Beamdog's 1942 Axis and Allies online
Like a Xvart catching a fireball, I didn’t see that one coming hehe, but I gotta say its pretty exciting!
If you’re like me and your bookmark takes you straight to the forums, you might not have caught the announcement on the front page, but lools like we’re getting a digital version of this one.
I’ll be especially interested to see how the Axis advantage is handled, whether through some formalization of the bidding process (which would be nice) or some kind of set up tweak along the lines of a tournament variant.
I gotta think we’ll get something not too dissimilar from what Hasbro did with the classic cd way back when. That one helped to establish certain balancing mechanisms that weren’t really present in the box, so maybe we get something kind of like that. The Russian restricted opening in Classic comes to mind as something that game probably helped to establish.
I’ll also be interested to see how the new system of casualty selection and restriction on friendly carriers/transports will effect the playbalance for 1942.2. Not too concerned about transports, but the carrier thing could definitely have an impact for fighter transits and the British naval game in particular. From what I just read I’d think the proposed changes will be mainly influencing the Allied game. Really curious to see how having a fixed order of loss based on unit cost will effect multi-national stacks or strafing. Like if you have an Anglo-American joint stack that is attacked by G, it could make a big difference if you have to split casualties in a close battle based on cost, instead of choosing to take all the hits for one nations stuff to preserve the other nation’s counter attack power. Also there’s always those questions about how subs will be handled. But all in all, I can see the advantages of doing an asynchronous approach, since it will definitely simplify the back and forth in a given round, in terms of necessary exchanges between players who are doing their thing remotely.
Will be fun to see also what kind of options there are in terms of modification or edits to the standard game that the engine will allow. I think a lot of long time players would be looking for things of that sort to drive it into the future, since we’re a group that likes to tweak stuff. But yeah, I think it could be a major thing in terms of setting standards, if the base game has some options built-in to help with balancing or offering new takes after some time has elapsed.
Anyhow, I think its a pretty cool announcement. Look forward to learning more about it.
DeviousXP last edited by
@Black_Elk I actually messaged Beamdog to ask about their plans for balancing, and they were unaware of any such issue, they said the results in the office were roughly 50/50. I said that for experienced players on this edition, it is not so balanced. Im hoping they took onboard my suggestion.
I’m curious as to what the thoughts are from the A & A community on this product. I just restarted playing TripleA after a gap of several years and came across this product while brushing up on my knowledge from the forums.
Looking at the posted screenshots, I have to say the graphics are absolutely horrendous. I have no problems with 2D games but this looks like something that might have been produced in the 1990s rather than the 2020s. Paying money for a game I would expect it to have higher quality graphics than TripleA. The units appear to be microscopic in size and I had to stare for a bit until I convinced myself there was indeed some variation in the unit icons between countries. They also appear to have decided to make the map look as much like the OOB board as possible, which is a mistake in my view, as Triple A’s model of adjusting the shapes a bit to be less skinny overall works much better IMHO.
It surprises me that the devs feel the OOB setup is close enough to 50/50 balanced that they didn’t bother implementing bids. Also by not implementing the OOB rules as regards multinational FTR/CV combos this can only ever be another disadvantage to the Allies as when would it ever come up for the Axis? Having a game that’s locked in to being nearly unwinnable for the Allies plus having such ugly graphics makes it unlikely I would ever pick this up. I am unable to host games now with TripleA despite doing everything with the port forwarding and firewall disabling, so if this product makes it easier to play live online with friends that might be something. How are people that have purchased this enjoying it?
I gave it a pretty good run during the first ranked season, with a fair amount of early access type updates along the way. I’d say the main thing it has going for it is essentially the player base. That’s the draw.
Aesthetically I think the digital platforms all still leave a lot to be desired. I wouldn’t say that A&AO is ugly, or that TripleA is a thing of beauty hehe, or that GTO looked slick or stale, but I mean its pretty clear that the Art wasn’t exactly top priority after initial development of the game map and core assets. On the one hand you have an art department for the official products (or I don’t know exactly if its a team or a couple peeps or what) that is basically limited in terms of resources for that, and also by having a publisher that requires everything artwise to be pre-approved by Wizards or whatever. Its all based on the boxed art more or less. Then on the other hand you have an open source thing with unpaid enthusiast making the stuff, using a platform almost 20 years old, and not able to use any official art for it, so of course that’s going to show as well. It’s too bad, because in my head I can picture all sorts of ways that the visual appeal could be really dialed up. Like with really polished alternative map skins, or same deal with Units or Dice, splashier splash screens and all the rest. In some ways I still think the Old Hasbro CD still takes em both to task, even with late 90s sprites lol. But it is what it is I guess.
That said I’ve enjoyed playing. If nothing else it certainly popularized the Gencon ruleset and helped to give a clearer picture of the real playbalance of the game at different levels of player skill (which unsurprisingly has confirmed a lot of what was said here at A&A.org, just with more data to back it up). Also helped quite a bit with expanding the community of digital players and getting some returning vets who probably haven’t played online in a long time if ever. The main thing that’s always held tripleA back is difficulty of installation and the sort of port forwarding/hosting live play issues you mentioned. So having something on steam that’s sort of ready to go click-click for 20 bucks is nice just for convenience factor, although the asynchronous playstyle is pretty different from playing live like you would on the physical board. But yeah, I feel you for sure. It’s not exactly what my pipe dream fantasy for a digital A&A board would be, (nothing ever is, I have high expectations lol) though I don’t regret spending a few bucks just to keep it going haha
Now that you mention it I would come right out and say that the Hasbro version looks better than A&AO. Given the era we live in you would expect a nice 3D map/units with terrain and weather effects. I could see an artistic tension between people who would rather it looked like a physical board game vs. those who might want to have everything as realistic as possible, and I’m sure there’s a happy medium in there.
After I made that reply I spent more time catching up on old forum posts so it seems like people do think the Gencon setup is balanced enough to not need a bid, so it seems like I should switch to that regardless of game medium. I may change my mind on spending the $20 if it’s easier to get a game going with strangers than with TripleA, but those graphics are just so off-putting for me. Honestly, why are the units so microscopic in size? Is there at least the ability to zoom in so you can see what is happening?
I had always hoped for something more like RiskII for a combat animation layout (just for another 90s cd call back). Like where you were given the option to run the battles in a sidebar, or actually enter the tile and have it expand to combat scale, with little toy soldier type dudes and tanks blasting while the dice roll. Or basically all the same features from a roller that RiskII had on the fly, where you could scale it to fast battle and just see numbers and dice flashes for a sec, or view the combat in a minimized battle board window, or on actual terrain with full animations (more along the lines of what they did visually in the A&A RTS game from 04, but with the animations only going with dice rolls, not like the actual mini game that that one was based off.)
For the map, the main thing I really want is just a full scale pan out. Max zoom-out to see the entire world at a glance and read the numbers. It’d be cool if it ran like a mini version of google maps, where you get the global pan out at various scales, but can go to a street view where it generates a table top layout on actual terrain. In combat a view like that shows the tanks roll around and blast, or fighters strafing across the screen, and when hits are made the tanks explode and planes crash, dudes keel over and disappear. That sort of thing. At sea much the same, just with fleets and open water, or coastal terrain at the zoom in combat if it’s amphib. An iso or birdseye quick view would be cool for that, planes coming in when hits are made, battleships bombarding when the dice drop with craters and clouds. Capitals and VCs might have their own visual flourishes at that scale for terrain zooms with iconic buildings or landmarks, bridges or whathaveyou.
Features for a camera view Z axis to rotate around and position a cam like it was an actual table. A tricked out battlefield game-table, in someones imaginary double wide garage palace, ultimate board hehe. Where the player can set and move pieces that look like plastic army men into position in columns, on a game plane simulating a physical board that looks like a model train-terrain set up. That would be cool. Or something with a cartoon vibe maybe. And just stats screens plastered with info, and with WW2 ephemera all around. Medals posters old photos or clippings, whatever. All the window dressings basically.
I like a tutorial advisor, fully voice acted like they do in Total War, or things like news reels or bulletin period headlines. Splashes randomly during the various phase, turn, round sequence transitions. A passing computer opponent that makes for fun solo games and AI generals that randomize the computer playpatterns in different ways.
Then just AA50 or Global with all that going on. Options to edit the board state at any time to allow for all game possibilities. I think a tutorial mode and a decent computer opponent using an established board like AA50 would help the learning curve because the game almost needs a ride along show, and step up to Global scale which is pretty complicated without a primer. But I think 3D map, terrain, weather etc for sure. Give a happy medium, or just a gang of options to have basic abstract national-color with plastic looking army men and cardboard vibe, or painted tin soldiers decal’d out on train model scale with the tiny waving flags miniature vibe and all that. I think those are the two looks most people like.
If max zoom’d out to view the whole map, more like the former, if entering the close up combat view, more like the latter. It would look slick. In my head, anyway. Just pining lol
I should mention I did crack and pick this up as I pretty much have little choice if I want to do any A & A gaming. I’m very happy that zooming out the map replaces the 3d units with the 2d icons as the 3d units are way too garish and I cannot tell at a glance what any of the ships are supposed to be aside from Carriers and Transports. Before I did this I ran away from a Cruiser once thinking it was a Battleship!
I will say that this does inject some freshness into the game as many players who are new to this game haven’t weeded out all the bad moves so things are far from routine. In one game the UK player built 3 DDs for India UK1 and in another the Japanese player purchased factories for both FIC and Kwangtung J1, but then on J2 rather than exploit these factories to their full potential they dumped a BB in the Home Islands. Overall I’m seeing a lot of players buy too many BBs. In a game I’m in right now that isn’t ranked, I’m playing Japan and the German player built a BB for the Med fleet G1!
This inexperience also has a downside as some games drag on long after they are clearly over. If the Russian stack moves west past W Russia and Japan isn’t ready to capture India, Moscow, or W USA the game is basically over, no need to make the Russians march to Berlin. I’ve been a bit shocked to hear about games going 20+ rounds reading some of the old posts here. I don’t know why that would happen unless the game stalemated by having Moscow and Tokyo go down within a turn of each other. Otherwise the game should definitely be trending one way or the other by turn 5/6 and the next few rounds just confirm it. It’s very hard to start reversing a bad position unless your opponent gets diced.
One drawback is that I have to have 6+ games running at once just to make sure I have good odds of being able to take a turn when I want to actually play. Luckily the map notes are a great feature so I can remind myself of what I am supposed to be doing in each one. The various bugs associated with using Transports are also a huge issue, but still, it’s better than nothing.
@Eqqman When I was playing this heavily (played a lot in Season 1 and got to Platinum, got too busy with IRL stuff + got fed-up with bad dice luck Season 2 and haven’t played much past my qualifier games) Players didn’t start becoming competent until like high Gold Tier in Ranked. Especially the Axis Players, as the balance in 42SE (even the Gencon Rules, which is what Ranked uses exclusively) is in-favor of the Axis to the point where a lot of Axis Players can do totally wonky stuff and still win through the sheer advantage (at least on-paper) that the Axis have in the starting setup (win rates in Platinum Tier are probably more even, but the Allies are much harder to play at a high level in 42SE than the Axis are, IMO).