[AA50] Map Overlays - Splitting Australia, the Balkans, and Sea Zones; adding Cairo, Malaya, Singapore, Rio, Cape Town, Recruitment Centers and tons more!

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    All, I’m happy to share some modular map tweaks for Axis and Allies Anniversary/AA50, using @Tjoek’s Incredible restored AA50 Map as my starting point. If you’ve got a favorite AA50 map tweak but don’t see it here, let me know and I’ll include it.

    To make these truly modular and hot-swappable (and because there are so many variations), I’ll be creating them as overlays - designed to be printed out and laid on top of the corresponding area of the board. The images below are at the same high resolution as Tjoek’s releases and can therefore be printed at that same scale to match up with the game board, or at any other resolution up to 2-3X to match your existing physical map(s).

    A lot of these overlays are pulling in ideas from around the forum from the past few years and I want to credit some of those folks as well: @Argothair’s ideas around Pacific improvements, @Black_Elk and Pact of Steel in general, some of @Der-Kuenstler’s ideas for hybridizing AA50 and G40, and @Imperious-Leader for years of map work, inspiration, and ongoing encouragement.

    Here’s two examples of how this could actually work (and look), first on the OOB Anniversary board, and second overlaying a large printout under plexiglass.

    For the first scenario, because these overlays are much brighter than the OOB board, Tjoek’s color enhancements first need to be undone. To accomplish this, I darkened the image in GIMP by desaturating it to 0.65 and then set the exposure to -0.4. I printed this on draft mode on some crappy recycled paper, straight from GIMP at 300 DPI. Cut the image out with scissors, use a few tiny bits of poster putty to stick the overlay down, and voila! Results:

    A&A board.png

    Not remotely glamorous, but it works! Putting this under plexiglass would yield much better results, however… let’s try that next.

    For scenario 2, I’ve got my high-quality printout of Tjoek’s file under a 1/8” acrylic sheet. Same print process - draft mode on crappy paper, at 300dpi. I used two tiny (to avoid bumps) pieces of poster putty for each overlay to keep them where I want them and also to allow easy removal without damaging the actual printout. Here are some pics of that process:

    Printed and cutout overlays:


    IEA front:


    IEA reverse side, with two tiny bits of poster putty shown - about to do gown on the printout:


    “After” pic with IEA overlay in place:


    “Before” image of Southeast Asia:


    “After” image of Southeast Asia:


    Overview, after applying the overlays:


    Mediterranean Theater detail:


    Hokkaido, SZ62 split, Aleutians:


    You can see that I didn’t get the water color temperature exactly right, but at any reasonable distance these overlays really are almost invisible. With the exception of a couple places where I got over-zealous with the scissors, I’m super happy with how these turned out 🙂

    If you’re looking for full map files that incorporate some of these changes, I have created some full map files as well - see the second post below for downloads and discussion on these. Let me know if there is a particular combination you’re looking for and I will see if I can accommodate it.

    List of Overlays:

    1. Australia Splits
      • 1a) West (1) + East (2)
      • 1b) West (1) + East (2) + North (1)
      • 1c) West (0) + East (3) + North (1)
      • 1d) No split, but Australia worth (3)
    2. Italian Islands named and given IPC values
      • Sardinia (1) + Sicily (1)
    3. Italian Africa renamed, recolored, given Italian roundel
    4. Cairo added as a VC
    5. Malaya split off from FICT
    6. Singapore added as a VC
    7. Celebes redrawn & split off from Borneo
      • 7a) Borneo (3) + Celebes (3)
      • 7b) Borneo (4) + Celebes (2) not yet available
      • 7c) Borneo (3) + Celebes (2) not yet available
    8. Java split off from East Indies / Sumatra
      • 8a) Sumatra (3) + Java (3)
      • 8b) Sumatra (4) + Java (2) not yet available
      • 8c) Sumatra (3) + Java (2) not yet available
    9. Sea Zone splits
      • SZ 37 (Burma-FICT/Malaya) into 37a + 37b
      • SZ 38 (East Indies/Sumatra/Java) into 38a + 38b
      • SZ 49 (Borneo/Celebes) into 49a + 49b
      • SZ 62 (Sea of Japan) into 62a + 62b
    10. Adding ‘Recruitment Centers’ (from AAZ) to…
      • 10a) Australia/East Australia
      • 10b) India
      • 10c) Eastern Canada
      • 10d) Bulgaria/Romania
    11. Iwo Jima redrawn and Honolulu fixed
    12. More Mediterranean Meanderings:
      • Greece (2) split off from Balkans (2)
      • SZ 15 split into 15a/15b
      • Morocco (1) split off from Morocco Algeria (1)
      • Turkish border extended north of Bosporus
      • Sicily border extended into southern Italy
    13. Pacific Island Tweaks:
      • Hokkaido (1)
      • Aleutians
      • Iwo, Wake, Midway & Carolines each worth 1 IPC
    14. Ceylon
    15. The Burma Road (UPDATED)
    16. NW China New Territories
      • Move C
      • Create Tibet + Xinjiang (by splitting old
    17. Add Rio De Janeiro & Cape Town as VCs

    Modular AA50 Overlays:

    1a. Australia split into East (2) and West (1)

    1b. Australia split into East (2), West (1), and North (1)

    1c. Australia split into East (3), West (0), and North (1)

    1c. Australia whole, but worth (3) IPCs

    2. Italian islands named and given IPC values

    3. Italian East Africa recolored, renamed, and given and Italian roundel

    4. Cairo added as a VC

    5. Malaya broken off from FICT


    6. Singapore added as a VC


    7. Celebes redrawn and broken off from Borneo


    8. Java broken off from Sumatra


    9. Sea Zone splits - 37a/b, 38a/b, & 49a/b


    9d. Sea Zone split - 62a/b


    10a. Australian RC



    10b. Indian RC


    10c. Eastern Canada RC


    10d. Bulgaria/Romania RC


    11. Iwo Jima redrawn and Honolulu fixed


    12. Mediterranean Tweaks - Greece, Turkey & Morocco


    13. Pacific Island Tweaks - Hokkaido, Aleutians, Midway, Wake, Iwo, and Carolines



    14 & 15. Ceylon and the Burma Road


    Redrawn Burma Road:


    16. NW China additions


    17. Add Rio & Cape Town as VCs



    Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts!

    P.S. One more just for fun 🙂


    Build a sub there, for old time’s sakes 🙂

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    This post will contain any full-map versions I create with combinations of the above modular changes. Again, all credit goes to @Tjoek for the hundreds of hours of work he put into the incredible original files (links at the top of the OP above) I use here as a baseline.

    Summary of full-map versions:

    1. Version 1 contains:
      • Australia split
        • West (1) + East (2) + North (1)
      • Italian Islands named and IPC values added
      • Italian Africa renamed, recolored, and given an Italian roundel

    1. Version 2 contains the above tweaks plus:
      • Cairo added as a VC

    1. Version 3 is a ‘kitchen-sink’ version with many of the tweaks available:
      • Australia changes:
        • Split: West (0) + East (3) + North (1)
        • Add RC to East
      • Pacific/Indian Ocean changes:
        • Split: East Indies (Sumatra (3) + Java (2); Borneo (3) + Celebes (2)
        • Split: Sea Zones 36, 37, 49, 62
        • Add: Ceylon (1), Hokkaido (1), Aleutians (0)
        • All Islands given IPC value = 1
      • Italy changes:
        • Split: Balkans (3) into Balkans (2) + Greece (2)
        • Islands named and IPC value = 1 added
        • Italian Africa renamed, recolored, and given an Italian roundel
        • Turkey extended north of Bosporus (up to you if this matters or not)
      • Recruitment Centers added in:
        • East Canada
        • Brazil
        • France
        • Bulgaria
        • India
        • East Australia
      • Burma Road
      • Trans-Siberian Railway

    1. Version 4 is a superset of version 3, additionally containing:
      • Added VCs:
        • Rio de Janeiro
        • Cape Town
      • China changes:
        • Add/split two new Chinese TTs in northwest
      • Add more RCs:
        • Kazakh
        • Novosibirsk
        • Evenki
        • Buryatia
        • South Africa
      • Increased Buryatia IPC value to 2
      • Increased Aleutians IPC value to 1

    Version 1-2 Discussion

    So the net changes for versions 1/2 are:
    o +2 IPC for UK (or +1 if Italian East Africa is Italian) and likely better Australian survivability
    o +2 IPC for Italy (or +3 if Italian East Africa is Italian)
    o +1 VC in Africa (version 2 only)

    Overall I feel this is a decent Axis boost with the additions of Cairo + 2 or 3 new Italian IPCs, while also giving the UK (and maybe Japan…?) a nudge towards the pacific. Adding Cairo adds even more tempo to Italy; up to you whether you increase the victory thresholds accordingly or not. If the thresholds remain the same, the allies now begin the '41 game satisfying the “Projection” victory condition, and need only two additional VCs for a major victory @ 15.

    These are some changes I’ve wanted to try for a while, and as I’ll be playing AA50 with some friends soon I thought no better time than now. I will probably be teaching the Italian player how to play, so in the '41 setup with NOs turned off the axis seem to need a bit of a boost. Having Cairo as an objective right in front of his face - and IEA to link up with/protect just beyond it - should give him something achievable and fun to focus on as well. 🙂

    Version 3 Discussion

    Unlike the above two versions, Version 3 asks the question “how many map changes can happen to AA50 before it becomes a totally different game?”

    There are some great options out there already for “hybrid” A&A games that try to simplify G40 or meet somewhere in the middle of AA50 and G40. Even with all of these map changes I’m not trying to hybridize or add significant complexity - just to make AA50 more dynamic and interesting.

    Net IPC shifts below:

    • Germany +1
    • Russia - no change
    • Japan +3
    • UK +7
    • Italy +4
    • US +2

    This is a net +8 for the Axis and +9 for the allies, although obviously much more nuance and analysis is required to evaluate the impact these changes will have.

    Version 4 Discussion

    Version 4 follows from Version 3 with some additional changes:

    • Added VCs Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town
    • Added/shift two new Chinese TTs in northwest
    • Added RCs to Russian TTs: Kazakh, Novosibirsk, Urals, Evenki, and Buryatia
    • Increased Buryatia IPC value to 2
    • Increased Aleutians IPC value to 1

    New IPC shift from OOB:

    • Germany +1
    • Russia +1
    • Japan +3
    • UK +7
    • Italy +4
    • US +3
    • China +2 TTs

    Version 5 Discussion

    Version 5 is identical to version 4, but without RCs or the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

    Map Previews and download links below:

    Version 1:


    Version 2:


    Version 3:


    Version 4:


    Version 5:


  • Referenced by  vodot vodot 

  • Nice work, I was thinking the Anniversary map needed some updating here and there.

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

    @8d88 Need to do this for 1942.2, make Antarctic playable, add Azores, and other changes…

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    I would love to make these changes happen for 42.2 as well - I’ll probably use AA50 as the baseline and rework borders accordingly.

    UPDATE: I’ve added version 3 above - this is a “kitchen sink” version with tons of changes for maximal craziness. See the second post for discussion and details.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @vodot Looks fabulous, well done! This map would be much more fun to play on than the standard Anniversary.

    If you’re looking for still yet more improvements, here are some thoughts I’ve had over the last couple of years after reading up on more WW2 history:

    • Oil was more important to everyone’s war effort than is really appreciated on the A&A maps. In particular, valuing Trans-Jordan (Basra/Kuwait) and Persia (Bandar Abbas) at only 1 IPC each is a huge underestimate. I would want to bump Trans-Jordan to at least $2 and Persia to at least $3. However, they don’t make good factory sites, because despite the important oil production, they weren’t really industrialized and they weren’t places where it was easy to recruit infantry. So, possibly this is something that needs to be handled through national objectives rather than just adding IPCs on the map.
    • Along similar lines, Rumania needs to be worth more than just 2 IPCs for Germany. I would probably just make Poland worth $2 and Rumania worth $3. Rumania is a perfectly reasonable place to build a factory because the Rumanians did send their own armies, tanks, and planes into battle on behalf of the Axis.
    • Ukraine and Eastern Ukraine were hugely important to the Russian economy in terms of their industrial and agricultural production. I would probably bump them to $3 and $2.
    • The Chinese map is still set up to allow the Japanese to quickly and reliably conquer all of China – there’s just not quite enough defensive depth. Everything except Chinghai is 2 spaces away from Shanghai, and if all you’ve got left is Chinghai then the Chinese have no income. I’m not sure of quite the right solution, but I guess I’d ideally like to see three ‘corners’ for the Chinese to hide and regroup in, each of which requires a separate angle of attack for the Japanese – a northern region that the Russians can easily reinforce, a southern region that the British can easily reinforce, and a western region where the Chinese themselves can generate their own units that won’t be immediately blown up. Part of the answer here might be to get away from the “every Chinese territory is worth $1” setup. E.g. if you add a Chungking region worth $3 in the far southwest, and bump Ningxia to $2 and add a buffer territory to the east of Ningxia? There’s still the question of how to physically get Russian troops into China; right now Ningxia is at least 3 moves away from the nearest Russian factory, yet only 2 moves away from a hypothetical Japanese factory in Manchuria. Somehow that ratio needs to be reversed.

    Finally, I’d love to see victory cities in South Africa and Brazil – less because of history and more because it’s nice to have that region of the world acknowledged as part of the game. It takes a long time for the Axis to penetrate that deeply into the Allied south/west, which means that if we’re playing for any reasonable number of turns, there won’t be enough time to build up forces, take those territories, profit from the extra IPCs, turn those IPCs into new units, and use those new units to seize a victory city. Unless we’re literally playing to concession, I probably have to ignore those regions of the map to focus on victory cities, which is less fun. The map is there to be played on; I don’t want to ignore any part of it! 🙂

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    @argothair said in [AA50] Map Overlays - Splitting Australia, DEI, and Sea Zones; adding Cairo, Singapore, and Malaya; Recruitment Centers and more!:

    • Oil was more important to everyone’s war effort than is really appreciated on the A&A maps…

    Yeah. I do think at the AA50 level some very simplified oil rules would be great for this. You could plunk down an ‘Oil Derrick’ or two on these TTs, and then go:

    During the “Collect Income” phase of your turn, each Oil Derrick you control grants you +1IPC.

    Prevents the factory exploit while still attracting the masses?

    • Along similar lines, Rumania needs to be worth more than just 2 IPCs for Germany. I would probably just make Poland worth $2 and Rumania worth $3…

    Same solution as above, although I agree that B/R makes good sense as a factory site. The recruitment center I added there is intended to cover that historical factor (as well as give some balance to just popping RCs everywhere for the Allies alone).

    I’ll also note here, since I’m not sure where else to note it, that my plan for all these new RCs is to make the rule that they can both recruit infantry ala AAZ and also that they additionally reduce the cost of building an IC in their territory by, say, ~7 IPC. Essentially, they can be ‘upgraded’ to ICs, even during a turn where they continue to recruit Infantry. This is intended to allow any of these territories to be platformed quickly if desired.

    • Ukraine and Eastern Ukraine… bump them to $3 and $2.

    Yep. I actually want to add a cute little Grain resource (with identical mechanics as the “Oil” rules above) to some of these TTs.

    • The Chinese map is still set up to allow the Japanese to quickly and reliably conquer all of China – there’s just not quite enough defensive depth…>

    What about something like

    “Every attack against a Chinese territory preemptively raises 1 free Chinese infantry there (prevents blitzes).”

    Or, different and perhaps even stronger:

    “During the ‘Assign Casualties’ step of every combat round occurring in a TT with a Chinese nationalist roundel, the Allied player may ignore one hit. (doesn’t prevent blitzes)”

    Finally, I’d love to see victory cities in South Africa and Brazil…

    Yeah, the lonely, boring south of the board. 😞 @Imperious-Leader wants me to include Antarctica… maybe he’s on to something…

    I mean there’s no reason at all why Rio isn’t a VC, at least, and why not Cape Town as well? There were something like a half-million people there in 1940. Adding them, though, and we really do need to do something about VC thresholds; that’s +4 starting VCs for the Allies including Singapore and Cairo. But that’s easy, and we’re powering up Italy by 40% already, so maybe it’s not wholly unreasonable for Germany to expect some more southern hemisphere results out of them. 😈

    EDIT: You know, as I think more on it, there is a big reason not to include Rio as a VC. Like literally a big reason - my A&A dice tray is huge, and South America is where I usually put it. 😁 Like Europe during a game of RISK - that’s where the snack bowl goes.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @vodot Sure, that all makes sense to me. There’s no in-game reason to separate the wheat and oil resources if they’re both just +1 IPC, unless you happen to have all the different resource tokens lying around and you’re looking for an excuse to play with your toys…not that there’s anything wrong with that. 🙂

    I favor the preemptive raising of 1 chinese infantry that stops blitzes – tanks have no business blitzing through the dirt trails over the forested mountains of central China in any case. And it helps to suggest the omnipresence of chinese irregulars and partisans and half-trained regiments that were constantly rising up to resist Japanese occupation. Possibly some rejiggering of the territory borders would still be useful in addition to the guerillas; I’ll chew on it.

    I think the answer to the VC issue is just to say that there’s a new threshold for Axis/Allies to win the game, and the number is not necessarily the same number. No reason you couldn’t require, e.g., 16 VP for Allied win and 12 VP for Axis win (or whatever the correct numbers turn out to be after you’ve chosen your victory cities).

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    @argothair RE: Wheat, well, I do happen to have the resource tokens lying around. 🙂 But rules-wise, totally - they would both want to just fall under a “Resources” heading with identical simple mechanics, like:

    Resources (optional rule)

    Securing special resources like oil, wheat, iron, and rubber was crucial to the war effort for every belligerent power. Territories where these special Resources were particularly abundant are marked on the map with a corresponding symbol or figure.

    During the “Collect Income” phase of your turn, each Resource you control grants you +1 additional IPC.

    Resources do not increase the number of units that can be mobilized in a particular territory, and they cannot be moved or destroyed by any power.

    RE: China, I’ll try the ‘guerillas/no blitz’ rule in my next solo game, along with the ‘Version 3’ map above.

    RE: VCs, I agree different thresholds is fine and totally historical.

    I may also try adding a Siberian territory and re-jiggering those IPC levels as well. Buryatia goes to 2 for Vladivostok and lend-lease, and maybe Far East stays at 1, but the rest could be zeroed out in favor of the Ukrainian resources discussed above, or a boost to Archangel for lend-lease?

    I love convoy rules, of course, but I think that’s too much for AA50.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @vodot Yeah, zeroing out Siberia is another one of those hard design choices that you have to make at this level of complexity. On the one hand, it’s cold and snowy and thinly populated and you want the map to reflect that in a way that’s clear to new wargamers. It’s no good having Yakutsk generate more income then, e.g., Yugoslavia.

    On the other hand, the Soviets did relocate most of their industry to the Urals as the war went on, and much of that industry was fueled by mines and workshops in Siberia. They didn’t put all their millions of prisoners in the gulag just to be cruel; they were also mostly doing work vital to the war effort, I believe.

    If you squint you can say that Moscow + Urals + Kazakhstan together cover the cities like Kuibyshev and Perm and Chelyabinsk where all that Ural manufacturing was taking place, but it seems to me that at least some of that industry was really in the Siberian part of the AA50 map. Perhaps more to the point, if the Axis conquer Moscow and Stalingrad then there is really nothing important left in the Soviet income, which is very ahistorical. In real life something like 40% of Soviet economy was in Moscow/Stalingrad and points west, but on the AA50 map it’s closer to 80%. Zeroing out Siberia would make that even worse.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    @argothair working on a Soviet reimagining now. What I really want to get to is a SZ redraw to put islands between, not within, SZs. All of this makes me wonder if you ever got much further on your middleweight map… * reads thread * OMG you released it and I missed it!

    I think that project is awesome and I want to steer clear of it’s much grander scope, but I will definitely leverage some of your SZs for an attempted AA50 redraw. Honestly, your Pacific and Indian Oceans look pretty germane to AA50 already.

  • Referenced by  vodot vodot 
  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    @argothair here’s a china update; this moves Chinghai to where it actually belongs (by splitting Ningxia in two), and then adds Xinjiang and Tibet in the West by splitting what was previously Chinghai. Net of +2 chinese TTs. Manchu-Xinjiang and FICT-Tibet distances (across-the-top and across-the-bottom) remain 3, but the FICT-Xinjiang diagonal is now 4, at least. The +2 TTs means an extra infantry for two turns or more, and gives a “corner” where Xinjiang is adjacent to both Novo and Kazakh + three last-ditch Chinese TTs.


  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @vodot Majestic. I think that’s the best anyone can do while retaining the spirit and overall contours of the AA50 map. 🙂

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    UPDATE: Added a version 4 full map with China, Rio, Cape Town, and Siberia changes. Also tweaked the Aleutians to visually justify giving them an IPC=1 to match the rest of the pacific.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    @vodot Gorgeous! I love the way the Aleutians bridge the two sea zones and have a land connection to Alaska. Really gives the Japanese a reason to play in the north Pacific – not only can you now realistically capture a total of 3 IPCs, but the Aleutian landing zone poses a danger that fighters built in Tokyo can land on carriers, while fighters taking off from carriers can land in the Aleutians – in other words, if America loses the Aleutians, they might also lose control of the San Diego sea zone. Chef’s kiss

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    UPDATE: added Overlays 16 & 17 to post #1

    • NW China changes
    • Add Rio and Cape Town as VCs

    I also redrew the Burma Road (#15) and added an improved overlay.

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    UPDATE: in the first post, I’ve now added some ‘before’, ‘after’, and in-process pics of printing and applying the overlays 🙂

  • Unbenannt.png

    I combined your map and the AA50 Academy Edition by Grasshopper to get this version of the game. Not tested yet, but already printed.

    The multiple options for IPC values just reflect the work in progress nature of the map. Ultimately I would like to have a setup and map that allows multiple strategies for each side with equal opportunity.

  • @vodot

    Nate, could I ask a huge favor - could you edit the Version 4 map file for me and remove all of the RCs? No other changes, I’d like to print it out but without those as a very nice vendor on Etsy (ummm… you!) made me a buttload of 3d printed pieces 🙂

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    @reloader-1 said in [AA50] Map Overlays - Splitting Australia, the Balkans, and Sea Zones; adding Cairo, Malaya, Singapore, Rio, Cape Town, Recruitment Centers and tons more!:


    Nate, could I ask a huge favor - could you edit the Version 4 map file for me and remove all of the RCs? No other changes, I’d like to print it out but without those as a very nice vendor on Etsy (ummm… you!) made me a buttload of 3d printed pieces 🙂

    Added Version 5 (no RCs or TSR) to the second post above. Thanks and enjoy!

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

    @vodot Can we begin on a 1942 map based on the Beamdog style or at a minimum the OOB map?

    You do know the greatest benefit to mankind will be not AA50, but the main title of the franchise 42.2

  • 2023 '22 '21 '18 Customizer

    @Imperious-Leader Yes, that would be a worthy successor project.

Suggested Topics

  • 3
  • 1
  • 1
  • 9
  • 35
  • 46
  • 5
  • 1
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures