Written by Peter Flahive
Originally published in Battleplan #3
The following is a list of 18 suggestions that 1 could follow when playing Axis & Allies. Some of the suggestions are variations of the othrs, and some will be in direct conflict with the others. They are not necessarily to be used as a whole, and none are dependent on the others for effectiveness. In fact, there are a couple of them I don't especially care for, but that's a matter of taste. The variants I employ tend to give the game more of a historical feel. At least as much as possible with a game of this nature.
1. Unlimited AA Guns I have never seen any reasons why they were limited and historically they were employed in great numbers. Besides, I never hit anything with them, anyway.
2. Realism in Hawaii Switch the battleship on the western coast of the US with the carrier in Hawaii. This again is more historically accurate and I lose them both no matter where they are.
3. No weapons development There is nothing more frustrating or unrealistic than to play a game of such strategic balance as this, and then to have some wild weapons tossed into the fray, and all the strategy and planning goes out the window. Besides, I never get very good weapons.
4. No additional production centers It's much more historical and causes the Allies and Japanese to think along historical lines. British factories in Persia, American factories in Sinkiang and Japanese factories in Italian East Africea really rub me the wrong way.
5. Limited Production Additional Indusrial Complexes may only support the IPC numbers. In other words, a factory Persia may build 1 unit per turn, a factory in India may build 3. Although I hate this idea, at least it doesn't turn the economy of Persia into another United States with infantry, planes, tanks, ships and what-have-you pouring out onto the board.
6. Australian Production Let Australia alone, use the limited production of variant 5. It wouldn't be much and yet it would create the feeling of US forces coming up from the there to invade Japan. HOW IT'S DONE. The US player must move at least 1 unloaded transport (actually it's full of Seabees) to Australia. If it makes it, the following turn America may build an Industrial Complex in Australia from which 2 US infantry units may emerge each turn. Naturally, the 2 points for the territory are credits to the UK. Now here is an industrial variant I can live with.
7. Vital REsources Areas Designate 3 areas which you initially control (asied from your capital) as vital resource areas. For each of these you control, you received 3 additional IPC. Once again, this favors the US, but it could give the Solonon Islands and New Guinea new meaning.
8. Combat Air Patrol A maximum of 2 fighters may patrol in adjacent sea sqaures in which there exists a friendly vessel. This rule affords some protection for your surface vessels and submarines while they are in port. This does not count as move as it is done during your opponent's turn. It is also triggered by an attack. Purely a defensive maneuver. Historically accurate and adds realism. I'm sick of losing all my transports because I've never rolled 1 in my life while playing this game.
9. Amphibious Attacks Any uninhabited land area attacked from the sea has an inherent defense factor of 1. This must be reduced in the normal manner of attack before any landings may be accomplished. This will give the feeling of garrison units. This may be an aid to others, but I'll never hit anything.
10. Marines It costs an extra IPC to purchase US or Japanese Marines, but it's woth it. Especially if they must meet each other in combat on some remote island in the Pacific. Only US & Japanese players may have Marines. They attack on a 2. US Marines may not be used in Europe unless Japan has been conquered. No more than 1/4 of your infantry may be Marines. 3/4 of your infantry must be regular troops.
11. Paratroopers These men are delivered to battle by bombers which are designated as troop transports for the turn. The transports must withstand AA fire and if they destroyed, the paratroops are lost with them. The bombers must return to the same area after disembarking their cargos. They cost an extra IPC and you cannot have more than 1/4 of your infantry as paratroopers. 3/4 of your infantry must be regular troops.
12. SS, Commandoes and Guards Units These units are the elite force of various armies. They attack at 2. A maximum of 1/4 of your army's infantry can be elite units and they cost an extra IPC. Naturally, the SS are Germans, Commandoes, British and the Guards units are Russian.
13. Experienced Troops These are troops that have seen the elephant. They have been in battle and survived so they should be better aw what they do. Now, this will take a little organization, and if used in conjunction with elite troops, a little more orgnization, but here is how it goes. Infantry that have survived 2 battles (either on the defense of the offense) are considered experienced troops. They can be regular infantry of elite troops, but once experienced they add 1 to their combat strength. You need to keep track of them in battle, but the extra effor is more than worth it.
14. Initial set-ups Start with twice the number of forces that are recommended in the rules. Some very interesting and different results are possible even though on the surface the strategy remains the same. When you set it up and see the forces, you'll see waht I mean.
15. Initial purchases Each country is given an additional 30 IPCs st the start of the game. This money is used to augment your initial forces. All players secretly write town their purchase and placement (any owned Industrial Complex). When this is accomplished, the units are placed on the board. At that time your opponents' opening strategy should become clear, and sinces it's only the first turn, it shouldn't be too late.
16. Seasonal Production Every 4th & 5th turn, production is 1/2 the IPC's you have on hand per turn. The remaining half is saved for turn 6 wherein the spring offensive breaks forth.
The last 2 ideas in the article were hand-painted figures and whining phase.