Questions regarding a 1936 start date
DCWhat last edited by
I’ve been toying with the idea of a 1936 start date recently using the A&A 1940 global map. Even starting jotting starting territories for the axis powers and European neutrals. With the 1936 start, being turn 1, each turn thereafter would represent a year until 1939… Maybe. First thing that comes to mind is how to balance the income leading up to 1939/1940. Germany/Japan would start with signifantly lower incomes compared to the Allies. And while they could gobble up the European neutrals and most of the China mainland before the war officially begins, it isn’t too historically accurate. Using national objectives for the axis pre war comes to mind, or somehow lower the Allies pre war income in a way that makes sense. Also the idea of letting Germany annex/conquer only one territory per turn for the first 3/4 turns is something I thought about to maintain historical accuracy.
Another question is the idea of building and not attacking or doing minimal attacks for the first 3/4 turns something that interests fans of A&A or should one just play HBG global war for this experience. I personally like the idea of getting to build my invasion force in my own vision before the war begins. I would like to come close to what the board looks like on a OOB 40 or Oztea’s 39 set up(IPC’s worth of units on board per nation) but having a little more power for each nation is OK too as long as it’s not out of control. The problem with this however is the USA. Somewhere close to 52 IPCs per turn, for the first 4/5 turns before 1940 is a lot of hardware on the board compared to say a standard 1940 game. And the possibility of not being brought into the war before turn 7 or 8 may make for a boring experience for the US player.
Before I go on with more ideas I’ll stop and ask for any opinions or suggestions/ideas from anybody regarding this idea. And if you feel it’s not something really interesting to you, feel free to say that too
A reference source which you might find useful to consult is the Global 1940 map analysis I posted here…
…because it indicates the pre-war status of the various map territories back to about 1931.
I never really fleshed it out for use with others, but I have a few solitaire scenarios about this sort of thing.
Basically what you do is have timers for each major Ally that tick down by one each round (to represent countries’ efforts to convince their governments to allow a war declaration) or by more if certain hostile actions by an Axis Power is taken (Ex. UK/France will automatically declare war if Germany attacks Poland, or if Japan attacks a British/French Colony).
The idea is that, before a country’s counter reaches “0”, that country cannot collect income, conduct combat movement, activate Friendly Neutrals, or purchase units, as that power has not entered the war yet. A bit extreme, but I was trying to keep things simple/fun.
I had more specific rules that prevent obvious exploitations of this system (like Germany just spending all it’s income on units for a Sealion or Japan performing a Calcutta/California Crush against a UK/USA who can’t even fight back), but I can’t recall all the details.
How I dealt with the potential problem of Germany/Japan/Italy snowballing out of control early was by a combination of three factors:
The above “timer” system I mentioned above.
I gimped the starting TUV of the Axis so they can’t just swarm over the whole map. Japan is less gimped than Germany/Italy, because of point #3 below…
To compensate for #2, I treated the capital of each Neutral Country as if it were the Capital of a Major Power, so the “Plunder the Capital rule” applies. This represents the plunder of the industries/equipment/art/currency/etc. that Germany carried out during its seizure of Czechoslovakia, Poland, etc. in the opening phases of the war.
Again, was trying to keep things simple. Not sure how deep/complex you’re willing to go for your House Rules/Custom Scenario.
I’ve never played HBG’s Global game, so I have no idea how that game functions from 1936-40. As far as doing it with A&A, though…a few thoughts come to mind:
The Income Issue:
On this forum, we often refer to it as “income” or “money,” but it’s critical to your aims to bear in mind the correct term. IPCs represent industrial production geared toward the war effort. As such, nations not at war should only receive a fraction of their allotted IPCs. To illustrate my point: In the late 1930s, the US was still climbing out of the Great Depression and wasn’t focused on rearming for the coming conflict. In fact, as late as June 1939, the US Army was smaller than that of Portugal. The UK was also slow to rearm, as many Brits felt that doing so would merely serve to provoke Hitler.
Down the Rabbit Hole
The IPC issue could be addressed in a 1936 scenario by awarding powers not at war a percentage of their total IPCs each turn. This percentage would increase with each act of Axis aggression, whether an attack (such as Japan against China or Italy against Ethiopia), an “annexation” of a neutral territory (Germany into Austria) or rearming in violation of international treaties.
If you really want to get into this time period, I think you have to work in an element of diplomacy, as well. The Anschluss and Sudeten Crisis each presented an international crisis, pushing Germany to the brink of war with the UK and France. In both instances, German generals feared the outbreak of hostilities with their former foes, as the German army wasn’t yet ready for large-scale conflict.
For gaming purposes, as the Axis powers expand, the likelihood of world war should increase. Every act of Axis aggression should involve an element of risk, to keep them from running amok in the turns covering 1936-39.
A final thought (and I’m sure this is covered in HBG’s Global 1936 game): In any scenario covering this time period, the French should be a major player. Their military budget was higher than most Allied nations after WWI and they began a major rearmament program in 1936.
All in all, a 1936 A&A scenario could be a fun project. Good luck!
To give a sweeping generalization, GW36 basically gives UK/France a few conditions they need to fulfill before gaining their “war economy” and being able to fight.
USA is slightly different. They start with a gimped economy (small %), but various events trigger increases in their income. Once their income reaches their “war economy” level, they will enter the war.
There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s the general overview. GeneralHandGrenade has a good series on his Youtube Channel where he goes over a lot of the rules, if you’re interested.
DCWhat last edited by DCWhat
These are all great suggestions. Big thanks to CWO Marc for basically eliminating any further research on my part as it pertains to the starting territory situation.
As far as the UK/US/France situation in the Global War game, it would obviously be ideal to have a list of scenarios that need to happen for them to get into the war and meet their full income potential, but perhaps would make it feel more like a Global War game rather then a Axis and Allies game. However it still might work and isn’t a possibility I would throw aside when brainstorming. This is obviously the biggest problem when coming up with a 1936 starting set up. Keeping the Axis in check while containing the massive Allied income for those first few turns leading up to the actual war(Invasion of Poland). Trying to keep Japan just in the borders of mainland China(1940 starting territories) could prove difficult as well but China on the other hand will be collecting decent money for a few turns while Japan is restricted and they too could end up being more powerful then say what they are during the 1940 set up.
When I come to think of it, perhaps trying to focus on historical accuracy as much as I am at the beginning stages could be the biggest set back. lol
Don’t get hung up too much on balance to start with. G40 isn’t balanced by any means and neither was the IRL WW2.
For China, remember that IRL that situation was a bit more complex than A&A makes it out to be:
Japan was effectively running an imperialistic campaign against China dating back to 1931 (Manchuria), which escalated throughout the 30s (Rape of Nanjing, Marco Polo Bridge Incident, etc.).
China was not 100% united under the Nationalists as they’re portrayed to be in game. There were several rival warlords and the Communists who only united once the war broke out in full.
So maybe, instead of having one massive China, try studying a map of 1930s China and carving the region into Minor, “Pro-China” Countries based on that. Nationalist China (the only player-controlled faction) can NCM into them to “recruit” more warlords to the Kuomintang’s effort.
This allows China’s economy to “ramp up slowly” similar to how the rest of the Allies need to. To prevent Japan from just killing China immediately, have any direct Japanese attack on China beyond Manchuria, which would start as another “Pro-China” Minor, automatically result in all Chinese Minors joining up with the mainland.
While I set my variant version in 1937, its supposed to be more of a “what if” than any attempt to model the real pre-war realistically. The Germans get an Argentina factory and a graf spee in South America.
One of the main problems with doing a Global scope for the 1880-1939 period is that the action wasn’t global. The fighting and wars were regional and limited in scope (so no strat bombing or submarine warfare as examples). Then you’ve put a huge map out there and either filled it with fights that are “what ifs” for fun, or you have all the real powers parked for 4 years while the preparatory sideshow gets going in various isolated side theatres.
Just look at the distortions to the real earth map that are used to emphasize the battle areas in AxA. If you look at the Global map its just ridiculously proportioned as to realism, but well proportioned to focus on the areas where the war was actually fought.
I think that one of the potentially most interesting applications of the pre-1939 time period isn’t to start the actual game prior to 1940 but rather to set up an alternate starting situation for the 1940 game, in order to introduce variety from game to game (or possibly as a different type of bid from the customary IPC-based ones). The idea would be to look at the chronology of the historical pre-1940 territorial changes and to say, “Let’s assume that instead of X happening, Y happened instead,” and to alter the look of the 1940 map accordingly so that the players are starting from a different geopolitical situation. This could be done either in small, modest ways, or on a more ambitious scale. An example of a “small and modest” change would be, let’s say, assuming that the USSR never annexed the Baltic States and Bessarabia to create a buffer zone between itself and Germany. Examples of more radical changes might include: what if Franco had lost the Spanish Civil War? What if China had never seized Manchuria in 1931 and Jehol and in 1933, and had never invaded China proper in 1937?
M36 last edited by
@DCWhat My friends and I have tried a 1939 setup that we came up with in the original Axis and Allies Europe map. Countries started with virtually no militaries or IPCs and had to “political action” cards which dictated what they could do i.e. purging the red Army, violating the Washington treaty etc. Was a lot of fun but took simply forever to work out the kinks.
Switch France and Italy. Italy is Allied, France Axis. Simple what if.