This promises to be the core game and it will be around for many years to come.
I agree that every change is likely to beget consequences that might be hard to predict, and players are pretty quick to discover new breakers or exploits. But the advantage here is that this set up change is substantial enough of a reset, that I think most people will have to return to the drawing board when planning their openers for each nation. Its a new lease on life for the map. Certainly people are going to have to put their thinking caps on for the German/British openers.
I still think it would be cool if the Russian player had something more to think about too though. The reason I dig airpower is twofold. The first is more historically oriented, since the Red Airforce was the largest in the world at the time just in raw numbers (even if they were short on experienced pilots, and the West would soon outpace them in overall production by the end of the year), I think the addition of an air unit would probably be appropriate. The second is more gameplay oriented, and I like the bomber because it has a dual role (attack or sbr) with a lot of reach, but also the weakest defense value of any unit that can be parked on a land tile. In that respect it is less likely to mess with the G1/G2 balance around Egypt and the canal. I think Russia may also need something long term to help them trade territory with Germany, and I like an air unit rather than a ground unit, if only because it is more likely to survive into the endgame. Under the new arrangement the option to expand the Royal Navy with UK will likely mean less cash for British fighters to support the W. Russia stack, so the Soviets will be more reliant than ever on their own attack power and ability to deadzone tiles on the Eastern Front (instead of just counting on Western defense power) to deal with the Axis advance there. Basically it is kind of a seesaw, where Britain can either build a carrier for the home fleet and hold India, or prop up Russia with fighters and hold India, but can't really do both at the same time. I do worry a bit that the Russians may get left holding the bag again, even if the West has a better shot at D-Day now, just by virtue of the British having other priorities haha.
The OOB Axis advantage is pretty pronounced, so I think I would still err on the side of possibly giving the Allies slightly more than they need rather than trying to cut it perfectly by sides (even if this ultimately results in an inversion or an Axis bid), because there are just a lot more moving parts for the Allies, and more chances for them to get hosed if something goes awry, or if one of the Allied players fails to coordinate properly.
I guess in a nutshell, I think the initial impression or 'feeling' of balance, is probably more important than the actual balance (because so much can change in relatively short order as a result of the dice rolls), so it's more about giving the Allies enough at a glance, that they no longer feel the need to pick apart the opener so much, or put so much emphasis on the opening battles that they feel the need to request a hefty bid to ice them. In that sense it's tough to argue with a big red bomber sculpt as a surefire way to boost Allied morale when they're sitting down to play.
That was my thought anyway, but yeah this set up change is a definite move in the right direction. I like it a lot so far. Even with shifting sands, I feel like now I got a rope tethered to my waist, and more options pull myself up. Nice work!
+1 infantry unit to each empty US controlled starting territory? There are currently 7 such tiles on the map. Sinkiang, Greenland, West Indies, Brazil, Central America, E. Mexico, and Mexico. Basically this would take some of the pressure off US ground purchasing, so they could build more transport capacity or warships. Which might get the ball rolling faster.
Or move the entire US Pacific Fleet to sz 53 with both fighters on deck? Or perhaps sz 57, but just all together in one spot so they can stack defense power. Maybe something like that could be an incentive for the two front war Greg mentioned? The US would have a core Pacific fleet (since this would avoid the issue with a Pearl Harbor repeat) but that fleet would also be farther away from the Atlantic so more likely to be used where there are, in the Pacific.
Having some extra infantry already in place for the Atlantic would encourage the purchase of transports there, and likely warships to protect those transports (3 inf would be on effective islands, so they'd have to get picked up before being useful). The US player would have a bit more driving them to do at least some amphibious fighting in both Theaters, even if they invariably tend to focus on killing one guy or the other on the Axis side, ETO or PTO. Also the extra dude in China, might help to hold the line there somehow, since right now China comes under heavy pressure right away.
Another gimmicky idea, which is kind of similar, would be to move the Japanese naval units in sz 37, to sz 47. This takes away the shock attack from UK (which is hard to picture from the start date anyway), which maybe further gets you to a two front thing? The idea there is that if the British don't have a solid attack option against the IJN, then they are more likely to pull their ships back rather than risking them (which would match for the history of the British Pacific fleet in 42). Perhaps the Atlantic has more of a chance to take off this way. An opening round where a lot less Western and Japanese naval TUV is traded immediately. Something like that would surely put the Allies on an equal footing with the Axis, even without anything to the Russians. Though I still think it would be nice if the Soviets got some kind of bump or change too just for variety.
Jump-starting the Western Allies by a full round or more of purchasing, (just in added or retained TUV) seems like it would speed up the play pace out of the first round, so it would be a bit more like round 3 of the OOB game. Like a starter where the Americans are ready to push out almost immediately for Africa or the South Pacific. This would be a lot more pressure on Germany and Japan to move quickly, even if the VC game is still basically center crush for them.
Just some thoughts, I don't know what kind of round 1 script others like, I tend to enjoy things more when the major exchanges come a little later like in round 3-4, rather than the opener. Clearly all this stuff favors Allies, but I kind of like the idea of a return to the Axis bid myself. Maybe that's too crazy?
Another idea would be to adjust the balance on the Eastern Front by just tweaking the production spread and moving some factories around. Thinking mainly about Lenigrad here, which is the Achillies heel of Russia right now. Maybe just move that factory to Vologda? That would at least slow down Germany in the north.
I've played with the idea of factories on 1 ipc territories too, which was something borrowed from 1941. I think they could be used to activate places like Australia, Hawaii, Finland, China, Malaya, Burma, North Africa, the Mid East, or Russia on the Pacific side etc. It's kind of novel, because having factories at such low values tends to encourage the purchase of expensive heavy hitters. They are less vulnerable to SBR, and make for fun forward bases and targets of opportunity. Used this way I think of them less as Industrial Complexes, but more abstractly as just deployment points anchored on territories that would be fun for the historical play pattern.
First, it gives the Allies a static 20 IPC bid, add 1 DD, 2 Inf for UK, remove 1 sub for Ger = 20 IPC.
In tournament play this removes plenty of guessing as to what the Allied player is going to bid and where the units are going. I have played against an all Russian ground troop bid, the standard US DD in SZ11, UK inf in Egypt, UK DD in SZ35. and the dreaded UK BB in SZ35.
In play testing using Low Luck dice rules the Axis are set back significantly with R1 attacks on Ukraine and SZ37.
Moscow still comes under significant pressure by R5-R6 as it should.
I like the idea of moving the ISN fleet from SZ37 to SZ47 or SZ36, especially if you are going to add a Rus Bmr.
Japan is on the defensive after R1 in the Pacific.
Actually, I find that the game is fairly balanced with this. It probably does create a dilemma for the Allies if the Ukraine battle or the SZ37 battle goes south for them, but I have not tested an Allied failure in those attacks yet.
The game is a race. Can the Allies build up enough pressure to keep Moscow from falling or retake enough on the Pacific side to counter gains by the Axis on the Atlantic side?
Are there opportunities for things like Sea Lion for added interest?
I don't like the German bomber in Ukraine. Too much off an enticement to kill it. Bombers are the bane of the USSR and the chance to knock the only German bomber out round one is too juicy
My 2 cents.
I will write more once finishing this game about my thought....
There is a setup I want to try. Original Axis setup, but cruiser moved up to the US fleet in SZ 11 (or a destroyer bid purchase) and leave cruiser in original spot. Russia with an extra fighter (or tank and artillery) and a couple infantry / artillery in India.
The added unit in US SZ 11 evens up the attack with the two German subs (which their survival greatly helps the Allies have a chance) and the extra unit(s) in Russia and India help stave off the impending slaughter.
Once the IPC shift is in favor of the Axis it's game over. The original setup in a spreadsheet is pretty much even on numbers, but the loss of Allied IPC in both units and territory in the first two rounds can be devastating. Allies get spread thin and are picked off.
More to come.
I am not sure I am following you on this comment? Could you please expand on this? Games, IMO, should not be lasting more rounds just because of setup? Should it? Once the setup is complete, everything is adjusted accordingly to the style of play and what your plan of action is towards victory...squidburns wrote:Games are lasting more rounds than original setup with low bids.
SmoreySwamp: Axis & Allies Event Organizer/GM: GEN CON, ORIGINS, Spring Gathering
Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.
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