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Grand Plans, 3rd Edition?


  • '14

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

    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.

    Really good points. And I agree too, something more or substantially new for 42 coming down from the og seems kind of unlikely at this point, but I guess what I was hoping for in terms of nods for mods, would be more like promotion and support for that kind of stuff on an official digital platform by the developers/team. Then I suppose a board like you say, where the coolest stuff can rise to the top, highlander style, so others have an easy way to see it. Balanced mod for G40 is a cool example of how something like that can work when enough people agree to agree. I don’t know what kind of tools we might get, if any, but it would be rad to see something like that take off for 42, even if the scale was more modest. Then maybe it finds its way back somehow into a physical release, after being proven entertaining in the digital arena where fast feedback is easier to gather. I think there is a lot of potential for more back and forth between digital and physical design like that. Just depends how much the customizing aspect of the table top and current online community is embraced when it goes digital legit. Fingers crossed for something that lets us play around outside the box a bit. Like a map or scenario editor with an intuitive UI for altering some of the behind the scenes stuff, so we could experiment, that would be hella exciting.


  • '14

    Still trying to figure out how to quote from the last page using my phone. Guess the formatting is a little different now. The mysteries of the new forums hehe. But yeah, super Nova explosions

    One thing I wanted to add about having a toolset editor is that maybe it would allow for one or two of the major tournaments like GenCon to simulcast digitally, maybe with online participation too, or at least have the finals archived digitally, so people could see the round by round for those, with the key stuff summarized. Like one dude on the sidelines with a laptop editing/recording the broad strokes at the close of each round into an A&Aonline game file to preserve the action for posterity. Or better yet a big online tournament to coincide with the big physical one, where everyone uses the same tourney set up world wide for one day, or one week or whatever, so the experience is more shared and accessible for people in remote locations that can’t make the drive. Technically can be done already, but I think something like that might get more traction when the online product is all official-like.


  • 2019 2018

    Taking the time to reply to this because it’s a well thought out reply to what I originally commented and goes into other areas I see as great opportunities for this new, digital edition of A&A.

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

    1940 was the last scenario to offer something substantially new in a while.

    IMO Zombies and 1914 both brought a lot of new things to the table, but the community despised the whole “Zombie” thing and never really gave it a chance. I’m not sure why 1914 wasn’t well-received but I’d probably agree with you that the non-WW2 setting means the game loses one of its core audiences immediately (WW2 buffs).

    Agreed that 42/42SE are just poor man’s revised clones. At least 42SE tried to be different by changing the map, but really that just resulted in making one of the worst-balanced games in the franchise.

    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.

    I agree with this 200%. I think this where the most potential lies with the new online platform. They can add new maps and tweak the IPC values, borders, etc. of existing ones to improve balance in a way that simply isn’t possible with a physical board game.

    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.

    Agreed on basically all of this. The trend I’ve seen with other playgroups’ House Rules is that they add more rules/units/etc. to the existing G40 Baseline. The others in my playgroup can barely keep up with the baseline rules of something like AA50, so G40 is simply too overwhelming for them (even though it’s not really that complex compared to “”“real”"" war games).

    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.

    I didn’t quote the rest of your post because, to me, this is the meat of it. The logistical nightmare of creating a “starter edition” and releasing different expansions for said “starter” edition is easily solved by using a digital platform instead. TripleA works because of basically this principle. There’s just the core A&A Rules Engine and the capability to add custom maps/scenarios. In the hands of a professional developer with (presumably) WoTC’s Blessings, it should be (relatively) easy for them to eventually get every edition of A&A made available on this new platform and create new maps/scenarios as needed. Community mod support would be nice but is probably just a pipe dream.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

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

    Fingers crossed for something that lets us play around outside the box a bit. Like a map or scenario editor with an intuitive UI for altering some of the behind the scenes stuff, so we could experiment, that would be hella exciting.

    Yeah, absolutely, having some type of editor would be a mandatory feature for me. As far as I can tell from the preview photos and descriptions, right now Axis & Allies Online is not offering me any features that I want. The software only includes one game – 1942.3 – and you can’t edit that game in any way. Well, I don’t want to play 1942.3 using out-of-the-box rules, so, right now, I have no interest in playing Axis & Allies Online. I wouldn’t bother downloading Axis & Allies Online for free, let alone purchasing it on Steam.

    I say all of this with respect and goodwill for the software designers, who seem to be working hard and trying to listen to the community. If anyone from Beamdog is reading this, I want you to know that your software could be a really exciting, useful gaming platform…but that you won’t get there just by thinking positively and hoping that the modified version of 1942 Second Edition (known around here as 1942.3) is a good “middle-of-the-road” map. It’s not a good middle-of-the-road map. It’s a bad middle-of-the-road map that makes thoughtless compromises and achieves many of the worst features of both ends of the spectrum. 1942.3 has enough rules and enough territories to be daunting for new players, but not enough strategy or fairness to be satisfying for experienced players. It’s not a good idea to start with an unmodifiable version of 1942.3 and then work on adding minor editing capabilities months or years down the road as a sort of ‘bonus’ feature. Those editing capabilities are part of the minimum feature set that you need to have a product that will attract significant support from serious A&A players.

    Right now, switching platforms from TripleA to Axis & Allies Online would be a huge downgrade for me. TripleA supports both live and asynchronous play of 30 different maps, with house rules and editing and a working lobby. Axis & Allies Online supports 1 map, with no house rules and no editing, and it’s one of the worst A&A maps ever released. I’m pleased to see new options entering the market, but those options will have to get much better before I consider playing them or recommending them to my friends.


  • 2018

    argothair,

    Is there a map you like, one that you are thinking of? I would like to blow up Europe, the Med, Eastern Russia and the area around the Burma Road. I would also like piece markers for the plane movements.

    You seem a little cynical. I’m guessing there are plans in the works for a new release. I’m hoping that the game after that can be more of a hybrid. I am sure some of this info is making it’s way to the top.


  • 2019 2018

    I’m on @Argothair 's side on this one. Making things worse is that djensen confirmed in the other thread that this is 42SE OOB, so there’s not even the LHTR to fix the balance issues.

    However, I’m not going to take as extreme a position as Argothair. I still plan on buying the game in the dim hope that it’ll either spur the creation of another A&A Title, or that the online platform will improve down the road.


  • 2019 2018

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

    argothair,

    Is there a map you like, one that you are thinking of?

    To be fair, Revised is a more-balanced and less-nuanced 42SE, and AA50 is a slightly-more complex but infinitely superior 42SE. Either of those would have been preferable as a starting point in my mind.

    I understand Beamdog’s choice though, as 42SE is the most “modern” edition the developers are most familiar with (Revised is like 15 years old at this point, Classic is over 30).

    Here’s an interesting but possibly off-topic thought I had. According to the interview Beamdog gave djensen, development has been going on for >2 years, from a time before the reissue of AA50. Is it possible that 42SE was chosen over AA50 because no one from Beamdog was aware the game even existed?


  • 2018

    Proposal. we do this thing for each of the the games. If 6 to $10 is the average bid for 42 2 what are the purchases? Would t a m vaan. His suggestions help 42.2. I believe he suggest a tank and a plane or Russia at the Capitol and we could use Ivan’s, Russian Infantry has a handicap. then we use a r g o t h a IR. His suggestions 4 simplified strat bombing AA guns and submarines. We investigate s i r e d. Blood Tech development and present this to Larry as the new starter set. I forgot to mention we play testing we promulgated you show it to the right people getting it on the triple capital a. And then we petition those on high.


  • '14

    Even if 1942.2 isn’t my favorite map ever, I still feel obliged to hop onto this one, since I really want to see the digital model succeed for A&A and I think this is probably the best opportunity we’ve had yet for something official. Just having access to a potentially much larger playerbase via steam is pretty exciting. GTO doesn’t exist anymore, and in any case it reminded me more of a parlor game free for all, having A&A bundled up with like backgammon or whatever. TripleA, while I love it and have put years into the thing, is still limited in who it can reach. Its great for people who already know Axis and Allies and are willing to tool around, but not as much for attracting new players. I think there are a lot of new people who might across Axis and Allies online via promotion on steam or from the publishers at Wizards and such, and the fact that beamdog will have tutorials and a single player mode for learning the ropes is definitely a good thing. I’m just hoping it has enough staying power out the gate to keep veteran players engaged, which is where a toolset/editor is really key.

    Clearly people here would probably rather have seen AA50 and the 1940 games on offer within the same kind of framework, but I can see why that might have been a tall order. The challenge of developing a Single Player mode for either of those maps (AA50 or G40) is much more complex, because of the rules overhead. Then again having a Single Player mode wouldn’t really be necessary for either of those as long as you had a basic pvp multi-player option for the larger boards. Keeping 1942 for introductions and SP mode vs the AI, which is I think what they’re going for, but then having the more complex boards available for when people really want to sink their teeth into the thing.

    Still I agree, to drum up immediate excitement 1942.2 was a bit of an odd choice, but if there is a way to mod it, or the promise of other boards to come, then I’m an easy sell hehe.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @crockett36 It’s true that I am a little cynical. Like everyone else here, I play Axis & Allies for fun, and I enjoy the games, and I believe we’ll all continue enjoying the games, so in that limited sense I have an optimistic view of things. Basically everything will be OK and we’re all going to keep having fun with this game we like, which is good. I don’t want to lose sight of the bigger picture.

    That said, I think because people have fun with their hobby, or because people are just positive thinkers in general, they wind up with these unrealistically positive views of what’s likely to come out of the pipeline from Avalon Hill. Avalon Hill has literally never released a game that was balanced out of the box. None of the releases are balanced. Revised was close, and that came out in 2004, i.e., 15 years ago. You know what else came out in 2004? Ticket to Ride, Power Grid, and Betrayal at House on the Hill. This is a long frigging time ago. You think Days of Wonder would still be a household name today if all of their games since Ticket to Ride had been borderline unplayable? Avalon Hill fans – i.e., us – are some calm, patient, tolerant mo’ fo’s. For people who like to pretend to be taking over the world and slaying millions of enemies, we sure have a peaceful, mellow attitude.

    Honestly, I think the best starting map to promote with A&A software would be the version of Pact of Steel that includes Italy and China. If we have to go with an officially published map, I’d pick AA50. If we have to go with an officially published map with no bid, I’d pick Revised.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

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

    I think there are a lot of new people who might across Axis and Allies online via promotion on steam or from the publishers at Wizards and such, and the fact that beamdog will have tutorials and a single player mode for learning the ropes is definitely a good thing.

    Yeah, my guess is that the primary target audience is new, casual players who aren’t really familiar with A&A – maybe they heard about it once from a friend who plays over the table, but they’re being drawn in by ads on Steam or while playing Magic:TG. That’s fine; there’s nothing wrong with mass-marketing a game and focusing on what casual players will want. However, I seriously doubt that even casual players will enjoy 1942.2 out of the box for more than a few plays if there’s no option for a bid, a mod, or editing. I also think that the interviews from Beamdog so far don’t admit that they’re focusing on casual players – the marketing pitch says that people like me are supposed to enjoy this game. So, that’s part of why I’m pushing back: if the game is for people like me, then it’s not ready yet.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

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

    We investigate s i r e d. Blood Tech development and present this to Larry as the new starter set

    I’m flattered to be included in your plans for a new starter set, but part of my point is that Larry Harris is not a useful resource for further A&A development. Any plan that depends on getting Larry Harris to officially bless a set of balanced, dynamic house rules is very likely to fail. We tried fixing Global 1940 with Larry Harris to get the Alpha +1, +2, and +3 rules, and then the 1940 Second Edition rules, but none of them were balanced; they still require huge bids. Ultimately it was the Balanced Mod 3.0 rules, made without involvement or approval from Larry Harris, that created a stable, balanced version of Global 1940. Similarly, Larry tried fixing Spring 1942 with 1942 Second Edition, and then he tried fixing it again with the ‘tournament rules’, aka 1942.3, and, again, the game still requires a bid and is, if anything, more boring than ever, because players are now forced along one or two very narrow strategy paths. Larry Harris has done some great work in kickstarting the A&A franchise, but he’s either unable or unwilling to add any further value to the mainline A&A maps. His “War Room” game looks pretty cool, and I wish him the best of luck with that new franchise.


  • 2019 2018

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

    I also think that the interviews from Beamdog so far don’t admit that they’re focusing on casual players – the marketing pitch says that people like me are supposed to enjoy this game. So, that’s part of why I’m pushing back

    Agreed with this. If Beamdog was more honest with their/WoTC’s intentions I imagine all of us would be on the same page.

    For example, WoTC pretended Zombies was going to be accessible to “long time fans” and it’s mostly turned out to be 41 but with a tiny extra pinch of depth from the play-testing myself and others have done.


  • 2018

    I have to return the black Elks points that I’m not sure about the idea if a balanced game because of different skill levels experiences Etc rather we need a system 2 handicap the game the product because you can’t do enough platyests to see down the road what a thousand playtests will bring. And I m one of his playtesters so I want the optional rules in the back I want complex mods add expansion packs that will accommodates the novice as well as the advanced player and unforeseen strategies.

    Let me also make the point that if the bids are between 6 + 10 that’s pretty close to balance. Thats a patch. Even 30 to 50 for global, a game with as many moving parts and rules as Global 40 is pretty impressive. If you can balance it with 10 Russian Troops or a tank and plane that’s pretty good.

    I just still want the voice from on high. By the way what does a r g o t h a IR mean? And did you love axis and allies Europe 1999? The map I mean. I did.


  • 2018

    Oh and I forgot we must have as an option the ghost turn or the phony War. Grasshopper s victory conditions too. In the book, in the back


  • 2018

    @crockett36 let Russia go first and we might have solved the problem


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    So this is not really the right thread for detailed analysis of the tournament patch for 1942.2 – the best place to talk about that is probably https://www.axisandallies.org/forums/topic/29339/larry-harris-semi-official-tournament-game-patch/57.

    For general discussion of 1942.2 balance, you could try any of these threads:
    https://www.axisandallies.org/forums/topic/28771/1942-2-house-rules/15
    https://www.axisandallies.org/forums/topic/31269/1942-2-red-bomber-or-usa-first/3
    https://www.axisandallies.org/forums/topic/32882/house-rules-for-1942-second-edition/2

    I’d be happy to talk about specific ideas for rebalancing 1942.2 / 1942.3 on any of those threads. Let’s try to keep this thread to discussion of either Axis & Allies Online, or general discussion of A&A game development, please.


  • '14

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

    Honestly, I think the best starting map to promote with A&A software would be the version of Pact of Steel that includes Italy and China. If we have to go with an officially published map, I’d pick AA50. If we have to go with an officially published map with no bid, I’d pick Revised.

    Haha memory lane. Yeah the pact of steel variant we made is a cool example of what could be accomplished if an editor includes things like an option to add a new player nation. To do that you need custom art assets, but people have a lot of enthusiasm for stuff like that if there is a standardized format for it.

    The ability to create actual maps is pretty involved, but that’s like the goose that lays the golden egg if we had tools for that. This is one area where A&Aonline could really pull ahead of what is available within TripleA, since there are real limits to what you can do especially with scaling when you still need that raster graphics baseline map to build off. If A&AOnline gets to the point where they can open things up on that end, with ways to actually draw new maps or adjust the geometry of the tiles, it would be totally killer. But I think that’s probably more for the master wishlist of where it could go in the end.

    For a basic editor on the map level, you can really do a lot with the 5 man game just with an option to adjust territory production values or adding in new Victory Cities. At the scenario level would be nice to adjust income totals and starting units position. For anyone who doesn’t know what it is, Pact of Steel was a 6 man mod of Revised that included Italy, which came out before AA50. Pact of Steel 2 which Veq modded includes other features introduce with AA50 like objectives and China rules, as well as some stuff from other A&A games like sz convoys and various new units. But anyhow those games just show what can be created depending on what kind of tools there are to mod in more complexity once you have a core map/scenario like Revised or AA50.

    I think the most basic thing to make 42 serviceable is a way to adjust starting incomes, since a lot of complex balance issues can be solved that way, even if its not the most refined tool. Given enough money to the Soviets or the Anglo-Americans, you could get a scenario that handles any disparity in player skill or any perceived advantage between team Axis and team Allies. There’s still stuff in the overall play pattern that can’t be really dealt with that way, but least it gives you a tool to work with on the most basic level. Otherwise like I say, the only thing I can think of right now is skipping movement in the first round, but I’m not sure if that would work cause I’ve never really tried it. You’d get some of the features of the Zero Turn for USA that we tried (where you shift the turn order back one turn), but I don’t know how everything holds up if everyone got a purchase round. I guess it would come down to Sea Lion/India Crush, if UK purchase and Russian first combat move could cover an Axis mass transport buy.

    ps. adjusting starting income is also probably the only way to make the AI truly competitive once the player gets to a certain level of familiarity. Its really hard for example to teach skynet how to manage the airblitz or stuff like multi-nation attack/defense. But with starting income you can handicap in a solo game vs the machine just like you would in PvP, with more cash up front to even things out.



  • Would it be possible in Global 1940 to add a separate box for the facilities and AA guns? I mean the AA guns from First Ed. I mean, the new edition of Anniversary Edition from 2017 has a separate box for industrial complexes and AA guns and the like.

    Is it me or did the developers mess up by not adding a separate box for the facilities?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    I’ve started work on a new map for TripleA that I hope will serve as a useful ‘middleweight’ option for people who want some complexity and variety, but who don’t need the comprehensive “kitchen sink” approach of World at War or Global. I’ve added a few tiles near Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, etc. to make capitals a bit more vulnerable to piecemeal attacks, but otherwise I’ve tried to remove and merge tiles where ever I could muster the will to press the ‘delete’ key. Here’s a very early draft with no territory values or units – just the ownership. I’m putting all the Allied factions in lighter pastels, and all the Axis factions in darker shades, to make it easier to tell at a glance which side owns a territory. All of the victory cities are 70-pixel-wide circles, and vice versa, to make it easier to tell at a glance who owns the victory cities and where they’re located.

    These are very early drafts, still, but maybe it’ll give you a sense of where I’m headed. I don’t want to hijack this thread, so future updates will be posted at https://www.axisandallies.org/forums/topic/33233/argo-s-middleweight-map-for-1939-1942, but I’m basically making this map as a direct response to the discussion we’ve been having here, so I thought I would at least mention it once. 🙂

    1939:
    65795168-a8a8-40d4-b1b9-0b3c004a3179-image.png

    1942:
    a6ab3a17-32b7-4461-b87a-05af84f10e4f-image.png



  • @Black_Elk I and David have tried something based on your suggestion on the first page of this thread. We skipped combat for all the powers during the first turn. And this (in my opinion) turned out great!

    No combat during the first turn let the Allies protect most of their troops, it provided much more variety to the gameplay - each of the players could opt for several opening strategies with much less “known” moves in subsequent turns.

    I’d vote all the veterans should try it.


  • 2019 2018

    @JuliusBorisovBeamdog That’s similar enough to what was done in AAC, the “Russia can’t attack on their first turn” rule. Basically, it gave Germany a turn to get their valuable Tanks and their irreplaceable FTR out of their indefensible positions in Russia. This change gives Germany a stronger initial force, which snowballs, as it takes Russia/UK longer to kill Germany, which in turn gives Japan more time to gobble up IPCs on their side of the map.

    For 42SE, giving the Allies a turn to not die saves:

    • The USSR IC in Karelia, which means it could be a feasible point to hold for a few rounds.

    • The entire UK Fleet, which speeds up the UK/US’s deployment to Europe/Russia/Africa.

    • The US Atlantic Fleet, as some German openings favor sending a sub or two after the US East Coast on G1.

    • The US Pacific Fleet, as no J1 attack on it is possible.

    • The US FTR in China, which can be redeployed to either help the Soviets or link up with the Pacific Fleet.

    Great idea. Hope to see it implemented in-game.


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