# Low Luck explained (& advertised)

• What if I proposed a game to you: We both roll a die, if you are higher you win, if I roll higher I win, if we both roll the same we call it a draw. What? You don’t like it? Purely luck? - Yeah, I think the same…

The fact that luck is determining the outcome of games is something that I do not like in general. In my opinion a game outcome should be much more determined by the decisions the players take, by the strategy and tactics they apply then by a random factor. And while I admit that some random factor is needed in all games in order to bring variance, I think that the dice have too much impact in Axis and Allies games.

As you might have guessed by now, I am a big fan of the Low Luck variant of Axis and Allies. I have noted that many players do not like this variant, and I wonder why. So I want to take the opportunity to explain -and advertise!- this variant here. I will go through it in three sections, staring with explaining the Low Luck Principle, then the options the TrippleA engine holds for us, and in the end explaining some Implications to the game and my personal opinion. Feel free to comment, add or disagree with me!

Please not that all my examples relate to G40 OOB rules.

A. The Low Luck Principle

The Low Luck variant uses the expected result as basis for a combat outcome. It directly applies the expected number of hits from your units in the battle, instead of rolling for each unit. Dice are only rolled in case the expected result is not a full hit. By doing this, the expected result does not change, but the variance of the results is much more limited.

To determine the number of hits in a round of battle the total power of a combatant is determined by summing up the (offensive or defensive) strengthes of its units (e.g. for 2 tanks and 1 fighter attacking that would be 9 = 3 + 3 + 3). The statistical expectation is that you score one hit for every 6 total strength you have (e.g. in above example that would be 1.5). The Low Luck calculation consequently applies an automatic hit for every 6 points of total power. For the remaining power, that cannot be divided by 6, a dice is rolled to determine if a hit is scored (e.g. in above example that would be on dice with hit at 3).

Examples

• If you are attacking with 6 Infantry, you expect to score one hit. You are rolling 6 times (hit at 1), and the expectation is that one of the Infantry hits and the others miss. Low Luck will sum up your total strength to 6, and let you score one automatic hit.
• If you are defending with 2 fighters and 1 Infantry your defence power is 10 (4 + 4 + 2). You will score one automatic hit and roll one die (hit at 4 = 10 - 6) to determine if you score a second hit.

The Low Luck principle can be applied for all units that target the same set of enemy units. In my playgroup we are applying it whenever possible, e.g. also for offshore bombardment and strategic bombing raids. In TrippleA not all of this can be handeled, but I will explain now what options are there in our beloved game engine.

B. TrippleA Low Luck Options

There are several options to implement the Low Luck principle into your TrippleA game, all available at the start of the game through Map Options. I will give an overview on how trippleA behaves with these options (based on my experience / version - 2.5.22294)

• Low Luck

This option will generally apply the Low Luck principle to all of your sea and land combats. A little exception is the behaviour of submarine and offshore bombardment. Note that this option includes air battles prior to strategic bombing raids and AA defense of complexes, but not the raid damage.

Here some remarks how the engine handeles combats:

a) Submarines will always rolled seperately. This applies for all combats, no matter if destroyers or planes are involved. Nevertheless, if several submarines are present the Low Luck principle will be applied to them (e.g. two subs roll one dice at 4).
b) Planes will be rolled seperately from naval units if enemy submarines are present and no friendly destroyer present (since the planes cannot hit the subs in that case).
c) Offshore bombardment will always be rolled seperately, if several ships bombard the Low Luck principle will be applied to them (e.g. two cruisers score an automatic hit).
d) Air battles prior to strategic bombing raids will be treated with Low Luck, e.g. 4 bombers participating in an air battler will roll one dice at 4 to hit.

• Low Luck for AntiAircraft

This option will apply the Low Luck principle to all Anti Aircraft Guns. This means 1 AA hits at a 3, two AA score an automatic hit (provided that there are enough planes attacking). If not ticked AAA will each be rolled seprately with hits at 1.

• Low Luck for Bombing and Territory Damage

This option will apply the Low Luck principle for the damage done by strategic bombing raids, in particulary result in an average damage each time. This option will limit the damage done to a facility by a successfull raider to 5 or 6 damage for strategic bombers and 3 or 4 damage for tactical bombers
The engine will roll a dice for each bombing plane: 1-3 will result in the lower damage and 4-6 in the higher damage.

• Low Luck for Technology

This option will apply the Low Luck principle to your tech rolls. This means you have only one roll to determine if ou get a tech. It also means that you can spend 30 IPC to buy 6 tokens and get an automatic tech (Not sure what happens if you spend more - who does that anyways??). Rolls on the tech charts, to determine which tech you have developed is performed as normal.

• Battle Calculator

Just want to mention here that the trippleA battle calculator can calculate also Low Luck combat.

C. Implications to the Game
In this section I will give some remarks from my experience how the game changes with Low Luck. I actually think that the changes are not that big, given that the majority of the rules still apply. Nevertheless I have noted some behaviours with my own play that I would like to share.

a) Less need for overwhelming forces. Probably the biggest impact I notice is that with Low Luck you have less need to bring overwhelming forces. In normal dice games there is a high variance of results, and the only way to mitigate unpleasant results is to increase the numbers considerably above the number needed in average. This is not true in Low Luck games. At some point your odds will be at 100%, and adding more units will only impact the expected amounts of losses, not the result itself.
The reduced need of overwhelming forces applies for both offense and defense.

b) More predictable leftovers. In Low Luck games you can much more reliable calculate which forces will remain after the battle. This often leaves you in a position to additionaly understand if the remaining forces are enough to survive counter attacks, and integrate that into your decision whether or not to do an attack.

c) Calculated losses. When planning your Low Luck attack you are often able to guarantee that you are not losing any valuable units such as planes. If you are e.g. attacking 6 Infantries with 2 Infantries and enough planes you will not lose any of your planes, guaranteed.

d) Secure trade of territories. With Low Luck the trading of territories is reliable. If you e.g. attack a territory containing 1 enemy Infantry with 2 Infantries and a bomber you are guaranteed that you will conquer it, and you can reliably block enemies there next turn e.g. from blizzing through it, or stacking planes there.

D. Some Personal Opinion

Does Low Luck favour Allies or Axis?
Thats the usual question I get when discussion this option, and, honestly, I am not so sure here. Reviewing the above mentioned game implications I tend to say that Low Luck favours the allies more in the beginning, but this gets less and less during the game. This is, because in the beginning the axis has more potential to bring overwhelming forces (e.g. against china or russia) to level out the luck than the allies have. On the other hand, the allies are given better opportunity to hold precious spots (e.g. sea zones) with a marginal edge. Secure territory trading is something that is valuable for both, but also favours the allies I would say. Burma comes to my mind, which can be really game changing of you fail to trade as UK. Being able to more percisely predict the leftovers in a battle is clearly in favour of the axis. Overall, I tend to bid slightly less for Low Luck games than with usual dice.

So why do I like Low Luck?
Let me explain with an example: Let’s say I am Japan and have brought 10 tanks to attack India, which is guarded by 10 Infantry. With normal dice I have a chance of around 85%, with an average of 4 tanks left. That is a decent chance, but it does also imply that I will lose this battle every 6th time. Reflecting that, I think it is not fair. I have invested a lot in that situation, but the result of dices might still deny me my prize. Not only have I invested twice the amount of IPC than india, I have also build the tanks, moved them, and - most importently - I have played the game in a way that allows me to make this attack against an overwhelmed foe now. In being able to make this attack I have demonstrated a tactical skill that should now pay off. If the dice decided that I will lose all tanks in round one (which is possible) I will feel cheated.

Another example: Let’s say you are Japan and you have managed to outbuild my american fleet in the pacific. You have involved the allies in a lot of small battles that lead to the american fleet becoming smaller and smaller and now you have made a huge fleetpurchase in SZ6 and have a fleet there that is outnumbering mine Hawaii by far. Now I, realizing that I will lose the game, throw all my units into a desperate last assult against SZ6 that has merly 10% of success chance, and -guess what- I win and sink your fleet. Doesn’t that feel cheesy?

In my opinion this game is about strategy, about tactic and about using the rules and the map to your advantage. Dice can screw that all, even if you are the master tactican. And in the end, when being diced, I have also invested a lot of time into a game. I can stand losing because someone is better, but not because someone is luckier. I think dice should have less influence on results in this game. I think Low Luck makes the game a better game.

During my time here I have realized that many of you think otherwise. I would be interested to understand why you have such a different perception than I have, and what you like or dont like of the Low Luck concept. Feel free to express your toughts and feedback!

Thanks for reading this far and… Good Luck to you!

• I brought up something to this affect but not low luck. Yes most wont play low luck. That’s cool. Everybody has there choice.

I’m gonna go off topic just a bit here we’re I was looking at still rolling dice but if percentage is to low or to high I had a cut off chart so being diced was under some control.

Another guy I know uses low luck but the dice you roll for that not auto hit piece gives you some increase in a kill. But I’d have to relook at that if you interested in that. I may have this wrong

• P Panther moved this topic from Axis & Allies Global 1940 on

• @Myygames If you have read my article, Warfare Principles of Axis and Allies, you would know I do not like dice either. An important portion of that article was how to minimize the luck of the dice.

Personally, I like you, prefer less luck and more strategy in my gaming. I know that perspective is definitely in the minority. I have found most people like the dice because a) they like to roll the dice and find that fun, b) they want the variance in the game that high and low dice rolling provides or c) they don’t want a chess game where the better player almost always wins.

I understand your feelings about getting diced as most of the time when I lose dice are a big part of it. I unfortunately do have games where I make mistakes and lose, or the other player just outplays me and I lose however, the majority of my losses are dice related and that is frustrating which is why I try and teach how to minimize the dice as much as possible. And when you cannot avoid bad dice you just have to go “Oh well, the dice hate me as much as I hate them.”

If we ever play each other we will definitely have to play Low Luck.

In regards to how Low Luck effects Global 1940 I am not sure I agree with you.

Does Low Luck favour Allies or Axis?
That’s the usual question I get when discussion this option, and, honestly, I am not so sure here. Reviewing the above mentioned game implications I tend to say that Low Luck favours the allies more in the beginning, but this gets less and less during the game. This is, because in the beginning the axis has more potential to bring overwhelming forces (e.g. against china or russia) to level out the luck than the allies have. On the other hand, the allies are given better opportunity to hold precious spots (e.g. sea zones) with a marginal edge. Secure territory trading is something that is valuable for both, but also favours the allies I would say. Burma comes to my mind, which can be really game changing of you fail to trade as UK. Being able to more precisely predict the leftovers in a battle is clearly in favour of the axis. Overall, I tend to bid slightly less for Low Luck games than with usual dice.

In my opinion Low Luck favors the attacker. As the attacker I am always worried that a battle will roll poorly and I do not accomplish my goal of winning the attack. With Low Luck you can eliminate any chance of the defender winning based on unusual dice. This is especially important in game losing battles of attacking stacked capitals. A normal dice 80% battle is 100% in Low Luck which means I can take Capitals easier with less game losing worry.

You also can have “more” battles per round as I can split up my forces more as I do not need overwhelming forces to win each battle. For example, as you mentioned, I can make a two infantry +1 bomber attack and be assured of victory against a single infantry every time and I KNOW that I will have at least a single infantry left to take the territory. With normal dice there is a 3.4% chance I will fail to take the territory which necessitates bringing in a fighter to drop that down to just 1%. So instead of two battles of 2 infantry, fighter, bomber I can have three battles of 2 inf, bomber + 2 inf, bomber + 2 inf, 2 fighters with actually more certainty of success.

The only place, that I see, where Low Luck favors the defender is for strafe attacks. As the attacker moves forward I can hit him with exactly the right amount of force to kill all but one of his units and still not worry about taking the territory.

Since the Axis is the primary attacker in Global 1940 I would say Low Luck favors the Axis.

Again, I will always be happy to play Low Luck if my opponent is willing to play with it.

• @andrewaagamer 1942.2 online has that as an option…It bankrupts 1942. Russia can kill 4 German stacks on R1. It happened to me and everything was justified. Germany had a very hard time recovering from that! I was “lucky” in that the UK and USA player sucked and we won anyway. Biased dice are even worse BTW. Favors the defense way too much, unless axis buy tons of Artillery.

• Obviously everyone will have their own preferences, and that is fine.

But I quite like the dice. This is because I find that having to account for probabilities makes the game more interesting and more challenging. I think it contributes to the strategy of the game (with the proviso that now and then you do just get diced and that sucks) Secondly, that sometimes one loses battles that they would normally likely win means that one has to adjust their play to unexpected circumstances…

I don’t think I’d find the game that interesting if I knew in advance that every battle I had committed slightly more than my opponent to was going to be a victory, or avoided all defensive combats where I knew I would lose.

It would also seem to me that low luck games would massively favour the axis without a massive bid since the axis is the side that has the capacity to expand in the early game and would have more freedom to do so knowing that it could choose 100% battles at less cost.

Also, although I don’t want to get stuck on this as the game is only very loosely a historical one (and so its rules and components should be judged more by what they add to gameplay than to historical accuracy), but there are plenty of battles where the side that should have been able to easily win lost because of factors that were not able to be calculated in advance. Bad weather, idiot general, etc. Dice allow for that sort of situation.

• Obviously everyone will have their own preferences, and that is fine.

But I quite like the dice. This is because I find that having to account for probabilities makes the game more interesting and more challenging. I think it contributes to the strategy of the game (with the proviso that now and then you do just get diced and that sucks) Secondly, that sometimes one loses battles that they would normally likely win means that one has to adjust their play to unexpected circumstances…

I don’t think I’d find the game that interesting if I knew in advance that every battle I had committed slightly more than my opponent to was going to be a victory, or avoided all defensive combats where I knew I would lose.

It would also seem to me that low luck games would massively favour the axis without a massive bid since the axis is the side that has the capacity to expand in the early game and would have more freedom to do so knowing that it could choose 100% battles at less cost.

Also, although I don’t want to get stuck on this as the game is only very loosely a historical one (and so its rules and components should be judged more by what they add to gameplay than to historical accuracy), but there are plenty of battles where the side that should have been able to easily win lost because of factors that were not able to be calculated in advance. Bad weather, idiot general, etc. Dice allow for that sort of situation.

Yes bad dice = morale issues, supplies, leadership etcetc but I am looking at where if the dice go real bad it’s restricted but not the place to discuss since this is probably off topic

• But I quite like the dice. This is because I find that having to account for probabilities makes the game more interesting and more challenging. I think it contributes to the strategy of the game (with the proviso that now and then you do just get diced and that sucks) Secondly, that sometimes one loses battles that they would normally likely win means that one has to adjust their play to unexpected circumstances…

Yep, you fall into category B “b) they want the variance in the game that high and low dice rolling provides”

I definitely agree there is no “best” option for all of us play these games for different reasons and like different aspects of the play.

• @andrewaagamer I do like the variance, but I also think that sometimes people have an impression that dice make A&A less of a strategy game and I don’t think that is the case at all. How you think about strategy in a game that involves probabilities is going to be different than one when you are dealing with certainties, but that doesn’t make it less strategic.

@farmboy I think the dice make the tactic in that game have less impact. Your fate will not only be ruled by skill but also by a random factor. In that sense my opinion is that it becomes more tactical if played on low luck. But as you said, everyone can play the game he likes. And as my gamemate says: Playing with odds and being able to judge them correctly is also a great skill…

@AndrewAAGamer No, I did not know your strategy article by now, but I have taken the time to read it now. Pretty impressive summary, and it includes all the major aspects, congratulations for that work!

I understand your argument that LL favours the attacker. You are correct that using less forces provides also opportunity to do a second attack, which of course is good for the axis. Nevertheless I also see some advantages for the allies: Safe trading in Burma is huge, being able to purchase minimal fleet in order to hold 110, taranto… But well, maybe you are right and it does not outweight the axis advantages.

Also, as for a game: I am always willing to lose a game if it brings opportunity to learn! Just let me know when you are available to teach me ;-)

yea like when Woods pulled his Division outta Chickamauga lol

• Also, as for a game: I am always willing to lose a game if it brings opportunity to learn! Just let me know when you are available to teach me

I just finished a game and owe Karl7 a game so we will head into that game next. Once we are done with that game I will ping you again though there is a chance we run into each other in the 2022 OOB Playoffs. If I can overcome my disastrous start versus oysteilo to get out of the first round.

• One of the great things about this site of course is that it gives us plenty of opportunities to play the game how we prefer so nothing that follows is meant to begrudge your preference to play low luck.

But I don’t agree that the game becomes more tactical with low luck. I think you play exactly the same way except that with dice: 1) probabilities become a factor in game strategy to consider, 2) you lack certainty of the outcome of particular moves and so you also have to play to mitigate risk (as Andrew noted earlier) and 3) adapt your play to the sometimes unexpected outcomes provided by the dice. In most games, at least in the long run, these unexpected outcomes tend to hit both ways and so, to some extent, even out.

When you play with dice, they are almost always a factor that shape the outcome (even when dice feel fairly balanced there is variation across combats and some combats will be more significant than others), but its much rarer that they are the primary factor. Superior play can usually compensate (at least if one is playing to minimize risk), although of course there are exceptions. I know I’ve won a couple of games against superior opponents because of consistently great dice, but I don’t think I have ever lost a game where I can point to the dice as the key reason (even if I’m sometimes unhappy about the dice I roll).

@farmboy I think the dice make the tactic in that game have less impact. Your fate will not only be ruled by skill but also by a random factor. In that sense my opinion is that it becomes more tactical if played on low luck. But as you said, everyone can play the game he likes. And as my gamemate says: Playing with odds and being able to judge them correctly is also a great skill…

• You all know Axis and Allies is a gambling game as well as strategy game. Low Luck reduces the thing to a 2 dimensional affair. Low Luck is for “Bean Counters”, who can’t cope with dice swings and can’t adapt their strategy accordingly. Their dream is to have everything written down in a folder and follow whats written exactly in every game taking the fun out of AA…
It must remain only an option because the setup was created with normal dice in mind and you break the games for the most part.

• You all know Axis and Allies is a gambling game as well as strategy game. Low Luck reduces the thing to a 2 dimensional affair. Low Luck is for “Bean Counters”, who can’t cope with dice swings and can’t adapt their strategy accordingly. Their dream is to have everything written down in a folder and follow whats written exactly in every game taking the fun out of AA…
It must remain only an option because the setup was created with normal dice in mind and you break the games for the most part.

Calling LL players “Bean Counters” seems needlessly vilifying. I also fail to see the logic of the counter-arguments here. Philosophically what is the difference between a player using a probability tool to decide if they want to attack at 96% or 98% odds and one who decides if they want to use 100% or not? Feels like splitting hairs. My experience has also been that many games are decided by the sum of the smaller battles that happen where low luck and full luck produce similar outcomes. If your opponent is applying maximum pressure on you then you won’t have the luxury of making everything a sure outcome and still need to choose how much you want to gamble.

The “dream to have everything written down in a folder” dig sounds more like the probability meta players that like to reduce the game to 20+ round extravaganzas where everyone has a stack of 100+ units just waiting to see who blinks first. And again, if you’re using a calculator to tell you when your attack is favorable, how is that different from LL? In LL you haven’t invested 20+ rounds in a game just to have a 1% or 2% loss right at the finish line. Keep in mind when this game was out in the 90s we were doing LL calculations anyway in our heads to decide when to attack.

Any outcome in a LL game is also a possible outcome in a full luck game. So if the 4-stack attack R1 is not part of the Russian meta it must have a downside. I would assume that Russia possibly loses too many units on the German counter so it may not be worth doing. I haven’t been able to play enough LL games though to see this for sure. But if proper players are expected to roll with the punches in any and all circumstances and still somehow win, then this shouldn’t be an issue for the German player either way. Or if they are actually disadvantaged, maybe LL games need to revert back to the OOB setup. I’m leaning a bit towards LL favors the Axis but still haven’t played enough to have a more informed opinion on it. Russia benefits from guaranteed trades in the early game for sure, but so does Germany in the late game when they have to start doing trades against Allied landings in Europe.

• M Myygames referenced this topic on

• As this site eventually made me one of the stronger Global live players, I’d say that the idea that luck is decisive in Axis and Allies is overstated. Strong players won’t make attacks that require luck, they will just keep building up and manuevering. Luck very rarely decides a game–I’m not saying it has no role, but you need to choose a strategy that does not rely on a certain outcome during the opener, and continue to pursue a strategy all game that does not require you to fight a 50/50 battle.

As an example, in an 8 turn game, it is more or less impossible to allow berlin, rome, tokyo, or london to fall. It happens all the time, and i’ve won that way in 4 of the last 9 games. But, as I read it, it is simply an error to lose those capitals because there is pretty much no way in my simulation you can buy and place correctly and still lose them.

Players make mistakes all the time, in this case, if your opponent doesnt make a mistake with the Axis, the Allies will simply lose.

• They are bean counters. No doubt about it. They want exact results with no luck. All life is luck and games are simulations of life.

I don’t vilify anything. Its accurate reporting of facts and theirs nothing glamorous of low luck. To me its only value is for play testing of games, not actual games.

Bean counters are also mostly Rule Lawyers. They argue rules all day if possible.

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