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Why I think Aircraft need fixing.



  • Why I think Aircraft need fixing
    Introduction
    In the beginning, 1981, there was Axis & Allies (Nova Games Edition). The granddaddy of all A&A.

    Afterwords in 1984, there came A&A Classic, a global map (33x19 inches) with five playable nations; Germany, Japan, Soviets, UK, and USA. This game was inducted into Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame for and is considered a “game that have met or exceeded the highest standards of quality and play value and have been continuously in production for at least 10 years; i.e., classics”

    Things where different in this long ago version:

    • Smaller Board

    • Fewer Nations

    • Fewer Types of Units

    • Fewer Territories

    • Territories encompass more landmass

    But it was a much beloved game, and its core rules and design has been carried forward into the these later versions of A&A as well as GW36.

    Let me make a point though;
    Territories encompassed more landmass, Europe has 5 territories, and another 3 from Scandinavia. Soviets controlled 9 territories.
    Also its important to know, Bombers and Fighters where introduced in A&A Classic, as well as much of what we know and love.

    In A&A Classic, Fighters where the almost the same as in today’s A&A, their Attack was at 3 and Defense at 4, and they also moved 4 spaces. The only difference is that they cost 12 IPC’s.

    Historically Aircraft where a formidable force, and their impact on a combat theater was huge.
    I think Larry Harris tested it well when he came up with those values.

    In A&A Classic there where Transports, Submarines, Battleships and Aircraft Carriers. That’s it that’s all the ship types they had.
    The ships all moved 2 spaces, which was no big deal as the Atlantic was only three sea zones at its widest, and transports could come from the american east coast and drop off in France in one move.

    http://axisallies.com/versions/classic/

    All in all a good game. It set a standard for games of its type, and also set a precedent for the A&A games that came after.

    The Precedent

    Alright, lets dive deeper.

    From A&A Classic to A&A G40, the map has gone from 5 territories in Europe (ignoring Scandinavia) to about 20 (depending on your definition of Europe) that’s a fourfold increase.

    Aircraft have maintained the same attack and defense values, and their cost is reduced to 10.

    So now, instead of that single Fighter unit covering the entirety of Italy and the Balkans, it covers only the upper half of the Italian boot, or Greece, or Albania. Essentially that same unit only covers 25% of what it used to cover.

    That’s really not a big deal. But it means that it now doesn’t pay for such a valuable unit as a Fighter to hang out protecting Greece unless an attack is expected on Greece.
    It makes more sense to fly that aircraft out to the eastern front, or if you are a Brit, you send the aircraft to Egypt or Gibraltar or heck, someplace where it does good.

    So that solves that problem. Aircraft become a unit you use mostly aggressively, or you use it to protect a vital area that may be attacked or a fleet.

    Its still the most powerful unit on the board.

    But still, Aircraft got left behind when the world got bigger.

    The Crux of the Matter

    Everyone is different, and you have the right to do whatever you want to or are used to. If you are getting up there in wisdom and age and are content with the way things are, that totally within your right. Therefore this article isn’t really for you.
    I’m relatively young, started playing A&A at 22ish and now I’m 29. I’m always bucking precedent and standard procedure and inventing my own thing.

    The crux of the matter is; I didn’t like aircraft in G40 because I find it is silly.
    GW36 did not change anything nearly as much as it was needed.

    I realize its a game and its not a big deal, and ultimately it doesn’t matter in the slightest. But beyond that, lets get to the nitty-gritty.

    What gets me is that aircraft became these units that where used primarily as “hot zone” units, basically you put them where it was hot, which is easy to do when they are used for attack, but on defense they suffer for it unless the attack is obvious.
    Alternatively, players could just kept them back out of harm, for your next counter attack.

    Each turn is supposed to be roughly 6 months. I realize the nature of the game doesn’t allow for real-time or simultaneous turns. That’s not my point, keep it turn based.
    By nature aircraft are fluid and versatile. Even with hangers, staff, mechanics, pilots etc, aircraft by nature is fairly easy to disengage and re-engage opponents.

    So if an aircraft unit is in Smolensk, and the neighboring territory is attacked by the enemies major offensive, wouldn’t the aircraft just flit over and join the defense? Especially over the span of 6 months? Even accounting for the idea that “a Game Round is 6 months, each nation is taking a section of that to do offensive and defensive moves, kinda simultaneously”, whatever that’s too meta complex for me.

    Aircraft should be a bit like an umbrella held over the ground forces. If there is an airport base in Smolensk, why the heck not allow the aircraft to scramble? They do it over Sea Zones, why not Land Territories? This allows that umbrella to be held and allows the aircraft to actually function as defensive units more practically.

    Well, you say “Jinx, fine, cool your jets, your idea took flight and airbases will now allow scrambling to sea and land.”
    Well awesome, thanks.

    That’s not really the point though. Its the whole scope and range of the thing.
    So now Smolensk is attacked, and luckily Germany has some fighters there. But golly look at that. D-Day. No fighters in Europe.
    I don’t like the look of that. I don’t like that Aircraft are represented as mega-units and everything else is smaller proportion.

    With larger maps and more territories encompassing smaller geographical areas, certain units values need to change. From A&A Classic to A&A G40. Things changed.

    Aircraft is the T-Rex of A&A G40, King of the Battlefield, huge, far-reaching, capable of bringing lots of power into a single battle, rare, and a dinosaur relic of the past.

    Then GW36 lifted the idea of Aircraft from A&A, boosted it to fit a D12, brushed it off, tweaked it, and sent it into the Global War.
    They had a chance to break the precedent, yet they did not.

    So now we are stuck with a system that was playtested for A&A Classic, with 8 European territories, and we’ve fit it into GW36, with 48 European territories. We are solidly stuck because of precedent.
    It was a fine idea for A&A Classic, but in A&A Classic southern Europe was 1 territory. Now we have 8 territories, with the same system barring cost.

    How can that still be expected to work? Because we chose to accept it.

    We don’t even accept that aircraft could scramble into adjacent land territories.
    An aircraft in Scotland can cover the entire north sea, Iceland Sea and Celtic Sea, but heaven forbid an attack on Liverpool.

    “Jinx, cool it, its just a game.” Yeah, I know. But we can make the game better cant we? That’s why we don’t play with our toes as much as when we where babies. We found better games.

    Part 2.

    We (my play group and I) didn’t like the fact that all the German Aircraft would be somewhere on the eastern front and leave not a single air unit in Europe. We didn’t like that fact that a Battle of Britain was a completely ludicrous idea, we wanted Air Warfare.

    We wanted a fight for supremacy over Airzones in France or the English Channel, a fight separate from land or naval war. We wanted Air Warfare to be just as dynamic and interesting as ground combat. We didn’t want Air to be an expensive branch of the army or navy, being practically the best units on the board at the expense of all else.

    So we designed something that made us happy and that wasn’t complex.
    A few simple adjustment that broke us from the dinosaur and let us make aircraft less “King of Battle” to a role more historical and also much more enjoyable!

    It creates a really cool dynamic that makes air so much more three dimensional.

    Anyways Gents,
    I know I wont convince anyone who hasn’t already had similar thoughts.
    I encourage you to also keep exploring and thinking creatively. In your next game think about if you like big clumps of air wings jumping hot zones or if you’d like to see air units take on a more interesting, realistic and dynamic role.

    Cheers all!
    Jinx


  • 2018 2017

    All that and no rules?  😛

    If you have some new rules, be they “scramble in defense of neighboring land or sea territories”, or “Fighter: (D6) A3 D4 M12 C10” or something else, why don’t you give them to us, that we might discuss them?

    -Midnight_Reaper



  • Hehe yep!
    All that and no rules.

    If I suggest rules; you just think of ways they don’t work or why the existing system is better. Well I bash my head enough doing that with HBG, so I’ll let you figure if it works or not.

    But here are some thoughts; decrease cost, combat values of fighters by a third. Make fighters shite against anything else but air. Say 6 vs Air, 2 & 1 against Land and Sea.
    Allow scramble over land and sea, no cap to amount.

    Allow land or sea units to target air at a reduced value of 2 & 3.

    If Aircraft combat anything without being supported by land or sea, they can only do one round of combat before retreating.

    That’s it.



  • @Jinx1527:

    Well I bash my head enough doing that with HBG, so I’ll let you figure if it works or not.

    So, you discussed this with HBG?
    What did they say?



  • @Munck:

    @Jinx1527:

    Well I bash my head enough doing that with HBG, so I’ll let you figure if it works or not.

    So, you discussed this with HBG?
    What did they say?

    Bless their grey hairs.  😛
    “People are used to it this way, don’t rock the boat.”


  • 2017 2016

    Hi Jinx

    Here is the best I came to think about concerning all these issues.
    IMO, using D12 allows a lot of room to improve the air combat.
    I provided a guideline for cost 6 Tank strength, IMO this can be easily adjust to fit within Ground and Naval units.

    The two basic units which are going to be changed:

    FIGHTER
    Attack 4
    Defense 5
    Move 4-5

    Cost 6
    More versatile on Sea / Air / Land but have a lower offensive and defensive punch than Tank, and is unable to conquer land territory by itself while being directly vulnerable to AAA unit and other Fighters.
    Hits are allocated to aircraft units first, then AAA.

    TACTICAL BOMBER
    Attack 5-6
    Defense 4
    Move 4-5

    Cost 7, allows to pick any ground unit as casualty.
    Vulnerable to Fighters and AAA in regular combat but allows to pick costlier ground units, like Tank or AAA.


    This is a summary of main units revised special abilities:

    ANTI-AIRCRAFT ARTILLERY A0 D4 M1 Cost 4, 1 hit,
    Each round, up to 4 preemptive defense @1 against up to 4 planes, whichever the lesser, works lowest rate (1 out D12s) and can defend each combat round.
    Stop any blitz, and defend itself @4 against enemy’s ground units, if no attacking air unit is present.
    Can move during combat move phase, can be taken as casualty (owner’s choice).

    TANK A7 D7 M2 Cost 6
    Can Blitz
    Allow Mechanized Infantry or Mechanized Artillery to Blitz on 1 on 1 basis or a 1:1:1 basis.
    Gives +1A/D to Mechanized Artillery when paired 1:1 with


    FIGHTER A4 D5 M4-5, same in SBR Cost 6

    Air combat unit, Fighter as an Air Superiority aircraft:
    All hits are allocated to aircraft units first, if any available, then AAA, and finally other kind of units.
    Gives +1 Attack to any 1 Tactical bomber when paired 1:1.
    Fighter as part of an extended Air Defense System when AB is operational:
    Up to 3 Fighter units receive either:
    +1 Defense if protecting a territory with an operational Air Base, or
    +1 Move to scramble from Air Base.

    SBR/TcBR Attack @4, Defend @5, or even Defend @6 for up to 3 Fgs if an operational Air Base is present.
    Can scramble in adjacent SZs or TT up to 3 Fgs: up to three 3 Fgs keep defending @5.

    TACTICAL BOMBER A5-6 D4 M4-5 Cost 7
    Combined Arms bonus with Fighter : get +1 Attack when paired 1:1.
    Tactical Bomber as a “Dive Bomber” and “Tank Buster”: allows to pick any ground unit as  casualty.
    Up to 3 TcBs (or 3 Fgs) units received : +1 Move to scramble from Air Base.)

    SBR/TcBR Attack @3, defend @2
    Allowed to do escort mission of Strategic Bomber without doing Tactical Bombing Raid on Air Base or Naval Base,
    Can do NightFighter interception mission on defense,
    TcBR damage: 1D6.

    I would allow 3 types of defensive maneuvers for aircraft.

    DEFENSIVE MANEUVERS allowed for 2 or 3 types of aircraft:

    • Aerial Retreat for attacking planes (all aircrafts can retreat while letting ground units pursuing battle),

    • Limited Aerial Withdrawal of 1 space in a friendly territory is allowed any round after the first combat round for defending planes up to 2 StBs or 2 TcBs or 2 Fgs.

    • Limited landing in a just conquered territory (which includes at least 1 ground unit): 2 planes (either Fighter or Tactical Bomber), as long as each units can provide 1 extra movement point for this special landing.


  • 2017 2016

    Ok.
    You can forget about what I suggested. You were into a much more develop and detailed approch. I read a glimpse of it on ANZAC player’s aid.
    A lot of steps to keep care of all situations.
    You put a lot into this congratulations for reaching the end.
    I hope people will like.



  • @Baron:

    Ok.
    You can forget about what I suggested. You were into a much more develop and detailed approch. I read a glimpse of it on ANZAC player’s aid.
    A lot of steps to keep care of all situations.
    You put a lot into this congratulations for reaching the end.
    I hope people will like.

    Thank you. It’s been playtested thouroughly, and I had a willing playtesters to help me work out the flaws.

    It is complex initially, but becomes self evident later. The learning of a new system and the breaking away from the precedent means that it gamers probably will not be pick it up.

    But I just wanted to post it on the forums, for posterity for future gamers.


  • 2017 2016

    And where are the rules for air combat?



  • @Baron:

    And where are the rules for air combat?

    Written up, but a bit of a wall of text.
    I may eventually put it into a PDF with a couple illustrations and put it up as well.



  • I’d be interested in seeing what rules you’ve come up with. I too feel air power is not well represented in the game and have been working on a bunch of new approaches to try to fix it. All untested at this point but I’m pretty excited about some of the ideas I’ve come up with.

    I was writing up a long post with details and then hit the wrong button and lost it, but I will try again later to write it up and share.


  • 2017 2016

    @EBard:

    I’d be interested in seeing what rules you’ve come up with. I too feel air power is not well represented in the game and have been working on a bunch of new approaches to try to fix it. All untested at this point but I’m pretty excited about some of the ideas I’ve come up with.

    I was writing up a long post with details and then hit the wrong button and lost it, but I will try again later to write it up and share.

    Posting a wall paper in forum is a risky business…
    Feel very sorry for you.
    😐 😢 😐 :x 😞



  • @EBard:

    I’d be interested in seeing what rules you’ve come up with. I too feel air power is not well represented in the game and have been working on a bunch of new approaches to try to fix it. All untested at this point but I’m pretty excited about some of the ideas I’ve come up with.

    I was writing up a long post with details and then hit the wrong button and lost it, but I will try again later to write it up and share.

    EBard!

    I really like your shapeways page and i use your commanders for my games. Very nice!

    Shame about losing your post, it happens to me alot too, sometimes hitting back can save it, other times its gone for good. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for when you rewrite it!

    I’ve got the rules somewhere. I’ll post them up eventually.


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