Saburo Sakai's AAPacific Essays - #5 What's the Difference?



  • “no one starts a war-or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so-without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”

    Karl von Clausewitz


    One of the challenging things about playing Axis and Allies generally is the relatively complex rule systems when compared to other board games.  While A&A is much simpler to learn and play than many classic hex-based war games such as Third Reich, Squad Leader or Gettysburg, it is much more complicated then a typical board game.  Learning the rules of A&A is made more difficult by the numerous versions of A&A and various sets of house rules that contain subtle yet important rule differences.

    This essay will attempt to list all of the rule differences between AAPacific and AARevised.  I chose AARevised because I expect that this is the version of A&A with which players will be most familiar.

    Differences between AARevised and AAPacific Rules

    -  AARevised is played by 2 to 5 players involving five nations, Russia, Germany, UK, Japan and the US.  AAPacific is played by 2 to 3 players involving 5 nations on three sides, Japan, UK (India and Australia) and the US (China and US).

    -  In AARevised, IPCs are allocated at game start as follows:

        Russia - 24
        Germany - 40
        UK - 30
        Japan - 30
        US - 42

        In AAPacific, IPCs are allocated at game start as follows:

        Japan - 19
        India - 15
        Australia - 20
        US - 75

    -  In addition to the IPCs available at the start of the game, the UK player receives 12 IPCs for British convoy zones (sz15, 49 and 52) to be distributed between India and Australia.

    Victory Conditions

    -  In AARevised, victory is determined by the number of Victory Cities held by each side at the end of the US turn or the number of your opponents capitals that you have captured.  In AAPacific, victory for Japan occurs when Japan holds its own capital and one of India, New South Wales or USA until the start of its next turn OR Japan accumulates 22 Victory Points (VPs) at any time during the game.  Victory for the Allies occurs when one of the Allied powers captures and holds Japan until the start of the next turn while still controlling its own capital(s) OR by preventing Japan from collecting at least 1 VP on any of its turns.

    Order of Play

    -  In AARevised, the Order of Play is Russia, Germany, UK, Japan, US.  In AAPacific, the Order of Play is Japan, UK, US.  Australia and India purchase and place their units separately but otherwise conduct their turn together.  The US and China purchase and place their units separately but otherwise conduct their turn together.

    Turn Sequence

    -  In AARevised, the Turn sequence contains 7 phases:

    1. Develop weapons
    2. Purchase units
    3. Combat move
    4. Conduct combat
    5. Noncombat move
    6. Mobilize new units
    7. Collect income

    -  In AAPacific, the Turn sequence contains 9 phases:

    1. Purchase Combat Units
    2. Land Fighters on Combat Air Patrol
    3. Combat Movement
    4. Resolve Combat
    5. Place/Remove National Control Markers and Adjust the National Production Chart
    6. Non-Combat Movement
    7. Place New Units
    8. Submerged Submarines Resurface Damaged Battleships Uprighted
    9. Collect Income

    Weapons Development

    • In AARevised, players have the opportunity to spend IPCs to develop weapons.  In AAPacific, weapons development or “Technology” is not an available option.

    Purchase Combat Units

    -  In AARevised, units are purchased by using IPCs available at the start of a players turn.  In AAPacific this is true for all nations except China.  China receives 1 infantry unit for every territory with an IPC value that it controls at the start of the US turn.  It receives 1 further infantry if it or its allies control the four territories that comprise the Burma road (India, Burma, Yunnan, Szechwan).  The maximum that China can receive on any one turn in the game is 8 infantry units (Sikang, Szechwan, Siam, FIC, Manchuria, Korea, Shantung, Burma Road).  Unlike other nations, China does not need to control the corresponding convoy route to obtain an infantry unit for FIC, Korea or Shantung).

    -  In AARevised, any nation with sufficient IPCs can purchase an Industrial complex to be placed at the end of its turn.  In AAPacific, only the United States may purchase Industrial Complexes.  These US ICs can only be placed in Blue or Brown territories controlled by the US at the start of the US turn.  The only possible locations for a purchased US IC are Philippines, Siam, FIC, Bonin Is. and Ryukyo Is.

    -  In AAPacific, only the US can purchase Marines.  In AARevised, there is no Marine unit.

    Combat Movement

    -  Combat movement in AARevised and AAPacific is essentially identical.  The only differences arise when dealing with submarine movement which is different for the two games and the effects of air bases which are only present in AAPacific.

    Resolve Combat

    -  Resolve Combat is essentially the same in AARevised and AAPacific with the following exceptions:

       1. In AARevised, defensive AA guns roll 1 die against each plane and if a “1” is rolled that plane is shot down.  In AAPacific, defensive AA guns roll 1 die for each attacking plane and get a hit for each “1” rolled.  Casualties are then chosen by the owner of the planes.

       2. In AAPacific, for Japan’s first turn only, all Allied units, except those located on Chinese territories, defend on a “1”.  There is no similar rule in AARevised.

       3.  In AARevised, both defending and attacking submarines get a “first strike” in any round of combat in which the opposing side does not have a Destroyer present.  In AAPacific, only attacking submarines get a “first strike” in any round of combat in which the opposing side does not have a Destroyer present.

       4.  In AARevised, amphibious assaults can be preceeded by a Battleship support shot and any unit that is hit by the Battleship cannot fire back.  Destroyers can only provide a support shot if the attacking player has acquired the combined bombardment weapon development.  In AAPacific, amphibious assaults can be preceeded by a support shot from any Battleships and Destroyers but any units hit by the support shot get to fire back in the defensive fire stage.  Destroyers provide a support shot on a “2” rather than their regular attack value of a “3”.

       5.  In AARevised, armor defends on a “3”.  In AAPacific, armor defends on a “2”.

       6.  In AARevised, the naval units of an attacking player’s Ally cannot be taken as casualties even though they are present in a sea zone under attack by the attacking player.  In AAPacific, naval units of an attacking player’s Ally can be taken as casualties for a battle in a sea zone in which they are present but do not otherwise participate in the battle.

       7.  In AARevised, Strategic Bombing Raids (SBRs) can be conducted by bombers against enemy controlled Industrial complexes (ICs) and can cause the defending player to lose IPCs equal to not more than the IPC value of the territory attacked.  SBRs are defended with AA guns (that hit on a “1”).  In AAPacific, SBRs can conducted by bombers, with escorting fighters, against enemy controlled ICs and can cause the defending player to lose IPCS equal to the sum total of the dice rolled for each attacking bomber regardless of the IPC value of the territory attack.  SBRs are defended with AA guns (that hit on a “1”) and defending fighters (that hit on a “2”).  Japan will lose 1 VP for every 10 IPCs lost in an SBR.  Szechwan cannot be attacked by an SBR when it is controlled by China but can be attacked by an SBR if it is controlled by Japan.

       8.  In AAPacific, Japan can use a Kamikaze attack on any Allied naval unit (other than submarines) which ends its combat movement in sz23, 24, 25, 35, 36 or 37 (the “Kamikaze Zones”) or against any Allied naval unit (other than submarines) that is located iin any of the Kamikaze Zones during any Japanes combat movement phase.  Japan has a total of 6 kamikaze attacks that can be used during the game but once used, they cannot be replenished.

    Place/Remove National Control Markers (NCMs)

    -  This step is essentially the same in both AARevised and AAPacific with the following exceptions:

      Convoy Routes and Convoy Centers

    -  In AARevised, NCMs are not placed in sea zones and no nation “controls” sea zones.  In AAPacific, convoy routes and convoy centers can be controlled by one side or the other.  The rules are as follows:

    The ownership of the Convoys/Centers is checked at the end of EACH nations combat phase.

    1. If the convoy is empty or contains only submerged subs or transports, the ownership does not change.
    2. If only one nation has ships (neither submerged subs or transports count) present, that nation controls the zone.
    3. If opposing nations have ships (neither submerged subs or transports count) present the ownership does not change.

    -  In AAPacific, to receive IPCs for a territory one nation must control both the territory and the related convoy route at the end of the conduct combat phase.  If the territory and related convoy route are controlled by different nations, neither gets the IPCs for that territory.

    -  If Japan takes control of a US or UK convoy center, the corresponding nation’s IPC production is reduced.  Japan’s IPC production is not increased by the value of the convoy center.

    -  In AAPacific, Australia’s IPC Production can never exceed 20.  All territories captured by UK from Japan are added to India’s IPC Production total.

    Non Combat Movement

    -  Non-Combat Movement in AARevised and AAPacific is essentially the same, with the following exceptions:

       1.  In AAPacific, if a naval unit is moving from a sea zone that contains a port controlled by the moving player to another sea zone with a port controlled by the moving player, the naval unit’s movement point allowance is increased from 2 to 3.

       2.  In AAPacific, if an air unit is taking off from or landing in a territory that contains an air base, it does not need to expend a movement point to cross the boundary between the sea zone and the territory containing the air base.  This free movement also applies to air units taking off from territories with an air base during combat movement.

       3.  In AAPacific, fighters located in a territory adjacent to or surrounded by a sea zone that have not otherwise moved during combat movement or non-combat movement may be launched into the adjacent or surrounding sea zone as Combat Air Patrol (CAP), provided that sea zone does not contain any hostile naval units (other than submerged submarines).  Fighters on CAP defend against any attack in their sea zone and prevent hostile naval units (other than submarines) from travelling through the sea zone.  CAP fighters do not prevent hostile air units from passing through the sea zone on their way to another battle.  CAP fighters land during Phase 2 of your next turn on any friendly Aircraft Carrier in the same sea zone or on any territory within or adjacent to the CAP sea zone.  The CAP fighters do not have to land in the same territory from which they were launched if another territory is adjacent to or within the CAP sea zone.

    Place New Units

    • In AARevised, you may place units in a territory with an IC provided you controlled that IC at the start of your turn and provided you place no more units in that territory and any adjacent sea zone than the IPC value of the territory.  In AAPacific, you may place units in a territory with an IC provided you controlled that IC at the start of your turn.  If the IC is one you controlled at the start of the game, you may place an unlimited number of units in the terrirtory and any adjacent or surrounding sea zone.  If the IC is one that you captured or built during the game, you may place only that number of units that is equal to the IPC value of the territory.

    Combat Units

    The following are differences in the characteristics of specific combat units:

    AA guns

    • In AARevised, AA guns may only move during Non-combat movement.  In AAPacific, AA Guns may move during Non-combat movement and may load on a Transport during Combat movement provided the attacking player is conducting an amphibious assault.  The AA gun does not participate in the amphibious assault but can be landed during NCM in the territory being attacked if the amphibious assault is successful.

    • In AARevised, AA guns fire at each attacking air unit individually and hits on such air units are determined individually.  In AAPacific, the owner of the attacking planes chooses his casualties after all defending AA gun shots are rolled.

    Industrial Complex

    • In AAPacific, only the US may build Industrial complexes during the game.

    US Marines

    • There is no comparable unit in AARevised.  In AAPacific, US Marines can be purchased by the US only, at a cost of 4 IPCs.  The US Marine attacks and moves just like normal infantry except when conducting an amphibious assault in which case it attacks on a “2”.  If the US Marine is matched with an attacking artillery unit during an amphibious assault, the Marine unit attacks on a “3”.

    Tanks

    • In AARevised, Tanks defend on a “3”.  In AAPacific, Tanks defend on a “2”.

    Transports

    • In AARevised, Allied units can be loaded onto transports owned by their Allies.  In AAPacific, Allied units can be loaded onto transports owned by their Allies with the exception that Chinese units can never be loaded on a transport.

    • In AARevised, transports may carry 1 infantry and one other unit (infantry, tank, artillery, AA gun).  In AAPacific, transports may carry 1 tank or any 2 other units (infantry, artillery, AA gun).

    Aircraft Carriers

    • In AARevised, ACs cost 16 IPCs.  In AAPacific, ACs cost 18 IPCs.

    Destroyers

    • In AARevised, destroyers may not be used as transports except by Japan when it has the “Tokyo Express” National Advantage.  In AAPacific, Japanese (but not other nation’s) Destroyers can transport 1 infantry unit.

    • In AARevised, Destroyers may fire a support shot (hitting on a “3”) during an amphibious assault only if the attacking player has the “Combined Bombardment” weapon development.  In AAPacific, Destroyers may fire a support shot (hitting on a “2”) during an amphibious assault provided they have not transported an infantry during the same turn.

    • In AARevised, a destroyer prevents a hostile submarine in the same sea zone from submerging during combat and prevents a submarine from passing through a sea zone that it occupies.  In AAPacific, a destroyer does not prevent a sub from submerging during combat but is necessary to allow air units to attack a hostile submarine.

    Submarines

    -  In AARevised, both attacking and defending subs have a “first strike” capability.  In AAPacific, only attacking subs have a “first strike” capability.

    -  In AARevised, submarines can be attacked by air units alone.  In AAPacific, submarines can only be attacked by air units if they are in the same sea zone as a destroyer owned by the attacking player or the attacking player’s ally.

    -  In AARevised, a submarine cannot submerge if a hostile destroyer is present in the same sea zone.  In AAPacific, an attacking submarine can submerge BEFORE rolling in any round of combat, including the first round of combat (called a “substall”).  In AAPacific, a defending submarine can submerge BEFORE rolling its defensive roll in any round of combat.  Before submerging, a defending submarine must survive one round of attacking rolls from the attacker.

    -  In AARevised, a submarine can move through a hostile sea zone during combat movement provided there is no enemy destroyer present in that sea zone.  In AAPacific, a submarine cannot move through any sea zone that contains enemy naval units.

    Fighters

    -  In AARevised, fighters cost 10 IPCs.  In AAPacific, fighters cost 12 IPCs.

    -  In AAPacific, fighters in a territory that is subject to an SBR may defend against the SBR and in such battles defend on a “2”.  Fighters may also be sent to “escort” bombers on an SBR and in such cases will shoot down defending enemy fighters on a “1”.  In AARevised, fighters may not participate in an SBR in any way.

    National Advantages

    -  In AARevised, a number of optional rules, called National Advantages, are available for use by each of the players.  In AAPacific, there are no similar National Advantage rules.

    I have attempted to be as comprehensive as possible with this rule comparison.  It is certainly possible that I have missed something in my summary.  If any reader comes across any additional differences, please feel free to post this information or send me an email and I will make the appropriate edits to this essay.

    Saburo Sakai


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I think this should be posted as some kind of information log for a quick understanding of the rules. Very good! Keep up the good work!



  • I have posted these essays to three message boards (Wargamer’s Club, A&A.org and Flames of Europe) and they can be used in whatever manner the owners of those boards choose provided that they are properly accredited and any alterations are properly noted.  I look at them as “scholarly” essays that are now in the public domain.  So, by all means, whatever is of use in the essays can be used as a resource in whatever manner is thought appropriate.

    Thanks for the feedback on the essay.  I intend to write several more before I’m finished.

    SS


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