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Subject: Pros and Cons of Axis and Allies Anniversary Edition rss

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Bill Carrigan
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Eight Things I Love about the New Edition

1. The trays for holding your pieces. The Revised edition was terrible in this regard, and the Classic edition's Styrofoam boxes left something to be desired. The anniversary edition ones are great.

2. The larger board. Although there are some issues here and there (see below), the bigger board is a great thing. The Revised board was too cramped, and the Classic board had the awkward boxes at the top of the board for extra units.

3. Italy! I like the way that Italy has been included. It is by far the weakest power, and to make it anything else would have been to fly too much against my sense of history. Yet, Italy, especially if one plays with National Objectives, has fun and interesting things to do during the game. Heck, Italy even took Stalingrad in my first 50th edition game!

4. China! I love the way that China is incorporated in this game. China's semi-independence from the U.S. and its great expansion in number of territories makes it much more interesting, essentially adding more challenges and difficulties (and rewards) for Japan without giving the U.S. and equal boost in IPCs, etc.

5. National Objectives: I really like the way that these objectives encourage historical simulation in play. I do think that they have some drawbacks (see below), but I love them in general.

6. Revised Weapons Development Rules: I have never really liked weapons development, as it seemed to increase the role that luck already played in the game. I also thought several of the weapons developments in both the Classic and Revised were too game unbalancing. Although I haven't played with these new rules yet, they seem on the surface to me to be the best rules yet in this area.

7. Naval Units: The addition of the cruiser is cool, but the best thing is that the naval units are cheaper all the way around, making naval purchases more viable and interesting. I also really like the way that transports have been changed, removing them as "cannon fodder" in naval battles, which always bothered me since it was hyper ahistorical.

8. 1941 or 1942 Start Options. I had rules for a 1939 start for the Classic Board, and I am glad to see two starts built right into the OOB rules this time.

Five Things I Don't Love in the Revised Edition

1. The non-folding board: I hated the four-fold Revised board. It was already coming apart on me, so having three pieces is better than that, but why couldn't the board three-fold like the Classic Board? Maybe there is a reason for this, but it eludes me.

2. The Pacific as "Pond": The Pacific seems very "shrunk" in comparison to the Atlantic which is expanded in size over its geographical dimensions. I am not terribly bothered by this, as both are probably necessary for good gameplay.

3. Offshore Bombardments: I liked offshore bombardments taking out defending units before they could roll a defensive die. I will recommend going back to this in our group.

4. National Objectives and Germany: As a friend pointed out, Germany's grand strategy options are severely limited in this edition. In earlier editions, especially in Revised, Germany could viably go after USSR, England, or Africa or some combination of these three. In the 50th edition, because of its National Objectives and because of Italy, Germany is really limited to attacking the USSR.

5. Game Length: This may be biggest issue of all for me. I think the best thing about Axis and Allies is that you could play a World War II game heavy with logistics in one evening's time (or in a tournament). Adding Italy seems to extend the time a bit, though maybe not as much as I think once we get used to the new rules. I think that the 1941 start would take quite a while to complete even under the 13 game victory city conditions.
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Yoki Erdtman
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I enjoyed your comments, and find that the good outweighs the bad in my opinion.
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brian
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Nice insight.

My only comment is on the trays and boards. Great addition over Revised, no doubt. And the lids make a lot more sense than 2nd Edition; I don't have to balance the thing to keep it from making a mess. But I do wish the trays had a few more compartments.

I love the new board in look and design. And from my first glance, they did an excellent job of lining up everything graphically. I am a bit concerned by the lack of a fold as I am afraid these will be prone to warping. I wish they would have folded the 3 segments and given my a smaller foot print on the box (make it twice as deep to hold all the trays). That would have solved my storage issue as well. This game is too big to go into any of my storage containers!
 
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Thanks for a nice overview. I already considered buying the anniversary edition, but now it is definitely on my wishlist.
 
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Phil Shepherd
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
This game is too big to go into any of my storage containers!


I saw this at my FLGS Friday night. That's the first thing I thought.

Why, oh why, did this have to be SO HUGE?
 
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Matt Rider
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Can anyone confirm what (and where?) the extra land spaces are?? I see Italy and Balkans have been split and China is 10 not 4 but what else?

Thanks

Matt
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Anders Fredlund
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Marnak wrote:

3. Offshore Bombardments: I liked offshore bombardments taking out defending units before they could roll a defensive die. I will recommend going back to this in our group.


I haven't heard about this change, is it really so? I thought the only new thing with bombardment was that you had to have one ground unit in the attack for each bombarding ship.
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Bill Carrigan
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Matt,

Check out our meetup.com group, and you will find a file with "cards" listing the territories and the units in them.

www.meetup.com/glassboroaxisandallies

Best,

Bill
 
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Bill Carrigan
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Anders,

Page 17 of the rulebook under "Step 2: Battleship and Cruiser Bombardment"

"For each hit, the defender moves a defending unit to the casualty zone of the battle board (used for land combat below). These casualties will be able to defend during the land combat step before they are eliminated."

I wish it weren't so!

Best,

Bill
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Barry Kendall
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Bombarded defenders get to "defend" before removal?! Defend against what?

A Japanese machine-gun nest defends against a 14" bombardment round how, exactly?

This is very, very strange.

I can't imagine playing this way.

The only rational compromise I can think of is to allow defenders eliminated by CRUISER bombardment to "defend" before expiration, but to immediately remove defenders hit by BATTLESHIP bombardment.

Not a game-breaker, but very odd. I really want to read some designer's notes.

A more worrisome issue is the relative "shrinkage" of the Pacific. Here I was really hoping for a sense of the vast scale of the Pacific War, but it sounds like this is not to be.

I was looking forward to this game, and still am--most of the time--but a little nagging sensation at the back of my neck keeps pestering me with the thought: "Hold off . . . hold off . . . "

After the (for me) huge disappointment of A&A:Guadalcanal after being very pleased with A&A: Europe, Pacific, and Revised, moderately pleased with D-Day and somewhat let-down with "Bulge," I'm beginning to wonder if something has gone awry with the design or testing process somewhere.

The longer I go, the more enamored I become with "open" playtesting and development vs. the hush-hush approach.
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Kevin Chapman
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Barry Kendall wrote:
Bombarded defenders get to "defend" before removal?! Defend against what?

A Japanese machine-gun nest defends against a 14" bombardment round how, exactly?

This is very, very strange.

I can't imagine playing this way.

The only rational compromise I can think of is to allow defenders eliminated by CRUISER bombardment to "defend" before expiration, but to immediately remove defenders hit by BATTLESHIP bombardment.

Not a game-breaker, but very odd. I really want to read some designer's notes.

No matter how effective pre-invasion bombardment was, it was never completely effective. I can't think of a single instance where all resistance was wiped out by bombardment. Amphibious assaults shouldn't be a cake walk.

One infantry piece represents a lot of men. Conceptually, it may be better to think of shore bombardment as helping the invading troops to eliminate those units, rather than completely obliterating them on its own. Under that assumption, return fire makes sense, and it can be argued that denying it makes bombardment overly powerful. Two infantry attacking one with a battleship backup still gives the attacker a significant advantage.
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Robert Wesley
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Barry Kendall wrote:
Bombarded defenders get to "defend" before removal?! Defend against what?

A Japanese machine-gun nest defends against a 14" bombardment round how, exactly?

This is very, very strange.

I can't imagine playing this way.

The only rational compromise I can think of is to allow defenders eliminated by CRUISER bombardment to "defend" before expiration, but to immediately remove defenders hit by BATTLESHIP bombardment.

Not a game-breaker, but very odd. I really want to read some designer's notes.

A more worrisome issue is the relative "shrinkage" of the Pacific. Here I was really hoping for a sense of the vast scale of the Pacific War, but it sounds like this is not to be.

I was looking forward to this game, and still am--most of the time--but a little nagging sensation at the back of my neck keeps pestering me with the thought: "Hold off . . . hold off . . . "

After the (for me) huge disappointment of A&A:Guadalcanal after being very pleased with A&A: Europe, Pacific, and Revised, moderately pleased with D-Day and somewhat let-down with "Bulge," I'm beginning to wonder if something has gone awry with the design or testing process somewhere.

The longer I go, the more enamored I become with "open" playtesting and development vs. the hush-hush approach.
Some folks have openly advocated to include a "Bombardments PHASE", in which all manner of "Firing" takes place, with the appropriate 'kinds' of which would become expanded upon. This will include "Rockets", "Artillery", "Forts", "Coastal Emplacements", "Minefields", "Bunkers", "Sub PENS", etc. I dare state that something WITH all of such were "on" the 'menu', yet that were with a select few then for whom can afford to obtain these from where they will.
 
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Kenneth Bailey
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baluba42 wrote:
Marnak wrote:

3. Offshore Bombardments: I liked offshore bombardments taking out defending units before they could roll a defensive die. I will recommend going back to this in our group.


I haven't heard about this change, is it really so? I thought the only new thing with bombardment was that you had to have one ground unit in the attack for each bombarding ship.

It's always been that defending units had a chance before the attack.
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Bill Carrigan
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I agree with folks about the bombardment rule, but it is very easy to fix. The vast Pacific would probably cause problems in gameplay, and I try to remind my geographical and historical inner geek about the fact that I want the game to be able to be played in four hours. On the whole, I love the new game and give it my enthusiastic endorsement.
 
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Douglas Buel
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Barry Kendall wrote:
Bombarded defenders get to "defend" before removal?! Defend against what?


The infantry that land during the attack.
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Bill Eldard
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Krieghund wrote:
No matter how effective pre-invasion bombardment was, it was never completely effective. I can't think of a single instance where all resistance was wiped out by bombardment. Amphibious assaults shouldn't be a cake walk.


I agree, Kevin. The old amphibious bombardment rule was too powerful.

Even in the Central Pacific where naval gunfire could be brought to bear anywhere on island, it had minimal effect on Tarawa, Iwo Jima, etc.

The revised rule in the new edition makes more sense. The advantage still remains with the attacker, as he gets to use naval units as super-artillery against ground units.

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Kenneth Bailey
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Eldard wrote:
Krieghund wrote:
No matter how effective pre-invasion bombardment was, it was never completely effective. I can't think of a single instance where all resistance was wiped out by bombardment. Amphibious assaults shouldn't be a cake walk.


I agree, Kevin. The old amphibious bombardment rule was too powerful.

Even in the Central Pacific where naval gunfire could be brought to bear anywhere on island, it had minimal effect on Tarawa, Iwo Jima, etc.

The revised rule in the new edition makes more sense. The advantage still remains with the attacker, as he gets to use naval units as super-artillery against ground units.


Looking at the original rulebook, the Battleships would attack, the casualties would go to the casualty board and then the rest of the amphibious attack would go on. All of the casualties would get a chance to fire back. Then I looked at the new rulebook and it looked like casualties from battleships would be removed before the battle but I think we played like the original.
 
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Kevin Chapman
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mikoyan wrote:
Looking at the original rulebook, the Battleships would attack, the casualties would go to the casualty board and then the rest of the amphibious attack would go on. All of the casualties would get a chance to fire back. Then I looked at the new rulebook and it looked like casualties from battleships would be removed before the battle but I think we played like the original.

In the Classic (MB) version, shore bombardment casualties fired back, but in the Revised (AH) version, they don't. In the new Anniversary edition, they fire back.
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Barry Kendall
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I understand that not all defenders were eliminated in coastal bombardment (see "Tarawa" and "Pelelieu"). The fact that such bombardment became more effective, however, can be shown on Iwo Jima, where the assault waves got ashore with fewer losses (and, although pinned for a time on/near the beach, were able to reduce both local strongpoints and Suribachi in a matter of days) and Okinawa, where no shoreline defense was even attempted.

I also understand that one infantry unit represents a lot of people (just as one naval unit represents several squadrons or divisions).

In previous incarnations of the game, coastal bombardment could be quite powerful--when it hit, which it did NOT always do. The times when a game bombardment "missed" and the defender fired at the assault troops was, to me, analogous to Tarawa or Omaha Beach.

However, in neither of these cases did the assault fail, and even though Tarawa required commitment of the reserves to secure the beachhead, the expected (and feared) night-time counterattack did NOT materialize--because the naval and naval-air bombardment had disabled the intra-island communication system and the Japanese commander was unable to coordinate his units for a major assault.

Thus, bombardment, even in a close-run infantry fight, proved decisive in disabling the defender's ability to counterattack even if it did not severely attrit his force.

I do not yet own the new edition (waiting for arrival) so I obviously haven't played it yet, but I can see the logic on both sides re the amphibious-assault question. I don't like allowing the defense an automatic guaranteed shot against assault troops, but I also don't like the idea of a "cheap" (one attacker vs. one defender) amphib assault enjoying a good likelihood of success.

My thoughts drift to an alternative possibility, which is to treat amphibious-assault defenders in a manner similar to a battleship (and for much the same reason).

A battleship "absorbs" the first hit in an engagement and only sinks on the second, thanks to its heavy armor.

A beachfront defender might also be described as "armored" given its usual fortified situation, whether concrete or palm logs-and-sand.

I'm picturing a process in which the first bombardment hit turns a defending infantry on its side; a second bombardment hit kills it immediately. An infantry unit on its side when the assault wave goes in fires in defense before being eliminated.

To be sure, I'll play the game as written before experimenting; the point that pre-invasion bombardment cannot eliminate everything is well taken, though with a garrison of two or more defenders, using the above suggested alternative process would require at least four bombardment vessels to have even a hope of eliminating return fire.

Another semi-related thought also occurred: since Artillery elevates a 1/2 infantry to a 2/2, why not do the same for bombarding ships and assaulting infantry? (And does this edition have 2/2 Marines?)

I've said it before but it bears repeating, one of the great things about A&A in all its strategic incarnations is how amenable it is to variation and experimentation. I'm sure the new edition will invite the same kind of pondering and discussion, which I think is a lot of fun and does not imply hostile criticism but rather constructive engagement.

Still looking forward to it.
 
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Barry Kendall
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Plus one new question:

How many areas does the "new" Pacific depict compared to A&A Revised?

How about in comparison with A&Aacific?

Are there more islands to take/defend in Anniversary than in Revised?

Are there more islands in Anniversary than in Pacific?

Thanks for any info available.
 
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Kenneth Bailey
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The assault waves got on Iwo Jima with fewer casualties because the Japanese commander decided not to contest the landings but rather draw them in and then fight. It had nothing to do with the shore bombardment.

Normandy is probably the best example of just how ineffective shore bombardment can be.
 
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Kevin Chapman
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Barry Kendall wrote:
In previous incarnations of the game, coastal bombardment could be quite powerful--when it hit, which it did NOT always do. The times when a game bombardment "missed" and the defender fired at the assault troops was, to me, analogous to Tarawa or Omaha Beach.

I agree, and it wasn't a big problem, because most amphibious assaults in the Pacific tended to be supported by a single battleship. However, with the addition of cruiser bombardment in AA50 it turned out in playtesting that most assaults were supported by a battleship and a cruiser, and as a result island defenders were nearly always wiped out without firing a shot. It didn't make for very exciting play, so the rule was changed back to the way it was in Classic.

As to your questions on the Pacific map, I don't have a map in front of me now, so I'll answer later (or someone else will). I can say that there are more islands than in Revised and less than in Pacific.

mikoyan wrote:
Normandy is probably the best example of just how ineffective shore bombardment can be.

This is a very good point, in that the system needs to model continental coastal bombardment as well as island bombardment.
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Kenneth Bailey
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Krieghund wrote:


mikoyan wrote:
Normandy is probably the best example of just how ineffective shore bombardment can be.

This is a very good point, in that the system needs to model continental coastal bombardment as well as island bombardment.

There isn't much of a difference when you are talking about heavy fortifications. Like I said, the difference between Iwo and other invasions was that the Japanese decided not to contest the landings but waited until later. The casualties started to rack up as the Marines moved further inland.
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Don Moody
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Re: How Long to Finish a Game?
Marnak wrote:
I want the game to be able to be played in four hours.


The Classic 1984/86 edition, Revised, and now AA50 - with skilled, experienced players on both sides in a face-to-face setting (i.e. using the actual game, not computer play which *usually does* speed up game play), none of these versions are (generally) able to be played to conclusion in four hours (though there is the rare game where the dice just simply dictate who will win and the game does end within four hours).

I am not talking about 'playing to the bitter end' of whatever victory conditions were agreed upon.
I am referring to playing with victory conditions that are essentially 'total victory' and playing until one side concedes.

We played two games of AA50 this weekend (four players in each, one game the 1941 scenario, the other the 1942 scenario).
One game took about 6.5-7 hours, the other about 2 hours more (8.5-9 hours).
We all agreed - because we were new to the game - that we could have played faster (a 1v1 game of revised was also played and those guys were playing two full rounds for every one full round of AH50 but it also took over 11 rounds before one side conceded and 1vs1 generally moves faster than 2vs2).
But none of us thought we could have cut a third or more off our playing time.

That was at the MMGA ReCon this past weekend which runs from 10am to 10pm (so we had all day to play, and needed much of it).

For years the classic now revised tournament at GenCon has had rules for the adjudicating of games that do not finish in the 3hr45min time slot (and many of those games do not finish).

I too prefer the 4 hour (aka 'playable in an evening') game but that is not me general experience with A&A.

DonMoody
 
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Barry Kendall
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mikoyan wrote:
The assault waves got on Iwo Jima with fewer casualties because the Japanese commander decided not to contest the landings but rather draw them in and then fight. It had nothing to do with the shore bombardment.

Normandy is probably the best example of just how ineffective shore bombardment can be.


Not to belabor the point--well, I guess this IS belaboring the point--why did the Japanese commanded decide not to contest the landings?

Answer: to avoid the pre-landing bombardment.

When a military action compels the opposition to alter previously-practiced tactics, that's generally a sign of effectiveness.

The point regarding Normandy is well taken. However, the preliminary bombardment was of shorter duration than Pacific bombardments after Tarawa because Eisenhower didn't want to give Rommel time to move his panzer reserves forward before the infantry could gain a foothold.

The bottom line is that at this global strategic scale, not everything can be precisely modeled, and that's okay.

P.S. Thanks, Kevin, for your answer re number of islands in the Pacific, that gives me a decent idea of the quantity.
 
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