Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Axis & Allies Induced Nerd Rage

I kept seeing the game at places like Barnes & Noble and Target selling for $35… and I couldn’t figure it out. This is an epic, world spanning colossus full of pretty bits to play with…. How can it be?! I finally picked up a copy at 40% off at a Friendly Local Game Store and it wasn’t long before I realized that the unbeleivably low price wasn’t just an artifact of economies of scale.

Behold:

  • The venerable Battle Board is replaced by the piddly National Forest loving Battle Strip. Man… can it really be a game of Axis & Allies if nobody ever says, “break out the Battle Board”?
  • There’s no funny money. Okay, honestly… tracking it on paper not only seems to cut back on mistakes and “inadvertent” cheating, but you also get hard evidence for reconstructing the game later. “Yeah… looks like things started going downhill for you here on turn three when I started those massive bombing missions against your capitals.” Still, the lack of monies seems really cheap.
  • There are no technology rules in this edition. I guess this saved Hasbro the cost of one page in the rule book and maybe another piece of cardboard? I can’t really tell you how significant those rolls were to our strategies back in the day, but the occasional success would invariably cause whooping and hollering. There was also nothing quite like the weeping and gnashing of teeth that occurred when someone spent 50 I.P.C.’s for ten tech rolls and then got nothing to show for it! (Note that you can get the old tech rules and the list of six variant rules for each of the five powers from this rules PDF here.)
  • There are no little trays to divide up your units into. This is criminal. If you are an O.C.D. board game geek type, this will give you fits. My box’s 370 game pieces are currently all in one jumbled pile underneath the inner lid. Argh!
  • The territories in Europe are so small, you will stab your eyes out before the end of turn one and you are sure to make mistakes in keeping all the pieces in the right places.
  • Those little arrow markers which used to be so freaking useful in planning your attacks… they’re just not there. Why?
  • So they added a cruisers to the game. Do you realize how impossible it is to tell the difference between cruisers and destroyers? Do you realize how hard it is to identify your own units when there is no silhouette key? And note… each player should have their own key because everybody has different looking units. Yes… what used to be a really good feature has been turned into an anti-feature in this edition!

Maybe it is a great game. Yeah, I do have fun breaking it out, but this is just a stripped down introductory version. So caveat emptor. Look before you leap. Know thine enemy. Burn me twice…. If you want the Real Thing™, you’re probably looking for the 2004 edition or the anniversary edition instead.

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