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Subject: Axis & Allies FAQ v1.4
This article was archived around: 23 May 2006 04:24:15 GMT
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-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Axis & Allies FAQ v1.4 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
*Maintained by: Peter Goudswaard (email@example.com)
Co-maintained by: Dewey Barich (firstname.lastname@example.org)
* New or modified items are designated by an asterisk in front!
Table of Contents
*0. New in This Issue
*2. Contributor List
*3. What am I reading and where do I find it?
4. What if I disagree with something in this FAQ?
5. What is Axis & Allies?
*6. What are the Second Edition Rules?
*7. What are some common rule misconceptions?
*8. Can I get additional game parts?
9. Can I make the game more realistic by creating a Pearl Harbor?
10. Is the game imbalanced?
11. How do I balance the game?
*12. Can I play by email (PBEM)?
13. Are there expansion sets available?
*14. Are there any good house rules available?
15. What are the effects of using the 2nd Edition optional rules?
16. How do I calculate the probability of units hitting or missing?
17. Are there any game conventions that include Axis & Allies games?
*18. What kind of tournament rules are used?
19. Is Axis & Allies available on computer?
*20. Are there any computerized game aids available?
Subject: *0. New in This Issue
I have a new email address: email@example.com. Dewey's remains
the same, but Britt Klein's, the maintainer of the Official A&A FAQ
FTP Site, has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org. This edition has many
small administrative changes in its pages, but once again the rule
misconceptions section has some changes.
Subject: 1. Blurb
All trademarks and copyrights acknowledged property of the Milton
Bradley Company. This article is copyright 1996 by Peter Goudswaard
and may not be reproduced in any form without permission by the author,
except for personal use or redistribution through normal Usenet
channels and no fee is charged for such use. Reproduction on CD-ROM
is permitted if two copies of the CD's are given as payment to the
Please feel free to email suggestions for this FAQ!
*Maintained by: Peter Goudswaard (email@example.com)
Co-maintained by: Dewey Barich (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: *2. Contributor List
The contributor list will now only list *new* contributors for this
issue of the FAQ. If there is a section in the FAQ that you
contributed to, and you want your name and email address to appear
next to it (in case Milton Bradley wants to hire YOU for A&A 2!)
just drop me a note.
Thanks to the following for their contributions:
Subject: *3. What am I reading and where do I find it?
You are reading the unofficial Axis & Allies FAQ. It answers some of
the most Frequently Asked Questions regarding the game Axis & Allies.
It is available from ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.games.board/
and is posted on news.answers, rec.answers, and rec.games.board.
It is also available from the unofficial Axis & Allies ftp site, from
ftp://ftp.indirect.com/pub/rpg/axis+allies/. The site is mirrored at:
ftp://gandalf.kingston.net/pub/rpg/cyberpunk/. The structure of our
directory on ftp.indirect.com is as follows:
/pub/rpg/axis+allies/ - the latest version of the FAQ
/pub/rpg/axis+allies/variants/ - variants and house rules
/pub/rpg/axis+allies/utils/ - miscellaneous utilities
If you do not have ftp access or Usenet news, you can request the
latest FAQ from Britt Klein, the maintainer of our ftp site. Send
her email at email@example.com, and ask her for the latest Axis
& Allies FAQ. New submissions should also be sent to her by email.
* The FAQ will also be available on the upcoming Official A&A FAQ
Web Page. As of now, any web search engine should point you in the
right direction if you search for "Axis & Allies FAQ", but note that
we are not affiliated with many of the existing A&A web products.
There is a rec.games.board FAQ which can be obtained from the same
locations as this FAQ. If you do not have anonymous ftp access, you
can access the archives by mail server as well. Send an e-mail
message to firstname.lastname@example.org with "help" and "index" in the
body on separate lines for more information.
The FAQ is posted at least monthly. Due to a backup disaster,
a version history and back issues from v0.9 onward only are
available by special request from the maintainer of this FAQ.
Subject: 4. What if I disagree with something in this FAQ?
There are only two possibilities: either I'll stand corrected and add
your name to the list of contributors, or I'll email you telling you why
I won't stand corrected. Please, there are many opinions on the hows
and whys of the game, so if you have a beef, don't post it, please email
me and we'll chat.
Subject: 5. What is Axis & Allies?
A company called Nova Game Design, Inc. introduced Axis & Allies at the
1981 Origins convention. The pieces were brightly colored cardboard
shapes like triangle tanks, hexagonal fighters, and round anti-aircraft
units. In the Nova Games edition, there were many differences from the
current Milton Bradley version that most are familiar with. For
example, submarines were not hindered by enemy naval units, and could
run a blockade by moving two spaces right through an enemy fleet. Also,
neutrals were more of a factor, like Spain, although a neutral,
contributed 3 to the German economy. Most neutrals also had an economic
value. For weapons development, the current Heavy Bombers was
originally the Atomic Bomb. And the Nova version also had kamikaze
attacks for the Japanese, moveable Russion factories, US Marines, the
British Home Guard, and German SS Panzerkorps.
Three years later, after slumping sales, Milton Bradley took over, and
Axis & Allies became part of their Gamemaster line of wargames, which
has included Broadsides & Boarding Parties, Fortress America, Conquest
of the Empire, and Shogun. Axis & Allies is a two to five player
wargame that takes place in the spring of 1942. Players control
Britain, USA, Russia, Japan and Germany. It is considered by many to
be a "beer and pretzels" game, due to its over-simplification of
warfare. But the well-designed plastic units and large, bright box
attract many first-time wargamers, and the ability to run an entire
war in an evening attracts even more hard-core gamers.
Subject: *6. What are the Second Edition Rules?
The Second Edition Rules were released to both clarify existing rules
and improve game play and balance. You can order a set of the Second
Edition Rules by sending US$2.00 to:
CO Department BP
Milton Bradley Company
443 Shaker Road
E. Longmeadow, MA 01028
You can also ask for the rules clarifications, a short, four page
pamphlet describing unclear rules. And it's free. One reader,
*Joe Darcy (email@example.com), sent away for the free rules
clarifications, and received another copy of the manual, free! YMMV.
Everything contained in this FAQ, and most discussion on rec.games.board
refer to the Second Edition Rules. If you don't have them, get them!
*Another source is the Official A&A FAQ FTP site:
Subject: *7. What are some common rule misconceptions?
The purpose of this section is to review some rules issues that are
commonly misinterpreted or misunderstood. It is necessary to review
several things before getting to rules.
1) It is important to know where to look for rules. The manual is of
course the first place. And, in many games it is the only place
to find answers. But, with Axis and Allies there is another: The
Rules Clarifications. This is a four page insert that has come
with the game (and manuals ordered from MB) since 1991. These
have answered a number of issues for many players.
2) Criterion for judging. When possible, I will cite the Rules Manual,
the Rules Clarifications or responses from letters to Milton Bradley.
If none of these is feasible, I will make a judgement, which will
always be overridden by anything MB prints should we disagree. If
you disagree with a call I make, send me a note and we can discuss it.
3) Without upsetting any readers, let me make an observation. Having
been reading rec.games.board for several years now, as well as
general A&A experience, I have noticed that *many* of the questions
that arise could be answered with a good read of the Manual and/or
Clarifications. I simply cannot emphasize how much a good reading
and understanding of the rules is worth. There are plenty of valid
reasons still for not having it all down, and that is why we have this
section. But for your benefit, try to find the answers in the rules.
4) Some advice: whenever you are looking to answer a question, be as
objective as possible. When possible, use direct statements in
context. If we all did that, then no questions would arise over
things that are covered in the rules. Still, there are a number of
grey issues that still require attention. Try to avoid using the
argument "The Rules don't say I *can't*." If used at all, this
should only be used as a last resort. Remember: The absence of
evidence is *NOT* evidence of absence!
5) Don't forget about house rules! Many players modify the rules in
their own group, but then forget which rules are which and argue
endlessly when they play with someone else. House rules are fine,
but do not forget the "official" rules.
6) In the actual rules citations below, "Manual" refers to the Second
Edition Rules Manual, "Clarifications" refers to the Rules
Clarifications (released in 1991), and "Communication with Milton
Bradley(date)" refers to a correspondance between me and Milton
Bradley. The date gives date they wrote the letter to me.
Organization of this section: There are now two sections of rule
discussions. The first is composed of questions that are clearly
stated in the Manual and or Clarifications. The second contains more
obscure questions. The second section will understandably have some
less concrete arguments.
Section 1: Rules often missed but stated in the Rules
*What constitutes a turn? A round?
A turn is a player's six action sequence (Weapons Development/
Purchase Units, Combat Movement, Combat, Non-Combat Movement,
Place New Units, Collect Income). Source: Manual, page 4.
A round is the sequence of all 5 players' turns. Source:
Manual, page 4 (first paragraph).
When do AA guns fire?
AA guns fire during enemy combat movement ONLY. Source: Manual,
page 13 (middle column, under "Antiaircraft Guns").
*Where can aircraft land?
During the non-combat phase of a player's turn, he may land
his aircraft in any territory that he or one of his allies
have controlled since the beginning of his turn, provided the
remaining movement alotment can get the plane there safely.
In other words, the state of the board when that player's turn
started defines all legal landing spaces for that player's
aircraft during that player's Non-Combat Movement. Source:
Manual, page 21 (top section, "Non-Combat Movement"). Note
the definitions of turn and round above.
What can retreat from an amphibious assault?
Nothing. All units involved fight to the death. Source:
Clarifications, page 3 (top right).
In an amphibious assault, when can battleships use their one-shot support?
a) A battleship must be in the same sea zone as the transport(s).
b) There can *not* have been any combat in the sea zone (and
you cannot hold battleships back from clearing the sea zone).
Source: a) Manual, page 15 (column 3, paragraph 3).
b) Clarifications, page 3 (middle under "Amphibious
Assaults"), and Manual, page 15 (right, under
"Important" under "Note").
How do fighters move when on an ally's carrier?
If you have any fighters on an ally's carrier and that carrier
moves during your ally's turn, your fighters just ride along,
with no loss of movement factors from your planes. Source:
Clarifications, page 3 (right, under "Carriers And Fighters").
*How do fighters fight on an ally's carrier?
If a carrier attacks while carrying an ally's fighter(s), the
fighters cannot fight, but can be taken as losses, provided the
owner of the non-fighting fighter consents to the loss.
Source: Communication with Milton Bradley (dated July 27, 1995).
How many *new* industrial complexes can be built during a game?
Four. There are eight on the board at the start of the game, and
there are twelve complex pieces. The number of locations that
have a specific unit type is always dependent of the number provided.
This also means that any country could only have bombers in three
places, carriers in two, subs in six, etc. The number of units in
each place is unlimited, but the number of locations is not.
Source: Clarifications, page 4 (bottom right, "More Markers?").
Section 2: Situations not covered clearly in the rules.
What defines a legal sea zone for withdrawing subs?
For attacking subs, this is more clear. Attacking subs must
withdraw to an adjacent sea zone from which any attacking
naval vessels came (Source: Manual, page 17, under "Where:").
For defending subs, this is more complex. Defending subs must
withdraw to any friendly or unoccupied adjacent sea zone (Source:
Manual, page 17, under "Where:". But, what is unoccupied?
A sea zone becomes unoccupied when the attacker vacates it.
Source: Communication with Milton Bradley (dated July 27, 1995).
So, during the combat phase of a turn, a defending sub can withdraw
into a sea zone that the enemy had left during that same turn's
combat movement phase. Thus, it does not matter if the attacking
units that left the zone might or might not retreat.
Note: I personally disagree with this statement from MB, as it
violates a principal that I have noted the spirit of throughout
the rules. The principal is that "the state of the board at the
beginning of the present turn defines what is legal." This idea
applies to legal landing spaces and use of canals, even to the point
that, for example, if during the first turn Egypt falls to Germany
and *then* the UK sub south of Turkey is attacked and missed, it
can go through the canal even though Germany has already captured
Egypt. However, I recognize MB as the experts and thus will accept
it, pending further questions -- Dewey Barich.
How do transports unload units into two territories?
This is by far one of the most complicated issues in the rules.
There is an example in the Manual that shows a UK transport
dropping into Finland and Western Europe during the same
turn. There are two observations that must be made here:
1) The infantry are being dropped from the same sea zone
2) The UK controls both territories
A question then arises: Can a transport drop into two
territories *only* during non-combat? Or can they be dropped
to two territories in combat movement as well?
Due to the example *specifically* stating that the UK can drop
into both Finland *and* Western Europe, the interpretation here
is that "split landings" are legal only during the non-combat phase.
In a situation where a transport with two infantry moves 1 or 2
spaces, and is adjacent to two countries, a question arises whether
the infantry can unload one to each of those two countries, and
whether it is allowed in both combat and non-combat portions. Let
us take the manual's example of a tranport that bridges two
infantry from Britain to Norway and Western Europe. Now, the
example on page 16, 2nd column says that the transport can drop
one infantry in Norway and one in Western Europe, *if the UK
controlled these territories*. This states that the UK must own
the territories, which means that either (1) bridging is only
allowed during non-combat movement, or (2) that unloading to two
territories is only permitted during non-combat movement. Which
The definition of a transport is that they are "...naval units
that transport land units from *one* coastal territory or
island to *another*." Yet the example clearly shows a transport
moving land units from *one* coastal territory to *two*, during
non-combat movement. Since a transport could, in the example
given, load two UK infantry, move to an adjacent sea zone,
then move back, unloading units to those two territories
legally on its *combat* movement phase, then the premise that
bridging is only allowed during the non-combat phase can be
easily circumvented. The second premise, that unloading to two
territories is only permitted during non-combat movement, has
no such work-around, and is clearly stated in the same example.
If an example in a rule book does not correspond explicitly to
a rule in that same rulebook, does that make it illegal? Or
does the inclusion of the example in the rulebook automatically
give it validity as a rule? Most would agree with the latter,
since the former creates is contradiction and the latter does
not. So then, if you believe that the example in the book is
valid, it appears that unloading to two territories is only
allowed during non-combat.
In the combat phase, unloading is only possible in an amphibious
assault situation (after all, you cannot attack ships with the
transport and unload the units at sea). In an amphibious
assault, the rules give no clues as to whether a transport
can amphibiously assault 2 territories in the same turn. It
would be wrong to assume that it could, because the absence of
evidence is not evidence. So unless an example or the rules
state or even imply something, the best course of action is to
assume that such an action cannot be done. Source: Manual,
page 16, bottom of second column, and page 15, right column.
Subject: *8. Can I get additional game parts?
You can purchase additional sets of plastic units for US$10.00 for each
package of 299 units at the following address:
CO Department BP
Milton Bradley Company
443 Shaker Road
E. Longmeadow, MA 01028
Joseph Darcy (firstname.lastname@example.org) informs us that additional
dice and chips are available for US$2.00 a set, which includes
shipping and handling. Will Wible (email@example.com) has
purchased a set of the cardboard charts for US$3.00.
Subject: 9. Can I make the game more realistic by creating a
The real answer is, no. By swapping the US battleship on the west coast
with the Hawaiian aircraft carrier, it may look like a Pearl Harbor
setup, but the game takes place in spring of 1942, several months after
the event, which was on December 7, 1941.
Subject: 10. Is the game imbalanced?
The general consensus is yes, in favour of the Allies. If you do
not agree with this, you will find plenty of people who would be
willing to on rec.games.board. Put "A&A: Axis always win" or
something similar in your subject line, and watch for postings
telling you that the Allied player must be an amateur! See the
section "How do I balance the game?" ahead in this FAQ for the
Milton Bradley answer to the game not being balanced.
Subject: 11. How do I balance the game?
This is a touchy subject. Milton Bradley has acknowledged the fact that
the game is imbalanced by introducing three rules options that weigh a
victory towards the Axis (summarized from the Second Edition Rules):
- Weapons Development Benefits: The German player starts with
Jet Power, and the Japan player starts with Super Subs.
- Restricted Attack: The USSR player is not allowed to attack
until the second turn.
- No New Complexes: No new industrial complexes can be bought
or placed. Only original complexes can be used.
The second optional rule, Restricted Attack, has been used very
successfully at some game conventions, and many experienced players
swear by it. Of course it depends on the calibre of the players, but
for an even field it can give the Axis enough of a breathing space to
make some headway before the awesome crushing power of the Allied
production advantage takes hold.
The No New Complexes is very controversial. William Jockusch
(William.Jockusch@math.lsa.umich.edu) notes that "it keeps the
Japanese from building complexes in mainland Asia, which they
need to do." Japan suffers far more than the Allies from this
Subject: *12. Can I play by email (PBEM)?
Yes, several play by email systems (also known as PBEM) have been
used. One is available from Dewey Barich (firstname.lastname@example.org),
email him for information, or if you'd like to get involved in
a PBEM game. He also hosts the Annual Axis & Allies Internet
Tournament, which goes on for most of the year. There will be an
announcement posted to rec.games.board in the fall to begin
recruiting players for the tournament.
There is a new contact list called "The Axis & Allies Playing Field",
and it gets players together for PBEM games. It has the largest
list for A&A of the groups listed. Contact the following people
by email if you are interested:
Normal Axis & Allies: Chris Goldfarb (email@example.com)
Richard Willis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Variants & Expansion Set Games:
Morten Steinvik (email@example.com)
Dag Rune Kvittem (firstname.lastname@example.org)
* Also, Eric Pass (email@example.com) maintains the PBEM Gamers
Directory, which attempts to get people together to play games
by email. Contact him if you wish to be on the list, and make
sure you mention Axis & Allies, since his list contains other
games as well. A&A has the largest membership on his list!
Subject: 13. Are there expansion sets available?
Yes! The following descriptions are courtesy of 3 Trolls Games,
(P.O. Box 4095, South Chelmsford, MA 01824-0795, USA, telephone
1-800-342-6373 in North America), who were kind enough to allow
us to use the descriptions from their catalogue. This is not to
be considered as an endorsement, only a source for the following
A&A enhancements. The prices are approximate, and in U.S. dollars.
3 Trolls Games, or your local game shop, may sell for less.
Gamer's Paradise: Axis & Allies WWII Expansion ($20)
Add submarines, air patrols, and increased industrial
production that introduces destroyers, destroyer escorts,
Gamer's Paradise: Axis & Allies WWII Expansion II ($25)
Adds German SS, US Marines, British commandoes, paratroopers,
trucks, artillery, and includes 80 colour counters.
Gamer's Paradise: Axis & Allies WWII Expansion III ($50)
The bombing of Tokyo through the historical events that led
up to the Battle of Midway are re-created here. The vinyl
map is 76cm by 127cm (30" x 50").
StratoMax: Max's Advanced Rules ($10)
This expansion contains 20 optional rules, including
paratroopers, kamikazes, strategic bombing raids, escort
fighters, and expanded weapons development. Since it is
a rules-only package, it uses existing A&A components.
Xeno Publications: The World at War 1939 - 1945
(Map and rules $20, playing pieces $30)
This is actually two separate packages. The first includes
a map for new territories, and the new rules, which include
2 new players (France and China), rail movement, and political
influence. The second package includes 238 new plastic playing
pieces, including sub pens and a new ship type. You may wish
to paint a dot or other unique mark on the Chinese and Japanese
units to distinguish them from the US and British units,
respectively. It can be difficult to tell them apart at times.
Subject: *14. Are there any good house rules available?
Yes, and they can be found at the Official Axis & Allies FAQ anonymous
ftp site at ftp://ftp.indirect.com/pub/rpg/axis+allies/variants/.
Many thanks go to Britt Klein for maintaining the site.
If you want your variant or house rules stored there, please send
Britt (firstname.lastname@example.org) a message telling her what it is
you would like to upload. She is *not* accepting ftp uploads; file
submissions are being taken by email only. Britt can answer any
questions you may have about how to upload your submissions.
Also, another good A&A ftp site is maintained by Marcus Augustus Alzona
(Marcus+@CMU.EDU) as follows:
Subject: 15. What are the effects of using the 2nd Edition optional
Total Victory: In the normal rules, a military win occurs when either
side captures two enemy capitals, but with the Total Victory rule, it
is also a requirement that you and your alliance's capitals cannot be
in enemy hands. Basically this may prolong the game, and perhaps a
wise opponent may use this rule to throw a small wrench into what may
seem to be an easy victory.
Placing Your Naval Units in Enemy-Occupied Sea Zones: With this new
rules variation, you may place new naval units in *enemy-occupied* sea
zones adjacent to industrial complexes you have owned since the
beginning of your turn. It is up to your enemy to either retreat from
the sea zone or attack your ships. This changes the game a fair
amount, although no side can claim an unfair advantage. In the normal
rules, placing your ships in enemy zones in effect constitutes a naval
blockade and shutdown of enemy shipyards. The optional rule
neutralizes this tactic, and allows full use of all shipbuilding
potential. I would be interested to hear what experiences you have
had with this rule in the short-term, say the first 2 or 3 turns.
The next three optional rules weigh the advantage towards the Axis
alliance. The second rule, Restricted Attack, seems to be the most
popular, judging strictly by what I've read on the net. I don't
believe that Milton Bradley suggests using all three at once; I would
think that the Restricted Attack rule would give the most advantage,
then the Weapons Development Benefits, then the least advantage to the
Axis would be the No New Complexes optional rule. This FAQ is open to
a change of opinion on this, and if you're looking for something to
do, play a couple of games using each of the three last optional rules
to see which made the most difference.
Weapons Development Benefits: This rules variation gives the Germany
player Jet Power and the Japan player Super Submarines at the start of
the game. Super Subs would help Japan decimate the American Pacific
fleet and keep the Pacific for itself, and cheaply! German Jet Power
may not be as useful to Germany as Subs to the Japanese, since Jet
Power is a defensive capability; and Germany needs more offense than
it does expensive defense.
Restricted Attack: The USSR player is not allowed to attack until the
second turn, which in effect gives Germany a great opportunity to set
the tone of the European theatre, and it also denies the vulnerable
USSR time to prepare a defensive posture. It is a far-reaching
No New Complexes: Only industrial complexes placed at the start of
the game are used. If you are a player that likes to set up a new
factory in India or Finland-Norway, you will have to change your
style. If you rarely build new complexes, this rule will not make much
difference. As previously stated, though, this is a controversial
rule. The point is that Japan not being able to build a new complex in
Asia is a greater detriment to the Axis than the Allies.
Subject: 16. How do I calculate the probability of units hitting
This task can be quite daunting. For the most part, the difficulty
depends on the number of units involved. To correctly determine the
odds of a particular result, you multiply the chance of hitting for
each unit involved. For example, take two battleships (keeping the
odds balanced for now). The attacking battleship has a 4/6
(everything will be in sixths here) chance of hitting. No matter
that roll, the defending battleship also has a 4/6 chance of hitting.
With two results per die (hit or miss, though the chances are
weighted), there are a total of four possible outcomes. They are:
Attacker Defender Probability Result
1 Hit Hit ==> (4/6) * (4/6) = 16/36 Mutual Annihilation
2 Hit Miss ==> (4/6) * (2/6) = 8/36 Attacker Wins
3 Miss Hit ==> (2/6) * (4/6) = 8/36 Defender Wins
4 Miss Miss ==> (2/6) * (2/6) = 4/36 Draw; continue
Note that the sum of the probabilities is 1. This makes for a
simple means of verifying your work. Adding more units makes this
calculation much more complicated. To calculate such odds, you must
take into consideration all rolls. This task can be simplified by
creating a binary tree.
To generate a binary tree, draw a branch for each possible outcome
(hit or miss) for each unit involved for each round of combat. Keep
them all in a "path" within the tree (e.g., you should be able to go
from the left (top) of the tree all the way to the right (bottom)
and have a representation of every die rolled during a specific
battle). So, for example, if there were two attacking units and one
defending, you would show both attackers one after the other, then
the defender (by now, there are eight outcomes), then continue based
on the outcomes of those rolls. Be sure to label each branch
(Mutual Annihilation, Attacker Wins, etc.). I always work sideways
and make the upward branch the hit branch and label it by placing
the number of ways (out of six!) that a hit could be rolled.
Likewise, the downward branch is for misses and is labelled with the
number of ways (out of six!) to miss. For the battleship example
4 / Mutual Annihilation (16/36)
4 / 2 \ Attacker Wins (8/36)
2 \ 4 / Defender Wins (8/36)
2 \ Draw (4/36)
To get the probabilities, divide each number by 6 and multiply all
numbers on a path from left (top) to right (bottom). Write this
result at the left (bottom) of the tree next to the label of the
outcome at the end of that path. When you have all those numbers,
add all fractions of similar labels (like Mutual Annihilation or
Attacker Wins), no matter where in the tree it is. This sum is the
probability of that outcome. The sum of all outcomes is 1 (or a
mistake has been made). But, what to do at "Draw"? By the rules,
you continue the battle (as we are concerned about the odds of
possible outcomes we will not consider withdraw options). If units
have been lost, they will no longer appear in the tree. Each "Draw"
could actually be considered the "Start" of a new battle with only
the units that survived to get to that "Draw". In this example, the
entire tree could be copied and placed where the "Draw" is located,
though this would become a recursive loop (which would never end),
making calculations quite difficult.
There is a simplification! Recall that to find the odds for an
outcome when the tree is complete, you will add the fractions of all
occurances of that outcome. Under the "Draw" node, you will find the
same ratios of results as in the parent branch immediately above it,
thus as you add the fractions that occur under it, you do so in the
same proportions as the top tree (so, as the number of recursive
branches approaches infinity, you reach a limit for the other
outcomes and the "Draw" probability becomes zero). With that, you
can ignore the "Draw" branch with one provision: Instead of
counting the other outcomes out of 36, count them out of 36 minus
the 4 occurances of draw. This is of course 32. This simplification
will work at each "Draw", but take care to normalize each "Draw" node
separately. This is done so that the sum of probabilities is still 1
(called normalization). So, the odds of a mutual annihilation with
two warring battleships is 0.50, and of either combatant winning is
0.25. While this is how you can calculate the exact odds of a
result, it is obviously no easy task when there are more than a
While all you have to do is separate between the three results
above, you can distinguish more. For example, Attaker wins but
loses two units, Defender wins but loses three units, or Mutual
Annihilation. With more categories you can get a more detailed
breakdown of the outcomes. This obviously takes more time, but is
For a more in-depth discussion, or if more explanations of
the odds mechanism is needed, please email Dewey Barich
Subject: 17. Are there any game conventions that include Axis &
Yes. Coyt D. Watters (email@example.com) maintains an
excellent list of game conventions (The Big Con List) that he posts to
rec.games.board. If your system supports the finger command, you can
also get the list by using the command:
The largest gaming convention in the world, GenCon, is held every year
in the US, and attracts over 30,000 people for a 4-day gaming marathon.
Included in this is the A&A Mega-Tourney, where 64 or 128 teams of 2 to
4 players compete for the tournament's A&A World Championship. It is
the closest thing to an international event, so if you want to show
how good you are, this is the place to do it. Check The Big Con List
for dates and location.
Subject: *18. What kind of tournament rules are used?
Some tournament rules that work very well are also useful for "fun"
single games with your friends, and involve no restrictions on the
game as is. If you've seen an interesting or unusual tournament
rule or system, let me know.
Bidding System I (reported by Will Wible (firstname.lastname@example.org)):
Russia can attack, and the Axis aren't given any free weapon
developments. Players register with the GM as a team of one or
two people, submitting a secret bid for the privilege of playing
the Allies. This bid is a number from 0 to 10. Once all the
bids are received, the GM then ranks them in order from highest
to lowest. The top half are the Allied teams, the bottom the
Axis teams. Pairs are highest to highest, and on down. For
example, with six teams, bidding as follows:
A bids 3, B bids 0, C bids 5, D bids 3, E bids 2, F bids 1
They are ranked: C 5, A 3, D 3, E 2, F 1, B 0. Ties are resolved
randomly -- just roll a die.
Games are then set up as follows:
Allies vs Axis
Game 1 -- C vs E
Game 2 -- A vs F
Game 3 -- D vs B
Now, this is just an assignment technique, as good as any, and
perhaps better than most. However, where the numbers come in is
with economic aid to the Axis players, which they can spend in
any way they wish. This is income not represented on the board
which cannot be taken away from the Axis players, except through
loss of their capital as normal.
Each Axis nation receives IPC bonuses equal to the _difference_
in bids between them and their opponent. Using the example above,
in Game 1, both Germany and Japan for Team E receive 5 - 2 = 3
extra IPCs _per turn_. At the start of the game, Germany receives
35 IPCs, and Japan receives 28.
It's a wonderful system because it has feedback built into it.
In addition, it works for a casual game just the same as in a
tournament situation. For tournaments, the further selection of
the eventual winner is still up to the GM -- the above system
doesn't enforce a particular method. Single elimination, double
elimination, Swiss and other methods can all be used.
Bidding System II (reported by J.C. Hamlin (J.C.Hamlin@born.com))
Like the Bidding System I, this involves 2 players bidding down
the Axis economic victory conditions. The player who bids the
lowest gets to play the Allies, and the Axis player only needs
to get the number bid by the Allied player to win by an
economic victory. Conservative bids were in the 76ish range,
and aggressive bids were at 71-73. This was used at the A&A
World Championships at GenCon.
Bidding System III (reported by J.C. Hamlin (J.C.Hamlin@born.com))
A new method introduced at GenCon in 1995 involves bidding
up IPCs for Axis initial placements on the board. These IPCs
are spent on builds for both Germany and Japan, and are placed
on the board anywhere the Axis wants them to *before* the game
begins. The highest bidder gets to play the Allies, and the
other player must play the Axis but gets to build and place
using the other player's IPC bid before the game begins.
This leads to a much more balanced and usually longer (>4 hrs)
game, and more interesting because the initial setup can be
different every game.
Increasing Unit Costs: Reid Gagle (email@example.com)
One idea from the New Crusades that could be used in A&A is that
of increasing unit costs. I find it boring when Russia builds
all men most turns, Germany all tanks, and the US all aircraft,
even though it's often the best strategy. Increasing unit costs
means each additional item of one type produced per factory
costs one extra. If you have two factories, and want to build 8
men, they cost 6 for the first two, 8 for the second two, 10 for
the third two, and 12 for the seventh and eighth men, for a total
of 36 rather than 16. If that's too strict, you could have it
kick in after 2/factory -- 8 men then costing 12 for the first
four and 16 for the second four. This provides incentives to get
a mix of forces that would make games more interesting. With
these rules in effect, the less expensive items would no longer
be available in quantity, and the normally more expensive items
would actually become a better value! This is a far-reaching
rule that merits at least one attempt!
Blind A&A: David Bedno (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Use 2 boards and a referee, and essentially the Axis and Allies
can't see what's in an an area unoccupied by them until they
they either fly over it, attack it, or move into it. Planes
that get shot down note what's in the space they get shot down
in, but not what they saw on the way there. The 2 sides can
be separated by a large screen, or they can be in two different
rooms, and the referee resolves what is seen.
Tournament Award Ideas:
Put a country card in a nice frame with non-glare glass and
a small plaque at the bottom. It makes a relevant, inexpensive
*The A&A Multi-Player Mega-Variant has now been removed, and it
can be found at the A&A FTP site listed in section 14.
Subject: 19. Is Axis & Allies available on computer?
Philips Media has a CD-i version of Axis & Allies by CapDisc
available now for US$37.50, call 1-800-CAPDISC in the U.S. If you
are interested in ordering discs for resale, call the Philips CD-i
Direct Orderline at 1-800-824-2567 in the U.S. Also, there have
been a few attempts by various readers of rec.board.games to produce
a working version. [If you want your program mentioned, please let
Chris Adamson, maintainer of the 'CD-i Reviews & Info' web page,
http://www.america.net/~plucky/cd-i.html, gives the following
review of A&A for CD-i:
"For now, it's the only game in town as far as computer-mediated A&A
goes, but CapDisc's version for the CD-i leaves much to be desired.
The first of its two great sins is the interface: painfully confusing,
your controls change radically depending on what you're doing.
Meanwhile, the save feature consumes 75% of the CD-i player's storage
(6,500 bytes to remember where the pieces are for one turn?), making
it practically useless. The upside? Popular house rules are
available, and you get digitized B&W war footage running constantly
at the bottom left of the screen."
Many readers, disappointed by the lack of a computerized version of
Axis & Allies, have repeatedly asked other netters what other games
exist on computer that are similar to A&A. Due to the variety of
games that might fill this role, we suggest you ask on the newsgroup
comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic. You are bound to get some helpful
Subject: *20. Are there any computerized game aids available?
J.C. Hamlin (J.C.Hamlin@born.com) has a DOS program available that
also computes the results of A&A battles. This program is shareware,
and the current version level is 1.2. This program is written for
a PC in 80x25 color text mode. It handles the entire attack
sequence, including AA, off-shore shells, and subs. It does both
land and sea battles (but not combined attacks, yet), it handles
technology, and it allows you to set attack and defense strategies
and objectives (save the bombers, take the territory, retreat the
planes, etc), which basically allow you to specify how you want your
pieces to be lost, when you want to retreat, and special case things
like saving an infantry or tank to take the territory. It displays
the 12 most likely outcomes (based on remaining pieces) with the
number of times and percentage of the time each outcome happens, and
exact piece counts for those outcomes. It also summarizes outcomes
in several categories: attacker wins (takes territory, doesn't
take), defender wins (attacker destroyed, attacker retreated),
nothing left, and defending subs get away. It displays the number of
times and percentage of the time each category occurred, and the
average number of remaining pieces for that category. It can be
found at the Official A&A FAQ FTP Site:
Subject: 21. WANTED
(C)1996 Peter Goudswaard (email@example.com) Please feel free
to email suggestions for this FAQ!
Peter Goudswaard |~~~~~~| _/^\_ |~~~~~~|
An Axis & Allies FAQ Maintainer | | _/\_\ /_/\_ | |
firstname.lastname@example.org |ZX-11D| >___________< |VF500F|
email@example.com |______| | |______|