There is a thread over in G40 that essentially proposes a very similar thing, which is to have an entire turn of noncomming modify the OOB setup.
In addition to using up an enormous amount of time (in that case, an entire game turn for every power with a chance to move everything) to accomplish very little that could not be accomplished by bidding or changing the setup completely and starting fresh.
First, why are we setting up any pieces any specific place if the next thing we are going to do is move them out of harms way?
Isn’t the entire point of a fixed setup is that we know what we can do, not what we can do after we move everything again? Ikusa and Risk don’t have pre-determined setups, they are totally random setups with equal pieces, Fortress America doesn’t obligate you to put any piece in any certain square…and so they are very similar wargames that avoid this problem entirely…
Doesn’t this process simply lead to an analysis of how much more optimally the game can be broken (and in whos favor) by figuring out the optimal way to move everything before the game begins?
Most important; how is it fun to play a pantomime round of war before the real war? G40 is already a kind of 4 hour rehearsal to get to the part of the game where everyone is obligated to be at war…are we moving that to 6 hours?
I’m still trying to bear this post in mind, though I really think it is directed more at that proposed global HR in the other section, rather than the idea presented here.
I agree that a large part of the appeal of A&A is the fixed nature of the opening, but I think I could make the case that the zero turn is actually more fixed than a typically large Allied bid under the OOB turn sequence. Lets say for argument that we are talking about a zero turn that includes the purchase phase as well as non-com. In that situation there are only 4 tiles on the board where new units could enter play, W. US, sz 56, E. US, sz 11. Compare this with an open bid, where there are at least a dozen viable locations (and many more that would be technically “legal” for housing new bid units).
In the zero turn, only one of the three Allies (the US) will see a change to the distribution of their starting forces, whereas with an open bid it could be any/all of the Allies. The US is also the nation with the least capability to actually destroy Axis TUV in the opening round (this start is much more oriented towards preserving American TUV, rather than destroying Axis TUV), but compare that to a bid, where the new units are almost always dedicated to destroying Axis TUV in the opener.
In defense of the traditional bid process, I will say that it certainly has three things going for it… First bidding is common, and players will tend to gravitate towards whatever is popular among other players (people all like to be on the same page going into a game like this.) Second its relatively quick to implement. Third it provides the desired degree of balance by sides (when choosing who will play who), but with an element of variability that presents the opening from getting too stale.
One thing that the traditional bid process doesn’t necessarily accomplish though, which I think people also want, is to create a balanced gameplay situation that looks a bit more like the historical conflict. I don’t mean a full on straight-jacket (there are definite limits to what you can do with A&A, before it loses its charm), but just something that resembles WW2 in 1942 a little more closely, at least for the first couple rounds. With a large enough open bid OOB, you can certainly get to the point where the Allies can pull out a game winning start, but whether that game ends up looking or feeling anything like 1942 while you’re doing it is another issue.
Will an A0 start be enough to truly alter the “drive to Moscow” dynamic that’s been the hallmark/bane of the game since Classic? Probably not. I think that would require a much more substantive change, including the rules for victory or looting capitals, and the distribution of starting forces in Russia. But I think it gets you a lot closer to making a Pacific campaign viable, or even a dual front campaign, which is still no small thing for an A&A game. I don’t think you can really get as far with an open bid. You might be able to with a set bid (i.e. fixed set up change), but those are more laborious to craft and tend to be less popular, since they involve a degree of strong-arming and apologetics, as you try to defend specific changes vs the open bid alternative, or vs every other possible custom change that one might make.
It’s not so much the bid process that I take issue with, but rather, that I don’t think an open bid alone can create the sort of historical play-patterns for the opening round that many players seem to desire for 1942.2. If however, you invert the map with the A0 start, and instead bid for Axis, maybe we end up with something a bit more satisfying in that regard?
I’d have a hard time at this point suggesting a particular bid amount for Axis under those conditions, because the Axis positional advantage is still quite strong, so its tough to say how much they really need to stay competitive. Going back to Classic (and in nearly every game since), people have often used bids to mess with the balance around the Med, Egypt and the Suez canal, to stack the Eastern Front, or alternatively for Japanese transports. I’m guessing you might see similar things here when introducing an Axis bid, if only because its familiar haha. But who knows, maybe it balances all by itself, without the need for a bid? If not, I can imagine some interesting options in the 6-10 range for Axis.