Yesterday I had Canadian Mike and Alex round and we finally got down to some serious Axis and Allies gaming. Mike had his parents bring the game over with them when they came for his wedding last month. We wanted to play last week but ended up just playing Halo and Rock Band at my place.
Well, yesterday we got stuck in. I was Germany, Mike was Japan- the Axis, and Alex played all the Allies, the UK, US, and Russia.
What an interesting game. From the start I was fascinated by the very static set-up. Compare this to another of the MB gamesmaster games- Shogun, which I know well- and the fixed set-up seems like a big mistake. Even compared to games like Risk, where every set-up is randomized, ensuring every game goes a different way.
In A&A though I think it would work. We only played one game, and for only a few rounds as it takes a long time to get through one round, but I think the fixed set-up would work, because the game is long, complex, cumulative, and there’s a lot of choices to make and a lot of interplay between what your allies do and how that effects your enemy.
As Germany I was fighting in the European theater, mostly land-based with tanks, on the Eastern front against Russia, with the Uk slowly building up its sea and air power to the West. Mike was fighting in the Pacific with Russia, but finding it necessary to retreat from the US build-up on the West coast.
The connection comes as his battles and successes against the Allies over there impacts how much the allies have to spend on troops on my fronts in the next round. If he kills a lot of Allies, they’ll have less money, and they’ll have to split it at least 2 ways.
Then throw in America. The game seems like a very faithful replication of the broad strokes of the war. The UK is very hard to kill, with lots of sea battles and bombing raids going on. Russia and Germany are engaged in a drawn-out combat that distracts Germany from extinguishing the UK. The Japanese can destroy Pearl Harbor early on. American joins the fight late.
As we played I found myself thinking- ‘It makes perfect sense the Americans joined late. It makes sense the war with Russia is what allowed the Allies to have victory in the West. It’s a fascinating replication of an interlaced world in microcosm, of seeing how all things were connected. I’m looking forward to playing next time. I want to be Germany again and see if I can’t crush Russia a little faster.