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Axis & Allies Europe 1940» Forums » General

Subject: "Modernizing Axis and Allies" rss

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Shaun Haynam

Jacksonville
Florida
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I am a long-time fan and player of the global war Axis and Allies games... in all their various iterations. I think it is a fabulous design albeit one that is showing its age. I would love to see a new edition, but before shelling out some bucks I would love to see some changes as well.

The game that has largely replaced AA for me was War of the Ring. War of the Ring is a fantastic game that has some fabulous design elements that I think would be perfectly suited to AA. I would love to see some of these concepts applied to AA:

1. actually starting off with something that's a problem with both wotr and aa: I would like to see the minis/chips replaced small colored counters representing the forces. Perhaps small blocks colored to correspond with the owning nation and stickered with nato symbols to represent the various unit types. For land units I would make them army scale but keep the distinction between infantry and armor. I would remove the various other favors of land units (marines, mounted infantry, artillery, etc), but perhaps use a pip system similar to block games to show the various levels of support that could be added at the initial purchase of a unit (I.e. For 5 ipc you get a 2 pip infantry unit, representing attached artillery support and attacks at 2 or less).

I love minis, and AA looks amazing when set up, but minis make the act of playing the game rather painful imo. I replaced the minis in my wotr set with colored discs and stickers with some nice Tolkien art and the effect was fantastic. Makes the game far more of a pleasure to play than fussing with minis.

2. In love sal vasta's take on the war in unconditional surrender where captured territory did not necessarily equate to increased resources. I would love to incorporate that into AA. I realize this would only further handicap the axis, so I propose that any additonal territory gains for the axis be given a -2 modifier and a -4 modifier for the allies. Not only is this a gameplay balance, but it also reflects the axis proclivity towards forced labor and population repression.

3. War of the Ring has a beautiful hunt for the ring track that not only offers the free peoples an alternate win condition, but also acts as a timer of sorts on the game. I would incorporate a mechanically similar (but not identical) track for the axis and the allies respectively that represents the race to develop the atomic bomb. Our games of AA have run punishingly long, and this would effectively put a reasonable cap on the game.

4. Strongholds: wotr gives us stronghold boxes on the map to help implement siege warfare. I would add a similar mechanic to major cities such as Leningrad, Moscow, Berlin, etc. and several of the Pacific Islands. These essentially limit combat to one round per turn in the respective area (but also limit the number of defenders allowed within the siege), with the attacker having the option to continue into another round if he reduces a unit by 1 of the aforementioned pips (perhaps - this was handled slightly differently in wotr but you get the idea).

5. Political Track: AA1940 has an interesting tension system, but it was implemented (imo) rather poorly in that the rules for the tensions are contained wholly within the book. Wotr uses a handy track system to handle this exact mechanic and I would love to see a track printed on the board or even a card on the side of the table.

6. Cards have come a long way in gaming. Some of the very best wargames fully rely on a card system to drive the narrative. This isn't merely meant to ape those games but rather add a lot of AA. Wotr has an interesting card system as well where cards can both intetact with the game at the strategic level or be used in battle at the tactical level. A card thus has two effects, one tactical and one strategic, but the player must choose between the two. You may have a card you have been saving for a critical event (many cards have prerequisites to trigger their various effects) but a crucial battle is playing out and you need the tactical effect of that card to tip the odds in your favor.

There could be a deck for each playable country: this would add a ton of flavor and story to the game without adding a ton of additonal rules, not to mention differentiating each faction rather elegantly.

Just some thoughts guys. I've played a lot of both AA and wotr and whenever I play the latter I can't help but think how perfectly many of the mechanics from that game would fit in axis and allies/WW2.

 
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Dan Lokemoen
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A&A is a decent simple game, but for its simplicity and the level of variance introduced by dice rolling, it's far too long a game.

I either look for a much more complex and satisfying experience, or a shorter game. "Fixing" A&A is not polishing a turd, but it's close enough to not bother IMO.

Try Nexus Ops. It's a dice-rolling, plastic armies Risk-and-A&A-like game that ends in an hour or less.

Or play 1856, which is a long game with way more brain-stimulating decisions to make than A&A.

Or try Dune or Virgin Queen.
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Shaun Haynam

Jacksonville
Florida
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YourHighnessness wrote:
A&A is a decent simple game, but for its simplicity and the level of variance introduced by dice rolling, it's far too long a game.

I either look for a much more complex and satisfying experience, or a shorter game. "Fixing" A&A is not polishing a turd, but it's close enough to not bother IMO.

Try Nexus Ops. It's a dice-rolling, plastic armies Risk-and-A&A-like game that ends in an hour or less.

Or play 1856, which is a long game with way more brain-stimulating decisions to make than A&A.

Or try Dune or Virgin Queen.


One of my first suggestions was to replace plastic minis with blocks or counters, so not really looking for that. I'm not looking for any alternatives, really just looking at a good game and trying to think of ways to improve its mechanics while retaining its spirit. It's not a turd... It's not even close to one. It has simply been made obselete by decades of game design advances and needs to be brought up-to-date.
 
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Erik Stonemark
United States
Wisconsin
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First off, I am a fan of A&A, it was what got me into gaming in middle school and high school. It's a classic game that has gotten thousands upon thousands into gaming. I have all the versions except the very first original game and anniversary.
Secondly, I have allowed myself to expand my profile and have gotten into several different other wargames and game systems that have brought me a wider viewpoint when it comes to gameplay. That being said, I agree to a certain extent that A&A can be improved(it is most definitely not a bad game)
I find your mention of using blocks or counters interesting. I would lean more to some type of counter(blocks have a built in fog of war that could work, but probably only with just 2 players). I personally, at times, still like the minis and have begun making counters mostly to just keep the unit names and numbers straight in the D-Day and Battle of the Bulge versions(while still using the minis). Cards are also interesting if they are more than just an ordered list of turn sequence like what was in A&A D-Day. Cards would need a mix of the national objectives with some bonuses and luck and instant interrupts and leaders and weapons to enhance gameplay.
In terms of different mechanics, A&A tried with the Bulge & Guadalcanal versions, and yet they kept going back to the same basic system of the original(s) in all later"global versions. I don't know if this is a result of different game companies being at the helm(Avalon Hill, WoTC) but I always felt thst the campaign games were very good but got maligned for trying something different, hence an over abundance of global style games that only featured "window dressing" differences like slightly different maps and a few different units here and there.
In terms of trying something new or different, one mechanic I have experimented with in global versions of A&A is a chit pull system to determine turn order. Random turn order makes every turn different, and thus keeps anticipation up and makes strategy and tactics much more fluid. No more of the same old tired move and turn sequence. This mechanic has different results depending on which version you use. In 1942 for example, it usually worked well because all the countries are at war. In Global 40, the first 2 or 3 game turns may need to maintain its normal order untill all countries are actively engaged in the war.
One other mechanic I am just beginning to experiment with is a random hit allocation system like found in the Bulge version, but streamlined slightly to keep dice rolling down. I never liked that the defender gets to allocate hits, obviously almost always taking the inferior units as casualties first.
I am always hopefull that A&A will come out with more games, but sincerely hope they don't just redress the same thing in a 3rd or 4th edition that has the same basic system. My biggest hope is that they(Larry Harris) designs more campaign or theater type games like D-Day, Bulge, and Guadalcanal. Maybe a Stalingrad, Market Garden, or Battle of Britain perhaps.
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