• Hi all,

    I have tried really hard to understand a few basic concepts regarding BOTB but to no avail. So if someone could clarify the following queries for me, I’d really appreciate it!

    1. Does the defender get to fire back? If the axis attacks a hexagon does the allied player fire back, making his roll with all of his units (including those that get destroyed and have retreated)? Something similar to regular versions of Axis and Allies, or does passing initiative solve this problem? For example the axis player attacks a hexagons, takes it over, and then on the same turn, the allied player will attack back on his initiative phase with surrounding units that same hexagon that the axis play just took over.

    2. After the first dice roll, what happens to the units that aren’t hit, and that remain in the hexagon, do they get to fire back? So in the example in the instruction manual, what happens to the infantryman who remains in the hexagon, who the axis player did not hit? Does this mean that the axis player cannot take this hexagon on that turn?

    I hope these two queries make sense, compared to Europe, Pacific and A&A revised, these rules are mighty complicated.

  • Official Q&A

    Welcome, General!

    In order to understand this game, the first thing you need to do is forget everything you know about Axis & Allies games.  Don’t bring any concepts from other A&A games into this one, as they generally don’t apply, and doing so will cause you to see things in the rules that just aren’t there.  It’s best to just treat this game as you would any other new, unfamiliar game in order to understand it.  I’ll outline a couple of key concepts that apply to your questions.

    First, the defender doesn’t fire back in combat.  When it’s your turn to attack, you’re the only one rolling and inflicting casualties.  This is what makes initiative so important.  It’s a very strategic decision figuring out where to hit your opponent first in order to maximize your offensive potential while minimizing his or hers.  The player with initiative attacks from one hex, then the other player attacks from one hex, and so on until all desired attacks have been made on both sides.

    Second, units don’t move during the Ground Combat phase, except when retreating.  After clearing a hex, your units don’t move into it until the Movement & Reinforcement phase.  This keeps you from having all kinds of problems concerning zones of control during the Ground Combat phase.  It also gives the Axis an advantage, as they always move before the Allies.  This makes it much harder for the Allies to recapture lost territory than it is for the Axis to gain territory.

    I hope this answers your questions.  Unfortunately, the rules for this game aren’t as clearly written as they could be, but it’s an excellent game once you grasp it.  It’s actually my favorite A&A game.  More information can be found in the FAQ, as well as reading through the older posts here and on the Avalon Hill forums.  Please feel free to ask more questions as the need arises!


  • Thanks Krieghund, your best, the game makes alot more sense now 🙂

    I do have one last clarification though. Lets say the German player attacks an adjacent hex with 2 allied infantry in it, the axis player destroys one infantry, and does not hit the second allied infantry man. The allied infantry man remains in the hex, and the initiative is passed to the allied player, who decides to attack somewhere else on the board. When the initiative passes back to the axis player, can he attack that same hex with the one remaining allied infantryman in it? And then and only then when he clears the hex of all enemy units, can he move into it in the movement phase?

    Thats the last real problem I have, once I solve that, I can get a game going, and hopefully playing the game will get rid of the muddle in my head which the instructions have produced.

  • Official Q&A

    Each hex may be activated to attack only once per turn.  In order to attack the same enemy hex again on the same turn, you would need to have units in a second hex that is adjacent to that enemy hex.  In theory, you could attack the same hex six times in a single turn if you had it completely surrounded.

    A hex must be cleared of all enemy combat units (infantry, artillery and tanks) before your units may move into it.


  • Thanks Krieghund, I understand completly now. So its quite possible that a hex remains allied, not because the Germans have a lack of units, but because they failed to hit at least one allied unit in that hex during an attack. Which makes sense, because in warfare that would be like stalling a superior force for a period of time.

  • Official Q&A

    Yes.  Just the other week, I attacked a hex with only two units in it.  I got six hits, but they were all on the same unit!  So the other unit survived and kept me from advancing.  Such are the fortunes of war.


  • Haha six times, thats enough to make anyone unhappy.

    I played my first game tonight, I was allies, and I think I made every mistake in the book. I managed to lose most of my transport trucks, and has my army in the centre without any supply tokens, it was a disaster. Axis didn’t win until turn 5, which is re-assuring, because it means that I understand the rules of the game to a large degree, as people previously have posted that it takes at least 5 turns for the Axis to win. I can also see what you mean when you say its your best axis game, for me its definately the best axis and allies game I have played with two people so far. The whole dice scenario mixed in with the attack first, rather than the defender gets to hit back, makes for a fun new game.

    I do have another query though 🙂 In the reinforcement phase, when you receive a tank, as long as you stick to the roads can you send it straight to the zone of conflict, so that the same tank can be used in combat in the next turn? And do you use up any supply tokens? When you travel in your own territory (outside of the zones of conflict and without a transport), I assume supply tokens work the same way, one token for every one space, and two tokens for a tank blitz of two spaces infront.

    I totally understand the air combat, and land combat phases of a turn, what I am still hazy on after playing for the first time is the movement, and reinforcement phases, but I think I have 80% of that figured out and correct.

    Thanks again for all your help so far Krieghund, I don’t know how I would have figured out the dynamics of the game without it.


  • I hate to bombard you with queries Krieghund, and I came across another problem. You expend a supply token to attack a hex in combat, do you then expend another supply token in the movement phase, when you move your units out of the hex. So in effect an attack and subsequent movement with the same units from the same hex requires two supply tokens, is that correct?

  • Official Q&A

    @General:

    In the reinforcement phase, when you receive a tank, as long as you stick to the roads can you send it straight to the zone of conflict, so that the same tank can be used in combat in the next turn?

    Yes, you can move as far along the road with a Tank or Truck as you want to until you either enter a hex that contains an enemy-controlled City or enter or leave a hex that’s within an enemy zone of control.  This includes when the unit first enters the board as a reinforcement, as long as they enter the board in a road hex (which Trucks are required to do).  Tanks may also enter the board in non-road hexes, but they must stop their move immediately if they do so.

    @General:

    And do you use up any supply tokens? When you travel in your own territory (outside of the zones of conflict and without a transport), I assume supply tokens work the same way, one token for every one space, and two tokens for a tank blitz of two spaces infront.

    You don’t need to use Supply tokens for units’ normal (non-blitz) movement onto the board as reinforcements.  The Supply to move reinforcements onto the board is considered to come from the same rear area the reinforcements themselves have come from.  However, if you want to blitz with reinforcement Tanks, you must still pay one Supply token from your offboard Supply tokens for each Tank division that’s blitzing.  The units’ divisions are indicated on the reinforcement charts.

    @General:

    I hate to bombard you with queries Krieghund, and I came across another problem. You expend a supply token to attack a hex in combat, do you then expend another supply token in the movement phase, when you move your units out of the hex. So in effect an attack and subsequent movement with the same units from the same hex requires two supply tokens, is that correct?

    Yes, that’s correct.


  • Ahhh ok, so if the axis player gets reinforced with a tank division, it can be driven to the front lines inside a zone of control. Then after a supply token is payed for that tank division, it can blitz into enemy lines in the same turn.

    Another thing I don’t understand is lets say the axis player is reinforced with a tank division, and in that same reinforcement phase assuming it does not enter an enemy zone of control, the tank can keep on driving until it hits an enemy city? Leaving a hypothetical scenario whereby, the axis player controls Werbomot, and when he is reinforced with a tank, drives the tank into enemy lines all the way to Huy or Ciney, assuming no enemy zone of control is ever entered into.

    Thanks again for bearing with me Krieghund.

  • Official Q&A

    @General:

    Ahhh ok, so if the axis player gets reinforced with a tank division, it can be driven to the front lines inside a zone of control. Then after a supply token is payed for that tank division, it can blitz into enemy lines in the same turn.

    Right, but the Supply token needs to be paid from offboard Supplies, since that’s where the Tanks came from.  Paying a Supply token to allow a reinforcement Tank division to blitz works the same way that paying for on-board Tanks in a hex to blitz.  If there is more than one Tank unit in the division, they don’t all have to move to the same place.

    FYI, one fairly common misconception I’ve run up against is that a blitz movement allows a Tank an extra full movement, i.e. it gets to move along a road again until it hits another enemy-held City or zone of control.  This isn’t true.  A blitz move just allows one extra hex of movement.  You probably already knew that, but I’d thought I’d throw it in just in case.

    @General:

    Another thing I don’t understand is lets say the axis player is reinforced with a tank division, and in that same reinforcement phase assuming it does not enter an enemy zone of control, the tank can keep on driving until it hits an enemy city? Leaving a hypothetical scenario whereby, the axis player controls Werbomot, and when he is reinforced with a tank, drives the tank into enemy lines all the way to Huy or Ciney, assuming no enemy zone of control is ever entered into.

    Yes, that’s correct.  The Allies can be in big trouble if they leave holes in their lines.  Of course, if Germany extends its lines too far forward in that fashion, supply can be problematic as units may be cut off.  However, this may not matter if it’s late enough in the game.

    @General:

    Thanks again for bearing with me Krieghund.

    No problem!

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    Looks like I missed all the fun.  🙂

    @Krieghund:

    Yes.  Just the other week, I attacked a hex with only two units in it.  I got six hits, but they were all on the same unit!  So the other unit survived and kept me from advancing.  Such are the fortunes of war.

    I think this is why this game isn’t that popular. I think there are some folks who really don’t like being lucky yet unlucky on the same roll.

  • Official Q&A

    @frimmel:

    @Krieghund:

    Yes.  Just the other week, I attacked a hex with only two units in it.  I got six hits, but they were all on the same unit!  So the other unit survived and kept me from advancing.  Such are the fortunes of war.

    I think this is why this game isn’t that popular. I think there are some folks who really don’t like being lucky yet unlucky on the same roll.

    I agree that some people don’t like it for this reason.  I actually do like this, because I feel it has the potential to “even out” luck by making excessive hits redundant unless they’re spread out.

    However, I think the main reason this game has suffered in popularity is because it’s so unlike all the previous A&A games.  It’s much more like a “heavy” wargame than the others.  Fans of previous games are turned off because it’s not the same, and fans of “heavier” wargames are turned off by the A&A brand because they equate it with “light” wargames.  Because of this, I don’t think the game ever really found its niche, which is really a shame.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    @Krieghund:

    I agree that some people don’t like it for this reason.  I actually do like this, because I feel it has the potential to “even out” luck by making excessive hits redundant unless they’re spread out.

    However, I think the main reason this game has suffered in popularity is because it’s so unlike all the previous A&A games.  It’s much more like a “heavy” wargame than the others.  Fans of previous games are turned off because it’s not the same, and fans of “heavier” wargames are turned off by the A&A brand because they equate it with “light” wargames.  Because of this, I don’t think the game ever really found its niche, which is really a shame.

    I think that you can get hits and still miss makes luck a bit more nebulous in this one. Gives it a bit more of a lone unit defying the odds feel.

    I agree also that it also suffers, probably mostly, from how different it is from the other games.

    I like that it is more a ‘light heavy’ wargame. More an examination of the situations faced by the commanders of history (the ‘heavy’ part) but without a really big pile of rules that IMO often seem to add complexity for the sake of complexity (the ‘light’ part.)


  • A&A games are some of the most rewarding games I have ever played. I remember when I was 15 and I found the original Larry Harris game unopened in my dad’s holiday house. I was totally obsessed with World War 2 history at the time, and so I decided to slog out the 30 page manual by myself and learn the game. Having learnt it, I have been enjoying playing it ever since. All the other games with the exclusion of BOTB, as you guys pointed out, are extremely similar to the original Larry Harris version, so the time investment to learn these new versions are not very daunting. BOTB however not only is it like slogging it out as if I was learning the original Larry Harris game all over again, the manual is also like a bloody enigma (and yes that is a pun). I think with BOTB all they had to do was elaborate on the rules more, and give an example of the turn from start to finish, rather than in dribs and drabs. Then they should have stuck on the box, WARNING: Forget all previous A&A conceptions and rules when learning this game. Had they done this, then who knows maybe I could have saved myself alot of time and pain. However thanks to Krieghund, I now understand the game, and I can see that it could well turn out to be my best A&A game.

    Its not just a problem with BOTB though, like BOTB is a deeper problem within A&A games. The problem I think starts with A&A games, most people hate using their brain in a recreational sense, and Axis and Allies games do just that. I liken them to chess with chance, but how many people do you know that like chess? Its a shame, but I suppose those of us who love our military history, our strategy, and being able to play it out on a board game, are and always will be a very small minority.

  • Official Q&A

    @General:

    A&A games are some of the most rewarding games I have ever played. I remember when I was 15 and I found the original Larry Harris game unopened in my dad’s holiday house. I was totally obsessed with World War 2 history at the time, and so I decided to slog out the 30 page manual by myself and learn the game. Having learnt it, I have been enjoying playing it ever since.

    Larry would be thrilled to hear that.  Why don’t you go over to his site and tell him?

    @General:

    BOTB however not only is it like slogging it out as if I was learning the original Larry Harris game all over again, the manual is also like a bloody enigma (and yes that is a pun). I think with BOTB all they had to do was elaborate on the rules more, and give an example of the turn from start to finish, rather than in dribs and drabs. Then they should have stuck on the box, WARNING: Forget all previous A&A conceptions and rules when learning this game. Had they done this, then who knows maybe I could have saved myself alot of time and pain.

    Yes, unfortunately this is a blow to the game’s acceptance as well.  The rules require at least a couple of read-throughs to even begin to understand them, and it’s still nearly impossible to play the game properly without reading the FAQ as well.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    I did have questions but I got it pretty close on the first read through. Both of you are right that the rules could be better- especially in the commandeering of trucks and supplies aspects.

    As to some of the other frequent confusion (moving units into hexes you are attacking.) I learned early (and don’t have to relearn to often  :lol: ) that assumption is the mother of all foul ups. That one is (well to me anyway) clear in the rulebook. But all in all it could be better.


  • @Krieghund:

    @General:

    A&A games are some of the most rewarding games I have ever played. I remember when I was 15 and I found the original Larry Harris game unopened in my dad’s holiday house. I was totally obsessed with World War 2 history at the time, and so I decided to slog out the 30 page manual by myself and learn the game. Having learnt it, I have been enjoying playing it ever since.

    Larry would be thrilled to hear that.  Why don’t you go over to his site and tell him?

    Yes well it probably does sound a bit gay doesn’t it.


  • Ok still learning out to use quote, that last part of my previous post should be outside of the quote.

    The ‘it does sound a bit…’

  • Official Q&A

    Not at all.  I was completely serious.  Larry always enjoys hearing from a satisfied customer.


  • Yeah I was half wondering if you were being sarcastic or serious, hehe. I might do that then 🙂

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