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A Question Of Balance



  • Hi all,

    I’m new to this forum, but not new to Axis and Allies.  Lately, 1914 has been my passion.  With that said, I’d like to open with a basic and open-ended question.  Is there general consensus that this game is unbalanced in favor of one alliance?  If so, which one and do standard tournament rules successfully address this?


  • 2018 2017 2016

    Hey Jonathan it’s good to see you on here!

    I find that the Allies have a decided advantage over the Central Powers. I’ve tried to address this by giving Germany 2 Zeppelins and a fighter each for AH and Ottomans to start the game which has helped but still it seems a but unbalanced. I play the same tournament rules as you do.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    The Allies.
    I like to take away a French Battleship and two of its TTs. It is far too easy for the Coalition to eliminate all Central Powers ships in the Med/Black Sea, by attacking one nation at a time.
    It is still fun to play, despite expecting every game to be an Allied victory.



  • Thanks for the warm welcome, GeneralHandGrenade, and for the feedback from both of you.

    I’m not familiar with the Zeppelin unit.  Is that something that’s added in a variant?



  • We give Germany an industrial complex in Munich


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Good point, corporal. Had forgotten: not having a Western IC is ridiculous, considering  German industry.



  • You could also limit Indias production….otherwise the Turks get smoked



  • Still love this game….we play this or Global 1940 or HBG 1939 and sometimes Anniversary Edition


  • 2018 2017 2016

    I picked up 2 of these Jonathan. The trick is to try and get the values right (attack,defence,cost,abilities) while trying to be somewhat historically accurate. I found that the rules included with these units don’t work with the 1914 game. If you use the cost for instance, you get your butt kicked because you haven’t been able to purchase enough infantry. The last time I played was a while ago. I gave the Germans one Zep and base and then made them purchase the other. The allies still beat them but the game was a lot closer. Next time I’ll give them 2 Zeps with bases and see how that works out.
    http://www.historicalboardgaming.com/Zeppelins-3D-Printed-Set_p_1987.html


  • 2016

    I too am a big fan of the game.  Its fine, but too simple for me - but it is a great “core” for a starting place to add house rules.  I hope there is a future version that incorporates some of the many fine suggestions in these forums.
    As to balance - it is tilted to AP.  For starters I like these simple changes…

    1) German Indian Navy:
    To represent raiding ships in the Indian Ocean, place 1 German CA in SZ26.

    2) Neutral Italy: (there are many variations on this - but here is mine) (Turn 1 only)
    (Note: Need one of these changes for balance; 1) change UK setup to move 1 CA from SZ29 to SZ19; 2) move UK CA/TR from SZ19 to SZ28; OR 3) create new SZ31 by splitting SZ17 in half at a point on border between SZ16 and SZ17 below Sicily and extending to point where Albania borders Greece.)
    Italy is neutral unless attacked by the Central Powers.  If attacked (land or sea), then Italy immediately enters the war against the CP.  This includes attacks against Albania and Libya. Otherwise during turn 1 the following restrictions are in place:

    a. Italy must stay inside original territories or Albania.  It can invade a non-violated neutral.  Sea movement is not restricted, however it may not attack CP naval forces.  Italian forces cannot be used as mobilizing force for a neutral.
    b. Allied powers may not move into Italian original territories or Albania.
    c. The CP may enter SZ 17 and conduct amphib assaults against Egypt and Greece without having to battle Italian sea forces.  SZ 17 mines are only activated if Italy, Libya, or Albania are attacked.

    3) Spanish Morocco:
    Attacks against SPM mobilizes 2 units and makes Spain a Minor Aligned power.  If attacked by CP, it will be aligned with France.  If attacked by AP, it will be aligned with Germany.



  • Intriguing possibilities.  Thanks for the feedback, all!


  • Customizer

    A few of my balancing ideas:

    The number of UK units mobilized in India can never be more than half the number placed in UK.

    If Russia is knocked out, the CPs get a number of free units to represent freed prisoners of war. This could be extended to any power being eliminated, but applies more usually here.

    USA does not collect money or buy units until it is at war. One first turn at war it gets a “draught bonus” and can but infantry at 2 for that turn only.

    To represent the central European rail system, the CPs can transport units up to 3 areas within their original European territories.

    As above, Munich is a production centre, but losing Berlin, Munich or Vienna results in an instant CP defeat.

    CPs can create red “Bolshevik” infantry units in occupied Russia. These will fight “White” Russians and any other Allied units in original Russian tt.



  • @corporal:

    Still love this game….we play this or Global 1940 or HBG 1939 and sometimes Anniversary Edition

    Man, I want HBG 1939 so bad…  I’m jealous.



  • Maybe it’s just me but I find the game to be well balanced. It might be the players I play with, but I find most of my games 50 50



  • @DessertFox599:

    Maybe it’s just me but I find the game to be well balanced. It might be the players I play with, but I find most of my games 50 50

    I think the game is skewed in the Allies’ favor, though that is true of many A&A games. The one thing it does give is that it forces both sides to adopt different playstyles.

    Compared to other A&As I have played (Europe, 1941,1942), I think that 1914 gives the Axis a slightly better chance of winning than other games, though you still do need a little luck of the dice.

    What I do like about 1914 is that the one-combat round only makes it harder for people to lose a game in a single large battle and smaller battles can actually cause you issues if you get a bad roll, opening up opportunities. Overall, it’s my favorite game regardless of who I play.


  • TripleA

    Central powers dominate this game if played aggressively and properly oob or tournament rules.


  • TripleA

    Anniversary edition, global, and all new edition of axis and allies strongly favor the axis. The developers did not intend for this and upon release most people said the allies were strong.

    Over time the axis refine their purchases and movements and the allies start to feel the devastation. I put my J1 Dow play book out for global and over the course of a few months the allies went from winning 60-70% of the games to winning 30-40%. A complete reverse.

    Basically the only thing holding the central powers down is a strategy guide with various openers and pictures to showcase (so you can quickly move in a live game and do your standard opener).


  • 2016

    Balanced?  Not sure.  Could be CP or AP - dice are a big factor, esp. bad mine or pre-emptive rolls on an amphib attack can totally change the flow.  Also, the Mediterranean and Africa become big non-factors in strategy for the CP player - once forces are lost in Africa, CP cannot replenish.  AH or OE are very discouraged from breaking out into the Med, Mines, Mines, Mines!

    I see couple of things that would help give more options to strategies, which gives more balance.

    1. Change mine roll hits on transports can be absorbed by loss of a load.
    2. Add another neutral sea zone in eastern Med (split of SZ17).
    3. Add a German sub to the Med (keeps French transports from roaming freely).
    4. Add a German cruiser to Indian Ocean (this discourages UK from amphib landings in S. Africa).
    5. Make Albania and Portugal neutrals.  But if CP attacks Portuguese colonies, Portugal becomes AP aligned.
    6. Switzerland should be impassible.
    7. Add Russian sub and Ottoman transport to Black Sea (optional remove both a RU and OE CA from Black Sea).

  • Customizer

    If playing OOB allow Germany to place new units in Munich.


  • TripleA

    If you really want the sure thing at winning with the axis, global is great.



  • “House Rules” changes or additions to Axis & Allies: 1914

    To better balance play between the Allies and the Central Powers,  to improve historical accuracy, and to add a new Irish rebellion option. This is how I will play A&A 1914 henceforth, chez moi.

    Germany Set Up
    Add a German Cruiser and Transport to Sea Zone 24 and a German Cruiser in Sea Zone 26.

    The Germans had a respectable navy operating in the South Atlantic and in the Pacific in 1914 and there were running sea battles between German and British flotillas during this time in these regions.  The game should reflect this, and it also adds a necessary element of tension in what is otherwise a complete sideshow (Africa) where the UK and France are not challenged at all.

    Movement: ENTRAIN
    Once a turn, before resolving combat, a player may move any number of pieces from one single space directly along a path of contiguous spaces to his capital, as long as the capital is uncontested and the route is not blocked by hostile or contested territory.  Any sea spaces involved also must be free of all enemy naval units and also contain at least one friendly Transport ship.  This movement must end in the capital; units may not stop elsewhere en route.

    This reflects nations’ abilities to transfer troops rapidly along a rail system from front to front, as happened regularly during the war, particularly for the Germans for their big 1918 offensive after their Eastern Front stabilized; the current game, with its slow movement rates, makes this impossible.

    Submarine Sneak Attack
    Submarines always have a “first shot” ability when attacking or defending and then the option to submerge after any round of combat.  Submarines as defenders only hit on a roll of 1.  Hits by submarines are inflicted before returning fire.  Submarine versus submarine combat is considered simultaneous, as per normal combat.

    Similar concept to “regular” A&A (WWII).  I don’t know why the 1914 game doesn’t allow for “sneak attacks.”  It was even harder to detect or avoid enemy subs in WWI than WWII.  And Germany badly needs this equalizer.

    Swiss Mobilization
    If  Switzerland’s neutrality is violated, it mobilizes 6 units (1 artillery and 5 infantry) hostile to the invaders.  Switzerland’s IPC value remains at 1.

    Switzerland preserved its neutrality through two world wars by deterring attackers who would have faced a nation fully in arms and prepared to resist from many mountain strongholds and fortresses.  The Swiss should be much harder to subdue than this game provides and a special rule is in order, especially given the game board’s layout that makes Switzerland an overly tempting target out of proportion to to geography.

    Russian Revolution
    The Russian revolution rule is always in effect, not merely an optional rule. If the Revolution occurs, Russian IPCs are returned to the bank, not awarded to a player, but the Central Powers DO get credit for “capturing” a capital (Moscow).

    The Revolution knocks Russia out of the war and it’s silly to punish the Central Powers by denying them credit for this.

    Revolt in Ireland
    No non-British Allied land or air units are permitted in Ireland. The German player may invest a total of 3 IPCs during each Purchase Units phase in hopes of fomenting an Irish rebellion – similar to the technology tables in early edition A&A, 3 IPCs spent buys ONE immediate die roll THAT TURN only (i.e., the spent IPCs are not retained or carried over to succeeding turns).  Having any German ship adjacent to Ireland at this time provides a +1 to the die roll for this check. If a modified roll of 6 is rolled on a die, Irish nationalist republicans revolt.  Irish rebellion is also automatically triggered by any German land unit present in Ireland at the end of a German turn.+

    If Ireland rebels, immediately place two infantry figures in Ireland under the control of the German player; these represent Irish rebel forces hostile to Great Britain.  If Great Britain loses control of Ireland or Ireland is contested, at the start of each British player Purchase Units phase the British player forfeits as many IPCs as there are enemy units in Ireland directly to the German player, up to a maximum of 8.  If Great Britain loses control of Ireland and Ireland is not contested Ireland becomes controlled by Germany and Germany receives its IPC value. At the start of each German turn that Ireland is controlled by Germany or contested, another Irish rebel infantry figure is placed in Ireland, up to a maximum of four rebel infantry units. Only infantry units are raised as Irish rebel units but there is no limit to other nation’s units that can be moved to Ireland.  Irish rebel units may not leave Ireland. Ireland will only revolt once in a game.

    This rule simulates the complicated political situation existing in Ireland during WWI and the historical “Easter Uprising” of 1916. Because German submarines were often used to smuggle weapons and personnel to Ireland during this time, and German invasion prospects encouraged the Fenians,  the presence of German naval units increases the chances of rebellion.  The USA and France traditionally sympathized with Irish republicanism and their governments were not likely to agree to their militaries forsaking the war against Germany to suppress Irish nationalism.


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