tanks in A&A 1914 - What is the value?

  • I have been preparing for game with friends of A & A 1914. Tanks are introduced later in the game, but the more I read about them the less value they seem to possess. Why would you invest in tanks when artillery and infantry make the difference? They don’t even have the ability to move 2 spaces. Thoughts?

  • @gerwin88

    You are right to doubt the value of tanks gershwin88. Typically I will purchase one per turn for a power that is both wealthy and in attack mode.

  • The important thing about tanks is that they save lives. 3 or 4 tanks on the battlefield means that there are 3 or 4 more men on the field. It wouldnt be much value if for example, Germany is focusing heavily on France and is two spaces away from Paris, Because you could just railroad those guys in. But If the reverse was true and France is two spaces from Berlin, Every man you save will be less time to reienforce. (BTW i play with LTR , If you were playing a standard game, it would be even more valueable since reienforcing would take a long time.).

  • Tanks are not worth it. They can block a hit, but you can buy 2 infantry for the price of a tank, and 2 infantry are much better than 1 tank.

  • Thanks are worth it… if you can manage to pile up a ton of them. They are worth 2 infantry so if you manage to use them in more than 2 attacks you will have worth for your buck.

    And most of all, if you manage to pile up lets say 15 tanks most of the defensive strikes will bonce off your tanks and if you manage to attack without taking any hits… your enemy morale will wither away.

    I normally start to invest massively in them if I end up loosing air superiority for good. And I manage once to turn the tide whit this strategy (using central powers) but I must admit that it does not works every times (damned planes)

  • 30 infantry will beat 15 tanks. So no they are not worth it.

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    @Faramir Having earlier in this thread doubted the value of tanks I would not go as far as Faramir. They do have a value, which is to reduce casualties when in attack. If they accompany an infantry / artillery stack for two attacks they have recovered their cost.

    Plus that reduced casualties can be vital to sustaining forward movement while reinforcements lag behind, as already noted above.

  • @Faramir Having played this week-end I would had that tanks are good to give an incentive to attack when the stalemate lingers on the western front. They made the difference for Germany when added to the troop heading back from Russia after the revolution (first time it happened in almost 20 games yeah!). but still it was an epic fight (98 infantry, 55 artillery 23 tanks and 20 planes on the German side vs 160ish units on the brits and French side).

    I must admit that I won because of air superiority more than anything else (only 2 planes surviving… way to close) but still I would probably not have attacked if it wasn’t for those tanks.

  • If you would have had 46 more infantry instead of 23 tanks, you would have had 46 dice hitting at a 2, which is better than 23 dice hitting at a 3. And if you were attacked instead, you would have had 46 more infantry hitting at a 3 instead of 23 tanks hitting at a 1.

  • @Faramir Yes but, I ended up using 4 turns to clear that contested territory (Alsace) and then It would have take me at least 4 or 5 more attack to get to Paris (in theory because of course the allies surrendered as soon as I got to move foward) so it’s more like 9 time 23. Plus I never had to use the tanks defending because they could only defend being a multinational force.

  • I’m late to the game on this post, but since I have played many many games of AA1914 over the last couple years (and it’s my favorite AA game), I’d like to share on how my group’s thoughts have evolved about tanks.

    The first few games, we barely made any, thinking they were not worth sacrificing 2 infantry units for the same cost. We lowered the IPC cost to 5, and within 2 games, tanks were on every battlefield. We figured we probably underestimated them, so we returned to the original cost.

    Now, they are always on the game board for some powers, namely Germany, France and the UK. Other countries may field them based on whether or not they are clearly in the attack mode. Our games will never last less than 10 turns, usually more like 14 or 15 before we call a winner.

    It’s important to remember that AA1914 is about weapons having synergies with each other, which means you need to figure out their niche for each and everyone of them, and they DO exist.

    What we found out about tanks is that, once they start protecting a high percentage of your per-turn production (say 25% or higher), they give you tremendous staying power on the offensive. For the main powers, this means that 3 tanks or more will have an impact. For small powers like Italy, a single tank may make a difference if they are on the offensive.

    When you play the usual rules, it takes time to bring reinforcements to the front (we use trucks as land transport equivalents so it is a bit faster) and therefore you want your offensive power to not erode as quickly, especially since the defender will have faster reinforcements. Many AA games were lost because the attacker made it to the enemy capital only to completely run out of steam, which meant a large scale retreat was needed.

    While it’s true that tanks alone will lose a fight, their role is to skew the results of a offensive battle in your favor. Since their effect is guaranteed compared to rolling dice, you know you will cut your losses. This turns a relatively equal fight into an advantage, or an unlucky roll into a salvageable situation. Their effect will show over 2 or 3 turns, eating into your enemy’s kills and allowing your units to actually be there to defend when he would choose to counterattack.

    Tanks alone are not worth it. But a few of them on a battlefield progressively eat away at your enemy’s army by forcing him to accept subpar kill ratios. Yes, more infantry MIGHT be good… if they were alive to defend for the counterattack. Tanks insure you will have a better attrition rate than your enemy, but the trick is you have to have a meaningful number of them compared to your IPC rate for them to make a difference. So, you either build enough of them to be worth it, or none at all.

    The one caveat I would have is if you and your enemies have a tendency to stack ungodly large armies on a single region and wait for that epic clash of arms. In my experience, you should avoid this situation at all costs and force engagements when armies have more than 25 infantry divisions, otherwise it becomes a stacking game, and those are typically slow with a predictable outcome (the losing side just hopes something will happen to turn the tides, while the winning side simply keeps increasing its leverage while waiting for the inevitable). Go on the offensive, move that front, make it as fluid as you can !

    All in all, if you feel you are going to be on the attack for a while, build tanks and watch your enemy lose more and more units for less and less of yours. Your staying power will be greatly enhanced and they will turn the tide of war in your favor.

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