Our gaming group played this a lot, but sometimes (well, most times) we had weird things happen and had lots of questions; so, we developed our own really good Rules Clarifications to use these ships. Here they are!
Axis & Allies Naval Game: Rules Clarifications
These clarifications should greatly facilitate play of your Axis and Allies Naval Game. These following are considered to be in General Effect. The term “ship” below equally applies to “aircraft unit”, “torpedo boat flotilla”, etc. As always however, the ship data cards can and often do override the rules for a particular ship (or type of ship).
These below clarify (but do not change) the official Rules As Written (RAW). The rules, sequence of play, and the examples as given in the rulebook are not sufficiently detailed to specify exactly how to play. However, these clarifications will specify and correctly reflect the historical limitations of the era of the impracticality of the tracking of more than one target at a time by a single ship using the manual methods then available. These below will also correctly reflect the logical impossibility of sequential firing (therefore, there is pre-designation for all firing). And, these clarifications will correctly reflect the separation of the effects of different weapon types onto their targets.
1.0) Firing (the term “ship” here refers also to an “aircraft unit” or “flotilla/unit of multiple Torpedo Boats”, etc.):
1.1) Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em: Generally, a Smoke Screen allows each targeted ship within it to require each ship that fires upon it to make another separate die roll to achieve any successes. Ships capable of providing Smoke Screens (in lieu of their firing any and all of their weaponry) must do so PRIOR to the Gunnery Phase. In cases where both sides have this capability, all such ships must declare such an intent, and correspondingly place their Smoke Markers (in the usual Player Initiative sequence, the player without Initiative placing them all first).
2.1) Only One Target Per Ship: A ship may only be designated to fire at one enemy ship each Phase. All the guns of a ship must be fired at a single enemy ship, and similarly, all the torpedoes of a ship must be fired at a single enemy ship (no “split fire”). Note however, that the Gunnery Phase and the Torpedoes Phase are separate, so it is allowed that the Guns and the Torpedoes from a ship are allowed to fire at up to two different targets if desired. A torpedo boat “flotilla”, or a “unit of aircraft”, are both considered here as a single “ship” for this purpose.
2.2) Pre-designate All Targets, NO “Split Fire”: Prior to any Gunnery firing, both sides MUST pre-designate the targets of all of their ships, in the usual sequence of Player Initiative. These designations may not be changed (say, just because the target has already been sunk by another ship). Multiple ships may fire all their guns upon the same target if desired without penalty. However, a ship may NOT “split fire” its Gunnery at multiple targets. Similarly, multiple ships may declare their Torpedoes to be fired at the same target if desired without penalty. Also similarly, a ship may NOT “split fire” its Torpedoes at multiple target ships. However, all effects accrue separately. See below.
2.2.1) Additional Factors that Affect Attacks: e.g. “Saving Throw” dice: These are similar to, but are separate from, “Smoke Screens” described above. Additional factors such as small size, stealth, etc., allow each targeted ship to require each ship that fires upon it to make another separate die roll to achieve any successes. It is possible that a target will enjoy multiple dice of saving throws versus a specific attacker. In such cases, make this/these roll(s) prior to being fired upon (by guns and/or torpedoes) by each attacking ship. If it is determined that the attack(s) from a particular ship are to be ineffective due to “saving rolls”, then there is no need to proceed with the firing of that ship. If the target has failed its saving roll(s), then simply proceed normally with firing as described next.
2.3) All Gunnery Effects Accrue Separately, Immediately, and Simultaneously: All the Gunnery effects from firing ships onto a target are each accrued separately from each ship. As a ship fires its total amount of each gun type, the results are accrued separately and immediately (as per the RAW, place the appropriate face down marker onto the target). The results, if any, from the Main Guns of a firing ship are totaled and applied to a target before there is any die rolling for results of any and all Secondary Guns from the same firing ship onto that same target. Those resulting die rolls will be totaled separately, and any results will be applied separately. Both sides all fire before any new damage for that turn takes effect. At the end of the Gunnery Phase, as all damage markers are flipped face up, simply sum up all damage for each hit ship (note that hit ships/units that have had their Torpedo factors degraded or eliminated during the Gunnery Phase will be less effective during the Torpedo Phase). Remove any/all sunk ships.
EJ_May 2010 1 of 2 Axis & Allies Naval Game Rules Clarifications_Ver 2.0.doc
3.1) Pre-designate All Torpedo Targets: Similar to Gunnery Target Designation, prior to any Torpedo launching both sides must pre-designate targets for all of their own ships. Generally, torpedoes only hit on a 1d6 result of a “6”, and each hit causes 2 points of hull damage. For the sake of player convenience and to speed play, multi-ship torpedo attacks onto the same target may be combined (since they are all pre-designated, and since they are all the same). However and as always, on an exception basis individual ship data cards may affect this (e.g. the factors of smoke, stealth, small size, etc.). If for whatever reason a sides torpedo attacks are all not all the same, simply fire each ships Torpedoes at their pre-designated targets separately, and accrue the damage separately as above. At the end of the entire Torpedo Phase, sum all torpedo damage and update all damage status markers accordingly. At the end of the turn, remove any and all sunk ships.
Suggested Optional Rules:
Op 1.0) Optional Initiative Bonus – British / US / Japanese at Night:
Op 1.1) British and US naval forces (thoroughly!) enjoyed an immense military intelligence advantage over their opponents throughout all of WWII due to the advantages afforded by code-breaking and to RADAR, and usually both. To realistically better reflect this factor, give all Commonwealth forces and all US forces an additional +1 to their Initiative Roll. This is separate from, and in addition to, any “flagship” or any other initiative roll bonuses.
Op 1.2) Japanese surface naval forces were particularly well-trained and skilled in combat at night. To better reflect this, give all Japanese surface naval forces a +1 to their initiative roll whenever the action is considered to be at night. This is separate from, and in addition to, any “flagship” or any other initiative roll bonuses.
Op 2.0) Optional: First Turn Set up and Initiative:
Op 2.1) Instead of performing the initial set up per the RAW, a better and more consistent procedure would be for both players to first roll for initiative. For the first turn, the winner would set up second, and then move second.
Op 3.0) Optional: Torpedo Boat Units and Hidden Applicability (applies to all PT, MAS, E-Boats, etc):
Op 3.1) A Torpedo Boat counter represents ~3 boats. However, it must act at all times as a unit, i.e. as if it were a single ship. It may not “split fire”, just as individual ships may not. These boat units generally have the capability to be considered “hidden” from enemy ships whenever they are located in a shore square (that is, when viewed from the surface of the sea against the shoreline). However, such boat units are NOT considered ever hidden from enemy aircraft units (that is, when viewed from above).
Op 4.0) Optional - Escape:
Op 4.1) Any ship/unit that finds itself > 5 squares from all other enemy ships/units at the end of the Movement Phase can be considered to have “escaped”. It can be removed from the board at the owning player’s option with no penalty. Can be used in conjunction with “Floating” the game board, following.
Op 5.0) Optional: “Floating” the Game Board:
Op 5.1) Instead of a limited game board, the board may “float” as if on the open sea. Simply shift all ships and units as needed.
EJ_May 2016 2 of 2 Axis & Allies Naval Game Rules Clarifications_Ver 2.1.doc