What happened to the A&A community ?
time for my 2nd retirement, i had a great time 15-20 years ago even if Hasbro was a terrible software it was easy to get interesting good level games and there was at least 100 decent and active players, now even if TripleA is great most (especially compared to hasblow) the new maps are uninteresting (esp revised) and IMO just divide the community.
The playing strenght is overall very weak compared to what it was, I guess the main reasons is that the learning skills are divided on many maps and under different rules set and you dont have a significant pool of players with 5+ years of experience. The incentive to really "learn" a map isnt there since a new maps will be popular 2-3 years later. I guess many play LL and NT because they worry about their winning rate, but for me its just lame, if your stronger than the field, techno allow your opps to make a comeback and you might get an interesting game after all. Lets says at one point I have an significant edge, I much prefer that my opp roll techno and resign if he miss or manage to beat me if he's lucky than playing a LL and NT game that will stretch the game into a long and dull technical ending. Nothing worse than playing a game where you know your opponents is positionnally dead but he doesnt know it so he doesnt resign. Its the same thing with dice, yes they are often frustrating but they allow weaker players to have a chances vs stronger player and allow stronger player some challenge instead of simply playing a routine game.
Also by trying to make the initial setup more balanced you remove the high bids wich simply created a lot of different opening strategies. There is nothing more cool than bids close to 20 where you can put units anywhere wich allow different initial setup. Also I don't understand the new big maps, i played many 20+ rounds super long positionnal games where with germans endup always with 250+ infantrys and I don't see the need to make these games any longer. The 1986 maps had significant flaws and the games were slightly too longs but at least there was something going on quickly in the openings and you had many options with the allies on the Europe theater.
Creating artillery and destroyer and lowering the price of some other units was a very good change but of course they want to sell games so that why they need to change the maps every few years. IMO the flaws on the 1986 maps were that Usa didnt do much in the pacific so it was dull area but other than that (and the west canada-atlanctic sz) it was a better map than those we have now but its mostly because there was only one map with few options that there was always strong opps to find and a very active community.
Of course if you want miniature games were you pbem games that last for many months than big maps are ok.
IMO the flaws on the 1986 maps were that Usa didnt do much in the pacific so it was dull area but other than that (and the west canada-atlanctic sz) it was a better map than those we have now but its mostly because there was only one map with few options that there was always strong opps to find and a very active community.
Considering that TA has over 100 maps with over 200 games available, I'm not sure if you mean that each and all of these are worse than Classic and all for similar reasons. For the stacks problem, I can give an example of a map I've made (based on 270BC), in which you rarely see over 20 units stacks:
(I mean 270BC 40%, not the other one)
I don't think the community would be in a better shape if the only one map available would be Classic.
@cernel What community ?
Even in the end of Hasbro it was possibly to log in and find opps either for a fast game or a slow game in just a couple of minutes. Playing in a small tournament/league was easy and its was also the case for pbem.
Now its near impossible to find opps for classic maps and its even tough to find opps for rev with dice. Players even put passwords to avoid kibbitzer, not my idea of an A&A online community.
As for maps with a lot of contact and no chocking point I consider these open maps simlar to hexs maps and they are usually for miniatures and for me their concept is quite different from A&A. These type of maps are usually for games with a lot of units that have different mobility and there is a tactical goal rather than winning the whole war.
In the end any maps is fine as long as it good enough for fast games offer many different openings and stay the same for a fair amount of times and its easy to get opponents. The failure to do this is why there is less players now than 15 years ago even is Hasbro was the worse poc software you could imagine while triplea is free and excellent (or at least very good).
A good comparaison would the the collectibles card games, if many CCG games would have developped in the late 1990's early 20's than today it might be tough for IRL tournaments or finding opps to playing online since the community would be divised, but because only a few games stayed alive its now easy to play online for those games. Creating new maps without having a steady amount of players doesnt help promoting the game(s) on the long run.
@benlessard So I don't understand.... your issue is that no one plays the game you prefer? Is that necessarily a commentary on the quality of the community? Or is it simply an indication that the community has evolved beyond Classic?
I would liken it to trying to find an opponent for Civ 1... you'd probably have a pretty hard time finding a thriving community around that game as well.
No my issue is that none of the variants (except rev LL) got a strong number of players making it easy to play games vs decent opps. As it is right now you could learn a version very well and have no idea if this version is going to be around in a couple of years.
Im on EST time zone and often I log on the evening weekends in and there is one rev LL, one NWO, one global, one LOTR and its likely that one of these games the host is gone.
Why would I invest time to learn a map when this maps may be obsolete or i may have difficulties to find tough opps for this maps in the near future ?
A&A need a default format that will stand the test of time and we should have make sure this format is healthy before we invest in too many variants. I believe that if the format is good enough it will become standard enough and players will follow it, im pretty sure rev is not that format. So until than ill go back into retirement and hope some days A&A will rise again.
Those who learned axis with revised cannot understand how much this game used to be popular. With the late 90's and 2000's boardgames boom A&A probably missed a golden opportunity to be back on tracks.
I want to congratulate and thanks the designer & programmers of triplea for their hard work and dedication. GL
I want to add that I was sorely disappointed that after all those years they didnt find a way to make the technos work nor fixed the strat bombing. Strat bombing as a way to trade $$ is ineteresting but you must limit its efficiency (in classic you make 0.5 profit on each bomber strat) but ttl on a "3" is just not a good solution.
@benlessard well you could always join the ladder for revised which is up to 30 reg players now. We also have no problems making a classic ladder if you can find some players for it. Ladder matches can be played live or play by forum or play by email. In addition to this if you like the play by forum format
http://www.axisandallies.org/ has a huge play by forum following of many of the maps.
Great idea about the pbem, I should at least give it a try, im sure pbem with triplea is a lot more easier and less frustrating than with hasblow.
...and if you truly are at least a intermediate or expert player, than I am hosting a Revised tournament which should start in a few weeks. You'll find plenty of competition there!
Here's the link and set of rules:
Let me know if you are keen to join....
Didnt get anyone to get to play classic PBEM, ill wait but its not looking good. Ive spoken to some of my former IRL* opponents and its mostly unanimous they all told me they dislike the revised edition map, the short version is more money, more pieces, more distance and Axis was already a long game. I ask how come is the classic not played anymore and some of them told me that they stopped publishing the game... lol I was going crazy trying to understand why revised is the new "default" format. Its sad that a new generation of players learn axis with revised wich is for me the equivalent of windows8.0 on a cheap tablet. Hopefully a good/great A&A version will appear and it will render be others maps obsolete and than there is going to be some serious A&A play. NB I consider very big maps to be a different animal, for me Axis is rolling dice and being able to finish a game in one night, games that is pbem of played on several days is just different.
*Note that these were players who play IRL, those who played on PC might have different opinions.
@benlessard Yes i hear ya on the smaller map point. The truth is whats great about here is the cat/dog KIDS cant destroy the game... while you sleep. All you have to do is hit save. ... Thus big maps like global and many of our own can be played and saved.
GLHF! I hope ya change your mind. More players = more fun
I also want to tell people how different it could have been if TripleA was fully functionnal before and during the "Hasbro Years", its just a guess but it wouldnt surprised me if today we would login anytime and expect 1000+ players. A&A was popular in an era where boardgames were for geeks, for each girl you had at least 12 guy with pairs of glasses. Now there is 4-5 bars/cafe in Montreal where you see plenty of boards games and the clientele is at least 35% women, the new games that are played are mostly light and social but still i cant help myself thinking that A&A missed a golden opportunity. Me im more into serious gaming and prefer computer for convenience since i mostly play games for the game in itself than as a social thing. Im also a bridge player and bridge in North America is also facing a crisis with the average age of players to be ridiculously high.
@benlessard This is my favourite map of the WWII serie (I play it live with regular dice):
Suggest a bid of 12 for Allies, but not that sure.
I've had pretty similar thoughts, I've slowly progressed to larger and larger maps over time for more variation to avoid the 'routine' game, and almost always dice whenever I can : )
The problem I then run up into is larger maps with more variation are longer to player, the time commitment can be challenging. Having maps that are short but varied is challenging (or even medium length and varied).
In revised usa can land in africa without losing tempo (one transport= 2 units per turn) but cannot do this for europe so usa is basically forced to go via africa rather than Europe, this force UK to go via norway (except early rounds or major target in Europe). All games ive seen followed this template. Because USA is forced to go via Africa you dont need to worry about being too light or too heavy in Africa.
In the classic game if you went too light in Africa than you would need to land again in Africa wich was often disastrous. If you are left with too many units in Africa when you retake Africa allies would usually have a hard time on Europe/Asia. In classic units allies stuck into Africa should never be able to come back into play via persia vs any decent Axis opponents. So unless Germ had also invested strongly in Africa going too heavy in Africa is dangerous for allies. In rev URSS is also more solid and its less easy for Japan to get to it so allies get get into play via Africa wich mean that the part of the game is a no brainer.
In the classic omaha game common bids are usually 6 inf that can be split Lybia, manchuria EE and ukraine. 3-3,2-2-2,3-2-1 4,2 were common bids 17 bids with a sub was also common bid. With revised the bids are of course often the same. High bids are great, they introduce complexity, strategy without any luck factor.
In revised you have a lot more of critical opening battles wich obviously lead players to play LL. Battles like retaking Algeria or clubbing fleet can be brutal.
For me a dice game that endup being played mostly LL is just a failure. Dice allow players of different caliber to play each other and create variance, however I still think LL got its place especially for naval and AA.
For the V6 map its very interesting that going in Africa take 2 moves, this mean that Usa got different options. Maybe uniting mexico and panama and allow crossing venezuela this would allow usa to walk its units into brazil and transport bridge between brazil-- Africa.
@benlessard Yah Venezuela/Colombia neutral/impassable is one of the traditional nonsense of A&A games, also realistically. Obviously, it should be "Americans", and it should have like 2 PUs value (platinum/oil...).
The v6 map has some things I like; also the fact that Japan is not that strong.