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Axis & Allies: WWI 1914» Forums » Rules

Subject: US ships protecting Entente ships before Turn 4? rss

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Karl Kleve
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Having just finished my third A&A 1914 with my first win as CP. But Entente used a new (for me) strategy with the US fleet: He sailed it to the English Channel, thereby in effect making the Entente ships there immune against German attack (unless I wanted to risk an early US entry into the war).

Did we play it right? Does a US ship in a sea zone with Entente ships participate in defence against a German attack before Turn 4? Or can Germany attack the other ships but leave the US ships alone, thereby avoiding an early US entry?

I could not find any answer to this neither here at BBG nor at axisandallies.org. Apologies if this has already been answered and I've just overlooked it.
 
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Wim Goezinnen
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U.S. may not move untill round 4, so it is not allowed to sail to UK.
 
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Wim Goezinnen wrote:
U.S. may not move untill round 4, so it is not allowed to sail to UK.


If you can tell me where that's explicitly stated in the rules, I'll believe it. The rules for US isolationism are as follows:

Quote:
United States Isolationism
The United States begins the game neutral, but with Allied sympathies. While it remains neutral, the United States may not move land or air units into Central Powers-controlled or contested territories or attack Central Powers sea units. It will not enter the war unless either its units are attacked by the Central Powers or it loses income to a German submarine attack (see “Collect Income”, page 23). However, if it is not yet at war at the beginning of its fourth turn, the United States will enter the war at that time.


Now the last copy of the FAQ by Krieghund has this for the US:

Quote:
As the United States is neutral before it's at war, it has no friends or enemies; therefore it may not move units into territories controlled by other Allied powers. It also may not load units onto transports before it's at war.


There's no restriction on the US moving its sea units around the globe. If they're attacked, it just brings them into the war sooner.

 
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Ubergeek
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Quote:
Did we play it right? Does a US ship in a sea zone with Entente ships participate in defence against a German attack before Turn 4? Or can Germany attack the other ships but leave the US ships alone, thereby avoiding an early US entry?


When you attack in a sea zone, you must attack all enemy ships that are present. If there are losses, the defenders determine which ships are lost. It seems you played it correctly. Should Germany try to attack US and British ships in the English Channel, it would constitute an attack upon us forces which would draw them into the war (as all defenders in the sea zone contribute to the defense roll).
 
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Karl Kleve
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Thank you for your answer.

Then it does indeed seem to be a very good strategy for the Entente to use a couple of US ships to defend vulnerable sea zones against axis attacks. If the typical German attack of the British Home Fleet in Turn 1 goes well for the German, ie wiping out the British Home Fleet, its not so bad for UK after all, as it may just put a couple of cheap transports in the Channel, protected by US ships. Thereby avoid having to spend money on expensive battleships and such.

And it becomes in practice impossible for Germany to block British reinforcements from reaching France.

Methinks the US is not behaving gentlemanlike here
 
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Kevin Chapman
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If you attack a sea zone, you attack all enemy units in it. While the US is neutral, it has neither friends nor enemies. If the US is still neutral and the Central Powers attack a sea zone containing US ships, they have two options. They may either include the US ships in the attack, bringing the US into the war, or they may ignore those ships, keeping them out of the battle and the US out of the war.
 
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Karl Kleve
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Thank you, Krieghund, for the final verdict. Then the Entente tactic of using US ships as shields in the way I described, is NOT legal. Making last nights CP victory even more sweet

It must be said, though, that we played with a sort of 'railroad variant' where you could move your land forces 2 spaces as long as it started and ended in friendly territory and didn't cross any borders. A variant that might be of more benefit to the CP player than the Entente (at least that was what the Entente said when they were losing )
 
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Kevin Chapman
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Then you may find this interesting.
 
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Ubergeek
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Quote:
If the US is still neutral and the Central Powers attack a sea zone containing US ships, they have two options. They may either include the US ships in the attack, bringing the US into the war, or they may ignore those ships, keeping them out of the battle and the US out of the war.


That's one way to interpret and play it, but again, it's not in the official rules or in a FAQ on the Hasbro site. The rules are pretty clear. If you attack in a sea zone, all the ships there are attacked. There's nothing about splitting up the attack just because the US is present. It even states in the rules that though the US is neutral, they have Allied tendencies.

Your clarifications on the forum are great but they might as well be a full additional rule set given how many of them are additions to the rules rather than just clarifications. The tournament rules are great in establishing a commonality throughout a tourney. But for friendly play, I still recommend just sticking with the rules as written and agree to any deviances before the game begins.

I've always held that rules are not written by omission, meaning that in the absence of what's not there, you stick with what is. The aA1914 rules are very clear and good ini my opinion. What's missing are rules that people think should be there for historical accuracy or wish were there to allow for a different action or outcome. But as written, the rules work just fine. I still hold that the US fleet maneuver is a viable strategy to bring the US into the war earlier, and within the rules as written.

Once you go down the road of restricting a country's actions to maintain history as it occurred, you might as well hold off Italy's entry into the war and stop the Turks from building submarines. The game is balanced correctly right now in that it does allow for deviation from history while still maintains the geopolitical nature of WWI. Pigeonholing country actions based on history defeats the purpose of any A&A game and IMHO takes the fun out of it.
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Kevin Chapman
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Walt Mulder wrote:
That's one way to interpret and play it, but again, it's not in the official rules or in a FAQ on the Hasbro site.

For reasons I can't go into right now, there isn't likely to be an FAQ on the official site for a while. In the meantime, you can accept the "unofficial" FAQ or not - it's your choice. I guess it depends on whether you want to play the game as the designer intended.

Walt Mulder wrote:
The rules are pretty clear. If you attack in a sea zone, all the ships there are attacked.

The rules actually say that "all enemy forces that may be present" must defend, as I stated above. The "unofficial" FAQ, as you quoted above, states that the US has neither friends nor enemies when neutral. My clarification above is not an "addition to the rules", but rather a logical extension of those two statements.

It was not the intent of the design that neutral US ships be allowed to shield Allied ships from Central Powers attack.
 
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Ubergeek
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Quote:
It was not the intent of the design that neutral US ships be allowed to shield Allied ships from Central Powers attack.


Pity, as this is exactly what the US Navy was vastly relegated to for the majority of their participation in the war under Wilson. Theodore Roosevelt had already flexed up US naval power with his "Great White Fleet" as early as 1907 demonstrating that the US was a power that could not be ignored. Unfortunately, naval buildup lapsed until the sinking of the Lusitania.

Given that this is "Axis & Allies", there's no reason to not allow the US to flex its muscle taunting the Germans. Since the rules don't allow for US attacks until attacked, they might as well have been written to restrict all US movement until a certain timeframe. The scale of the game doesn't allow the luxury of assuming that a German fleet happens upon only the British portion of ships within a zone. With that thinking, then if Brits were to attack a sea zone with AH and German ships, they could claim to only have come across the Germans and ignore attacking the AH ones present. If it was the designer's intent, then I respectfully disagree with his logic and suggest he rethink it.

I'm still of the opinion that there wasn't much in the rules as written that needed adding to, even if only to clarify the designer's intent. I'm hoping that we'll see a deluxe anniversary edition this year, and if so then it will be a great time to include those additions and hopefully include an optional set of rules that keep things simple to allow exploration of "what if" situations like the one the OP presents (and like the rules as currently presented would allow).
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Moshe Callen
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Short answer: By the OOB rules, it's legal but by the unofficial FAQ it's not. Pick one before the game and stick with it.
 
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Kevin Chapman
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I think it's more accurate to say that it's ambiguous by the OOB rules. The rules are clear that only "enemy" units are attacked. However, they're a bit fuzzy on whether the US is an "enemy" of the Central Powers while it's still neutral, hence the FAQ clarification.
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Krieghund wrote:
I think it's more accurate to say that it's ambiguous by the OOB rules. The rules are clear that only "enemy" units are attacked. However, they're a bit fuzzy on whether the US is an "enemy" of the Central Powers while it's still neutral, hence the FAQ clarification.

Except that it's an aligned neutral.
 
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Not really. The term "aligned" is used in the rules to refer to minor powers aligned to major ones, and the relationship between these powers is clearly defined. The term used for the US while neutral is that it has "Allied sympathies". This term is not so clearly defined, but it does suggest a lesser level of commitment.
 
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Krieghund wrote:
Not really. The term "aligned" is used in the rules to refer to minor powers aligned to major ones, and the relationship between these powers is clearly defined. The term used for the US while neutral is that it has "Allied sympathies". This term is not so clearly defined, but it does suggest a lesser level of commitment.

Yes, I know. The US starts the game-- as stated clearly-- as the only aligned neutral major-- not minor-- power and hence the rules specific to it.
 
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Karl Kleve
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Krieghund wrote:
Then you may find this interesting.


Thank you for the link. I tried to take a look at this a couple of weeks ago. But I must admit I haven' really read it. The entire post with all replies are a bit long, and I couldn't find a final set of tournament rules anywhere. So I am a bit confused but it all:

Are the final tournament rules just as Mr. Harris writes them in the initial post? Or have changes been done based on all the comments?

What my friends and I did when we decided to speed up movement a bit, was this: Land units may move 2 spaces (railroad) when the following condition are met:

- The units start and enter in a friendly space in the same nation.

Ie: If the units end in a hostile OR CONTENDED space, they may move only 1 space.
If they cross a border (even into an allied land) they can move only 1 space (even among friends there was a hassle to cross borders. Different rail gauges, lots of paperwork, etc.)
If one nation have conquered enough connecting territory to make it an option: Yes, the may move 2 spaces also in previous enemy lands (like Germany moving from Poland to Karelia in one go if Livonia is also German)
But if allied nations have "shared" the enemy territories between them, then that may hinder rail movement: German troop going from Livonia to Ukraine via Poland is only possible if both Livonia, Poland and Ukraine is German.
If the same nation has several linked colonies, rail movement is also possible. This will in practise only affect France in North and West Africa (we were a bit unsure if we should allow France this. We hadn't thought of Africa when we agreed on this rule, But when France suddenly applied the railroad movement in Africa, we didn't have the hart to stop it)

Now, you could say that doing this railroad movement is for historical reasons, since railroad did indeed play a very great role in internal, non-combat transportation and lessened in particular the German problems of two front war. But then we should perhaps also allow the US neutral ships to shield Entente ships, as Mr. Ubergeek states. This being more historical. And we did use this rule in our last game (Involuntarily, since noen of us though this was possible until the US player went ahead an did it, backing it up by pointing to the rules not stating explisitly that it was not allowed).

But actually I tend to agree with Mr. Krieghund here. One thing is that I tend to regard Krieghund's verdicts as usually being closest to the designers intents. Another thing is that A&A can never be a strict historical game. Allowances alway has to be taken for playability.

Allowing the neutral US ships to shield Entente ships make it impossible for the German player to block English forces from crossing the Channel. I think the CP player is initially at a disadvantage in this game, and does not need another complication.

Allowing a kind of railroad movement on the other hand, strenghten the inital disadvantaged nations. It favours Germany most and Austria-Hungary and Russia second. It is a small, uncoplicated rules change which does wonders for balancing the game. And has the added bonus of making it a little bit more "historical" (but this is not the main reason for doing it!)

BUT: I think the 2 space movement as suggested by Mr. Harris in the Tournament rules variant is too generous. Mr. Harris allows 2 space movements to end in contested areas also. And he does not hinder cross-border 2 space movements. I think that is going too far. But that's my 2 cents only, as you call it.

Anyway, I am very grateful for this discussion. That you are all taking the trouble of answering my question and pointing out all the pros and cons of the different views
 
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Kevin Chapman
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Mirimon Laitosto wrote:
Are the final tournament rules just as Mr. Harris writes them in the initial post?

Yes. The initial post was updated with changes.

Mirimon Laitosto wrote:
But actually I tend to agree with Mr. Krieghund here. One thing is that I tend to regard Krieghund's verdicts as usually being closest to the designers intents.

Being involved in the process tends to help with that.

Mirimon Laitosto wrote:
Another thing is that A&A can never be a strict historical game. Allowances alway has to be taken for playability.

Precisely.

Mirimon Laitosto wrote:
Allowing the neutral US ships to shield Entente ships make it impossible for the German player to block English forces from crossing the Channel. I think the CP player is initially at a disadvantage in this game, and does not need another complication.

That's a big reason why the rule is what it is.

Mirimon Laitosto wrote:
Allowing a kind of railroad movement on the other hand, strenghten the inital disadvantaged nations. It favours Germany most and Austria-Hungary and Russia second. It is a small, uncoplicated rules change which does wonders for balancing the game. And has the added bonus of making it a little bit more "historical" (but this is not the main reason for doing it!)

Yup. It also speeds up the game, which is a big consideration in tournaments.

Mirimon Laitosto wrote:
BUT: I think the 2 space movement as suggested by Mr. Harris in the Tournament rules variant is too generous. Mr. Harris allows 2 space movements to end in contested areas also. And he does not hinder cross-border 2 space movements. I think that is going too far. But that's my 2 cents only, as you call it.

Give it a try and see how it works. Most everyone who has tried it has been well pleased.
 
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Karl Kleve
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Good to hear the inital post on the Torunament Rules has been updated and is the final version. I'll give them a try. Thank you
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