I can't lose as Allies?

  • I’m a little confused because of all the people saying the game completely favors the Germans.  Because we can’t figure out how it is possible for the Allies to lose.  Can anyone explain to me what seems to be the challenges through say, the beginning, middle, and end games for some of you?

    In most every game we have played, most British beaches are cleared by Turn 1, Caen falls by Turn 3, Cherbourg by turn 6, and St Lo by turn 9 consistently.  The only times the Germans have ever come close is usually when the reinforcement rolls favor them heavily.  But this is after about a dozen games between 3 people playing 2 player games.  I consider myself generally the best strategist of the three, and win more often than not in various games.  But even I haven’t won as Germany yet and we’ve tried a couple different things.  An aggressive game, a defensive game, defending only Cherbourg and Caen, abandoning Caen, holding Caen, harassing Caen.

    In my opinion the fighter advantage is devastating, and the only reason I can see for the disconnect here is consistent crappy use of Air power (which seems unlikely across the board).  We haven’t included the Fortune and Tactics cards yet, dunno if that will make a huge difference either way.  But we kind of wanted to learn the ropes before adding the other cards.  But after 12 straight Allied victories, we feel like we are doing something wrong?  The only other thing I can think of is the Allied players out there aren’t also engaging sources of reinforcements for the VC’s allowing them to be continually reinforced.

    But we are of the opinion that either this game heavily favors the Allies, or maybe we just consistently roll better on the reinforcement chart.  Because that variable seems to be the biggest and most widely ranged facet of the game that can dish out severe disadvantages.  There is potentially a twenty unit difference between the two sides reinforcements every turn.  We are seriously considering doing reinforcements as 1d6 + 3 rather than 2d6.  So can anyone explain what we aren’t getting?

  • Ok I won as Germany for the first time today.  At the end of turn nine, I had 6 units left adjacent to St Lo which was empty of my units and was covered by 3 fighters and the zone I was in was covered by three fighters.  All but one were killed off by the fighters.  I managed to get my very last unit into St Lo at the very latest moment.

    I see we were making one mistake as a group.  We all considered Cherbourg a foregone conclusion and would typically fall back and bunker in with an adjacent space of Infantry reinforcements.  Then the US would head north with two artillery, two tanks, and about ten infantry in tow.  The main US stack would engage Cherbourg, my reinforcement stack of infantry would engage their infantry, and I fed both battles via infantry from Utah as needed.  I tried something radically different this time.  Rather than playing a semi aggressive game as Germans cautiously developing my stacks before engaging heavily, I just went totally aggressive and tried to drive the allies into the sea from the beginning.  One thing I could have done different is pulled my last four reinforcing units all the way back to Cherbourg rather than continually pouring them into the Utah Beachhead landing zone.  Because once all my Cherbourg units were gone, all they had to do was truck a tank up there real quick.  By relocating my remnants back to Cherbourg, I force them to send a decent stack that wont be able to make it to St Lo in time.

    But it was still really close obviously, and I have to admit overall the dice fell my way a lot.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    My first inclination would be you are ignoring the stacking limits and are not bringing in the Allied reinforcements properly. Reinforcements can only come in on the correct beachhead box and will hold up other reinforcements till they can enter on the correct beachead box.

    I would also guess some sort of rules ‘baggage’ from other games is in there as well if this isn’t your first A&A game.

    The Allies may just be on a remarkable run of luck though. Or you’re not very good at playing the Germans. Have you tried concentrating on holding only St. Lo, ignoring Cherbourg beyond just units locally available and stalling at Caen?

    Deadeye posted while I was typing so sorry if I’m ‘behind.’

  • Nope, we understand the stacking limits for zones/reinforcement areas, the number of units for each respective beachhead, etc.  I understand that on turn 1 the max US reinforcements are 4 infantry at Utah.  The only rule about the whole game I’m not totally certain of is if airborne units make targeted attacks during Phase 1 of Turn 1.  It doesn’t really say either way…so we have been playing that it isn’t targeted although it was a matter of a 30 minute debate lol.  So yeah…we understand the rules properly.  =D

    We used to all play A&A years ago, then college, careers, family, etc. happened.  But while I was Christmas shopping for my grandson, I saw the D-Day game as well as GC and BoB and picked them up for myself.  So no rules inheritance either.  Weve all been working on the German strategies today, and I like my approach the best.  I go after the US troops coming in from Utah and send most of the loose units not near Caen towards Utah beach and the zone south of it which is adjacent to Omaha.  That zone allows me to keep either beachhead supplied from the handful of units I have to the south (in addition to 3 Inf and a Tank reinforcement I bring up).  The remaining units coming in from the north are setting up in the zone north of Utah and adjacent to Cherbourg.  I use these units to keep pressure on both American beachheads for as long as possible, and finally drop my northern reinforcement stack back to Cherbourg, usually when it consists of the 2 artillery and an infantry or two.  Unless throwing them in on the Utah fight will yield some American tank kills I pull them back to Cherbourg.

    St Lo I pretty much leave empty until the American beaches break and then I garrison it with a decent stack and some AA guns in the southern reinforcement zone when they are ready to make an attack.  All troops eventually end up being funneled into that region once the British push me out of Caen and off the zone between Caen and the Chartres resupply zones.

    Caen is the real battle of the whole game in my opinion and how goes Caen so goes the game.  We’ve tried a variety of things there, and generally I try to reinforce it hard for as long as possible under heavy fighter support.  This makes staying there a bit costly, but it pretty much ties up all their air power leaving Cherbourg and St Lo free to do as I please with.  I like to resupply it from the eastern Rouen zone and the western Chartres zone which allows three paths of reinforcements spreading out their air power.  Eventually I transition out of the eastern Roen zone and supply only from the Chartres region.  Which I eventually fall back from as the British push forward towards St Lo.  The end game is usually me with St Lo being resupplied by the two south western zones, with occasional skirmish infantry throw out to stop a tank blitz from tieing up my reinforcement zones.

    Today Ive been playing Germany against both people and Ive won two out of four now.  We have made the rule change we were considering earlier.  Reinforcements are 1d6 + 3.  Honestly this has been giving a much more balanced game for all involved, and what we had started to notice that in many of our games, the Allies got some big reinforcement rolls in the first three turns and the Axis didnt.  This pretty much nullifies the German potential to destroy the Allied forces in detail as they land.  And for some reason it is just damn hard for us to shoot down those fighters.  More often than not we end a game with 6 or more fighters still in the game.  However when I am Germany I am very mindful of Artillery placement and maximize every advantage to take shots at them early and regularly.  I think we were just running into a stumbling block of not being able to think outside the box we had defined for ourselves on first impressions.  Once I said screw conventional wisdom and started trying some different things it started to even up.

    Thanks for the response, and for what its worth…I still think the game is pretty well balanced.  =D

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    Glad you are getting the hang of it. You  certainly have to make the Allies commit something to taking Cherbourg which is the only real victory you can achieve there.

    I also agree that Caen is a tricky balancing act. How many units to burn for time and ground?

    I also agree it is pretty important thing to get Artillery in your reinforcement zones to both scare off (not much usually) Allied air cover and get some shots in to take down a plane here and there. But if the Allied fighters are on hot dice it is a pretty bad time for the Axis.

    I don’t agree with your rules change on the reinforcements but I’ve never been one for house rules. You’ve increased the chance of getting a, 7,8 or 9 but eliminated the three highest values (10, 11, 12) but only the two lowest (2 & 3) which creates greater potential for a ten unit difference (you have the same chance of getting only four units off the chart as you do nine) which is potentially even greater because of the threat of Allied air cover.

    Spelled out another way on 2d6 you have a 1/12 chance of getting a four but a 1/9 chance of getting 9 now you have a 1/6 chance of each. The Axis have now doubled their chance to get one of the lowest numbers from a chart while facing the same chances those units will be destroyed.

    You allow the Allies to get to their ‘any beach’ reinforcements faster by eliminating the two lowest values and increasing the chance of getting the a high average value of 9. Because of the stacking limit eliminating the 10-11-12 is less hampering to them while because of planes eliminating the 10-11-12 is more hampering to the Axis.

    So you’ve made a change intended to help the Axis that really hurts them– yet the Axis still won 2?  😐

    Perhaps you have found a good balancing rule.  😉

  • Yeah its coming along now.  And vacation is almost over lol.  About the rule change…generally we don’t like house rules either as they can be a source of sour grapes when someone loses lol.  But either Im not understanding you or you arent understanding me lol.  With OOB rules, it is possible for one side to get a total of 4 reinforcements and the other to get 24 reinforcements in a single turn.  Thats not a ten unit deficit, it’s a twenty unit deficit.  And I dont care which side Im playing, I can use that one set of rolls to pretty much win the game.  With 1d6 + 3, the least one side can get is 8, and the most one side can get is 18 yielding a ten reinforcement difference.  A ten unit difference is manageable.  Twenty units not so much.  What we were finding is that a few disparate reinforcement rolls and the game is won or lost.  And well that’s a whole lot of work and playing to decide the game in a few dice rolls.  For us it works, in terms of balance, it seems pretty close to me, and maybe I just like the Allies better or roll better with them, but they are doing fine.

    I have been fine tuning my game though.  For example, the best thing to do in the Cherbourg sector is definitely to stack up your German units in the zone where the 101st lands.  It puts the allies in a tough spot.  They can only reinforce 4 at a time through Utah, and if the landing zone isn’t the one locked in combat, no matter what they do they have to leave an exposed supply line with a max of four units that once engaged will cut off the US main stack from reinforcements.  Plus the Cherbourg sector is the absolute best place for the Germans to attack early and hard because unlike Caen, you can assemble balanced stacks quicker and put them into action and the allies cannot.

    One other thing I have been doing in recent games is going after the Sword landing zone if things dont go great for the allies there.  It allows you to avoid losing your blockhouses in melee forcing them to make it yet another naval bombardment target, plus it is the best place to assemble a semi decent stack on Turn one.  Little tactical things like that are becoming apparent.  Certain zones are becoming obvious hot spots, others are dead zones that will likely never see a single unit.  From a strategic point of view the primarily problem was that we were being overly aggressive in the Caen region, and too passive in the Cherbourg region.  Once we switched that up, things started to even out.  It is sometimes hard to play Germany (in any game) though and not be an aggressor lol.  =D

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    No I understand your aim in changing the reinforcements. The least you can get per chart is 4 with the most being 9 for the biggest possible gap of 10 (one side gets 4 from both charts and the other 9 from both charts.)  As opposed to a possible 2 per chart to 12 per chart for potential of 20 (4-24.)

    Where I don’t think you are understanding me is that you are hampering the Axis with this system and not the Allies. You have increased the Allied reinforcements.

    What your method doesn’t do is give the Axis a chance to catch up if they really take a beating from Allied planes. You don’t give a twelve result for a chart a chance to coincide with a hot run for Allied planes, or a big roll to make up for a low roll/hot run the previous turn.

    Your minimum reinforcement of 4 for a chart is the third lowest value available under the 2d6 system and you’ve doubled the chance of getting that (3 ways out of 36; 1/12 changed to 1/6.) You have doubled the chance the Axis will get a very low value while still keeping the same chances that they will be killed by Allied planes.

    By also increasing the chances of getting a Nine to 1/6 from 1/9 you increase the chances the gap between any two charts will be 5, thereby also increasing the chances the total gap will be 10.

    I haven’t done the math (not sure I even can) but I’d guess you’ve pushed the mean value of the ‘total gap’ higher. By flattening the distribution of results the mean of the difference between a turn’s reinforcement rolls is no longer zero.

    With 2d6 the average/mean result from each chart is 7 for a 14-14 or 0 gap. But with 1d6+3 there are more results with a gap than without, if one side gets 4 the other side could get 4 but is equally likely to get 5,6,7,8, or 9, therefore that average or mean gap is not 0.

    Your attempt to ‘even’ the reinforcements creates a bigger chance there will be a difference.

  • It also removes the possibility that after some bad luck against allied air they don’t start the follow up turn with 20 less units than the Allies.  As I said, the majority of the issues we had in terms of balance was when one side got huge rolls and the other one got low rolls.  The goal here is to stop the game from being determined by four or five dice rolls which the current reinforcement system can do.  The change is applied equally to both sides so it does not result in a net loss for the Axis.  Bad rolls in D-Day are not limited to strafing, they are possible in 100’s of scenarios that could effect either side.

    Im not a mathematician, but I do know this change results in less variance than the OOB rule because no matter what side you are playing, ten is half of twenty.  In addition since the change results in a single die roll and a constant for both sides rather than two rolls it creates a situation in which there is less chance of a difference not more chance.  Because both sides are using the same constant rather than a variable die.  Im not quite sure how to explain it any simpler than that, it’s just basic statistics.

    I am not stating that this change is an advantage to the Germans, Im simply saying in most of the games we played, chance dictated a reinforcement advantage for the Allies that was the primary contributor to their continued wins.  And of course the German strategy needed to be adjusted.  With the change in rule and strategy in place, the last half dozen games have come down to turn nine/ten, with a handful of units in play.  Very close each time.  If one side or the other gets a twenty unit advantage in one turn, it’s their game to lose.

  • In thinking about it some more I think I understand where you are coming from.  You are saying German reinforcements are subject to strafing, Allied units are not.  And I suppose that is accurate to a very limited extent.  Conversely, the Allies will have a tough time jamming 24 reinforcements in one turn so they have their own inherent difficulties in bring in that many units.  But that is also accurate to a very limited extent.  Allow me to explain…

    Allied Air power is a finite resource.  If you cover all the reinforcement zones, you are exposing your planes to more risk typically, and you are minimizing the role they can play in reinforcing combats.  So if they choose to use that resource to cut your reinforcements from off board, there is an opportunity cost to that decision, in that they wont be able to trim as many of your tanks from battles, resulting in larger stacks for you in combats that you inherently hold an advantage in if you can fill them with your tanks that roll 3 on defend as well.  Conversely, I can choose to put pressure on Allied reinforcement zones curtailing the possibility of their bringing in 24 units in at one time but there is an opportunity cost to that.

    Allies and Axis roll the same thing for reinforcements with the OOB rules.  They roll the same thing with this change.  It does not result in a net advantage to either side.  What it does do is remove a wide statistical variance for a smaller one, reducing the factor chance plays in the fate of the game which conversely increases the factor strategy plays in the fate of the game.

  • I followed your discussion about the two methods of reinforcement and looked at it from a mathematical point of view.
    Let’s look at the combined number of reinforcements for the Axis and the Allies. The method of the rulebook is to use
    A : Sum of 4 dice ( 4d6)
    This leads to an average of 14 and a standard deviation of 3.416.

    The alternative Deadeye mentioned is to use 2 dice + 6 ( two times 1d+3 ).

    First thing to notice is that you get an average of just 13 with his proposal.
    So my idea is to use
    B : Sum of 2 dice  + 7 ( 2d6+7)
    With this method we get an average of 14 and a standard deviation of 2.415.
    Practically I suggest that you roll once 1d+4 and then 1d+3. Let the player choose which one ( US/UK or Rennes/Rouen ) gets the +4 bonus.

    To compare the two ways of rolling I give some details :
    a) The diagram shows the distribution of probability :

    b) With a probability of 95% you get a number between 8 and 20 ( Met. A ) or 10 and 18 ( Met. B)
    c) Looking at the differences between Axis and Allies combined reinforcements you get a number between 0 and 20 ( Met.A ) or 0 and 10 ( Met. B). Interestingly, the average difference between the two sides doesn’t vary a lot. It’s 3.865 ( Met.A) compared to 2.744 ( Met. B).
    d) Achieving a notable difference between the two sides is harder using Met.B.  The diagram shows the cumulative probability and can be read like this. Pick a probability on the upward axis ( like 95 %) and you can read that using Met. A the difference is between 0 and 9 while using Met.B it’s between 0 and 6.

    e) The most probable difference between the two sides is 1 unit (!) regardless of the method.

  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League


    In thinking about it some more I think I understand where you are coming from.  You are saying German reinforcements are subject to strafing, Allied units are not.  And I suppose that is accurate to a very limited extent.

    Yes, that is my point.

    Conversely, the Allies will have a tough time jamming 24 reinforcements in one turn so they have their own inherent difficulties in bring in that many units.

    Yes but you have eliminated the highest values which does not bring the Allies up against ‘clogged beaches’ with a big roll (over 7) as often as it does Axis up against air power with a small roll (less than .)

    Allies and Axis roll the same thing for reinforcements with the OOB rules.  They roll the same thing with this change.  It does not result in a net advantage to either side.  What it does do is remove a wide statistical variance for a smaller one, reducing the factor chance plays in the fate of the game which conversely increases the factor strategy plays in the fate of the game.

    Yes. It does. I am incorrect on any change in the difference between results.


    e) The most probable difference between the two sides is 1 unit (!) regardless of the method.

    I’m glad you’ve found a rule that works for you. I guess I’m just a lot more averse to house rules than I thought.

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