Store & Event Locator

Stores

Events

Stacking Rules
Examination, Explanation, and FAQ
by Steve Winter

As of the 01/27/2009 Rules Update for Axis & Allies Miniatures, the game has a new, more rigid stacking rule. The stacking rule is now simpler than before in most ways, but it has enough twists and turns and makes enough changes to strategy to warrant in-depth examination.

You should, of course, download the entire update linked above, because it includes much vital information beyond the new stacking rule. This article, however, is only concerned with stacking. Here's the new rule:

Stacking

(The following Stacking rule supersedes the entire Stacking section of the Advanced (pg. 13) and Expanded (pg. 18) Rules books.)

"Stacking" refers to the number of units in a hex. The stacking limit applies at all times, except as noted below.

Stacking with Friendly Units: Three of your units can occupy a single hex. Only one of them can be a vehicle.

Stacking with Enemy Units: A hex can contain up to three units of each army. Only one of those six units can be a vehicle.

Aircraft and Obstacle Stacking: Aircraft and obstacles don't count toward the normal stacking limit, but only one aircraft and one obstacle can occupy a hex. Aircraft and obstacles never affect, and are never affected by, the stacking of soldiers and vehicles in the same hex.

Stacking While Moving: During your movement and assault phases, you can exceed your stacking limit by one soldier or vehicle per hex, but never more. At the end of your portion of the phase, after movement and unit placement are finished, all hexes should be within your stacking limit. Units in overstacked hexes are penalized (see below).

Penalty for Overstacking: If a hex exceeds your stacking limit at the end of your portion of the movement or assault phase, after all movement and unit placement are finished, then your opponent places one face-down hit counter on one of your soldiers or vehicles in that hex. Any soldier or vehicle in the hex can receive the hit, including one that already has one or two face-down hit counters. A hit counter is placed in every hex where your units are overstacked, not just those hexes that became overstacked in the current phase.

Overstacking Vehicles: If a hex contains vehicles from both sides, then an overstacking penalty applies to the player whose vehicle entered last. It also applies to a player who has two vehicles (or more than three units) in the hex, if those are separate players.

The revised rule makes two significant changes in the way stacking is handled. The first has to do with moving through hexes, and the second affects the penalty for breaking the limit.

The first thing to keep in mind is that a hex can never be overstacked by more than one of your units. That applies even during movement. If a hex contains two soldiers and a tank, it's legally stacked. Another friendly tank can drive through the hex, because that would cause it to be temporarily overstacked by only one unit. If, however, the hex contains three soldiers and a tank, it's filled to capacity plus one. No more friendly units can enter that hex for any reason, even just to drive through. Something needs to leave before the hex becomes passable again.

It's important to understand that there are, effectively, two stacking limits in a hex. The first is for total number of units (3), and the second is for vehicles (1). A hex is overstacked when either of those limits is exceeded by 1.

The second thing to keep in mind is that, if you overstack a hex, you will pay a real penalty in disrupted and damaged units. Overstacking is an option, and there may be times when it's worth the cost, but it's never free.

Following are FAQs covering examples of the new rule in play.

Stacking with Friendly Units

Here are all the combinations you can have in a fully-stacked or overstacked hex.

Legally Stacked Overstacked by 1
Soldiers
Vehicles
Soldiers
+
Vehicles

OR

Q1) A hex contains three friendly soldiers. Can a fourth friendly soldier, or a vehicle, enter that hex?
A) Yes. Another soldier or vehicle will overstack the hex by one unit, which is legal during movement. If all four remain in the hex at the end of your half of the phase, one of them will take a face-down hit.

Q2) A hex contains 2 soldiers and a tank. Can another unit enter?
A) Yes. Another soldier or vehicle overstacks the hex by 1 unit.

Q3) A hex contains 1 soldier and 2 vehicles. Can any more friendly units enter?
A) Yes -- 1 more soldier can enter. The hex is overstacked by 1 vehicle, but it contains only 3 units. If 1 more soldier enters the hex, it's still overstacked by 1. The additional soldier doesn't cause the hex to become overstacked by more than 1 unit, so it's legal for the soldier to enter. No more friendly vehicles can enter, however, because a 3rd vehicle would create a situation where the hex is overstacked by 2.

Q4) A hex contains three friendly soldiers. A truck enters the hex, and it's carrying two more soldiers. Can they dismount?
A) No. The hex becomes overstacked by 1 when the truck enters. Nothing else can enter (and dismounting falls into that category) until something leaves. If 1 unit leaves, 1 soldier can get off the truck. If a 2nd unit leaves, then the other soldier can get off the truck. At that point, the hex will still be overstacked (1 of the original soldiers, 2 more soldiers who got off the truck, and the truck itself).

Q5) A hex contains 1 soldier and 1 vehicle. A truck enters the hex, and it's carrying two more soldiers. Can they dismount?
A) One of them can. When the truck enters, the hex becomes overstacked by 1 vehicle. No more vehicles can enter the hex. It contains only 3 units, however. One of the 2 soldiers can dismount, because adding 1 soldier to the hex doesn't cause it to become overstacked any more than it already is. At that point, the hex contains 4 units, so the soldier still on the truck can't dismount until something else leaves the hex.

Q6) A hex contains 3 soldiers and a tank. Can another unit enter?
A) No. The hex already contains 4 friendly units, which is the maximum.

Stacking with Enemy Units

Here are many of the combinations you can have in a fully-stacked or overstacked hex with both friendly and enemy units. More combinations are possible when mixing soldiers and vehicles in an overstacked hex. These examples show two possibilities, one with mostly soldiers and one with as many vehicles as possible.

Legally Stacked Overstacked by 1
Soldiers
+

+
Vehicles
+
Soldiers
+
Vehicles

+

+


OR


+


Other combinations are possible.

Q7) A hex contains 3 enemy soldiers. Which of my units can enter that hex?
A) You can move in 3 soldiers or 2 soldiers plus 1 vehicle without overstacking the hex. If you bring in an extra soldier or vehicle, you will be overstacked in the hex and will take the penalty at the end of your phase.

Q8) A hex contains 2 enemy soldiers plus 1 enemy vehicle. Which of my units can enter that hex?
A) You can move in 3 soldiers without overstacking. If you bring in a 4th soldier or a vehicle, you will be overstacked in the hex and will take the penalty at the end of your phase.

Q9) A hex is already overstacked by 3 enemy soldiers and 1 enemy vehicle. Can any of my units enter that hex?
A) Yes. Without overstacking your units (and taking a penalty), you can move in 3 soldiers. If you're willing to take the overstacking penalty, you can move in 4 soldiers, or 1 vehicle, or 3 soldiers plus 1 vehicle.

Q10) Why am I allowed to move a vehicle into a hex where my opponent already has a vehicle?
A) Because the stacking rule always speaks in terms of "your" stacking limit. Both players can exceed their limit by 1 unit. Your opponent's vehicle stacks the hex to its capacity for vehicles. At that point, your stacking limit for vehicles in that hex is 0. You can exceed your limit by 1 unit, which means you can bring a vehicle into the hex. You would then be overstacked, because your vehicle was not the first one in the hex.

Q11) My opponent has 2 vehicles in a hex. Can I move in 1 of mine?
A) Yes, for the same reason as in Q10. The presence of any enemy vehicles in the hex ahead of yours means that your stacking limit for vehicles in that hex is 0. You can exceed that limit by 1 if you're willing to take the overstacking penalty. You can't, however, bring more than 1 vehicle into the hex. Your limit is 0; you can move in 1 vehicle and exceed the limit by 1; but any more than that would exceed the limit by 2, which is never allowed. Note that in this case, both you and your opponent would be penalized for overstacking -- you because your vehicle wasn't the first one in the hex and him because he has 2 vehicles in the hex.

Q12) What happens when enemy and friendly vehicles move in and out of the same hex? How does the sequence affect which vehicle is considered overstacked?
A) A hex can contain only 1 vehicle without being overstacked. The 'legal' vehicle is always the first one into the hex. For example (assume that there are no soldiers in the hex) --

  1. The hex in question contains a lone PzII.
  2. An M3 tank enters the hex. The M3 is overstacked and will take a penalty hit.
  3. The PzII leaves the hex. The M3 is now the lone vehicle in the hex, so it is not overstacked.
  4. A PzIII enters the hex. The M3 was already there, so the PzIII is overstacked and will take a penalty hit.
  5. An M4 enters the hex. The US player now has 2 vehicles in the hex; his units are overstacked and will take a penalty hit. The PzIII was not the first vehicle in the hex; it is overstacked and will take a penalty hit.
  6. The M3 leaves the hex, leaving the PzIII and the M4 behind. The PzIII entered the hex before the M4; it now becomes the legally-stacked vehicle, and the M4 will take an overstacking hit at the end of the US player's phase.

Defensive Fire

Q13) The enemy has a vehicle in a hex. I enter that hex with one of my vehicles. The enemy disrupts my vehicle in the hex with defensive fire. Does my vehicle back out of that hex, as before?
A) No. Your vehicle is disrupted in the hex with the enemy vehicle.

Q14) Can I move another vehicle into that hex, now that the enemy tank has already used its defensive fire?
A) No. The enemy had a vehicle in the hex first; you brought in a 2nd vehicle, which means that you're now exceeding your limit for vehicles in that hex. You can't bring in a 2nd vehicle, even to try to drive through the hex. That hex is impassable to your vehicles until either your other vehicle gets out or the enemy vehicle leaves.

(Note that entering an enemy vehicle's hex with your own vehicle is very, very risky. If your vehicle is disrupted by defensive fire in the enemy's hex, your opponent can trap it there and destroy it with nothing more than overstacking-penalty hits. For example, the enemy disrupts your tank in his own hex with defensive fire in your assault phase on turn 1. At the end of that phase, he places a face-down disruption marker on the tank because it's overstacked. That marker flips face-up in the casualty phase and your tank can't move on turn 2. During turn 2, your opponent places a face-down disruption marker on the immobile tank at the end of your movement phase and a face-down damage marker at the end of your assault phase. In the casualty phase, your tank becomes disrupted and damaged. On turn 3, it will again receive face-down disruption and damage markers, and in the casualty phase, it will be destroyed. All of this happened as the result of a single defensive fire attack. No additional attacks were made against your tank. Think hard about the risks before driving into enemy-held hexes!)

Penalties

Q15) I have 3 soldiers in a hex at the start of my movement phase. During the phase, I move in a vehicle, so that the hex contains 3 soldiers and 1 vehicle at the end of the phase. Which unit takes the face-down hit?
A) Whichever one your opponent wants to place it on. The order in which units entered the hex doesn't matter (except in the case of enemy and friendly vehicles in the same hex). Likewise, there's no distinction over which units are 'causing' the hex to be overstacked. A hex either is or is not overstacked. If it is, then your opponent chooses which unit takes the hit. There are no restrictions on that choice. For example, consider a hex that contains 1 soldier and 2 vehicles. The hex is overstacked because it contains 2 vehicles -- the soldier isn't 'contributing' to the overstacking. Your opponent, however, can place the face-down hit on either vehicle or on the soldier if he prefers.

Q16) Do overstacking-penalty hits stack the same as other face-down hit markers?
A) Yes. A hit from an overstacking penalty is identical to a hit from any attack. For example, a soldier that receives an overstacking-penalty hit at the end of the movement phase and another hit from an attack in the assault phase is destroyed in the casualty phase. Likewise, a soldier that receives 1 overstacking-penalty hit at the end of the movement phase and a 2nd at the end of the assault phase is also destroyed in the casualty phase.










About Careers Find a Store Press Help

Hasbro

©1995- Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use-Privacy Statement
Home > Avalon Hill 
Email A Friend
Discuss This Article
Printer Friendly