Howdy folks. I’ve got a series of simple house rules that add a little bit of historicity & complexity to the game’s political situation without requiring new pieces, trackers, loads of exceptions & things to remember, etc. They’re intended to each be a module drop-in addition to a set of rules. I’ve playtested these roughly 3-5 times each & am looking for additional feedback. I make no claims to uniqueness or creativity–these were constructed with LOTS of taking from the community & as such, I’m offering them back to the community.
One of the least playtested of the rules, Simple Allied Italy:
- The Cassibile treaty occurs if, at the beginning of the Italian turn, either:
- Rome has fallen to the Allies
Italy controls no territories in Africa, and either Sicily or N Italy are under Allied control.Sicily or N Italy are under Allied control AND Italy is unable to fulfill any National Objectives.
- The Italian nation discards all its IPCs and joins the Allied side at war with Germany, controlled by the UK Europe player.
- First: all Italian territories with German units on them become German. As many Italian units are converted to German units as there are already German units present; the rest are discarded (Germany chooses which).
All Italian territories controlled by the Allies stay controlled by the Allies, except for Sardinia, Sicily, S Italy, & N Italy. If the Allies control any of these, return them to the Italian player.
- Next: If any of Sardinia, Sicily, S Italy, or N Italy are controlled by an Allied power, return them to Italy.
- Last: If Italy controls any territories which are originally-Allied, return them to their original owner.
- Whichever territories are controlled by Italy at the end of this process gain 1 Italian Inf each.
First off, note that this rule is best when paired with a starting airbase in Sardinia &–most importantly–a land bridge between Sicily & S Italy. These, for our group, are part of a small set of improvements to the Med that make it a much more interesting place to fight.
But what does this do to game balance? A savvy Germany has always managed to ensure that he gets control of the Italian stacks. How many units he actually secures off of this tends to depend on how good Fortress Europe is looking. If there’s stacks of German infantry standing around, he’ll get all the Italian units, bombers & cannon fodder alike.
Of course, having the units under Germany’s direct control is always a tremendous benefit when attacking. Does that matter when the Atlantic wall is collapsing & it’s all Germany can do to keep the West Germany factory from switching hands twice every turn? Not really.
As a result (disclaimer about limited playtesting here), this rule tends to make the fall of Rome more of a deciding factor in Germany’s fate, and causes the Allies to think twice before landing on the Italian peninsula. If Germany’s looking strong, the Balkans might be a wiser alternative. Otherwise, if he’s relying on Italian infantry to tie the defense of France together, landing in Sicily after a completed Operation Torch can hasten the collapse.
In practice, this rule tends to punish weak/thoughtless Allied players, and make a strong German player more effective after they consolidate control of the European Axis. This can and has bought time for Japan to secure the victory cities/tokens it needs in the Pacific.
On the other hand, against a weak Germany, usually one which has overextended itself struggling to take Moscow late, this rule tends to accelerate the end of the game, which is often a blessing at 1 in the morning. Playing as the Axis, it often feels extremely expensive/impossible to defend Italy if the Allies decide it needs to fall, since you’ll need to secure all three Italian Peninsula territories to prevent the treaty from kicking off.
Your mileage may vary on this one. I’m not going to recommend its use until I get several more games with it under my belt. Overall, to me, it seems like it strengthens the position of the Axis, probably by 5-10 IPCs worth of bidding.
In a group already with a massive Allies bid, you may not want to adopt this one without limiting Italian production, boosting US war income, and/or with the assistance of a Free French rule.