• Two friends and I are going to be playing a game of Axis and Allies this weekend and I want to try to make a balanced and fun game. However, they are relatively new to the game and don’t quite understand all the concepts yet.

    Ive already decided to let them be the Axis for a few reasons …

    1. They tend to take a long time during purchase units phase and combat move phases; if they only control two powers the game will be shorter
    2. I wanted them on the same team so that I wouldnt be compelled to point out mistakes they were making; I want them to learn from their mistakes and to discuss strategies together

    Anyways, they wont stand a chance unless they get a few advantages. I was thinking about a stipend, an initial bid, or giving them some NA’s.

    What do you guys think?

    And one final question about the NA’s … the Gustav Line NA for Germany says all German artillery defending in Grey territory defend on a 3… is Karelia considered “Grey” or “German” if it is controlled by Germany or is this NA limited to only the territories that German initially begins with.

    Thanks !

  • 2007 AAR League

    Grey territory are grey on the map. (initial german territory).

    Give them some Na´s give them a 10 IPC bid if theyre really new.

    And tell them when they leave their Capitals undefended and you can take them (before their turn is up).

    That way they atleast don´t die from, just missing to count steps etc.


  • 1.  I wouldn’t give out NAs.  A player that starts using NAs will want to use NAs later, and NAs can be very imbalancing.  For your question, only GRAY territories are gray.  Karelia isn’t gray.  It’s red.  Even if you control Karelia with German units, the territory itself is still colored red on the board; you just have a German control marker on the territory.

    2.  I wouldn’t give out IPCs.  IPCs are good for experienced players, but inexperienced players buy the wrong things, or waffle on the buy phase, making the game longer.  Just give 'em Germany six more infantry on Berlin, and Japan two more fighters on Tokyo.  It’s hard to go wrong with those units.

    3.  If you really want to kick yourself in the nuts, give Germany Rockets tech, and give Japan Long Range Aircraft tech, and/or double up on the number of units I recommended.

    4.  If they want to play Allies, let them.  But in that case, give the US an extra destroyer at Washington, UK a fighter and three infantry on London, and Moscow four infantry on Moscow.  Or double up if you like pain.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    I would not use NA’s. If your guys are new that is more rules to keep track of instead of learning strategy.

    I like making them Axis. Also don’t give 'em a bid in the traditional sense but give them the option between like 2 INF and an RTL in UKR or 1 INF, 1 RTL in UKR and one to Japan or 3 INF in Libya and 1 to Japan.

    As you play don’t help them specifically but keep asking, “Does that get you to Moscow?” Try to keep 'em working toward a common goal. Keep asking what’s the plan and reminding them if they are unsure what to buy it is tough to go wrong with Infantry.

    Just my $0.02.


  • Yeah these are some good ideas.

    We’ve played before, and what Ive done to teach them how units attack/defend/move/buy/ect is set up the board except remove all Japanese and American forces… so its basically Germany bs USSR and UK. However, they really wanted to play the entire game so now we are starting.

    Im trying to teach them some basic “rules” of the game… the one thing I can never stress enough is to “protect” protect expensive units.
    “Dont leave your transport there because I have fighters that can reach there.”
    “Dont land your bomber on the front lines!!!”
    “Dont leave tanks sitting in a territory without fodder”
    and so on…

    It will be an interesting game.


  • I had a similar experience the other week.  A friend of mine threw a D-Day party where we go to his place and watch “Band of Brothers” all in one day and I asked if it was OK if I brought over AAR.  8-)

    He was Axis.  Before we played, I took some time to explain the game board and some important things for each nation and showed some key territories and explained why they were important.  I also gave him a run-down on the units and how they are used.  I also gave him several operations for each nation (ex: Torch, Sea Lion, Son of Pearl Harbor) and gave him a few pros and cons for each.  Here is what I remember:

    Russia: I was very conservative.  Bought infantry.  Only attacked W. Russia and pulling back everywhere else.  Consolidated in Yakut.  I wanted to see what he would do.

    Germany:  He was very aggressive, he bought 8 tanks.  Moved into Karelia.  He ignored his Med Fleet, Africa, & UK Transport in SZ1.  Had his sub attack SZ2 and lose.

    UK: Bought a few trans and some ground equipment.  Moved E. Canada Tank, 2 England Inf, and 1 England Tank to Norway for amphib with Battleship and Air support for easy victory.  Had Montgomery attack Libya and win.  Attacked SZ14 with Bomber and Med Fleet for another win.  Sunk Jap sub in SZ45.  Moved Indian Ocean Fleet into the Med.  Marched stuff towards India.

    Japan:  Can’t remember what he bought.  He went into Buryatia.  Left Pearl Harbor alone.  I think he consolidated his Fleets near Japan.  He didn’t do much with them.

    US:  Bought Transports and troops.  Succeeded with Torch, Germans are out of Africa for good.  Reinforced China.  Flew planes to England.  Consolidated US Pacific Fleet at Pearl.

    Russia:  More Infantry.  Started building huge stacks of Inf on W. Russia and Caucasus.

    Germany:  Bought Infantry.  Reinforced his positions on the Eastern front and France.  Move Baltic Fleet to SZ7.

    UK:  More Transports and ground troops.  Attacked SZ7 with air support and won, Germany has no Navy.

    Japan:  Again, don’t remember what he bought.  I think he attacked Yakut with a light force and lost.

    US:  more Transports and troops.  Reinforced Algeria.  Started a mini-Cartwheel and attacked New Guinea with 1 carrier, 2 planes, 1 battleship, 1 Sub, 1 transport, 1 infantry, and 1 tank and won.

    Russia: more infantry.  MASSIVE stacks on W. Russia and Caucasus.

    Germany:  At this point he knew he would lose and conceded the game, but only after throwing everything he could muster at Caucasus.  He was outnumbered almost 3 to 1 and lost.

    Overall, he said he enjoyed the game and would want to give it another try.  I did not say or point out anything to him while playing besides saying “Are you SURE you’re done?..… OK.”  It was clear that it was hard for him to judge the odds of a particular combat in his head.  Once he ran out of easy battles I think he was not quite sure what to do and just decided to attack to see what would happen.  Also, he did not see some opportunities and did not know why Africa is worth fighting for.  He also had some logistical problems and apparently not a clue what to do with Japan.  Then again, I think he just wanted the game to be over.

    Now, from that experience, the advice I would give to you is:
    First, give them a way to do a rough calculation of a battle outcome in their head or on paper.  Tell them to bring a calculator.
    Second, advise them that if they think they can easily take out transports without heavy losses that they should.
    Third, advise them that if they are not quite sure what to buy that they should make sure they are putting down the maximum number of units that they can for that nation.


  • Logistics are always a big problem when my my newbie friends play.

    As far as calculators go, I think it takes away from the spirit of the game. I know everything is just statistics and you should have some general hueristics to decide whether its a good attack or not, but I dont like the idea of having an actual calculator on hand.


  • Give them an easy formula for testing battles.  The simplest (and fairly accurate most of the time) is:

    Total Punch + Total Units for each side, with the higher number having hte advantage.

    That gives them some mechanics to help them ESTABLISH strategy.  They need to be able to know HOW to work out a strat in order to work one out, so give them a simple tool to do so.

    If they play the Axis, then give them the 3 most common Axis overall strats and a brief rundown of the BASIC concept of each:
    KGF:  Go after Germany with the large majority of forces, minimal effort against Japan.
    SJF:  Use available forces and future “threat” to slow Japan’s growth while building and mobilizing for an all out Germany onslaught.
    KJF:  Contain Germany and slow its growth while going whole hog after Japan.

    To further balance things out for noobs against a strong player:
    Add the following units:
    1 DST SZ59
    1 SUB SZ14
    1 INF each Libya, Ukraine, Belo

    That should make enough of a dent in “traditional” Allied openning that it forces YOU out of your own pre-set plans and helps offset your superior knowledge by making your “normal” openning not quite so effective.  Thus you add more units to the other player(s) AND you deliberately invalidate some of your pre-existing knowledge of certain key early battles.


  • 5.  Generally, I try to avoid complicated instructions, or even any instructions at all, when showing new players the game.  It’s too confusing, and players feel like they HAVE to do certain things, and then they feel that they aren’t doing those things they have to do effectively, then they feel like maybe you’re not telling them what they need to know no matter how much you’re saying, then they feel overrun by all the stuff you’re telling them.  That’s why I just give them a fat chunk of infantry.  Let that infantry absorb the brunt of their mistakes.  In the meantime, just answer the questions they ask, but keep it as short as you can so they’re not overwhelmed.

    6.  Sometimes, a player will take that big fat chunk of infantry and ram it right down your throat.  That’s okay.  People like winning.  How better to lure them in introduce them to the game?

    7.  Giving your opponent a few ends and odds of units isn’t going to make a big impact on the game.  I can give a Russian player four infantry, and he can go and buy a bomber and a sub on R1.  Just give 'em a god-awful chunk of infantry, I say.

    8.  Don’t be afraid to CALL THE GAME.  A sixteen hour game doesn’t necessarily appeal.

    Intro games are a lot like sex, it isn’t about winning or losing, it’s about having a good time.

    Of course, that usually means letting the other player win, which contradicts what I just said.

    But you can look at it like having a one night stand, or an extended relationship.  Even if the extended relationship is just a series of one night stands, it’s still more fun than just a single one night stand.  Now, if there were infinite horny monkeys out there, you could have infinite one night stands.  But there aren’t that many horny monkeys, so you have to show the monkeys a good time if you want them to play with you.

    Likewise, there aren’t all that many players that can sit down for a long period of time and play a board game.

    (snif) it’s so beautiful, all about love and trust and Meaningful Relationships . . . I think that’s why I really play A&A.

    .
    .
    .

    Lol, not rly, it’s about seeing them cry.  CRY, I SAY!  Man, I don’t care if I put someone off the game, so long as I can get sweet, sweet victory.  I say, the less scrubs out there, the better.  That way I won’t waste my time!

    Ah, sweet crack pipe.  How I love thee.


  • @mjkusn01:

    Logistics are always a big problem when my my newbie friends play.

    As far as calculators go, I think it takes away from the spirit of the game. I know everything is just statistics and you should have some general hueristics to decide whether its a good attack or not, but I dont like the idea of having an actual calculator on hand.

    Well, some people can do the quick math in their head, figure out the Punch, etc., but others cannot.  Everyone does the math, it’s just a question of where.  Some do it in their head, others on paper….the calculator speeds this process up for some.  It allows them to focus on the game better and perhaps have more fun.


  • I just cant imagine Rommel with a calculator at his command center trying to figure out whether or not risking a bomber in Egypt is worth the 20% better chance of victory… plus a calculator slows down the nature of the game.

    This brings up another topic … turn length… how long do you typically give your opponent to move? Are there tournament rules for this? For my friends who are just learning to play, I give them as much time as they need. However, when I play more seasoned players I start to hackle them (or they start to hackle me) if too much time to taken.

    Quick calculations are ok … “im sending in 10inf and 4 tanks against his 8 inf… thats 10+12 punch against 16 punch … i should win!”

    But using a program to dictate your moves is lame in my opinion (im not trying to offend anyone).

    Sometimes, (for big battles only) we will write down the opposing forces… then (AFTER THE GAME) we might go online and see what should have happened and compared it to what actually happened…

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Giving them anything is going to make it harder for them to learn the game.  The least damaging is to give them actual start units, as was mentioned before.

    However, I’d just double the starting units on Tokyo and Berlin.

    (+3 Infantry, 2 Armor, Fighter for Germany; +4 Infantry, Artillery, Armor, Fighter for Japan)

    Notice I did not double their bomber fleets.

    Or, if you want, determine what the average bid is, (7 I believe) and give them twice that in extra units.  14 IPC.  That would be +3 Infantry +1 Armor.  And let them know these are extra units and not part of the normal rules, so they don’t expect it next game.

    Anyway, the best method would be to give them nothing.  Take the allies, but don’t use a normal strategy.  Try KJF.  Or maybe try to set up a shuck-shuck to Caucasus instead of Norway.  These ways don’t give them weird advantages to expect later, but definitely cripple a veteran’s game style lowering his or her proficiency to something closer to a rookies.

  • 2007 AAR League

    I have yet to see the so called “SJF” work


  • You may want to check out a few of my Allied wins.  That is a common element of nearly all of them.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Same here.  I don’t do so well with the KGF unless I have succeeded in SJF.  Same with games I lose.  Almost every game I have lost from 1/1/2007 to 4/1/2007 (havnt lost any games since) was because Japan was hounded leaving Germany solo against England and Russia.


  • @mjkusn01:

    I just cant imagine Rommel with a calculator at his command center trying to figure out whether or not risking a bomber in Egypt is worth the 20% better chance of victory… plus a calculator slows down the nature of the game.

    Quick calculations are ok … “im sending in 10inf and 4 tanks against his 8 inf… thats 10+12 punch against 16 punch … i should win!”

    But using a program to dictate your moves is lame in my opinion (im not trying to offend anyone).

    Rommel had intelligence information at his disposal.  You better believe he was doing calculations, of a kind, when making battle plans.  And if he had a battle simulator, he would have used it.  😄

    I was not referring to a battle simulator, but a calculator to help with making quick addition and subtraction.  I usually use paper myself. (I keep a notepad in the game box.  Which I also use to keep track of IPC’s, much faster than the play money and the markers.)  I don’t see a slow down in the game when I use it.  It can also speed up purchasing, too.  You have to remember, there are lots of people out there that are not good at math.


  • I guess different strokes for different folks !

    And with regards to Rommel … I think his calculator must have been broken because he made some crazy attacks (and won most of them too !)

    Where do you guys play AAR online?



  • I normaly use a simple Attack VS defence strength for the more small battles and factor in unitcount for the huge battles.
    Last game it did not deviate that much from those numbers and everybody can count units and add numbers ( especialy below 100 ) without much efford.

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