Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch

  • @Kakarrot1138 said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    After playing online at the plat level for a couple months now, I can’t imagine having to decide a winner by round 7 or so. To me, the game would seem so shallow by comparison. Like it’s more about positioning for VC scrambles as the timer is running out to eek out one more than your opponent, than actually trying to hit 9/10 VCs. Like ending a chess game after 25 moves based on who has more material. Even though you can often tell if it’s gonna be a win loss or draw by that point, that evaluation is based on the fact that the end game is there to play out. But if a chess game was actually capped at 25 moves, people would play much differently. Likewise with this game. Of course, games can’t be allowed to go on for too long in an in-person tournament. Perhaps if both sides had like a 2 hour clock running down whenever it’s their turn (except in conduct combat phase?). Has this been suggested before?

    “Plat level” likely means you’re playing 1942 Online, not 1942 Second Edition. 1942 Second Edition is very different, and GenCon is different on top of that. Pretty much all the points you bring up need to consider that context.

    For example, clocks seem like a great idea - but we’re not talking about chess players that are used to clocks that go around carrying clocks. A lot of players won’t understand how to use a chess clock and will need to be taught. Even then, many will make mistakes that will require adjudication, or just won’t use the clocks. Then too there’s a question of who pays for the clocks? Players won’t necessarily have their own. And since the clocks aren’t personal property of the players in question, they’ll leave them on tables, unsupervised, and a certain number of these $25 USD clocks can be expected to “disappear” - not necessarily through any malicious intent. So you end up wanting maybe $500 worth of chess clocks, which isn’t necessarily an issue (maybe you could find a cooperative chess league that has a lot of clocks) - but in the end, someone has to be responsible for all of that, and has to pay for any losses.

    Besides that is the question of how players take to the clocks. What if they just don’t like them? Suppose someone asks that the clock be stopped so they can use the bathroom. That could be an issue. If the clock is stopped, what about players that take a picture of the board before they go? What about players with disabilities? And you might feel that you have an answer to all these questions, but if you’re not personally administering each and every such question for the entire duration of the event, that means others are going to be involved in decisions. And nothing gets people angry so fast as uneven judge adjudication. Rule one way in one situation, another in another situation, accusations of favoritism start being thrown around. So you need to have detailed instructions available ahead of time, which half the judges won’t read - and there you go.

    It’s not the clocks that are the issue so much as getting the whole system to work. I don’t think I’d say it’s a huge issue. But you can see where chess clocks wouldn’t be a thing that would necessarily just happen.

    AFAIK at GenCon if you feel an opponent is delaying game, you can call over a judge. If you keep calling over a judge and the judge feels your repeat calls are warranted, they may do something. So there’s that. Not as good as clocks, perhaps, but perhaps enough?

    As to being shallow - Axis and Allies is generally shallow. There’s no hidden information. No diplomacy. No exchanging one resource type for another. You don’t have mechanics as in chess like pinning, checking, castling, or promotion. Probability distributions seem complex but aren’t that difficult to understand.

    That might seem like a lot to swallow, but you take a fighter out of a defense and say the win odds drop by 17%. Compare to chess, you have a pawn in the right position and you can checkmate. The possibilities in Axis and Allies collapse upon the control and location of industrial complexes. You don’t have “key squares” in chess like that, the center is important but it’s not the same.

    All that’s done at GenCon is a few things are tweaked. Maybe they seem like big tweaks, and in some ways they are, but it’s really just another set of conditions. If you feel that improvements can be made - sure. But then, what would you specifically recommend - and not just what, but who and why?

    I’m not saying why needs to be strictly defined, but I am saying it’s important to remember for context. If thinking about “why” all the time, the context becomes less “chess clocks should be a thing, get chess clocks”, and more “IF someone else thinks chess clocks are a good idea and is willing to do the administration and cost things, THEN perhaps chess clocks can happen”.

  • I mean I literally started the post with “after playing online”, so not sure why you’re like “you said plat, that means online”. Obviously ranked online uses gencon rules, and I don’t think it’s that dissimilar, particularly in the context of the issue of time controls. Yes you can’t land on friendly carriers and you have defensive profiles and such, but I’ve played oob too and it’s close enough.

    I agree that trying to introduce chess clocks probably wouldn’t work. That’s just the only thing I could think of as an idea to address my disillusionment with how stunted the game seems when it’s practically capped at such a low number of rounds. I think it’s fair to say that it significantly changes the game for the worse. Oh well.

  • @Kakarrot1138 said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    I mean I literally started the post with “after playing online”, so not sure why you’re like “you said plat, that means online”.


    @aardvarkpepper said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    “Plat level” likely means you’re playing 1942 Online, not 1942 Second Edition.

    This is the 1942 Second Edition forum board. 1942 Online has its own forum board.

    “Online” does not equate to “1942 Online”.

    TripleA games are also online. TripleA also has/had its own ladder. TripleA allows preplaced bids and many other things that 1942 Online does not. That is why it is important the distinction be made.

    @Kakarrot1138 said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    you can’t land on friendly carriers and you have defensive profiles and such, but I’ve played oob too and it’s close enough

    It’s not.

    I know, you’re coming from a perspective in which 1942 Online is fine, differences are trivial, you look at the GenCon system and you’re like “what?” Everything you’re saying seems reasonable to you, and I understand you’re saying things that make sense to you.

    But I want you to consider. These forums are twenty years old. A lot of players here have histories with Axis and Allies that go back farther than that, myself included. 1942 Second Edition is eight years old. 1942 Online is only a year and a half out.

    That doesn’t mean you have nothing to contribute. It does mean perspectives are different.

    You ask questions about GenCon, and why not? Nothing wrong with a fresh perspective. But the subtext is that there’s something wrong with GenCon. That 1942 Online is the same as 1942 Second Edition. And none of that is necessarily the case.

    You say that 1942 Online is the same as GenCon. But it’s not. It’s not just my saying so. 1942 Online doesn’t have preplaced bids. Nor does it allow use of allied carriers. These are massive, massive gameplay changes, the mathematics and mechanics change. If you have inquiries, I’d be happy to share my perspective if you post on the 1942 Online board. But not here, as I would consider that derailing the thread.

    Yes, the game is changed at GenCon. My understanding is the preplaced bid is something around 11? And that KJF is necessary as that’s the only way to contest the victory city condition that is used for adjudication when the game is called, which it probably will be.

    You said the game is crippled in GenCon, I said the game is tweaked, then you doubled down and said you think it significantly changes the game for the worse. Fair enough, you won’t take my word at face value, and why should you? You had your reasons for your opinion in the first place, what real reason have I given you to change your mind?

    I haven’t done the GenCon thing myself. But I did start reading up on it about a year ago when Black Elk put up some posts. I asked him some questions, because some stuff he said sounded weird to me. He replied, I got perspective, and then things made sense.

    If I recall, it was something like . . . Black Elk was talking about KJF, in 1942 Online. That just didn’t make sense to me. I’d run some numbers on builds and timings, and I thought KJF was garbage. But then he said at GenCon everyone was doing KJF. So I asked really? And he said yes. Then he started saying how the games were called early and talked about a preplaced bid, and I read up on how adjudication is by victory city. So I looked at it, and here’s what I think.

    I think that in GenCon, you don’t go KGF because Germany captures Karelia, Japan captures India. It’s not a certain thing that the Allies can reclaim Karelia or break France, and this is added to by the fact that in an adjudicated game Germany doesn’t have to worry about choking off USSR income at Ukraine. Germany need only reposition its forces, allow USSR to grab income that would in a normal game not be allowed, and have a safe margin for victory. (I assume Germany/Berlin and Italy are safe, as both should be deathtraps). As to Japan, they grab India and possibly Hawaiian Islands so Allies have absolutely no recourse there. KGF = loss. Simple.

    If the Allies had a massive bid then they could change the outcomes. But the Allies don’t necessarily need a massive bid to contest VCs by GenCon adjudication rules.

    The Allies use 6 bid to place a submarine with UK’s India fleet. This changes the percentages on the UK1 attack against Japan’s sz37 East Indies fleet, probably resulting in total destruction of Japan’s fleet at minimal losses to UK with a decent safety margin. (Contrast to OOB setup which is NOT safe). An additional 6 IPCs of bid allows placement of two USSR infantry at Karelia and Caucasus respectively, which stabilizes the R1 defense of West Russia against G1. Last I heard, the bid was 12-14; if it was higher then you could switch out USSR infantry for USSR artillery and get additional safety margins.

    Consider the consequences. Europe is more stable, and a key early naval battle goes from moderate risk to tolerable risk. The Allies player could optionally switch out its Europe infantry for an additional UK submarine at Australia, which would change the sz37 battle to - I don’t know offhand, but I imagine “fairly safe”.

    So you have these things happening, then UK builds fighters at India. US builds carriers, pushes carriers after Japan’s turn, UK flies fighters onto US carriers. But it’s not simply a matter of bulked defense. Taking advantage of turn order means UK can now mount a tolerable air threat against solitary Japanese fleet, which restricts Japan’s freedom to act. Further, US can move its carriers after Japan’s turn, giving UK’s fighters extra range to hit targets before Japan can act. This, along with allowing UK to effectively apply its income to accelerating the KJF timeline, which is already accelerated because Japan’s East Indies fleet is destroyed.

    Since you don’t have defensive profiles and you can use allied transports, you can fine-tune UK and US actions for stack bleeding/building. I won’t get into it more here, but believe that it’s important.

    So with KJF, Germany still captures Karelia, but you have an accelerated KJF that builds up fast and early enough that India won’t necessarily fall at all. Then US can get an edge on Philippines and Kwangtung for a possible victory.

    Make sense?

    Now, I hope you understand what I meant when I said GenCon is a “tweak”. You still have the core mechanics, if you’re pushing Japan instead of Germany and remembering VC adjudication, sure it’s different, but you can adjust. But 1942 Online is completely different. None of what I wrote above is remotely possible. That’s part of the reason why questions about 1942 Online are best put on the 1942 Online board.

    Be interesting to hear from any GenCon vets out there.

  • @aardvarkpepper When I said 1942 online ranked uses gencon, I was referring to the setup, like german bomber in ukraine and such. We all know about the tweaks that 1942 online put in for the sake of convenience. Since they recently made the change that you can set different defensive profiles for the different powers of your side, I’m hoping they also add landing on friendly carriers, as well as prioritizing one power’s units in casualty selection over the others’ in jointly defended zones, so as to make it as close to the original game (but with gencon setup) as possible while still facilitating asynchronous play. But I digress.

    Anyway, the only point I really cared to make was that I think the depth and fun factor of the game is significantly worse when time concerns cap the number of rounds at such a low number, and I’m definitely sticking to that opinion. Of course, fun is subjective, but depth level is pretty objective. Saying that the game is already shallow so who cares is kinda weird btw. But yeah, the fact that allies are pigeonholed into KJF in tournaments in order to not lose on VCs helps to prove my point. I didn’t even need to bring up my 1942 online ranked experiences to make this argument, as I had been playing the oob game since long before that, but obviously 1942 online has allowed me to play against a much wider array of opponents, and has solidified this opinion that I had even before purchasing the online version.

    As a side note, I’ve had tripleA since before 1942 online, but didn’t think the scene was still active. Is there actually an active scene there that plays with the gencon setup?

  • @Kakarrot1138 said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    Saying that the game is already shallow so who cares is kinda weird btw.

    When I read that response, I thought “I wouldn’t say something dismissive like that.” I went back and read what I wrote.

    @aardvarkpepper said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    Axis and Allies is generally shallow. There’s no hidden information. No diplomacy. No exchanging one resource type for another. You don’t have mechanics as in chess like pinning, checking, castling, or promotion. Probability distributions seem complex but aren’t that difficult to understand.

    I was replying to your earlier post

    @Kakarrot1138 said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    I can’t imagine having to decide a winner by round 7 or so. To me, the game would seem so shallow by comparison.

    I had responded as if “shallow” were a purely descriptive term, but I see perhaps you meant it to have pejorative overtones. So when I responded with the same phrase, despite the explanation I’d attached, apparently you took it as pejorative. But “Who cares” is not what I wrote. When I disagree with others, it is usually a matter of points of fact, rather than contemptuous denial of validity of others’ opinion due to undocumented alleged consensus by third parties.

    @Kakarrot1138 said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    I think the depth and fun factor of the game is significantly worse when time concerns cap the number of rounds at such a low number, and I’m definitely sticking to that opinion. Of course, fun is subjective, but depth level is pretty objective.

    If you want an objective discussion, you have to address the points others bring up, even if only to explain their invalidity. I wrote Axis and Allies has key areas that limit divergence, that probability distributions do not necessarily complicate decision making in the same way that different gameplay mechanics do. I’d agree the details are beyond the scope of this thread but you can create a new thread - or if you can’t for some reason, you could just ask and I could make one.

    As to “fun factor”, you’d agree that’s subjective? As to depth to that in a moment. But first -

    @Kakarrot1138 said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    the fact that allies are pigeonholed into KJF in tournaments in order to not lose on VCs helps to prove my point.

    Actually, I wrote I hadn’t been to GenCon, and if KJF was the GenCon standard as I thought might be the case from secondhand reports and my projections, why I thought KJF might be the standard. But it could be that I’m wrong, that KGF is actually viable at GenCon.

    If this were a private discussion, I would say to myself “If my points are re-interpreted strongly, that’s not a matter of concern.” But in a public discussion, saying “the fact that Allies are pigeonholed into KJF” can easily lead to misunderstandings.

    But back to depth.

    If GenCon KJF plays out the way I think it does, competent players have to calculate a load of probability distributions, project their best window, and take their best chance. I described the general plan (as I thought it might work) simply, but actually there’s quite a number of branches, which I think with the time constraints make the game just as sharp as any other game - different, certainly, but still sharp.

    To use an analogy, imagine blitz chess versus “normal” time controls. In blitz, you are going to do a lot better if you’ve made extensive formal study of openings, that’s going to slash your opening time requirements and give you an advantage. But that doesn’t mean blitz chess isn’t chess.

    To extend the analogy, finding mate for a position in 4 can be more difficult and interesting to find than mate in 7 on the same crowded board.

    So is GenCon KJF (if it plays out the way I think it does) really shallow? I think not, compared to any other game.

    Suppose you’re pushing KGF. It’s quite predictable; you send US to Finland/Norway, build UK/US and pressure Karelia, if Allies break Karelia then UK/US bleed out Germany’s stacks from the northeast while USSR pushes from Ukraine. Japan presses, and USSR and US defend Russia as necessary. There’s little variation, perhaps UK reclaims India, perhaps UK/US/USSR do a triple attack on Berlin, maybe Allies push navy into the Mediterranean (I’d say probably not, but whatever).

    Compare to the KJF line I projected. If the Allies are pushing Philippines and Kwangtung, is Axis defending that region really so different to defending Karelia in the KGF?

    But KGF allows a longer game considering Africa? So both factions need to consider the game in Europe but also Africa?

    Sure. But in KJF, the Allies have to consider the German timing push against Russia.

    But it’s not the same because in KGF the Allies have to consider Japan’s push against Russia, so accounting in KJF for Germany’s push is analogous?

    But it isn’t analogous. Germany’s initial stack sizes, production, and logistics are all far superior to Japan’s. If I’m correct about GenCon actually using KJF, and if I’m also correct about how it plays out (and I could be wrong) - the Allies have to worry about defending India, attacking Philippines, and attacking Kwangtung, while also trying to prevent Russia from falling, it’s a two-front war. In the KGF, though, the Allies only have to balance Europe and Africa (for the later developing game). Japan threatening Russia isn’t something that needs to be dealt with until well after the Allies’ KGF plans develop.

    So how, objectively, is depth level of GenCon KJF (if they DO really use KJF at GenCon, and who knows if it actually plays out the way I think it does) - how is that less than the depth level of KGF? I’d agree it’s different. If someone said it was less fun for them, I’d have no objection to a subjective difference of opinion, and if someone said the game is less pure in terms of execution compared to the way the game was designed, I’d agree. But to say objectively that it’s less fun or even less complex is I think a step too far.

    To return to the OP (the original original post, starter of this thread) and initial responses -

    It’s been, what, eight years since 1942 Second Edition came out? A number of years since the LHTR setup was released. I take it that Larry Harris did read responses on his forums, but I don’t recall anything there recent on 1942 Second Edition and LHTR/balance, apart from Black Elk’s necro, but I’d say the changes are pretty well set by now and aren’t going to change.

    I don’t like the German bomber in Ukraine. It’s an “un-fun” change for me. It’s like how a grumpy grandpa has fun yelling at kids to get off his lawn. Then after years of good wholesome fun, one day someone says he can’t say that any more. Then grandpa is sad. He might shake his fist at the kids, but it’s just not the same. Now USSR can blow up that German bomber that says “hey kids stay off my lawn”. Less fun at Africa, less fun at Atlantic, less threat range to Europe, not available to fly to Asia in the anti-KJF to pick off destroyer blockers. Why make grandpa sad? Make grandpa great again!

    Maybe grandpa was having a little TOO much fun in 1942 Second Edition with Axis winning, sure. But leaving the German bomber in the path of USSR tanks is still sad.

    poor aardvark, no bomber to play with, durn kids, I remember back in the day Germany had a bomber and we liked it.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    @aardvarkpepper @Kakarrot1138

    Howdy guys. Doug Thorpe and I won the 2018 tournament 42.2, and I hope to return to Gencon.

    I think the overarching theme here is how the game has changed to accommodate timed and remote play. My experience is that many people own and love AxA, but many very rarely play the game, in any format. With the rise of online gaming, there are other ways to play besides in-person–but the game does not have easy-to-reach or a very modern set of victory conditions–the original one was; destroy both axis capitals and that’s retained in the online version so its possible to have a viable game with 1 axis dead and 1 ally dead and play on from there. The tournament rules are just an attempt to make ANY competitive format viable for in-person games, and in the case of LH patch, to balance another game that seems balanced when rarely played, but imbalanced when rigorously played over and over again.

    The analogy is between PBM chess and Speed Chess. In the tournament, you need to be able to play a full round, even of G42, in about 1 hour. You also need to arrive and get situated, eat, set up, break down and do other logistical stuff–which for most of our early live games, took about 2-3 hours. When we played Classic in college, we had long sideboards, chatted, took hours to set up, started about 11pm, and got through about 3 turns before we gave up. I think we played a grand total of 4 times in 5 years.

    Now that i’ve played 250 live games, I can tell you that 90% of players either dont have the focus or practice to set up and play a live game that aggressively or quickly. Many people would never consider traveling to play the game, and most people lack either the game or interpersonal skills to want to bother. With AxA Online, there are thousands of players who will never own the live game, much less play it live.

    This creates different play styles, the online versions encourage a slow, meticulous build up and plod across the board, shuffling loads across the atlantic for turn after turn, building slowly and crushing germany (usually) over many turns. That is nothing like live tournament play, where as you guys mention, the goal is to grab the VCs at a moment where the enemy can’t reply (Allies go last), or the money at the last minute. Even combat and buys take second rank to those considerations–in G42 it doesnt even matter what you buy with the USA on the last turn in most games because you can’t reach any battles before time runs out.

    While I do understand Kakarrot’s point that the game would be ruined if you couldnt play meticulously and ploddingly it over 20-40 turns (which would be days of live play), the game is actually much MORE fun live–because you have some sense of when it will end and what you need to accompish, and mistakes and missteps are magnified by fatigue and slopping. Every move and battle is for keeps, and esp. with the economic victory of G42, on the wire the entire time.

    FYI, there is no preset bid for any version at the tournament besides Classic.

    So, I’m one of the rare players who has played in all the formats, all the versions and is also on FB, this board. I’m also friends with most of the people internationally who do set up live tournaments. And I’ll tell you–while they are still based on the same core mechanics and rules, they are different beasts. I find it far more fun to play live, and the reality is that because that’s so impractical in terms of space, player skill, time, dedication, etc. people enjoy a remote, untimed game as well. But those games are also radically different; In live play, you cannot just slowly build up and win a long game–there will not be one. In tripple AAA, some players have ABSURD moscow stacks running up towards 100+ units, easy.

    The truth is, esp in G40 and before the 42.2 patch, the games were so imbalanced that its pretty easy for the Axis to just rush the objectives, pin you, and finish the game in a few hours. So, that used to help (lol), as I’ve said before–the game is often decided at the team selection phase (because if you get paired with a noob, your job is to gracefully lose and play quickly). In live games, some resolution has to be reached (like fall of moscow, or capitulation), and so those are the milestones for play. I should also mention that when youre playing 40 people, the skill level is going to be lower and more varied than when you are bringing in 40000 people online, and I’ve met online players who are WAY better than me, who have never even seen the game set up.

    All the best, Jon

  • @taamvan said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    FYI, there is no preset bid for any version at the tournament besides Classic.

    Thanks for posting!

    Does GenCon not use bids that are placed on the board prior to the first round of play?

    By “preplaced” I meant the players bid, then the winning bid is distributed as the player sees fit, the bid can be used to purchase then place up to one unit can be placed per territory/sea zone where a power already controls units, unspent IPCs remain in the bank. Is that not how it’s done?

    The “preplaced bid” term is a holdover from 1942 Online balance discussions. Some players assert all balance issues can be solved with changes to the setup. I’ve asserted that “preplaced bid” is necessary so player bids can change if the meta advances (and to have a handicapping system).

    If a bid is NOT used for GenCon 1942 Second Edition - it does use the LHTR setup? In your experience, USSR opens against West Russia and goes all-in against Ukraine, or sends only 2 tanks to Ukraine? Or do GenCon opens typically use West Russia only opens? Does USSR typically withdraw entirely from the coast, or bulk on Buryatia? Does it land both fighters on Kazakh, Archangel, Caucasus, or does it split, and if split where does each fighter land? (Granted it’ll change depending on opening dice results). Am I correct that UK fighters onto US fighters are an important component of KJF? Is a UK1 attack on Japan’s East Indies fleet (battleship, carrier, two fighters) standard?

    You mentioned “before the 42.2 patch” games were imbalanced. How does KGF do at GenCon for 1942 Second Edition with the LHTR setup? Is there a preference for KJF over KGF? If there is a preference for KJF, what do Japan players tend to buy on Japan’s first turn?

    My guess is there aren’t really firm answers to any of those questions. But I figure it won’t hurt to ask.

    (edit - IRL I’d guess my most urgent and pressing question would be “are they out of spicy fries?” Usually come gametime I figure the prep’s either done or it’s not, but either way might as well enjoy myself. And I do like me some spicy fries.)

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17


    Well on that account, you’re wrong–there are very clear answers to your questions, and they are boring ones.

    The setup is LH 3.0. The 42.2 projected bid used to be 24+ (add BB to SZ 37 battle, without a KJF blowout, the allies will lose every time)

    Bidding is an auction for sides. You can’t save cash, you can only buy units, you can only place units where like units already exist. Besides that, you can place as many pieces wherever you want them. In G42, the projected bid is 7+ allies, in AA50 its 5+ either side, in 42.3 its 6+ allies, usually. With any bid at all, 42.3 is pretty close to being balanced…and…

    Pretty close to being boring, also…

    The opener for Russia is totally formulaic, the same one I use in 42 Online. Attack with everything. If you can hold Ukraine first round and its safe (you should strafe out and save as many tanks as possible) you land the planes there and turtle up. If Germany gets Ukraine in the first 4 turns, you’re gonna lose. A KGF is difficult/impossible in the tournament game because the allies don’t have time to develop that shuck. You KJF by destroying his SZ 37 (The Black Queen’s Gambit) then you fork Kwangtung/Philippines and you wipe his fleet off the board. If Japan bought correctly, he could probably hold off the penultimate battle and block those objectives until time runs out–since Germany has Karelia, they win if they hold those VC at time end.

    And that’s the problem with all the versions (and with many wargames), is you figure out what works, you ignore other avenues of play, and you essentially try to do the same thing over and over again by optimizing it (the Critical Path). Everything else is a distraction. One of my buddies in Online 42 can fork both Moscow and Bombay on turn 3, almost every game–and take either one of those on Axis4…it just takes very formulaic, direct play and no screwing around. The Allies are still at a disadvantage in the 42.3 game and AxA Online because the Allies have to play very cagily to avoid losing Bombay quickly, Moscow eventually…you only have 1 mobility stack to defend/attack all the main conflict zones and eventually, the Axis can force you to choose to lose one or the other. If the Axis fail to do this within the first 6-8 turns, a skillful allied player can beat them over a very very long, plodding, boring Axis-turtle favored game that is only mildly fun because the transport UI and manipulation is so awful. Also I lose as the allies all the time by not “seeing” or counting units move’s correctly, something that I’d virtually never do in the live game.

  • I knew you were gonna take offense to that “who cares” characterization lol. Yes I was being hyperbolic, but I honestly don’t know why you would bother to talk about the extent to which A&A in general is shallow, when I’m saying “by comparison” [to the same game without time/round constraints]. It did seem to reek of “well bud this isn’t chess, and if depth is what you’re looking for then keep looking”. But enough about that.

    I found your essay about the depth of KGF vs KJF interesting. But the thing is, I’m not here to advocate for rules that lead people into KGF instead of KJF. I want both to be an option. And from the looks of it, one of those options might be off the table when it comes to tournament play due to time constraints and the nature by which a winner is declared. That is: the W going to the player with the most VCs now, in what I think is probably best characterized as only the first half of the mid game if both players are quite good, rather than the player who seems more likely to end a future round with 9/10 VCs. But yeah I think KJF is cool as well so you don’t need to sell me on that. The point is that I want both on the table.

    Also I do agree that the G bomber in ukraine is a bit lame, and dislike the volatility of the ukraine attack that seems like the best opener for R. Allies would need compensation if it moved back to Germany or somewhere else though.

  • Thanks for post. I respect that you enjoy the comparatively short tournament games over no time-cap games, and don’t think I could successfully argue that my preferred win condition is superior- at least, not without more experience . I’m assuming you also have lots of games played oob but with no time-cap? Because for me, the fact that it’s live and oob as opposed to on a computer could possibly outweigh my grievance about short games when it comes to a fun comparison, since I only recently started playing online and still significantly prefer and have a fondness for oob. Maybe I’ll do a tournament style game next time I play oob to see what it’s like. The majority of the time there’s a resignation before it approaches 10 rounds in my oob games anyway, but obviously it’s not about how long the games last, but the threat of how long they can last and the different win-condition of simply more than your opponent instead of the 9/10 target.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    @Kakarrot1138 @aardvarkpepper

    I enjoy the game, and also enjoy the community and talking about the game. I’d surmise that the question about “Is AxA shallow/deep” comes up because if there were only 1 version and 1 format, the game would be really boring–but since there are many versions and many formats, even after 25 years, its not.

    You mention that there should be a KGF and a KJF and perhaps another more balanced way of winning in each version–that’s a good concept, but especially if you look at the evolution of G40 from alpha, to alpha+3, one thing emerges. If you’ve tried to create your own setup (same maps, same units, same teams, just a completely different starting setup), you’ll quickly find that a goldilocks balance of great choices at the open that then lead into a series of cascading, fun sub-outcomes is EXTREMELY difficult to attain in an abstract wargame (that doesnt have squares or hexes). I’ve tried it a bunch of different ways, and the amount of tinkering and playtesting needed to create a great starting setup, or at least a really good, balanced one is immense. Many of the 1st Edition (and reprint) AxA games have confusingly worded rules, printing errors, or glaring balance problems (or all 3). And this for one of the most ## printed wargames in history.

    So, its very hard to create that initial game state that is 1) opfor (the teams are completely different unlike chess) 2) historical 3) fun and 4) balanced. Once that state is created, its very difficult to alter it without causing a cascade of other changes to the game that flow from it, and remain balanced, and historical. That’s what leads to the critical pathing issue–Germany and Japan have tons of planes to make them flexible and to make different strategies viable–but its not very historical, not very balanced–AND, a really good player can ignore all the minor things those planes and ships could do and use them all to “lightsaber” through the opponent’s capital.

    One thing that really stands out (esp. in G40) is about 60-70% of the battles and board don’t really matter…certain critical actions and zones do. So whether you take a $1 territory or kill 1 infantry without loss, those things are all just part of gameplay. Really good players don’t leave victory up to luck, and they are willing to sacrifice a bunch of small, irrelevant things like $1 territories, useless units, or NOs in order to zap your capital. And since they can lose every plane and still take the capital with 1 ground unit left, that means the attacker (axis) often has a clearer, easier and non-odds driven way to accomplish that.

  • I do accept the inevitability that at the highest levels of play, the elite players will probably always determine that either KGF or KJF is better overall, and end up usually or always using that macro strat. That being said, the decision of which one to go for obviously doesn’t have to happen on R1. If it’s the case (and I think it very well may be, at least in no time limit games in my experience) that round 1 axis decisions can determine which allies macro strat fits better, then an equilibrium can be reached in which one of the strats is usually better, but sometimes the other one becomes better if the axis player takes it too much for granted that the allies will use the “better” strat, and plays too greedily to that effect. If this is the case, axis players will always be towing the line, trying to hit the sweet spot of just enough greed that the two macro strats are at as close to equal effectiveness as possible. Different players even at the elite level will arrive at different sweet spots, depending on how comfortable they feel playing vs KGF/KJF. Personally, I can think of several times when I switched to KJF on UK1 or US1 as a result of a greedy axis decision(s).

    Also, even if this is not the case, it does not sit well with me that a macro strat that is perfectly viable in no time limit games (which I’m guessing is how the game was originally meant to be played) is rendered completely bunk in tournament games by virtue of the win condition being changed. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

  • @taamvan said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    in 42.3 its 6+ allies, usually.

    Bid of 6 with LHTR setup 1942 Second Edition - what would you say are most common placements?

    @taamvan said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    The opener for Russia is totally formulaic, the same one I use in 42 Online. Attack with everything. If you can hold Ukraine first round and its safe (you should strafe out and save as many tanks as possible) you land the planes there and turtle up. If Germany gets Ukraine in the first 4 turns, you’re gonna lose.

    So USSR1 hits Ukr with 3 tanks 2 fighters (plus). But then “hold Ukraine” yet “strafe out and save as many tanks as possible”? Would that perhaps mean something like “destroy the German bomber, if you end up capturing Ukraine so be it, but if you have a lot of USSR units left and the German bomber is destroyed and you can retreat, then retreat to Caucasus”?

    If USSR holds Ukraine past Germany’s first turn, then USSR should land fighters on Ukraine and turtle up there? Would you say USSR should stack Ukraine at the expense of West Russia? And I’m guessing then, that your standard USSR1 buy is 4 infantry 2 tanks?

    “If Germany gets Ukraine” you mean if Germany stacks Ukraine to successfully fork West Russia and Caucasus? Or do you mean if Germany takes Ukraine even once, even if it loses it right away? (Provided Germany doesn’t suffer catastrophic unit loss in so doing, say it’s just trading the territory).

  • I’m sure he meant if G stacks Ukraine, not just trades it. And I agree with his assessment that axis will probably win if they are allowed to do this in the first few turns

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17


    I don’t see the KJF in the current G40, G42 or 42.3’s. I’ve had lots of discussions (including entire plans laid out in the threads eg Setting Sun KJF) about how to execute a clampdown on Japan, but Moscow dies early, and first.

    As to your other point, the VC aren’t logical. A newb player can build units on their Axis capitals the whole game, they are impossible to take in anything but the longest and most drawn-out games. They could then insist that they are winning because the other player doesn’t have the patience to fight the game to the end, and that the Allied player has to capitulate or actually accomplish his goal. In 42Online, thats usually a ragequit, or a “siege” where they refuse to give up and force you into greater and greater risks to pin them or stalemate the game–whoever is the more patient wins. That’s not fun either.

    Its somewhat worse in G40/42–The Axis can win on either board. In a longer multisession game of G40, Japan can alternate threatening Cairo, Sydney and Hawaii, threatening to pin the Allies on one board by giving up the win on the other. The allies are forced to inefficiently rush/turtle these nodes to prevent the Axis from selecting the weakest one that you fail to cover, and going for that one to clench the game. YG has a points system to address this, economic victory at time is another approach.

    I don’t know if the game was really meant to be played to those conclusions. 90% of the games I play in arent, they’re decided by concession. And like I said, the 42Online long game isn’t particularly rich and deep as Hearts of Iron, Conflict of Heroes, Company of Heroes, (or Global War, Twilight Imperium etc., though those dont seem to even be intended for practical play) or any of those modern computer or other wargames. It feels like an Avalon Hill era game in that way–its easier to exploit the rules, balance and other player than it is to make a truly insightful and flexible all-game strategy.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    @aardvarkpepper @Kakarrot1138

    If Germany is able to consistently defeat/retake Ukraine, and Russia has lost its tanks (or ANY fighters) then Russia is slowly weakened by having to counterattack and the Allies lose. Japan can back up a German take, and though its not the fastest way to pressure India, they can also clip away all the $ from Russia–Russia doesnt have the mobility pieces or $ to keep retaking the $2+ territories in 42.2. There are ways to delay this outcome (fighters with UK, the bid, retreat your Russian tanks).

    the open is to send everything to attack Ukraine that can come (4/1/3/2?) and then everything else that can come goes to W Russia (9/1/1? i forget) If he gives up the bomber, or you’ll get killed on the counterattack, you should retreat (esp. from Ukraine).

    In addition; You bid a sub for the Black Queen battle, otherwise the odds are no good. In one of our tourney games, the bid and original sub survived because of wonky enemy shooting (remember in that battle the fighters can’t hit subs and so need to roll separately) and those 2 subs went on to get 3 further sub-shots+free hits (when in 95% of the games, there are no subs at all down there).

  • @taamvan

    That’s fair, though my main point was that it seems at least theoretically possible that KGF/KJF could be at least well balanced enough vs each other that enough round 1 axis greed makes the generally inferior macro strat viable or even superior. If it’s not currently the case that this is so (with whatever version), then it seems like it could at least be made so by giving axis more power to reasonably be greedy enough to provoke a macro strat switch, along with general compensation gives to allies to balance axis’s greater decision-making freedom.

    As for your second paragraph, I’m not sure what to say except that this has not been my experience at all. Almost everyone that I’ve played (both oob and online, but at this point I’ve played significantly more games online just by the very nature of asynchronous play) has played to win, and if they think they can’t win, they resign. I have not found hitting the 9/10 VC goal to be particularly difficult or grueling once I’m clearly winning, with rare exceptions (and even then, it was still fun rather than tedious). Around 90% of my games have been decided by concession as well, but that concession has been predicated on the hopelessness of reaching the 9/10 VC target. If that target changes, everything changes.

  • @taamvan

    Also, the distribution is 3/1/3/2 for ukraine, 9/2/1 for west.

    Now I was formerly also of the mindset that retreating from the R1 ukraine battle is good if he gives up his bomber as a casualty, but I’ve found that G stacking everything (including all fighters not sent to the G1 SZ7 battle) in ukraine is a pretty devastating response that forces your stack off West and into cauc. So now I feel like I have to take the terrority R1 no matter what and just accept the loss of those 3 tanks on G2.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    @Kakarrot1138 Yes to your detail, you laid out the battles correctly and you can play for just the VC win. It just takes a lot of patience to overwhelm the germans, and one screw up–he can blow you up wherever you’re weakest. I enjoyed Online for a while, then got frustrated and turned it off. It’s good that new people and old are having fun playing after so many years, and I look forward to live play resuming in earnest.

    Air is really good for Russia in each version because they have so many must-win battles (where a failure to block that territory can leave your capital/stack open to attack). If you’re reduced to just infantry and arty, you have to send overmany to ensure a take and this depletes you even more rapidly.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    @aardvarkpepper @Kakarrot1138

    Another thing that this thread was originally about (U0) was shaking up the game so that some of the silly things that “must” happen don’t. In 42.2-3, picking off the US destroyer is too powerful and leaving the US without a starting fleet isn’t historical. Attacking the UK fleet and demolishing it is too easy even with the added DD and subtracted sub…it would be better if something else had to give. Killing the USA at PH is too easy (though the best japan strat usually ignores that to take India faster). Those are all reasons why this U0 discussion started–which I’m not a huge fan of but you could just have a simpler solution like no attacks on the USA turn 1…

  • @taamvan said in Larry Harris Semi-Official Tournament Game Patch:

    Air is really good for Russia in each version because they have so many must-win battles (where a failure to block that territory can leave your capital/stack open to attack). If you’re reduced to just infantry and arty, you have to send overmany to ensure a take and this depletes you even more rapidly.

    I agree that the 2 fighters you start with are indispensable. Are you advocating buying more of them as russia?

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    @Kakarrot1138 I’ve come to like that move better than inf and arty. In all versions. But, in all versions–even when Germany is unfocused…Russia is too weak and cant counterattack.

    The bid as-played only falls into the critical path dilemma more, by letting the player decide what influences the path the most. That is what these 42.3 threads were originally about, eg U0. Direct further setup tweaks would be better–a great version of 42.4 may be in here somehow (hopefully one that lets the germans keep the bomber, makes Russia survivable, and doesn’t steal away the US fleet so easily). One example is the direct hack – add a Russian Strat Bomber to help a weaker player, any version. Works.

    Easily said, not easily done.

    If we build it, they will come.

  • @taamvan

    Like what move, exactly?

  • '19 '15 '14

    I fired it up in A&AO a few times to see if anything was patched up recently, but I haven’t really been able to finish any ranked games in months. These days I feel like I can blink and loose a day pretty easily. Now that I’m all habituated to endless lockdown, getting anything done within 24 hrs is a stretch and I’m not particularly reliable lol. Usually what happens is I’ll stick it out for the first 4 or 5 hours if I catch a live one, then someone dips… I sleep all day, and come back to the auto forfeit. Alas

    I think the big gripe with this one is that it just doesn’t really feel like the game is set in 1942. To much stuff in the first round script doesn’t look like 1942 at all. Its one thing when a big exchange happens a few rounds out and you can suspend disbelief, its another when it happens on the very first turn.

    Some things that definitely didn’t happen in 1942, but which the game scripts into the first round would include stuff like German U-boats sinking the Royal Navy at Scapa Flow, or blowing up the US Atlantic fleet on G1. Britain sinking the entire Regia Marina in the med, or the Japanese fleet in the East Indies on UK1. Japan running a second attack at Pearl Harbor on J1, or just flattening China entirely. Even the Ukraine opener on Russia’s first turn doesn’t really make sense for the timeline. So yeah, the critical path is usually pretty muddy and seems to be winding away from historical expectations straight into the woods lol.

    I do hope we get a proper 3rd edition or a new standard A&A board at some point. This map isn’t the worst, but the set up is pretty lackluster and one dimensional. I really think they need to provide some way for players to influence the composition or distribution of at least some of their starting forces. Like similar to a tournament bid, but more gameful in the implementation, just so there would be some more variety in the first round, or so the playpattern wouldn’t have to be so predictable a few months out. Clearly that would need to be written down in the manual somewhere, not just hacked off the cuff post release hehe.

    Anyhow, hope you guys are well, and maintaining through the plague.
    Io Saturnalia!!!


  • this emphasis on history
    is to me a mystery
    for things to be fun in a game
    things should not turn out the same

    if you want divergent play
    throw those history books away!
    “but the game is world war two”
    real tanks roll dice? I never knew

    if you want to start a list
    of all the thing the gameplay’s missed
    terrain, morale, food, intel, weather
    oil, iron, and shoe leather

    Not enough? Look at the board
    No doubt but that things were ignored
    Europe, Asia, take your pick
    Differences are laid on thick

    There’s much more that could be said
    Of game design but cheese and bread
    Are what I crave so off to kitchen
    To make a sandwich that is *****in

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