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Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures: War at Sea» Forums » Rules

Subject: Avalon Hill wants gamers to beta test rules rss

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E Butler
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Many of you have probably already read the post on the Avalon Hill message board, but if you didn't read it here's their request for help.

- Is this really the same company that was assimilated by Has-borg? They've become quite fan friendly over the last year.


Here's the message and a few related...

At http://boards.avalonhill.com/showthread.php?t=19309&page=27 WAS designer Richard Baker posted.....

Hi, folks --

We've been playing with some ideas to help out gameplay and unit balance a bit, and we think they might be worth a broader set of tests. In no particular order, they are:

- A simplified version of the Harassed Sub rule;
- A small ship evasion rule that provides destroyers and torpedo boats with better protection against air attack, torpedo attack, and big guns;
- An extra victory point condition.

If these changes work well, they'll likely form the basis for an official rules update. In the meantime, put them through the wringer! Just a reminder: We're looking for the smallest number of simple changes that solve the problems identified. We want these to be easy to remember, easy to apply, and we want to avoid tricky interaction problems with existing rules and special abilities if we can.

I'll be on vacation for a couple of weeks, so don't get upset if I don't answer for a little bit.


ASW Threat
The presence of ASW ships and planes interferes with a submarine’s ability to attack. A Submarine takes a –1 die penalty to torpedo attacks (to a minimum of 1 die) if any of the following is true:

* An enemy Aircraft made an ASW attack against the Submarine during the Air Attack phase (use a token to mark it if you need help remembering);
* An enemy Ship with an ASW value of 1 or better is local or adjacent to the Submarine during the Torpedo Attack phase.

Multiple ASW Threats don’t stack; even if you have several destroyers nearby, you only reduce the Submarine’s torpedo attack by 1 die. Apply this penalty before you apply any bonuses or other modifiers. For example, a U-boat firing at range 2 normally gets 2 torpedo dice; an ASW threat reduces it to 1 die, but its Wolfpack special ability would increase the torpedo attack back to 2 dice.

This is a simplified version of the Harassed Subs rule—there aren’t two levels of effect anymore.

Small Ship Evasion
Destroyers and Torpedo Boats are naturally evasive and hard to hit.

* Air Attack: All aircraft take –1 per attack die (or –1 torpedo attack die, to a minimum of 1) against Destroyers and Torpedo Boats.
* Gunnery Attack: Battleship main battery attacks take –2 per attack die against small ships (only hit on a 6, but 6 still counts as 2 hits). Battleship main battery attacks can’t hit Destroyers and Torpedo Boats at range 0 or at extended range.
* Torpedo Attack: Torpedo attacks take –1 die against Destroyers and Torpedo Boats. This is cumulative with the ASW Threat penalty and Crippled ship penalties. (Regardless of your normal torpedo attack value or the penalties that apply, you always roll a minimum of 1 die on a torpedo attack.)

The most important effects are protection for Destroyers against Aircraft attack and Sub attack. Note that this effect is cumulative with ASW Threat. This rule can work just fine in conjunction with Chasing the Salvoes, so that special ability still remains useful. I thought about allowing Cruisers to get some evasion, and decided against it. I thought about letting some evasion benefits apply against Cruiser gunnery, and decided against it—we want cruisers to eat up destroyers. If these two rules fix Destroyers, then Cruisers should be fixed too.

How to Win
The first player to score 150 points wins the game. Check your score at the end of each turn.

You score points in three ways:

* When you destroy an enemy unit, you score points equal to the cost of the unit.
* When you seize an objective sector, you score 50 points.
* If your enemy has no Ships remaining in play, you score 50 bonus points.

It’s possible that both players might reach 150 points or more in the same turn. In that case, the player who achieves the higher score wins. If at any time your opponent has no units left at the end of a phase, the game ends and you win.

The third bullet is the new rule; we want to help the game end faster when unit interactions become less interesting, and when one side or the other is out of Ships, it's much more likely that unit interactions are beginning to break down. It also makes fleets heavily dependent on off-board air or submarines a bit more risky to play.

Let me know how these work at your table!

-------------------------------
Reply from Richard Baker...

No, I was organizing the effects of Small Ship evasion by phases of the turn. I should have been explicit about that. So the Swordfish just takes -1 die to its torpedo attack, and that's it.

-------------------------------
From AH R&D Team

Another option that Rich, Steve, & I have discussed is to change the set up parameters. Instead of subs setting up so far forward, a suggestion is that destroyers and subs can set up 3 squares forward of the rest of the fleet. Destroyers traditionally served as the screening ships of the fleet, and this rule give them that role. 2 squares was the original suggestion, but it didn't make enough of a difference. Giving destroyers a chance to grab an objective early gives them a real value, but we are uncertain we like the direction it takes the game. As always, player input is appreciated.

As Rich stated previously, we can't adopt a lot of different rules on this matter, but if we can adopt 1 or 2 rules that help a lot, we will do so. While Rich is on vacation I will check in on this thread, but Wizards won't do much on this matter until he returns.

------------------------------

Post the results of your playtesting and thoughts at the Avalon Hill forum http://boards.avalonhill.com/showthread.php?t=20405
 
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Brent Lloyd
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Its great that they see a problem with the game as it is right now and they are willing to fix it. My problem with Wizards of the Coast is...this game was released 6 months ago! Shame on them for releasing something so obviously flawed.

Beta testing should have happened BEFORE the game was released. It our gaming group around a half dozen games to realize it was badly flawed. Torpedo Boats, Destroyers and most of the Cruisers are totally useless in the game with the original rules. Thats almost HALF the ships in the entire game!

Peace
 
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Brian Morris
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I have played about a dozen games using the A&A rules and truth is they need a major overhaul. The combat rules are ok. Nothing spectacular but they work. The problem is the square grid moving system plays more like checkers than naval combat. It has no resemblance to real naval strategy and tactics what so ever. The miniatures are great but my group has given up playing the A&A rules and strictly use the miniatures with the General Quarters 3 naval miniature rules.
 
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Scott Woodard
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I'll give these new tweaks a shot.

I love the game as it stands, but these are some interesting ideas!
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E Butler
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I played four games with these rules tonight - 2 at 100 points, 1 at 150 and 1 at 80 points. All four were great (ok my view might be skewed a bit because I won 3/4). The nice thing here is that the rules fit so well - there's nothing to relearn. The rules didn't make you change tactics, but it did make you pay more attention to your placements. I REALLY like the 50 point bonus for destroying the enemy surface fleet. That rule goes a long way in eliminating the 'cheesy' victory endgame where an enemy sub chases a non-asw ship around until it gets cornered and sunk.

The harassing sub rule also worked well, subs still did their fair share of damage, but they didn’t have free range.

Set-up: eh, didn’t make a lot of sense to put the DD’s out front to far.

150 points: almost doubled play time (but it was fun).

BB vs. PT/DD almost came into play once – I had a MTB race in against the Tennessee, but it got blasted by secondary fire. I think the –1 for air attacks saved a DD once. Actually it did help my DD in two games because the fighters decided to attack the Nordmark (in the same hex) rather than the Z20, because of the hit prospects.

My recommendation: use them all – it’s like using premium gas instead of regular – not a big difference, but things run just a little bit better.
 
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Thanks for posting this here, as you've just saved me from reading a 30 page thread!

Looking forward to giving these a try.

mrbeankc wrote:
The problem is the square grid moving system plays more like checkers than naval combat.
Brian, a minor quibble here. Although squares are used, the grid is actually set up as hexes (due to the offset), as each square has six neighbors. The grid is similar to that used in the strategic maps of some Avalanche Press naval games.
 
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Chris Jacobson
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mrbeankc wrote:
I have played about a dozen games using the A&A rules and truth is they need a major overhaul. The combat rules are ok. Nothing spectacular but they work. The problem is the square grid moving system plays more like checkers than naval combat. It has no resemblance to real naval strategy and tactics what so ever. The miniatures are great but my group has given up playing the A&A rules and strictly use the miniatures with the General Quarters 3 naval miniature rules.

I'm familiar with GQ3... Hex based movement of A&A:WAS streamlines the gameplay, but when two naval forces see can each other, all that matters is range. There isn't a whole lot of maneuvering involved. GQ3 is great... if you have an evening to run a small battle, want to keep referring to lots of charts and formulas, and have LOTS of table or floor space. Its impossible to distill a game with the complexity of GQ3 down very far.

Frankly, if you like GQ3, using A&A Minis aren't the way to go; 1:6000 scale is a better bet, and much MUCH cheaper.
 
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