Strategic Movements Mechanic

Breaking away from the Second World War and paying a visit and tribute to the First World War. Coming this March, 2013
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Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by Larry » Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:15 pm

Strategic Movements Mechanic
Some folks are saying that it takes too many rounds for some far flung units to get from one side of the board to the other. That it takes too many rounds for newly mobilized units to trek from the capital, their point of entry into the game, to the trenches that mark the front lines. Increasing the number of territories that a given unit type can be moved, say from 1 territory to 2 territories, or something like that, might help somewhat but it would not be the solution I’m looking for.

At this point I’m ready to explore and possibly modify some well entrenched (no pun intended) previous movement game mechanics. As a game designer it’s kind of risky to suddenly be speaking about new ways of playing a just released game. Well, I’m always looking for ways to improve Axis & Allies so when something like this comes up... Well, I’m ready to at least experiment with it, and I’d like to include you in that effort. “Oh, oh... Is Harris about to spring another Alpha 1 on us”? Well not exactly. There are no plans to make any of this “official” or even suggest that it become part of the 2nd print run, but it is something that is worthy of investigation, and it might just be fun.

I intentionally don’t want to use the expression “railroad” as I begin to rethink and search for a new movement mechanic for the game. Still, some real world themed entity that can provide mass movement is needed.

Why not “railroad”? Well, in my mind railroads always have been in Axis & Allies. They were always part of each nation’s infrastructure. Roads and rivers were also always present but were not called out or represented in the game either – Well maybe there were in Axis & Allies Battle of the Bulge... In any case it was understood that they were just there – they were part of the invisible infrastructure. With that said I don’t want to suddenly call out a railroad system and present it as if railroads were something new to the game.

All this might just be semantics, but that kind of thing matters in the universe of Axis & Allies. I want to call this new game mechanic “Strategic Movement”. With this new system units would be permitted to move overland from one end of a player’s empire to the other. The mechanic would permit a player to move all or some of the land and air units located in a specified territory, from point A to a potentially distanced point B on the map. Thus the expression “Strategic Movement” – Thank you Mr. Krieghund.

What I’m about to propose here has not been extensively tested – Not at all!. I’ve only experimented with it in two games so far. I must admit, however, that I’m fairly excited about its potential. If you like... I invite you to try out what I’m about to present to you. Let me know how it works out. There are of course other ways that this system could be designed. What I’m about to present is the way that seems to best stand up to the endless tests that the game can through at it.

To be clear... I’m not in the process of changing A&A 1914. I am, however, sharing with you a new possible way to play this game, and it’s pretty radical, I must admit. For the moment let’s just have some fun with this idea and see where it goes.

Oh... One more thing! While we’re at it how about all ships, no exception, can now move 5 (five) sea zones? This should get the US deeper into Europe in fewer rounds and reinforcements arriving much quicker as well. Faster ships coupled with this Strategic Movement system will most likely lead to fewer rounds of play and quicker victories.

How such a strategic movement mechanic works:

Strategic movement occurs at the very end of a player’s turn. It’s made right after Phase 5 Collect Income. All normal movement, combat and income has been resolved at this point.
Strategic movements cannot provoke further combat or income adjustments during the players turn.
Any units in a selected territory that is controlled or contested by the turn player, including the player’s capital, can be moved to another of his or her controlled or contested territories providing that an uninterrupted continuum of said territories can be demonstrated.
Strategically moved units can include units that were just mobilized.
They could be units that have participated combat this same turn.
They could be units that are presently in contested territories.

It should be noted that moving all the units out of contested territory and thus leaving the territory with only enemy forces in it would result in the enemy power gaining control of the territory. This would require an income adjustment which a strategic movement cannot provoke. To avoid this situation a player must leave at least one unit in a contested territory when strategically moving units out of a contested territory.

Larry Harris

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Re: Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by Noll » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:42 pm

Wow this is pretty radical.

Well thank you for the imput Larry.

If I am to use this rule, do I have an extra 5 move with navy after income collect phase? (Meaning potentially the navy moves up to 7-8 i the same turn?)

I will try this variant as soon as possible. We had a game just few hours ago and balanced or not we had fun.

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Re: Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by WILD BILL » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:35 pm

This is a step in a different direction, and I have to say be fun to test. I would imagine that Flash could give you some good feed back, as he has probably explored strategic movement of some type in other A&A games. To implement something like this is really changing one of the basic game mechanics, and doing it w/o many restrictions could cause some major issues. Allowing an army of 30+ units to move 5-6 spaces to the other side of the map will be hard to keep up with. It would be great for the CP who have multiple fronts though. It will also change some basic strategies trying to keep your opponent from moving large distances, by taking (and trying to hold) territories he would need to link his empire, or attacking certain territories just so you have more freedom of movement.

Not sure if you should include newly purchased units too. With this addition you can basically build units anywhere as long as you can show a connection. You also mentioned ships, would you be able to move newly purchased ships just about anywhere too (basically bypassing the ships built at naval base rule)?? Another thing is that air units would be be able to pull back from the front lines, or to a different front, this alone is a game changer.

Just to be clear, you said that you do strategic movement to or from territories you control, or contest when you can show an uninterrupted continuum of said territories. Your ally's territories wouldn't be eligible to move through, or end in right, even if you have units stationed in them. Like for example you're Germany, and you want to S-move some units you just built (in Berlin) to Vienna. Silesia is still German controlled, and you have German units in Bohemia and Vienna, but Vienna isn't contested at this time. The allies are bulked up in Budapest and are going to assault your ally's capital (most likely going to take it), but you can't move units there to assist in its defense.

Another example is say the Germans and Austrians are contesting Burgundy. The Germans have a line of territories from Berlin to Burgundy that they control (including Switzerland), and can use S-move to get newly purchased units form their capital to Burgundy. The Austrians are also contesting Burgundy, but the Germans control Switzerland (basically cut off the Austrian line), so the Austrians can't S-move units from Vienna to Burgundy, although there is a continuous line of CP controlled territories.

BTW we were thinking of something more simple along the lines of a capital would give+1 to movement of units leaving it (kinda like how an air base, or naval base gives air/navy +1 movement in Global 40.

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Re: Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by Striker » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:44 pm

"Any units in a selected territory that is controlled or contested by the turn player, including the player’s capital, can be moved... "

Something seems a little ambiguous there.
By "selected territory" do you mean the owner's territory in a broad sense or that you can only select one territory to strategic move from?

In other words, under the proposed mechanic, can you strategic move units from multiple territories or are you limited to just strategic moving units from one territory?

Regardless, I like the direction this is going for landmovement. My more detailed though follow:

I'm predicting unlimited movement will lend to problems of it's own. I can see a single German "uberstack" ping ponging between the east and west fronts annihilating one lesser opponent at a time. Rather than unlimited repositioning, perhaps it would be better to put a movement limit of 3-4.

I think a blanket 5 movement for sea units is a bit too much. Perhaps "non combat" sea movement can be 5, but combat operations can only be performed if you move 2 or less?(In other words, no moving 3-5 spaces into hostile seazones or performing amphibious assaults. Repositioning from a seazone to an empty/friendly one or offloading into a friendly territory is ok.)
Last edited by Striker on Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by VonLettowVorbeck1914 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:41 pm

Someone's been reading a RISK rulebook... :P

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Re: Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by VonLettowVorbeck1914 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:56 pm

Let's be cautious about assuming this will actually speed up the game. I imagine a lot of potential for back and forth where power A threatens an enemy capital of B, B moves back to defend, C, which was being advanced on by B, regains some territory, A moves back since they can't take B, then B moves back to C because A is no longer threatening. Repeat.

A game like that could be decided by a lucky cut-off of the main stack from getting back to its capital. This would require another super-stack defending the capital in addition to the super-stack necessary to attack.

Power B would need a huge stack on its capital while having another huge stack to advance with and maintain pressure to maintain any progress.

Let's not forget the immense increase in movement possibilities which will require more time to consider. If I have to worry about the many more things the enemy could do with his units, that is more contingencies to consider and therefore much more time.

This also runs into the problem of being able to move to a contested territory, but as soon as an ally controls that territory, you are somehow no longer allowed to move there.

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Re: Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by oztea » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:47 pm

Larry, perhaps the movement restriction should be limited to a chain of controlled territories that are all at least worth 2 IPCs or more. (so no mass transit in Africa)

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Re: Strategic Movements Mechanic

Post by Vincent » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:33 am

I like the general idea, but it may need to be toned down a bit. Three basic changes I might make:

1. I would place strategic movement just before "mobilize new units" in the sequence of play. I guess this wouldn't make a huge difference after turn one, as you'd effectively be railing - er, that is, "strategically moving" your new units from the previous turn instead of the current turn. But it does retain some of the historical flavor of 1914 mobilization plans. Every country had an elaborate system of sequenced reservist activations, designated mobilization stations, and carefully choreographed movement plans. It would be cool to see that played out in the game.

2. Strategically moved units either: A.) can't go into contested territories, or B.) stop at the first contested territory the units enter. I haven't made up my mind on this one yet.

3. Units that moved or participated in combat earlier in the player's turn are not eligible for strategic movement. If they are moving 5-6 territories, that should pretty much be all they are doing for the turn.

As for naval movement of 5, that seems a bit generous. But if each turn represents about 6 months of real time, I guess it makes sense.

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