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.
But there's also much more to the symbolism in the game.
IPC represent 'millions of man hours', I understand that...but what does something like battleship damage represent? Exactly how many battleships are 'hurt' when you absorb a hit with your battleship?
What do some of the Techs mean? For example, many people interpret Heavy Bombers to mean Nuclear weapons (a lot more believable when they gave you three dice in Classic), which explains the increased industrial damage, but, really, who drops nuclear bombs during a firefight between your army and another? you'll kill your own dudes.
What does an industrial complex mean? Factories? total industrialization of a territory? I don't pretend to know an absolute answer.
What are your opinions about the symbolic value of the things in the game?
What does an industrial complex mean? Factories? Total industrialization of a territory? I don't pretend to know an absolute answer
What are your opinions about the symbolic value of the things in the game?.
Generally speaking I think the pieces are just designed to be generic representations that mimic “…army divisions, air wings and navel fleets…” as they are referred to in the AAR Operations Manual that comes with the game. What exactly is an army division, air wing and navel fleet, I don’t know. But I’ve pondered this question myself and can’t find any thing that goes into more detail than that.
The best published descriptions we are giving of the units make broad generalized statements about them like…
Infantry; soldiers who make up the backbone of any ground force.
Artillery; heavy gun batteries that can support infantry attacks.
Tanks; armored units that pack a major punch.
Antiaircraft Guns; gun batteries that shoot down invading air units.
Industrial Complexes; factories that produce new units.
Fighters; small, fast aircraft that threaten everything on land or sea.
Bombers; mammoth, long-range aircraft that drop bombs on their targets.
Battleships; powerful and nearly indestructible monarchs of the sea.
Destroyers; small, fast warships that hunt submarines.
Aircraft Carriers; giant sea born platforms from which fighters can take off and land.
Transports; vessels that carry land units to combat.
Submarines; predators that attack from beneath the surface.
So on one hand, I don’t think it matters what exactly they represent in the real world. They are just designed to mimic something that was part of WW2; something that most people have a vague if distorted understanding of what they are or did during the war. After all, unless you’re from a different planet, who doesn’t know what a battleship or tank is?
But at the same time, if this is a game that is mimicking history, I often think that the pieces deserve a more detailed description. Descriptions that give players a solid understanding of what they are supposed to represent, something with “real world stats”. I think we all agree that units are more than just one dude, or tank or battleship, but what? I dont know.
But as I ponder such questions I find myself asking if they need more detail than that? Do they? Would having more detail about each piece affect how it is used in the game or how the overall mechanics of the game work?
Take chess for example, arguably the oldest, best and most played strategy game ever created. When it was created it too was designed to mimic history at the time, yet how detailed are the descriptions of the pieces? What exactly is a pawn or a bishop? And would knowing exacting details about them affect how they are utilized in the game?
While I generally believe that more information is better than less information, I also believe there is a fine line between too much information and too little information.
So would I like to have better, real world parallel descriptions of all the games pieces? Certainly, so long as those descriptions don’t bog down the game with nonessential details, details that although interesting and defining do nothing for the games overall mechanics.
Because the game of AAR is a “broad-brush simulation of what was a very complicated human drama” I think its important to keep that in mind when trying to answer such questions as “what is each piece supposed to represent?”
Personally I agree with timerover 51 when he said…
I understand him to be saying that game pieces and tech advances such as heavy bombers, or long range aircraft or super subs are just generic, generalized representations of military units or advancements that changed the face of warfare. So developments are nothing more than changes to a game piece that change they way that piece is used in the game.Essentially, the destructive capability of bombers increased significantly during the war, and the Heavy Bomber tech reflects this.
What exactly is “long range air craft”? I don’t know exactly what it meant in the real war, but I have a good idea from how it is represented in the game that it was an advantage over an enemy, because in the game when you get that tech, suddenly your aircraft can fly farther than theirs. Do I need to know more “historic” or real world information than that, not really, but it would be cool and having that kind of information may just help to further the interest and education about WW2 for current players and generations to come, so I don’t think more information about units could hurt.
Is a heavy bomber a nuke? No way. Because a nuke, as everyone knows is more than just another bunch of bombs that changed how much destruction could be done, it was a bomb that changed how warfare was done. And like you already said,
who drops nuclear bombs during a firefight between your army and another? You’ll kill your own dudes.
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