This article concentrates on the conceptual aspects of scenario design. For technical information, check the documentation which comes with TripleA. Reading the xml code will help you see how scenarios are constructed. Experiment with making small changes to existing scenarios before embarking on large-scale variants.
Defining the Conflict
A&A is a wargame that simulates military conflicts in an abstract way. The first step in creating a scenario is defining what the conflict is. Decide on the temporal & geographical scope of your scenario.
Most scenarios involve an aggressor alliance vs. a defending alliance. The aggressors will generally be better prepared for war, while the defenders have higher income. If one side has more forces and more income, the scenario will be at best a race against a time, (which could be interesting with a time limit). If both sides are about equal, the result is likely to be stalemate or slow progress (unless the situation differs in different regions).
In general, the more conflict zones there are, the more interesting the game will be. Enclaves of 1 alliance's territory near another alliance creates interesting situations.
Creating a map from scratch is a great deal of work, so always take a look at existing maps and see if they meet your needs. TripleA comes with a number of maps, while more be found in the Scenario Repositories. Check the documentation for discussion of the technical aspects of map creation as well the Map Creator program.
If the existing maps don't meet your needs, you have a number of ways of proceeding.
1. Take an existing map and modify it a bit
2. Take a source map and free draw areas on it
3. Take a source map and overlay a square grid (or latitude/longitude grid)
4. Take a source map and overlay a hex grid
5. Take a source map and use the areas defined on the source map. Split or combine the areas as needed
For ideas on how to color a map check out Unified Color Scheme.
All water areas should begin or end with the words Sea Zone.
TripleA gives you very limited options for defensive terrain.
1. You can make an area impassable. Note that impassable areas can have owners, income and even units. Impassable just makes "movement to" impossible. "Movement from" impassable areas is OK.
2. You break the connections between adjacent areas. Make sure this is shown clearly on the map or in the game notes.
3. You can have immobile units defending the area.
4. You can use the Movement By Territory Restricted property to prevent specific players from moving to specific areas.
TripleA can support up to 20 nations, but a maximum of 10 is recommended to prevent the game from getting too complicated. Close allies can be combined into a single power, while distant allies or even colonies might be separate. Official neutrals that provided economic support might be included in a power's territory without military units. Allies who were essentially passive might be considered neutral (providing income only through National Objectives). Minor allies might be given only static units, and be run by the AI.
The Movement By Territory Restricted could be used to prevent nations from moving to areas that they lack political justification or logistical ability to enter. OccupiedTerrOf is good for areas occupied at the start of the game.
The order of play is fairly arbitrary. Generally, aggressor or better-organized nations should go earlier in the turn. Nations that entered the conflict later should go later. It is desirable to alternate between different alliances in the sequence of play.
Any territory name that begins in "AI" is automatically set to be AI (as are "Neutral" territories). (veqryn) Any player whose name begins with "AI" or "Neutral" will start out as Moore AI (you can still change them to human in the setup screen) (make sure you get the caps correct). So, for example: "Neutral_Poland" will begin as Moore AI, and so will "AI_Russia".
TripleA can support any number of alliances with any names. If you want a free-for-all, don't designate alliances at all. However, TripleA does not handle free-for-alls well because there is no way of forming temporary alliances, except to agree to not attack; AI's obviously cannot do this.
3 alliances can be interesting, but generally 2 alliances works best.
TripleA can support up to 20 different types of units but that many is probably not required. Distinguishing similar icons can be hard for player. Before using both cruisers and destroyers, for example, determine if they are really different functionally.
Take a look at the unit properties, as they can be combined in interesting ways.
Don't change the standard unit values unless you have a specific reason.
Technology frontiers can be used to create different costs or other stats for different players.
Unbuildable units can be used to show elite units that are difficult to replace, or poorly equipped units that will be replaced by better ones. Factories are frequently made unbuildable or can made destructible. You can also use the MaxBuiltPerPlayer property to limit the number of units. The createsResourcesList property can have negative values, effectively creating a maintenance cost.</span>
TripleA usually uses profile icons, but you could also use standard Military Symbols. Put the national flag under them and you have easily distinguishable symbols.
Units can be invisible. This can be useful for factories or AA guns, if you want them in every area.
Technology is difficult to balance, but it can be done with care. Custom technology can also be added to the game besides the 6 stock techs.
The production value in A&A represents many different things. Industrial capacity, manpower, natural resources, strategic location and political significance all play a roll. A&A is more interesting if economic values are are dispersed across the map instead of being concentrated.
GDP figures are easily obtained, but be careful in using them. During World Wars, Germany and Russia had similar GDP levels, but during WW1 Russia was unable to turn the GDP into effective war production, while during WW2, Germany was slow to mobilize, reducing production during the early years. China's GDP exceeded Japan, but it was unable to build an effective army.
For historical GDP figures see Maddison Database, which includes a link to a spreadsheet showing GDP for all countries in the world in 1939. The Maddison database is by country, for information on the areas within countries, try http://www.populstat.info.
TripleA allows production values to be assigned for sea areas.
National Objectives can be used to generate income bonuses without increasing the number of units that can be produced. They can also be used to direct nations towards specific objectives and the value of trade routes.
You can use the bidding system to create a fixed amount of income. You set the run count to >1 and fix the amount of income. You can also skip the regular income phase. See the following example
- <step name="americanBid" delegate="bid" player="Americans" maxRunCount="999"/>
- <step name="americanBidPlace" delegate="placeBid" player="Americans" maxRunCount="999"/>
- <step name="americanCombatMove" delegate="move" player="Americans"/>
- <step name="americanBattle" delegate="battle" player="Americans"/>
- <step name="americanNonCombatMove" delegate="move" player="Americans" display="Non Combat Move"/>
- <step name="americanEndTurn" delegate="endTurn" player="Americans"/>
- <step name="endRoundStep" delegate="endRound"/>
- <property name="Americans bid" value="60" editable="true">
- <number min="0" max="1000"/>
In AAG40 the following scale is effectively used
- 0 Small or sparsely-populated areas
- 1 Areas with some economic value, but unable to support a factory
- 2 Areas with economic value, able to support a minor factory
- 3 Areas with substantial economic value, able to support a major factory
- 5-10 The core areas of major powers.
A&A has no uniform Unit Scale so efforts to directly translate historical OOB's directly to forces don't quite work. By the end of the war the USA had about 50% of its manpower in the army, 30% in the air force and 20% in the navy, which gives a rough sense of their relative strengths. Manpower conversions should probably be done something between unit cost and individual units (maybe the square root of the cost).
Major differences in quality should be reflected in the setup. Giving the Germans more ground units at the start of the scenario is an easy way of reflecting German qualitative superiority (and its gradual loss as the war continued). Unbuildable (or expensive) elite units can also be used to reflect a temporary qualitative superiority.
Forces in peripheral theaters may need to be exaggerated so there are enough units to do something.
If you have no information on the force size, 12x income in forces for aggressor nations, and 6x income for defending nations should work as a starting point. The following are some good force divisions:
- For nations fighting by land & sea, 25% infantry, 25% non-infantry ground forces, 25% air, 25% sea (including land fighters)
- For nations fighting primarily by land, 30% infantry, 30% non-infantry, 30% air, 10% sea (transports, subs & destroyers)
- For neutrals, 100% infantry
Of course, you can just give each nation a starting bid or a 1-time purchase phase. In general, the size of the 2 alliances should be roughly equal.
The Piece Limits article contains information on the numberof physical pieces in each Axis & Allies game. You may want to use the proportions.
If you have no information on deployment, spreading forces out uniformly is reasonable.
You can start hostile forces in the same area. When a nation with forces in the contested area has a turn, they must move out or attack.
TripleA has a number of ways of handling neutrals.
1. They can be made impassable
2. An IPC cost can be applied to attacking neutrals.
3. Neutrals can be assigned actual units.
4. The neutral could be made a functional nation, on its own side, without any actual play phases. If you make it part of an alliance, its allies could defend it. You could give the allies a National Objective, so they get some money for holding on to the place.
There are consequences for the AI depending on how you handle neutrals. The AI will not normally attack neutrals if charge is >0. Neutrals with actual units may result in undesired behavior such as the US ignoring the Axis while it completes its conquest of South America.
Note that TripleA will ignore the neutral charge if there are units present.
For quick estimate of overall strength, add up TUV, PUs, Income and Units. The alliances should be roughly equal. Note that this does not always work; if a particular side has a strategic advantage based on the territories it holds, or has some elite units, a weaker side may be able to eventually match the stronger side despite starting lower in all four categories.
- Category:Properties list
- John Ellis, World War Two, A Statistical Survey 978-0816029716 Everything you could possibly count about WW2. He wrote a similar book on WW1.
- Centennia Historical atlas, A software atlas covering Europe & Middle East from 1000AD to 2003AD
- Angus Maddison, The World Economy: Historical Statistics ISBN9264104127. The definitive work covering GDP over the past 2000 years. The information most useful for scenario developers can be found here Maddison Database
- Geacron Maps of the world for every year from 3000BC to today!
Have fun and post your finalized scenarios.