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Play balance in AA50 / Bids


  • 2007 AAR League

    Playbalance has begun to be discussed in several threads. I just thought that we might need a separate thread for this.

    • So what’s your thought about Playbalance? Will Axis be at an Advantage? Or the Allies?
    • Will be Bonus System be enough to balance the game?
    • What would a bid system look like for AA50? Something along the line of Revised bids? (ie: players bid a number of starting units & cash for whatever side that is being held at a disadvantage)

    Here are some thoughts, posted in other threads, by me & others.

    Perry wrote:
    Many have already drawn the conclusion that many changes from between Revised -> AA50 , does benefit the Allies. And Revised already had an in-built Allied Advantage.

    AA50 seems to handle the in-built Allies Advantage via the bonus system.

    Fair enough for me. It will be exciting to explore that system!

    Romulus wrote:
    I suspect that bonuses are necessary for the economy of all the Axis nations and maybe they are strictly connected with the balancing of the game as a sort of bid that you have to gain.

    So I think that it could be not possible to avoid their use.



  • We have no rules. They are some “bonuses” we don`t know yet. Yes, the map has changed much in favour of the allies and the introduction of Italy is most likely as disadvantage for the axis as income is split and another capital has to be held. On the other side, the unit setup and even the new turn order (axis first) is much in favour of the axis. Same with all the new VCs in the Pacific.

    But talking about bids is much too early!


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

    So Atlantikwall what kind of bid you think the game needs?

    :mrgreen:



  • The Axis is gimped.

    Japan will not be able to help Germany on Russia’s front.
    Italy is entirely too weak and is nothing but a weak link in the Axis.
    Italy splits up Germany’s IPCs.
    Italy’s splits up Germany’s original forces, especially naval.
    Italy only has a lousy 10 IPCs.
    Italy has no transport and will be unable to ship anything to Africa to fix their IPC deficient status for at least a turn.
    Italy’s IPC deficient status railroads them into an immediate expansion for IPCs.

    We won’t know just how much Axis is hurting until we see Germany’s and Japan’s starting IPCs.

    Do the designers hate the Axis or what?



  • @Imperious:

    So Atlantikwall what kind of bid you think the game needs

    Give me the rules you seem to have, than I`ll test it a little bit anf only than I can tell you any opinion about the bid.

    My proposal by now is that the game is as balanced as Revised is (i.e. almost balanced with small allied advantage). But this has nothing to do with the (partial) info I have. Both 2nd-edition and Revised have an allied advantage, propably because the game is produced in the USA and they don`t like to loose (which actually gets along with the historic background of the game). But they had playtesters and sure tried to blalance the game as far as possible. So why should I assume that Larry is “not capable” of balancing the game he created?



  • Oh and I forgot to add that it will be much slower for Japan to increase in IPCs with Asia split up the way it is. Looking at the map, I don’t even think its worth the effort.


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

    the game is produced in the USA and they don`t like to loose

    funny!

    The Axis is gimped.

    Japan will not be able to help Germany on Russia’s front.
    Italy is entirely too weak and is nothing but a weak link in the Axis.
    Italy splits up Germany’s IPCs.
    Italy’s splits up Germany’s original forces, especially naval.
    Italy only has a lousy 10 IPCs.
    Italy has no transport and will be unable to ship anything to Africa to fix their IPC deficient status for at least a turn.
    Italy’s IPC deficient status railroads them into an immediate expansion for IPCs.

    We won’t know just how much Axis is hurting until we see Germany’s and Japan’s starting IPCs.

    Your making comparisons based on what you do in revised. Thats the same thing you probably did when Revised came out and you were playing milton bradley edition.  The game has evolved and its much more aligned with the realistic or historical sensibilities where the Japanese don’t make those tank charges against Moscow, driving up from India or Manchuria… Thats all nonsense.

    Italy is weak and they were sort of weak, but had a few really nice pieces to start ( her navy) Italy can also easily get her 10 IPC bonus and basically double her income in no time. You need to come up with new ideas to win, and you cant rest on your knowledge of revised to get you to the finish line. This new evolution is a totally new experience and most of the people commenting are looking at it with the revised map and rules embedded in their mental picture.

    So again its not a Revised version or Revised. Its AA50. A whole new edifice.



  • @Imperious:

    Your making comparisons based on what you do in revised. Thats the same thing you probably did when Revised came out and you were playing milton bradley edition.  The game has evolved and its much more aligned with the realistic or historical sensibilities where the Japanese don’t make those tank charges against Moscow, driving up from India or Manchuria… Thats all nonsense.

    I measure balance. Everyone agrees that the last two are unbalanced, Classic to a greater degree than Revised. I don’t want to see 50th Anniversary take a giant leap backwards.

    Realistic or historical sensibilities? Do you want a boardgame or a history book? So what if Japan didn’t do something? When I sit down to play, I don’t think about what Japan did or didn’t do when I go to make my moves. I look for the best route to win. And just because Japan didn’t do it, doesn’t mean it couldn’t have done it. Japan never invaded Austrailia, but they damn well can in Axis & Allies.

    How how about these realistic or historical sensibilities. Great Britain was weak. Germany had it beat into submission and would have been stomped it out of the war completely if it wasn’t for the United States propping it up. What is the 30 IPCs that the U.K. gets? The annual welfare check from the U.S.?

    @Imperious:

    Italy is weak and they were sort of weak, but had a few really nice pieces to start ( her navy) Italy can also easily get her 10 IPC bonus and basically double her income in no time. You need to come up with new ideas to win, and you cant rest on your knowledge of revised to get you to the finish line. This new evolution is a totally new experience and most of the people commenting are looking at it with the revised map and rules embedded in their mental picture.

    So again its not a Revised version or Revised. Its AA50. A whole new edifice.

    I would rather have Italy excluded altogether than have it be a weak link in an already underpowered Axis.


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

    I think you play AA because it somehow resembles the second world war? If it was about building hotels or something abstract you may not like it. Its got to have some measure of what was even realistic.

    If they had a rule about Nazi Godzilla which was a lizard in an SS uniform and could crush ships and tanks…but balanced the game would that appeal to you?  Their is a line that must be drawn. To people who know something about the period its rather like getting “godzilla” thrown at you by allowing some of the most impossible stunts to be played. The game can be now considered a true introductory wargame and not like risk or monopoly.

    I know you have a threshold of what could be realistic and included and also what is left out because its simply impossible.

    Some people actually prefer the SS Godzilla. You dont and i dont either. Consider the refinement perhaps a bit further than your comfort level>?



  • About what I have said:

    Romulus wrote:
    I suspect that bonuses are necessary for the economy of all the Axis nations and maybe they are strictly connected with the balancing of the game as a sort of bid that you have to gain.

    So I think that it could be not possible to avoid their use.

    I would like to make a precisation.

    I am supposing that the bonus IPCs could be a built in method to balance the game.

    Generally, I agree with IL that all of us like the game because we like history and we enjoy to play a WWII themed game.

    I would like to see the game before starting to devise way to balance it.
    I believe that the idea of variant is to have a different way to balance the game, other than the bonus objective, in order to not have any constraints to the strategies that may be used to win the game.


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

    I am supposing that the bonus IPCs could be a built in method to balance the game.

    yes and considering the Germans or Japanese play first in either scenario it stands to reason that the setup could not withstand any additional pieces because it was configured based on axis going first and if they had like a extra plane it could make a huge difference on play balance down the road. And i don’t think the allies need any help.

    Id like to make a further prediction that these bonus IPC for national conquest idea can alternately be exchanged for victory points and a number of victory points assign to win the game can be ‘purchased’ with these or any IPC not spent…sort of like how they treated the Japaneses in AAP ( every 10 IPC that turn gained one VP).

    I can see the games may be really short rather than long also due to the new SBR rules, but i hope it does not turn into a bomber race or like that problem with MB Conquest of the empire and the catapult flaw.



  • I agree!

    Speaking of SBR, I hope that in the game will be an escort rule and the possibility for the defending fighters to intercept the incoming bombers. Being the SBR so powerful I would like to have the possibility to defend in a more concrete way than hoping that my AA gun may shot down a bomber.



  • Eh, I don’t play so much for the WWII theme as I do the fun in making strategy.

    I don’t think Axis and Allies should play like reading a history book… that’s just not fun for a wide audience.  I agree that unrealistic strategies, such as Japan crushing Russia from the middle east, should be made weak and nonviable.  But there should be many more options available than the “historic” ones… after all, in Axis and Allies, YOU are in command, so you can make the decisions you desire, not what the people at the time did.


  • 2007 AAR League

    @Atlantikwall:

    But talking about bids is much too early!

    Sure, it is too early. Then again, when did we ever let that stop us?  😄 :mrgreen:

    IL WROTE:
    yes and considering the Germans or Japanese play first in either scenario it stands to reason that the setup could not withstand any additional pieces because it was configured based on axis going first and if they had like a extra plane it could make a huge difference on play balance down the road.
    END, IL WROTE

    Hmmm…that is really interesting. Then, if the game would need a bid for the Axis, then we might need a bid that uses some other logic.

    Some thoughts/ideas/wild speculations:

    • Bid units are placed in the Unit Placement Phase, not prior to Game-Start. However, area of placement must be declared before Game-Start.
    • Bid units may only be added to Capitals, or SZ’s neighbouring Capitals (thus they would only affect play on Round 2-3 and thereafter)
    • You may only bid Starting Cash, not units…
    • You may bid a number of Off Map Extra Income per turn. So a bid of 5, for example, would add up to 5 “Free” IPCs per turn for one or more named nations (lame, I know)
    • You may bid for how many Nazi Godzillas you may place on the board, prior to G1. I think 2-3 Nazi Godzillas placed in Baltic, Central Med and Possibly a Japanese Godzilla in the EJS SZ, would make for a perfectly balanced game  😄 😄  😄 :mrgreen: (IL: You should call Hollywood about that idea of yours right away!!)


  • So, have I been assuming wrong that the damage to production capacity of a complex is the new single effect of SBR rather than an addition to the straight loss of IPCs?  That’s how I interpreted Greg Smorey’s summary.

    Also, does anyone know how many VCs are supposed to be held in order to win?  Might want to find that out before making assumptions on whether the game is skewed in favor of Axis/Allies.  And balance could be as simple as changing the required VCs by 1.



  • I have a hunch that most of you who are worried about play balance either play very good players online, or play a lot of two player games, one player Axis and one player Allied.  We have been using Axis and Allies Classic in our historical gaming class for the past 5 years, and my cohort in crime, Chris Freeman, has been using it a while longer in his War and Diplomacy class.  We always have at least 5 players, and more normally 5 two-person teams, so no person or team controls more than one country.  During that period, our experience has been that the Allies have a tough time winning.  My view is that the Classic and Revised games are more biased in favor of the Axis than the Allies, primarily with respect to limited IPCs for the US and bias in the relative force sizes, particularly with the US and UK navies.  In several of the games, we have had to introduce our home rules for Lend-Lease to bail out the Allied players.  Looking at Revised, which we have not used as yet, I do not see that much difference in play balance.  Based on what I have seen in the pictures of the initial set-ups, and some of the rule discussion, I fail to see any strong bias for the Allies in the Anniversary Edition.  The key is playing a true multiplayer game, i.e. 4 to 6 players.

    I was working on adding Italy to the game already, since the change in color for the Japanese between A&A Pacific and Revised gave me the necessary units.  I am looking forward to seeing what the rules are for the Anniversary Edition, but probably still will go forward with adding Italy to the Classic game.

    As for Variant’s comment:  “How how about these realistic or historical sensibilities. Great Britain was weak. Germany had it beat into submission and would have been stomped it out of the war completely if it wasn’t for the United States propping it up. What is the 30 IPCs that the U.K. gets? The annual welfare check from the U.S.?”

    By 1941, Britain was producing as much military equipment as Germany, and maintained that rate throughout the remainder of the war.  In 1944, Britain managed to devote 60% of its Gross National Product to military production, a rate which could not be sustained, and left the British post-war economy in shambles.  I am not making those figures up.  If you wish, you may consult Klaus Knorr’s War Potential of Nations, which is the source of some of my information.  If the aim of the game was to really bias it in favor of the Allies, all they would have to do is give the US its true military production capability in late 1943/early 1944.  To do that, you take the sum of the total production of all of the non-US players (Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia, and the UK) and give that to the US.  In the Revised Game, that would be 124 IPC, not 42.  And to that add the US should automatically be producing somewhere between 2 and 4 transports per turn.  The US was also feeding a large portion of the world at the same time.



  • From the GEN CON Anniversary Game thread at the swamp:

    Also, there are bonuses that are for optional play. These will need to be tested as well. Bonuses such as if Germany holds X amount of territories, they get a bonus of 5 IPC at the end of the turn. All countries have these bonuses but we did not play with them at GEN CON…

    http://aaswampform.forumandco.com/gen-con-anniversary-game-f23/gen-con-anniversary-game-t15.htm

    That sounds kinda like the same bonuses everyone’s been talking about.  So, if they’re optional Italy’s back down to 10 production w/o optional rules, lol?



  • nice :mrgreen:



  • That’s nice b/c if you have newer gamers you arn’t over whelming them with auxilary rules that you can introduce to them later.

    LT



  • @timerover51:

    As for Variant’s comment:  “How how about these realistic or historical sensibilities. Great Britain was weak. Germany had it beat into submission and would have been stomped it out of the war completely if it wasn’t for the United States propping it up. What is the 30 IPCs that the U.K. gets? The annual welfare check from the U.S.?”

    By 1941, Britain was producing as much military equipment as Germany, and maintained that rate throughout the remainder of the war.  In 1944, Britain managed to devote 60% of its Gross National Product to military production, a rate which could not be sustained, and left the British post-war economy in shambles.  I am not making those figures up.  If you wish, you may consult Klaus Knorr’s War Potential of Nations, which is the source of some of my information.  If the aim of the game was to really bias it in favor of the Allies, all they would have to do is give the US its true military production capability in late 1943/early 1944.  To do that, you take the sum of the total production of all of the non-US players (Germany, Japan, Italy, Russia, and the UK) and give that to the US.  In the Revised Game, that would be 124 IPC, not 42.  And to that add the US should automatically be producing somewhere between 2 and 4 transports per turn.  The US was also feeding a large portion of the world at the same time.

    Maybe if you are comparing Germany proper to the UK they might be comparable. The GDP of the UK wasn’t even half of the entirety of German occupied territory. France alone had half of the GDP the UK did and the UK didn’t even reach even with German proper. Even if the UK spent half their GDP on the military, they couldn’t reach the German Reich’s production during 1941 and 42. The UK was being propped up by the American war machine. It didn’t have the capability to compete against Germany without aid.

    Why are you even bringing up America’s 1943/44 production? What is the point?



  • @variant:

    Why are you even bringing up America’s 1943/44 production? What is the point?

    Because if America were valued as they were historically, there would be no point in playing. No one can defeat a 124 IPC per turn country. Its just sick.

    Its a valid point. History vs game balance.



  • @timerover51:

    I have a hunch that most of you who are worried about play balance either play very good players online, or play a lot of two player games, one player Axis and one player Allied.  …. 
    We always have at least 5 players, and more normally 5 two-person teams, so no person or team controls more than one country.  During that period, our experience has been that the Allies have a tough time winning.  My view is that the Classic and Revised games are more biased in favor of the Axis than the Allies, primarily with respect to limited IPCs for the US and bias in the relative force sizes, particularly with the US and UK navies.  In several of the games, we have had to introduce our home rules for Lend-Lease to bail out the Allied players.  Looking at Revised, which we have not used as yet, I do not see that much difference in play balance.  Based on what I have seen in the pictures of the initial set-ups, and some of the rule discussion, I fail to see any strong bias for the Allies in the Anniversary Edition.  The key is playing a true multiplayer game, i.e. 4 to 6 players.

    Sure, when playing with novices, the axis should win more often with either classic or revised as they start with the most units on the board and they don’t have to work together.

    I am not sure that your experience can be translated into the way most people end up playing A&A.  They get addicted, play many many many games and host web site discussions revolving around ultimate strategies.

    I am not saying you are wrong, you have just played A&A in a way most players here only played the game initially.  Once you learn the game, even 3 total strangers can play the allies very well as they’ve learned to coordinate their moves.  Perhaps this is this reason why the game doesn’t get the best game play testing that long time A&A players crave since it’s so new and it takes some time to realize their can be more efficient/ultimate strategies.



  • @axis_roll:

    Perhaps this is this reason why the game doesn’t get the best game play testing that long time A&A players crave since it’s so new and it takes some time to realize their can be more efficient/ultimate strategies.

    On this point, blame WOTC. You have a concentrated set of fanatical gamers at large conventions (i.e. Gencon) and you take the game away from them rather than learn feedback. (Or you let them play so late in the game changes cannot be made).

    If I were WOTC, I would have brought 5 copies, basically shut down the revised mega, and let everyone play the new game. Massive feedback with new and experienced gamers all at once, and all costing you nothing.


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

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_production_during_World_War_II#GDP_-_Gross_domestic_product

    Timerovers numbers are way off. Total allied ratio of economic military might was about a consistent 2:1

    Germany at 412 USA at 1094 in 1941  so for every German IPC ( lets use 30) multiply 2.65 to get American values= 79 IPC and NOT 124


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

    If I were WOTC, I would have brought 5 copies, basically shut down the revised mega, and let everyone play the new game. Massive feedback with new and experienced gamers all at once, and all costing you nothing.

    Bravo to this!

    If i was there i would be likely yelling at the WOTC freeks using perfect ‘Gordon Ramsey style’ vocabulary. I would have demanded answers and given them the riot act of being such idiots…and probably got tossed out of the convention.


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