This promises to be the core game and it will be around for many years to come.
1) Axis must win by turn 5. After that the Allies become too strong.
2) The German bomber needs to stay in Germany. In Ukraine it is only bait for the Russians.
3) The game is very even. Very little should be given to either side for a bid.
We won the first game as the Axis (barely).
We played the Allies the following 3 rounds with bids of 7, 6, and 3. All units going into the Caucasus.
In the final game the British attack on the East Indies SZ failed miserably (losing 2 ftrs, ss, 2 CA, AC including 2 fully loaded transports) but we overcame that by the end of the game with the Allies gaining ground against Germany and Japan.
Overall the game is fairly even with the new setup and all of the games were very enjoyable. The opponents we played against were fun to play with and I look forward to playing against them again in the future.
Carl aka VanGal
What do you think about placing the German bomber in Poland rather than Ukraine?
No decent man can prefer war to peace, because at peace-time the sons burry their father while at war, the father burries his sons. (Herodot)
This time Moscow fell after three rounds He took every unit he could get and turned against Russia on full scale with both Germany and Japan. And he bought just tanks with Germany on the first two turns. Even though I played carefully with Russia (I just attacked Western Russia on turn 1) and very aggressive with the US and UK, gaining both France, Italy and Southern Europe as well as Solomons and Borneo by the end of round 2, he took Ukraine and Karelia on turn 2 (even though I sent 2 British fighters as support) and Moscow on turn 3. To my defense I must say that he scored 80 per cent of his dice rolls with tanks and fighters while my dice rolls were horrible. You can afford to loose one major battle as Russia, but not three in a row. My mistake was, however, to underestimate the ferocity of the attack. The best counter to this strategy would be to produce three British tanks in India and to send as much infantry to Persia as possible. Then you can reconquer it or seriously weaken Germany on turn 2 - this would probably have saved Russia. But I thought my infantry stacks, supported by two British fighters in Karelia and two Soviet fighters in Caucasus would be sufficient. With normal dice rolling it probably would have been enough. But not that evening
I do agree with VanGal: Axis must win by turn 5 and this can only happen if Russia falls. Otherwise Germany will be killed by the fighting on two to three fronts which it must lose inevitably - just as the real war.
No decent man can prefer war to peace, because at peace-time the sons burry their father while at war, the father burries his sons. (Herodot)
Hope all has been going well, and that A&A has been helping you all to manage the boredom and cabin fever like it has for me hehe.
I wanted to hop in here right quick to give some Gencon scenario feedback based on what's been happening in the Beamdog adaptation with A&A 1942 Online, since its been using revision for all the ranked games. The current online implementation has a couple notable differences over there, since the game is played without bidding, defender chooses casualties based on a pre-set defense profile (to facilitate the asynchronous play), and it currently uses the zombies rules for friendly fighters/carriers and transports. So a little bit different flavor, but still very much recognizable as Axis and Allies 1942.
On the whole the Gencon balance seems to be shaking down pretty well, especially at the beginner and intermediate level. Right now matchmaking is done using an ELO type system and win/loss records across a couple tiers. Sort of like the olympics with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. At the top tier I think most dedicated players are getting pretty close to 50-100 games played by now. So far I got like 70 games clocked as Allies, and 55 as Axis with a win/loss ratio at about 2/3 for either side. I'm a little more reckless with Axis, predictably hehe.
Most of my initial Allied wins came running a Kill Germany First attack plan, but lately Kill Japan Fist has become more popular I think the plat level. Its a bit different I'd imagine than the regular tournament in that overall play time isn't really a factor, many people will just take a turn a day for a few weeks to complete the game, so snaking VCs on a tight timeline isn't as critical.
Anecdotally at the tops most players seem to feel that the board remains Axis advantage (though much less pronounced in Gencon set up than vanilla) and Germany is pretty solid if they focus primarily infantry/art push, which seems to result in Moscow collapse somewhere between round 7-10 pretty reliably. Depending on the early rolls and Allied play of course. And so more exploration is being done lately with a focus vs Japan as a way to break the Axis.
For the Russian opener Ukraine attack all in to kill the bomber remains the most common I've seen. The next most common is West Russia with everything (frequently with Soviet fighter rescue to Egypt.) Usually at least 1 Allied transport group survives in the Atlantic, and often both survive, as I think the consensus view is that sz7 is critical for Axis, so much so that all 3 subs are brought into the fight along with the Cruiser and 2 fighters, and people are less willing to chance an attack on sz11 or sz10 with their subs. Depending on whether the Ukraine attack is run, or Soviet fighter to Egypt is deployed, the bomber is sometimes used to clear the Brit cruiser in sz13 with the fighter from Germany. But usually Allies wind up with something left alive in the Atlantic, so that's definitely cool.
India is also much narrower with the extra 2 dudes, so its definitely not a sure thing for Japan to be all blasting onto India with a quickness, especially if Allies are putting the heat on in the Pacific. I have still seen some players opting for sz37, but the conservative approach remains attack vs sz61 transport. Either with 1 fighter 1 cruiser, or with a carrier sacrifice +cruiser.
So again feels pretty good there.
I think the only thing that remains a source of some frustration is the Russian opener vis a vis Ukraine, which has a very dramatic swing, and a decisive impact on Allied morale/chances of holding if it fails which happens about 10% of the time. Many feel that the battle is too important to forego on account of the bomber, but it has created such a nail bitter aspect that many feel its a win/lose on turn1 type of situation.
I am wondering how people feel about the German bomber located at Libya as a possible alternative to Ukraine?
Like Ukraine Libya would put the bomber 5 moves away from sz7, so it couldn't join in the G1 attack there, which would preserve the Atlantic dynamic for the Allied ships on T2. It would also help with another somewhat dicey battle, which is the German battleship to sz17 or Transjordan attack (which seems to be the conservative move in the Med that most have adopted) but which also can have a really dramatic impact for Axis if it fails. Anyhow, that is the main idea floating around right now. Possible offsets might be nerfing Germany in some other way that doesn't influence any of the turn one battles, like just removing some of the infantry units in the west or scandinavia, or some extra Soviet dudes in the far east which was what Marine iguana floated. I think either could be a cool approach. Anyhow, just wanted to see what Larry and others thought about the possibility, of a possible revision for the online tournaments. Especially since it looks like we'll all be staying in doors this year for the foreseeable future.
MarineIguana aka "BostonNWO" is currently ranked first place for the Axis faction in the Platinum tier. He is crushing as Germany hehe. This was what he had to say in the discord chat...
"Ive long favored moving Germany bomber to Libya to reduce volatility. Allies would need some compensation. I like adding Inf to Russia eastern area. Removing Inf in France, inf in Norway are also great options. These add strength to Germany with almost no strategic depth. France allows Germany to stack NE Europe with air preventing UK navy creation. Norway always goes to karelia for a reliable r3 stack."
Thematically the bomber in Libya could be said to represent the whole of the Regia Aeronautica, and justified as a stand-in for Italy's airforce, which in addition to the Med and North Africa was also involved during the Anglo-Iraqi war, as well as bombing campaigns over the British mandate in Palestine, and in fighting in East Africa earlier in the conflict. They also aided the luftwaffe during campaigns in France and in the Battle of Britain. So the sculpt being housed in Libya could be said to reflect all that stuff.
In gameplay terms, after sz7 consideration, which the bomber would still not be able to reach from a starting position in Libya, the primary issue is Egypt balance.
In the current version being used for ranked play in A&AO Larry Harris Gencon 3.0, the Egypt attack does not generally occur because either the German bomber is killed in the Ukraine attack, or, if its left alive (because Allies opt to go W. Russia wall) the Moscow fighter can be flown to Egypt to make the fight too narrow for comfort. Germany has 2 inf 2 tanks 1 bomber vs Britain 1 inf 1 art 1 tank 1 fighter which is about 75% odds for the attacker to prevail, but just shy of 70% odds for the attacker to do so with a ground unit surviving in order to take the space and close Suez.
To do that though, first Germany must win the sz17 fight with 1 battleship vs 1 British destroyer. The odds there are 90% for the attacker, but this leaves a 10% chance that the defender will prevail or fight the battleship to a draw. Since the transport cannot advance into a hostile sz if destroyer isn't killed this creates a particular dilemma for the German player, since withdrawing guarantees that the loaded transport gets smoked on UK1.
Alternatively, if the Russian player foregoes the Ukraine attack in order to send 1 fighter to Egypt (which drops the odds on Egypt attack to only about 20% even with the bomber) the downside is that it leaves 6 fighters and a bomber on the table... and with that kind of airpower Germany can land their starting aircraft in France, Northwestern Europe, or Finland and totally deadzone sz7, preventing UK from building a fleet. The situation for the Royal navy is even more dire if the Germans get into sz7 with uboats surviving the counter attack. Or if Germany elects to purchase a second bomber or more submarines for sz5, which will effectively lock UK off the water entirely until America arrives, which takes 3 turns at a minimum.
The situation is particularly fraught for UK in the Axis and Allies Online game, owing to the fact that it uses Zombies rules for the carriers, which prohibits friendly fighter landings. Essentially this means that the UK cannot drop a deck and have US fighters race in to protect it, which delays the naval build even under optimal circumstances, but makes it particularly hard when facing down 6 fighters and a bomber + whatever was bought on G1.
All this combines to put even more pressure on Russia to make the Ukraine attack, since not doing so has so many downsides. But going for it and failing is even worse. So that's the main issue there with Allied morale and feeling like losing Ukraine means losing the war, which will occur every 1 game out of 10 basically, if averages hold. Its a lot of pressure on R1 so players are just kind of holding their breath and having a mini heart attack about it right out the gate.
As an alternative, if the Bomber was located in Libya, the Ukraine dynamic would be closer to the way it is in the boxed set up where Russia has more options. The Ukraine strafe, or the Ukraine take to kill tank +fighter, or Belo blast, or W. Russia all-in would be back on the table, returning a bit more strategic choice to the Soviet's first turn. At the same time, the Axis player gets a bit of relief as well, since having the bomber alive on G1 allows for a safer attack vs sz17, or if they want to get risky there, for Transjordan attack, or against the British Cruiser, eastern front attacks etc. It wouldn't be able to hit sz7 on G1, but could still help to deadzone sz7 on G2. The question is, if the bomber to Libya seems like a cool alternative, would the Allies need a slight buff or Germany a slight nerf to offset?
In A&AO games where the Ukraine attack is run successfully the balance has been pretty tight. I think Cody said its basically 55% to 45% Axis vs Allies, which I think is pretty satisfying, but where the disparity is happening is basically that 10% of the time when Russia gets hosed in the Ukraine opener. So if we could nail that down, we might be at the 50/50 even spread that everyone pines for. Right now there are no bids, and I don't think there are any plans for a bidding process (I think the devs said it just would be too hard to implement tourney style bidding). So that is another difference between the standard face to face Gencon situation and the Online one. The hope is that maybe we can get a Gencon 4.0 tweak for use Online with the nod from Larry, to shore things up, avoiding the need for bids altogether? Fingers crossed!
I think Bomber to Libya seems like it could be a winner. If it seems like too much of a boon for Axis by itself though, possible offsets might be reducing the number of German infantry in spaces that can't influence the eastern front immediately, or giving a leg up to Russia somewhere that likewise can't immediately influence the Eastern Front balance like maybe Yakut, or a spot farther afield that would need to be moved into position vs Germany, or which might open up some counter play vs Japan. At the Platinum tier there is some intense competitive play going on, and a lot of the same people are climbing the ladder on both sides. So on the whole I think its safe to say that Gencon set up has been a success, and has definitely moved the playpattern into a much tighter game. But since the Online game is a little bit different, I think it might just need that last little push over the finish line for the ultimate prize ultimate balance sweet spot. I'd be shaking hands and giving high fives right now, but since they're telling us we still need to be all 6 feet apart maybe the online will have to step up this year, while we game remotely into each others living rooms hehe. Anyhow, that's the plan for me. Again hope all is still rocking out there. Catch you guys in a few!
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