And something else to consider would be to have different aircraft range rules (for instance whether or not airbases give a movement bonus) for the Europe and Pacific sides of the game map, or perhaps for the Pacific islands versus everywhere else, given that the size of the Pacific is vastly underrepresented on the game map and given that most of the Pacific islands have no IPC values and thus little other incentive to be captured. I was recently reading part of a book by James Dunnigan which made the point that, with eastern China under Japanese occupation and Russia neutral, Japan was beyond the useful reach of any existing American bomber at the start of the Pacific war, including the B-17 (which the Japanese knew about). Even the later and much longer-range B-29 (which the Japanese didn’t know about) couldn’t be deployed in massive numbers against Japan until the American took the Marianas. A few B-29 attacks against Japan were mounted before then from the unoccupied parts of China, but they were impractical because of the difficulties of getting the required fuel to the bases there; about two pounds of fuel had to be expended for every pound that reached the airbases.
Posts made by CWO Marc
RE: [Global 1940] Limiting air power
RE: Huge maps
Here’s a follow-up thought about table indentations. I note that General Manstein’s table has accessories trays along both the north and south edges of his table, which is convenient but adds to the amount of space over which players need to reach. I have no woodworking skills whatsoever, so I don’t know if this is doable or practical, but I’m wondering: could these types of trays be attached to a hinge of some sort, so that each one could be swung outward temporarily to give room to a player who needs to reach for an awkward area of the map? It could then be swung back into position along the table edge once the sculpt moves have been completed.
RE: Huge maps
@CWO-Marc Thank you for these insights and links - very helpful!
My pleasure. I’ve had a fondness for big military plotting tables ever since I saw the original 1970s movie Midway, which actually has two such tables: a relatively small one on Yamamoto’s flagship, and a huge one filling a whole room in Nimitz’s headquarters in Hawaii. Both tables use neat little ship-shaped labeled blocks to denote the position of vessels, and flat markers to depict aircraft. There are some funny continuity errors, if you look carefully, where the positions of the ships change from shot to shot within the same scene. My favourite one is the scene where Nimitz asks Spruance – who’s just placed the three American carrier markers near Hawaii – how he plans to position his forces at Midway; as Spruance thinks, the film cuts to a close-up of the three markers, which aren’t in the same configuration as we saw in the long shot. I credit that movie as the source of my eventual interest in A&A maps and sculpts.
“Sink the Bismark” also has a nice plotting table and makes good use of it. Both movies might be worth your looking at as reference sources for table design. Midway’s big table takes the interesting approach of not having fully straight sides; it’s indented in the areas where there’s empty ocean with no nearby land, to allow easier access to the other parts without having to reach over lots of empty space. That’s a bit radical for an A&A map, but in principle some of the southernmost sea zones of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic could be deleted to make room for table indentations.
RE: Huge maps
I suppose it could be argued that a big table gives the players more maneuvering room, and creates less opportunity for collisions than if they were crammed around a small one. The greatest potential for players to keep crashing into each other would actually be if they were all following the advice of that other Chinese sage, Sun Tse: “When we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”
Reaching across a big table is admittedly awkward, but a few techniques can help:
- Have a good supply of long-handled croupier sticks, a.k.a. war rakes, to help you reach across the table as needed. See here and here for inspiration:
Have a good snack table on the other side of the room. That will give people an alternate place to congregate, away from the gaming table.
A similar trick is to put together a big slideshow of WWII photos and videos and run them on a continuous loop on a computer near the snack table.
Here’s a deluxe concept that technically would require a split-level room, but which perhaps could be improvised on a more modest scale. The RAF’s plotting rooms had observation galleries…
…which gave analysts an elevated view of the plotting tables. Combining that concept with the simpler method of providing an array of chairs (as in the other photo above), what could perhaps be done – given a large enough gaming room – is to get a bunch of sturdy second-hand empty wooden boxes of some sort and use them to set up an improvised slightly elevated observation platform on which observer chairs could be lined up. That might get a few players away from the table itself. The boxes could be removed and stacked in a corner, or a garage, afterwards, to free up the floor space between games.
RE: Chinese Civil War
I only had time for a quick look, so my comments are just very general ones, in no particular order.
“Winning the Game: Nationalist China wins if all Communist Chinese units are eliminated. Communist China wins if they can control all Nationalist China mainland territories (not including Warlord territories).”
Comment: This solves the original concerns I’d raised, which were related to capitals. The new winning conditions are more straightforward and clear, which is a good thing. That being said, you may want to be a bit more explicit with each side’s goals, in order to provide guidance to the players, because the two goals are stated in different terms. As far as I can tell, each side’s basic goal is the destruction of the other side’s military forces, the only difference being that the Nationalists need to destroy the Communists completely, whereas the Communists only need to destroy the Nationalist forces in every mainland location. This is slightly unbalanced, so you may want to set up victory “gradations” (total victory, major victory, etc.) because a Communist victory in which the Nationalists are totally destroyed should count for more than one in which the Nationalists escape in large numbers to Taiwan (and/or Hainan Island, which isn’t part of mainland China).
“Nationalist Aligned Warlords”
Perhaps I’m not remembering correctly what I read in that Wikipedia article, but I think the warlord era was pretty much over by the 1930s. The Communist Revolution was in the late 1940s.
Peasant, not pheasant. Peasants are, in Communist terms, the rural proletariat. Pheasants are birds.
“Nationalist Defection: Every second turn, the Communist China player has the option to replace their purchase phase with Nationalist Defection.”
This is an interesting concept, and it actually brings into the game one of the political angles of the Communist Revolution.
“(Russia slowly moved out of Manchuria after WW2, allowing the Communists to move and control the land)”
The Soviets also, if I’m not mistaken, allowed the Communists to get hold of a lot of captured Japanese military hardware.
RE: Chinese Civil War
One thing which could be a helpful source of ideas for you would be to look at the threads below. A few years ago, some ideas were tossed around on the forum for various A&A “mini-games” called Axis & Allies Express, most of them them based on local campaigns of WWII (including one in China). I found the threads by using the Search function to look for “Express” and I think I managed to get all of them. I didn’t take the time to re-read the threads, but as I recall their game objectives and victory conditions reflected the specific aims of the historical campaigns on which they were based.
Similarly. you might get some useful inspiration from the three official A&A games which are operational/tactical in scope rather than strategic: D-Day, Guadalcanal and Battle of the Bulge. All involve shorter time-frames than the Communist Revolution in China, which lasted a couple of years, but they’re conceptually closer to it than WWII as a whole and thus potentially better models of how to design rules for such a conflict.
RE: Chinese Civil War
It’s been ages since I’ve had any time to actually play A&A, so I was looking at your rules just out of curiosity rather than out of potential interest in playing the set-up. The part I mentioned previously caught my eye because it looked like a potential way for the Communist player to win by doing something which disregarded the way the game was (apparently) intended to be played, and I was wondering whether it actually was your intention or not.
I’ve had a quick look at what Wikipedia says about the Chinese Civil War, and it doesn’t seem as though it was a conflict over control “all of mainland China” (though that’s what the Communists ultimately got out of it). It looks more as though it was fought in the eastern half of the country, with the overall course of the war being summed up by these four sequential maps:
I’m therefore wondering if your setup and rules are meant to reflect the course and objectives of the actual Chinese Civil War, or whether they’re basically aiming to apply the general A&A global mechanics to a game that’s set entirely in China. The strong emphasis placed on capitals sounds directly inspired by A&A’s victory cities and winning conditions, but I’m not sure that the actual Chinese Civil War put that much importance on capitals. The post-WWII Communist Revolution was basically a continuation of an on-and-off conflict dating back to the founding of the Chinese Republic, prior to WWI, and the subsequent warlord era, and to the initial subjugation of the warlords by the Nationalists and the Communists (who were originally on the same side), then to the initial civil war between those two groups (which got interrupted by the Sino-Japanese War, which eventually became WWII in the Asia-Pacific Theatre). During all that time, China had several cities which were actual or de facto capitals, with faction X controlling city Y, and I don’t think the control of any specific city was decisive in and of itself. The same thing happened in WWII: the Japanese managed to get control of the major cities, all the ports, and many of the railroad lines, but the countryside (and the western two-thirds of the country overall) remained out of their grasp. And on the Chinese side, the loss of the major eastern cities wasn’t fatal: the Nationalists relocated to Chunking, and the Communists remained pretty much where they had ended up at the end of the Long March, in a hard-to-reach area of northern China. So I guess that’s why I’m wondering if the emphasis on capitals sounds like a holdover from the A&A rules rather than something arising from the actual objectives of the conflict between the Nationalists and the Communists.
RE: Chinese Civil War
I think that something needs to be changed in either the Winning the Game section or the Capitals section because in their current form they affect each other in a way which could have significant consequences for game play, and more specifically for the strategy of the Communist player.
The Winning the Game section says “The Communists win if they control all of mainland China (not including Formosa) or if the Nationalist capital has been Taiwan (Formosa) for 4 rounds of play.” The potential problem is the “or” part of the sentence because the Capitals section says “The Nationalist capital is Nanking, located in Kiangsi. If Kiangsi falls, the Nationalist’s capital will move to Taiwan until Kiangsi is liberated.” Maybe I’m misunderstanding something, but it sounds as if this means that the Communists can actually ignore most of China and instead can win simply by concentrating all of their forces on Kiangsi, capturing it and holding it for four rounds.
You’re quite correct when you say that “Control of capitals vital for success as well as propaganda”, but keep in mind that Chiang Kai-shek didn’t end up controlling Formosa as a political objective in and of itself; he ended up in Formosa because he lost mainland China to Mao Tse-tung and had to retreat there, for similar reasons to why the British retreated to the UK at Dunkirk when the Allies were losing western Europe to Germany in 1940.
RE: Using your Allie pieces in combat.
In terms of game rules, I don’t have an answer, but in real-world terms military personnel aren’t the same thing as jeeps. Having Nation A use the troops of Nation B isn’t really Lend-Lease, it’s more along the lines of inter-allied cooperation, and that’s problematic for two reasons. Reason one (and WWII offers lots of examples in relation to the British and the Americans in 1944 and 1945) is that of senior military officers can be reluctant to serve under (or cooperate with) another nation’s senior military officers, Montgomery and Patton being a good case in point. Reason two is more subtle. Even with the best of intentions on everyone’s part, military forces from different nations generally can’t function as a single unit or even in close cooperation without a good deal of training for that specific purpose (as the short-lived ABDA found out in early 1942). Even when they speak the same language, different armies have different doctrines and practices, not to mention differences in nuts-and-bolts details like equipment and weapons and communication protocols. Even within the same nation, different services can find each other’s combat doctrine incomprehensible. The US Army and the United States Marine Corps in WWII sometimes ran into trouble because of this in the Pacific, one nasty example being the so-called “War of the Smiths” during the Marianas campaign in which a Marine General (Holland M. Smith) relieved an Army General (also named Smith) of command. During the Cold War, NATO devoted a lot of effort to the question of inter-operability (joint training exercises, standard small-arms ammunition calibers and so forth) for precisely these reasons.