House Rules Compilation & Discussion: Oil!

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    Hi all, I’m going to compile and discuss some of the best Oil-related community house rules. For starters, here are some of the major threads I’ve found (help me out if you know of more that aren’t identical to those here!)


    A&A Europe Oil Rules [OOB]
    During Germany’s Collect Income phase, the Allies must pay Germany a number of IPCs equal to the total value of Middle East territories that Germany controls.

    @Buran’s Oil Rule’s [sic]
    Territories with Oil + Oil Well (new infrastructure) produce Oil Barrels, which must be transported to an IC and exchanged for IPCs. Powers have new NOs around capturing/holding Oil-producing territories as well.

    @Johnson73’s Oil Fields
    Each Oil Field can have an Oil Derrick built on it increasing the value of said territory by 1 IPC. Can be captured/plundered and/or targeted by strategic bombers.

    swinters’ Oil Production values map + rules
    Territories have Oil Values (0-15) and the movement of all mechanized land and sea units costs one oil unit per space moved, while air units (fighters and bombers) may move up to two spaces at a cost of one oil unit. Unloading a tank from a transport costs one oil unit.

    @Imperious-Leader’s Oil Centers & various other places (help me out here, @Imperious-Leader)
    Territories have Oil Values, and Oil limits both production and movement of mechanized units. Total values = total number of mech units that can be bought or move that turn. Additionally, nations with an established oil source gain 1d6 IPCs - and nations without lose 1d6 IPC - each turn.

    @General-6-Stars’ Oil Derricks
    Several territories begin the game with indestructible oil derricks and refineries worth 1-8 IPCS. These can be damaged by SBR, and must be fully repaired to provide any benefit. Control of some of these derricks also contribute towards Axis Victory Conditions/Points. In some versions, damage to refineries leads to unit movement penalties.

    @siredblood’s BBR
    10 territories have oil derrick symbols. Controlling these counts toward Axis victory conditions and also activate Axis NOs for IPC bonuses.

    HBG’s Oil Wars expansion (for GW36)
    Oil is produced by permanent derricks that can be bombed. Must be physically stored by a power in reserves, which can also be bombed. Oil is used each turn based on the types of activities undertaken that turn - moving categories of units (or individual units, in the case of str. bombers and capital ships), building units, generic domestic expenses, etc. Oil can be lend-leased and traded, in which case it is vulnerable to interdiction.

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    These rules follow similar contours, with the following considerations:

    1. Does special infrastructure need to be built/held before realizing benefits from oil?
    2. Must oil itself be physically moved/transported to production sites before realizing these benefits?
    3. Does oil impact IPC levels or territory values directly, or indirectly?
    4. Does oil have any additional game effects like unit purchase limits and movement?

    Next I want to tackle each of these considerations, discuss some potential pros and cons, and draw some conclusions.

    Oil Facilities/Infrastructure

    These are any oil derricks, wells, and/or refineries that either pre-exist or must be built and maintained in a territory prior to accessing the benefits of any oil that is present there. Of course, “if you build it, they will come” applies: these facilities can also be bombed, captured, and/or destroyed, rendering them inoperable and the underlying oil benefit useless or degraded until they are repaired or rebuilt.

    In a ruleset with oil infrastructure, the existence of oil in a territory may represent only a potentiality. Whatever the details, adding oil infrastructure places oil resources behind a barrier: Investment up front is required to exploit the resource, and ongoing maintenance and concern for the protection of the investment from strategic bombing and raids is required.

    The upfront investment can be mitigated somewhat by having most (or even all) oil-producing territories start the game with Oil Derricks already in place - particularly if these derricks are made indestructible - but the cost of protecting the asset from damage and raids remains.


    • Complexity - More strategic granularity and crunchiness
    • Historicity - These facilities (and raids against them) featured prominently in the actual
      strategy of all sides
    • More fun bits - It’s an open secret that all A&A players like more bits.


    • Complexity - cuts both ways; more rules, more pieces, longer play time
    • Scarcity - placing oil behind a vulnerable infrastructure barrier means that there will be less oil overall, and the oil that is out there will be more expensive to exploit and protect.

    Because adding infrastructure beyond the IC is such a significant change to the game, I believe this rule only makes sense in games that include other base-type facilities as well; so G40 and beyond. Even in this case, Oil facilities should probably leverage the existing bases rules to ease adoption and limit the impact of the added complexity.

    Scarcity is a real factor here as well, and needs to be taken into account by the rules: any benefits conferred by oil (or the consequences of its loss) need to be significant enough to reward the investment (of building/protecting and raiding/capturing) these properties.

    It’s my conclusion, then, that requiring the construction/maintenance of these facilities is too much complexity for the simplicity and abstraction level of games like AA50/42.2, while in G40 and beyond they make sense and can add fun and strategy without overburdening the system. I would seek to add Oil Derricks as a new facility type with identical cost and characteristics as the other bases in the game, then scale their benefits accordingly.

    Oil Transportation & Reserves

    These rules require that some kind of actual oil “unit” be represented/abstracted as a vulnerable physical piece on the board, whether it must be transported from oil fields to production centers or stored in reserves. In addition to the territories and any infrastructure that produce them, these physical oil units are themselves subject to capture or destruction, and may or may not require actual transport units like naval/air transports to carry them around the board.

    In these rulesets, oil is placed behind a much higher barrier than the mere maintenance of oil facilities - that of also investing in the transportation infrastructure (and protection thereof) to store or move the oil. Where the distance is minimal (and/or the transportation infrastructure already exists) the impact of these rules will be minimal - in the case of the Russian Caucasus, for example - but where that transportation or storage is more awkward/must be newly established it presents a tremendous obstacle to exploitation (in the Middle East or South America for Germany, etc.)

    Pros: Same as Infrastructure, only more so
    Cons: Same as Infrastructure, only more so; and additionally:
    Asymmetrical - May, for geographical reasons, unequally saddle powers (e.g., the Axis) with impossible burdens (however historical!)

    Oil-as-a-vulnerable-unit takes the historicity, complexity, and scarcity impact of the “Facilities” rules and increases it by an order of magnitude. It’s one thing to build and/or protect a fixed asset from strategic bombing, but it’s a whole other thing to ensure its safety along an entire transportation corridor. This is one reason why, even for a punishingly intricate system like HBG’s G36, the movement of raw materials such as oil is still abstracted to “convoy zones” or “lines” which can be cut or raided by enemy units.

    Requiring that oil be moved or stored individually and physically in this way raises the question of why it is singled out over other mission-critical resources that would form similar convoys- like wheat or rubber, for example - and also adds a economic/logistical rail to the A&A system that many players would probably not find enjoyable. In my opinion, this sort of rule is interesting but ultimately not worth its own weight for a game like A&A, even at the comparatively granular G36 level of abstraction.

    Oil-to-IPCs: Direct or Indirect?

    Most oil rulesets give some kind of IPC benefit to powers that control it. This discussion is not about a specific rule, but rather about the way that those IPCs are awarded for oil and the difference between oil adding directly to IPC count vs. oil driving NOs or other indirect means of affecting a power’s economy.

    “Direct” oil-to-IPC rules are straightforward in that they award a power bonus IPCs for oil they control - whether that’s controlling oil-producing territories, maintaining functional oil wells, units of oil transported/exchanged, etc.

    “Indirect” rules are the typical ways to which oil is alluded in OOB rulesets, and are myriad, including examples such as:

    • Requiring a power to pay another power for oil controlled (AAE)
    • Giving powers individualized oil NOs to control a specified amount of oil (AA50, G40, etc.)
    • Granting unit cost decreases to powers that control a specified amount of oil
    • Penalizing a power’s economy in some way if it doesn’t control a specified amount of oil

    Direct oil-to-IPC rules lean into the abstraction and simplicity of A&A economics by simply giving players more more money to play with. This makes the calculations simpler and the benefits open-ended, at the cost of some gamey blandness and uniformity.

    Indirect rules vary, but are generally trying to achieve some more historical, granular, or realistic end with regards to oil by placing limits on its benefit in some realistic way: either to specific (mechanized) units, or to specific powers, or by capping/specifying the exact amount gained, or by limiting where geographically that oil needs to be obtained.

    Pros: (of the “direct” or $/oil model)

    • Simplicity - $/oil makes calculations and tradeoffs faster and easier
    • Open-ended - $/oil lets players decide where to get it, how much is enough, and what to spend it on

    Cons: (of the “direct” model)

    • Ahistorcal - $/oil can lead to ahistorical strategies and seemingly unrealistic results, like ignoring oil completely or converting “oil money” into divisions of infantry or battleships
    • Optional - $/oil means there’s nothing “special” or necessary about oil, it’s simply one option among many to increasing IPCs

    For the “indirect” model, these pros and cons can simply be inverted: there’s more complexity - and in most cases, individualized and power-specific rules to memorize, and there is less player freedom to explore alternative, ahistorical, or seemingly unrealistic options.

    I think compelling cases can be made for both sides of this coin.

    On the one hand, simplicity and open-endedness are things to be pursued at all times. There’s nothing wrong with a rule being easy to understand and apply, and I’m personally allergic to making every player memorize 6 or more different NO schemes before they can feel like they understand the game. Finally, the potential for ahistorical situations and player freedom are part of what make A&A a game rather than simply a repeating simulation; and one which the Axis element of initiative and surprise is mostly impossible and should therefore, historically speaking, result in an inexorable Axis defeat barring on Allied mistakes or bad dice.

    On the other hand, if oil is a part of the game it should not be able to be completely ignored - if so, then why add it at all? Moreover, if oil translates simply and directly into just more IPCs, or if the real objective is simply to draw more attention to the periphery of the board… then why not simply increase the IPC values of those territories for everyone and call it a day?

    For AA50/42, an easy compromise between historicity and simplicity might look something like this:

    • Identify a handful (maybe 5-8 for these simpler maps) of oil-producing territories, plopping down a permanent, indestructible Oil Derrick miniature or other marker on each of them as a visual reminder.
    • Declare that, at the end of each game round (when VCs are counted), each of these oil-producing territories controlled by an Axis power will grant that power +2 IPCs.

    This would retain the benefits of simplicity and open-endedness, while adding a smidgen of historicity, with minimal additional rules and impact to game time - you’re already tracking and counting VCs at this point in the game round, anyway. Handing out some IPCs to players that control Oil Derricks here should help keep oil part of the “state of the globe” conversation, and injecting here should hopefully waste minimal time.

    For more complicated games like G40, I would want to land on something slightly different. As I mentioned above, this is the level where there should be infrastructure to deploy and protect, which changes the timing and nature of how/when oil could impact the game. Additionally, because of the added scarcity and tactical possibilities inherent to facilities and the more granular G40 system, this is also where some more significant but focused/specific/limited benefits for oil should be realized. Maybe those already-present convoy zones can be brought into play here as well?

    More on this later.

    Oil Effects: Economic or Tactical?

    Similar to the previous section, this isn’t a matter of a single rule but rather a sort of complexity/historicity continuum. The question here is: “To what degree of specificity should oil impact the war-machine in a highly-abstracted game like A&A?” The answer can be anywhere on this continuum from the “not at all specific” (+/- IPCs only) to very granular per-region and per-unit effects including degraded movement, combat, or producibility.

    It’s an understandable next step in complexity and crunchiness to bring the impacts of oil home to the mechanized units that famously rely on it to function. This could be accomplished in lots of ways: we could prevent some or all of the affected units from moving; degrade their combat ability somehow, or perhaps make them more/less expensive or easy to field.

    However, due to the breadth of factors that IPCs are supposed to cover - Everything from raw materials, to manpower, industrial capacity, trade agreements, mobilization status, etc. - having oil simply impact IPCs directly at a high level might actually be more accurate than grounding individual wings of the Luftwaffe or Panzerkorps. After all, “oil” at this level of abstraction would affect the economy in a very overall sense, and adjustments can and obviously would be made to both spread and mitigate this impact.

    Pros: (of having oil affect specific units)

    • Complexity (varies) - throws an additional strategic consideration into the mix, provides for super-crunchy tactical tradeoffs (move this Fighter, or that Tank?)
    • Historicity - Oil availability certainly did affect mechanized units in terms of both production and operation


    • Complexity - cuts both ways, as usual. Having TripleA count up units vs. supply is one thing; doing it manually at a table takes time that people may not want to spend
    • Scope-creep - Some game effect on mechs might be ok, but managing unit supply status is arguably just beyond the pale for A&A

    I think there is a difference between “powers with/without oil should have some kind of mechanized unit benefit/consequence” and “players must spend time counting up oil reserves/supply vs. fielded unit consumption to determine supply status”. I mean, this is a game where, in most versions, a single plastic factory and the number “10” represents the entire civilizational output of Nazi Germany. It’s not like the players are given any specific responsibility or control for managing civilian morale, or the movement/organization of forced labor, or any other crucial aspect of the sprawling industrial war machine!

    What players are given control of, economics-wise, is which units to produce, where. So let’s do what we can with the levers we already have.

    With that in mind, the main thrust of this idea is something I could see myself keeping; something like “Oil affects mechanized unit production.”

    • ICs with limited access to oil should have limited production of mechanized units.
    • The prevalence of oil in a power’s economy should affect the overall efficiency with which that power can produce mechanized units.

    Exactly how, mechanically, the above factors should work is something I am still thinking about and would love to discuss further. At a minimum it seems that the oil facilities we discussed earlier, the already-present convoy zone mechanics, and research and development rules should play a part; I’m also intrigued by the idea of having multiple strategic resources (wheat, oil, and iron?) that might each affect the unit production table in different ways: wheat for infantry, oil for all mechanized units, and iron for armored units. Yet I think that of all of these oil makes the most compelling case for inclusion, in some dedicated form, even if the others are excluded.

  • Good compilation so far. I’m working on a rule set right now and if I end up with something good I’d make sure to post it here.

  • 2022 2021


    Hi vodot,

    For which game are you planning to use oil rules?

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    @the-captain I’m trying to think across the whole gamut of A&A games, but I would be most interested in rules for G40, AA50, and the various other custom maps and rulesets of similar complexity.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18


    @General-6-Stars uses oil in his game
    Cost: 0
    Attack: 0
    Defend: 2 at each plane
    Move: 0
    Max damage: Up to double there value
    You cannot build these in game.
    You do receive the values of these
    towards your income. Any damage
    to them and you lose the full value
    of the income there worth. Can be
    captured and used for income if not
    damaged by the enemy.

    Similar to some of the above, but implemented differently. I know he’s had a lot of success with it.

    There’s also at least a couple triplea games that use oil. They are similar to swinters’ Oil Production values map + rules in that the oil turns into fuel that is used to power Mechanized, Air and Naval units.

    WWII Oil and Snow April 1941
    OIL: can be found in the '41-'45 oil-producing regions of the world: depending on if it is a rich source (double drop) or regular source (single drop) there is a (regular or major) refinery producing fuel for your mechanized units. Infantry & cavalry may move without fuel. When conquered they turn yours directly because of AI not understanding the importance of repairing /rebuilding disabled or hit refineries. I made them indestructable, except they have far lower output of fuel when damaged. (major 8 out of 20 & regular 4 out of 10 fuel per turn) You can only repair existing refineries, not upgrade or add new ones. If you run out of oil you can always purchase fuel via oil barrels but that of course would have an impact on your unit production. When an Allied Territory with oil is liberated, it returns to its original owner.

    Iron War
    Fuel is used by ships, land vehicles and planes to move. 1 unit moving to an adjacent territory consumes 1 Fuel. Planes are an exception to this rule, as they always consume Fuel equal to half of their full potential movement. Note that all Synthetic-Fuel production is destroyed during capture, unlike regular fuel resources.

    I know @Black_Elk really digs “Iron War”. My small cranium can’t handle it though. i just end up with a pile of steel that can’t move lol

    Good Action here

    Rock On !!!.png

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    Ya barnee he’s aware. Talking to him a bit. He’s working on some rules. And also in my game if you control certain ( Middle East and Dutch islands ) groups of oil derricks you receive bonus victory points…

    I’ll have to check out that Iron War game you mentioned. It’s easier to put oil supply’s in smaller campaign games anyway.

    Is Iron War a board game with rules ? Or does Black Elk have own rules ?

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18

    @general-6-stars it’s a triplea mod. So all digital. Elk was playing it a lot. Actually he popped on last week and said he gave it another go. He’s not around much.

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    Vodot. Keep in mind my rules have where an oil derrick is worth so much icps but it also counts towards a countries income.
    Only time u can gain from it is capturing it.
    Once it has 1 dam then lose all income from it.
    Some oil derricks are worth more icps.

  • 2022 2021



    I’ll look forward to see some game play test results👍

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    @general-6-stars said in House Rules Compilation: Oil!:

    …Only time u can gain from it is capturing it.

    Can you explain how capturing works? Do Oil Derricks get “looted” when captured in addition to counting towards a power’s income normally?

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    Ok. Russia has 3 oil derricks in Middle East along with UK having 2. There all worth 2 icps and UK collects 4 icps towards income and Russia collects 6 icps income from them to. Now Germany can damage them to reduce both Russia and UK income. Derricks are never destroyed. ( but u just gave me another idea of destroying them ). If axis captures a territory with an oil derrick then they collect the income from the oil derrick plus territory value. But if it’s damaged then they don’t collect until they repair the damage. Oil derricks can be damaged up to double there value.

    Also game is based on victory points and there is a 1 point bonus for axis to get if they control 3 oil derricks in Middle East with only 1 damaged.

    So now Germany probably damage a few to help reduce Russia’s income and then repair after capture to get point. Rostov is also a victory city worth a point. This promotes a bunch of action. Also some oil derricks worth more money for income like Romania is worth 8 icps.
    Like Dutch island oil derricks are worth more too to promote more action plus Japan needs the oil to survive in war based on they need income. Those derricks are worth 5,5 and 4.
    Allies can damage them to block income or capture back.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Cool thread! I haven’t kicked around here in ages, but I like the concepts above.

    Haha yeah, I’d say Iron War’s scheme would be tough for a physical board. The Fuel=Unit Movement concept works ok in game with the aid of the computer, machine doing all the counting and such, but tracking it as a separate movement related resource is more than I’d want to try in my head or on pen and paper.

    I think the idea of fuel as infrastructure or fuel=money, or even the stuff where the fuel is a moveable unit itself. I think that would be easier to execute ftf than the mech naval and air units all consuming fuel to move around idea present in Iron War. But then again it might work, if it was simplified quite a bit. Fewer units involved, or maybe a more basic scheme for how its consumed during gameplay? I do like that it gives oil rules a try, some emphasis and value on certain territories that might not otherwise be reflected in A&A style games. Beyond just an extra ipc or two built into the TT I guess, which is what we usually get hehe. Giving the oil thing special consideration on the map, since it was such a major factor in the actual war. Seems apt and cool!

    best Elk

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    For me and after trying a bunch of different ways for oil seems the best outcome anyway on my game is what I have.

    Allies really had no problem getting oil. UK after 1940 when Persia area fell they got most of there oil from Venezuela. But UK did get Iran back with Russia based on both attacked together in 41 in separate territorial attacks. They didn’t like each other at the time. On my map history wise Russia controls northern half of Iran and UK southern half of Iran.

    Yes I can see oil shipment boats from refineries could be hit by axis in the Atlantic. I did test in game if a enemy sub was in a sea zone touching a territory with an oil refinery you could convoy attack it. You would lose I believe a flat rate of 3 icps from your income representing oil transport ships being sunk. Now you could play remove right away 3 icps from your income or wait and see if allies try to kill the sub before the penalty kicks in at end of your turn. Also the refinery could be SBR up to 3 damage.

    I think this type of raiding was stopped because we went to oil derricks. It got to strong in certain areas like UK and Dutch islands and depleted Japans income to much. Just more ideas here. And also there’s enough convoy boxes on map to include oil basically.
    Like G40 map the convoy boxes should be a bit further out in the Atlantic.

    My opinion is the to keep it simple and have the oil mostly more important in game for the Axis at key locations based on the oil producing chart in war. It would be great if UK didn’t destroy there oil wells in Burma when Japan started to invade. This would help Japan get another bonus point if controlled. Probably with so much fighting there they Japan didn’t have the option probably to repair them wells.
    But funny thing is they brought engineers or repair men from Japan and used the captured workers on Sumatra and Borneo to help rebuild them oil wells that UK/FEC destroyed when Japan attacked in Dec 41 and a bit later.

    Not a big fan of pentalizing a group of units whether ground, navy or planes. It can affect the game more on this scale level. I like it best in smaller version games like Barbarossa where only a small fraction are affected based on more territories in them game maps.

    OK had my say so I’ll chill out now. lol

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10


    @Imperious-Leader’s Oil Centers & various other places (help me out here, @Imperious-Leader)
    Territories have Oil Values, and Oil limits both production and movement of mechanized units. Total values = total number of mech units that can be bought or move that turn.

    My idea is that enemy oil centers are possible IPC producers each turn with a roll of one D6, however the first turn of capture you don’t receive any income to model the fact that the original owner player damaged the facility. Every other turn just roll D6 and add to production. Neutral oil centers are treated the same way. The other idea is you must own at least one oil center, or you must roll a D6 and that result is removed from your production each turn. Also, while you don’t own any oil centers, your land units all move one space.

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    Depends on what you want in game and I get what your saying.

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    @imperious-leader Thanks IL, I’ll update the summary above. I like that idea from the KISS principle, and also that in your rules oil is something you can - but probably shouldn’t - ignore. I also like that denying oil to your opponent functions like a free SBR raid…

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    It’s already in your list

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    @general-6-stars said in House Rules Compilation: Oil!:

    It’s already in your list

    Right, I just wanted to clarify the particulars. Is there a thread for your rules to which I can link, @General-6-Stars?

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    No not at this time. I could make a list or something It’s in 2 areas in my rules

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    I can post my oil rules and oil bonuses in my game thread on site here.

    Then if you want post it at top of your thread

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    @general-6-stars said in House Rules Compilation: Oil!:

    I can post my oil rules and oil bonuses in my game thread on site here.

    Then if you want post it at top of your thread

    Added your rules to my first post, General. Now I’m reading through the entirety of your amazing thread! 🙂

  • 2022 2021 '18 Customizer

    Here’s fodder for discussion; what about a system where, in the Collect Income Phase, Each functional Oil Derrick to which you can trace, from an IC, some uninterrupted direct link (TBD; maybe through unoccupied convoy zones and/or land TTs) grants that IC one “Oil Barrel”. During the purchase units phase, that barrel can be “traded in” for a discount on a unit/group of units, according to some simple schema like the below (ignore “wheat” and “iron” for now):

    Resource Unit Table.png

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18

    @vodot interesting. Is this how the chart reads, 3 oil barrels = 1 AB at reduced cost of 12 bucks ? 1 oil barrel = 3 Medium Tanks at reduced cost of 5 bucks a piece ? Have to buy all 3 ?

    Oil Derricks number are fixed ? Can’t create any new ones ? Or can the Texans keep drilling lol

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Customizer

    It looks that way barnee. Ya I go with continuous open route by land and certain sea zones. But I’d give the attacker some bonus for blocking oil like make the cost go up for your pieces. Thinking most won’t leave a ship for block or inf without some reward and just get killed possibly.

    Also if u go with wheat and iron then need to add copper/brass ammo, motors etc.and rubber for wiring.

    Is this mainly for G40 ?

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