Even with the holiday schedule, we managed to get in some gaming. The holidays mean traveling, and traveling means gaming buddies who have moved out of town come for a visit! Todd was such a fellow, sporting the new anniversary edition of Axis and Allies by Avalon Hill. This classic remake has had a lot more redone to it than just a fancy new box cover too.
The layout is nothing short of amazing. It takes up a lot of square footage, and has high quality board sections and game pieces through and through. It's got high production value.
Each of the combating nations has their own color, and their own troop types. If you're playing American forces, your tanks, planes, battleships, etc. will all look totally different than what, say, the German player is using. For the military history buffs out there, you will recognize the difference between Tigers, Shermans, etc.
The battle board takes action of combat away from the (very) crowded to the side, and acts as a built-in cheat sheet.
If you're familiar with the old version, Todd's excellently written summary of this new edition will be of help!
Game in General
- Game starts in 1941
- Neutral countries may never be occupied
- 18 victory cities are identified - Berline, Paris, Warsaw, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rome, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Honolulu, Manilla, London, Calcutta, Sydney, Hong Kong, Ottawa, Moscow, Stalingrad, and Leningrad.
- Goal is for one side to control 15 victory cities.
- Artillery - 2/2, cost 4. When an infantry is matched one-for-one with an artillery, the infantry also attacks on a 2.
- Tanks - Now defend on a 3 as well as attack on a 3.
- AA guns now cost 6 and only fire when the territory they are in is attacked (no more fly-over aa). Must specifiy targets for each die roll (if bombers and fighters mixed in a squad).
- Battleships - now cost 20 and require 2 hits to destroy, and is returned to full health at the end of a combat if only hit once (no penalty for one-hit during combat either)
- Aircraft Carriers - now cost 14 and defend on a 2.
- Cruiser - 3/3, cost 12. Can conduct shore bombardment like battleships.
- Destroyers - 2/2, cost 8. Cancels special powers of subs, and aircraft may attack subs in same sea zone.
- Submarines - now 2/1, and cost 6. Submarines may submerge before aircraft can attack. Also, any time a submarine would roll a die in combat, it may choose to submerge instead, essentially removing it from combat. Submarines conduct an initial round of combat prior to any other round of combat. Note that a destroyer prevents all these abilities.
- Transports - now are 0/0 and cost 7. Transports are always chosen last in combat (you cannot use them as cannon fodder). Transports can carry any one land unit + 1 infantry; e.g. , 1 tank + 1 inf, 2 inf, 1 art. + 1 inf. or 1 aa + 1 inf.
- China is controlled by the U.S., but is a separate entity. The U.S. and China act in two separate and distinct combat phases.
- China gets no IPCs. Instead, China gets one infantry per turn for every two territories it controls, and those infantry can be place in any Chinese territory that does not have 3 or more units.
- Chinese units cannot move outside of Chinese territory.
- You now buy "researcher tokens" for 5 IPC. You get to roll one die per researcher token you have. If you get a 6, you discard all tokens and roll for a breakthrough. If you don't, you keep all your tokens. In other words, you could add 1 research token per turn and start getting cumulative rolls until you got a breakthrough. However, you can only get one breakthrough per turn.
- There are new technologies we can go over later. But of particular note, heavy bombers are only 2 dice.
- IPC value of a territory now limits the number of units that can be produced in all factories (not just new factories)
- Factories sustain damage markers from Industrial Bombing - up to twice the value of the territory. Damage markers reduce by one the number of units that can be placed at the factory. Each marker costs 1 IPC to remove.
- You may place an aircraft carrier and a fighter in the same sea zone during production
- You may place ships in a hostile-controlled sea zone
- Submarines can ignore enemy ships when moving, except for destroyers.
- Neither submarines nor transports "occupy" a sea zone - ships may move through without attacking
- Factories and anti-aircraft guns stop a blitzing unit (i.e., you can't blitz through a territory with a factory in it).
- Fighters may "land" in sea zones where you intend to build an aircraft carrier.
- During amphibious assault, battleships and cruisers may conduct shore bombardment, with a limit of one ship per land unit being offloaded from transports.
- Defending, unescorted transports may be destroyed automatically.
- Bonus income is granted for achieving certain national goals
To kill the suspense; Todd and I won, and here's why. We both wore matching colored shirts, and mine had an 'A' for America followed by a star, and he had, obviously, was representing the European theater. I pretty much just built bombers and watched on as Todd ran the entire show from one coast to the other and everything in between!
The Axis powers; Ray and Jason. Jason romped through the European theater while Ray gave me a run for my money in the Pacific.
France exchanged hands half a dozen times, and that was only a sample of the chaos that overtook Europe from start to finish.
Overall, it was a heck of a lot of fun! The board is well worth the investment if you're into World War II, and board games. The mechanics were surprisingly simple and straightforward, and although it looks like a lot to keep up with, it's really not. The game will set you and your group (up to six players!) back many hours for the better part of the evening, but you will have a blast.