I’ve played AA for a long time and, as many others on here, find 1940 to be awesome. Most of our games almost always have consisted of my dad, brother, and myself over the years. The play is something that, I wouldn’t call predictable, but you of course don’t see as many different things happen with different/experienced players. While I usually win regardless of which side I am, that’s certainly more of a reason for a lack of diversity in players I am sure.
Point being, we haven’t ever done a whole ton of HR’s, though they are something I’ve always wanted to do, though my dad is a bit hesitant on change in these games. As I’ve read posts here over time and see that the general consensus is that the Axis is too strong. While I would love to add HR’s to add Canada (and South Africa), Axis minors, paratroopers, etc., there is certainly a lot of balancing to take into consideration. While it may work for my own HR’s (because of that lack of difference in playing styles I pointed out), I’m trying to think of ways to try and evenly balance everyone’s games in this community at large. One thought I have on that is adding Vichy France rules.
When the France and Normandy/Bordeaux territories are overrun, the Vichy regime is set up. The territories of Southern France, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, and French Indo China become Vichy controlled, as well as the units on them and the naval forces in sea zone 93. The remaining French territories and units are considered Free French.
Vichy France gets it’s small income of 9 IPC’s to produce units in Southern France, while a Free French government is set up in London, using the remaining 4 IPC’s of French territory. Germany is still allowed to build units in Southern France, but the combined German/Vichy French forces can still not exceed the production amount (this is to allow Germany to build a navy in the Mediterranean still if they chose without having to build a minor in Yugoslavia if they don’t want to).
European Axis units are not allowed to enter Vichy French territories. They are only allowed to do so once an Allied invasion of North Africa happens (or we can just say once Allied units enter a Vichy French territory). Historically, the Vichy French government/cooperation with the Axis was very shaky, and Hitler did everything he could to make sure this wasn’t disrupted, for fear of the Vichy government turning on him. Mussolini wanted to take control of French North Africa, but Hitler would not allow it for fear of angering Vichy into war. It took a lot of diplomacy to get Vichy to agree to stage the Luftwaffe in Syria, which was only thwarted by a small, but difficult invasion by the Middle East Command.
The Japanese are still allowed to invade French Indo China as they normally are without any political repercussions. Historically, Japan was feeling pretty big about their Axis partners defeating France and wanted to get their share of the pie. They waltzed right into French Indo China and staged units there, essentially saying they had no choice as a defeated power to Japan’s ally Germany. This ended up a huge and important staging ground for Japanese units in the invasion of Malaya and Burma later on.
When the Allies attack, they roll a dice to see what the Vichy forces in that territory will do. On a role of 1-2 the Vichy forces will fight the Allied landing. On a 3-6 they refuse to fight and join the Allied side (this can be change to 1-3, and 4-6 if the odds don’t seem fair). Historically, neither side had much of an idea how Vichy units would react when Operation Torch (the American invasion of North Africa) commenced. Some were certain the French army would refuse to fight, but the French Navy was seen as more sympathetic to the Axis cause. Each time the Allies move into a Vichy territory this same sequence is done.
After the Allied landings the Axis are free to move in as they please, though it will be an act of war against the Vichy government and would have to fight as they normally would against them. So the Axis has the choice of hoping the Vichy units will stay on their side and fight the Allies, or chose to not risk it and attack to keep the ground.
I feel that this generally will not help the Axis, and potentially balances out a bit. Germany and Italy loose out on the potential money of the Vichy French territories. Even though they don’t need to risk the units to kill the French, thus preserving some forces, they also don’t get that money and also don’t know for certain what the Vichy units will do once the Allies invade. They also won’t have the same kind of defenses set up to stop a Torch invasion because of it.
This also allows the extra 4 IPC’s of French money to be put to use for the Allies under the Free French government, instead of wasting in purgatory waiting for the Axis to take them or Paris to be liberated.
I understand this takes away an Italian NO in not allowing them to take control of the French North African territories. This either further balances the game against the Axis, or another NO can be featured for them. Perhaps +5 IPC’s for the Axis holding Malta, Crete, and Cyprus.
Again, I’m more just spouting ideas out to see if anyone thinks this will help with balance. Too much in favor of the Allies? Just trying to think of ways to not have to include a bid. Please let me know what you think, I’d love to see. Brutal honesty is appreciated if you just hate the idea.