Axis and Allies

Mike Grist Uncategorized 2 Comments

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.

Comments 2

  1. I liked it more the second time we played, the first time was kind of a practice/warmup round. We still stopped too soon though as the next couple of rounds would have decided things much more firmly. I still feel like we owe it one more good play, maybe when Scott gets here we can break it out again…

  2. Post

    I liked it too- but it just gets so bogged down with all the little troop movements and province swapping, and people invoking the rules all the time to try and wangle troops into positions they need them. I don’t know how else it could be done- but it’s all the little stuff that gave me a headache. Especially since the board is the same every time, and you’re faced with the same few choices, so the headache stuff is repeated every game. There isn’t much room for doing things differently.

    I’d like to play it with Shogun style set-up rules. We’d have to make cards for every province, then hand them out randomly- maybe give them some weighting since each country is worth a different amount. Switch the turn order so it’s like in Shogun- you can pay for it- or it’s drawn randomly. Adding the wide range of troops, ships and planes would make it like Shogun only better.

    It’s a variation, for sure. What do you think?

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