In order for any game to be balanced you need all sides to have the same amount of resources. It has been writing here before that every single game made outside of Axis & Allies has the same amount(s) of money, unites, chances, opportunities etc.
To say that one side gets more money or IPC's is really moronic in itself in my opinion. There is no point in playing a game that always goes to one side over and over again and trying to justify it in terms of being fair.
Take the Allies for example, they out number Axis on the playing board. Under these circumstances you will lose just because you are out numbered. Then take the fact that the Axis is out numbered money wise. This game was created to be balanced but you get nothing of the sort.
If you play it long enough you do not even get a stale mate in the computer plays out of 100 times Allies will win the vast majority because time is on their side and the more time that passes the Axis are out numbered with units, money and territories.
Someone here should try to break the mold and try to make a game in which their is equal amounts of everything to start with and let the game flow from there.
In order to do this you need to have the sea zones Risk style with certain sea zones unavailable to certain territories. Also a suggestion for units used. It goes outside of the norm to use more than the following units in game play, the more you have the worse the game gets in terms of accuracy. Larry Harris tried adding the "Marine" unit but it didn't go over too well.
Here is what is accurate and it should be noted that what you pay for is what you get regardless if you are attacking or defending.
Infantry Cost 1 Attack 1 Defend 1
Artillery Cost 2 Attack 2 Defend 2
Tank Cost 3 Attack 3 Defend 3
Fighter Cost 4 Attack 4 Defend 4
2 Infantry equal 1 Artillery unit in terms of Attack and Defend
3 Infantry equal 1 Tank unit in terms of Attack and Defend
4 Infantry equal 1 Fighter unit in terms of Attack And Defend
1 Infantry unit and 1 Artillery unit equal 1 Tank unit
2 Artillery units equal 1 Fighter unit
If the defender has 2 tanks and 1 fighter then the attacker will need at least 10 Infantry units to equal out the 3 units of the defender in terms of fairness.
The above is just an example but for each point of the die listed above you pay 1 IPC
The above equals out in terms of balance but in terms of rolling the dice then anything goes. The object of this set up though is to make things balanced from the beginning.
Again, sea zones should be used like Risk in terms of zones or territories a country cannot enter through or from a sea zone. For example Germany could only send troops to Norway like they did during WWII, not send them to the UK which was not historically accurate in the beginning of the war so they would have restricted movement by sea if this makes sense till a certain turn during game play.
Also the territories should be listed in terms of being the same in terms of IPC's to start out with. Once the game gets rolling this will change but it will be accurate at the same time.
The only unit(s) that should remain the way it is are the AA Guns and the Bombers. The cost though should reflect the attack and defend. Attack 5 Defend 1 Cost equal 6 to reflect the above units strengths and defenses.
I am open to comments on this as I studied mathematics and history and every known game to man that is fair throughout from beginning to end. In terms of being historically accurate this game would not start out that way with each side having the same amounts of units and IPC's and territories. Once the game gets going with turns and turn sequence you will have a war and an equal one that should begin with the Axis striking first for historical accuracy. The game balances out though through the number of Allied countries who get to make moves on the board. So the Axis starts out fast as they did but over time because the Allies have more powers on the board this should start to shift in favor of the Allies.
The key to winning for Axis is to move fast and Blitzkrieg as they intended to do but were out numbered and out resourced.
There are many many maps where the Allies have more income than the Axis, and more starting units, but the Axis still have the advantage. I'd be happy to play the ww2v5 map sometime in the lobby if you don't believe me. There the Axis have a strong advantage despite looking weaker on paper. It isn't uncommon for Axis to capture enough ground to offset the income advantage. To say that resource equality is needed is a big oversimplification, there are many other factors to game balance.
One reason is that you have to consider where the units are located. For a ww2 map, an infantry in Russia is way more valuable than an infantry in Canada. The allies start with units scattered around the map, many of them will not enter combat for several turns. While Germany and Japan have their power concentrated in a small area. The majority of the Axis units will be putting pressure on the opponent on turn 01, by turn 02 almost every starting unit should be ready to attack. On the other side, the USA starts really far form the action so its income isn't 'worth' its full amount, it also often goes without any combat for a turn or two, and without major combat for often as long as 5 or 6 turns. I would happily trade 20 income from the USA for 10 from Germany on most maps.
The unit structure costs you suggested is too simplified around power vs cost. You also need to consider hitpoints and mobility. If you open up the in game battlecalculator, you will see that pure infantry always wins with the costs you suggested.
10 infantry vs 2 tanks, 1 fighter = 97% win
9 infantry = 93%
8 infantry = 85%
7 infantry = 73%
6 infantry = 55%
5 infantry = 32%
You can try it if you want, nothing beats pure infantry. The only reason to consider buying other units would be extra movement, so you can threaten more than one location. I would buy pure infantry and MAYBE a couple tanks/fighters/bombers, but only if I needed the extra movement.
Mathematically speaking, the artillery is totally outclassed, and I can't see in ever being a desired purchase.
Every game known to man you say? Then you must have played New World Order and New World Order Smalls? The maps use totally different costs for their units however are both considered quite balanced. Both also feature the Axis having a huge initial resource disadvantage, but are considered extremely well balanced. I actually much prefer Axis in NWO, and win far more often with them.
Correctly crazy, disingenuously German
There are so many other factors at play in games such as these that I cannot agree with your statement. While at the end of the day a game needs to be balanced in order to be good and fair... starting a game with opposing side having completely equal stats is neither necessary or even required to create a balanced game.
Other factors that change the need to identical units or income include...
1) Types of units each nation has... I may have a higher TUV for a side, but what units are they. Eg. 4 extra transports may be monetarily valuable, but does not translate into military strength overall.
2) Disposition of available units... Having valuable units in a position where they can be of assistance is a critical factor when considering how much of advantage you may or may not have over an apparently "weaker" opponent.
3) Initial and sustainable gains/losses... Many games start with an income disparity between teams... however in most the Axis can achieve significant gains within the initial turns due to the above point. Because they have the right units that can be brought to bear on a variety of targets that the Allies can not feasibly defend or reinforce.
4) Strategic decisions... often times games are highly susceptible to changes based on the choices a player or team make during the course of a game. This is also equally affected by the luck factor of the dice.
Overall I think that balance within a Triple A game is more dependant on good planning from a development stand-point and reinforced by a willingness to test and adapt a game design based on that testing.
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In reply to this post by hepster
It would make a lot of sense to have each side start out with identical units but spread throughout both sides. For example:
Both sides have
This is the start of the game
With this scenario all Capitals have unlimited production as in Larry Harri's First A&A Game.
Now the sides do not have to worry about buying transports or any type of ships. Sort of like Risk. Territories will be accessed through designated areas on the board like Risk. The Allies do not have to purchase any ships and can focus all their resources on Infantry, Artillery, Tanks and Fighters in the example used above.
There will be no type of building up as such on any territory because the Infantry do not get an extra defense for defending, it will remain at 1 regardless.
The territories which are used on this board to start are the exact same countries and territories in WWII, no exceptions. In Risk the players get to choose which territories they want by taking turns and some times one player gets more territories worth more income by the luck of the draw or luck of picking but all sides start with the same amount of units. It is the roll of the dice or game play which makes this game the deciding factor and also buying which units and what territories are occupied.
If you but the same amount of Infantry for lets say Germany and spend the same exact amount for them Germany is at a disadvantage in the long run because when they attack Russia for example they are going up against Infantry which gain an extra point for defense so in other words their infantry become just like defending Artillery which doesn't make sense from a mathematical stand point. Russia spends the exact amount of IPC's for infantry but they get upgraded on the dice roll to Artillery just because they are defending.
You see why Russia players stack units there? it's because they can spend the same as Germany and get upgraded to Artillery units by defending more than attacking. All of Larry's games have the USA saving the day with their income and in the end all Russia has to do is stack units upon units to wait. Until then Germany has no more ground to gain and has to sit and wait for the Allies to catch them because usually Germany doesn't attack as much because their IPC's do not allow them to over take Russia easily.
Does this make sense??????
It isn't making sense to me. If I wanted to play a completely balanced game I could play rock-paper-scissors. However, having some sort of asymmetry provides flavor to the game.
I also doubt this is balanced, you also have to consider turn order, and distance between capitals. Who goes first? Doesn't going first let them kill opposing units and break the equality? If I manage to get 1 enemy territory and 1 enemy income would I be able to just defend all of that and win the game? Not to mention the fact that artillery is still a worthless unit, and tanks/fighters have such a small niche I see them as being hard to justify purchasing, especially given that the starting Air forces are huge.
Correctly crazy, disingenuously German
Did you not see Infantry is Attack and Defend at 1?
Yes. I directly quoted you saying that....and responded explaining why that unit structure has huge flaws.
Correctly crazy, disingenuously German
The movement on these units would be just like Risk. In other words 1 movement per territory captured with having to leave units behind once captured. This would be like Risk in the way sea zones go and movement but like A&A with the way IPC's work and AA Guns and attack and defend works. Great concepts for a balanced game. I also would incorporate the Russian restricted movement on the first turn so that Russia can build up units around it's borders just like the original A&A. I like the full unlimited production too for Capitals for all nations involved.
For buying units 1 Infantry and 1 tank = 1 Fighter unit cost wise.
3 IPC's + 1 IPC = 4 IPC's of a Fighter. See how the flaws are?? There is non considering you can mix and match different units for game play that makes more sense.
Movement is like Risk. Infantry units would have to have added support from other units and there would not be Artillery adding 1 to the die roll as it is now unless it would seem fair to do so, idk have not tried this yet to see how it works.
the more complex a game gets, the more the options become arbitrary. You can tweek the settings or add bids but I get your point about a generic relative equal system game but its the geographic plus historical values of this game that give it character and why its what it is.
The current AI can be a good example of being challenging despite being outnumbered etc. so give it a try! Theres both a challenge of the month thread and an AI Development thread where you can suggest a more balanced map or settings to try. All fun.
Adding to what has already been said, a real world map is never "balanced," as each position on the globe has its own nuances. Risk is not "balanced," per say, because the player that gets Australia normally wins. No one wants a game with equal sides and units because it takes all the creativity out of trying to implement WWII simulations. That is why every map brings a new flavor and strategy, as each time, income levels and unit placements are changed with to produce a better gameplay. Just my $0.02...
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