House rules for subs as defending fodder?



  • IMO, subs are too weak if they can’t be used as defending fodder (I know some other user agree as I read posts complaining about this).  To illustrate, suppose USA approaches Japan with an invasion force and Japan strikes first:

    Japan (attacker):
    8 ftr
    2 bmb

    USA (defender):
    2 CV
    4 ftr
    8 sub
    2 dd
    4 trn

    The rules are fairly clear that in this battle the USA can’t choose to take subs as losses, which means Japan has a ~90% chance of victory (killing everything except for the subs).  I’m contemplating a house rule that states:

    Defending subs can be hit by any air/sea units regardless of whether or not an attacking DD is present.  However, if no enemy DD is present, the subs may submerge before any rolling.  If subs attack and no defending DD is present, then defending air units can’t hit subs (even when they’re on the surface).

    (I believe that the last two sentences are how it already works, but I included them with the house rule for clarity)

    This way subs’ current capabilities are preserved, but they can now be used as defending fodder.  Does that seem reasonable to the more experienced players here or does it throw off the game mechanics? (I’ve only played AA50 a couple times)


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I believe it was the intent too keep the extremely low priced submarines from being too powerful.  I think this might make submarines way too powerful again.  After all, we are talking about a potential 5 IPC unit that attacks at 3 or less and cannot be hit by the target it sinks in the water.  No other unit has that ability, nor that price.

    Now, admittedly, I think in most games submarines are virtually useless.  They’re more of a way too keep your opponent honest and protect his transports than anything else.

    What the designers did was add in a unit to replace the submarine: the destroyer.  It costs the same as a submarine in Revised did, it has the same attack/defend abilities as a submarine did (except it can also defend against air attack, which submarines could not do before) it moves as far as a submarine, it can block enemy movement like a submarine.  In all respects (except defending against air attack and not getting a sneak shot) destroyers in AA50 are identical to submarines in Classic/AAR.

    I believe your best option would be to just use destroyers as you did submarines before.  Submarines now have a completely different utility.  They cost virtually nothing (you can get 3 of them for the price of a battleship and there’s somewhat decent odds that 3 submarines vs 1 battleship results in no losses for the submarines) and they are immune to air attack.  But likewise, they don’t defend for squat - as they should since they were more busy diving for the ocean floor instead of shooting back!

    I think, and this is personal opinion, that players need to view submarines as if they are new units added to the game like artillery in revised; they need to view cruisers as destroyers of old and destroyers as submarines of old.  If players do that, they’ll find that submarines have a utility, but it’s no where near what it used to be and that naval warfare is actually much improved because of the changes to submarines and transports in particular (I also like cruisers, since you don’t need a frazzin tech to use them for shore bombardments.)



  • When I started playing AA50 two things took some time to get used to. 1st was transports. I could see why a transport shouldn’t get a shot at a plane or war ship. I didn’t like losing them at the end of a sea battle or when the enemy could just do flybys and kill them without firing. I’m warming up to it though. By being forced to protect them it adds a new strategic level to the sea. The subs not taking hits was the 2nd thing. It really sucks when your German Baltic fleet gets wiped out by British air early and your subs just sit there. We even made up house rules similar to yours. My son pointed out however if you captained a sub and your fleet was attacked by only air units would you stay on the surface and wave your arms in the air and say here I am ignore that battleship and shoot at me. I see why the rules don’t allow this, but we still use this house rule in some games anyway. The thing that still gets me is when you are attacked by air & ships (but no enemy destroyers), and you leave your subs in the battle to defend at their mighty 1, and your subs still can’t absorb a hit(from air).They are in the fight. Its like why would the enemy bring a destroyer into the battle, it would be a penalty. This might be a strange argument for cruisers(cz) being able to spot subs, at least if the enemy had a cz your subs could be hit. Oh well just hope for snake eyes i guess lol.



  • @Cmdr:

    I believe it was the intent too keep the extremely low priced submarines from being too powerful.  I think this might make submarines way too powerful again.  After all, we are talking about a potential 5 IPC unit that attacks at 3 or less and cannot be hit by the target it sinks in the water.  No other unit has that ability, nor that price.

    That’s a good point, though it assumes two techs and I don’t think it’s as powerful as heavy bombers (and certainly it’s not as bad as heavy bombers + long range aircraft).

    @Cmdr:

    Now, admittedly, I think in most games submarines are virtually useless.  They’re more of a way too keep your opponent honest and protect his transports than anything else.

    Right, subs are too weak but I don’t want to mess up the game balance.

    @Cmdr:

    What the designers did was add in a unit to replace the submarine: the destroyer.  It costs the same as a submarine in Revised did, it has the same attack/defend abilities as a submarine did (except it can also defend against air attack, which submarines could not do before) it moves as far as a submarine, it can block enemy movement like a submarine.  In all respects (except defending against air attack and not getting a sneak shot) destroyers in AA50 are identical to submarines in Classic/AAR.

    I believe your best option would be to just use destroyers as you did submarines before.

    Even with AA50’s long-overdue unit cost reductions, fleets are still expensive so I don’t like the idea of having to use DDs as fodder instead of subs.

    @WILD:

    When I started playing AA50 two things took some time to get used to. 1st was transports. I could see why a transport shouldn’t get a shot at a plane or war ship. I didn’t like losing them at the end of a sea battle or when the enemy could just do flybys and kill them without firing. I’m warming up to it though.

    I like that trns aren’t in the battle.  In fact, so far I like all of the AA50 rule changes except for defending subs not being able to be used as fodder against planes.

    @WILD:

    Its like why would the enemy bring a destroyer into the battle, it would be a penalty.

    Exactly.  Sure there are some scenarios where sending in a destroyer makes sense, but there are many in which an attacker would choose not to send in a destroyer to ensure that planes hit only non-sub defending units.  It doesn’t make sense to be penalized for bringing destroyers into a battle and also allows for loophole-ish manipulation.

    @WILD:

    My son pointed out however if you captained a sub and your fleet was attacked by only air units would you stay on the surface and wave your arms in the air and say here I am ignore that battleship and shoot at me.

    Keeping subs on the surface to give planes something else to shoot at isn’t as far fetched as it might seem; sacrifice for the sake of delaying/distracting an enemy from more important objectives isn’t that uncommon.

    I may try my house rule next game… it shouldn’t diminish the role of DDs as sub hunters and I don’t think it’ll make subs too powerful.  But given the amount of play testing that takes place, I assume that the game designers kept the rules the way they are for a reason.  Perhaps I just haven’t played enough and this isn’t as big a problem as I think it is.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback!



  • @Cmdr:

    Now, admittedly, I think in most games submarines are virtually useless.  They’re more of a way too keep your opponent honest and protect his transports than anything else.

    Sadly I think the key to unlocking the proper value of submarines as a strategic weapon is tied to realizing economic warfare… which in turn requires a much more complex and broader set of house rules, re-drawn sea zones, possible ownership of Das Boot



  • i keep going back and forth on this to since allowing them as fodder can mean that once a power gets improved shipyards they simply buy lots of the dumb things at 5 apiece and use them as buffers to soak up casualties while their hits are getting applied to more expensive units. But it can be argued that air can be upgraded too. either way i think one needs to err on the side of helping out the navy either by giving cruisers flak ability or something like that since air units are IPC for IPC more dangerous in almost any combination than navy and that isnt even considering the fact that my calculations don’t factor in transports being part of the fleet which just makes them more vulnerable. the only point of a fleet is to take away affect the IPC situation by setting up an invasion or by defending against ships invading in essence this is true so ships are a lot of money and they must do one of the two to ever be worth anything to your war effort. meanwhile planes can participate and be big players in land and sea combat so i don’t think air power can ever be undervalued without a serious shift in the rules. thoughts?


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I don’t view the destroyer as an expensive unit though.  The destroyer in my mind is the submarine of old with the ability to defend itself against air attack in place of the sneak shot ability.

    In my mind, the submarine is the new piece on the board.  Here’s a cheap unit you can toss out for naval attacks and it helps keep your opponent honest.  Either he puts some destroyers in the water, or you sink his fleet with minimal losses.

    And yes, the LRA/HB combo is pretty wicked.  Even worse is the LRA/HB + Paratroopers combo!  I get that, you may as well forget having islands.



  • What taste better, an apple or an orange?
    Depends on the person.

    Like Cmdr Jennifer said:
    @Cmdr:

    The destroyer in my mind is the submarine of old with the ability to defend itself against air attack in place of the sneak shot ability.

    In my mind, the submarine is the new piece on the board.  Here’s a cheap unit you can toss out for naval attacks and it helps keep your opponent honest.

    The sub is a new type of unit, which acts differently than in any other A&A games.

    Sure, there are some things we miss about it - but now subs can move about without getting hit by aircraft!

    This is awesome!  😄

    A side note: sub stalling is not a problem any more. (A&A Pacific)

    Think of subs as a different unit, with new strategies to come up with.

    Think of subs as an attackers unit.    🙂

    One example, after the US fleet has moved away from sz56 (West coast), subs can be mobilized in sz56 and catch up with the main fleet with out needing AC/ftr protection from Japan’s aircraft.


Log in to reply
 

Suggested Topics

  • 6
  • 1
  • 42
  • 44
  • 22
  • 3
  • 1
  • 2
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys

23
Online

13.7k
Users

34.0k
Topics

1.3m
Posts