My friends and I played the Anniversary Edition for the first time yesterday. We really like the new map and units, but we sort of agreed that the way destroyers negate the subs’ sneak attack has “nerfed” the subs somewhat. We also felt that Europe’s Soft Underbelly is a little too true, as the Allies quickly found this to be a misnomer.
As things stand, one DD can neutralise all the subs in that sea zone. We think that in such a scenario, the DD should be treated a bit like artillery supports infantry; that is, for the defender, one DD can engage one sub, while permitting one friendly unit in that sea zone to engage (in this case, whichever has the highest defensive die roll).
So say two German subs decide to attack in a sea zone containing one British destroyer, one CC, and one BB. The DD can defend against one sub, and permits anti-sub operations by the battleship (because it has the highest defensive roll. The second sub retains its normal sneak attack as per the usual rules (one roll at the outset of the first turn).
In the event of a CV with embarked fighters, we argued BOTH fighters can roll for each DD defending, and that should the CV be sunk by a sneak attack, the fighters in this instance are permitted to recover on any friendly territory or CV within range. Otherwise, if a DD is not present the normal rules apply (and the planes go down with the ship, having not been alerted to the presence of subs).
On the attack, one DD permits one other surface ship to attack one sub. In the case of aircraft, one DD can support TWO planes in any combination (2 fighters, 2 bombers, or one of each). I welcome your thoughts. We’re going to try this the next time we play.
Hi Kriegmeister, welcome to AAE!
Yes, DDs are the naval Super Unit! They are overly strong in the naval calculus- not only due to their “1 for all” sub-canceling craziness, but also because they destroy (ehhh??) every other naval unit (except attacking Subs) on an equal IPC basis. Very strange (from a game mechanics point of view) decisions were made regarding the naval cost structure, whether due to historical justification/railroading, personal disdain for certain units and strategies on the part of the designer, or just a lack of math.
Per the OOB rules, the one decision you always ask when buying a non-destroyer ship is whether the special ability you’re getting out of it (e.g. amphibious bombardment) is worth what you’re losing (naval supremacy) by not simply buying destroyers instead.
So yes, reducing DD’s sub-canceling ability to 1:1 or 1:2 is a common house rule to weaken the unit somewhat, although it does not address the other strength issues above. It sounds like that’s essentially what your rule is doing: making DDs cancel subs at a 1(+1):2 ratio when you have another surface ship (per destroyer) in the combat, or a 1(+2):3 ratio when you have another two planes (per destroyer) in the combat.
I would suggest simplifying it to a 1:2/1:3 ratio, straight up. I’d also take away any extra boosts for planes (which already punch above their weight in naval combat). Note that any variation of this rule makes Subs (already the most efficient attacking naval unit) even stronger in all configurations, which may be an undesirable outcome. The usefulness of all house rules depends on the proclivities of the players using them.
My preference for my (mostly solo) games is to leave the DD’s universal sub-canceling abilities alone (or fix it at 1:3) while re-balancing the cost structure to remove them from the ‘Outright Naval Supremacy’ throne, which I think should belong to BBs and 2-ftr CVs while leaving a budget-option niche for CAs. But that’s just me.
“To the elusive ideal of balanced fleets and a balanced game!”
Good thoughts, keep the ideas coming! Welcome to the Forums!