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Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?


  • '14

    For a long time now I’ve been hoping to see an official digital platform for A&A (one with at least some kind of connection to the designers and publishers) that could be used for alpha testing a new game before its actually released in print. I mean like a tandem release, where the new physical game follows the online drop.

    Analog playtesting the way A&A has been handled in the past is pretty laborious and time intensive, as a cursory look back at the larry boards will reveal. Even with an open alpha and tons of feedback on forums and such for each proposal, its still a challenge to aggregate everything and to rely on anecdotal after action reports. I get the impression that there is never really enough time to hold the kind of informal FtF tournaments that would be required, or to get enough people all going gangbusters at the same time to actually get enough data beforehand to determine whether its fully cooked before running it to the printers in china and pushing it out on the shelves.

    With a digital alpha you could speed up the whole process considerably and have gamesaves to use as evidence, to help parse the overall play-pattern and player experience in each iteration.

    I think A&A online could provide a real opportunity, if ever we got a shot on a re-issue of 1942. Even a re-release using the same base map could be fun. I admit new maps get me more excited than the existing ones (there were a couple changes from Spring to 2nd Ed so least there’s a precedent), but even using the same map as 2nd ed, with set up changes or a rules change or two there are a lot of ways to get at a new take on things.

    I guess what I’m hoping for is that A&Aonline goes beyond just offering a way to play 1942.2 or any of the existing A&A games digitally, and might eventually serve as a hub for developing the next A&A games. A place where the players could actually be more involved with that process, and provide feedback on things when it might still make a difference, e.g. before its shrink wrapped and sent off to stores.

    I know there are some core table toppers who would probably never really play A&A on a computer, but who might reconsider doing so, if hopping online also meant possible glimpses at the next upcoming board. Or having other ways to get involved, provide feedback while it might still influence the basic set up/balance design, or otherwise engage with something that they eventually get to put on an actual table. I think we could see a pretty strong 3rd edition going at it that way.

    Anyhow, just a few thoughts. To me the real longer term promise of an online A&A project would be something like that. And why I get exicted about things like possible toolsets or map/scenario editors.


  • 2019 2018

    I’d like a map/scenario editor myself. I’ve tried for ages to get the one in TripleA working but I’ve never had much luck. Probably my own fault for being too lazy to look up a guide or ask for help, though.



  • @Black_Elk said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    For a long time now I’ve been hoping to see an official digital platform for A&A (one with at least some kind of connection to the designers and publishers) that could be used for alpha testing a new game before its actually released in print. I mean like a tandem release, where the new physical game follows the online drop.

    Analog playtesting the way A&A has been handled in the past is pretty laborious and time intensive, as a cursory look back at the larry boards will reveal. Even with an open alpha and tons of feedback on forums and such for each proposal, its still a challenge to aggregate everything and to rely on anecdotal after action reports. I get the impression that there is never really enough time to hold the kind of informal FtF tournaments that would be required, or to get enough people all going gangbusters at the same time to actually get enough data beforehand to determine whether its fully cooked before running it to the printers in china and pushing it out on the shelves.

    With a digital alpha you could speed up the whole process considerably and have gamesaves to use as evidence, to help parse the overall play-pattern and player experience in each iteration.

    I think A&A online could provide a real opportunity, if ever we got a shot on a re-issue of 1942. Even a re-release using the same base map could be fun. I admit new maps get me more excited than the existing ones (there were a couple changes from Spring to 2nd Ed so least there’s a precedent), but even using the same map as 2nd ed, with set up changes or a rules change or two there are a lot of ways to get at a new take on things.

    I guess what I’m hoping for is that A&Aonline goes beyond just offering a way to play 1942.2 or any of the existing A&A games digitally, and might eventually serve as a hub for developing the next A&A games. A place where the players could actually be more involved with that process, and provide feedback on things when it might still make a difference, e.g. before its shrink wrapped and sent off to stores.

    I know there are some core table toppers who would probably never really play A&A on a computer, but who might reconsider doing so, if hopping online also meant possible glimpses at the next upcoming board. Or having other ways to get involved, provide feedback while it might still influence the basic set up/balance design, or otherwise engage with something that they eventually get to put on an actual table. I think we could see a pretty strong 3rd edition going at it that way.

    Anyhow, just a few thoughts. To me the real longer term promise of an online A&A project would be something like that. And why I get exicted about things like possible toolsets or map/scenario editors.

    How about a 3rd edition with more historically-accurate pieces for France? I was basically thinking “No more Soviet pieces painted blue for France!” I think that France should have its own molds. I think that it is rather silly for France to have Soviet Union molds repainted blue for France. France didn’t exactly like the Soviets, either. Dewoitine D. 520 for a fighter, Breguet 690 for a tactical bomber, Char B1 bis for the tank piece, Farman F. 220 for the strategic bomber piece, Schneider AMC P16 for a mechanized infantry piece., Canon de 75 modèle 1913-17 Schneider for France’s AAA piece, The French 75 for an artillery piece, Dunkerque class for a battleship, Béarn class for an aircraft carrier, La Galissonière Class for a cruiser piece, Redoutable class for a submarine, Le Fantasque for a destroyer, and so on.

    If anyone has anything different, I’m all ears. 😀



  • I think black_elk was referring to 1942 3rd edition, not a 1940 europe/pacific/global 3rd edition.

    I a bit a of side rant, but I doubt updated French pieces will be a priority even if there is a 3rd edition for 1940. It would be cool purely for a collectors stand point, but only that, as from a game standpoint France falling is a forgone conclusion in Europe 1940 and feels more like busywork after the novelty of doing it the first time. The interesting strategy/decision making is everything else. The balance of destroying british navy/threatening sea lion/Blitz Russia/aiding Italy.


  • 2019 2018

    If we’re going to talk about the G40 line, I might as well throw out my personal wish. Give us a 1939 (or even 1936) scenario. I love the idea of having a few turns to prepare for the war in your own way, as opposed to being handed a largely predetermined set of units by the developers.

    It would let you explore zany what-if scenarios to your heart’s content, too.


  • 2018

    @DoManMacgee DeGaulle has a 39. looks pretty cool.

    link text

    Think oztea has one too. Sure there’s a few more out there.



  • @DoManMacgee said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    If we’re going to talk about the G40 line, I might as well throw out my personal wish. Give us a 1939 (or even 1936) scenario. I love the idea of having a few turns to prepare for the war in your own way, as opposed to being handed a largely predetermined set of units by the developers.

    It would let you explore zany what-if scenarios to your heart’s content, too.

    This guy has one right here.



  • @Striker said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    I think black_elk was referring to 1942 3rd edition, not a 1940 europe/pacific/global 3rd edition.

    I a bit a of side rant, but I doubt updated French pieces will be a priority even if there is a 3rd edition for 1940. It would be cool purely for a collectors stand point, but only that, as from a game standpoint France falling is a forgone conclusion in Europe 1940 and feels more like busywork after the novelty of doing it the first time. The interesting strategy/decision making is everything else. The balance of destroying british navy/threatening sea lion/Blitz Russia/aiding Italy.

    Yes, France does in fact fall, but after liberation by the Allies, she becomes a pain in the neck to Germany and Italy, with the help of the other Allies on the Global board.

    France returns after liberation, so it’s not a complete loss.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Any word on whether the publishers plan to crack down on TripleA after they get their paid platform up? Or on whether they plan to offer a map editor, scenario editor, or automated tournament ladder for AAOnline?


  • '14

    Not sure what the publisher would stand to gain from that other than generating ill will with a core part of their potential online player base. TripleA has moved pretty far away from the A&A clone it was initially and is driven much more by original content now. The whole process of creating games, downloading maps and everything was altered to remain in-bounds a while back. I’ve been participating in the project now for the better part of almost two decades and I can say that it has morphed considerably since the last dmca of like 10 years ago. Really all you have to do is look back on the staying power of the defunct GTO A&A Spring 1942 computer game, to see how silly it was to try and present that as a viable alternative. To really replace tripleA they’d have to create a title that does all the things that tripleA does, but better, which seems like a pretty tall order given how its grown into an open ended game engine now, with the majority of maps having nothing to do with Axis and Allies. Pointlessly coming after it without a suitable replacement to fill that void for the larger game creating community would just piss off the exact long-time players they want to attract in the first place.

    If they build a good stand alone A&A online platform, emblazoned with all the regalia of officialdom, then the players will gravitate to it by themselves, so I’d hope it doesn’t get presented as an either or proposition. I’m pretty sure the people at Beamdog can appreciate the value of having a creative user-content driven community behind them, just given their history taking on a redux for projects like BG or Neverwinter Nights.

    I think beamdog is a particularly good fit for Axis and Allies, just coming out of a mutual appreciation for what they did with those other crpgs. I was really surprised and pleased to see that they were taking on this project for us.

    Back when Black Elk was a druid named Jah-din, I used to put out massive portrait packs for those games hehe. Took samples from the dusty tomes, all my favorite fantasy artists of the 1st/2nd edition D&D era, with a credits list like half a mile long, since that kind of stuff is important to me. But anyway, main point being that a large part of the appeal of those games was stuff like that, all the user created content, mods, possibilities for customization etc.

    I’d say we have the exact same sort of group here among the A&A playerbase, just waiting for a developer to do right by us. If anything TripleA could probably help them to learn a great deal about the sort of things the community is really hungry for.

    Honestly the situation we’ve been in with A&A/tripleA is almost exactly analogous to what was happening with the Baldur’s Gate modding community before beamdog enhanced it across the finish line. People just trying their best to find new ways to make it happen in the afterlife. I remember the first time I played BG using the BGII engine, just hunting around in random corners of the internet, messing with dos prompts and the like. It was doable, and awesome when it finally worked, but I can tell you right now its way more convenient to just drop like 10 bones on a steam sale and have all the legwork already done.

    But yeah man, a toolset. That’s the ticket right there. I mean obviously I’m buying it regardless, but with a toolset out the deal you could start to harness the creativity of the community at large, and put it to work in furthering the online franchise long term.


  • 2019 2018

    I am aware of GW36-39, but thanks anyway. While I’m a fan of that line I’m looking for something a tad more basic (less reliant on tech, optional rules, etc.). You know, something that can be played in a day instead of a weekend.

    I wasn’t aware of de Gaulle’s ruleset though. That’s some interesting stuff, there.

    I doubt this community would take it well if they went after TripleA lol. That’d be essentially taking an ax to all of our leagues.


  • 2018

    Do you all think the splintering of the community is a problem? Some of it is natural, boredom, something new. Some is hopelessness caused by imbalance. And there is no house rule that will ever gain the acceptance of the community like a LH sanctioned version.

    I would want him to give us a handicapping system built into every new release, like all of those optional rules in the back of revised. The benefit would not only be to scale the community and create competition where there is a great disparity of skill and experience, but it would automatically account for unanticipated imbalances in the product.

    Myself, I don’t like the bid. I like the idea of Russian infantry as the equalizer. The best part about using ivans is that they can be used in almost all of the iterations of our beloved franchise.

    I’ve also mentioned on my YouTube channel a way to customize the game by recreating the phony war period. If g40 begins in May 1940, what about starting 6 months earlier, giving many of the participants a non-combat move and an extra build. This what I call owning the game.

    I also would like it if WoC would transition from the outdated idea of a single big get when you buy the game to putting out mods, packs, maps, sculps (like French) etc so that the buying public can get the official LH version if they so desire. Which is exactly how they make so much off of magic and dnd? Nickels and dimes.


  • '14

    Exactly! Its actually kind of bizarre, given how much interest there is in things like collecting sculpts or additional accessories (dice, chips, counters and whatnot), not to mention other variant materials like card decks or specialty rules for expansion scenarios. Of course you can customize and cobble stuff together using 3rd party resources and house rules, but I think there is a pretty clear desire on the part of most players for some kind of official guidance in that area.

    To me the most sensible approach would be a starter set (containing all the essential materials for the basic game) then a series of modular expansions for that starter set, and then periodically a big box (Black Box, Gold Box or whatever) where you can get a bundle of expansion materials incorporated into the sale of the starter materials. The potential for smaller transactions is pretty limitless. I could imagine things like national expansion sets with sculpts and rules for how to incorporate a new player nation into the base game, or unit expansions where you get sculpts for all the existing nations. AH tried to do something like this with their miniatures series, but the obvious issue was that those miniatures were for an entirely different “squad” based game, that had no application in the existing A&A boardgames and no real connection to the boardgame franchise other than the name recognition.

    The other issue with the single “big get” model, is that the boards become outdated way too quickly. The older maps/rules become defunct as soon as the new stuff arrives, so you end up with all these total replacements and a bunch of boxes stacking up in the closet, rather than a situation where you could build up a for a master collectors game over time. In the digital arena people tend to grumble about DLCs and such, but to me it makes a lot of sense for the physical board, and is already going on anyway at places like historicalboardgaming, which is currently filling the void left over by the dearth of official A&A expansion materials.

    The splintering of the community is a real problem, and there is a definite lack of cohesion when it comes to things like official fixes for game balance. It puts us in a position where people who are trying to play the same game, end up playing very different games, as they try to address these issues in localized player groups or tournaments with House Rules or whatever.

    I think a lot of people find the idea of a balanced game ‘out the box’ kind of patronizing at this point. We know its not going to be balanced by sides. A balanced A&A board has never been realized to date, and the track record there is pretty clear, which is why its kind of surprising that we still don’t have any official remedy or scheme for dealing with this constant problem. Like just admitting that the game is inherently unbalanced already, so we can move past that and find an optimal working solution for choosing sides.

    More importantly, even if the boxed game was balanced by sides, with the perfect starting unit set up, just the right amount of cash etc. what we are talking about there is a game balanced among players of roughly ‘equal skill,’ but that is rarely the situation around the home table. There is almost always a disparity in player ability/familiarity, so these games really do require a more refined handicapping scheme to give the underdog a leg up. It should be built into the game… part of the gameplay from the get-go, not an afterthought fix.

    With respect to the A&Aonline project, I’ll admit to being a little concerned about that last point. I worry that anecdotal experiences around the office may lead them to think the game is a 50/50 toss up and so the issue doesn’t need addressing, but that is definitely not the consensus view here. There are probably hundreds of games logged in the PBF section which support the general assessment that the 1942 board was Axis advantage and seems to still be even after the tournament tweak. But you really don’t even need to go there, because we all know that even if the game was a perfect split by sides, you’d still need a way to deal with disparities in player ability. Just because an expert player can manage not to die as Allies, doesn’t mean that the average player will be able to do the same. And not every newb is going to want to play as Axis, just because its the ‘easier side’ to play. You need a system in place, an official system, to deal with this stuff.

    The traditional tournament bid works alright, but even that is kind of tired at this point, and in any case it still doesn’t have the official nod despite being used by pretty much everyone. I’d rather have a series of thematic options spelled out in the rulebook.

    ps. this isn’t a grand plan, but lets say worst case scenario and the boxed game is totally hardcoded with no way to edit units or provide a cash bid, or anything like that. What do we do then? Maybe skip the movement phases in the first round for everyone by player agreement? Like nothing can move until round 2, so everyone gets a preliminary purchase before it actually begins in earnest? Its the only thing I can think of right now that might somehow produce a substantially different playpattern PvP, potentially balancing if nothing else is done to vanilla 1942.2 and its just a direct port. It probably handles the balance on Caucasus and India, naval builds might be more interesting or production builds. Following the regular game sequence players would at least be able to build off each others purchases to shape the playbalance, instead of everything going to one side or one player. Might work. Allies could then save the American Atlantic transports and allow the US to pick a focus. Britain could try to set up in the Atlantic, or build for a hit on Japan out of India/sz35 so Allies get the leg up. But the Axis would also get a chance to build in sz15 or sz60 or do stuff with transports that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, so I can imagine it going different ways depending on who builds what in the ghost round. The practical restriction of only placing units at the factory territories might be somewhat stabilizing, instead of a bid that goes to a battle breaker. I wonder what round 2 would look like then after a round of purchases? Russia would be able to ice the Ukraine battle, and Britain could put the lock on sz37, but G could probably do some things to compensate like with a transport buy in the med. Not sure how it would shake down, but might be more interesting than vanilla. A full round of purchasing would have to favor Allies for the initiative since they have more nations on the team, but least it wouldn’t be just all to one side.


  • 2018

    black elk,

    can I read your post on my youtube channel? important stuff that might percolate throughout the community. Thanks.

    crockett36

    PS argothair, I posted your russian strat from allied playbook on my channel. thanks.


  • '14

    Yeah man for sure. I gotta take a look at the channel. Sounds like the kind of place I should definitely have bookmarked, cause I was fully vibing on everything you posted earlier hehe. Catch you in a few



  • This is very insightful, Black_Elk. I’ve passed your concerns to the development team.


  • 2019 2018

    @crockett36 said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    Do you all think the splintering of the community is a problem? Some of it is natural, boredom, something new. Some is hopelessness caused by imbalance. And there is no house rule that will ever gain the acceptance of the community like a LH sanctioned version.

    I think the opposite is the problem. This community is hyper-focused on one game in the entire franchise, G40. Barely any of the other boards get attention other than the occasional Classic post.


  • '14

    Yeah that’s also true, though it kind of makes sense since 1940 was the last scenario to offer something substantially new in a while. Everything since has been mainly reissues or retcons. 1942.2 and Zombies are both basically reissues of Spring 42, which wasn’t all that different from Revised. 1941 is basically a really stripped down simplification of Classic. So since AA50 came out only the 1940 maps really put a new spin on things. 1914 is clearly pretty different, buts its not a WW2 board, so is kind of marked out on account of that probably. If any of the reissues had been really well balanced and offered much more strategic depth than the Revised game they’d probably have seen more staying power, but the playpatterns and overall look/feel were still remarkably similar. I mean I guess we got the defenseless transport and the new bombing mechanics, more expensive tanks, and a cruiser unit that nobody buys, but they also ditched the tech and national advantages from Revised, so its debatable how much the mid-scale 5 man board with a total war start has really evolved in the past 15 years since Revised camed out. Not surprising if most people are still on a 1940 kick, since that was definitely an evolution, but 1940 still isn’t very serviceable for introductions. Its too long and the rules overhead has a learning curve like a cliff hehe.

    I don’t see any reason though why we couldn’t take a board on the scale of 1942.2 or AA50, and have that as a more universal starter board that can be built into something more impressive with expansion materials. Or even with a starter board closer in scale to Global, but modular so that you can stage in the complexity.

    When you combine the Europe and Pacific boards you end up with a map that has like 4 times as many game tiles as Classic or 1942.2. To me having more game tiles (a bunch of additional tt and sz) doesn’t really necessitate all the baseline rules complexity we see in 1940. What I mean is that you could surely find a way to make a more limited and much faster 5-6 man total war scenario, still with a larger game map more on the scale of global, and it wouldn’t be that much harder to learn than 1942.2 is currently. People have done exactly that designing custom scenarios with different start dates. But it just wasn’t really built out with that kind of modular approach in mind, and so nothing official on offer there. But I’m sure had they done it in a more modular way there’d probably have been more continuity if it was built off the same base mapboard.

    For example, they could have sold a single Global Map starter set that had all the basic materials and rules designed for a much simpler introductory game that could then be built into a more complex hydra like G40 via expansion, but they didn’t really go that route. Both 1940 maps are separately still way more involved than any of the mid scale 1942 maps, and combined even moreso.

    We’ve seen over successive editions how new units, mechanics, full player nations etc can be grafted onto what is still essentially a beefed up Classic game, so I imagine all that could be handled via expansions provided the basic map was well designed and durable and didn’t go out of print after just a couple years.

    Honestly the main impediment to creating that kind of game that I’ve seen is that Larry was just a little too rigid with his conception of the production spread and the IPC values on the printed maps. It means that the map is constantly redrawn and values are redistributed, with considerable variation over successive editions, but still fixed for any given map. Its the same with VCs. Those could just as easily be game markers that could be added or moved around to accommodate things like adding in a new player nation. You could also do simple things like attaching an IPC value beyond the printed value of territory (or even sz) with things like game markers that can be moved. Simple rules could likewise allow for ways to re-balance the same game map for different scenarios depending on the desired scale or level of complexity.

    Just spit-balling, but lets say that the starter map had no VCs printed on it but came with more VC tokens/markers than were actually needed for the base game. Then you add in say Italy or whoever, drop a token on the right territory with a simple rule that says any VC territory is worth +1 or 2 ipcs or +X over the printed value if its a capital and you’d have a way to get a new thing going without having to reprint the entire map. I can just think of a lot of ways it could be done with a more adaptive plan from the outset, so that periodic revisions or expansion scenarios could be issued (officially, not just as like HR stuff by committee) with everyone on basically the same page and not having it go obsolete quite so quickly.

    Again though, I think that whole franchise model would be way way easier to develop if it was done digitally in tandem. Again so that everyone can be on the same page, and the testing and feedback, and dissemination of new materials would be easier to coordinate.



  • @JuliusBorisovBeamdog said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    This is very insightful, Black_Elk. I’ve passed your concerns to the development team.

    Some other data that may be useful is the results of last years tournament at GENCON. The tournament used the new set up/“patch” created by Larry to help balance the game
    Changes from the Out of the box setup are:

    Added UK-DD to Sea zone 7

    Moved UK-Cruiser from Sea Zone 14 to Sea Zone 13

    German Bomber in Germany moved to Ukraine

    Remove 1 German sub from Sea Zone 5

    Added 2 UK Infantry to India (Total now 5).from

    The tournament results with this setup are below
    ( from http://www.headlesshorseman2.com/gen-con.html)

    1942 2nd Ed. Games (all games 4 :45 min in length)
    Bid 8 to Allies, 4 turn game, Allies Victory = 9VC’s/Surrender
    Bid 6 to Allies, 7 turn game, Allies Victory = 8 VC’s
    Bid 11 to Allies, 4 turn game, Axis Victory = Surrender
    Bid 8 to Allies, 4 turn game, Axis Victory +3 Victory Cities
    Bid 7 to Allies, 5 turn game, Axis Victory +3 Victory Cities
    Bid 6 to Allies, 5 turn game, Axis Victory 10 VC’s.
    Bid 6 to Allies, 7 turn game, Allies Victory 7 VC’s
    Bid 6 to Allies, 7 turn game, Allies Victory 9 VC’s
    Bid 7 to Allies, 5 turn game, Allies Victory 7 VC’s
    Bid 8 to Allies, 6 turn game, Allies Victory 9 VC’s
    Bid 5 to Allies, 4 turn game, Allies Victory +3 Victory Cities
    Bid 2 to Allies, 4 turn game, Axis Victory +3 Victory Cities
    Bid 6 to Allies, 4 turn game, Axis Victory +3 Victory Cities(Finals game)

    The bid is how many IPCS worth of free units or extra income was given to the allied team.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @Black_Elk said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    I mean I guess we got the defenseless transport and the new bombing mechanics, more expensive tanks, and a cruiser unit that nobody buys, but they also ditched the tech and national advantages from Revised

    You’re really selling it, Black_Elk! Tell us what else you like about 1942.2! 🙂


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @Black_Elk said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    To me having more game tiles (a bunch of additional tt and sz) doesn’t really necessitate all the baseline rules complexity we see in 1940. What I mean is that you could surely find a way to make a more limited and much faster 5-6 man total war scenario, still with a larger game map more on the scale of global, and it wouldn’t be that much harder to learn than 1942.2 is currently.

    I think there’s definitely some room for a modular starter map that has lots more ‘tiles’ than, say, 1941. I think once you get up near the Global 1940 scale, the amount of table space you need to set the thing up, in square feet, is excessive for a starter game. Not everybody has a giant living room table that they can reserve for a full day of gaming; it’s a barrier to entry if the flagship map is so big that casual players won’t even be able to set it up.

    That’s just a quibble, though – I strongly agree with you on the missed opportunities for a modular map with a moderate size, lightweight rules that can expand to become more complicated as players get more sophisticated, and digital integration.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @Striker So that’s an average bid of 6.6 IPCs for the Allies, but the Allies still only pulled off a 7-6 win record, and two of those wins were called on time with only 7 Allied VCs. The 6 Axis wins all featured at least 10 Axis VCs and included the final match. Seems like pretty good evidence to me that the game is still biased toward Axis even with the 1942.3 setup changes.



  • @Argothair said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    Seems like pretty good evidence to me that the game is still biased toward Axis even with the 1942.3 setup changes.

    That has been the consensus of veteran players yes.


  • '14

    Haha yeah Argo got me there. I guess I was just pinning for a little more in the cook book with a main starter board. I think a lot could be still be achieved with the 1942.2 map as a basis, especially if the production spread could be adjusted or the economy scaled in a different way. But then the trick is broad adoption, which seems like it only ever comes with some sort of official nod. I don’t know though maybe A&Aonline could find a way to get something out there once established. Toolset, still at the top of the wishlist 🙂


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @Black_Elk said in Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?:

    But then the trick is broad adoption, which seems like it only ever comes with some sort of official nod.

    I’m not sure that’s totally accurate! I think we as a community of players underestimate ourselves. I know that the friends I game with are usually willing to try mods that I’ve designed, and I’m willing to try theirs. Corpo42 has hosted a Bay Area Anniversary tournament with some modest rule changes for the last two years that’s drawn broad attendance, and SiredBlood in Orange County made his own Global 40-esque map and ruleset and tech tree for a tournament that also got good attendance. Balanced Mod 3.0 currently sees about as much play as OOB Global 40, and several years ago I believe New World Order (another unofficial map) was one of the most commonly played games on TripleA. So when people make good games, I think other people are usually pretty willing to play them.

    One place where I do see the community lacking is in organization and consensus-building. The people who are interested in house rules (myself included!) spend a lot more time creating their personal favorite versions and arguing about them on the forums than they do systematically playtesting and reviewing other people’s mods. You don’t really see “committees” set up to design games very often, much less committees set up to vote on or approve new games as “semi-official.”

    In my opinion, that’s what it would take to shift games even further away from OOB toward games that are more responsive to player feedback: if we’re not going to be dependent on the Word of God from Avalon Hill or Larry Harris or whatever, then we need to rely on the Word of the Majority from some sort of board or committee or general membership that has high enough status/prestige within the community that they can say “this game is official” and the game becomes accepted as a result. People might follow the board’s leadership if the board is full of very high quality players and designers, or if the board pumps a lot of energy into organizing leagues and tournaments, or if the board includes skilled programmers and artists who can make very pretty games, or if people see that the board is using a thorough, fair, transparent review process to evaluate new game designs, or some combination of the above.

    Right now, though, we don’t even have the beginnings of that kind of Board – the people running their various regional tournaments aren’t even trying to coordinate their rules, and the people running the axisandallies.org League are totally agnostic about house rules (you can play a league game with whatever house rules people do or don’t agree to), and the people maintaining the tripleA software are running a neutral platform that can accommodate any and all game designs…so nobody’s really even trying to develop a “moral counterweight” to Larry Harris’s moral authority as one of the original designers.

    I think we could wait until the stars grow cold for someone like Larry Harris or an Avalon Hill executive to officially bless a variant Axis & Allies game – if they were interested in acting on constructive criticism, they could have fixed their mainline map on any of their last three tries. They’ve got no special need to listen to feedback from die-hard fans like the people who post on this forum, because they’re making good money from ongoing sales to casual players, and they’re generally well-respected in the community. If we want a new and improved mainline map to catch on more broadly than with just a local group of friends, we will have to do the hard work of building a consensus around that map by ourselves, without help from the corporate owners of the intellectual property.


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