Concerns and Balance Problems with 42.2

  • '17 '16

    @Black_Elk:

    Well if your group is willing to accept things like additional VCs, then sure, going with the 15 Victory City spread from AA50 would be ideal. But again, I think it comes down to ease of use, and the more changes from OOB the less likely it is to be widely adopted. My editorial comment about Sydney and production for Australia was more a lament than a suggestion for a change. Probably only the designers could made a change like that stick.

    **For the map as drawn, if you want a quick victory, then the simplest is:

    8 VCs for the Axis win.
    9 VCs for the Allied win.

    As the Axis that basically takes the game down to 2 out of 3: India, Karelia or Hawaii (plus their starting VCs)**. As the Allies, taking 3 out of 4: Kiangsu, Philippines, France or Italy (plus their starting VCs.)

    Maybe this would provide a quicker 1942.2 game under a USA R0 full combat turn. Actually, OOB, it is too easy for Axis to grab and hold Hawaii and Leningrad early game, thus securing a technical 8 VCs victory.
    Do you believe an 8 VCs Axis victory conditions becomes balanced assuming a USA full fledged R0?

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    I’m just replying to Baron’s reply pertaining to Axis winning the game without taking Moscow. In my 40 game we have Oslo as a German victory city at game start and have to hold Oslo without taking Moscow and Japan holding all there victory city’s plus Philliphines.

    Germany still needs to take Leningrad and Stalingrad and hold. They just have to split there pieces (fronts) 3 ways or make a major push to Moscow and lose Oslo.

    Not trying to throw this off topic.

  • '17 '16

    @SS:

    I’m just replying to Baron’s reply pertaining to Axis winning the game without taking Moscow. In my 40 game we have Oslo as a German victory city at game start and have to hold Oslo without taking Moscow and Japan holding all there victory city’s plus Philliphines.

    Germany still needs to take Leningrad and Stalingrad and hold. They just have to split there pieces (fronts) 3 ways or make a major push to Moscow and lose Oslo.

    Not trying to throw this off topic.

    Does it make for an easier Axis win? Or is it just for shorter game sake?
    It seems to me that Germany can better be able to hold these three VCs while Japan hold Manilla than holding Leningrad, Stalingrad and Moscow, with Japan still holding Manilla.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    Yes we are trying to make game shorter. Right now after first 2 turns in game UK Us can land 20 ground next 2 turns in Oslo. So I don’t think it’s easier for Germany.
    This is being tested now. I will discuss in global war thread and this is with your reduced costs and values.
    We want game victory condition be if Axis holds 15 VC at end of turn 10 they win.

  • '17 '16

    @SS:

    Yes we are trying to make game shorter. Right now after first 2 turns in game UK Us can land 20 ground next 2 turns in Oslo. So I don’t think it’s easier for Germany.
    This is being tested now. I will discuss in global war thread and this is with your reduced costs and values.
    We want game victory condition be if Axis holds 15 VC at end of turn 10 they win.

    Interesting. Please, give us a link, once you open your feedback thread.  🙂

  • '19 '15 '14

    @Baron:

    Maybe this would provide a quicker 1942.2 game under a USA R0 full combat turn. Actually, OOB, it is too easy for Axis to grab and hold Hawaii and Leningrad early game, thus securing a technical 8 VCs victory.
    Do you believe an 8 VCs Axis victory conditions becomes balanced assuming a USA full fledged R0?

    Well I think with the Pearl fleet surviving, and the option to make a support build out of W. US on the zero turn, it’s possible for the US to put up pretty strong defense at Holonulu. You also get a warning one round in advance, if the Japanese are positioning transports against Hawaii, so there’s some time to do damage control. The Chinese units are not very far from Moscow, since Szech is only two spaces from the Russian capital, this should help keep that VC out of contention for at least a little while. So such a game likely hinges on India, or more accurately, whether the Allies can trade Calcutta for Paris or Rome in time to prevent the early Axis win. This is more realistic now given that it’s possible to save the Atlantic transports.

    Of course denying the Axis 8 VCs, is rather different than holding 9 of your own as Allies. Still, if the idea is to force a Pacific showdown the 8/9 split can be interesting. It would be foolhardy of the US player to abandon Hawaii under those conditions, and if they’re already committing to the defense of Honolulu, its a lot more likely that they make a play against the South Pacific in the process, take a crack at the IJN and try for the Manila/Shanghai VCs.

    From a redesign standpoint I’d definitely support a more robust VC spread, if the play group is willing. Like if you have physical VC markers for example. But I was mainly trying to find a balance adjustment that would be very practical and simple to incorporate. I think people like you and I are a bit more amenable to the more radical HR tweaks than most players. But for those who already have a hard time persuading their regular opponents to try new things, there is something to be said for keeping it nice and clean.

    The printed manual says 9 VCs for both sides (if one ignores the errata, since the manual fails to mention Honolulu.) Perhaps 9 is optimal, since it gives the Allies a more realistic chance to actually win in a reasonable amount of time, instead of just preventing the Axis win? If 8 for Axis is too narrow, 9 at least still gives them a path to Victory without Moscow. They’d have to make a much more stalwart defense, but if the goal is simply to contain the Russians at Moscow, rather than actually taking Moscow, that defense becomes a bit less daunting.

    I do think the 8/9 split has potential with a US zero turn. It might make Honolulu too “do or die” for some people’s tastes, but then again, when was the last time we saw a real showdown over Hawaii. Maybe some might enjoy that kind of game, for a quickie.
    😄

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Very interesting, as always. Black_Elk, I enjoyed your discussion of A0-related openings, although I don’t have anything intelligent to say about them until I see at least one A0 game played out!

    I just finished a couple of games of A&A Anniversary Edition, 1941 Scenario, and while I don’t want to take the thread off topic, I do want to say that that map does an excellent job of persuading players to fight in both the Atlantic and the Pacific without any heavy-handed rules, so it can be done.

    I think that if you have a group that balks at the idea of custom victory cities, then the whole “balance” discussion becomes a bit pointless …victory cities are a pretty minor change; if you’re not willing to move some victory cities around, then what are you going to do? If your play group is that attached to having an official ruleset, then I’d suggest either (a) getting a copy of Anniversary Edition, (b) resigning yourself to an endless mad rush to the center, or © switching franchises altogether and playing something like Churchill or Quartermaster General or Memoir '44 or Europe Engulfed. It’s not worth trying to come up with alternate rule sets to please people who are so conservative and nervous about house rules that they’ll just dismiss whatever you come up with as “too weird.”

    Assuming you do have a playgroup that will tolerate new victory cities, I think the problem with making Stalingrad a “European” victory city is that it’s too close to the routes Japan would take in a standard center-crush game. Japan is headed for India and Szechuan anyway as early as turn 2, and then Stalingrad is two spaces from either India or Szechuan. If Japan takes Calcutta, Sydney, and Stalingrad, that just means Japan’s having an ordinary good day – it doesn’t mean the Axis have made any inroads at all on the European front, and it doesn’t mean Japan has launched a successful attack on the periphery of the board. Another problem with Stalingrad as one of three VCs needed for victory is that if Germany takes both Leningrad and Moscow, then Stalingrad falling into Axis hands as well is really a foregone conclusion – you’re never going to be able to save Stalingrad out of, e.g., a British Indian factory pumping out three tanks a turn, some of which are surely needed to resist Japanese pressure from east Asia, against a German Moscow factory pumping out eight tanks a turn. So if the Axis can win by taking Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad, then, again, that encourages the standard center crush. Stalingrad is part of the center. You don’t want to encourage people to go there; they do that enough already as it is.

    My instinct is to flood the board with victory cities and then require a team to capture a net of four victory cities in order to win a quick game, five net victory cities for a standard full game, and six net victory cities for an epic game. The goal would be to choose a selection of victory cities such that (a) you can’t reach your goal by winning in only one small region of the board, and (b) if you have reached your goal, then it means you have a strong, dominant lead, and it’s extremely unlikely (<5%) that you could stage a successful comeback. I would also want to © balance the VCs so each side has the same number of starting VCs, so it’s easy and unambiguous to see who’s winning. For example, you could use a setup like this:

    | | Allied VCs | Axis VCs |
    | Atlantic | | |
    | | New York | Berlin |
    | | Ottawa | Paris |
    | | London | Rome |
    | | Rio de Janeiro | Oslo |
    | | Leningrad | Algiers |
    | | Moscow | Kiev |
    | Pacific | | |
    | | Calcutta | Singapore |
    | | Chongqing | Hong Kong |
    | | Capetown | Beijing |
    | | Honolulu | Manila |
    | | San Francisco | Tokyo |

    If your group finds the victory cities hard to remember, you could buy some gold stars from any CVS or Walgreens or Target for $1.50 and stick 'em on the board – they ought to peel off again without too much trouble. If you’re paranoid about protecting your board, you can take a standard post-it note and cut it into 1-cm-square strips, or use glass pebbles, or print out the victory city list and put it next to the map, or really just about any technique you like. If you have the mental fortitude to play Axis & Allies often enough that you start to notice the imbalances in the standard setup, then in my opinion you really ought to be able to handle the challenge of marking some alternate victory cities.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Point well taken  😄

    Again I’m all in favor of pushing things pretty far at my house. I’m not opposed to using a number of different HRs to make the 42.2 map more interesting, including additional VCs. But from a practical standpoint, I’m looking at it like this…

    For a simple A0 concept, otherwise keeping all the same rules and set up, then you can play the scenario in tripleA quite easily. The zero round can be accomplished with a quick edit, or loading a gamesave. The victory conditions already available in the map options offer three choices for the VC win:

    “projection of power” = 8/9
    “honorable surrender” = 9/10
    “total victory” = 13/13 ie plays until concession.

    Doing other things, such as introducing more VCs, likely requires an xml edit or downloading a custom map.

    Similarly, in a face to face game, if you’re on the away team (visiting someone else’s house playing on their board), it might be challenging trying to convince the rest of the gang to make map changes on the fly. Even if its relatively simple to do with markers or stickers, its still new information they have to get their heads around and keep track of.

    I’m also thinking here about viability for competitive play, or as something that might have broad appeal under tournament or con conditions. If the A0 concept can work and still be engaging without requiring additional tweaks, I’d be inclined to start there and keep it small, just to see whether people warm to it.

    There’s a fair amount of novelty to a US start in A&A (even a restricted opening) since it’s never been done before.  All we’ve had thus far are games where Russia opens, or Germany/Japan in the case of AA50 or 1940, but an American opener for a 1942 timeline has definite potential. As the Nation with the most starting cash, there is some real flexibility in setting the tone for the game with their purchase. This doesn’t diminish the tough choices that the Russians and Brits still have to make during their openings, but it does give you a way to develop a strategy based on purchasing rather than just adapting to whatever the dice throw your way.

    In the OOB game bringing a grand strategy to the table as Allies is a bit of a stretch. This usually just amounts to deciding how you will use the bid, hoping for a round one battle breaker, and then trying your best not to get hosed from there. But the A0 option opens things up considerably. The ability to move your starting units and make a purchase at 42 ipcs with the Americans provides a fair amount of variety, and the chance to set up an actual plan for the game. A plan that is a bit more active (or a bit less reactive) than their role in the traditional start.

    But yeah, I agree, the boxed game could doubtless be improved by things like new VCs and victory conditions. I guess I was just trying to keep my ambitions for the A0 idea somewhat more modest at this point, since it’s a pretty significant tweak.

    Just one final thought…
    If Axis can still return wins under these conditions, it makes a pretty interesting statement about the OOB balance and production spread. The suggested proposal for an A0 turn saves just shy of 70 TUV for the Allies in the opening round. But that’s not exactly a complete picture either, since the Axis will typically put up about 50 TUV in order to kill those American units, in attacks which would no longer be relevant. So it’s not quite as lopsided as it might seem initially. I think this start will show how the map plays on balance, when a huge TUV swing in the first round doesn’t necessarily determine the whole game.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love your A0 idea, not least because as you say, it is a very simple, direct, lightweight change that has big consequences on the board. I would be thrilled to playtest the A0 start (probably non-combat at first) even without any change in the victory cities. Most of my playgroups have historically been pretty reasonable about deciding when to call a game, so the VC issue is more about tournament play than it is about ‘fixing’ the game’s balance problems.

    In a straight A0 non-combat game with no bid, one additional KJF strategy that I’d like to toss into the ring is to build a large British Indian fleet. Here’s how I’d do it: first, stack the entire American Pacific Fleet in the Solomon Islands on A0 (you don’t have to fight the Japanese submarine, so you should be able to do it in noncombat). Also on A0, move the Flying Tigers to land on the British carrier off India. Then, on R1, the Russians send a fighter to reinforce Egypt on R1 so that the Egyptian fighter survives.

    On B1, the British buy 1 CV, 1 ftr, 1 sub (30 IPCs), and send just the fighter from the Indian carrier against the Japanese DD + transport near China. If the fighter sinks the Japanese DD without dying, then the British fleet purchase can be placed in the Indian sea zone, and the fighter can return to land in the same sea zone it came from; the Egyptian fighter and the newly built fighter land on the newly built carrier, leaving the British with a total fleet of 2 CV, 4 ftr, 1 CA, 1 SS, 1 transport in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, the British Australian fleet stacks up with the Americans in the Solomon Islands for safety and reinforcement.

    If the Japanese attack the British Indian fleet with everything that can reach, their average casualties are 6 fighters (six!). The Japanese wind up losing $60 of TUV to sink $93 worth of Allied boats and planes, which sounds like a good deal for the Japanese, but they’re going to be very hard pressed to make that attack and also come up with a fleet that can deter an A1 (!) attack on any of the three money islands. If the Americans can take and hold a money island starting on A1, with the Australian fleet and A0 build as follow-up forces, then that’s an American factory on A2 followed by 4 capital ships dropped in the south Pacific on A3 – Japan could really get steamrolled. Japan even has as 20% chance of losing against the British fleet, throwing their entire airforce (6 ftr, 1 bomber) and two capital ships against the British Indian fleet and coming away with zero surviving assets. Some Japanese players won’t be willing to take that risk, and some players who do take that risk will get burned hard.

    On the other hand, if the Japanese don’t attack the British Indian fleet, then the two Allied fleets can meet up on A1 / B2 in either the Philippines or Borneo, and then they will definitely be able to take and hold a money island – once those fleets get together, Japan’s got no way to match them in firepower.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    Well, leave it to the community to come up with a great way to fix the version.

    Only problem is, I still have to play “official” versions of the game (with bid obv), so I can’t conjecture about changing the game too much.  Seems wise to tweak what’s broken in order to breathe life into this version, but we’re mostly discussing how that bid is going to play out in a problematic game.

    Game 119 (42.2)  This time, I was Germany.  Of course, my opponent needed to show me how good my opener is as long as someone else does it.  He hit finland (took), wrussia (left with 1 armor, perfect strafe), and Ukraine (left with 1 fighter, perfect retreat).

    After I lost all these pieces, it felt like I had minimal stuff left as Germany;  I was pre-gutted.  At that point, I should have probably gone 100% land but I did fiddle around with protecting my ships and so only got 2-5 armor inf per turn down.

    Japan hit many of its objectives, surprising the American early fleet of Alaska, chasing off UK, grabbing tons of money.  Thought that the allied play could have been wiser but that wasn’t my side of the board this time.

    Allies admitted a loss, even though I couldn’t take Moscow in any event, the loss of the KJF fleet was too much.

    Takeaway;  Russia is better off hitting x3 territories and killing what it can, or Germany rages.  When I hit x3, I get my butt kicked and Germany has plenty left.  When my opponent does it to me?  I lose it almost all the good stuff Germany has.    Hitting finland may be better than anticipated because there are only limited Norway troops to reply (and if the fleet is down, then no reinforce.

    Game 120 (G41)  This setup is amazing, it takes forever and you get everything.  One of the guys insisted on putting kamis back in, as far as I can tell Oztea took them out simply to give the US a chance of actually confronting Japan, the kamis add risk to any kind of conventional takeover.

    Either way, the game is much harder for the Axis, to the point of being difficult to win.  Japan attacked and took Hawaii, an amazing amount of stuff came.  The USA had to send everything in reply;  1 carrier 2 tacticals and 2 strats lived.  Though I intended to KGF, he kept most of my stuff busy with retaking Hawaii.    I was going to send the strats to London, but the Japan pressure meant that I had to orient most of my actions around keeping him at bay.

    There are some ways for the US to grab german income, and make a difference in Africa.  This still requires careful buying, my fleet at the end of the game (T5 begin) was 1 cruiser, 1 bb, 2 carriers, 5 trans with 4 more coming.

    Japan lost its continental empire to the little guys.  One bad move in Russia and Japan’s money is cooked.  Japan may have held USA attention, but it was at the cost of picking off UKANZAC ships and Chinese strongpoints and so his money was 22 at game end.

    But, despite the odds, Germany used Italy to kill a 5 man stack of infantry, then pierced Moscow with 11 tanks 6 mechs and air, winning with one tank.  That gave him $104, which would have brought his airforce back to life.

    Game ended after 8 hours with an allied minor victory, Japan admitted he was on the ropes.

  • '19 '15 '14

    Haha now we’re talking! That sort of opening by UK would definitely cause the Japanese some headaches. I think I’d probably have to write off Borneo as Japan and concentrate on preserving my fleet. Attacking the Allied ships would be too a costly proposition, but on defense at least you’d only have to face one of the Allies at a time on the water. Huddle up and hope Germany comes to the rescue lol. I like how the zero turn for US, makes a naval build out of India something that might be worth considering (instead of instant death like OOB.)

    To Taamvan, I’ve definitely been there before. Watching your opponent score a perfect strafe is tough! I think were I in your position playing as Russia, with a string of poor luck in past games, I’d try to seize the whole bid for myself hehe. Another artillery unit for the Ukraine attack, and some infantry along a broad front, so Stalin be more of a madman on R1. Go big and then let the Anglo Americans pick up the pieces haha. Are you guys still trying to make it work at 12 on the bid, or starting to go higher?

    I think the A0 tweak might do a lot to turn this map inside out, but I also appreciate the desire to try and keep it official. I don’t know that anyone other than Larry could persuade people to adopt a new approach. I think until there is an official addendum that highlights alternative methods, we’re basically left with a tacit endorsement of the bid process commonly used in the major tournaments. I’ve long felt that bidding in A&A leaves a lot to be desired, and any alternative proposed by the designer would likely supercede the bid process right away, but stuff like that hasn’t been forthcoming.

    If we ever do get a new edition of A&A, it would be nice if it included some formal guidelines for choosing sides, or suggested balance adjustments to deal with any disparities that might arise on an ongoing basis (whether those are due to player skill, or the OOB set up itself.) One can always hope.
    😄


  • Hey guys. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on these board. A lot of work moving from San Francisco to Boston.

    I love the Round 0 movement idea!

    Here’s my valuation:

    • 8 US china area: Anwei and yunan would be R1 losses. Pull back to Szechwan. expected loss is 4 inf with 1.33 japanese inf killed.
      +10 sz11: germany subs no longer hit sz11. Best alternative is hit sz10, which is 1 transport less profitable and remaining subs can be killed by sz11 dest on US 1
    • 9 sz53: japan no longer has a profitable strafe of sz53. For those unfamiliar the strafe is 1 sub sz44, 1 cruiser sz50, 2 fig sz50 and japan, 1 bomber japan. take 1 fighter as a loss and the sz44 carrier doesn’t need to move to sz53 during non-combat. This strafe would be a +15 attack. US sz56 to sz53 prevents the strafe. I’m reducing it by 6 because the units have an opportunity cost and could move towards africa instead.

    R0 US movement would be very close to balanced. My best estimate of bidding to balance is ~18 IPC*.

    • for those curious, the best bidding choice would be all land units. something like 3 art, 1 inf for russia to hit Belo, Ukr, and Wrus. 1 inf to egypt. An alternate solid option is +2 subs to hit sz37 with +1 egypt inf to ensure the fighter survives to participate. This has been extensively discussed in prior threads and agrees with my evaluation.
  • '17 '16

    @MarineIguana:

    Hey guys. It’s been a long time since I’ve been on these board. A lot of work moving from San Francisco to Boston.

    I love the Round 0 movement idea!

    Here’s my valuation:

    • 8 US china area: Anwei and yunan would be R1 losses. Pull back to Szechwan. expected loss is 4 inf with 1.33 japanese inf killed.
      +10 sz11: germany subs no longer hit sz11. Best alternative is hit sz10, which is 1 transport less profitable and remaining subs can be killed by sz11 dest on US 1
    • 9 sz53: japan no longer has a profitable strafe of sz53. For those unfamiliar the strafe is 1 sub sz44, 1 cruiser sz50, 2 fig sz50 and japan, 1 bomber japan. take 1 fighter as a loss and the sz44 carrier doesn’t need to move to sz53 during non-combat. This strafe would be a +15 attack. US sz56 to sz53 prevents the strafe. I’m reducing it by 6 because the units have an opportunity cost and could move towards africa instead.

    R0 US movement would be very close to balanced. *My best estimate of bidding to balance is ~18 IPC.

    • for those curious, the best bidding choice would be all land units.** something like 3 art, 1 inf for russia to hit Belo, Ukr, and Wrus. 1 inf to egypt. An alternate solid option is +2 subs to hit sz37 with +1 egypt inf to ensure the fighter survives to participate. This has been extensively discussed in prior threads and agrees with my evaluation.

    8+10+9=27 IPCs compared to 18 IPCs right?
    You said closed to balanced because most of units changes are in SZ and only China is involved?
    This have much less impact than your balanced bid put in the center, right?

  • '19 '15 '14

    The way I see it, the zero turn concept offers a nice way to scale the balance effect, depending on which phases you choose to incorporate.

    If it is a full turn, with all phases as normal, then clearly the starting conditions of the map are inverted in favor of the Allies. Probably requires a large disparity in player skill, or an Axis bid.

    If it is a restricted turn, then you have options based on which phases you choose to skip.
    If only the combat phase is skipped, but purchase is still included, (like Russia in Classic) again I believe the map flips to Allied advantage, though somewhat less so than a full opening turn.

    If you choose to skip both combat and purchase, and allow only an opening non combat movement, then it is possible that the map may still be Axis advantage or with a balance on par with typical Allied bids. Similarly if you skip all movement, and allow only a purchase/placement phase, the map might still be Axis advantage or nearly on par with a typical Allied bid. Assuming two players at equal skill of course.

    Each of these options provide the Allies with a leg up, but are rather less distorting than a very large Allied bid used at the center, or for UK subs to destroy Axis naval TUV. And I think the zero turn offers a first round balance more in line with the 1942 start date. Meaning that the opening round will look more like the historical conflict, as opposed to an alternate 1942 timeline, where Axis are just kicking ass all over the place, which seems to be the case OOB.

    One thing the zero turn does that I like, is to concentrate the extra Allied TUV at somewhat of a remove from the Russian capital, which preserves the Axis option for a rush on Moscow by Germany. Absent this option, I think Axis players would find the game change rather unsatisfying, since removing the center from play is basically handing the game to the Allies. With the zero turn, the Allies still face the logistical challenge of “saving Russia”, whether by moving Anglo American units into position for a defense of the center, or by providing a large enough distraction elsewhere such that the Axis must divert forces from that center attack. Either way, the aid to the Soviets is more indirect, which is probably better for both sides, at least from a gameplay enjoyment standpoint.

  • '17 '16

    If it is a full turn, with all phases as normal, then clearly the starting conditions of the map are inverted in favor of the Allies. Probably requires a large disparity in player skill, or an Axis bid.

    If it is a restricted turn, then you have options based on which phases you choose to skip.
    If only the combat phase is skipped, but purchase is still included, (like Russia in Classic) again I believe the map flips to Allied advantage, though somewhat less so than a full opening turn.

    If you choose to skip both combat and purchase, and allow only an opening non combat movement, then it is possible that the map may still be Axis advantage or with a balance on par with typical Allied bids. Similarly if you skip all movement, and allow only a purchase/placement phase, the map might still be Axis advantage or nearly on par with a typical Allied bid. Assuming two players at equal skill of course.

    You can almost make it like an auction usually associated to bid:

    1. Who wants to play Allied as it is?
    2. Who wants to play Allied USA R0 with non combat Movement, only?
    3. Who wants to play Allied USA R0 with purchase/placement phase, only?
    4. Who wants to play Allied USA R0 restricted, with no combat phase?
    5. Who wants to play Allied USA R0 full turn?

  • It would be interesting to see how balanced the map would be with the US getting only a non combat move. I still think you might need a 3 bid to get an infantry in Egypt, but who knows. Very interesting.

    If you allow US to purchase/noncombat move the allies will have a huge advantage because Japan is going to be toast. As the US I’d just go 100% pacific, and Japan would have 0 chance, and then the game would come down to US/UK vs Germany, and US/UK should win that one.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Especially with no bid in Egypt, I would imagine that Germany could assist Japan against a 100% KJF opening by building a carrier and a second transport in the Mediterranean and then shipping troops to Trans-Jordan / Caucasus with the idea of weakening India. (I would leave the Turkish straits open in an A0 noncombat+purchase game.) Even if the Allies take north Africa, German tanks can hoover up the IPCs in Sub-Saharan Africa, and if the Japanese don’t have to pay anything for a mainland factory because they can gain early control of the British Indian factory, then I think the Japanese can hold out for a very long time, even with the A0 turn. If needed, Germany could fly a couple of fighters over to help hold Tokyo or to land on empty Japanese carriers in SZ 62.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    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?

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I think that’s a little harsh, taamvan. Nobody’s proposing an entire game round (five turns) of non-combat for 1942.2; the idea is to have the Americans take one turn of non-combat setup. The Americans have relatively few units on the board at game start, so it will usually be a very short turn. You’ve got some 6 inf + 1 ftr in China to move, two small fleets to move in the Pacific, one small fleet to move in the Atlantic, and 3 planes to launch either eastward or westward off of the continental USA. There are enough decisions for the USA player to make on A0 that it’s more interesting to let the USA player make those decisions than to just enforce a single new starting setup, but not so many decisions that it’s likely to slow the game down. Besides, with no bid, the USA can think about their A0 turn while commuting to the game site, setting up the pieces, waiting for players to arrive, etc.

    I think it’s fascinating and elegant the way one very small change to the rules (give the Americans a non-combat turn before the game starts) winds up solving so many of the problems and frustrations with the OOB 1942.2 setup, while also creating a series of interesting new puzzles and opportunities for Allied offensives.

    Is there a risk that, after hundreds of hours of analysis and dozens of games using the A0 rules, the community will reach a new consensus about how and why the A0 setup is broken, and exactly what moves each player has to make to maximize their chances of victory? Sure, there’s some risk of that, but the worst case scenario is that we all have hundreds of hours of fun trying to figure out what the new optimal openings are, and then we make another small rule change. The best case scenario is that we’ve finally found the Holy Grail – a setup that is fair and balanced for all sides, allows multiple, meaningfully different opening strategies for all players, and rewards repeated play by generating a nearly endless series of interesting middlegame positions.


  • India won’t fall as easily as you think. With US going 100% pacific UK is going to build 2 fighters/3 inf a turn. All of which is going to go to India. 2 fighters place on UK then go to West Russia then to India. If Japan does some crazy buy like 3 transports R1 then the axis should auto loose because Japan won’t have any ability to protect them. India shouldn’t fall with US getting to purchase/non combat move before the game starts, unless Japan wants to throw the game… Normally when US goes 100% Japan first I’d agree with you that India is going to fall eventually because UK needs to pull back to save moscow, but US will be so much stronger having their pearl/east coast fleets survive that they can pressure Japan earlier and faster.

  • '19 '15 '14

    With 1940 the situation is more complicated. I think there are a number of ways one could tweak the Global start, some of which involve turn order, or new objective bonuses, or alterations to the production spread. It’s just a much more rules intensive game, so I think there’s a reasonable expectation that the rules used to balance it are probably more involved. But in 1942.2 it’s pretty straightforward.

    Here we aren’t really introducing a new rule that needs to be explained/tracked beyond the opening turn. In that way it is more like a set up change, but it uses existing game mechanics for the purposes of moving or introducing more units onto the board. Provides a degree of variability, but within certain limits, which can be scaled up if desired while still keeping the same basic rules. It’s pretty quick to execute and easy to explain even with newer players. All the phases are otherwise by the book, so we don’t have to create a new sort of phase pull it off. That said though, if you do like the bid phase in A&A, I also think the full zero turn with Axis bid has potential. Because new bids can be very entertaining to explore, and this basically gives you a way to turn the OOB game on its head, with the opposite balance by sides. So you have that on option as well.

    I agree that the early war can drag. Part of the reason why I like this opener is that it accelerates the US entry, from a 3 round build up before they can do anything of interest, to one which is much more immediate. Global has its own issues with delays already, like on the DoW, but those aren’t present here. I don’t think this tweak takes much time and if anything it probably speeds up the game by giving it a more intense start.

    The theme of the US entering the global conflict only recently can still be approximated here if desired, on that first turn, if you choose to restrict it. But after that everything plays as normal.


  • Ya I love the idea of US doing Non combat/Purchase before anyone and then axis bid. In every board since revised US has felt weak to me. That is mainly due to the new transport rule that was introduced forcing US to buy way more fleet to protect its transport shuck, and this change helps with that a ton actually making US feel like a threat again! What do you guys think would be a fair bid for the axis with this set up?

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Gosh, it’s hard to know where to start! Here’s a first stab at a wish list for Axis bids:

    (1) Germany artillery in Libya
    (2) Third German sub in North Atlantic
    (3) Second German transport in Baltic or Med
    (4) +1 German infantry in West Russia and Ukraine
    (5) German artillery in Finland
    (6) Japanese transport in East Indies or China Sea
    (7) Japanese tank for French Indochina Vietnam
    (8) Japanese DD for Solomon Islands (stop USA from stacking up there?)
    (9) +1 Japanese sub for J1 attack on an Allied Pacific fleet
    (10) Japanese artillery for Manchuria

  • '17 '16

    Do you know if a Manchuria IC bid can be considered?
    Or it should remain a set-up change?
    A German Sub in Med can help on Egypt amphib or as fodder against UK Cruiser and against an early Operation Torch in North Africa.

    Since USA R0 saves a lot of Navy, I would rule that Axis bid need to be naval units.

  • '19 '15 '14

    @taamvan:

    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.

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