Why can't factories, AA guns be removed?

Axis & Allies Revised by Avalon Hill. Released in 2004.
Axis & Allies is a classic game of war, economics, and global strategy. Victory goes not only to the team that conquers its opponents on the field of battle, but also to the individual player who seizes the most enemy territory.
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Post by Larry » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:27 pm

Adlertag – I can’t argue with you logic. It’s all very sound. The opposing point of view is also sound, however. As for the production limits, that would be removed of course. I would consider giving the UK another IC or two. One in Canada (not sure about this) and one, perhaps limited, in Australia. As for Japan… That’s one of Japans big problems. Everything would have to originate from the home islands. As for removing or moving factories, I don’t care much for the idea. At this point this entire discussion is open for debate.

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Post by Krieghund » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:28 pm

I have to agree with Adlertag in that changing this would fundamentally alter the strategy, and thereby the balance, of the game. This change certainly couldn't be made in a vacuum. Other factors would no doubt need to be adjusted to maintain balance.
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Post by Imperious leader » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:13 pm

You just build the model to reflect what was realistic ( which means in the Japanese case factory in probably only Manchuko and Japan) but allowing placement to be of certain types of units in any territory ( lets say infantry only) up to the limit of the IPC value or rounded down for occupied territories.

Balance is only a matter of making a consistent rule that effects each side equally. Its not hard to compensate historical realism and balance. Their are all sorts of solutions not even considered that could easily fix the issue.

The factories could be easily replaced with a token for those Soviet factories that get moved. Even a rule allowing additional fixed industrial centers for military conversion would be appropriate as mentioned before in Canada, India and others.

Id like to have tokens for scorched earth, so i can deny the enemy IPC and blow up my industry as either Germany or Russia...these can easily be done with various tokens and save the cost of plastic. The only plastic thats needed is those units you move each turn.

By the Way can AH release mega boards for both classic and revised Axis and Allies in the new larger map format? It could be released with new artwork and sold for like $40.00 with perhaps better tokens and updated rules. It would prove financially successful because many people prefer larger maps.
We really need an Axis and Allies World War one game so i can play that on August 1st, 2014.

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Post by elbowsanchez » Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:39 pm

Go back to your Nova game, your Soviet rule for factories is IMO elegantly and simply done.

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Post by adlertag » Fri Jul 18, 2008 3:11 pm

Larry wrote: At this point this entire discussion is open for debate.
Is this something we will see in Anniversary ed in oktober, or are you talking advanced ed ?

The fun with playing UK is to decide where to build my factory, in India toghether with US IC in Sinkiang, or in Australia for a KJF, or in South Africa to contest Africa. As Japan I must decide to build in French Indo-China or East Indies, or steal the IC in India. I sure will miss this.

If the Ann ed map comes with printet factories, I will ssugggest this set up:

1) Germany + France + East Europe
2) Russia + Caucasus + Novo-Sibirsk
3) Italy
4) UK + Canada + Australia + India + South Africa
5 ) Japan + Manchuria + Shantung/Kwangtung + East Indies
6) US East Coast + West Coast + Brazil + China

Now we will se a more balanced game. In the old system, when you spend 15 IPC to build a factory in India you would need to commit to an KJF all the game. But with printet factories all over the globe, you got more options to suddenly change your strategy. But if only the home territories get factories, the strategies will be very limited.
Last edited by adlertag on Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Der Kuenstler » Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:55 am

If factories are done away with perhaps there could be some kind of rules to simulate rail movement across country for troops and supplies to get them quickly to the front.

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Post by adlertag » Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:31 am

Der Kuenstler wrote:If factories are done away with perhaps there could be some kind of rules to simulate rail movement across country for troops and supplies to get them quickly to the front.
Like infantry can move 2 or 3 spaces within their home territories.

ex: Russian infantry/art/tanks may move 3 spaces in all red territories during non-combat movement. When entering occupied grey, orange or allied territories, inf/art move 1 and tanks move 2 spaces.

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Post by Builder_Chris » Wed Sep 10, 2008 6:26 am

I once considered not having factories, as plastic pieces, but decided against it. Frankly, at this point I would be ok with eliminating IC’s entirely. They could be represented with a simple graphic silhouette and no new ones could be built. I would also consider eliminating AA guns as well. IC’s would automatically be considered under AA gun protection.
Personally I like the factories just as they are; a game piece, buildable, immovable, indestructible, physically tangible and semi vulnerable, in other words, their “historically playable” and their physical presence on the board helps to emphasize their importance to a nations war production with regards to its “rate of output” and its “strategic positioning”.
Looking back on this issue (permanent non-destructible/removable factories) I think my feeling at the time was that a factory represented a powers industrial area rather than a factory per se.
If you take into account all the endless realities of how “war production” during WW2 was managed and manifested, the various ways that the different powers applied those possibilities as each of them knew how to or saw fit too based off of the geopolitical circumstances of the day and you combine all that with the endless imaginings that gamers can and have contrived since the games inception in an attempt to make the game more “realistic” and “historically accurate”, I think most of us would agree that a good solid job was done of representing what war production was about while still maintaining a playable gaming piece.

I think the use and application of the AA guns are a similar example of a historically streamlined yet good playable gaming piece.

All to often, I find that strategy games attempting to “recreate history” have the tendency to fall into one of two realms; the extreme detail only interesting to historians or extreme gaming hobbyists with bottomless wallets and endless amounts of playing time (flames of war, panzer blitz, squad leader, etc…) or the simple (stratego, risk, etc…) primarily interesting to younger audiences just learning about strategy games or families just looking to have fun after dinner. However, I think the rest of us fall somewhere in between; gaming buffs with an interest in history, or history buffs with an interest in gaming. People that want challenging, thought provoking games that further spark their interest in history while still maintaining a game that can be played in a reasonable amount of time with out breaking their wallets, I know that’s the type of gamer I am.

So when I look at the game of AAR, the things that attract me to it the most are pieces just like the IC’s and AA guns. Pieces that are playable pieces with a purpose to the strategy and mechanics of the game without over complicating the history and reality of what they are designed to represent. Pieces that give us a glimpse of what the geopolitical and military complications were that not only had to be overcome but had to be worked with in order to conduct war and accomplish victory on a global scale with out creating a game that might be more “historically accurate” but that’s riddled with an endless array pieces that bog down game play with their nonessential details.

Why can’t factories, AA guns be removed? I really can't understand the historical or the game reasons for this rule. If it's your gun and your factory that you built, why can't you remove it - say - during the non-combat move phase? Why would a nation keep repairing a factory that was in a place where it was repeatedly being bombed? Or leave its factory and gun there for the enemy to capture?
The answer to these and other similar questions, in my opinion, would require reevaluating what “developments” and “national advantages” were “historically” and how they are being mimicked in the game while simultaneously reevaluating what each “piece/unit” is supposed to “historically” represent and how the “history” of those units are also being mimicked in the game. I believe questions like these would answer themselves if some general assumptions about these areas could be better explained in the rule book instead of leaving them up to personal interpretations.

What I mean by that statement is this; before we answer such questions concerning certain game rules I think it’s important to keep in mind what type of game A&A was originally designed to be and what type of game AAR is still trying to be. For the most part, I believe that with AAR a good job has been done of making some changes to pieces and adding some new pieces without loosing sight of what the classic game was designed to be; a broad brush stroke of the history, equipment, economic and military complications and most importantly the GRAND scale of things during WW2. I might be wrong, but I think the goal of A&A was to be a game that represented the time period not a game that recreated every piece of equipment or historical moment and event.

I personally don’t play with national advantages because they are specific to a Power rather than available to any Power as an advancement, as they should be. National advantages, historically speaking are just a development that a nation created to give them an edge over their enemies. If the intent is to mimic history, NA’s should be no different in the game than they were in real life; something that was devised by a Power to over come an obstacle in order to help them win the war. Something created by ingenuity, spurned by necessity and limited only by a Powers available resources and their belief in the advantage of having that development rather than something that is unavailable to another Power simply because “historically” only one Power “used” that development.

Point in case…
The soviets used scorched earth tactic and moved all the factories east of Ural, out of harms way. Now Fritz couldn’t do that, so guess what, he dug his factories under the ground, out of the bombers way
Simply because “historically” Germany devised the means to build their factories under ground rather than destroy them themselves or move them from harms way as Russia did is not a matter of it being a “national advantage” for Russia that was off limits to Germany, rather it’s what worked for Russia and what they believed to be the better advantage for them. For Russia to be able to move factories as a “national advantage” that no other Power can use simply because that’s what history shows they did, is removing the fact that it worked for them because they had the back lines to move them to, not because they couldn’t think of digging them in as Germany did. Germany may have thought of moving their factories out of harms way but found they did not have a safe place to move them to, so they dug in, the only place they could go. How come Russia didn’t think of that? Maybe they did but couldn’t figure out how to do it or decided that it was able to be done but that it was better for them to move them. We may never know, all we know is that “history says” that Russia tore down and moved their factories while Germany dug theirs in. Only when Russia “developed” that idea did it become a national advantage to them.

Advancements, and all of the game pieces for that matter, appear to have been created as a “generic” representation of army, navy and air force units of the day that once again keep the key historical aspects of the pieces they are designed to mimic while creating streamlined logical playable gaming mechanics.

For instance, fighter planes are fighter planes and are available to any Power and work the same for any Power that builds them. Simply because with AAR Germany has “Stuka” pieces and UK has “Spitfire” pieces doesn’t grant either Power an advantage over the other, although historically each of those types of aircraft had their pros and cons. In other words, the pieces are “general representations” of military commands not specific individual planes. But when a specific Power spends the IPC’s (another generalized representation of real world “resources”) to research and develop a better fighter by trying to developing jet fighters or long range aircraft, that development becomes a “national advantage”, and even than, it only becomes one if they actually figure out how to do it and apply the tech. And historically there have always been two ways to gain “national advantages”; devise it your self, or steal it from your enemy, or sometimes from your allies.

Historically Germany had “radar” technology but for several reasons they did not see it as enough of an advantage for them to develop it to the extent that the UK did. (Oops on them) The US had similar technology that they saw as an advantage but they put it to use on their ships; not needing a strong home land early warning air defense system. Japan knew of the technology also but did not use it on their ships like the US did (oops on them too). So you can see that while the AAR game may limit “radar” as a “national advantage” to UK, it was something that was available to other nations since early 1930.

So my point is this, national advantages should not be something that is off limits to one Power but available to another, rather they should be ideas to be developed and that are available to any Power that believes it to be in their best interest to research and develop it. Only when a nation developed an idea did it become an advantage, as it should be in the game.

So by clarifying some of the historically broader aspects of each piece and reasons for developments and how they became national advantages and than applying that knowledge to determining how and why those aspects can and should be mimicked in the game, I think those and other similar questions would answer themselves.
I once considered not having factories, as plastic pieces, but decided against it. Frankly, at this point I would be ok with eliminating IC’s entirely. They could be represented with a simple graphic silhouette and no new ones could be built. I would also consider eliminating AA guns as well. IC’s would automatically be considered under AA gun protection.
The problem with permanently printing ICs and AA guns on the board is you lose the creativity and flexibility in placing them.
Where to build factories are so big part of the strategy that I think we can not remove this option.
To eliminate the ability to build new IC’s and AA guns I think would be a bad idea too. Because once again they are designed to mimic a historical fact about the war years not recreate it to exacting detail. Powers had production centers, that’s a historical fact and has gaming significance. Those production centers had been built in the best place those Powers had available to them at the time they had them built. But to limit the ability to build new factories or deemphasize existing ones by printing them on the map not only reduces the playability of those game pieces but deemphasizes their importance. The ability to build new IC’s in any local of the world may not be “historically accurate” but it was historically possible. Simply because a player builds an IC in some remote place that was not built as a production center in WW2 doesn’t mean it should be off limits to the potential for doing it in the game, to do this would reduce a player’s likely hood of “rewriting history” and increase the likelihood of “recreating history”. Personally I don’t play A&A to “replay history”, that’s what the history channel is for. I play A&A because I want to see if I can “change history”.

So the answer that Larry gave about IC’s and AA guns…
Seemed to make sense back in 1984 and they just stuck around. That's all there is to it.

I’m glad IC’s and AA guns stuck around as I believe them to be a key component to the game. Would I rework them some how? Sure, but just a little and only because I agree with IL when he said
Evolution is a natural conclusion for each new product because it sometimes takes years to see the flaws from a distance. I am glad that continues to be true

Me too; if you can improve upon the basic design of the game without destroying the key elements that make it such a great game, than I say go for it.

As far as the comments of IL when he said that IC’s are not…
…items that are built for 15 IPC and magically appear in a turn. They have been built over many years by concentrations of people’s hard work.
And also said that…
AA guns are a joke. Just make the capability built into factories or the production centers would do the same thing. The extra mold could be another new unit and best served as such.
I think if we look at the time scale of the game (if it had a specific one)…
Topic; Elapsed Time
There is no specific time period. HOWEVER… If I had to absolutely give a turn a time I’d say a turn was just about 3 months.
Each turn would be about 3 months; we’d see that it takes 6 months before a newly built IC produces its first unit. You may pay for it at the start of one round, place it at the end of that same round but it’s not until the end of the next round that you can place units at it. That’s 6 months, half a year from start of construction to the production of its first unit being added to the war effort. It makes ok gaming sense to me when you consider that fully functioning airstrips really did get built by US Seabees in the pacific in 7 days and that Russia really did move their factories out of harms way, obviously in a few months and not years, since the war only lasted a few years, yet history says they moved their factories.

And AA guns make gaming sense to me too because they represent the military side of war production; its defense. The units needed to defend an IC would be built from an IC as any other weapon was, not constructed from the building materials that it takes to make large industrial areas. But some how fighters should be able to help with that air defence, dont ask me how as i dont have a clue.

I would change one significant thing about IC”S and AA guns and that would be to make them vulnerable to destruction just like any other units. Historically speaking they were destructible, and had Germany continued to attack military targets such as radar stations and air defense commands instead of turning their bombers (accidentally or intentionally) on IC’s (civilian cities and factories) the battle for Brittan might have had a different ending. So to further reduce the historical aspects and gaming mechanics of IC’s and AA guns by eliminating them as a game piece would, IMO, reduce that part of history that they are trying to imitate even more than is already being done by having them indestructible pieces. Anything can be destroyed in war. That should include IC’s and AA guns.

One last thing since it’s been said…
At this point this entire discussion is open for debate.
In that case, a lot of the debate about game pieces and why certain rules work for them and why certain rules don’t work for them might be able to be reduced by clarifying some assumptions about pieces, because what they represent affects several aspects of the entire game. Putting some narrowed explanations as to what each game piece represents, instead of the incredibly generic and broad descriptions given in the OM, might help to keep the grand scale of things in perspective. I’m not talking about details that are so exacting that you need to have graduated form West Point or the Naval or Air force Academy to understand them, but broad generalizations as to what each piece represents. Things like “an INF unit represents A battalion; a military unit of around 500-1500 men and equipment. They represent the primary fighting force of every Power and are generally used as support units for other units”. Or information like “a Tank unit represents a Tank Battalion; a military unit of around 500-1500 men with a significant number of tanks and other motorized pieces of equipment such as jeeps and half tracks used for the mobilization of infantry and artillery units”.

Doing something like that with the Operations Manual, making it a rule book with a mention of generalized facts and historical details about game pieces might help keep the picture of the grand scale of the war as well as prompt players to further their knowledge and understanding about WW2.

I don’t think that any of us would assume that the infantry pieces represent one dude with a gun, or that the bomber piece is just one bomber, or that the battle ship is just one ship, but some small clarifications as to what they are representing just might help to clarify why certain rules are being applied the way they are.

For example, I have a friend who loves playing a variant of A&A called “Central Powers”, and although I have not played it yet, looking at the additional pieces and rules, it’s clear to see that the persons that came up with it had crossed the line from looking at the game units as “large military commands” comprised of an assortment of men and equipment designed to perform a certain “tasking” such as infantry, armor, navy fleets and air wings and they started looking at the pieces as specific types of equipment. Equipment that when applied to the grand scale that A&A is played out on does not need to be broken down into game pieces such as jeeps and half-tracks or a specific type of fighter plane.

By helping players keep in mind that units are large scale entities comprised of several hundred men and pieces of equipment it makes developments all that more reasonable and “believable”, because when I try to develop long range air craft, I know I’m not trying to develop a specific piece of equipment, but an advancement that changes the face of war fare for that type of command. I’ve developed something that changed the grand tactical capabilities of a military command and not something that changed the way an individual pilot would benefit from the maneuvering differences between a Spitfire and a Stuka.

I don’t believe A&A was ever intended to be a detailed recreation of all the people, places and equipment used during WW2 but rather a “broad-brush simulation of what was a very complicated human drama.”

But than again, I don’t really now if that kind of “detail” is warranted since A&A has never claimed to be a game that attempted to recreate historic numbers.
Topic; A&A placement
As you surely realize, there is no exact correlation between historic numbers and what is place on the board. I did not try to show 120 Soviet divisions on the German front. My approach was more of a relative power comparison. If a given nation was historically 20 or 30% stronger than the enemy forces in a given neighboring territory I tried to capture that difference and reflect it in the set-up. This approach seemed to work well for me. Although it did not capture exact historic numbers, which I was not really interested in, it did capture relative balances of power
Well, I think I’ve finally said enough on this topic for one posting.
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