The Expanded Rules??

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Hi!  I've never played nor collected for A&A Minis, but I've been looking more and more into it recently and wanted to ask about the Expanded Rules?  I understand that they're apparently very cheaply made -  poor paper and hard to read text and so on - but are the rules themselves worth it? 

I can get them pretty affordably and just wanted to know if the rules they add or expand upon are good, solid, and maybe even necessary improvements to the gameplay.  Anything that might add more meat to what I've heard can sometimes be a too simple of a game is likely an improvement, right?  So when I buy an A&A starter, should I automatically buy the Expanded Rules at the same time?
There have been three levels of rules applied to this game. The origional Starter Rules came with starter set and were simplified rules to more easily grasp basic concepts of AAM gaming. When you felt more comfortable with Starter Rules you could move on to Advancd Rules which were more complex and round out game play better. Later WotC came out with revised rules and changed some concepts and cards to make gameplay smoother. None of the rules were written in such a way that they explained every concept so clear that clarifications were not needed. Thats what we do here, help players clarify and understand the ins and outs of rules. Its not that the rules are poorly written, rather that they cannot perdict all the different situations you could find yourself in and how the rules apply to that situation.

Yes, The rules are sound and the game mechanics work very well together and most complaints are a matter of personal opinion not the opinions of players in general. Many people here have been playing since the release in 2005 and have not looked back while collecting and playing this great game. Simply put: We would not still be playing and collecting after all these years if AAM was not a awesome game.

The rules are inexpensively made, however we the players would rather spend our money on minis and snacks for game-night that a overpriced hardcover rules book. Honestly I have not looked at the rules book in years and tend to rely on the forum expertise to sort out things I have forgotten.

The clarifications of rules that I mensioned in the first paragraph are discussed in the Q & A thread by WotC_Huscarl and a knowlegeable member Sgt_Fury. Sgt_ Fury has organized and published many of the rule Clarification in files that are available on his blog. They are a real valuable resource and helpful to many. 

I would not hesitate to get into the game knowing what I know now! Smile When you are ready to play you can post general questions as to gameplay in General section or if you want an official answer post in the Q & A section.

Need help. Just ask. Wink

Hope this helps
OMF
The potentcy of the 88 was that it was present, in reasonable numbers, when it was needed, They had them. We did not. And anything an enemy has which makes life unpleasant for you tends to earn a larger-than-life reputation. Ian Hogg IMAGE(http://i647.photobucket.com/albums/uu197/obermasterfuhrer/Axis%20and%20Allies/Resignationsig2.jpg)A&A Underground AAM Database
I started playing AAM about a year ago and bought both a couple starter sets and the expanded rules booklet.  Then I bought the 2 other map sets.  Then I went on an income tax refund buying splurge on ebay and now I'm running the AAM gamenight at my local gaming store.  Had played the regular boardgame of AnA for many many many years but finally got into the minis and havent looked back.  We also have several house rules we play with and we use all of the expanded rules you are asking about.  I for one can attest to the fact that once you use the more advanced rules for aircraft and also use lethal defensive fire, and grazing and enfilade fire, you'll laugh at how simplistic the regular version of AAM is.  The expanded rules add another dimension to your tactics and also what you can do with your troops.

Hope you pull the trigger and get in the game.  It's alot of fun and I know I dont regret it.

~Bart
 
I need to expand/clarify a few things that OMF wrote.

There are 3 sets of rules for the game. I don't know exactly what it is called but there are the basic rules in the starter to play by. They are there to get you started on the game. They are fairly simple, and not meant for anything more than getting you started on the game.

Secondly there are the Advanced Rules. This is the actual rulebook you get in the starter. These rules have had changes and adjustments made to them online. They have updates on the A&A Minis website.

Lastly there are the Expanded Rules. The Expanded Rules booklet is entirely optional. It contains pretty much the same information as the Advanced Rules, but it adds some options to the game.

There are optional rules that may be implemented, but there are only four in the book. It gives you rules for lethal defensive fire which are somewhat confusingly written and have some counter-intuitive aspects to them. Enfilade fire that gives infantry a facing making them weaker in the rear, and it is ridiculously exploitable. Grazing fire is added to MG Teams which expands their power. There is also a rule to give facing to aircraft which is meant to make them less susceptible to ground fire. All four of the optional rules add options for you use against your opponent, but every one of them complicates the game. This game is relatively easy to play for a WWII combat simulator, but when you add in those optional rules it makes the game more complicated. There are more aspects to the game which all make your games take longer, and they might make it more difficult to teach new players how to play the game.

Also in the Expanded Rules are Formations of units that you can take. The idea was to make historical units that would cost a little cheaper to help balance the cost of some units and make other lesser used units appear on the battlefield a lot more often. Many of the formations have been made obsolete due to the revision of the stat cards. At first they were supported by WotC, and there were new formations added. I don't think there have been any official formations added since the stat cards were revised, and none of the formations have had any official revisions made to them since the stat card revision.

Lastly there are scenarios in the book. I love seeing scenarios made for the game, but I remember all of the scenarios being difficult to actually play out with units. Most of the scenarios require a ridiculous amount of rare units, so you almost have to use proxies to play them out.

My suggestion is that if the book is cheap you should check it out, but only after you have started up the game. Maybe try out some of what the book adds to the game after you are already comfortable with the rules. Decide for yourself if you think the game is too simple. If you have fun with the rules the way they are then I would say that you don't need to buy the Expanded Rules at all. It is important to note that very little of what is in the Expanded Rules booklet has been updated since its release. WotC seems to view the Expanded Rules are purely optional, so their focus has been more on the Advanced Rules. Also I must reiterate that they are purely optional rules. Some players like the rules, and others don't. At the very least you get a couple maps, but they aren't quite the same size as the other 3" hexes. They just don't quite match up because they are a little bit smaller or bigger(I don't remember which it is).

I forgot to add Overwatch to the list of rules that the Expanded Rules added. It allows 2 artillery or vehicles per 100 points to get defensive fire shots down a whole row of hexes. It increases the usage of artillery, but like the others it can make your game take longer from you having limiting safe access to the battlefield.
I need to expand/clarify a few things that OMF wrote.

There are 3 sets of rules for the game. I don't know exactly what it is called but there are the basic rules in the starter to play by. They are there to get you started on the game. They are fairly simple, and not meant for anything more than getting you started on the game.

Secondly there are the Advanced Rules. This is the actual rulebook you get in the starter. These rules have had changes and adjustments made to them online. They have updates on the A&A Minis website.

Lastly there are the Expanded Rules. The Expanded Rules booklet is entirely optional. It contains pretty much the same information as the Advanced Rules, but it adds some options to the game.

There are optional rules that may be implemented, but there are only four in the book. It gives you rules for lethal defensive fire which are somewhat confusingly written and have some counter-intuitive aspects to them. Enfilade fire that gives infantry a facing making them weaker in the rear, and it is ridiculously exploitable. Grazing fire is added to MG Teams which expands their power. There is also a rule to give facing to aircraft which is meant to make them less susceptible to ground fire. All four of the optional rules add options for you use against your opponent, but every one of them complicates the game. This game is relatively easy to play for a WWII combat simulator, but when you add in those optional rules it makes the game more complicated. There are more aspects to the game which all make your games take longer, and they might make it more difficult to teach new players how to play the game.

Also in the Expanded Rules are Formations of units that you can take. The idea was to make historical units that would cost a little cheaper to help balance the cost of some units and make other lesser used units appear on the battlefield a lot more often. Many of the formations have been made obsolete due to the revision of the stat cards. At first they were supported by WotC, and there were new formations added. I don't think there have been any official formations added since the stat cards were revised, and none of the formations have had any official revisions made to them since the stat card revision.

Lastly there are scenarios in the book. I love seeing scenarios made for the game, but I remember all of the scenarios being difficult to actually play out with units. Most of the scenarios require a ridiculous amount of rare units, so you almost have to use proxies to play them out.

My suggestion is that if the book is cheap you should check it out, but only after you have started up the game. Maybe try out some of what the book adds to the game after you are already comfortable with the rules. Decide for yourself if you think the game is too simple. If you have fun with the rules the way they are then I would say that you don't need to buy the Expanded Rules at all. It is important to note that very little of what is in the Expanded Rules booklet has been updated since its release. WotC seems to view the Expanded Rules are purely optional, so their focus has been more on the Advanced Rules. Also I must reiterate that they are purely optional rules. Some players like the rules, and others don't. At the very least you get a couple maps, but they aren't quite the same size as the other 3" hexes. They just don't quite match up because they are a little bit smaller or bigger(I don't remember which it is).

I forgot to add Overwatch to the list of rules that the Expanded Rules added. It allows 2 artillery or vehicles per 100 points to get defensive fire shots down a whole row of hexes. It increases the usage of artillery, but like the others it can make your game take longer from you having limiting safe access to the battlefield.


Good synopsis of the rule books. thumbsup.gif

The potentcy of the 88 was that it was present, in reasonable numbers, when it was needed, They had them. We did not. And anything an enemy has which makes life unpleasant for you tends to earn a larger-than-life reputation. Ian Hogg IMAGE(http://i647.photobucket.com/albums/uu197/obermasterfuhrer/Axis%20and%20Allies/Resignationsig2.jpg)A&A Underground AAM Database
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