Bombardments - no Incentive to invest in BBs and CAs?



  • Hello all,
    So the second edition rulebook of the 1940 series games says this in reference to bombardments in amphibious assaults (I’m sure it’s pretty similar in the anniversary edition):

    Step 2. Battleship and Cruiser Bombardment
    If there was NOT a combat in the sea zone from which you are offloading units from transports, any accompanying battleships and cruisers in that sea zone can conduct a ONE-TIME BOMBARDMENT of one coastal territory or island group being attacked…Roll one die for each battleship and cruiser that can conduct bombardment. Battleships hit on a die roll of “4” or less, and cruisers hit on a “3” or less. For each hit, the defender will move a defending unit behind the casualty strip. These casualties will be ABLE TO DEFEND during the land combat step before they are eliminated.

    Here’s a little background on how I used to play this rule and how I play now. When I first started getting into the A&A, I used this rule very loosely and was bombarding at the beginning of every round of combat in which it was a very good weapon and all defending units that got hit were allowed to fire back. This seemed to be pretty balanced when you were only realistically able to land 3-4 transports a turn or 4-6 every two turns and you had 6-12 guys going up against a giant wall of cannon fodder. However, when my cousin and I were playing we thought about this concept and were role playing it out and our thoughts came to the conclusion that if we continued to bombard then in a real world situation your units could be subject to friendly fire from naval vessels aimlessly shooting an island or coastal territory from miles away, so we changed how we interpreted this rule and how we played it.
    We decided to take literal the writings of the rule book in which you bombard for a one time shot and any hits on defending units get to fireback at land units that you are landing. However, we came to this dilemma of “why even buy expensive ships then if there firepower doesn’t really do anything? Why not defend your transports with an enormous amount of the least expensive surface ships (destroyers)?” In our honest opinion playing the rulebook word for word in regards to bombardments seemed way too nerfed. Just why invest 20 IPCs in a battleship that doesn’t get to completely eliminate a defending unit when making an amphibious assault? I mean if it doesn’t have that capability then really a navy that is designed to protect transports should just be a bunch of destroyers in their place. It just seems like there is no incentive to invest in these powerful 3 and 4 attack power ships.
    So this new house rule we’ve come up with is that cruisers and battleships only get a one time bombardment and in doing so the casualties that these ships make do not get to return fire. The idea of this rule that we modified actually gives incentive to invest in these pricey ships. It gives the chance for your landing units to stay as strong as possible, possibly have greater chances of taking the territory, and take less casualties themselves such that they can have a better chance of holding the territory in a retaliation.
    We have only made this rule though while playing Europe 1940. We are kind of under the impression that this rule would be OP when doing anything in the Pacific theatre.

    So I would just like an honest discussion. What are everyone’s thoughts? Does anyone else agree that there is no incentive to invest in these super pricey ships if defending casualties get to pick off at your landing units? Does anyone like playing the actual rule and then can someone suggest a good naval purchase that utilizes offense and defense while still staying true to the rule? Does anyone have any tweeks to this house rule I have described such that it’s still useful in Europe and not OP in the Pacific? I’m pretty knowledgeable of all the rules and learn very quickly, but this is the only rule that I’m conflicted about and have serious questions about.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @rulebook_reviewer
    Hi review welcome to the site. If I remember correctly, Bombard casualties weren’t allowed to shoot back and it changed in Anniversary ? I think ? that they could. Reason being, 2-3 CAs and 1-2 BBs would dust just about any Island defense. Unless it’s something like UK/Japan/Italy. Even those could take a serious hit to their defense. Especially if you do it a couple times in a row.

    Yea, don’t think people buy Capital ships, other than CVs, very much. SSs and DDs are definitely important. You need to protect your big hitters. Plus subs are a big offensive/cheap hit soaker. Want to keep the core alive.

    Oh yea, you should add a couple more breaks in your post to make for easier reading 🙂



  • I reread up on everything and the rule in Anniversary and 2nd edition Eu/Pac/Glo is a “one-time” bombardment where defending casualties “return fire”. But don’t you think that the incentive is there to invest in those expensive ships so that you can dust the defenders? Why even bombard if that capability isn’t there? I just feel like there is just no incentive to invest that much and instead you should just buy a wall of DDs.

    But then if you don’t have many bombardments then you just have to have a fleet of fully stocked transports to take a highly defended territory. How would you typically balance your bombarding ships with your protecting ships? Do you have a set rule/ratio that you stick to of bombarding ships:protecting ships?

    In summary: it just seems like the bombardments are kind of nerfed in terms of making an amphibious assault in Europe.



  • And also just want your opinion. Do you think my house rule where resulting casualties of bombardments can’t return fire breaks the game?


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @rulebook_reviewer said in Bombardments - no Incentive to invest in BBs and CAs?:

    And also just want your opinion. Do you think my house rule where resulting casualties of bombardments can’t return fire breaks the game?

    Well…it can. that’s why the rule was changed. 2 subs to 1 DD is a good base imo but depends on who and when you are. When on the attack obviously heavier subs. Complimented with bombers is pretty powerful. DDs for defense/blocking.

    Idk, I’m not a real good player 🙂 I usually end up letting how much dough I have dictate what I buy so I spend it all. I’m not necessarily sure that’s a good thing though 🙂


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

    @barnee said in Bombardments - no Incentive to invest in BBs and CAs?:

    If I remember correctly, Bombard casualties weren’t allowed to shoot back and it changed in Anniversary ? I think ?

    You are correct, until and including Revised Offshore Bombardment was part of the “Opening Fire Step”, so casualties don’t fire back in those editions.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @Panther said in Bombardments - no Incentive to invest in BBs and CAs?:

    You are correct, until and including Revised Offshore Bombardment was part of the “Opening Fire Step”, so casualties don’t fire back in those editions.

    Which is probably why there is a rule that you have to decide your bombard casualties before the main attack roll. I think it’s a bit silly now but it works that way in Triple-A.

    @rulebook_reviewer Yeah few people buy any Cruisers or Battleships. Even in Balanced Mod where there is an additional land unit (marines) which can be carried on these ships. Loaded CVs are what people buy rather than huge numbers of DDs. You know the difference in combat ability is not that great actually - the defender always has the edge, I guess mostly because the 0/2 combat ability of CVs. But carrying planes is also useful for attacking land units, particularly islands. Keeping starting BBs is useful but if you lose them, rebuilding with CVs only is a better option.



  • OK.

    So I understand that investing in BBs is probably not worth it once you lose your starting ones.

    But why in general neglect developing a navy that has the ability to attack land? If it’s no longer preferred to invest in new expensive BBs, does this still apply for CAs? And what if you get improved shipyards you’re only paying 1 more IPC for a BB than for an ‘unimproved shipyard’ CV - still not preferred?


  • 2019 2017 '16

    Cruisers are even worse than BBs. At least with BBs you have the potential to clean up stray ships and then repair the damage for free.

    Improved shipyards could indeed change the equation. Most people don’t like to play with tech.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @rulebook_reviewer
    basically “air power” is better.



  • Well I am enjoying this discussion but I feel like its destroying my previous strategies, but then again in my previous strategies that’s when I was playing with my cousin and playing the bombardment rule pretty loosely compared to the wording of the rulebook in which our primitive house rule allowed all rounds of combat to have a bombardment.

    But strategies are meant to be revised. So from now on I think I’ll be protecting my transports with CVs, DDs, and SSs while holding on to the starting the CAs and BBs and maybe throwing a new purchase in for one of those very rarely.



  • @barnee I first mastered land and sea combat, an air force is the thing that I’m still eagerly learning. I guess with loaded CVs I can come to develop a great air force and learn its capabilities.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @rulebook_reviewer said in Bombardments - no Incentive to invest in BBs and CAs?:

    Well I am enjoying this discussion but I feel like its destroying my previous strategies, but then again in my previous strategies that’s when I was playing with my cousin and playing the bombardment rule pretty loosely compared to the wording of the rulebook in which our primitive house rule allowed all rounds of combat to have a bombardment.

    But strategies are meant to be revised. So from now on I think I’ll be protecting my transports with CVs, DDs, and SSs while holding on to the starting the CAs and BBs and maybe throwing a new purchase in for one of those very rarely.

    👍


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @rulebook_reviewer
    if you have triplea https://www.axisandallies.org/forums/topic/17147/gargantua-s-k-i-s-s-triplea-instructions/4

    you can review other peoples games. Worth checking out imo



  • I do not have TripleA and I always see it written in the forums. Quite frankly I do not know what it is.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @rulebook_reviewer said in Bombardments - no Incentive to invest in BBs and CAs?:

    I do not have TripleA and I always see it written in the forums. Quite frankly I do not know what it is.

    It’s a computer program that allows playing Axis and Allies, along with some other games.

    https://triplea-game.org/


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    I will often buy 1 or 2 battleships as Japan at some point in the middlegame – carriers are always better if you have free planes available to land on them, but sometimes most of my airforce is busy deep inland, e.g., taking India, or Yunnan, or Siberia. Because Japan is often the victim of a one-two punch by US + UK or US + ANZAC, it’s important to develop a fleet that has defensive staying power, and BBs can help with that.

    A typical carrier group might be something like CV, fighter, tac bomber, DD, SS – total cost is 51 IPCs, you get 6 HP and 12 pips of defensive power.

    For similar money, you can buy BB, BB, DD, SS – total cost is 54 IPCs, you get 6 HPs and 11 pips of defensive power.

    As you can see, the stats are less favorable for the battleship group, but the battleship group holds up much better against one-two punches. If the carrier group takes 3 hits, then you have to either lose an expensive plane, or take a hit on the carrier and land both of your planes, assuming you even have a friendly island handy on which to land them. After taking 3 hits with the carrier group, all you have left is probably CV + fighter – which only has 6 pips of defense and can then be eaten alive by the Australians or the British. You’ve lost a total of 25 IPCs worth of material in those 3 hits (SS + DD + tac).

    On the other hand, after the battleship group takes 3 hits, you have damagedBB, damagedBB, DD, with a total of 10 pips of defense, meaning that it might be too risky for UK or ANZAC to do their follow-up attack. Plus, you’ve only lost a cheap sub to the initial attack, for a total loss of 6 IPCs.

    So in the particular case where I plan to be in range of one-two punches and a large part of my air force is busy in Asia, I think buying a couple of BBs can make sense for Japan, although even then, I would still buy more CVs than BBs over the course of the whole game.

    The only reason to buy a cruiser is if you’re constrained by both a minor factory and your budget. E.g., Australia might buy a cruiser and 2 infantry for Queensland; the cruiser isn’t even slightly efficient, but maybe you need a warship right now and that’s the best you can do with your money.

    For what it’s worth, I also miss the old bombardment rules, but we’re already playing with ludicrously easy amphibious invasions. In real life, getting soldiers off of a boat and onto a contested island or beach was incredibly hard and created a huge advantage for the defender. DK solves this neatly by giving the defender free notional hit points that help defend against amphibious assaults – like a bunker that has 2 or 3 HP and rolls nothing on defense. If your group has a high tolerance for house rules, you could try introducing DK’s imaginary bunkers and also re-introducing the pre-emptive bombardment, and capping the bombardment by the number of ground units that actually unload, e.g., if you have 1 infantry unloading with support from 7 battleships, you still only get 1 pre-emptive shot. This is maybe not the highest-priority thing to fix about A&A, though.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    Whether intentional or not, I find it very interesting that the OOB G40 rules reflect with some accuracy the waning value of battleships and cruisers in World War II. The rise of aircraft carriers may not have rendered BB and CA obsolete, but they certainly made them vulnerable in ways they hadn’t been in previous wars.

    As for the one-shot bombardment rule…I’m fine with it as is. Considering that the biggest ship-mounted guns of the era had a max range of under 30 miles, it’s not realistic to allow naval bombardment to continue throughout a battle across a territory which might be hundreds of miles wide (many European territories, for example). I’ve always considered the one-shot support attack a bonus, rather than a primary function of BB and CA.

    Parting thought: Buying, moving and fighting CA & DD in pairs gives you a slim attack and defense advantage over a BB, for the same price. Doing so is the best way to get max value out of CA. This is a hill I will die on. 😁


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Well it’s not the one-shot rule that anyone is complaining about; I think everybody here agrees that BBs and CAs should only get one round of bombardments per battle. The question is whether an infantry that gets hits by that bombardment should be allowed to return fire.

    And as far as CA & DD in pairs, again, that ignores the way that BBs can soak a free hit.

    Let’s say you buy 6 CA & 6 DD to attack me, and I buy 5 BB, 1 DD, 2 SS to defend. You can expect to inflict an average of 5 hits, and I expect to inflict an average of 4 hits. As you say, a slim attack advantage for your fleet – but only on the first round of battle. After the first round, 4 of your DDs are dead, but all of my ships are still in the fight.

    Now you have 6 CA + 2 DD = 22 pips of offense, against my 5 damaged BB + 1 DD + 2 SS = 24 pips of defense. Suppose you roll slightly above-average and score your 4 hits, and I roll average and score my 4 hits. Now you have 4 CA left, against my 4 damaged BB. Clearly at this point my fleet outclasses yours, and you should expect to lose the battle if average luck continues.

    Pairing CAs with DDs might be the way to get max value out of CAs, but that certainly doesn’t mean you should routinely purchase them – the maximum value you can get out of a CA is still noticeably less than the maximum value you can get out of other ships.


  • 2020 2019 2018

    @Argothair Allowing units hit by the shore bombardment to return fire makes sense; after all, German units at Normandy and Japanese at Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Saipan, et al, certainly did.

    As for CA & DD pairs vs. BB…The two-hit capability of BB is a significant advantage, but that advantage is partially offset by the 16.5% chance of the CA & DD pair scoring two hits. Also, if your opponent has subs lurking about, CA + DD has an advantage over BB. In the end, at the most basic level of one CA/DD pair vs. one BB, through two rounds of combat, it’s quite close - roughly a 42% chance of CA/DD getting 2 hits, versus 45% for the BB.

    That said, CA/DD over BB purchases aren’t for everyone. For powers with smaller economies, such as ANZAC or Italy, or when the UK begins rebuilding the Royal Navy after G1, I think CA/DD is a solid buy.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Well, I’d agree with you that buying a single naked BB rarely makes sense – BBs are strongest when they can be used as the capstone of a larger, more diverse navy.

    I’ve been known to buy CA + DD for the Brits in Anniversary, where the British fleet can just project monstrous power out of the English Channel – you’re threatening France, Norway, Berlin, Poland, etc. all from the same sea zone, and many of those territories come with large national objectives attached.

    And in a social game of Balanced Mod Global, where I’m aiming to have fun more than I’m aiming to win, I could see buying CA + DD + Marine for Italy or Australia, just because Marines are a cool unit, and sometimes your economy means that you can’t afford a second loaded transport, but you can afford one loaded transport plus one marine, and that extra oomph will get you over the finish line to take Cairo or Singapore or whatever.

    In Classic Global, though, I just don’t see it – if there is enough of an aerial threat that you need the DD+CA at all, then you probably need a massive fleet that includes at least one fully loaded carrier, and if you don’t have the cash to drop that fleet all at once, then it’s better to save up for a turn and buy the fleet next turn.


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