Japan goes last. US can clear out the two enemy subs, maybe go into Africa, and set up in the Pacific.
Give the US a plus 10 for holding West, Central, and Eastern US. It doesn’t make sense that the US is on par or behind in the industrial IPCs. Common, its the US. It has to spend so much on naval to transport troops and aid its allies.
Ships can move 3 to cut down on game time and create real threats to enemy borders without 2 turns to defend.
I can say that M3 doesn’t seem to change anything for India IC.
Seems so hard to resist Japan Juggernaught if both IJN TP are kept alive.
M3 UK Cruiser allow more invading possibility but doesn’t seems a good idea.
It needs more strategy to keep Allies head above water.
And 3M was not a factor in IJN TP action.
IMO, it needs more than that. Or maybe this make a difference in KGF…