Rule: Before the game begins, all players roll one die for each nation. The nation who rolls lowest starts the game. (In case of a tie, roll a tiebreaker to determine which nation goes first)
Turn order begins with the nation who wins the roll, and proceeds as normal from there (following the turn order of that game edition/version).
Bid options for this house rule*
option 1: bid ascending by threes, 3-6-9-12-15... ipcs
For every nation, following normal bid rules for pre-placement, with the turn order established by the initial roll.
option 2: the side which loses the initial roll gets a bid of 12 ipcs to split up as they see fit.
option 3: the side which loses the initial roll gets a bid of
(each nation from this side rolls 2 x d6 to determine their nation's bid)
*in a game with an agreed Axis advantage (read 'people are typically bidding for Allies' scheme, ex. 1941, 1942) where Russia would usually go first, then add +12 ipc bid to Russia automatically if they win the initial roll.
The idea is to introduce more variability to the starting set up, and mix it up in a novel way, with dice rolls! while still respecting the basic set up out the box. Any thoughts?
This is the system I am currently exploring on the AA50 board, using the 1942 start date for now.
Set the board as normal
Standard turn order, J-R-G-UK-IT-USA
(I always lay the flag roundel chips out in a line, on the board, in this order for clarity.)
Roll 1d6 to establish which nation will begin the turn order
Whichever nation gets "hit" on this opening roll, is the one which must start the game.
This opening Nation will begin play in the non-combat phase with zero IPCs starting income. (Skip purchase, Combat, Placement etc. during the first round only non combat movement, and collect income is allowed.) The next nation in the turn order precedes as normal, with all the standard gameplay phases in effect.
The following "descending" bonus is added to the normal starting income of all player/nations:
Player 1 = 30 ipcs which cannot be spent until the second round per the condition above, restricting the opening player to non-com in the first round of play.
Player 2 = 30 ipcs , which can be spent immediately, as all normal conditions apply
Player 3 = 20 ipcs
Player 4 = 20 ipcs
Player 5 = 10 ipcs
Player 6 = 10 ipcs
This is a one time bonus added to starting income only, after which point the game progresses as normal (with NO's or house rules applied as desired.) But basically a method to balance the starting set up against a variable start to the turn order.
So for example say the opening roll is a 3, Germany first (on the 1942 set up of the board). This would mean G opens with non com, ends with their 37 starting + the 30 ipc bonus for a total of 67 ipcs in the second round. UK goes next with a starting income of 36. Italy 25. USA 48. Japan 51. Russia 49. This would likely result in the Stalingrad style game, with a German stack push into Eastern Ukraine, or a Leningrad style game with a stack push into Belo. Both of witch could provide interesting strategies.
The idea here is to set up some kind of bonus to starting income scheme that could produce a relatively balanced start from each of the six unique positions. My idea now is gathering around a paired scheme.
First + 30 ipcs non com only
Second + 30 ipcs normal phases hereafter
Third and Fourth + 20 ipcs
Fifth and Sixth +10 ipcs
Under this set up it is debatable whether the advantage will go to the player/side that wins the role and opens, or the player/side that follows and closes out the round. The general principle for the pairings, is that the later powers have the benefit of seeing what everyone else purchased so they can guide their decisions based on this. The opening power gets the advantage of positioning, and prime purchase to set the stage in the second round, after everyone else has moved.
For now I am calling this opening roll the "starting initiative" roll.
Effectively, for game purposes, you get the initiative just on strategic opening movement and consolidation, and the purchasing initiative during the second round (able to adapt to what everyone else just bought.) Essentially, the opening player sets the stage for the sort of game to be played. But it can potentially shake down 6 different ways. The advantage to the non com opening is that it accelerates the first round game play considerably. The player doesn't need to consider purchasing or attacks in the first round, just positioning, as their true opening is the second round, when the bonus and normal phases come into effect. For everyone else the ascending bonus is immediate. This creates a game where the first round is more about positioning and setting up second round attacks, than it is winning the roll on a scripted battle. This would give at least one side the ability to consolidate units rather than losing them in a scripted opening attack (even though they cannot attack themselves in the opening, they can still conserve TUV and set up stronger defenses.) Allows a way to avoid first round game breakers, like taking Moscow with G, or screwing Japan too mercilessly with one of the Allies.
Or perhaps reverse the pairings
Starting with 10s, then 20s, then 30s in the final positions.
or go 20 20, 15 15, 10 10
Going to try this further in a face to face game tomorrow. will let you guys know how it goes
I am playing principly with my buddy Tony for the long FTF games, and solitaire for the opening round just to tease out starts. So far our best success with a variable start game has been the matching bonus scheme on the AA50 board, 1942 start date.
I have been trying this with both the Victory City production method I've been looking to establish, and also the normal OOB rules for production. We've also been checking games under normal China rules, and China under US control. I favor China under US control with the VCs, but it seems to work under OOB (just with more factory buys from Japan esp, as one might expect.)
The main effect in AA50 with the non-combat opening for the starting player, is that the Allies will go into the second round more ships in the water, and the start of the game is accelerated quite a bit.
So far the judgement has been that the pair bonuses work pretty well on balance
Player 1 at +30, starts with zero IPCs and opens on Non-Com, Player 2 at +30
Player 3 at +20, Player 4 at +20
Player 5 at +10, Player 6 at +10
Such that each player nation is offset by the one that follows at a matching bonus. This ensures that no matter which player wins the opening roll, every player will get a little extra money at the outset, and the option to drive the game in whatever strategic direction seems most interesting/promising to them.
This draws away many of the scripted opening battles, and pushes major battling out into the second round, a net plus I find.
Overall game-length does not seem to have changed much in our assessment. Games seem to fall in that steady range between 8 and 12 rounds or about as many hours FTF. There does seem to be some potential though for shorter games in more of the 6 round range, if you can draw the VCs into it in a more dramatic way. I think anchoring factories or providing a cash bonus on VC capture can help with this.
Haven't received much feedback yet on this one, but it is the idea that I've been having the most fun with lately.
I do hope for a 6 man board to be the main 1942 board. We need a solid 1942 date in print, with rules for Techs and Bonuses. AA50 was well executed and remains for me the board with the best potential for HRs. It is the only board so far that seems to work with this bid alternative, variable start thing, as it is the only board with 6 normal player/nations. A reprint of AA50 would be cool
I mean AA60 is not that far off anymore right? I would be more interested in a reprint of something like AA50 which just includes updates to the rulebook, rather than a whole new mapboard dramatically different from AA50. I think its possible to create interesting new experiences on this same board (or one similar in scale), just with new options included. I favor the 1942 start date as the default, because the overall money and production is more evenly distributed, and possible to create a tighter balance, less dependent on position in the turn order, and more so out of the purchasing sphere. I suggest the mapboard show a 1942, and let player chip out a 41, or 43 set up if one is desired, but retaining 1942 as the default (ie the drawn borders/colors on the mapboard.)
Would be interested to hear what you guys think about this idea for an Anniversary redux?
also, a quick snap from one of the more entertaining showdowns
- Variable USA open round 6.jpg (176.78 KiB) Viewed 2824 times
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