War at Sea: Recosting Units

Raven's Avatar
Any game that issues new product suffers from power creep. This is inevitable and many heated debates permeate the gaming world on how to deal with this. War at Sea has a large bullseye for its failure to properly deal with power creep.

Many units from out of print sets are simply unplayable when compared with units from newer sets. This issue has become more severe as sister ships were released. Why use a Bismarck when the Tirpitz is so much better? Many solutions to the problem are mired in their needless complexity. One Axis & Allies ForuMINI member found a way around this. Instead of altering special abilities (SAs) and other facets of gameplay why not just alter the points costs? The member is Fredmiracle and what he has done is brilliant for its simplicity. Recosting the units gets the job done and does it elegantly.

Below is a list of the units he has recosted. However, we suggest you read his original thread.

WS/1-HMAS Canberra: 12 Points (was 15) – Comparable to Exeter; more guns but lacks Determination.
WS/2-HMAS Sydney: 13 Points (was 14) – Equivalent to Leander in non-convoy scenarios; should have the same price.
WS/3-Gloire: 13 Points (was 14) – Obsoleted by Suffren, at a point lower there is some reason to take her.
WS/6-HMS Ajax: 12 Points (was 13) – At the same price, Sydney and Leander are better than Ajax. Pursuit Ship is rarely useful. At 12, Exeter and Canberra will still be different, but competitive options.
WS/9-HMS Hood: 42 Points (was 48) – Fatal Flaw gives her an effective VA of somewhere around 11.5. Relative to Warspite, a reasonable cost might be 43/44, relative to Repulse, maybe 37/38.
WS/14-Swordfish Mk II: 8 Points (was 10) – Compared to TBF-1, it has 2.5 less VA, 2 less armor, no Alternate Payload, while gaining 1 torpedo and Lucky Hit. Eight points is a conservative recosting.
WS/20-TBD Devastator: 7 Points (was 9) – Compared to TBF-1, it has 2.5 less VA, 1 less ASW, 1 less armor and no Alternate Payload. 4 point lower cost is justified.
WS/33-USS Washington: 55 Points (was 56) – 1 Flag has little value, especially in US fleets. 9 Armor on USS Massachusetts is almost always more compelling, making Washington all but obsolete.
WS/34-Admiral Graf Spee: 20 Points (was 21) – Swap Scheer and Graf Spee costs to make Graf Spee playable.
WS/38-Koln: 10 Points (was 11) – In practical terms, Lead the Attack just tends to get Koln killed quicker. Swap Karlsruhe and Koln to price Flotilla Leader more appropriately and make Koln playable.
WS/44-Bolzano: 14 Points (was 18) – A point more than Garibaldi; better guns, worse armor, lacking Cruiser Hunter and Drive Off, but given a slight premium for Flank Speed.
WS/45-Duca D’Aosta: 11 Points (was 12) – Between Garibaldi and Zara, D’Aosta has effectively been superseded.
WS/51-B5N2 “Kate”: 11 Points (was 13) – Compared to TBF-1 Avenger, it gains a torpedo, but loses 1.5 VA and ASW. Ten points could be justified, but that third torpedo is valuable.
WS/53-G4M “Betty”: 5 Points (was 6) – Alternate payload is useful, but as ‘air filler’ G4M1 is better, and Bettys in general just have too little staying power.
WS/55-Jintsu: 15 Points (was 19) – Still one point more than the Yahagi, which is perhaps questionable, but +1 LL torpedo at most ranges is undeniably valuable.
WS/58-Myoko: 19 Points (was 24) – Worse than Haguro in all respects except Flag 1, but at this price at least a couple of points cheaper than Haguro recosted at 21. Nachi at equal price trades off Flag 1 and Night Fighter to get Cruiser Killer.
WS/62-Type 13 Subchaser: 2 Points (was 4) – It is hard to make this unit playable at any price, but more likely to have some role at 2 points.
WS/64-Yukikaze: 11 Points (was 12) – Must at least cost the same as Isokaze, which has Sub Hunter and 5 ASW.
TF/10-Halifax GR Mk. V: 5 Points (was 6) – Generally impotent except for air filler and sub harrassment.
TF/22-USS California: 44 Points (was 45) – When compared to USS Tennessee, I do not see it as ever compelling to pay 2 points for 1 Flag, especially in a US fleet. USS Arizona complicates California further.
TF/33-Admiral Scheer: 21 Points (was 20) – Swap Scheer and Graf Spee costs to make Graf Spee playable.
TF/36-Karlsruhe: 11 Points (was 10) – Swap Karlsruhe and Koln to price Flotilla Leader more appropriately and make Koln playable.
TF/53-Haruna: 37 Points (was 38) – Bombard is never used. As compared to Kongo, 2 point bump and trading off 1 Flag is a sufficient price for Evade Bombs.
TF/60-Zuikaku: 20 Points (was 22) – Airfield Strike is of extremely limited value. To get it, Zuikaku already gives up Expert Bomber 2 and 1 Flag from Shokaku—it shouldn’t also cost 2 more points.
NS/7-Haguro: 21 Points (was 18) – As Rich Baker noted, this unit was underpriced, and has the potential to undermine values on all other Japanese cruisers.

The question with recosting is if and how to implement this. Should this be a house rule or something more like a store/tournament rule? Should it go as far as being implemented officially? The demand for recosting will remain high unless WotC re-releases out of print sets. If this were to be officially used then the best way to do that is integrating it with a re-release. I don’t think WotC will, or should, re-release the out of print sets in their entirety. They’ve never done that for any game they’ve produced (just look at Magic The Gathering) and I don’t see the benefit to their business model.

This means that an unofficial or grassroots method is needed. At the very least I think Fredmiracle’s list should be a house rule. It just makes sense. Print out the list, make stickers, or use dry erase markers with plastic sleeves. Just use his list. This becomes sticky when we get to using the list in a store, at a tournament, in a league/campaign. This cannot be used in any official event until it becomes sanctioned by Wizards so that rules out any DCI type events. But, there’s plenty of wiggle room for unofficial events both at your local game store and at conventions. The only thing you need to be sure to do is to post that you have recosted some units using Fredmiracle’s list and then have the recosting available for players to look at.

There’s really no reason to not use this list. It is elegant, simple, and fantastic. Fredmiracle has done a wonderful job with the list and I know he will be updating it to cover units from newer sets. Why not give his list a try and then let us know what you think? You’re sure to enjoy it.