What's next for A&A?

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by Black_Elk » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:02 pm

War Room! That's the one I want to hear more about :D

I have very little interest in Axis and Allies games that try to cover periods other than the second world war.

I recognize the power of the brand, and I can see how the 1914-18 conflict could be be brought into the franchise under the same "A&A" name, since the conflicts were related to each other and bookend the same world at war period, but I don't like the idea of expanding the brand so broadly that you end up with "Axis and Allies: Ancient Rome" or "Axis and Allies: American Civil War" etc. I know the combat system is abstract and adaptive enough that you could use similar mechanics to cover wars in other historical periods, I just don't think such games should carry the name.

So to answer the question posed in this thread, "What's next for A&A?"...
Well, another World War 2 boardgame, of course! :mrgreen:

I definitely favor world boards over tactical boards, and I would really like to see a game board that has more replay potential built into it than the last few that have come out.There are simple ways to do this, which, if they were given a page or two in the manual, could expand the gameplay considerably.

Broadly speaking there are three ways to "randomize" the gameplay in A&A, each of which has been explored using various House Rules over the years... So again, three categories of HR's:

1. At the beginning of the game (alter the initial starting conditions.)
2. During the gameplay (alter the basic conflict patterns once the game is underway)
3. To conclude the game (alter the conditions or situation surrounding victory.)

Among the categories of HR outlined above, those in first category are of the greatest interest and the one that requires the most attention.

Right now this is being done unofficially in the form of "Bids". The pre-placement Bid seems the most popular, even though I favor Bids to "starting income" over Bids on starting unit arrangement, almost everyone seems to default to Pre-placement Units. This happens every time a board comes out, esp. among competitive players. Its become like a ritual, whenever a new board comes out. This is because there is no official mechanism provided to randomize or play-balance the start of the game. If one was provided in the rulebook, people would go to that first, which is what I think we need out of the next game.

HRs in the second category are things like NOs, NAs, Techs, Unit advances etc
HRs in the third category are like Capital rules, VCs, VTs, Economic victory etc.

These are also cool, and worth exploring (and have been explored quite a bit in AA50, Global), but there is a clear desire on the part of players to introduce some variability or balance mechanism to the start otherwise they wouldn't be bidding. What the bid allows is an element of tweaking the strategic potential (usually to one side, by adjusting the starting units, or by adding money to the total for the first round purchase.) Since people are doing this anyway, why not try to structure it in the manual to provide some more uniformity in playgroups? At the same time increasing the replay and staying power! AA50 is a nearly perfect board. I would like to see something like that again, put out en masse.

AA50 comes so close to perfection, its a shame the only thing holding it back is the cost, and inability to grab a ready copy in print. The Global games are interesting, as is 1914, and the tactical boards, but those are all attempting different things and introducing new concepts. AA50 on the other hand was like the distillation of all the best things learned from Classic and Revised, and comes very close to being the platonic ideal World War II Axis and Allies gameboard. So what's next for A&A? Find a way to get back to that, and carry it to perfection!

I think the approach for the next A&A game that would make me the most happy, would be to formalize the concepts explored in AA50, but on a board with a longer run. A longer time in print and on the shelves. Take a solid core board, and build out around it, using popular HRs, but written in the manual, and given the official nod.

A single world map around the scale of AA50. Instead of separate start dates, use the same essential start date 1942, but different set ups for the units and gameplay.

One quick set up, with limited total starting units and basic rules for a fast paced game.Another with a long set up, more starting units, more expansive rules for a longer game.

Beginner and Advanced on the same game map.

Then provide an "official" way to randomize these two types of games with various options, to provide a longer game duration and deeper strategic experience at each level. I mean that to me is the clear "what's next." If I go with anything else, I'd have made all those those posts on the subject for the past few years in vain :D

Stick with the Second World War, its the beating heart of the game.
Intrigued by this mention of War Room
War Room

the more I say it the more I see War Room as the clear future.
Using the same essential combat mechanics, you could adapt a number of period games under the same brand franchise. Of which Axis and Allies, could be one of many (the set ups covering WWII.) This is the one I am primed for, I await its release with excitement.

War Room: Axis and Allies Legacy Edition has a solid ring to it. I favor a red box! Have I mentioned that yet? Red Box! hehe

But honestly it has such potential. I FULLY endorse the choice of "War Room" as a name. It's a great name, and highly adaptive.

I favor this idea and name. Because it allows for games in any period!

War Room: Axis and Allies (Legacy Ed.)
War Room: Modern
War Room: Future
War Room: (Any period in history)

Just thinking about it gets me excited. I'd love to see it lead off with a solid AA50 1942 style installment, to establish the War Room. But why stop at WWII. The war room needs all kinds of maps!
Can't wait to learn more.

Last edited by Black_Elk on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by STUrzKAmpfbomber » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:57 am

Hey Larry, could you consider to implement a new hopefully "cool" unit into one of your next A&A games?

I already own some of your A&A games since a couple of years, including the global 1940´s. And I recently have bought the A&A 1941 game just for reasons to get the new sculpts. Especially the Tigers and IS 2 of them. Therefore I have some plans to bring the Tiger and IS 2 as a completely new unit into my own global edition but I also want to tell you my idea for any possible use in future.

My suggestion as follows (Tiger and IS 2 sculpts):

Cost: 5
Attack: 2
Defense: 3
Move: 1/2

Unit Charakteristics

Anti-Tank unit
As a anti-tank weapon tank-destroyers are predominantly defensive developed and so the have only a movement range of one space in the combat move but up to two spaces in the non-combat move if not used during the combat move.

Every time a tank-destroyer unit scores a hit in any battle that currently occurs, you are allowed to apply it directly to an enemy tank or tank-destroyer if any present in that battle. In this case, your opponent isn´t allowed to "soak up" any of the hits from your tank-destroyers with other units, such like infantry or artillery. However, every hit generated by enemy tanks also permit your opponent to hit your own tank-destroyers directly. The choice if a hit generated by a tank-destroyer applies either to an enemy tank or an enemy tank-destroyer instead (or as a "regular" hit), is always with the owner of the tank-destroyer, which has scored the hit.

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by LyrandisX » Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:09 am

I'm looking forward to the War Room, Civil War, and a rerelease of 1914

Inevitably, Larry will design a 1939 game

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by Imperious leader » Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:38 pm

The game wont be called "AA- Civil War" Its just a Civil War game using area movement and plastic bits. Larry is more than qualified to create a great game on this topic. You didn't complain when he made COTE and the revised version.

More WW2 based global games would have diminishing returns, unless the rules are very different. People said the same thing as you when he released his WW1 game.
We really need an Axis and Allies World War one game so i can play that on August 1st, 2014.

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by pellulo » Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:01 pm

The problem with 1939, unless you are going to deal with the end of the Spanish Civil War, or, actual Western Allies in Poland during the GE. & Soviet invasion, is not much, except for the "Phony War".

The Western Allies were not set up for an attack, it was all for a defensive posture(without Belgium aiding the Allies, that was hard to do). The French tried to advance into GE., but, could not get passed the GE. fortifications(the GE. had no problem getting through the Maginot Line, they just simply mostly flank it).

In the air there was no major air battles yet, unless you count propaganda leaflet dropping as a major battle, at sea you were having some action with Axis submarines.

Before you do a 1939, try a 1919, where the GE. do not retreat on the Western Front, causing as many losses for the Allies, in order to get a better deal at the diplomatic table. The Allies try the newfangled doctrine of combine arms(troops, tanks, and, air) to get ready for a possible invasion of Germany, while bombers on both sides begin to attack each side's cities.

You could get a 1939 game, but, somehow eliminate "Then Phony War", thanks, Pellulo

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by Black_Elk » Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:16 pm

Who's complaining? :)

All I'm saying is, if you want to reconstitute the franchise under a new name, then it makes sense to lead off with World War II. Call it War Room: World War II (from the creator of Axis and Allies)... can't copyright a factual statement. Watch me line up to buy it like I do all Larry's games. I have complete confidence that he can design a civil war game, or anything else he wants, he made my favorite board game ever so why shouldn't he? That's not what I was trying to highlight at all. The point was that War Room is a much stronger name than A&A if such games are the goal. I don't see diminishing returns. If the returns diminish it's only because the games go out print.

Perhaps we have different ideas Imperious, but I really don't want another rehashed game with new rules and a new map every few years. I want consistency over time. I want a forever game! that stays in print! One that only changes aesthetically, not substantively, with each reissue.

The A&A combat system is genius. So is the purchase system for introducing units. The problem comes from the race against the clock dynamic, and the fixed set up that the combat system is grafted onto, when you lay out the initial conditions and make them rigid. Those sorts of games don't lend themselves as well to replay, as they would if there were ways to randomize the start conditions. Something with more built in variability is what I keep longing for, because then it could stay in print much longer before anyone figured out how to "beat" the starting set up. I want Larry to put out a legit legacy game that will still be around in the same essential form like 30 40 50 years from now. Is that too much to ask? Because to me it seems entirely achievable.

I think people would still be buying Classic if it was around, and that game was essentially fixed starting conditions. Ditto for Revised. I would definitely still be buying AA50 if I could get a copy for less than 400 dollars on ebay. But my ideal would be a version of one of those games that a whole host of official rules for randomization. The current 1941 and 1942 boards are too stripped down, the current 1940 boards are too involved. AA50 basically hit the nail on the head in terms of basic scale, but nobody can buy it for a reasonable price since its print run was limited.

I'm not so attached to the A&A name as I am the combat mechanics. Call it War Room, and I will still buy it. Have infantry hit on a 6 instead of a 1, change all the abbreviations and acronyms, the flag roundels, whatever it takes to get around copyright, it would not upend my universe. I just think if you're going to do it, why not inaugurate the thing with a kick ass second world war game carried through to perfection? That's the one I want to play. I'm sure the Civil War would be awesome too, but the Axis and Allies WWII time frame is the one that has the fondest associations for me. All we need is a way to offer randomization of the start conditions, so the game is harder to crack. If you go with a fixed start position, fixed turn order, narrow rules (no tech, or bonus etc.) then the game is likely to have a shorter shelf life. Instead I favor a core board, with a lot of optional add ons. Something modular that plays at several levels, but still basically Axis and Allies and still world war II plastic army men.

1939 doesn't interest me nearly as much as 1942. Classic through AA50 1942 is the range I favor, and among these AA50 is the closest I've seen to the ideal I would want out of a War Room revamp. 1939 like the 1940 games would require surely way too many nuanced rules to function well. I mean for a start anyway. 42 is the money year, 42 is a classic, can't go wrong with a classic ;)

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by Black_Elk » Tue Aug 05, 2014 11:43 pm

ps. when thinking of House Rules that could be incorporated to increase randomization of the start, the ones which interest me most are the ones that vary opening purchase strategies.

I think its definitely possible to make a fixed-unit-set-up game, of the sort that A&A is, but still find ways to alter the starting income conditions out of the first round, such that the game is always different no matter who is playing. This is similar to what happens already with bids, except that bids are interpreted as a balancing mechanism to fix some perceived imbalance. Instead of that you could build starting income rules to act just as a randomizer, some initial variable that the player has less control over. Not as an "advantage" to any particular side, but just "the situation on the ground" when the game starts. What happens from there on is up to the players' prerogative, since this just functions as a way to randomize the opener. The challenge is in playing from that position, whatever it might be. Digging yourself out of the hole, or exploiting a good opening position.

Something like this could get us away from bidding on pre-placement units, by providing an alternative way to start the game that has a place in the manual.

Generic rules that apply to all players are easier to implement across the broad spectrum than specific ones. Right now in addition to the bid, there is also the idea that extra money can be introduced throughout the course of the game, done with National Objectives, but there are also more generic ways that money could be added, by round or with certain restrictions, that don't require the player to track every possibility, or invite a whole bunch of complexity into the game by nation.

Technology likewise is another way that variability has been built into the game before. Technology in AA50 is still being used, along with bids, NOs and other concepts to randomize the game beyond the OOB. This is all cool, but NOs and Techs are at a more involved level of cash infusion. I like the idea of purchasing strats, over pre-placement bid breakers, or adjustments to the starting units OOB. Better to have all the rules in the manual, and the all the information in the box. Built from the ground up.

What I like about introducing money through bonuses, or randomizing starting conditions through normal income/purchasing rather that bid units, is that the player then approaches each game differently. I think of it like shuffling the cards in risk and choosing a deck, instead of electing or bidding on territories. You just deal with what you're dealt, and still have fun doing it, because the game itself provides enough variability in the dice to allow for anything to happen.

Someone on the boards the other night was talking about how he uses a standard deck of 52 playing cards to tweak with the starter 1941 board. Something about that struck me as very trench creative. Like playing makeshift bridge and all the various games that people played with the standard deck while at war. the 52 deck is cool, because anyone can their hands on it. The 6 sided die, like the standard deck has a glorious tradition. I favor the 6 sided die of D10 or D12 or D20, if only because its accessible. I like AA50 because their are 6 player-nations (if you link China to USA) to match the 6 sided die. It's my favorite game for that reason, on the 6s. Its populist and democratic, that's why I dig d6. :)

I really do like the name "War Room"
Its golden

War Room!

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Re: What's next for A&A?

Post by questioneer » Wed Aug 06, 2014 10:32 am

Larry wrote:
You ask where I've been lately... Working my ass off. I'm slowly but methodically developing a new game which I call "War Room". It's a new World War II global war type game. It's not Axis & Allies, but is as close as copyright laws will permit it to be. I'll post more on this in the coming months.

Forgive my absence from these pages. When I get a new project between my teeth I seem to be able to only focus on that. I of course read these pages, but find myself not posting much, as you have observed. I'll try harder to not neglect my posting here as much as I have been.

Wow I didn't know this! Just been browsing this pages lately, not really paying attention. Please, do tell. Its hard to see this being better than Global. Details man...details!!!

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