Welcome! If you're a returning member of the forums, please reset your password. If you don't receive an email within minutes, it means your account is listed under another, likely older, email address. Contact webmaster@axisandallies.org for help.

Strengthen Germany, Contain Japan: 5 Ways To Make Axis And Allies a Better Game


  • 2016 2015 '10

    I wasn’t sure whether to post this in Revised or Anniversary forums–mods pls move this topic if it’s in the wrong place.  Below is a write-up of some humble suggestions to improve A&A.  I’d be happy to hear what you’all think…

    Strengthen Germany, Contain Japan: 5 Ways To Make Axis And Allies a Better Game

    The following are 5 suggestions to improve Axis and Allies, based on my experiences playing Revised.  With regard to China, my suggestions refer to the AA-50 Anniversary  map, which I believe is as an improvement in most respects.  But most of my suggestions can also be applied to Revised.
    1)United Kingdom starts with ICs in Australia and India.

    I’m sure reasonable people can and will disagree, but IMHO the United Kingdom is the dullest nation to play in Revised.  Why?  Because game/map dynamics limit UK’s tactical options.  Map realities obligate a good UK player to focus on Germany, which leads to similar tactics and strategies every game (build up fleet, destroy the German and Italian fleet, land in Africa, hit the Germans in the Baltic wherever they are vulnerable, land in Archangel, and eventually surround Germany and mass troops in Western or Eastern Europe).

    The UK can build a factory on turn 1 and many players try this.  But against a good Axis team, this is not a good idea.  India cannot be held against a good Japanese player without Soviet intervention, a lot of luck, and/or a full scale USA pacific offensive.  A factory in Aussie can be taken by the Japanese on Turn 2, before it can be effectively reinforced.  A factory in South Africa is too far away from the action to be worthwhile (although more useful in AA 50 than in Revised)…  In short, an experienced UK player knows the best contribution he can make is maximizing the 8 ipc factory he already has and waging amphibious war on Germany and Italy.  If he ever buys a factory, it will be in Norway or Western Europe.  Map dynamics favor this strategy—if the UK player ignores this and focuses on Asia, he could blow the game for the entire team.  I’ve seen this happen many times.

    Giving  UK the Aussie and India factories at the start of the game reverses these factors and gives the UK player a variety of strategic options—now the UK has every incentive to defend India and resist the Japanese.   At the same time, the USA player has more incentive to invest in the Pacific, since the Japanese player will have a harder time getting the ipcs he needs to go toe to toe with the USA in naval wars.

    Historically, the United Kingdom fought on land, air and sea all over the globe.  They counted on armies from Canada, Australia, India, and New Zealand to defend their empire.

    Why not represent that on the A&A map via factories?

    India and Aussie factories help make the Pacific War more realistic—something the A&A 50 designers tried to do but didn’t quite accomplish.  With an Indian IC, the battle for Burma is a major front.  Like in real history, the UK must make tough choices between reinforcing Asia and reinforcing Africa, and may well divert troops from India and Aussie to Africa via transports.  The Japanese can take India early in the game if they  throw all their resources at it, but this weakens the Japanese on other fronts, particularly against the Chinese.  Meanwhile, if the UK can produce transports in Australia at any time, then the Japanese fleet needs to take Australia before moving on to other objectives.

    Equipped with these factories, a KJF strategy becomes more plausible, although still risky.  More importantly, playing the United Kingdom becomes more fun—now game dynamics call for a continuous battle on 4 major fronts (Europe, Africa, India, and Oceania).  These factories, together with measures to strengthen the Chinese, help ensure that Japan won’t be able to threaten the USSR until relatively late in the game.

    All that said, I wouldn’t advocate these changes without further steps to balance the game in favor of the Axis…specifically…strengthening Germany’s navy so that the Battle of the Atlantic takes more than a two turns.  Another way to provide balance is to consider giving Japan a starting factory in Manchuria, giving it a head start in the land war.

    2)Germany Starts With A Strong Baltic Fleet; and/or a ‘Baltic Mines’ Feature is Introduced.

    Throughout World War 2, Germany dominated the Baltic sea.  The British and Soviet navies were only able to conduct successful naval operations in the Baltic during the last stages of the war.  But in Axis and Allies the game, British and American units typically use SZ 5 to land in Karelia early in the game, and then fight side by side with the Soviets on the Eastern front.

    While this strategy is effective, many  players would agree that it is also ‘cheap’ and/or ‘rigged’; it leads to defensive gameplay and a gradual Allied victory, as the strength of 3 combined armies eventually overwelms Germany before Japan can effectively threaten Russia.    Since exploiting the Baltic is the easiest way to defeat Germany, the tactic is repeated ad nauseum.  Faced with a player who uses this strategy to good effect in Revised, the Axis player needs an 8 bid to have a chance.

    The easiest way to fix this issue is giving the Germans a strong fleet to dominate the Baltic throughout the early game.

    The starting German fleet in SZ 5 should be:
    2 battleships (representing Bismarck and Tripitz)
    2 cruisers (representing Prinz Eugen and Scharnhorst)
    3 destroyers
    3 subs
    1 transport

    In addition the Germans start with:
    1 extra sub in 7
    1 extra sub in 17, or in the Med Sea
    1 floating sub somewhere in the Indian ocean

    Now the German navy is a serious threat, and the Battle of the Atlantic will last longer than a few turns.

    For balance, United Kingdom gets

    Additional navy for SZ 2: 1 ac, 1 cruiser, 2 more destroyers, 1 sub,
    Additional forces on Great Britain: 3 infantry, 1 fighter

    And the United States gets
    2 extra subs (1 in the Atlantic and 1 in the Pacific), 1 more destroyer in the Atlantic

    Russia gets
    1 cruiser, 1 transport for the Black Sea

    The additional navy is not necessarily a disadvantage for the Allies because it is now easier to take down the Axis fleets in the Med sea.  For Germany, the Baltic Fleet not only protects the homeland, it acts as a deterrent to any early landing in the North Sea, giving Germany time to deal with the Soviets.   Meanwhile, the German Baltic fleet can hold out for a long time if supplemented by an aircraft carrier (or two).  Or, the Germans can build transports and go for a Sea Lion.

    Historically, the German surface fleet was not as dangerous (compared to the British fleet) as the game-time counterpart I am proposing.  However, a big fleet in the Baltic would maintain historical accuracy by making Allied landings in the Baltic practically impossible, and making landings in Norway and France extremely dangerous.

    The chief problem with this scheme is not desirable to have 4 capital ships bombarding Leningrad every turn.  My preferred solution would be allowing only 1 bombard per attack in any amphibious assault, regardless of how many capital ships one attacks with.  Face it, bombard is unbalanced and ahistorical.  Limiting bombardments would help prevent another irritating strategy—the unimaginative UK player who buys 5 battleships and bombards the Baltic every turn.

    One alternative, or addendum, is introducing a special rule just for SZ 5.  It would be called ‘Baltic Mines’ representing the minefields preventing British shipping from entering the Baltic and Germany shipping from exiting it.  For each allied ship entering the Baltic, the German player gets one dice roll.  For every ‘1’ roll, one ship is destroyed.

    3)Close the Bosphorus Strait and Reintroduce Neutrals

    Historically, the Italian fleet did not sail through the Bosphorus Strait and bombard Russian positions in the Ukraine.  If they could have, they would have.  This is why both the Axis and the Allies desperately sought alliance with Turkey.   Turkish intervention in the war would have provided the Axis with enviable strategic options—bombarding the Black Sea coast, attacking Syria and Iraq, or attacking Russian oil-fields from the south.

    I propose that if either the Axis or the Allies wants to use Turkey or move through the Bosphorus, it should cost 15 ipcs (representing bribes and assistance to the Turkish military and ruling class), which is paid at the same time troops move into Turkey.  At that point Turkey is now like any other territory (though w/o ipcs), and  can be retaken (without cost) by the other side.  The same scheme applies to Spain—the Allies should have the option of invading Europe through Spain (a possibility that both the Allied and Axis general staff took very seriously), but it will cost them 15 ipcs.  If it turns out that   having the option to land in Spain makes it too easy for the Allies to establish a  land offensive, then perhaps the cost of Spain should be raised to 25 Ipcs.

    Finally, the Soviets should start with some naval units in SZ 16 to defend the Black Sea and attack German positions….1 transport, 1 cruiser.

    4)Strengthen China:

    China was a major member of the Allies, and its limited representation in Axis and Allies Revised is not a game strength.  The changes incorporated in the Anniversary edition are an improvement.  But most accounts of how AA 50 plays out suggest that China will be destroyed in the first three turns against a competent Japanese player.

    I’m not proposing that China be able to hold out the entire game, unless Japan is defeated quickly by a American/British/Soviet offensive.  Rather, Japan should have to deal with China first, while the other allies have time to build up forces to contain Japan.

    Some have suggested that China should receive 1 infantry per territory instead of the 1 inf per 2 territories in the rulebook.  This may be the best solution—I haven’t played AA50  enough to say for sure.  My instinct is this is probably too much for Japan to handle in a KJF scenario.

    Instead, China stays with the 1 inf per 2 territory rule, but China starts out with 5 more infantry so it doesn’t fold so easily.  China gets 1 additional infantry in the following territories

    Hupeh, Yunnan, Suiyuan, Sikang, and Fukien.

    Now the Japanese player can no longer realistically take out 4 Chinese provinces on J1, so China will get at least 2 more infantry to place after its first turn.  China also has enough troops to make counterattacks.  Given that  Japan must eliminate China quick and then deal with  India  and/or the US navy, it’s safe to say that Japan wont be able to threaten Russia for a long time (especially if the Soviets assist the Chinese).   KJF becomes a  realistic and playable strategy– one reason to pursue it would be to enable China to build up massive amounts of infantry.  If Japan is defeated but the Germans take Moscow, by the time the German war machine gets to China, there will be enough infantry there that China will be a major nut to crack, blocking the way to the big IPC territories on the Pacific Coast.

    Some players might object that additional Chinese troops and additional UK factories mean Japan has no chance on the mainland, and consequently Axis has no chance of victory.  I don’t believe this is the case—mostly because a good German player will steamroll Russia if the Allies devote too many resources to the Pacific.  But if the game seems overly uneven, one possible solution is granting the Japanese a starting mainland factory in Manchuria—this enables them to gain superiority over the Chinese quickly, barring a Soviet or British intervention

    5) Make SZ 4 (Archangel) seasonal.

    Historically, the port of Archangel was frozen for much of the year.  It was an important destination for Allied Convoys feeding supplies to the Soviets, but the Allies landed no troops there.  
    The (over)use of SZ 4 can be even more detrimental to an A &A game then the abuse of SZ 5.  It allows the Allies to feed infantry into a territory only one space away from Russia, thereby keeping Russia afloat even if its under heavy strain.  It enables a defensive strategy where the allies hold Moscow while their economic might gradually wears down the Axis on other fronts.

    My solution would be this–-the Allies may only land in Archangel in the summer months, which would mean once every 4 turns.  Assuming the war begins in Spring 1942, the first summer would be the 2nd turn, thereafter the 6th turn, the 10 turn, etc.  So, it’s still possible for the Allies to land there, but certainly not every turn.

    I think all of these changes, taken together, would make Axis and Allies more balanced and enjoyable, as well as more realistic and acceptable to history buffs.  But I haven’t experimented with them enough to say whether they would swing the game one way or another.  In any case discussion is most welcome!


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

    The starting German fleet in SZ 5 should be:
    2 battleships (representing Bismarck and Tripitz)
    2 cruisers (representing Prinz Eugen and Scharnhorst)
    3 destroyers
    3 subs
    1 transport

    This is way too strong.

    Id say just upgrade the CA to BB and add a DD and one sub to Baltic, plus -1 subs for Germany rest of game.

    2 BB is not balancing. look at how many bb UK had in 1941.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I’d say just upgrade the CR to a BB and add 1 Submarine in SZ 8.

    Maybe the Italians should get a bonus transport as well, they seem to be getting the snot kicked out of them lately now that some of us have demonstrated to others how good Italy can be if left alone too long!


  • 2016 2015 '10

    @Imperious:

    The starting German fleet in SZ 5 should be:
    2 battleships (representing Bismarck and Tripitz)
    2 cruisers (representing Prinz Eugen and Scharnhorst)
    3 destroyers
    3 subs
    1 transport

    This is way too strong.

    Id say just upgrade the CA to BB and add a DD and one sub to Baltic, plus -1 subs for Germany rest of game.

    2 BB is not balancing. look at how many bb UK had in 1941.

    This would work if the Allies didn’t get any extra naval units.  The fleet ought to be strong enough to hold off an air assault for 2 turns–1 BB 2 DD probably fits that bill.  After that, a carrier buy would make the Baltic relatively secure.

    Maybe I got carried away…massive Atlantic fleet wars seems like fun way to start the game.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I like a carrier buy with Italy actually.

    Save 10 IPC on Round 1
    Collect: 23 IPC on Round 2

    Spend 33 IPC for a Carrier, Fighter and Transport on Round 3


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

    I think Italy should get a dd, not a transport.

    For UK i think they should get a cruiser with that BB.

    Germany should get one more fighter and a second bomber in 42

    USSR should get 2 fighters and a bomber in 42



  • As for the baltic sea, how about something simpler- treat the space between Denmark and Norway as a Canal- no ships can pass through it unless the owner of the ships owns both of those areas (Western Europe + Norway in revised, NW Europe + Norway in Anniversary).  Add a few canals…

    Actually, make the SZ next to the caucus the same way- you need to control Turkey and the Balkans to enter.  Use Neutral rules to make that possible, as you suggest.



  • @Rakeman:

    As for the baltic sea, how about something simpler- treat the space between Denmark and Norway as a Canal- no ships can pass through it unless the owner of the ships owns both of those areas (Western Europe + Norway in revised, NW Europe + Norway in Anniversary).  Add a few canals…

    Actually, make the SZ next to the caucus the same way- you need to control Turkey and the Balkans to enter.  Use Neutral rules to make that possible, as you suggest.

    I agree.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    @Rakeman:

    As for the baltic sea, how about something simpler- treat the space between Denmark and Norway as a Canal- no ships can pass through it unless the owner of the ships owns both of those areas (Western Europe + Norway in revised, NW Europe + Norway in Anniversary).  Add a few canals…

    Interesting idea.  Worth experimenting with.



  • The starting German fleet in SZ 5 should be:
    2 battleships (representing Bismarck and Tripitz)
    2 cruisers (representing Prinz Eugen and Scharnhorst)
    3 destroyers
    3 subs
    1 transport

    That’s too strong. only UK home fleet was three times bigger than Kriegsmarine, so if germans gain those navy, uk must have least 6 BB’s and then all other countries’es navies must be stronger…

    But make danmark,s canal, its wise.


Log in to reply
 

Welcome to the new forums! For security and technical reasons, we did not migrate your password. Therefore to get started, please reset your password. You may use your email address or username. Please note that your username is not your display name.

If you're having problems, please send an email to webmaster@axisandallies.org

T-shirts, Hats, and More

Suggested Topics

  • 5
  • 38
  • 8
  • 2
  • 2
  • 6
  • 28
  • 16
I Will Never Grow Up Games

23
Online

13.2k
Users

33.5k
Topics

1.3m
Posts