Starting Unit Positions

  • Moderators

    Any advice for how to position starting units on a map?

    Its certainly a fun part of map making, but it can also be intimidating for larger maps. I find I can plan where I want factories easy enough, but placing the starting units, and knowing how many to place is a lot of work.

  • As a starting set up I would recommend you giving minimum units to every nations as much as possible unless you want to reduce the effenct of dicey in the initial stage of the game. There should not be any decisive battle in the first round because the setup also should be playable with dice.

    Which war is that? How big is the map? They totally determinate the setup.

  • Moderators Admin

    @CrazyG My suggestion is just avoiding the 2 typical bad abits of Axis & Allies games:

    • Not having a bunch of obvious major unavoidable opening battles with massive TUV swing that have close to no decision making in them, but just rolling the dice to see how much the game will start unbalanced in one way or the other one, especially if also related to major strategic advantages (taking or not taking an important factory).

    • Not having units randomishly dispersed in territories far from the frontline, so that for several rounds you have just to keep looking around the whole map, checking if you have moved them all, until finally getting the stacked as you want to. It not fun moving a same unit for 4+ rounds, until it reaches the frontline somewhere, especially if the map is big and there are a number of such units dispersed far away from each others (this is a problem with House of Habsburg, I feel like).

    Personally, I prefer high TUV/production maps (ratio of 10 or higher), as it feels more strategical and realistic, as long as you don't get all those TUV just to burn it down on round 1 on obvious openings. However, this is not a strong preference; for example, my 270BC 40% is maybe the map with the lowest TUV/production ratio in the repository.

  • Admin

    Yea, I would say that in a map such as house of hapsburg I would consider something like this:

    Setting up the borders so that there is no obvious and mandatory attacks. The borders could be set up so both parts keep each other in check. If a player makes a bad move with border units, the other could take advantage of it. When the game starts, players should be able to bring in reinforcements, so that the balance at the border gets uneven and players can act on it.

    And then players should start out with a bunch of non-border units that they can send in various directions, so that the player's round 1 moves can be different each time. These "reaction" units should be placed in clusters, factories or other obvious places, so that the player does not have units all over the map.

    Plus I think it is a good idea to give players the option to buy a larger amount of units in the first round than the players will be able to buy in later rounds from pure PU income. Then the players can from round 1 have an impact on play style and strategy.

    When that is said, I think every map has its own reasons to set up starting units in a certain way. But as a rule I like the status quo situation at the borders.

  • Moderators

    I think House of Habsburg's problem is just mobility. I know its awkward to have units in the distant corners that never fight, but its also awkward to just have no military positioned in that area at all.

    With better mobility, you are more able to position some units in the center of your territory that have options on where to attack.

    I agree about avoiding too many early game battles that have to been done. What I've found is that its really bad for player experience if risky attacks are the best move turn 1.

    I was thinking about what land units to place where. I've tried a few different formations, and I don't like what I get.

  • Moderators Admin

    If we are talking about sensibility, or even realism, a funny thing about most Axis & Allies and inspired games is that the starting setups almost never make good sense with the game itself, in that if someone would have played those games for a few rounds before the starting point, those would have been some incredibly bad players (especially the British one, always leaving the Royal Navy for the Germans to kill on round 1). In this case, if possible, the coolest would be having them distributed based on the historical positions. For example, one could look at something like this for a Spring 1942 game:

  • Moderators

    I was really asking more basic questions than this. Like, do you place all of Germany's units, then Russia's units?

    Do you go front by front? Do you place naval before land? Questions like these.

  • @Cernel OK, I have to say, Um Himmels Willen, was ist dass? (the map)

  • Moderators

    I'm bumping this thread.

    Cernel mentioned some bad habits. What are some good habits?

    Also, when placing, do you open the open battelcalculator and use it as you place? Or do you get just everything on the board and then start watching moves?

  • Admin

    @CrazyG Well mostly the good habits are the opposite of the bad ones 🙂

    But I think the key tends to be that there are a lot of options so you get a good variety of moves/buys turn 1 and the map plays differently every game. You want some randomness as well but not huge 50/50 battles that end up deciding the game the first round. Generally having some interconnected threaters of war helps make it so each player has different options on what to focus on.

    Many maps don't actually do this very well and most of the moves are no brainers. NWO/WaW/TRS are examples of really bad initial unit/factory placements as the first 3-4 turns play out almost the same way every time to the point I've seen players take a save at say the start of turn 3 and just play from that again and again.

    Probably TWW and Civil War have maybe the most interesting initial setup options as they tend to play out pretty differently every play through and almost every player has a different preferred opening. Once you get to UK1 in TWW, things can have played out pretty differently and the UK has tons of options on what to focus on (pressure France vs pressure Scandinavia vs support Egypt/Med vs support Southeast Asia) as well as what to build.

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