Axis & Allies Wiki

“Representative” Air/naval rule amendments (and others) to the Second Edition ruleset for Axis and Allies (1986, Milton Bradley Co.)[]

This document contains a set of rule changes intended to make air and naval actions in the game more “representative” of the real thing.  I deliberately haven’t used the term “realistic” here – A&A can’t make any claims to realism - but these rules at least allow players to represent real historical events that the original game can’t, e.g.,

  • strict air force to air force battles, such as the Battle of Britain,
  • combined US/UK operations (e.g. D-Day)
  • the interception of German capital units attempting to break out into the Atlantic
  • the Uboat and US submarine campaigns against Britain and Japan respectively,
  • the day and night bombing offensives (with their respective advantages/disadvantages) against Germany
  • long range carrier strikes on remote Pacific island groups (e.g., Pearl Harbour)

I’ve grouped the changes by chapter in the original book for ease of reference, and added justification notes in this type along the way to explain the reason for the rules.


One of the drawbacks with sticking to the structure of the original rules is that I’ve ended up with a number of forward references.  To make the rules more readable, here’s a front-loaded summary of the various terms I’ve introduced in these rules

  • Base.  Air and naval units are assumed to operate from friendly land spaces, designated “bases” (actually airbases or ports as appropriate), rather than continuously at sea, as in the original rules.
  • Re-base.  The generic term given for the process of changing the base space for a unit.  Different unit types re-base in different ways depending on circumstance.
  • On patrol.  Naval units that remain at sea at the end of the player turn are assumed to be “on patrol”.
  • Combat radius.  Air and naval units no longer have a movement allowance.  Instead, they have a radius, giving the number of spaces they are allowed to move from their base
  • Interceptor.  Non-phasing units are allowed to attack phasing units that move near or through their space.  These units are designated “interceptors”.
  • Reaction move.  The move made by an interceptor when moving to attack a phasing unit passing nearby.
  • Night/day strategic bombing.  Under these rules, bombers can make one of two kinds of strategic attack - night or day – each with its own advantages and disadvantages
  • Blockade.  The rules below introduce the concept of a naval strategic attack.  A blockade means the total of the strategic attacks affecting a given group of overseas enemy-controlled territories.
  • Supply routes.  In order for a given territory to yield IPCs, it must have a supply route – a path of sea zones and/or friendly land spaces – between it and the capital.

1 What you do on a turn[]

Suggested nation phasing change[]

During WW2, while politically distinct, the US and UK acted operationally as a single combatant, at least in the European theatre, with many large scale joint military operations including (most importantly) D-Day.  The game as it stands doesn’t let you do this – transports allow you to carry friendly units, but they need to wait until their own turn to disembark, which seems clumsy and artificial.

The following rule allows players to more accurately simulate the close cooperation of the Western Allies.

The UK and US nations are distinct nations for the purposes of national production, weapons development etc and one can be defeated while the other remains in play as described elsewhere in the rules. If sufficient players are available, they can be played by different people (and should be for maximal realism).

However, both nations share the same “player turn”.  During the combined US+UK player turn, units of both nations can cooperate in any given attack.  There is no restriction on the combination of unit types.  For example, US fighters and UK bombers can attack the same space (and vice versa) or a combination of US and UK fighters can attack a given space.

Note that, with two players operating during the same game turn, there is some scope for arguments between the two slowing up the game significantly.  It is recommended that, if this is a problem in your games, one of the players is considered a Supreme Commander for all operations in a given “theatre” – e.g. the UK player gets to have the final say on what is done with all US+UK units east of the Americas and west of India (inclusive), with the US player having final say everywhere else.  Of course, just because a supreme commander gets a final say on which units from both sides are going to be involved on an operation, it doesn’t mean the players can’t fall outJ.

If this rule is adopted, the player order becomes as follows

  • USSR
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • US+UK

3 Develop Weapons/Purchase Units[]

A suggested alternative Weapons Development rule:  Its often struck me that the weapons development rules are too random/unfair, as well as unrealistic (did the German High Command really not know that they were developing Jet fighters, until some bloke in a lab somewhere said “Hey – look what I’ve made”?).

Here is a suggested replacement for the weapons development mechanic plus some tweaks to the developments to make them more equal in effect.

Development scheduling[]

Under this alternative rule, nations don’t expend IPCes to get developments.  Instead, it is assumed that all nations have development arms working towards specific enhancements that will bear fruit after a certain period of time (so nations can actually plan in advance for a particular development that will be coming in a few turns time)

At the start of the game, each nation’s player takes cards Ace to 6 in a given suit from an ordinary pack of cards.  Each nation’s 6 cards are shuffled and placed face down in front of the owning player.  Players can now look at their 6 cards but cannot change the card order.

At the start of every 4th turn (say - you could make this 5th or 6th if you wanted developments to arrive less frequently), each nation’s player takes the topmost card on the stack and turns it face up.  This identifies the development that that nation gets this turn (where Ace = “1”)

Other development rule tweaks[]

A couple of other ideas in this area.  If you go for these, you might like to put the time between new developments towards the upper end (e.g. every 6th turn, say)

  • Technology sharing.  You could permit friendly nations to automatically benefit from one another’s developments.  For added realism/play balance, you could have the US and UK benefit from one another’s developments within 1 turn of one another, Germany and Japan to benefit within 4 turns of one another (reflecting their relative geographical isolation and the difficulty of exchanging ideas), and USSR not sharing with anyone (given the lack of trust between the two allied blocs during the war)

The player of a nation that gains developments in this way searches through its face down stack of playing cards to find the one corresponding to the borrowed technology and turns it up (with some set of chits on it to indicate the turn on which it will become effective, chits being removed from such cards one per turn until there are no chits left)

  • Military intelligence.  You could permit a nation to gain a given development within a certain number of turns of it being used against them (say, 4 turns).  The attacked nation searches through the deck and turns the card up with chits as above to indicate when they get to use the technology.  If the nation is about to develop the technology themselves (sooner than when the stolen technology becomes effective), the owning player can opt not to do this.

E.g., Germany develops super subs, but does not attack with subs that turn.  3 turns later (when Germany has built up a significant preponderance of subs) it attacks Britain with submarines in many regions at the same time.  Following this attack

    • Japan gains super sub technology 1 turns later (through tech sharing – remember that Germany developed it 3 turns ago)
    • Britain gains super sub technology 4 turns later (through military technology)
    • US gains super sub technology 5 turns later (through tech sharing with Britain)
    • USSR does not gain super sub technology (unless it develops it independently) because it is not friendly to, and therefore has no tech sharing agreement with US/UK

Under this rule, Industrial Technology counts as being used against every nation when it is first employed.

In principle, a nation could avoid military intelligence from giving another nation technological details by, say, not using the super subs raised attack ability (i.e., still attacking using submarines with attack strength 2).  The countdown to gaining stolen technology starts when the technology is used (and only by that nation).

Less lopsided developments[]

A criticism I’ve often seen levelled against the game is that some developments are seen as rather worthless, while others can dramatically shift the balance of the game in a rather unsatisfactory luck-based way.

Here are some alternative ideas for developments to experiment with that make the developments more equal in effect and less subject to these criticisms.  Some notes on the individual changes

  • the restriction on rocket movement reflects the fact that these units are meant to cover unmanned strategic weapons of any kind – technically, V2s were mobile, but V1s weren’t, so, for simplicity, I’m assuming that all such weapon systems are basically static.
  • Heavy bombers: This reduced effectiveness reflects the historical fact that the larger size of the US/UK bombers gave it a definite manpower advantage over the German strategic bomber offensives (they only needed about twice as many crew to man a bomber that could drop perhaps 4 times as much tonnage), but this heavy bomber force was of limited effectiveness when attacking in support of ground units on tactical operations (as Caen and Monte Cassino showed).  Therefore, heavy bombers only give you an edge (and not a threefold one) in strategic attacks.
  • Long range aircraft: I’ve weakened this to just extending the range of fighters, to simulate the very real step forward that was achieved by the introduction of the mustang.  this gave the USAAF a desperately needed long range escort for its bombers over Germany, giving it the wherewithall to destroy the luftwaffe in the air.

The following alternative development options are suggested

  • Jet Fighters and Super Subs.  These continue to work as at present
  • Rockets.  My rules below get rid of AA guns from the game as a rather unnecessary and unrealistic complication.  However, they can still be built for the purposes of rocket attacks (and represent actual rocket/doodlebug installations rather than some weird ahistorical AA gun/rocket hybrid) with the following changes
    • Rocket units cannot move (they represent lots of infrastructure which can’t just be uprooted and arbitrarily moved to another location).  They don’t have to be built in Industrial complex spaces, but must be built in a land space that is connected over friendly land spaces to an industrial complex owned by the building player.
    • They have a range of 1 space (in which case they can still hit Britain from Western Europe – see revised rules on naval/air unit distances to/from island groups below)
    • Multiple Rocket units can be built in any one location

Rocket units still cost 5 IPCs and do a single die’s worth of strategic attack damage as though they were night bombers.

·         Industrial Technology.  I can’t think of a way to adjust these in a sensible fashion.  My gut feel is that this is a bit too powerful (especially for the USSR), but lets leave as is unless someone can come up with a realistic alternative

·         Heavy bombers.  This development adds one die to the IPC damage of both night and day (see below) strategic bomber attacks per bomber (from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 respectively).  It does not increase the number of dice rolled in a normal bomber attack (or in a rocket strategic attack).

·         Long range aircraft.  This development increases the combat radius (see under “Combat Movement” below) of fighter units only from 1 to 2, and their rebasing range (see below) to 3 spaces (i.e. the same as bombers).  It has no effect on bomber units.

Note that fighters using a combat radius of 2 are assumed to be flying as escorts to other flying units (not able to attack airfields with bombs, for instance), which has the following implications

o   They can only score hits if the defending force includes fighters (and can only assign casualties to fighters).

o   If during a strategic bombing attack, the defender chooses not to use his fighters  in the target zone to attack the phasing player’s bombers (and does not intercept the bombers – see below), the escorting fighters cannot score any hits.  They may still accompany the bombers to deter attempts at interception.

o   They may not accompany night strategic bombers.

Unit costs[]

As my rules involve significant changes to the way certain units operate, unit costs should change to reflect enhanced or reduced effectiveness.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to playtest the changes, so have not been able to work out whether the costs make sense in the new rules.  Please let me know in forum posts if your experience suggests that certain units need making significantly cheaper or more expensive.

Under these rules, it is recommended that the unit cost for carrier units be 30 (i.e. the sum of the cost of one fighter and one carrier under the original rules). 

While carriers under these rules are not as powerful in defence/attack as the combination of a carrier and fighter are under the existing rules, carrier units now have capabilities in movement and attack options that were not available under the existing rules and hence the sum of the costs is a sensible starting point.

AA units are retired under these rules.  Therefore, replace AA units in a country’s starting lineup with a fighter unit at the rate of one fighter per 3 AA units (rounding up).  The replacement fighters may start in any of the regions that the AA units were originally to be set up in, with no more than one replacement fighter per space (they may be added to spaces that are already allocated fighters under the initial setup).

4 Combat Phase Movement[]

Friendly nations[]

For all purposes except where these rules and the existing ruleset say otherwise, the USA and Britain are considered friendly (to each other), but the USSR is not friendly to the USA and Britain (and vice versa).  Instead, as far as the USSR is concerned, treat USA and British spaces as neutral (and vice versa).

This reflects the deep distrust between the Western allies and the Soviet Union throughout the war.  They were only allied in the sense that they had common enemies – their ultimate war aims were certainly very different as postwar events would show

Air/naval movement[]

This is the big paradigm shift in the rules I am proposing.  The original rules were content to depict air and sea units as moving in a similar way to land units (just with bigger movement allowances).  But a little reflection on the subject shows that this is too simplistic for a game of this scale and completely skews air and naval operations to the point where you might as well play chess with the pieces for all the relevance to WW2 that the original rules have.  Specifically

·         In a game where timescales are measured in months (my guess is that each game turn is meant to represent between 3 and 6 months), naval units really need much bigger movement capability.  It would take even the slowest transports a matter of a few weeks at most to cross the Atlantic and historical raids by surface vessels could comfortably involve sorties from ports to destinations several thousand miles away and back to port within a single operation.

Furthermore, naval units would not spend the entire war out at sea as is suggested by the rules.  Much more realistic is to assume that naval units return to port after completing an operation, though you might allow certain types of units (such as submarines and battleships) to remain on station for extended periods to interdict enemy units that happen to sail through their patrol areas.

·         On the other hand, air units have nothing like the ranges suggested by the original rules.  Typical operation combat ranges for Spitfires, for instance, were typically only around 500 miles – nothing like the 5000 miles suggested by a range of 4 spaces.  Also the way in which they operate in the game (fly to a target, attack and then fly on to an arbitrary location, which could be an aircraft carrier) again is no reflection of the way planes operated at the strategic level of the war.  Apart from the Doolittle raid (which even its most enthusiastic supporters would have to admit was valuable only for its propaganda value) aircraft didn’t shuttle between carriers and land bases dropping bombs on the way past their targets.  It just wasn’t logistically possible and didn’t happen.

Focussing on carriers, the idea that planes could chop and change between land and carriers is just daft.  Land based fighters, in general, could not operate from carriers which placed massive technical constraints on the sorts of planes that could fly from them.  And the idea that even carrier planes could arbitrarily switch between the nationality of their carriers is also complete fantasy.

Therefore, in outline, I propose changing the way both planes and ships move

·         Planes and ships are assumed to operate from bases, to which they return after combat.  If air units in particular want to “rebase” they cannot do so if they are attacking an enemy space, unless they capture that space and the phasing player wants to land them there (what that exception is simulating is the situation where air units help ground units advance into a region and then move their base to the front line so that they can respond to counterattacks)

·         Naval units (only) have the option of remaining on patrol after combat (assuming they are not forced to retreat)

·         Enemy sea and air units can intercept phasing units as they move. 

·         Instead of being platforms on which fighter units land, carriers are assumed to have their own planes attached to them at all times, and instead behave like a normal fighter unit that can

o   remain at sea at the end of the phasing player turn

o   hit targets much further away than a normal fighter unit could

o   only hit targets at sea and in coastal/island land spaces

Air units do not move from one space to an attack space and then on to a landing space as in the current rules.  They may no longer land on or take off from carriers (carriers are now assumed to carry their own carrier-capable aircraft at all times – see aircraft carrier notes below).

Naval units do not necessarily remain at sea after combat as in the present rules.  Nor may they have unlimited movement potential across the board – they must always remain a certain distance from friendly land.

Instead, air and naval units move during the combat phase as follows

  • All air and naval units have a combat radius.  Unless a nation’s technological developments increase them, unit combat radii are as follows
    • Bombers making a strategic attack: 2 spaces
    • All other air units (including bombers making a normal attack): 1 space
    • Aircraft carriers: 4 spaces
    • All other naval units: 3 spaces
  • The combat radius gives the number of spaces an air or naval unit may travel before attacking.  Island groups are assumed to be in that sea zone for the purposes of range determination.  For example, fighters in Britain can attack targets in Western Europe (and vice versa), but fighters in Southern Europe cannot attack Libya (and vice versa).  Air and naval units can move through (and into) enemy-occupied sea zones without restriction.  However, those enemy units may choose to intercept (see below).

The existing rules say that, to get to an island from its surrounding sea space (or vice versa), you need to expend a movement point.  This just doesn’t make sense – why should Hawaii, say, be any further away than the sea zone it is in?  Hence the above rule which effectively makes the distance between islands and their enclosing sea zone zero

  • A naval unit currently on patrol (see below) returns to base before starting its movement.  It can return to any land area owned by the phasing player within 3 spaces and cannot be intercepted (see below) during this initial basing move.

If there are no friendly land areas within 3 spaces, the naval unit must return to the nearest friendly land area.  The phasing player may choose between areas that tie for shortest distance.

  • Aircraft carriers have a combat radius of 4 because the ships themselves have a radius of 3 spaces and then the aircraft carried by them add their radius to this limit.  Note that this means that aircraft carriers can attack coastal land spaces or islands without staging an amphibious attack as though they were particularly long range fighters. 


Unless it is on patrol (see “Movement after combat” below), an air or naval unit starts the combat phase in a base (either an airbase or port, as appropriate).  Any land space controlled by the phasing player is a valid location for a base.  Naval bases have the following restrictions

  • Only coastal or island spaces may be used as naval bases.
  • If the land space borders on more than one coast (e.g.Karelia borders on the Baltic sea zone and the space to its north), naval units must be based on a particular coast and can only get to the other coast by moving through sea zones. 

Air and naval units may re-base during the Combat Movement phase – in other words, change their base space (or sail to a different coast in the same space).  Re-basing is the same as normal combat movement, with the following exceptions

  • The movement allowance for all units is increased
    • Fighters can move 2 spaces
    • Bombers (and fighters benefitting from long range fighter development) can move 3 spaces
    • Naval units (including carriers) can move 6 spaces

The target land space (if not an island group) is counted as one of the spaces moved to, so a naval unit (for example) can only cross 5 sea zones if going from one continental port to another.  Remember that island groups are in the same space as their enclosing sea zone for the purposes of range determination, so a naval unit on an island group can rebase to another island group across 5 intervening sea zones (not including the sea zones that the islands are in).

These range values assume that the units are making a one-way trip, and so their ranges are more or les twice their combat radius (slightly less than doubled, in general, because combat radius overstates the real radius of the unit. Most fighters could only make it a little way into the next space – certainly not all the way across in general)

  • Rebasing units must move to a target friendly land space (not necessarily owned by the phasing player).  They may move through enemy occupied (but not neutral) land and sea zones.  They may not therefore initiate combat, but may be intercepted (see below).  If they are intercepted, friendly units in the target space do not participate in the combat.
  • Rebasing units use their defence, not attack, strength if intercepted.

Rebasing bombers, for instance, are in no position to attack the airfields of any intercepting fighters, and so are effectively defending from an aggressive attack by the enemy nation.

  • Rebasing units may not move or attack other spaces in the same phase.
  • If desired, a re-basing transport can carry land and fighter units as it rebases, in which case the land and fighter units are unloaded in the same land space that the transport is going to use as its new base.  Units being ferried in this way using sea transport can include fighters (as well as armor and infantry), thereby allowing fighters to be rebased across 2-space stretches of ocean (their intrinsic rebasing movement allowance would not permit this).

Note that air units (but not naval units) may also re-base during the non-combat movement phase (see below). 

Note that, as transports cannot remain on patrol, they must end the turn in a port somewhere on the board.  This means that the existing rule that says that transports can carry the units of other friendly nations, which disembark on the other nation’s turn, is discontinued.  Note however that, if the “US+UK single player turn” rule above is in force, US and UK transports can carry units of the other nation without restriction.

Forced rebasing[]

If a land space containing naval units in port is attacked, naval units in port in that space only participate if the attacker wants to attack them (exception: carriers always participate in the land battle whether or not the attacker wants them to).  If allowed to participate in the battle, naval units defend normally.

If the attacker does not allow naval units to participate, and wins the land battle, the naval units must immediately rebase to a friendly land space within 3 spaces (including the space moved to.  Remember that island groups are considered to be in the same space as their sea zone).  The land space moved to must not contain any enemy units (including enemy units waiting to fight a battle that hasn’t been resolved yet), but enemy-contested sea zones can be moved through.

In the event that an intercepting unit (see below) cannot go back to its original base because the base space has been captured during the same player turn, it must rebase to an alternative friendly land space within 3 spaces or be destroyed as above.

Transport units that are forced to rebase in this way cannot carry land or fighter units with them.

Sea transport[]

A transport unit may transport military units from its base to a sea zone up to space 3 spaces, drop them off in an adjacent friendly land space (or on a friendly island group in the same space) and return to its original base having dropped off its cargo of units. In every other respect, this works like a rebasing move in which the target space is the original base – i.e.

  • The transports may be accompanied by escorting naval units, all of which must be attacked together
  • The group of naval units can be intercepted
  • No phasing units other than the transport units and its escorts can join in any battle with intercepted units
  • Transports and escorts using sea transport in this way fight using their defence strengths.

As usual, ferried units cannot contribute to any battles that the transport is involved in.

Amphibious assault[]

The rules for amphibious assault are unchanged, except for the fact that air and naval units return to port after combat (battleships can return to port after their one-shot attack in support of the amphibious attack, or can remain in the sea zone on patrol at the phasing player’s choice).

Also note that the phasing player in the naval battle(s) preceding an amphibious assault can perform the assault having won the naval battles even if there are still enemy submarines (that have withdrawn from combat) in the sea zone(s).


Once all combat phase movement is complete, air or naval units belonging to non-phasing players can make a reaction move to intercept any air or naval moved by the phasing player.  A unit belonging to a non-phasing player that does this is termed an interceptor.  This reaction move must be to a space moved into by at least one of the air or naval units moved by the phasing player - it does not have to be the final space moved to by the phasing players unit (though it can be if desired).  Once movement is complete, interceptors units are added to the defending player’s array of units for the following combat.

If desired, reaction moves can be made as the phasing player makes his moves (rather than having to remember the route all phasing units took before making reaction moves).  However, the non-phasing player can always change his mind about any given reaction move if a more tempting target becomes available for interception later in the turn.

Additional rules on reaction moves.

  • The number of spaces a unit can make during a reaction move is as follows
    • Fighters: 0 spaces
    • Transports and Bombers: N/A (these units may never make reaction moves)
    • Submarines: 0 spaces
    • All other naval units: 1 space

Remember that, as islands are in the same space as the sea area around them, fighters on islands can make a reaction move to intercept an air or naval unit passing through the same sea zone (because the distance between the island and its sea zone is considered to be 0 spaces).  Submarines may intercept naval units (only) moving through their sea zone.

The greater reaction distance for (non-submarine) naval units reflects the fact that they can spend longer looking for enemy units at sea than a fighter unit could.  Submarines have a reaction distance of zero because they are slow – the only naval units they are going to intercept are those that happen to pass through their patrol area.

  • Units can only intercept if they are as close to the interception space as the unit they are intercepting. 

For instance, it is the US turn and the US has a battleship in port on Wake Island, while the Japanese player has a battleship in port in Okinawa.  The US player moves his battleship to the sea zone surrounding Wake Island.  At this point, because the US unit is in the same sea zone as the island it came from (range 0), the Japanese battleship cannot intercept (it is range 1 from that sea zone).  However the US battleship now moves to the sea zone surrounding the Caroline Islands.  As this is at a distance of 1 space from both Wake Island and Okinawa, the Japanese battleship can now intercept.

This rule prevents unrealistic interceptions by enemy units somehow anticipating that an enemy unit is about to put to see.

  • Units of more than one non-phasing player can be involved in any given interception.

For example, it is Germany’s turn: Germany has a Battleship in Finland/Norway, Britain has a fighter unit in Britain and USA has a Battleship on patrol in the sea zone adjoining Eastern USA.  Germany moves its battleship two spaces:  first to the sea zone containing Britain and then the to the sea zone adjoining Canada.  The British fighter intercepts the German battleship as it moves through the Britain sea zone (distance 0) and the US Battleship intercepts the German Battleship as it moves into the Canadian sea zone (distance 1).  Both the British fighter and the US battleship participate in the subsequent (single) battle involving the German battleship

  • After each round of combat, interceptors may retreat like the attackers.  The phasing player decides whether to retreat first. Defender may then choose to retreat some, all or none of the intercepting units. Defender must retreat all intercepting units on conclusion of combat (see below)
  • Interceptors use their attack strength in battle – not their defence strength.  Put them on the attacker’s side of the battle board to remember this (note that they are not attacking their own side!)

This rule reflects the fact that the interceptors are really attacking the phasing player, rather than sitting passively waiting to be attacked. 

  • Only enemy non-phasing nations can intercept.  For instance Soviet and British air units cannot intercept US naval units during the US player turn (to increase the phasing players strength in a forthcoming battle, for instance).
  • Naval units cannot intercept air units (fighters or bombers).  They cannot intercept carriers in the final space the carriers move to (because the carrier itself is assumed to stop one space short and send its fighters into the attack).  Of course, if other naval units accompany the carrier to the target space, naval and bomber units can intercept all the units (and end up fighting in the same battle as the carrier) as normal. Note that this means that naval units could be involved in a battle for a land space if they intercepted a carrier that went on to attack that land space.
  • Submarines may never be intercepted

In practical terms, there’s very little an enemy can do to stop submarines from getting to their operating areas.  Of course, if they populate the target space with naval units on patrol they can force the submarines to fight at least once.

  • If the phasing player is attacking any of the spaces that the interceptors came from in this combat phase, the phasing player may resolve that combat first.  Interceptors participate in that combat using their defence strengths (as normal).  If during that battle they are destroyed, they do not take part in the battle against the units they intercepted. 

Exception: if the phasing player is planning to land units from transports in an amphibious assault, it must resolve that battle after the battle (if any) for the adjacent or surrounding sea spaces containing the transports.  The phasing player cannot choose to attack the land space twice (once to attack the intercepting units before they intercept and once in an amphibious attack).

  • Any given non-phasing unit can only intercept once per phase.

Recording base location for air and naval units[]

Under these new rules, remembering the base (or patrolling space) a given air or naval unit came from is potentially confusing.

Therefore it is recommended that players use coloured counters/pieces of cardboard (possibly from another game) to record this information.  Ideally, make small (about the size of a typical land or sea space) cardboard squares, approximately 6 of each of a number of different, easily distinguishable colours.  For any given group of phasing air/naval units moving from one space to another attack space, or intercepting from a space, put one of the squares of a particular colour under each unit type from that space, and one of that same colour on the starting base/patrolling space.  Then, once combat is complete, surviving units that are not remaining on patrol can return to the space marked with that colour card.

For instance, in the example given above, where a German battleship and submarine move from Finland Norway to attack units in the Canada sea zone, and a US battleship and a British fighter intercept from Eastern US and Britain respectively, put red markers under the German battleship and submarine and in Finland Norway, blue markers under the US battleship and in Eastern US and green markers under the British fighter and in Britain.  At the conclusion of combat, it is clear from the markers which units go back to which spaces.

5. Combat[]

Combat options[]

These are some optional rules on the way air and naval units fight that add more realism and allow players to realistically rerun some significant events of the war, including

  • “Battle of Britain”-type operations, where the fighters and bombers of one nation attempt to destroy the air units (only) of an enemy nation with land and naval units taking no part
  • The U-boat and US submarine strategic war against Britain and Japan respectively, as well as the less successful attempts by Germany to use surface vessels for commerce raiding.
  • The distinct British night and US day bomber offensives against Nazi Germany, and their different outcomes (arguably the most significant effect of the US bombing offensive was the destruction – at considerable cost – of the Luftwaffe’s fighters forced to defend Germany)
  • Carrier based raids on - and interceptions of - naval units with no significant air cover (Taranto, Pearl Harbour, the destruction of the Yamato etc) where the defenders were destroyed without significantly damaging the attackers

I’ve retired AA units (which are no longer used unless rocket technology is developed) as they don’t really add anything to the game.  High altitude AA can be taken as read as being used during strategic bombing attacks, but its effect would have been to reduce the effectiveness of the attack, rather than to actually destroy significant numbers of aircraft (unlike bomber interceptors which did take a significant toll on Bomber Command and the US 8th Air Force).  The lower effectiveness of fighters against night bombers reflects the difficulty of intercepting bombers at night with day fighters (the Germans did do this with ME-109s guided by searchlights) and the relatively low numbers of specialised night fighters that a given air force would  have possessed.

Existing rules on strategic raids are retired.  AA units are no longer used in the game.  Air and naval combat options are as follows

Strategic attacks[]

Certain unit types may make strategic attacks against an opposing nation.  If the conditions are met by a unit of the appropriate type during a regular attack (see below), the phasing player may choose to attack strategically with that unit instead of attacking enemy units (the decision must be announced before the die is rolled for that unit).  If a unit attacks strategically, the phasing player rolls one die (exception: see day bombing below) which indicates the number of IPCs the defending nation loses up to a limit which depends on the type of unit and attack.  If the limit is exceeded, the defender only loses IPCs up to that limit. Note also that a nation cannot lose more IPCs than it currently holds. 

A given space can be attacked both strategically and normally in a given player turn. 

Units making strategic attacks can be intercepted like units making normal attacks (and by the same types of intercepting unit).  If the space being attacked already contained units of an enemy nation (which does not have to be the same nation as the nation under strategic attack), these participate in the battle provided they are either naval units (any type except transports, or units in port) or fighters.  Any enemy units not of this type do not participate in the battle (unless the phasing player is making normal attacks on the space as well as strategic attacks, in which case units allowed to participate in the normal attack can join the battle as normal).  Defending and intercepting units eligible to fight in a strategic battle do so normally (exception: see night bombing below)

Once a unit has made its strategic attack, it takes no further part in the combat. Assuming it survived the defender’s return fire,

  • if it is a bomber or escorting fighter, it immediately returns to base. 
  • If it is a naval unit, it must return to base unless there are no enemy units in the space or it is a submarine.  If either of these conditions hold, the unit may remain in the space on patrol (see below).

The units that may attack strategically, and the conditions under which a strategic attack may be made, are as follows

  • Bombers may make a strategic attack against land spaces containing industrial complexes.
    • If the defending space is the nation’s capital, there is no limit to the number of IPCes that can be destroyed.
    • Otherwise the limit on the IPCs that can be lost in strategic attacks on the space that turn is the number of IPCs as that space would normally produce.

Strategic bombing attacks are of two types

    • Night strategic bombing.  If the phasing player uses night strategic bombing, one die is rolled per bomber to determine IPCs lost (as normal), but defending units (intercepting and defending fighters) only hit on a “1”.   If other phasing units are present in the space (normal attackers) the owner of each defenders/interceptors must say whether it is attacking the night bombers or normal units (before it rolls the die).  If the only units the interceptors could have intercepted were night bombers, they must attack those bombers rather than other phasing units.

The phasing player may not “escort” the night bombers with fighters.  If he sends fighters to the same target space (even if they came from the same spaces as the night bombers), they are assumed to be making a normal attack and can be attacked normally by defending units.

    • Day strategic bombing. If the phasing player uses day strategic bombing, two dice are rolled per bomber.  However, in this case, defending and intercepting fighters defend/attack normally (hit values of 4/3 as normal). 

The phasing player may escort the bombers with fighters, assuming they have the range.  If so, they participate in the battle normally and can take casualties (instead of the bombers) as normal.

The phasing nation cannot make both night and day strategic bombing attacks in a single turn.

  • Battleships and submarines (only) may make a strategic attack against sea zones and take IPCs off an enemy nation under the following circumstances

Why can’t carriers make strategic naval attacks?  Simply because aircraft are thirsty and a typical carrier wouldn’t have had the stores to sink significant numbers of enemy merchantmen while on patrol compared to conventional warships.  Simple heavy guns as fitted to battleships are much more economical for this purpose (it’s a shame the game designers didn’t think to include low cost surface combat units representing cruisers and destroyer flotillas in the game.  these would be ideal patrol units)

    • At the end of the combat movement phase, the phasing player may announce that he is performing one or more blockades of enemy controlled spaces.  For each blockade, the phasing player identifies
      • The enemy nation attacked under this blockade (only one nation per blockade)
      • The spaces controlled by that nation that are being blockaded
      • The sea zones containing phasing player-owned units that will carry out the blockade.  To be a valid set of sea zones for the blockade,
        • each sea zone must contain at least one friendly battleship or submarine unit
        • they must collectively block all valid supply routes (see below) from the enemy controlled spaces to the capital
        • if one sea zone in the blockade set could be removed from the set without weakening the blockade - i.e. its removal from the attacked spaces reduces the number of attacked spaces for any valid supply route - it cannot be included in the blockade (because enemy supply routes could be traced around it).

For instance, at the end of the German combat movement phase, the German player has submarines in the Britain sea zone and the sea zone adjacent to Canada, and a battleship in the Atlantic sea zone next to Spain.  He announces a blockade against all British-controlled spaces outside Britain itself.  This is a valid blockade because all supply routes to Britain from all other British spaces would need to go through at least two attacked spaces to get to Britain, and removing any one of the sea zones from the blockade would reduce the number of supply-route-blocking spaces to one, thereby weakening the blockade.

If on the other hand, the German play does not have naval units in the Canada sea zone, it could not include the battleship in the Spanish sea zone in the blockade because all British supply routes could be routed around it and only have to go through one attacked sea zone (the one around Britain itself)

Second example:  suppose, in addition to the above, Germany has submarines in both of the sea areas adjacent to Brazil.  It can now announce a blockade against Brazil.  Again, this is a valid blockade as the removal of either sea zone from the blockade will weaken it.  Note that this is a separate blockade from the first against a different target nation.

o   During the combat round, the phasing player must make a strategic attack with at least one submarine or battleship unit in each sea zone forming part of a blockade. The phasing player may use more than one submarine/battleship for strategic attack in each space if desired and available.

o   The limit on IPCs lost by the enemy nation is set at the blockade level.   The most IPCs that can be lost thanks to a single blockade that turn is equal to the total IPC value of the blockaded spaces

For instance, in the examples above, the most IPCs that Britain could lose from the blockade on it is 22 (its starting total of 30 minus the total of all spaces other than Britain itself).  The most IPCs that the US could lose from the Brazil blockade is 3, as this is the IPC value of the only US-controlled space affected – namely Brazil itself.

Note that the number of blockaded sea zones blocking the supply routes does not affect the IPC limit (so, in the blockade example above, whether Germany is blockading three spaces versus one does not affect the IPC limit that Britain could lose).

·         A given enemy-controlled space can only be blockaded once during a player turn.  For example, if Germany was blockading all British spaces other than Britain (as described above), it may not separately blockade Australia as this is already affected by the first blockade.  If two blockades overlap in their affected areas, the phasing player must announce which blockade a given “doubly blockaded” area is going to be blockaded by.  That area’s IPC value is not added to the limit for the other blockade.

Air attack options[]

Air units and carriers have additional options under these rules as follows

Selective air/carrier targets[]

If the phasing player is attacking a sea or land space with air units and/or carriers only, he may choose to attack only certain categories of unit types in the target space.  The categories of units that may be attacked are as follows

  • All units
  • All air and land units
  • All air and naval units
  • All air units

If the phasing player chooses not to attack all units in the space, the other units take no part in the battle – all combat rounds are fought exclusively between the attacking air/carrier units and the chosen set of target units.  The phasing player may not switch to a different set of targets in subsequent rounds of this battle.


  • if carrier units are intercepted by naval units, these take part in the combat even if the combat itself is fought over a land space.

As there are no land units involved in the combat, the phasing player may not land in the target space after combat, even if all defending units are destroyed.

Unit fire order and casualty types[]

Certain unit types have fire order advantage.  In other words, they can fire before other unit types and require that casualties are taken by the opposite side before those other unit types get a chance to fire (so that, if casualties are taken among those disadvantaged units, they don’t get to fire in that combat round at all).

Also, fire from certain unit types cannot be apportioned among certain other unit types.  These rules are made clear below.

The rules on fire order are as follows:

  • If submarines are involved in a battle, they always fire first.  Note that submarine casualties may only be taken by naval units.

Submarines can only inflict casualties on naval units.  If there are no naval units in the battle, submarines cannot inflict casualties (unless they are attacking strategically – see above)

  • If any non-naval units or carriers are present, they always fire next.

Land units cannot inflict casualties on naval units.  Air units and carriers can inflict casualties on any unit type

  • Finally, naval units (other than carriers or submarines) fire last.

Battleships and transports can inflict casualties on any air or naval unit in the battle. 

    • Battleships can also inflict casualties on land units during their one-shot attack against a land space during an amphibious assault.
    • Transports can only inflict casualties if attacked.  The phasing player does not roll an attack die for any of his transports in a battle.

Movement after combat[]

After combat, naval and air units move as follows

  • All interceptors return to the spaces they came from.
  • If the combat took place against a land space (including islands), at least one of the attacking survivors is a land unit and there are no land or air units of the defeated nation in the land space at the end of combat, air units may land in that space instead of returning to their initial space.  If any of the attacking survivors is a carrier, it returns to base.
  • If the combat took place against a sea zone, and the attack was successful (the only remaining units of the defeated nation, if any, are non-intercepting submarines that withdrew from combat), any naval units except transports can remain on patrol.  Surviving submarines from either or both sides can remain on patrol in the space whether or not their side won.

Patrolling naval units remain in the space until the phasing player’s next turn, whereupon they return to base at the start of combat movement.  While on patrol, they can intercept according to the rules above (during enemy player turns).  Patrolling units that intercept can only do so within 3 spaces from a friendly land space (and return to their patrol space on conclusion of combat, assuming they survive).  If a carrier attacked a land space, it must return to base.

Only naval units (including aircraft carriers) can remain on patrol, reflecting the fact that land based air units cannot maintain a presence in the air continuously away from their (land) bases .

The above rule on carriers returning to base after a land attack is for simplicity.  You could argue that a carrier could remain on patrol in the space prior to the final attack space (since this is where its aircraft were launched from), but you then have the complication that that space might contain enemy naval units which would have to be battled first.  Simpler to always force carriers hitting land targets to always retire to port.

6. Non Combat Movement[]

The significant changes here are

  • Only movement over friendly land is allowed
  • Movement allowances are unlimited

The justification here is that movement over friendly land spaces could not be interdicted during the war (at the grand strategic level – fighter bombers could limit the movement of enemy units within a hundred miles or two, say, of the front line, but not a thousand miles behind enemy lines) and all nations had extensive rail networks that meant, for all practical purposes, troops and tanks could be moved almost anywhere within the same continent, provided they were moving between friendly territories, and air units can make multiple hops between friendly airfields to get to their destinations.

One the other hand, any movement over sea is inherently problematic.  Even if there are no enemy units around, air units cannot cross indefinite stretches of ocean (remember that in the real world, aircraft couldn’t just land and refuel on an aircraft carrier that they happened to come across).  So any rebasing etc over sea spaces has to be done during combat movement and with a finite movement allowance.

In the non-combat movement phase, the only units which may be moved are land and air units that did not participate in the previous combat phase. 

Each such unit can move to any space on the board, with the following restrictions

  • There must be a path of friendly land spaces between the starting space and the target space.
  • No unit (including air units) may cross a sea zone (including flying to or from an island group)

For example, in order to deal with a significantly increased threat on its western borders (and thanks to a recent victory in Manchuria, adding protection to its existing Far East territories), the USSR moves all of its air and land units currently in Yakut SSR  to the Caucasus.  It can do this in a single Non Combat Movement phase (regardless of the number of units) as none of these units were involved in the Combat phase this turn.

7. Placing units[]

Rules are unchanged from the original game, apart from the following

  • Naval units start in port on a specific coast (if more than one) of a land space with an industrial complex.
  • Rocket units (which cannot move after placement) are placed in a land space which is connected to an industrial complex by a path of zero or more friendly land spaces (and rockets may be placed in the same land space as the industrial complex if desired)

8. Collect income[]

The rule here is basically to introduce the concept of a supply route.  All those overseas IPCs in the British, US and Japanese empires have to reach the industrial complexes in order to be turned into weapons.  The rule means that any friendly region that is completely landlocked by neutral and enemy nations cannot contribute IPCs to the war effort.

Technically, you could argue that IPCs only need to get to the industrial complex that will use them to build units – not just the capital.  However, this adds unnecessary complexity in my view - you could spend lots of time working out which regions a given industrial complex can see and whether that will affect its ability to build and it won’t make any difference in the vast majority of practical cases.

Additional rule:  supply routes

In order to collect income from a region, nations must be able to trace a supply route from that region to their capital.  Supply routes may be traced through any sea zone and any land area that is controlled by a friendly nation. 

If a supply route cannot be traced from a region to the capital, its IPCs are not added to the total for that turn.

For example, in its first turn, Japan successfully invades Sinkiang.  US units in China can no longer trace a supply route through friendly territories as their pre-existing route (through British India) is now blocked.  The Chinese IPCs are not added to the US total.

Appendix.  Unit capabilities summary[]

I’ve highlighted unit-specific rules as I’ve gone along above, but it will help to finish off with a summary of the differences between the capabilities of units in the original rules and those in the alternative rules just described, so here it is

All naval and air units[]

  • Now attack or intercept at a combat radius from their base (a friendly-controlled land space), to which they return at the end of combat, instead of moving attacking and landing in some arbitrary destination space.  Certain naval units may remain at sea on patrol. 
  • Units may change base space (rebase) instead of attacking an enemy space.
  • See Combat Movement above for the specific combat radii for phasing and intercepting units for each unit type.

Aircraft carrier[]

  • Fighters can no longer land on/take off from carriers.  Carriers are assumed to have an intrinsic fighter unit attached to them at all times and roll attack and defence dice as though they are fighters (3/4).
  • May patrol, but may not carry out strategic attacks
  • May attack coastal land areas and islands (within the radius) as though it was a land-based fighter.  Attacks may be resolved before any attacks on adjacent sea zones, unless the player wishes to carry out an amphibious attack on the island/coast, in which case adjacent sea zones must be attacked first.
  • Fires second in the firing sequence (after submarines)


·         Fires last in the firing sequence (along with transports)

·         May patrol and carry out strategic attacks

·         May make one shot attack in support of amphibious assault in an adjacent space (if not required to fight in sea zone).


  • Fires first in the firing sequence (before any other unit)
  • Cannot inflict casualties on non-naval units
  • May patrol and carry out strategic attacks
  • May not be intercepted
  • May withdraw after the first round of combat (whether attacking or defending).  After withdrawal, remains at sea in the same space (or in port, if attacked in port)


  • May not roll attack dice, patrol or intercept.  Has defence strength of 1.
  • May transport units (of the owning nation only, unless US/UK combined player turn rule is in effect) including fighters (one per transport)
  • Transported units may be disembarked in an adjacent land space (or carried with the transport on a rebasing move, in which case they are also disembarked in the port space).
  • Transported units may participate in an amphibious assault after any battle to clear the sea space of enemy surface or air units. 


  • Attack as normal at a combat radius of 1.  Can make strategic attacks (only) at a radius of 2
  • May not intercept or patrol
  • May rebase across an indefinite number of friendly land spaces, but must use combat movement (with greater rebase range) to rebase across water


  • Combat radius is 1 (long range fighter development allows strategic escorts at radius 2)
  • May intercept, but not patrol
  • May rebase across an indefinite number of friendly land spaces, but must use combat movement (with greater rebase range) to rebase across water