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Entire contents © 1998 by R.D. Baker. Site created: 7-25-98. Our Axis & Allies Gamers Group welcomes players for face-to-face games in the Washington, D.C. area. Email:

List of recent updates and rule changes in this section:




Q: What is the motivation behind the flight range limits?
A: Rules on flight range limits (particularly the One sea Zone Rule) are designed to impose a measure of historical realism. Axis & Allies (like all wargames) is an abstraction of reality, of course, but even granting that, the 2nd Edition rules on aircraft flight ranges are too unrealistic. For example, 2nd Edition rules allow German fighters that begin their turn in Western Europe to fly three spaces and attack Moscow (that is, provided they have a place to land). It is more realistic to require these fighters to redeploy to new bases before launching an attack. [In later rules sections, aircraft combat range is restricted even more].

Q: Why can fighters only attach and detach from their carrier during non-combat?
A: Historically, each country’s navy maintained and controlled its own ‘‘Naval Air Force,’’ so it was very unusual for fighters dispatched from a carrier on a combat mission NOT to return to their carrier after the mission (presuming, of course, they survived combat). Likewise, land-based fighters (controlled by the Army or a separate service arm like the RAF or Luftwaffe) seldom (if ever) ended combat missions by landing on a carrier. [Land-based and carrier-based fighters were not interchangeable; fighters used on carriers had design elements unique to their role. More importantly, not every fighter pilot was trained for carrier duty, where take-offs and landings required greater precision and pilot skill. So this rule is something of a compromise between history and the playing pieces provided with the game, which offers only one type of fighter].


Q: When attacking an enemy navy with aircraft from an island, does the enemy navy have to be in the sea zone surrounding the island?
A: Yes. For example, aircraft in Japan cannot attack naval units in the Philipines sea zone, since this would violate the One Sea Zone Rule for air combat missions. However, fighters based in Japan could attack ground units in Manchuria, and bombers could even reach China or Kwangtung, since in both these cases, only one sea zone is entered. [Most of the sea zones as delineated on the map, especially Pacific Ocean sea zones, are immense expanses stretching a thousand miles or more. The One Sea Zone Rule is really a form of ‘‘map clarification,’’ attempting to restrict the range of combat missions for land-based aircraft to a more realistic state. At the same time, the rule reveals the true tactical and strategic value of aircraft carriers and carrier-based fighters: carriers can move one or two sea zones before launching fighters, and carrier-based fighters can always fly one space out from their carrier’s sea zone to attack].

Q: Can aircraft from the Soviet Far East attack ground forces in Alaska?
A: This attack violates the One Sea Zone Rule. [Although there isn’t really a whole lot of ocean between Soviet Far East and Alaska, the map shows it as two sea zones. So for the sake of consistancy, and to avoid beginning a list of special exceptions to the One Sea Zone Rule, this attack is not allowed.]

Q. Does the One Sea Zone Rule apply to noncombat movement?
A: No. All flight limit rules apply to aircraft flying to a battle and also returning from a battle. If you are talking about aircraft that did not attack during combat, they may use their entire normal flight range (4 for fighters, 6 for bombers) to relocate to new bases in the non-combat move. If they attacked, their return flight range is the same as their attack flight range.


Q: All Industrial Complexes have limited placement equal to the value of the territory in which they are located. Is that in number of units? Does that apply to Capitals?
A: Yes. Moscow can only place 8 units in a single turn, Germany can only place 10, Eastern USA is limited to 12, India 3, Australia 2, etc., etc. [In later rules sections, a different set of Industrial Complex restrictions apply].


Q: Why can’t units move to Turkey from Eastern Europe as well as from Southern Europe?
A: While geographically accurate, this additional crossing would allow too much of a link to Turkey, considering the very large areas used in the game map.

Q: Is the Southern Europe sea zone adjacent to Turkey?
A: Yes. Move the sea zone boundary line to connect with Turkey (rather than connecting to the Eastern Mediterranean line).


Q: If you attack a neutral country and end up retreating, do the defending neutral units and the territory belong to the country whose Capital is closest?
A: Yes. For instance, if Germany invades Turkey on turn one, the ‘‘Turkish’’ units are USSR pieces, controlled by the USSR, and Turkey gets a USSR control marker (provided the Germans don’t end up capturing the territory themselves). If the USSR player attacks Turkey, then the ‘‘Turkish’’ units are German pieces, controlled by Germany.

Q: Explain the process of creating an army to defend Turkey.
A: When Turkey’s neutrality is violated by a player, the opposing player whose Capital is closest to Turkey rolls six dice to determine the IPCs available to build the Turkish army. This is a one-time build for the Turks; they never get to roll for additional forces. The ‘‘Turkish'’ units are represented by pieces belonging to the player who gets control of Turkey when it is attacked by an opponent.


Q: Please define ‘‘embattled’’.
A: An embattled territory or sea zone is one in which an unresolved battle exists. The defender may retreat into an embattled territory ONLY if there are NO other retreat options; the defender's retreating units MAY participate in the unresolved battle. Attackers and defenders may ALWAYS retreat ships into an embattled sea zone, but retreated ships NEVER participate in an unresolved combat.

Q: When a defender’s only retreat option is into an embattled territory, who decides the order of combat resolution?
A: The attacker gets to choose the order of battle resolution. For example, on turn one if the USSR attacks both the Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the USSR player chooses which battle is resolved first. If the Ukraine battle is first, the German player can retreat his surviving units into Eastern Europe, where they can take part in the unresolved battle there. If Eastern Europe is attacked first, the German player CANNOT retreat into the Ukraine, because there are other retreat options (Germany and Southern Europe). If Eastern Europe is attacked first and the USSR captures the territory, then the Germans in the Ukraine have no adjacent retreat options. [NOTE: This rule prevents the USSR from attacking Eastern Europe with a token force (like one infantry) just to keep the Ukraine Germans from retreating. If you want to cut off an enemy’s retreat options, you have to actually capture the territories to prevent them from retreating.]

Q: Is it possible to cut off escape routes in naval battles? It is frustrating to go after a single transport that has only one escape route with two fighters and have it get away. Can I go for it with one fighter and cut off it’s only safe retreating option by waiting for it with the other?
A: There is no way to block or cut off retreats into sea zones. Ships may even ‘‘retreat’’ without leaving the original battle sea zone by an action called ‘‘breaking off contact.’’ [This rule is designed to recreate the unique nature of WWII naval combat, which often consisted of short, sharp, and less than decisive engagements. The vast size of even the smallest sea zone on the game map, coupled with the primitive technology of the time for tracking enemy ships, especially at night or in bad weather, contributed to the elusive nature of war at sea, and explains how the Germans were able to maintain an operational naval force (especially their submarines) for such a long time in the teeth of Allied air and naval superiority].

Q: Are multiple retreats allowed? If you are defending and retreat into an embattled territory and survive the first round of combat there, can you retreat again? Specifically, with infantry that have a movement limit of one?
A: Yes, multiple retreats as described in your example are allowed.

Q: If forces retreat into an embattled territory, do they have to take part in this battle?
A: Yes. Defenders retreating into an embattled territory MUST take part in the battle. [The opposite is true for retreats into sea zones, where retreating naval units are NOT ALLOWED to take part in the sea battle].

Q: If there is no option for the defender to retreat into a friendly territory, can he retreat into an enemy controlled (but not occupied) territory, capturing that territory as his own? Can defenders retreat into an enemy occupied territory where none of the enemy's units are participating in combat and attack them?
A: No. You may only retreat into friendly territory. You may only retreat into an embattled territory if it is the only adjacent friendly territory available.


Q: Does the One Sea Zone Rule apply to retreating aircraft?
A: The One Sea Zone Rule applies to the retreats of attacking aircraft. Defending aircraft must retreat to (1) friendly adjacent territory, if possible; or (2) adjacent embattled territory or the closest friendly territory within their normal flight range, at the owning player’s option. (Check the other questions and answers under this heading for more clarifications).

Q: How many spaces can defending aircraft retreat?
A: Defending aircraft have to retreat to an adjacent territory, just like defending land units. If there are NO friendly adjacent territories, retreating defending aircraft can fly to the CLOSEST friendly territory within their flight range. If there are no friendly territories within the normal flight range (4 for fighters, 6 for bombers) then these defending aircraft cannot retreat.

Q: If the defender has land forces and aircraft with no adjacent territory retreat options, can the aircraft use their flight range to retreat before all defending land forces have been eliminated?
A: Yes. Defending aircraft can retreat from a territory after any round of combat, even if defending land troops have no place to retreat. [This is similar to the rule that allows attacking aircraft to break off at the beginning of any round of an amphibious assault, even if the attacking amphibious troops do not retreat].

Q: Can defending aircraft retreat into an embattled territory?
A: Retreats into embattled territory are allowed ONLY if no other options exist. But if the defender has land troops AND aircraft in a battle with no safe retreat for the land troops, the aircraft MAY retreat into the embattled territory along with the land troops, or they may fly to the closest friendly territory within their flight range.


Q: Can a tank move two and attack during the regular combat move?
A: No. The only time a tank can move two and attack is in the second armor move, and only if it did not move at all in the regular combat move. If it moved in regular combat, it can only move one in the second armor move. [The idea bhind this rule is that all combat is NOT simultaneous. Tanks fresh off the production line in Berlin (or Moscow or wherever) can’t attack in regular combat with the tanks and infantry that are already on the front lines, two moves away. They CAN be rushed to the front in time for the second armor combat, but they will be attacking by themselves or with other tanks already on the scene.


Q: What are your views on weapons development?
A: Weapons development as it exists in the 2nd Edition A&A Rules skews the game. The best laid plans and well executed strategies can be ruined by a few lucky weapons rolls. Since the allies usually have the economic edge, they are the ones who can best afford this gamble. Massive weapons development investments (spending all of a country’s income on weapons dice, for example) are very unrealistic. I recommend that players use NO WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT in the Enhanced Realism Rules. [Note: A set of more realistic and historical weapons options, with more limited results, which won’t twist the economics and strategy of the game so violently, are under development].


Q: What about bidding and others alternate rules that give the Axis a boost?
A: The bidding system is one of the more interesting ‘‘play balance’’ techniques available. The Enhanced Realism Rules may ultimately leave the Axis at a disadvantage (as they were historically) so players should feel free to use any system they wish to improve ‘‘play balance.’’ The USSR Restricted Attack Optional Rule from the 2nd Edition Rules is a good ‘‘play balance'’ rule (one which has a lot of historical credibility, since a close examination of the starting units and territories compared to the historical time-line indicates the game really begins in the Summer of 1942, not the Spring).


Q: Does each Indutrial Complex get an artillery piece at the start of the game?
A: Yes. [When using the artillery rules, all the AA gun placements from the 2nd Edition rules and the additional AA gun placements from Section I: Basic Rule Changes are kept. All AA guns in the game are now considered artillery. There are no longer any ‘‘pure’’ AA guns in the game].


Q: On a die roll of one, can artillery choose any enemy unit in the battle as a loss, or does it have to be land troops first?
A: An artillery roll of one allows the rolling player to choose ANY enemy unit in the battle as an IMMEDIATE loss. An attacking bomber or a defending fighter can be shot down by enemy artillery before they get a chance to fire. Attacking artillery might be able to destroy defending artillery before they get a shot. Defending artillery might get to blast attacking tanks before the tanks can shoot. This is called rolling a lot of ones when you need them (also known as FATE).

Q: Do tanks and artillery get to pick their casualties on die rolls of one when defending as well as attacking?
A: Yes. Also, attacking and defending aircraft that roll ones get to pick their targets, which can be ANY enemy unit [aircraft hold the high ground, after all]. But only artillery hits are immediate, causing a loss before the destroyed unit gets to return fire.

Q: If a battleship is attacked by aircraft only, does the battleship get to fire first, applying losses immediately?
A: Yes. [Better send a couple of planes after that battleship (or better yet, a submarine or two)].


Q: Can you intercept an amphibious assault with land based planes?
A: Yes, if the land-based planes are adjacent to the sea zone from which the amphibious assault is launched. [Remember also that interceptions of amphibious assaults are NOT limited to one round of combat; the intercepting player can continue to attack the invasion fleet for as many rounds as he wishes, unless the invader breaks off the amphibious aassault].

Q: Can those planes be used to defend their territory being attacked?
A: Yes. All surviving intercepting planes must land after interception combat is over. If the invader continues his amphibious assault after interception combat, any units in the territory being assaulted can take part in defense. [Remember also that interceptions of amphibious assaults are NOT limited to one round of combat; the intercepting player can continue to attack the invasion fleet for as many rounds as he wishes, unless the invader breaks off the amphibious aassault].

Q: When discussing an industrial bombing run, the rule states that "If the bombers are intercepted as they attempt to LEAVE a territory which is beyond the flight range of their fighter escorts, the escorts may still provide defense." Could you give an example?
A: This statement was incorrectly worded in the rules and has been corrected to read: "If the bombers are intercepted as they attempt to LEAVE a territory containing their fighter escorts to ENTER a territory which is beyond the flight range of their fighter escorts, the escorts can provide defense, since the actual interception combat takes place in the airspace containing the exiting bombers, the fighter escorts and the enemy interceptors."

CLARIFICATION: Fighter interception of enemy air movement occurs as the enemy units attempt to leave the territory where the intercepting fighters are based. Therefore, the actual interception takes place over the territory where the interceptors are based. So since the fighters escorting the bombers are in the air over that territory also (even though they don't have enough movement to follow the bombers out of that territory for the bombing run) they can defend against the intercepting fighters.

EXAMPLE: British bombers with fighter escorts fly from the UK to Western Europe to Germany (or Southern Europe) to conduct a bombing raid. The escorting UK fighters cannot go beyond Western Europe because of their flight range limits. When the bombers attempt to leave Western Europe to enter Germany, any German fighters in Western Europe can intercept the bombers, but the UK fighter escorts can help defend against the interception.


Q: If ships are intercepted by other ships as they attempt to leave a sea zone, can the intercepted ships turn and attack the intercepting force after the one round of interception combat? (For example, the intercepted player did better in that one round than expected and wanted to finish off their opponent?)
A: No.

Q: Can a transport bridge once loaded for combat and then, after the battle, land troops in more efficient loading? (ie. bridge one infantry for battle, then bridge two to reinforce?)
A: No. After unloading troops into an amphibious assault, a transport may only load & unload troops that are retreating from that assault.

Q: What happens to a carrier-based fighter when it's carrier is sunk?
A: A carrier-based fighter whose carrier is sunk must land on another carrier of its nationality in the same sea zone, if possible. If there are no carriers of its nationality available, it may land on any friendly territory adjacent to the sea zone where the carrier was lost.


Q: Are the benefits of economic expansion enjoyed by an enemy player who captures an industrial complex?
A: Yes. [But remember that captured factories do not get the benefit of any scenario multipliers].


Q: Can the Chinese air force attack the sea zones bordering Greater China or Lesser China territories?
A: No, they may only attack land territory in Greater and Lesser China. They may not intercept enemy naval movement, either.

Q: Does the Anglo-Allied Cooperation rule apply across the entire board or just in Europe?
A: It applies to all Anglo-Allied units on the board for one turn.

Q: When using the Stalinist Xenophobia rule, do Russian territories liberated by the US or UK go back to Russia?
A: Anglo-Allied units cannot liberate Russian territory as long as the Russian player is still in the game.

Entire contents © 1998 by R.D. Baker.

Introduction & Overview.
Section I: Basic Rule Changes.
Section II: Artillery.
Section III: Combat Losses.
Section IV: Advanced Air Power Rules.
Section V: Advanced Naval Rules.
Section VI: Advanced Retreat Rules.
Section VII: Industrial Capacity & Scenarios.
Section VIII: History & Politics.
Section IX: Revised Action Sequence.
Section X: Game Turn Time-line Analysis.
Frequently Asked Questions Answered.