[House Rules] How to create the best gameplay for this edition?

  • Played a few games of AA anniversary 1941. The better the group gets at the game, the worse the games have been. Far more one sided wars than close ones.

    My question is this.

    • How should an experienced group play the anniversary edition to create a close and interesting game?
    • should there be National objectives?
    • should there be a bid or house rules?

    Playing vanilla does not hold a lot of weight for us. We would rather spend a Saturday playing a legendary game than 2-3 lame ones.

    Thank you!

  • 2024 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18

    We’ve had this discussion collectively as a forum quite a few times. General consensus is that the 41 Scenario OOB (out-of-box, what you call “vanilla”) is imbalanced in favor of the Axis, due to the sheer strength they start with over the Allies.

    The quickest/easiest way to give the Allies a better chance is to play without NOs. This greatly levels the massive growth in IPCs the Axis will get in the first 2 rounds, meaning that the Allies will have a longer “grace period” where their income is greater than the Axis’. With less money available, the Axis will have a harder time steamrolling the USSR, which will give the US/UK more time to actually do something.

    If that doesn’t work/you don’t want to turn NOs off, try a bid to the Allies. You’re gonna need like 12-16 though, as you need to boost the starting UK navy against the G1 onslaught. Not sure what the consensus is for league play, I just sort of guessed the 12-16 number since that gives you either 2 subs (12), 1 destroyer/1 artillery (12), 2 destroyers (16), 1 cruiser/1 artillery (16).

  • @DoManMacgee

    I have seen some threads of a similar nature. Thanks for the great response!

    It is interesting that with more money comes more choices, (units/tech/strategies) but also can lead to more swingy and snowballs games. It can be hard and dangerous to find the middle ground. If everything was even then there would be more balance, but with that maybe a less interesting game.

  • @Altruex An alternative to taking away NOs is altering the Allies’ NOs. The issue withe AA50 is that the Axis’ NOs are pitifully easy to obtain, while the Allies’ are extremely difficult (if you’re not USA, anyway).

  • @DoManMacgee
    I have heard of NO being worth 4 pts, but never altering the allies NO.

    How would you balance that?

  • @Altruex No clue, haha. Haven’t tried it myself. Best I can think of is changing Russia’s in particular.

    • “10 IPCs if Allied Powers control at least 3 of Norway/Finland/Poland/Bulgaria-Romania/Czechoslovakia-Hungary/Balkans” should be “5 IPCs if USSR controls at least 2 of Russia/Karelia/Caucasus”. Change the appeal of “extra morale for spreading Communism” to “extra morale for holding cities significant to the Communist Regime (Moscow/Leningrad/Stalingrad)”.

    • “5 IPCs if no other Allied forces are present in a territory controlled by the Soviet Union and if the Soviets control Archangel” should be “5 IPCs if USSR controls Archangel, UK control United Kingdom, and no Axis naval units present in Sea Zone 3 and 4”. This one’s a bit complicated, but the point is to represent Lend Lease making it through the White Sea and into Russia. There are a fair few books on this topic, as U-Boat interference with this aid was a point of contention during the 40-43 phase of the war, before the Allies got the U-Boat situation under control.

  • @DoManMacgee

    Simply awesome response. I love accounting for the historical prevalence. I think for the next session we do, we will take a bid system. That will let us figure out the NOs a bit better.

  • @Altruex If you’re going with a bid, try either bidding to the UK Atlantic Navy (to save it from getting wiped out by Germany G1), an extra INF in China (to defend the FTR), and/or Egypt (to possibly hold it during Round 1, which will delay Italy’s economic expansion significantly by keeping them at 10-15 IPC/turn for the first round, which snowballs).

  • @Altruex
    In our “Chicago Rules” for AA50-41 version, we make it easier for UK to get one of their National Objectives:

    “Gain 4 IPCs if Allied powers control at least FOUR of the following territories: Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Gibraltar, Egypt, Australia, and Union of South Africa.” UK doesn’t have to control ALL those territories like the OOB NA.

    Prior to altering the game board to split india into india and bangledesh, and sz35 into sz35a & sz35b, we altered the Japanese National Objective of taking either India or Australia or Hawaii for the $5 national objective. We required Japan to get TWO of those three territories to get that NA bonus.

    Also, we made all axis National Advantages only worth $4.

  • Couple other easier mods to slow the axis:
    Restricted Dardenelles straight: Bulgaria is the only territory accessible via
    transport(s) in sz16 (helps Russia with Caucasus defense)
    No new complexes may be developed on an island territory (slows Japan a bit)

  • @axis_roll

    Very interesting. I have heard the Dardanelles strait as a limitation before but never understood it. Maybe our group does not use it much, but what is the implication of closing it VS not?

  • @Altruex said in How to create the best gameplay for this edition?:


    Very interesting. I have heard the Dardanelles strait as a limitation before but never understood it. Maybe our group does not use it much, but what is the implication of closing it VS not?

    The above “Chicago Rules” closing is a modified version of “Closing the Dardenelles Straight”, in the sense that Sea Zone 16 is still open, and you can reach Bulgaria, but not Ukraine and/or the Caucasus.

    Implications are to keep yet another front from easily being opened against Russia. The axis can empty Africa via the Med fleet (German transport, Italian Navy) and give Russia even more headaches, especially early if Germany went on a strong Barbarossa game plan.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I’ve got a “Balanced Mod” for Anniversary in the House Rules forum that tries to “backload” the Allied national objectives so that the Allies, especially the USA, will have a booming economy in the endgame if the Axis aren’t able to shut it down. That way instead of “Allies have more income, can the Axis catch up, yes, they can, they did, ok, great, now the Axis win” the story becomes “Allies have more income, can the Axis catch up, yes, they can, they did, but eventually the Allies will mobilize for total war; can the Allies rebound successfully before the Axis get so huge that even the extra national objectives won’t help, maybe, they might, it’s a really close call.”

    Playtested it live for the first time a month ago, and it seemed quite fair to us. Axis roll and I have also played it online with decent results.

  • '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    Yo did you play with Corpro 24 and Carl7 right ?

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Corpo24, yeah. Karl7 was there but did not deign to play a house rules game that was not even based off the Global map. :)

  • We have gravitated to the 1941 OOB with the Dardanelles closed mod and an allies bid of 9. This variant has led to the longest (most balanced) games.

    Take this with a grain of salt as I mostly play with my 3 younger sons who are prone to gamble on tech and make ill-advised attacks occasionally.

    What we have found is that the European front is well-balanced (especially if the US doesn’t go full KGF - hard to justify KGF given the Japanese power imbalance in the far East in 1941 Anniversary) but the Japanese can easily steamroll China and nearly all far-East, middle East and Pacific UK assets in a few rounds. The combined pressure from Japan and Germany in Russia then becomes overwhelming a bit too early in the game. To extend the grace period for Russia dealing with only Germany, the 9 IPC bid for the Allies typically go to one inf in Yunan (otherwise, it is a priority target J1 and the Flying Tiger squadron is lost) and the other two inf at Allies discretion between Egypt and/or India.

    I make no claim to having reached some Panacea of balance but these mods have resulted in some rich games for us.

    Alternatively, 1941 OOB (Dardanelle’s closed) and no NO’s has been pretty balanced. This is easier to execute, especially for newer players, but takes away from the experience in my opinion. NOs add a nice layer of depth to the game and can result in some interesting variation in strategy for both sides.

  • @altruex

    For me, playing with National Objectives is a must, 1) You’ll find that it makes the game WAY more interesting, 2) It is kinda the one thing that actually makes half the stuff you can do in a WW2 scenario make sense… and 3) It balances the game a lot better in that retrospectrum.

    As for Research and Development, this is for sure optional since it kinda plays an important role but not super into swaying which side will beat the other, so do what you will with this.

    As for house rules, I only have 1 house rule I put into play, one at which I like to call the “Siberian-Manchurian Pact” which, by the name you can probably tell that it relates to the real time non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and the Empire of Japan at the time.

    The reason I have this houserule into play is that for starters, I feel like it is a HUGE waste of time for the Soviets to be throwing valuable infantry into Japanese Manchuria all to gain a single infantry for 1 turn only to lose it, as well as the fact that it kinda defeats the purpose of Japan fighting the Pacific as a whole instead of having to deal with the annoyance of the Soviets taking Manchuria with like 5 infantry…

    And in the other aspect of it, It is a huge waste of time for Japan to be going after Siberia, whether theres units there or not. It’s of the USSR player’s own will to move those infantry to the Eastern Front against Germany or to keep them there, but like I said, Japan can at most get like 4 to 6 IPC’s outta the far Eastern Russian territories… which I can literally get double that with like, 3 provinces down south (The Money Islands).

    All in all, that’s not to say these 2 can’t go to war with eachother, the basic rule is that if Japan and The Soviet Union do go to war, it needs to be through the Chinese border with the Soviet Union and not the Manchurian border, because it saves people ALOT of time and strain and annoyance from either side if one is attacking the other.

    Just my opinion though.

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