About bidding


  • Customizer

    I wish to bring up a point that I am not sure anyone noticed. 
    Many people seem to think that bidding does not mess up the setup of the game more changing the NOs or China’s rules do.  But I believe bidding and placing units directly on the board interferes with the game more.  Think about this, what gets play-tested more: the beginning engagements, or possible engagements 4-5 turns into the game?  The people who play tested this game tested the most out of the beginning turn engagements.  By adding an infantry here or there, you are royally screwing up all the balance that they DID test.  By changing the NOs to be slightly different, like requiring Germany own both Karelia and Cauc for their third NO, you are only messing with the game in a way that effects the game starting around the 3rd or 4th turn (you can first get the money for that at the end of the 1st or 2nd turn, you spend it on units that you then place during the 2nd or 3rd turn, those units then move out one or two spaces during the 3rd or 4th turn, and might reach a battle on the 4th or 5th turn.)

    So, at least between my group, when we do bid, we bid for cash that we can spend at the END of the 1st turn (and any units bought with that cash must be placed where there is an IC, and count towards the max number of builds possible for that IC).

    • veqryn


  • I’ve been thinking about this issue, and unit bids in AA50 will probably affect the game more than in revised, so that’s why I’ve been advocating for cash only bids in AA50, at least I wanna try this to see if it’s “better” than unit bids.


  • Customizer

    thats how my friends and i have always done it, all a&a games and especially revised.  we just feel it is way to screwed up to be able to place units outside of your industrial complex countries before the game has even begun.



  • Vegryn - you’re absolutely correct.  I haven’t heard any good justifications for bidding placed units.

    The beauty of the bidding concept is that the market will eventually determine where the game is balanced.  This can be more accurately done by bidding cash.  It is more fine tuned and has a less dramatic impact.  It is also equal from game to game (and hence more measurable over the long term), unlike the placed units which changes the game fundamentally as you point out.  It uses the regular mechanism of the game - cash gets pumped into factories and comes out as units.

    An extra point, it’s also best managed if the other player chooses how the cash is distributed among your teams.  That should lead to even better fine tuning. Obviously german and russian cash is most valuable.  You’ll get more “measurement points on your ruler” if the money is given to the teams in least need. (same principle as placing units - the less impact each point bid has on the game, the more precise the measure).

    I’d be interested to hear how people decided on bidding units in the first place.  I would imagine it was a clever idea at the time (better than nothing!), people went with it and then it just became standard.  Definitely time for a rethink.

    Thanks for raising this Vegryn, +1  🙂



  • @Telamon:

    unlike the placed units which changes the game fundamentally as you point out.  It uses the regular mechanism of the game

    Well, that’s the problem. I agree with you when you say bid placing units changes the game fundamentally. This is totally true. But, since I think the game (at least 1941) is so broken that needs fundamental changes, I must say that we should bid units. In special, we should restrict the bid to chinese infs, since China is the more broken front and Europe is basically right as now

    On the other hand, if we finally go for cash bid, I think we should bid at least 30, because soviets need huge reinforcements and axis economic advantage can recover that cash usually in only 2 rounds. A good purchase with 30 bid for soviets would be 1 bomb, 2 figs, 3 tanks, 3 inf, 1 art. It could give soviets enough punch to resist german-japanese pincer advance

    And even if I think any bid to axis is like killing a dead man, I’ll add a thing: a axis cash bid should go for Italy, because they are the more weaker axis partner  🙂


  • Moderator

    The main difference between a cash bid and unit bid is unit bids can immediately level the playing field (if the game is deemed unbalanced or it plays that way in your play group).  The general idea behind a bid is to give both sides an equal chance to win while changing the fewest possible things.

    With previous games (Classic and Revised) the setup needed slight altering and cash just can’t solve the problem.  Take a G1 Egy attack in Revised.  With no bid you attack, maybe win, but are easily countered on UK1 and Afr is lost for the entire game or not a real issue for the Allies and the Axis will lose.  It doesn’t matter if Germany has 12, 15, 18 extra ipcs to spend on units on G1 b/c those units won’t see the Russian front until G4.  By that time UK and US are landing heavily in Nor/Kar or threatening WE/Ger with a direct assualt.  The issue here is how do you help boost Ger’s income long term for the mid game.  The answer is they need to be able to blitz Afr, thus they have to hold Egy on G1 and prevent the UK counter, so a bidded unit becomes necessary.  Simply placing 1-2 more inf on Lib is much better than the equivalent 12-15 ipcs needed in cash.  FIDA bids (split bids between land and cash) are typically double unit bids so if you bid 8-9 in Revised, you should be bidding 15-18 for FIDA and I’m assuming a straight cash bid would be even higher, I’d figure at least 21+.

    Now for AA50 there’s still a debate on side advantages, but again it all depends on what eventually becomes the standard G1 and J1 open.  Right now Ger attacks the 3 Russian Ter, Egy, Sz 12, Sz 6, and probably Sz 2, and Japan attacks 3-4 chi, kwa, pearl, sz 35, sz 56, phil, and takes the empty islands.  But as play on both sides tightens up if it is ever determined that one of these early crucial battles is vastly more important than the others then you’d need a unit bid to solve the problem.

    For Example, I believe Egy could be this battle in AA50 as well.  I think leaving the UK with an arm/ftr or ftr gives the Allies an adv to win.  However, leaving the UK with a BB, DD, and 2 trns to start in the Atlantic isn’t that great either.  Thus both should probably be attacked but in order to do both you have to take some risks (either no bom to Egy or sub(s) + ftr(s) to Sz 2).  If you win great, but if not, you could be in an even bigger hole.  So to remedy this why not just bid another inf to Lib and make Egy a little safer?  Again, if this battle is viewed as the most important of round 1 then giving Ger, Ita, or Jap cash won’t help in winning the battle.  On the flip side if you think the Axis have the Adv in AA50, there is still going to be 1 key battle where you hope your Allied defense holds.  That will likely be Egy, a Russian Ter, or perhaps one of the naval engagements.  For simplicity assume the Allies feel Egy is the key battle.  Again giving cash will not help if Ger always wins in Egy, or if you think BST is the key batte b/c then Ger always takes Kar in Rd 2 and smashes Russia in Rd 4 or 5, why not just bid a couple inf there (or Kar) so Russia can maybe counter BST and hold Kar.  In the last scenerio giving Russia Cash will not help counter on R1 and may not even help in R2.  Thus you still lose the strategic goal and position for the cost a few inf.  All that means is if the Axis gain an Eco Adv it might take them an extra turn or two to crush Moscow.  In this case the cash bid never gave you an oppotunity to get the game to a 50/50 proposition.



  • Good arguments, DM  🙂 It’s obvious that a cash bid will be higher than a units bid, but a bid system should be or cash for all or units for all, not one side getting units and the other getting cash



  • There are good arguments for both cash bids and unit bids, it’s not easy to decide what influences the game most and least.

    My premise for any type of bid, is the minimalistic approach. If not, then I would change something b/c I was unhappy with some other issues in the game, not the game balance.

    I don’t agree that game balance can’t be changed by cash bids, even if the bias is close to the classic game. It’s just a matter of enough cash, I would be happy to play axis in classic with only cash bids, if the amount is high enough.

    So if cash bids do not affect the game until rnd 3-4, then maybe cash bids are more minimalistic?



  • The difficult thing with cash bids is decide how much bid you need. I have some ideas about a right bid in AA50, but I have not any solid idea (my bet about 30 could go higher or lower, it was only a speculation). With units, it’s easier to bid: I need a unit here, another there or so …

    I think cash bids could go double of units bids. If Revised was balanced with 7-9 bid, it would need 14-18? Maybe yes. I think a unit bid of 12 (maybe a bit more) could go well for 1941, but it could easily go near to 30 with cash bids


  • Moderator

    Just to add another thought, all unit bids are not the same.  For example 1 inf to Chi is not the same as 1 inf to Egy.  So in terms of casual games if you are just looking for “different” game playouts then try a few extra inf for China, or give Russia a ftr, or whatever you wanted to try.  You can use a declared bid (instead of blind bid) where you can bid specific units, ie maybe you want to bid a bomber to Russia, or another allied ship to the Pac or Atl, or an Ita DD, etc.  Likewise if you want to do cash that would work but as Func pointed out it is a lot harder to determine a good amount.  Also just like unit bid, not all cash bids are the same, 20 ipc to Russia =/= 20 ipc to UK =/= 20 ipc to US.

    You also could just alter the set up (not add units but move).  Try just moving the China ftr to a safe location, move a ship or two around, etc.

    But for competitive play I think the easiest way is simply to use a blind bid for units.  Typically the range gets narrowed down very quickly and you start to see a series of 2-4 different placements, usually reflecting a Power Europe play (PE), a Power Africa (PAfr), or a Power Asia (PA).

    In AA50 if bidding for the Axis continues here we’ll still probably see these variations with the Pafr broken up into an Ita focus or Ger focus, but if the Allies need bidding we’ll probably end up seeing a European Defense bid (Russia units), Africa Defense (UK units), Pacific Defense (US units), or the China Defense.  I’m sure all would have +/- and it would come down to amounts and what you feel like playing or trying.

    In all cases bidding does alter the game and you can’t prevent that, but the issue at that point is do you want to play a game where before anyone even moves one side might have a huge advantage?  For on-line play competitive play the answer is no.

    Generally small bids (1 inf here or there) don’t mean much considering all that is is an extra hit on Off or Def in any battle or a successful SBR vs. a bom that got shot down right away, etc.  I’d put 1-2 unit bid within the margin of error any game played without a bid, but they are designed just to make the round 1 screw job a little less likely.



  • @Funcioneta:

    I think a unit bid of 12 (maybe a bit more) could go well for 1941, but it could easily go near to 30 with cash bids

    So you lowered your estimate from $20 to $12? I don’t think I’ll find any players who would give me a 12 bid with allies, not even in LL.



  • Sorry for a stupid question, but english is not my mothertung. What do you all mean by “bidding”? Or have I missed something in the new rules? Oooops…



  • @hakan:

    Sorry for a stupid question, but english is not my mothertung. What do you all mean by “bidding”? Or have I missed something in the new rules? Oooops…

    Did you play revised?

    What did you do to balance the game?



  • Darth, thanks for your first post above - some very interesting thoughts.  You raise some good reasons for why unit bids might be a helpful solution.  I think unit bids should remain a last resort however, only if more agreeable (less game changing) fixes can’t be found.

    I agree whole-heartedly with your impression that Egypt G1 is important.  In fact, I think it is largely determinative of the game.  But I don’t think it’s so much about the assets that remain as a result (i.e. the british fighter, or the BB in sz2 etc.), but the income difference dictated by who gets early control of Africa.  The problem is that there are so few units in Africa, it is so far out of the way and it is worth so much.  A 20+ IPC swing rides on who controls (I’m talking relative income difference, not territory/cash value.  I.e. if both sides were on 100 income and then africa changed hands it would become 90/110).  And it’s not  worth seriously contesting africa after the opening becuase those assets are more needed and useful at the proximate fronts.  So whichever side ends G1 with armor(s) in Egypts looks good to win I’d say - as in previous editions, he/she who holds Africa wins the war.

    If you’re with on this up to here, then neither a cash bid or a unit bid will be a terribly effective balancer.  You’ve highlighted well some deficiencies with the cash bid above.  The unit bid will result the same way - however it turns out, whoever gets the extra units in Egypt wins the war.

    It’s clear there’s a dynamics problem here, not a balance problem (in fact I believe the rest of the board is extremely well balanced).  You can basically flip a coin (well, a biased 70/30 one for the axis…) on who starts the game with the advantage - i.e. wins in Egypt G1.  A cash bid of 20 or 30 to USA for example will still come down to the same to a coin flip (and if allies win egypt, the game will be close, if they lose it they will instead get trounced).

    Solution
    I think a more appropriate solution would be reducing the value of all those central african territories. I don’t think it improves the game that Africa is worth so much - it certainly doesn’t help game dynamics, and I’d welcome the views of people with good historical knowledge whether it is even accurate that it was so valuable income-wise during WWII.

    For example, make all African territories worth zero except the three north african ones + Saf.  You’d then have to rebalance the UK’s income.  The value of Australia could be increased (perhaps splitting Australia into two territories with WA worth 1 and the east/south worth 3), which is both more realistic and has the added benefit of keeping the US interested in the pacific (and thus improving the dynamics of the game).

    Darth, if you’d like to workshop these ideas (maybe try a game?) i’d be keen.  I think something along these lines would sort out what is nearly a masterfully designed game, but is just not quite right…



  • No, keep Africa as now. We don’t need a even stronger axis (UK gets most of her income from Africa after Japan eats all east of Persia)



  • Func, the idea would be UK would have the same income, but added elsewhere (and perhaps by removing that stupid NO about controlling japanese territories which makes no historical sense, and is virtually impossible in any normal/close game anyway).  The reason for reducing the value of africa is it seems disproportiantely valuable, and whether that benefit goes to Axis or Allies is decided in a coin flip on G1…

    (Pero gracias por la respuesta - y haber leido - mi anterior consulta larga  :-))



  • ¡Tu español es magnífico! De hecho, es mucho mejor que el que veo por foros españoles  🙂

    The UK NO you say is not historicall (I agree with you), but one can get it sometimes, grabbing Caroline islands with USA

    I think Africa should retain her value. The coin flip is a valid argument, but I think it’s better altering the setup. A Africa filled with zero IPCs territories would be ignored as we saw in small Pacific islands of Revised (Midway and such). Anyway, it’s not so easy grab Africa: axis face reinforcements from alg or saf (IC), and allies face the japanese indian fleet.



  • "Solution
    I think a more appropriate solution would be reducing the value of all those central african territories. I don’t think it improves the game that Africa is worth so much - it certainly doesn’t help game dynamics, and I’d welcome the views of people with good historical knowledge whether it is even accurate that it was so valuable income-wise during WWII.

    For example, make all African territories worth zero except the three north african ones + Saf.  You’d then have to rebalance the UK’s income.  The value of Australia could be increased (perhaps splitting Australia into two territories with WA worth 1 and the east/south worth 3), which is both more realistic and has the added benefit of keeping the US interested in the pacific (and thus improving the dynamics of the game)."

    Most African territories are worth 1, so this is already fine. It still take 3-4 turns for a tank to blitz through Africa. Plus, the 2 men in South Africa usually just block the tank from ever getting SAF.
    Maybe it’s me being Canadian, but Canada should be worth more. During WWII, we were already 10 millions or so, with a relatively good economy and war economy 😕 If UK can keep some stable amount of IPC, maybe things would change.

    But I personally believe that it will take more time before knowing what is wrong (if something is) with the game. And I agree that placing units as bids may not be a good idea, because it changes the board situation.

    Robert



  • @Telamon:

    For example, make all African territories worth zero except the three north african ones + Saf.  You’d then have to rebalance the UK’s income.

    That could be an interesting custom mod, but it has nothing to with game balance.

    It would not be AA50 either.



  • @Omega:

    Maybe it’s me being Canadian, but Canada should be worth more. During WWII, we were already 10 millions or so, with a relatively good economy and war economy 😕 If UK can keep some stable amount of IPC, maybe things would change.

    Thanks for your thoughts Robert.  I agree with you that Canada should be worth more - and perhaps south africa and australia, if going down the route of this solution.

    Most African territories are worth 1, so this is already fine. It still take 3-4 turns for a tank to blitz through Africa. Plus, the 2 men in South Africa usually just block the tank from ever getting SAF.

    The issue for me is they all add up to so much and it makes the battle for Egypt in G1 have such a decisive influence on the outcome of the game.  When germany gets two tanks there (40% of games), they get 7 of the 13 income from Africa on their second turn and 10-11 from the next round on.  This is being added to germany’s pocket and denied from englands.  If the allies contest africa they’re spending their (now greatly limited) funds on low value territories and giving up the main theatres.  If they don’t, the axis will walk all over the allies.  Germany and Italy on ~65 income can hold out against the three allies far longer than, Russia on 25-33 can against pressure from all three axis.

    You’re right that with one tank (20%), it will take germany longer to pillage africa and allied reinforcements can arrive in time to contest.  The game will then be pretty well balanced, IMHO.  When the attack fails (~40%), Germany doesn’t have enough income to hold off very long against british landings and can expect to get trounced in short order.

    Now, I’ll return to the topic of this thread (bidding).  While opinions vary on game balance, I now feel comfortable enough to settle on my own view.  The game is ‘overall’ extremely well balanced - it’s just that so much rides on Egypt G1.  Bidding won’t fix this.  Unit bids will just decide who wins the africa advantage.  For cash bids, you won’t know who needs it until after the Egypt attack.  What about doing the Egypt attack before anything else and then cash bidding for sides!

    (Obviously works only where the bomber does not attack egypt - but I’ll glady be allies against any axis who makes that decision)



  • I have read this thread and I have to chuckle as I think people have lost the purpose of the bid. People are concerned about how the placement of immediate units imbalances the game but who allowed that opponent to walk off with so much cash in the bid.

    If I think I can win with the axis straight up (no bid) when why would I bid more than zero? The bid is like “name that tune” where you challange your opponent to beat you with less. I am reading bids of 12 or more and I think that is nuts (who allows someone to walk off with 12 IPCs? I wanna play you!)

    As for the play testers, Larry Harris is far from perfect. I know far more complicated systems that let have huge amounts of play testers and even they let some things through.

    Over all, I like the bid system for if you really want to play the axis…bid low!


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