I recall Veq saying that the 1914 rules presented a number of near insurmountable problems for TripleA in its present state. Frankly reading the rulebook for that game made me want to bang my head against the wall.
It departs in significant ways from previous Axis and Allies games, and adds several elements that just have no real comparison with the earlier boards. The combat rules (single combat round attacking), the unit interactions, air supremacy, the rules for movement or occupation, the colonies, the neutrals, ports, Russian revolution, income collection, placement etc, are all so different from the WW2 games, that its hard to draw any direct parallels.
Basically, having played any of the World War II Axis and Allies games, doesn’t do you a whole lot of good in learning how to play 1914. In some ways it might even confuse the situation further, because you come into it with so many expectations, that are immediately upset at every conceivable point.
I don’t like to be a downer on 1914, since it does introduce some novel ideas into A&A, but on the whole I was kind of disappointed with this game. The only experience I can compare it to, was trying to learn Guadalcanal, which was pretty headache inducing. For me the main bummer, was that 1914 attempted all these really radical rules revisions in order simulate the world war 1 feel, but I think you could have accomplished a similar feel, just focusing more on the unit roster and the map design.
I appreciate how hard it is though to attempt WW1 in the A&A framework. The Great War game I made for tripleA with Surtur presented all sorts of frustrations. And that Great War game made no core revisions to the ruleset (since obviously that wasn’t possible in tripleA at the time.) It was tricky enough just depicting “free graphics” and things like that in TripleA, since at the time most stuff was still drawn directly on the baseline maps. But in a way, I think that was helpful, because it forced us to consider what a World War 1 game might look like, using the same essential rules that all the other Axis and Allies games used up until that point.
At that point the engine could handle Classic, Revised, and the two theater games then in print, Europe 1999 and Pacific 2001. For our Great War game we could change simple stuff, like unit attack/defense values, or how far they moved, or how much they cost, but we couldn’t just up and create an entirely new combat system for them! Because the TripleA engine didn’t work like that! heheh. We could change the way territories were drawn or distributed across the gamemap, but not how they were contested, or how placement of units within them worked. Instead we had to build within the confines of rules that already existed on other A&A gameboards. So in my mind, that Great War game, still felt a lot like Axis and Allies, even if it was ridiculously large and sprawling and kind of annoying with some of the insets and whatnot. At least you could say something like “hey, you’ve played Classic or A&A Europe? Well this game works basically the same way.” And then you go on trying to fit the square peg into the round hole, and make a WW1 game that vaguely fits with the familiar ruleset.
1914 is a totally different beast though, and took a very different approach, by introducing a whole host of new rules and mechanics. Each phase in the sequence of play involved a core change of one sort or another. And even using my most diehard A&A buddy as a test subject, trying to teach it was nearly impossible. It made the 1940 game look like a cake-walk by comparison, despite having like half the unit types and half the game tiles, and after a few sessions, he was like “dude, this is frustrating, lets just play Global.”
Not to knock it, since I like many of the discrete elements and ideas it introduces, but as a cohesive whole, 1914 just felt like a completely different game to me. I’m not sure why it has Axis and Allies in the title, beyond branding purposes.
I’m not holding my breath on this one. Even though I think it would be hugely helpful to have a tripleA version of this game, just for teaching/learning purposes. Unfortunately I just don’t see the critical mass of enthusiasm for it, from either the devs or the player base, that is usually required to get a tripleA simulation up and running. But who knows? Maybe Frogg and Blumb can get a groundswell going. It would be cool to see some of the 1914 features included in TripleA, just to expand the options with the engine, and allow more customization for mods and such.