So the second edition rulebook of the 1940 series games says this in reference to bombardments in amphibious assaults (I’m sure it’s pretty similar in the anniversary edition):
“Step 2. Battleship and Cruiser Bombardment
If there was NOT a combat in the sea zone from which you are offloading units from transports, any accompanying battleships and cruisers in that sea zone can conduct a ONE-TIME BOMBARDMENT of one coastal territory or island group being attacked…Roll one die for each battleship and cruiser that can conduct bombardment. Battleships hit on a die roll of “4” or less, and cruisers hit on a “3” or less. For each hit, the defender will move a defending unit behind the casualty strip. These casualties will be ABLE TO DEFEND during the land combat step before they are eliminated.”
Here’s a little background on how I used to play this rule and how I play now. When I first started getting into the A&A, I used this rule very loosely and was bombarding at the beginning of every round of combat in which it was a very good weapon and all defending units that got hit were allowed to fire back. This seemed to be pretty balanced when you were only realistically able to land 3-4 transports a turn or 4-6 every two turns and you had 6-12 guys going up against a giant wall of cannon fodder. However, when my cousin and I were playing we thought about this concept and were role playing it out and our thoughts came to the conclusion that if we continued to bombard then in a real world situation your units could be subject to friendly fire from naval vessels aimlessly shooting an island or coastal territory from miles away, so we changed how we interpreted this rule and how we played it.
We decided to take literal the writings of the rule book in which you bombard for a one time shot and any hits on defending units get to fireback at land units that you are landing. However, we came to this dilemma of “why even buy expensive ships then if there firepower doesn’t really do anything? Why not defend your transports with an enormous amount of the least expensive surface ships (destroyers)?” In our honest opinion playing the rulebook word for word in regards to bombardments seemed way too nerfed. Just why invest 20 IPCs in a battleship that doesn’t get to completely eliminate a defending unit when making an amphibious assault? I mean if it doesn’t have that capability then really a navy that is designed to protect transports should just be a bunch of destroyers in their place. It just seems like there is no incentive to invest in these powerful 3 and 4 attack power ships.
So this new house rule we’ve come up with is that cruisers and battleships only get a one time bombardment and in doing so the casualties that these ships make do not get to return fire. The idea of this rule that we modified actually gives incentive to invest in these pricey ships. It gives the chance for your landing units to stay as strong as possible, possibly have greater chances of taking the territory, and take less casualties themselves such that they can have a better chance of holding the territory in a retaliation.
We have only made this rule though while playing Europe 1940. We are kind of under the impression that this rule would be OP when doing anything in the Pacific theatre.
So I would just like an honest discussion. What are everyone’s thoughts? Does anyone else agree that there is no incentive to invest in these super pricey ships if defending casualties get to pick off at your landing units? Does anyone like playing the actual rule and then can someone suggest a good naval purchase that utilizes offense and defense while still staying true to the rule? Does anyone have any tweeks to this house rule I have described such that it’s still useful in Europe and not OP in the Pacific? I’m pretty knowledgeable of all the rules and learn very quickly, but this is the only rule that I’m conflicted about and have serious questions about.