Just to mention a few: German Tiger tank, Russian IS2 tank, US P40 Warhawk, German FW-190 Folkwolf, Japanese Kongo class battleship and the HMS Hood, and oh yeah... the German He-111 Heinkel bomber.
If the desire was to keep a simplified unit roster, why not ditch the Bomber and include Artillery instead?
Not that I think another unit needs to be removed to justify artillery's inclusion, but just for the sake of argument. There are a lot of units I'd rather give up, if it meant getting artillery back. There is no SBR mechanic in this game, and the movement at 6 compared to the distances on the map make the bomber feel somewhat out of place here, a pale shadow of what they are in all the other games. Having the bomber just doesn't add a whole lot to the experience. It's better than a fighter on attack and movement, but much weaker on defense and can't land on a carrier. And it's damned expensive relative to other units you are better off buying since SBR doesn't play any role in its value here. Why not just leave the unit out all together? Instead new players can focus on learning how artillery works.
Fighters are complex enough, when trying to teach new players about aircraft in A&A, so introducing the bomber just seems like overkill. And the sculpts for the bombers are so large, your could probably get half a dozen artillery pieces for the same amount of plastic.
If it came down to it, I'd rather have Artillery than subs. Even if the u-boats are iconic, it's still much easier to teach people how artillery work, than it is to teach them the complex interaction between subs, destroyers, and aircraft. Carriers and fighters alone are enough to get your head around without throwing subs into the mix. But artillery do more way more for overall game balance than subs ever could in my assessment. They change the basic inf push dynamic, and the whole character of the game.
Not insignificant, is the way in which artillery allows Russia to do something other than stack Moscow with inf and await a fighter defense from UK/US. At least with Artillery their inf can go forward and trade territory. But the effect isn't just for Russia, its for all players, where the slow grind of the infantry wall is the way of the war in 1941. This lengthens the game unnecessarily, with a familiar (but boring) stack defense/push strategy so common in Classic. Longer games, where less happens. Artillery helped to break us out of that mode, to the benefit of the gameplay.
Artillery with the same ability and cost it has in all the other games is the clear solution to the game length issue.
From a "teaching new players" perspective I would debate the advantage of introducing a unit in halfway measures, or a nerfed unit (that doesn't have its full abilities, and doesn't represent the unit the way it is used on other boards.) The 1941 Bomber is an example of this. Another example is the Battleship without bombardment, but which still takes two hits. To me it would make more sense to introduce a cruiser unit instead of battleships, and use these to teach the bombardment mechanic, rather than to teach players about how battleships can take 2 hits. The one ability is specific just to the Battleship, the other is for Cruisers and Battleships, and could apply to all games once you see how it works. Cruisers are also cheaper than Battleships, which would make them more feasible on this board. So by the same basic logic that leads me to favor normal artillery over nerfed bombers, I would favor normal cruisers over nerfed battleships. We don't even have to deal with the 2 hit rule. When you graduate to the more complex games, you'd already know how all the basic units work, you'd still see the fodder principle, while the more exotic/expensive units can be introduced after this point in the next level game, now that you have a stronger foundation to build off of.
Artillery are comparatively easy to explain. Save the more intensive units with the more complex abilities for later, like submarine rules, aa gun fire rules, bomber sbr rules, and two hit battleship rules. Then it is much easier when you introduce these units latter on. "What is the battleship?" Its just like a cruiser but its more powerful and can take 2 hits! "How does SBR work, and antiaircraft fire", lets take a minute to explain since this is all brand new. "How about subs" lets take an even longer minute, to explain how these things effect the whole naval game you are now used to used to from 1941.... etc. That's way easier and more straightforward than backtracking to explain why a unit you are already familiar with now has new abilities, like bombardment. Does that make sense to anyone else but me?
I mean I know you all love bombers and battleships, but to teach the essential mechanics, cruisers and artillery with their normal price and abilities would have been simpler. And they wouldn't have to change/add abilities when you went into the larger games.
To me Artillery is by far the most important unit to learn how to use. It completely altered the old inf push dynamic from Classic and gave us the new dynamic we've had since Revised. It would still be relatively easy to teach new players using such a roster, but I think it would also be more entertaining for experienced players at the same time.
Well, anyway, that is my suggestion for the main balance issue. It is not the specifics of the unit set up, but the lack of artillery as a purchase option (any unit less that 6, but greater than 3 ipc), that is forcing us back to pointlessly pushing stacks of infantry. You can't afford to spend the remainder on anything, even if you start raking in the cash, unless it neatly divides into 3s. To me the advantage of artillery here at 4 ipcs is obvious, so I don't see why it was removed. This unit is critical to A&A since Revised. I hope it returns in future 1941 starter boards.
game balance is good; if both sides don't do any serious blunders it will come down to three decisive battles: Can Germany overrun Moscow in time; can the Allies (UK) establish and hold a bridgehead in France (so that Germany must divert valuable ressources in the west) and put enough pressure on Japan (US) in order to prevent them to support Germanys defence and simply overrun Africa. India is hard to hold, even if Germany retreats its tank in Africa for an allout attack on Russia.
Due to the lack of ressources, any mistake or bad dice rolling can put an early end to your hope of victory. But even with less territories there are enough interesting strategies to follow. But in the medium run I will switch to 1942 SE or even Anniversary, now that after a long wait I could get my hands on a copy.
No decent man can prefer war to peace, because at peace-time the sons burry their father while at war, the father burries his sons. (Herodot)
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