Ha-HA! Good points and very well written… thank you for not taking me too seriously… 8-)
I have two questions here: (1) do we want the Axis to become virtually impossible to beat after they capture Moscow? (2) do we want there to be other ways for the Axis to become virtually impossible to beat, e.g., capturing London, or capturing India, or capturing Hawaii, or capturing Brazil?
(1) Yes, in the game as it stands, the Axis should be virtually impossible to beat after taking Moscow. Taking Moscow eliminates the most problematic Ally for Axis victory and enhances Germany and Japan’s strategic, monetary and geographic flexibility immensely.
Now, if you are talking about altering the rules such that Moscow essentially no longer has the significance that it currently does… well that is another story. The whole point of doing so is to make (1) not true.
(2) Maybe, within reason. Would the Axis have become unstoppable if they took India? Hawaii? Brazil??? Obviously as the game (and history) stands, this is an emphatic no. But if you alter the rules to allow players to manipulate politics and geography and logistics, then I suppose it could.
This is where we are deviating more artificially than I like. To manipulate Axis or Ally motivations in a decidedly ahistorical fashion begins to stretch the game away from its purpose as a historical game. As I have said before, playing this very game is an exercise in alternate history, but it is done within the framework of historical and geographical reality. What I mean is that, it is easy to just say “let’s make capitals mobile or movable”, and on a purely political level this is not really difficult. You just move your leaders and their advisers to another location. Works great in a boardgame. However, in reality can you really move the population, the infrastructure and the cultural significance of a capital on a whim? Certainly not and even in a boardgame this lack of reality is felt. It could easily create results unachievable in the real-world. Maybe this doesn’t matter to some people. Maybe it should not matter to me (since this is after all a boardgame). But my point is simply that the more flexibility players are given (especially on a political level) the less and less this game will resemble plausible alternate history.
If your answers are yes to (1) and no to (2), then the race to Moscow really is inevitable, and there’s just nothing we can do about that – if you give a player one goal that’s obviously more useful than the other goals, then of course that’s what they’ll try to do. Personally, I find having only a single major goal boring, and not worth the 10+ hour investment required to play a game like G40, but if you enjoy it, that’s fine.
Within the rather limited realm of historical probability/possibility, this is the case. From my standpoint at least. Not sure what to say. This isn’t Roller Coaster Tycoon where you can build, tear down and move your empire as it pleases you. In altering capital cities you also alter the map and have to change the victory conditions which in turn changes the entire scope and objective(s) of the game. At this point you are using the unit types and combat framework of the game, but not much else. It starts as A&A WWII and morphs into “A&A: Bat$hit Apocalypse 1948 in the Chilean Andes”!
That is slight hyperbole, but my point is expressed.
If your answer is no to (1), then we need to work on giving the Allies at least one plausible base from which to fight for Eurasia that works even if Moscow falls. That could be a Russian base, like a factory and secondary capital in the Urals or Kazakhstan or Amur, or it could be a non-Russian base, like India, Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Greece, Italy, or Norway.
This premise is interesting, because it makes us consider what the Allies would have done if they were clearly losing or one of their main capitals had fallen. Would they continue to fight and move their HQ until there was no one left or would they have sued for peace even before that point when it became just too bleak? We will never know, but in changing capitals/victory cities and what they inherently mean geographically and politically, the implication here is that the war can be continued indefinitely. My question at that point is why you would want to, at least in a boardgame. Nothing more boring than seeing the writing on the wall and knowing nothing you do from here on out can change it.
If your answer is yes to (2), then we need to work on giving the Axis exciting goals that can lock down the game for them other than conquering Moscow. The most obvious option is probably changing the starting units so that Germany has a chance to take and hold London if it makes that its top priority. Another option is to bring more of South America into play and providing starting naval bases in, e.g., Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, and Morocco, that shorten the width of the south Pacific (so that moving southwest into Africa / South America / ANZAC becomes a more realistic strategy for economic victory).
Again, this is, to some degree, artificial manipulation of reality: sizes and composition of German and British forces, political alterations to South America and changing the size of the planet so it becomes more convenient to traverse two Oceans. That is less of an exaggeration and more of a literal rephrasing of your above statement.
A third option is to loosen the restrictions on building on island territories, so that if Japan takes Hawaii it has a chance to continue on to Alaska, Mexico, and Panama without losing too much momentum.
This I do not mind. Someone suggested it earlier with a certain qualifier for what can be built, if I remember correctly.
As far as France, China, and ANZAC, I think most of the boost they need is just a chance to go before their respective Axis opponents. France should go before Germany, and China and ANZAC should go before Japan.
How is this a good idea? Or historically accurate?
It’s a good idea because there’s no point in setting up the blue pieces only to mechanically wipe them off the board on turn 1 before anyone gets to move them or choose how they’re arranged. You may as well use neutral white pieces if France literally never gets to issue orders to the troops in metropolitan France. Having one turn to set up a French defense after your own stylistic preferences, even if the defense is ultimately doomed, is way more fun than having zero turns to set up the defense and watching the French pieces get picked off in exactly the same way game after game.
I have never played it, but it seems like you would enjoy HBG’s Global War 1939. It is essentially A&A G40, but a little earlier and with many more options including more playable neutrals and (I assume) a France that you can actually do something with… before they get obliterated.
In terms of game balance, as we’ve discussed on other threads in House Rules recently, there’s no need to give France all of the same starting units – if you want to nerf France a bit to make up for its turn order advantage, you can. Another option is to give France only a noncombat move on its first turn, so that it can’t attack Italy. Personally, I would prefer to have Italy be neutral (!) on turn 1 and not get activated until turn 2 unless Britain or France attack it. That way, France can attack Northern Italy if it wants, but it brings Italy into the war a turn earlier, so that’s a gambit at best for the Allies.
The bold statement is a possibility, as is Italy being neutral. Those are not major changes to the fabric of gameplay and could be worked to achieve some of the goals you have.
In terms of history, check out the Saar Offensive on Wikipedia – it’s a little known fact that after Germany invaded Poland, France responded by invading Germany, without waiting for Germany or Italy to invade France. They didn’t get very far, but there’s no special reason why the French couldn’t have attacked harder or done better in their opening attack.
True, but they simply didn’t do it. The premise for Global 40 is that it begins in May? of 1940, just before the invasion of France and prior to the Battle of Britain… as I am sure you already know. By this time the Saar offensive had long passed (Sept. 1939) and France was geared up for the Phony War. Clearly their balk in the Saar showed both a lack of true initiative and their relative inability to conduct a mobile war. Per the Wikipedia article, and supportive of much else I have read, though France had a large military, they operated with outdated equipment and tactics. They were still in a WWI mindset and quickly found that they were physically and mentally unprepared for an offensive war. Axis and Allies models this situation pretty well in limiting the French player’s ability to do much of anything. The game also limits France’s forces such that even if they could do something, it would pale in comparison to what Germany can and did do.
Giving the French player the option of attacking may not actually be a completely bad thing; mostly because I think that it would quickly be apparent that doing so would be a worse move than simply waiting for the Germans to com get you. Especially if Italy is made neutral for Turn 1 or if there is some other dis-incentive for France to attack Italy. Then France at least has the choice, even if they will never do it. I disagree wholeheartedly with France being able to buy before Germany can attack though.
I’m not emotionally worked up about China having a second fighter; it’s not like I’m Chinese-American or something like that. I just think it makes for better gameplay, for the reasons Black Elk was pointing out: with 12 territories in play, it’s boring to have to pick only one of them in which to attack. I wouldn’t mind if the second Chinese fighter had to come from some kind of American lend-lease, e.g., you start with a fighter in the Philippines, and you can send it to China, where it becomes Chinese, or retreat it to Hawaii, where it remains American. However, I think restricting the gift of a second fighter to situations where the first fighter has already been killed is far too weak: the point isn’t to ensure that China keeps its fighter (generally not too hard, because the fighter can keep landing in safe territories and Japan doesn’t have many AA guns to work with in China), the point is to give China the interesting decision of whether to make one attack or two attacks per turn.
I didn’t mean that you were worked up or that your feelings were invested in it. My point was that your opinion seemed based on novelty rather than any quantifiable reason why the Chinese should get two fighters.
Even though Axis and Allies G40 technically has 9 or 10 independently playable powers does not mean that they all should be played independently or that they should be played with the expectation of having similar amounts of action or import to gameplay.
I strongly disagree. If you don’t want 9+ playable powers, don’t have them: nothing wrong with a game that has Germany, Italy, Japan, USSR, UK, USA, and a bunch of neutrals. If you treat the Australians and the Chinese as pro-Allied neutrals, the game can work just fine. On the other hand, if you have 9+ playable powers, you have to make them freaking playable! Adding extra player powers that don’t actually get to play is a waste of expensive chrome, a waste of setup time, a waste of brainpower spent thinking about a more complicated turn order, and a trap for the unwary: even if you and your friends know that the minor powers aren’t supposed to be interesting, there will always be newbies who reasonably assume that the designers wouldn’t have put a country like France in the box and the rules unless France was meant to be playable, and those newbies are going to be bored stiff. As G40 stands, you could give France, China, UK Pacific, and ANZAC all to the same player, and he’d still have way less fun than the guy playing even a medium-sized power like UK Europe. That’s crazy.
In an Axis and Allies game on the physical scale that G40 is, it would be difficult not to more accurately model places like China, India and ANZAC (and France) as their own, independent entities. They certainly cannot be neutrals since that would be completely wrong (not sure if that is what you were implying). And having them as respective parts of larger Powers (ex. Britain-India-Anzac and USA-China) could pose major problems. The USA could concievably “control” China, but can you imagine G40 China being played the same was as it was in A&A Revised or the smaller global versions??? The US could build freaking industrial complexes there and throw their money there!! (Obviously, I assume this would be slightly amended). But more to the point, Britain controlling India and Anzac under one turn and one pool of money could throw things way off the historical track. Can you imagine Britain dumping 40 IPCs into India? They could do it and just ferry loads of tanks up into the Soviet Union or China. The smaller Allied Powers really have to be separated from the Big Allies at this level of gameplay… even if it is painful or annoying to play with them alone. It is not a waste it is a balance necessity (perhaps barring further restrictions and rule revisions).
I would not want to play G40 with a bunch of newbies… way too much going on for their small minds. They really need to be introduced to something less complicated first (like one of the smaller world games) and given time to properly develop. Even then, do you really let newbies play the game without any coaching or explanation at all? Do you let them make the mistake of buying battleships with Russia or do you explain how things work and give suggestions… if not outright control what they do to begin with? That is all rather rhetorical.
I am just against a secondary capital rule as a general practice. To me, it would make the game a little more convoluted and, ultimately, I don’t think it would mean very much. Once you go to a secondary capital your whole objective will still be to re-take your original capital. Being able to collect your remaining income and spend it (if able) will likely just delay the inevitable (defeat) in many cases.
I don’t see why everyone working out of a secondary capital will be obsessed with recapturing their original capital. As, e.g., the Free French, I might be perfectly willing to work on retaking French North Africa, or Trans-Jordan, or just on supporting an attack on Italy. As a British player operating out of Ottawa or Calcutta, I might be perfectly willing to let the Germans hang on to London for a few turns in favor of a strategic bombing campaign that helps the Russians take Berlin.
Unless you plan on re-writing territory IPC values, Capital cities as they are OOB will always be centers of attention and action. If Britain waits a few turns, they will probably never be able to dislodge Germany from their former home Isle.
Having movable capitals just cheapens their very purpose. How often can you move them, what are the limits? It is both confusing and it makes the strategic goals of the game way too fluid. It also ignores other, less tangible things like patriotism, population logistics and defense and something called shared national consciousness. They are less quantifiable things, but they are reasons why, even though very French, Quebec is not Paris and Ottawa is not London. What good is your political capital really if all your people are separated from you under enemy occupation?
Also, I think having a meaningful ability to build units after the fall of your capital will change the point at which players abandon their capitals. Right now, players hold on to their capitals until it becomes abundantly clear that their entire army will be handily wiped out if they try to hold it. By the time Germany has 60+ troops adjacent to Moscow, the Russians barely have any territories left besides Moscow, so the best the Russians can hope for is a wandering nomadic horde that holds one territory at a time. On the other hand, if Russia had the option to fall back to a more defensible position, maybe they would take advantage of that opportunity and therefore be able to trade/hold more territory. A Russian stack holding at Omsk could reunite the Siberian and European armies faster and would be stronger relative to the invading German and Japanese forces. A Russian capital at Omsk wouldn’t have a huge income, but it could reasonably trade and deadzone for 15+ IPCs for a few turns, which could be interesting. I don’t see that as “delaying the inevitable defeat,” because if the Germans or the Japanese have to pull their stack back to defend their own capital, then the Russians could increase their income and sustain themselves indefinitely, whether or not they recapture Moscow.
That said, I’m not wedded to the idea of secondary capitals per se – what’s important to me is that powers have a way to place units after their original capital is lost. I could live with the infantry-spawn idea.
By the time the Germany has 60+ troops outside of Moscow… it will not matter where the Soviet capital is. The Soviets all will die regardless.