It is hard to deny the internal logic of your arguments Flashman. Part of the issue in Classic and Revised is the ability (specifically of Japan) to purchase new factories. In Revised this issue is somewhat more pronounced owing to the production cap put on starting factories (not present in classic.) If you want the factory to represent (in the strictest sense) an 'Industrial Complex' then they should probably be removed altogether as a purchasing option, unit destroyed when captured. There is something to be said of course about the role of a factory in recruiting infantry, I guess under your logic, calling up troops or training them, would have to be considered manufacturing as well. The army has to be trained before it can be sent into the fray I suppose.
The only thing that prevents me from endorsing that role for the factory wholeheartedly, is that I'm uncertain it will lead to satisfying gameplay under the current A&A mechanics. It would also break with the tradition pretty substantially, as units are not typically removed from the base games once introduced (and this unit was there at the start after all.) It's also not quite the same as removing a normal unit, because as outlined in posts above, the factory is unique and preeminent since they allow all other units to be placed. Up until now I have been arguing with the understanding that factories would remain essentially unchanged in their role/abilities, but I can see where you are driving.
In my experience with A&A, factories are highly entertaining units, the most entertaining for me I would say. The problem I find is the lack of money, and viable locations. But in games where new production becomes a factor, I just tend to enjoy myself more while playing. This is why I have tried to come up with rules to expand the economy, house rules for the old games, or general design principles to follow in the new ones. I like factories, I think they are underused and prohibitively expensive, but I like them nontheless.
That said, I completely understand where you are coming from and why. But it is a major break, we would have to argue even more forcefully than I've been doing here, to persuade everyone to ditch the old scheme in favor of one with no new factories.
I am in definite agreement that the Capture the Capital dynamic is so influential to all these games that it's almost impossible to organize any other Victory scheme that will actually be adopted, while that rule remains in place. I'm not sure if it can be gotten rid of though, without a major redesign. A VC factory, with some sort of bonus might offset the CTC somewhat, but you can't really negate the CTC influence, no matter how many VCs you introduce. At the very least, a VC factory would be way more significant than a VC without one. But to truly be consistent with the idea of factories being factories, and not some broader abstraction, then you'd have to restrict them to even less VCs than we currently see on the map. I mean I could see how it would work, it's just like the complete opposite of the idea I have promoting hehe.
On the one hand, I basically totally agree with you, but on the other, the requirements in the redesign (everything from the map, on up to the unit roster, to the starting unit set up) would be so extensive, that I just despair at ever seeing it happen. So instead I have tried to work at least somewhat within the current framework in proposing these ideas.
I guess what I mean to say is, if Factories are not altered, and they continue to be used in the way they are now, then I think you really do have to think about them as hubs, and place them on the board with that sort of playstyle in mind.
Just for the record, so you know where I stand:
In general I favor unit replacement through purchasing with limited starting units, over heavy starting units with limited unit replacement. I mean as a design philosophy, that is my natural tendency. I feel this way because I believe it offers players more in the way of strategy, and the game is less likely to be broken by poor round 1 unit set ups/battles. I think it also streamlines the game, because the first round takes less time to play out, and it is easier to track new units purchased than to track a highly complex starting set up. More than this, I think giving players more flexibility with higher income and unit replacement, just leads to a more satisfying endgame on every level.
But I know there are others who have the complete opposite view. A view that has prevailed over mine recently, which totally favors high value starting units with low replacement, I see the latest boards all going that direction. I just think it gets further and further away from what I like about the game. What I like, is the idea that you can change history through strategy and purchasing, and not simply through managing the first round (with all it's attendant dicing hehe.) For a player like me, and I do believe I'm not alone, any A&A game is vastly improved by even just a moderate boost to the money in play. I use house rules sometimes to accomplish these effects, and the gameplay in my group feels much more interesting and enjoyable as a result.
The units in A&A are fun, and it's fun to have units you can actually afford. Not just watch them all get blown to hell in the first round. If I had my way we'd use the same amount of plastic, make twice as many units at half the scale. One of the main problems people seem to have in my games is being unable to distinguish between ships. Some units are just way larger than they need to be. I favor a relative scale for units, so you can tell all ship types from each other at a glance. I think the next A&A game should go a new direction with the same unit roster, but more units overall, at a smaller scale.
With a higher economy and higher unit replacement value through production, a world map at a moderate scale, and all the other stuff we've been talking about. I think that game would be fun to play.
Last edited by Black_Elk
on Sat Sep 07, 2013 3:22 am, edited 1 time in total.