Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Link up A&A Pacific 1940 and Europe 1940, and you've got Axis & Allies Global 1940.
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Kaufschtick
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Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by Kaufschtick » Thu Dec 30, 2010 8:09 pm

Just got back from Dayton and another long session of Global with the latest and greatest Alpha set up and changes. I arrived in Dayton Tuesday night, and we got a game started, played about three and a half hours. Wednesday, we picked up where we had left off and we played about another thirteen and half hours. For about 17 total hours of playing, the game was still up in the air as far as which side was going to win. The Japanese had taken India, but the Allies were in total control of the Mediterranean & Africa (and were most of the game) and were just begining to take control of France. The Axis plan was to have the Italians and Germans try to hold out while Japan made a play for the game by attacking Australia and going for the 6 out 8 on the Pacific board. The Allies were closing in on Italy and Germany while the Russians and Germans were bleeding one aonther white in Russia.

So after 17 hours of playing the game, it still remained to be determined who was going to win. One thing was certain, it had been a great 17 hours (lots of B.S.'ing and beer drinking as usual :mrgreen: ), and another super game of AAG Alpha. 8)

Last year, we played the heck out of AAP as soon as it came out, and over a similar period of playing time, we'd have played three games of Pacific. Global is a heck of a lot more time consuming, but worth every minute of it. Tim and I racked up well over 300 hours of gametime on Pacific before the Europe half came out.

We actually haven't played one game of OOB Global, and this is just our second game of Global with Alpha rules. One thing we noticed was that with each change in the Alpha set up, it causes us longer than average game playing times as we play slower taking in and considering the changes from the adjustments. Don't get me wrong, we love what Larry is doing with Alpha, and have no problem with all the adjustments or the longer than normal game times. Once Alpha settles in and becomes more fixed, the game playing times should decrease as we get used to whatever the final setup is going to have to offer. For now though, you can't really build on your previous games experience going forward with your next game, because the set up changes and you have to reconsider all of your plans. Again, this is not a problem, but longer game times are kinda the norm for the time being.

When I got into Dayton Tuesday night, Tim had just printed the latest changes Larry posted that very day, so we played with the 12/28/10 set up. We were checking out the forum here today, and noticed that Larry has the Brit heavy bomber posted as being "on the chopping block". Tim (the guy I play the game against, lifelong pal and beer drinking buddy), played the Allies. He's a great A&A player (way better than me), and he had the Brit heavy bomber in the Med. on B1, and had the British kick the heck out of the Italian Navy. The British took out the Italian Navy easily and had Malta loaded with air with a Brit CA and the Frog navy still there too, after the smoke cleared.

The Italians never really recovered. With the help of the German Luftwaffe, the Med. was cleared of Allied warships, but with a starting income of just 10 IPC's it took the Italians time to get in a position to get transports back into the Med. With Malta stacked with air (the Brits managed to survive 2 x ftrs, 1 x TAC and the SAC bomber there), the Italians can't just plunk down a naked transport, even with Italian air cover. By the time they had the Germans help them clear the Med. of Allied warships, and had built up enough IPC income to begin the attempt of reintroducing the Italian Navy back into the Med., it wasn't much later than the Americans showed up.

I can see the point that I read on here earlier today, that if the Brits go heavy with an attck against the Italian Navy, that the obvious counter is for the Germans to then go for Sealion. If that is the case and it winds up being the best Axis response, then it is no good that the British player be able to direct the course of German game strategy by attacking the Italian Navy first, knowing that this will force or push the Germans to have to go Sealion to counter. I'm not sure that that is the case yet; but arguing that if one doesn't like the Italian Navy getting deep sixed right out of the gates, then do a Sealion on England; well, that does't cut it with me. It's a weak response to the issue.

In all previous games of A&A we've played, Africa has always been an area of the game that was extremely fun as both sides were playing with limited resources, and far from reinforcement. In our game just played, Africa was reduced to both sides trying to avoid a fight as neither side had a decent prospect for reinforcements at the start. As British troops came up from South Africa, The Italian troops just tried to stay alive until the Italians could get some kind of Navy going again and try to come to their aid. By the time that happened though, like I said earlier, the Yanks had arrived. So the Italians never really did anything but run away; then a brief show of force; then they got chased out of Africa for good. Africa was a non factor in the game for either side as a result.

The Russian Front was, on the other hand, very active and challenging for both sides (G3 attack), and game play in this area was fun and exciting. I'm guarded in my opinion of the "1st attack 3 IPC/territory" rule. Tim said he liked it after I suggested we skip using it at the start, so we wound up playing with that rule. Looking back, it seemed to work out fine in our game. It seems to have the effect of trying to draw the Germans into spreading out and attacking as many different Russian territories as they can on the opening attack to take advantage of the rule. But that spreads out the German forces, as opposed to them concentrating their forces in one compact and powerful thrust straight at Moscow. I joked before we started the game that the Germans were getting paid first to not attack Russia (wheat and oil NO), and now they are getting paid to attack Russia (3IPC/territory NO)! :mrgreen: They can't lose! They get bonus money no matter! But it seemed to work out fine; we played with it, and it appears to be a good NO.

The Western front developed well in our game, and was also fun and interesting, complete with several Dieppe assaults and then finally a toe hold for the Allies in Western Europe.

The Japanese decided to see what they could do with a J1 attack, and the Pacific was great fun. Our previous Alpha game had the Japanese wait for a, I believe it was a J3 attack. The balance on what turn to attack now seems to have the right mix of pros and cons for the Japanese. Each option has it's own set of unique advantages and disadvantages such that there appears to be no clear cut "best option" any longer, as far as what turn to attack on.

We did set a record in this game though. For the very first time EVER in a game of A&A dating back to the MB version, the Japanese did not attack the Russians! :shock: It was a first! :!: In our previous Alpha game, the Japanese eventually attacked Russia. Not so this game, and that has NEVER happened before in our games. The 12 IPCs was just enough. For a brief time, the Siberian border was actually abandoned by both sides and unmanned! :o The 12 IPC NO is agreat rule.

Overall we liked this latest and greatest Alpha set up better than the previous one. As much as we liked the addition of the Brit heavy bmbr, I can see it going away now, looking back. :(

I've seen threads where folks are getting all steamed with all the changes, and taking shots at Larry. All I have to say to those folks would be, "Try it, you'll like it!" :)

The Alpha set up is damn good, and Tim and I both feel it is the best version of A&A ever. If you're a fan of the game, have patience. Alpha is worth the wait.

For Larry: "Hard work and perseverance, baby! You know it!" 8)

Oh, and by the way, if anybody hears about any Norwegian office parties going on, please let me know. I've never been to one, but from what I've seen, they're great. Especially if Germany shows up. I just love Germany. :mrgreen:
Young, Rodger W., Private, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division; born Tiffin, Ohio, 28 April 1918; died 31 July 1943, on the island of New Georgia, Solomons, South Pacific, while singlehandedly attacking and destroying an enemy machine-gun pillbox.

m7574
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Re: Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by m7574 » Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:07 pm

Just completed a marathon game as well. It went about 11 rounds. Sounds like you are a couple of good players and we had some parrallels in our games. Japan and russia avoided war the whole game, Afica saw little action and the Eastern front played out incredibly well.

I am curious, did you guys see much armor purchased in your game? Very few were built in ours. At 6 ipc's we both decided they were not a good buy. Especially for the western allies and japan. I wonder how many other players are by passing armor purchases as well.

In our gam germany as very strong. They bought inantry pretty much the whole game. about 1/3 of which was mech. Italy completely pulled out of Africa from the start and sent as much stuff to Russia as they could muster. The Italians gained a lot of income in russia. With italy doing a large portion of the fighting there the German stack was able to grow quite large and since he purchased no tanks he wa able to build huge stacks in france and send help to Italy to protect Rome. Eventually he couldn't protect everything and the western allies were able to land in france. US transports loaded with inf/rtl pack quite a punch.

Japan was played poorly at start and wew never able to break out. About half way through the game he figured out what he should have done and should make things much more difficult next game. If Japan were to have ben played a little better they could have helped Germany by sbr on moscow or tking some of their teritory in the east. It cost the axis the game. I played russia well and it was all I could do to hold him off. The axis managed to control both Stalingrad and Leningrad. Well, stalingrad was traded, but still, the axis was able to control two objectives at the same time.

I didn't want to play a sealion game so UK did not attack the med fleet. I agree it seems the Uk is encouraged to tempt Germany into a seaion cmpaign and and I don't lke that.

jcroft
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Re: Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by jcroft » Fri Dec 31, 2010 8:33 pm

I can see the point that I read on here earlier today, that if the Brits go heavy with an attck against the Italian Navy, that the obvious counter is for the Germans to then go for Sealion. If that is the case and it winds up being the best Axis response, then it is no good that the British player be able to direct the course of German game strategy by attacking the Italian Navy first, knowing that this will force or push the Germans to have to go Sealion to counter. I'm not sure that that is the case yet; but arguing that if one doesn't like the Italian Navy getting deep sixed right out of the gates, then do a Sealion on England; well, that does't cut it with me. It's a weak response to the issue.
I like I.L.'s idea that Italy be neutral until their 1st turn, so England can't attack the Italian fleet on E1.

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Kaufschtick
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Re: Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by Kaufschtick » Sat Jan 01, 2011 12:40 am

m7574 wrote:Just completed a marathon game as well. It went about 11 rounds. Sounds like you are a couple of good players and we had some parrallels in our games. Japan and russia avoided war the whole game, Afica saw little action and the Eastern front played out incredibly well.

I am curious, did you guys see much armor purchased in your game? Very few were built in ours. At 6 ipc's we both decided they were not a good buy. Especially for the western allies and japan. I wonder how many other players are by passing armor purchases as well.

In our gam germany as very strong. They bought inantry pretty much the whole game.
Pretty much everything in your above quote is what we saw in our game too. Germany bought nearly all infantry, with just a couple exceptions. This Alpha game went 17 hours; our previous Alpha game went 20 hours. So game time in such a compact period of time is introducing a new issue: game fatigue. I am trying to talk Tim into a mandatory "break period" every so many hours, to get away from the game and refresh. We were both feeling kinda burnt after this game, and the previous one.

The one exception was that Japan attacked on J1 and got ahold of the DEI on J2. The Allies counter attacked into the DEI every chance they got, but Japan commited a fleet of 2 x CV, 1 x BB, 2 x CA, 2x DD, 1x SS & 3 x Trns from the at start IJN toward keeping the DEI under thumb. Additional trns joined this force, and at one point, 2 more CVs joined as well. For Japan, keeping the DEI under Japanese control was key. Japan has a large air force to start the game with, and as the game went on, Japan simply built more CVs to accomodate their existing at start air force units. The Japanese were able to hold the DEI, keep a slow and building pressure on India, whittle the Chinese down, and hold the Americans at bay with the exception of minor nuisances.

In our game, the Germans bought an early batch of Mech. units, and an early batch of arty, but the rest was almost exclusively Inf. Only late in the game did Germany buy a lone armor.

Africa was a dead area of play, but in our game, the Italians were more involved in Western Europe. Later in the game, they did contribute a 10 x Inf., 1 x armor, & 1 x TAC force against the Russians.

The Germans made one minor, and one major tactical error against the Russians which could have cost them quite dearly had not a desperate attack on Lenningrad tipped the scales back in Germany's favor. This battle is what Tim and I call a "dicing". An initial force of 16 Russian Inf. units was taken out in one round of combat by a meager scratch German force, or a "pick-up" force; and the Russian Inf. force only scored 3 hits itself in return. The Russians bought a few armor each turn, and made good use of them by not committing them to a battle in which they, in turn, could be skewered.

It was just one game, but it is coincidental that the game you played wound up playing very similar to how our game played out. Also of note was the unusual use of the Brit heavy bmr on B1; or at least the extra ordinary effect it's additon had on the opening turn against the Italians.

Oh, look at the time. :idea:

Six minutes to midnight. :!:

Happy New Year everyone! 8)

Thanks Kaufschtick ... I needed some positive feed back Happy New Year to you too.
LH-e
Young, Rodger W., Private, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division; born Tiffin, Ohio, 28 April 1918; died 31 July 1943, on the island of New Georgia, Solomons, South Pacific, while singlehandedly attacking and destroying an enemy machine-gun pillbox.

m7574
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Re: Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by m7574 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:38 am

Yep. diced. And after 14 hours its funny how getting diced tends to make you laugh. I laugh at just about anything at 5am. :)

When we played AA50 I liked to keep the Italian in france too. My pal decided they were put to better use in Russia. I think he is right. He could threaten any territory behind my big army with his air, 8arm and 20mech. Plus you needed a 15 unit picket to kep the Italians from creating the breakthrough. too expensive. Russia had to fall back.

Did you guys conduct an SBR campaign? I found it very effective. As the game wore on my SBR efforts ramped up. Norway becomes a great Allied airbase. I think the SBR mechanic larry has created is perfect. I think most of the people who are concerned it never materializes is because they are not playing more than 5-6 rounds. Once the Allies have air superiority its game on! You should require air superiority to conduct an SBR campaign IMO. The interceptor/escort thing helps to do that. Dogfights rarely happen in our playtests, but the threat makes the SBR conductor achieve air superiority before its attempted in most cases.

One thing that made AAR such a good game was the aded influence of armor on the battlefield. At 6ipc's they are just not that good of a buy. You can get your punch from your large airforce most powers have in G40. Larry, if you are reading this i'd like to see armor reduced to 5ipc's. I would like to hear some imput on this. Are there any others besides us who have found armor to be scarce?

No I feel pretty confident that tanks will remain at 6 - thank you
LH-a

marcelvdpol
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Re: Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by marcelvdpol » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:56 pm

Well, Fighters cannot attack a territory and then defend it from a counter attack. But I think the Tank is now too expensive. Sure, I understand that a Mech Inf cannot be as cheap as an Inf and therefore should be 4. But if you buy a Mech Inf at 4, why not buy a tank at 5 IPC? You get too much for your +1 IPC compared to Mech Inf. The best cost would be 3.5 IPC for a Mech Inf, since other than the +1 movement it is not really exciting.

Rather than having the Mech Inf piece, I would play that you can move one infantry 2 areas when both areas the Inf is accompanied by a tank. You have to match pairs though, so 2 tanks can take 2 infantry with them when they move 2 areas.

An alternative would be to have tanks be able to move artillery pieces (rather than infantry as described above) two areas rather than one. This makes up for the Tank being 6 IPC rather than 5.

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Re: Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by Kaufschtick » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:55 pm

I think I can speak for Tim here too, but we're pretty good with the armor units at 6 IPCs.

One item we did discuss briefly, as far as unit cost goes, was the CA. I've seen it mentioned in many a thread for some time now; the suggestion that the CA go to 11 IPCs. We just kinda tossed the idea around of 11, nothing serious to argue the case though, other than a noticable lack of ever having seen any purchased in games.
m7574 wrote:Yep. diced. And after 14 hours its funny how getting diced tends to make you laugh. I laugh at just about anything at 5am. :)


Well, let's see here. I got in to Tims Tuesday night about 8pm. We drank a few beers, shot the breeze and caught up on things a bit, and got to playing by 9pm. We played until at least 1am, maybe even until 2am?

Anyways, I know we were playing again the next by 1230pm at the latest, but it could have been by 1130am, I can't really recall. We played all day until 130am...at which time we were both fried. As far as meals go, Tim always hits the Deli at the local supermarket (they have a super deli), and we kinda eat as we play. He gets a ton of coldcuts, and the sandwiches we make are so freakin' huge as to make "Dagwoods" look like childs play! We're talking big ole', loaded sandwiches. He always tells me that since I make the long drive out to his place, and seeing as how he is a bachelor and I've 5 kids, that he always springs for the chow. The guy is great. He usually gets a couple pizzas in there too. Not to mention a refrigerator chock full of cold beer, and a nicely stocked liquor cabinet...

But my point is, that on Wednesday, we played for a solid 13 hours that day.

I played the Allies in our previous AAG game that went at least 20 hours of gaming. The Axis player has to worry about Germany & Italy, and Japan. The poor Allied player has two x U.S. sides of the board to consider and play, two x British sides, an ANZAC and a Russian area to consider, not to forget China too. The work load for a single Allied player is considerable, to say the least, in AAG. I know in the previous game that I played as the Allies, I spent more time during Axis turns preparing the next Allied buy than actually watching what the Axis side was doing! Not paying attention to what your opponent is doing, is not a good idea in any contest, let alone A&A!

This last game, I was the Axis, and had more of a relaxing and fun game. Tim was the Allies, and I don't know what he'd say, but it looked like he was pretty beat on after we stopped.

I'm hoping that by getting more repititions in on the game, that more familiarization will kick in and speed up the game, and ease the workload for the Allied player.
m7574 wrote:Did you guys conduct an SBR campaign? I found it very effective. As the game wore on my SBR efforts ramped up. Norway becomes a great Allied airbase. I think the SBR mechanic larry has created is perfect. I think most of the people who are concerned it never materializes is because they are not playing more than 5-6 rounds. Once the Allies have air superiority its game on! You should require air superiority to conduct an SBR campaign IMO. The interceptor/escort thing helps to do that. Dogfights rarely happen in our playtests, but the threat makes the SBR conductor achieve air superiority before its attempted in most cases.
Ah, the SBR rules kinda were going back and forth from each hit costing 2 IPCs to repair, and some of the damage limits were jumping around a bit, so no, we didn't have any SBR stuff going on.

In playing AAP over the last year, and the Japanese having such an enormous air force in that original game set up; and with India usually having 4+ ftrs stationed there the whole game, we kinda forgot/gave up on doing any SBR.

Now, with the air forces kinda being reworked in the Alpha set ups, and the TAC bmbrs being given SBR capabilities, I can see us starting to rediscover this part of the game that we have gotten away from using for so long now.
Last edited by Kaufschtick on Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Young, Rodger W., Private, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division; born Tiffin, Ohio, 28 April 1918; died 31 July 1943, on the island of New Georgia, Solomons, South Pacific, while singlehandedly attacking and destroying an enemy machine-gun pillbox.

m7574
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Re: Early Alpha Game Play Observations

Post by m7574 » Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:40 pm

yeah, I'd be good with an 11ipc cruiser. I usually buy one with USA in the atlantic if the UK can afford a carrier to guard the us transports. the CA gives me a pot shot.

I understand why armor is at 6ipc's. dropping them to 5 would pretty much doom the mech. But what has happened is that artillary has become a great buy. I like that japan does't buy tanks now, and I guess I like that.

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