Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    We sent a few questions to Beamdog, the developers of Axis & Allies Online, and received great answers from Cody Ouimet and Trent Oster.

    Click here to see the full blog post


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @djensen said in [Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog]:

    Were there any interesting challenges about building this game that you would like to share?

    @Cody said:

    One of the largest challenges the team faced was how to approach implementing a lot of the finer and explicit rules like Fighter and Aircraft Carrier obligations. To paraphrase, In Axis & Allies 1942 2nd Edition, players need to ensure that when Fighters are committed to a movement or combat, that they have a valid location to land. Normally in 1942 2nd Edition, players need to pre-establish where their Fighters will land, especially if the unit they are landing on has not been mobilized yet. Creating a digital version of this, this very quickly become a logistical nightmare. The easier solution would have been to limit player options behind the scenes, but to new players who are still unfamiliar with the rules, that was not an immediately readable or understandable solution, so we had to rework how we handle everything behind the scenes in order to showcase to players why they could or couldn’t do something with a unit, be it a fighter or even just an Infantry.

    @Trent said:

    Early in the development of the game we did an analysis of the rules and plotted out how the user interface would work in most cases. Then we hit transports. From an interaction mechanic, transports are exceptionally involved. Not only can you move a transport during the combat round, but you can initiate an amphibious assault through an occupied sea zone, but only if you win the sea zone battle. From a state management and combat scheduling standpoint this starts to get complicated. When you add in the possibility of the transport carrying an Anti Aircraft Artillery and attempting an amphibious assault and the other unit dying in the assault, the AAA cannot win the combat, creating a complex rules scenario. The joy of written rules and exceptions is they can be easily interpreted by people when playing the board game. The complexity of building a simulation which can deal with all the edge cases and potential odd outcomes continues to grow over time. Additionally, the challenge of creating a capable Artificial Intelligence player who can comprehend those rules and play them well is daunting.

    Sounds like they could have just hit up the TripleA Devs, haha. That’d probably be a legal nightmare, though.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @djensen said in [Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog]:

    The FAQ implies the the game board is the “out of the box” standard setup. Is that correct?

    @Cody said:

    Yes, Axis & Allies Online will make use of the standard out of the box board setup when it launches.

    @Trent said:

    The Rules we follow are the rules as they are in the box, including the latest errata rules from Larry Harris.

    These sound like contradictory statements to me, given that Larry’s latest “errata rules” were the Tournament Setup change, which changes the OOB Setup. Can you confirm whether Larry or Trent are correct here?


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @djensen said in [Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog]:

    The Axis & Allies community has strong opinions about the board games, especially 1942 Second Edition, and will definitely have ideas to share regarding Axis & Allies Online. What is your plan to gather and incorporate feedback into the game?

    @Cody said:

    We’ll be paying attention to player feedback through several different channels. We’re going to be gathering feedback through our Early Access survey, which will available through the game or via the End-of-Game e-mail notifications, the Steam Community sites and our Social Media channels. In addition, players can file specific feature requests through our support site, which is also available in the game. We hope that by having a lot of different avenues for players to provide feedback and input to the team, we can work together to develop Axis & Allies Online to be the best game it possibly can be.

    @Trent said:

    Our plan is relatively simple:

    1. launch the game into early access

    2. gather feedback

    3. engage in discussion with the community about how to best resolve the concerns / feedback

    4. clearly communicate the upcoming changes in the build

    5. push the planned changes to a beta server and gather feedback on the changes. If the feedback is positive we push the beta build to live and start taking broader feedback.

    6. return to step 2.

    Sounds like we’ll need to mobilize on our front and make our voices heard if we want things like:

    • Using the Balance Mod instead of the Imbalanced OOB Setup.
    • Support for additional games (G40, Revised, AA50, etc.) down the line.
    • Possibly additional balance rehashes to the 42SE Map.
    • An independent release of the game outside of Steam (for us privacy nuts that are biting our tongue and buying the game anyway).

  • TripleA

    @DoManMacgee Or you can choose to instead use TripleA which essentially has all of those things already 🙂 There is also no legal reason I’m aware of they couldn’t ask the TripleA devs questions. As long as they aren’t utilizing any of the code and breaking the terms of the open source license, there shouldn’t be any issues.

    I am interested to see how they ended up handling some of the more difficult rules like fighters/ACs and some of the edge cases as TripleA handles these fairly well but isn’t perfect. It isn’t easy anyway you look at it though I would say once you try to support all the various A&A maps especially the more complex ones like global, it will get much harder.

    I’m also interested in the AI they will include and if its any good. The TripleA AI is fairly decent given that it has to be able to handle all of the various A&A and custom made maps. I wonder if they made a generic AI looking forward to implementing future maps or if the AI is very hard coded to the 42SE map.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @redrum I already play and enjoy TripleA. The reason I am asking for these features in A&A Online is because TripleA is the bar that A&A Online needs to meet/surpass to be taken seriously by the community.

    Beamdog is a professional Video Game Company. They should be more than capable of out-performing a well-made fan-project, or else what’s the point beyond appealing to casual audiences?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Official Q&A TripleA Moderator

    @redrum I see A&A Online as a totally different approach. The fact that Beamdog changes core rules for example to allow for “asynchronous play”, eliminating every defender’s choice during the attacker’s turn, makes it a somehow different if not new game.
    This is more an “A&A 1942 Beamdog Edition” rather than a 1942 2nd edition 1:1 software implementation of the boardgame we know.

    This is why I think that “A&A Online” and “TripleA” complement each other. They are different.


  • TripleA

    Agree, they are definitely taking their own view of things and IMO trying to make games more casual and play faster by adjusting some of the rules. I’ve actually considered some of the same ideas. I think in games like 42SE, those changes can make sense as it has pretty simple A&A rules and doesn’t have a complex unit set, scrambling, interception, etc. So it minimizes the number of choices the defender needs to make and the strategic importance of them. I’m interested to see if they eventually try to tackle say Global 40, how they would try to adjust that to fit the vision of make asynchronous play easier and faster.

    Yeah, at least to some extent they complement each other and it’ll be interested to see how that plays out. My hope is that A&A Online drives a lot of new players to A&A and that a portion of those are true strategy gamers that then move on to TripleA and grow the community we have here with more passionate A&A gamers.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @DoManMacgee said in Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog:

    These sound like contradictory statements to me, given that Larry’s latest “errata rules” were the Tournament Setup change, which changes the OOB Setup. Can you confirm whether Larry or Trent are correct here?

    By errata they mean the official errata not the LHTR for 1942.2


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    This post is deleted!

  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @DoManMacgee said in Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog:

    Support for additional games (G40, Revised, AA50, etc.) down the line.

    @redrum said

    I’m interested to see if they eventually try to tackle say Global 40, how they would try to adjust that to fit the vision of make asynchronous play easier and faster.

    As the article mentioned, they’re putting all of their focus on 1942 Second Edition. However, you should take a look at Beamdog’s track record. Only 7 years ago, they had only 2 games published, MDK2 and Buldur’s Gate. Baldur’s Gate was successful and now they have the full line up of late 90s and early 2000s RPGs on tablets and/or Steam and/or consoles. If A&A Online is successful, the sky could be the limit.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @Panther I disagree. The rule changes are not major enough to call them different games in the slightest. It’s just OOL being predetermined, and no shared carriers/transports.

    TripleA has a 42SE scenario that I can play online, and dozens of other scenarios that I can also play online. TripleA also has a built-in forum poster.

    A&A Online has a 42SE scenario that I can play online, with shiny graphics. Other than tutorials to help new players get up to speed, that’s about all the game has to offer.

    One is clearly superior to the other here, at least initially.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @djensen said in Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog:

    @DoManMacgee said in Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog:

    Support for additional games (G40, Revised, AA50, etc.) down the line.

    @redrum said

    I’m interested to see if they eventually try to tackle say Global 40, how they would try to adjust that to fit the vision of make asynchronous play easier and faster.

    As the article mentioned, they’re putting all of their focus on 1942 Second Edition. However, you should take a look at Beamdog’s track record. If A&A Online is successful, the sky could be the limit.

    Hence the “down the line” comment from me. I understand fully that A&A Online is just going to be 42SE at-launch. That’s not really anything I care about, since 42SE kind of sucks. But I will still be buying/supporting the game with the hope that A&A Online can be fleshed out into a better TripleA. Who wouldn’t want a better, official/legal TripleA? Why shouldn’t we want that?


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Official Q&A TripleA Moderator

    @DoManMacgee Don’t forget defending submarines losing their submersible ability.
    Maybe all that ‘streamlining’ has not the biggest impact in 1942 2nd Ed., we’ll see how it plays out.

    But I am thinking a step further here: In case they ever want to adapt Global 1940 they need to remove find solutions for some more defender’s decisions, such as Kamikaze, Scramble, Interceptors.

    It is that lack of interaction with the defending player that makes it a special game for me.
    I don’t say that this ‘streamlining’ is wrong or bad, I am open for that new experience instead.
    It is just different.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @Panther We seem to be on slightly different wavelengths, but ultimately hoping for the same thing.

    I program for a living (although nowhere near the video game industry) so I understand how difficult/time-consuming dealing with technical challenges/implementing rules can be. I don’t expect to have all the functionality that’s been developed piecemeal in TripleA over several years available immediately. I’m just hoping that Beamdog doesn’t stop after 42SE.

    This is a huge opportunity for A&A to have a wider audience/appeal. It would be a shame if the only version of A&A the wider gaming community knew was 42SE, that’s all.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @DoManMacgee @Panther The TripleA team does a great job but it’s TripleA, it’s Axis & Allies but it’s also not Axis & Allies because it’s not allowed to be. TripleA is great for the die hards, the A&A obsessed, the experts, and the soon to be experts.

    Axis & Allies Online provides accessibility for a much wider audience, which also includes TripleA players. There are a lot of folks out there who have not played a digital version of A&A since Iron Blitz. I would previous send them in the direction of TripleA and never heard back. Even when I would post to social media about TripleA, there was a lot of talk but there were very few takers. With AAO, you get Steam (if you don’t already have it), send $20 and you’re up and running; it’s easy, known, and comfortable.

    Lastly, there are just not that many people here playing 1942 SE here anymore, everybody is on Global and Anniversary.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Official Q&A TripleA Moderator

    @djensen I fully agree. That’s why I say they complement each other, indeed!


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @djensen

    @djensen said in Q&A with Axis & Allies Online Developers, Beamdog:

    @DoManMacgee @Panther The TripleA team does a great job but it’s TripleA, it’s Axis & Allies but it’s also not Axis & Allies because it’s not allowed to be. TripleA is great for the die hards, the A&A obsessed, the experts, and the soon to be experts.

    Axis & Allies Online provides accessibility for a much wider audience, which also includes TripleA players. There are a lot of folks out there who have not played a digital version of A&A since Iron Blitz. I would previous send them in the direction of TripleA and never heard back. Even when I would post to social media about TripleA, there was a lot of talk but there were very few takers. With AAO, you get Steam (if you don’t already have it), send $20 and you’re up and running; it’s easy, known, and comfortable.

    Lastly, there are just not that many people here playing 1942 SE here anymore, everybody is on Global and Anniversary.

    Then why is the marketing/interviewing portraying this game as (paraphrasing here) an “Axis & Allies Game for Axis & Allies Fans, By Axis & Allies Fans” instead of “A New Way to Bring New Fans Into Axis & Allies and Bring Past Fans Back to the Game they Loved”?

    If that level of honesty was provided, with a hint of more to come if the initial product were successful, I think the support would be more uniform among the community.

    There are reasons people don’t play 42SE, and it’s not only because AA50 and G40 are bigger/more involved. Balancing is certainly a key issue and Beamdog seems to be willfully ignoring it for now. to their credit though, they are taking feedback and I imagine if enough of us speak out during Early Access something can be done to address things.



  • @DoManMacgee We’re fully honest. From the interview: “1942 2nd Edition provided us with a fantastic jumping off point in terms of creating a game that provided a lot of depth and complexity, but still approachable for new and experienced players alike. One of the main goals with Axis & Allies Online was to make a game that was approachable by any type of player, from the new and inexperienced, all the way to the veteran player who has logged hundreds of hours into the board games.”

    And we’re listening.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @JuliusBorisovBeamdog Whoops. Must have missed that in the interview itself. Sorry about that.

    Don’t take my (admittedly) harsh tone the wrong way. I am definitely looking forward to playing this game on release and am glad to have a representative from Beamdog on this website in communication with the (more hardcore) fans.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I fully understand what this game is for the time being. I’m just expressing hope that this game becomes a starting point for something bigger instead of just a one-off deal. A hope I’m sure you and your team share as well.

    Looking forward to getting in the Early Access when the time comes.



  • When you add in the possibility of the transport carrying an Anti Aircraft Artillery and attempting an amphibious assault and the other unit dying in the assault, the AAA cannot win the combat, creating a complex rules scenario. The joy of written rules and exceptions is they can be easily interpreted by people when playing the board game.

    Is @Krieghund, or anyone else the like that knows the rules, not involved in this project?


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @Cernel I’ll give you my impression of what is meant here.

    First, a human easily read and interpret the rules usually correctly. I know there’s a lot of Q&A around certain rules but once you kinda get the gist, you can figure out how to handle all the corner cases relatively easily. This is a lot more difficult to put into software or a game.

    Second, for the less experienced players of A&A, how to you create a user experience to “explain” and enforce these corner cases so that it is as or more simple than a face-to-face gamer opening the rule book?

    After talking with Beamdog and Trent, they know the rules. But if they missed something and it’s not already on the to do list, that’s what Early Access is for. Also keep in mind that knowing all the rules and catching those corner cases in software are two different things; the rule book is good for people but a terrible great software specification 😉 .



  • I was wondering if this developer was working on bringing the game to tablets, especially iOS. That would definitely give us something that TripleA does not.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    @mvk20 According to all the information we have now, we don’t know, and they would probably answer something like, “not at this time.” All I do know is that they’re busy trying to get the Steam version out for Early Access.

    However, if you think about the following, you can draw your own conclusions:

    1. Beamdog is super excited about this game and in it for the long haul and
    2. Look at what Beamdog has done and is doing with Baldur’s Gate and the other classic D&D video games. The D&D games are on Steam, iOS, Android, and now they’re working on console versions.

    I think we’re all super excited so we’re extrapolating all the possibilities of what the future could hold and I think that’s great. However, software just can’t be built at the speed of thought. 😁 So it has to be one step at a time.


  • 2017

    I don’t really like the screen shots from what I’ve seen of AAO. Triplea has board game pieces that better resemble live 3d game pieces (tanks, artillery, infantry, planes, ships…ect). The AAO pieces look chits (round colored circles?). Tripleas’ Global 1940 online board is very well created and the pieces look very similar to my table top. To me, the game has to be pleasing to the eye in order to stare at it for several hours.


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