Axis and Allies board game
by Craig Reade
Axis and Allies
Board game manufacturer:
Number of players:
The Axis and Allies board game is simply outstanding. It’s a must-have for strategy board game fanatics.
The game and gameplay
The game is set at the beginning of World War II. You control one of five major powers: The United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, or Japan.
Outside of the initial set-up, and the locked alliances, you choose how the war unfolds. Attack Russia as Germany, or improve your foothold in Africa?
As Japan, do you attack Pearl Harbor, or do you hold your fleet back and take on a different target?
The choice is yours, and differing strategy, along with the luck of the roll, makes each game unfold differently.
There are several pieces for each country representing infantry, armor, air and naval units, placed on the board in various territories. At the beginning of each turn you purchase units (to be placed later), and then you make your moves.
You can attack your opponent, re-inforce weak points and stage for an attack — anything to advance your position and help you achieve victory. Different units have different power levels and abilities. Some are stronger on the offense, while others are defensive.
Each unit’s power is represented by a number 1-6, which is representative to a number on a die. If your unit requires a 3 to hit, and you roll a 4, you strike true and eliminate an opposing unit. If an attacker eliminates all of the opposing forces in a territory, they win the battle and thus control the territory.
The game ends when either the Axis or the Allies have met their victory conditions.
The Axis and Allies board game can take days to play, especially if you have a group of avid players. It can take less time if you are playing with two people, but as you get more advanced in the game, you begin to recognize certain strategies and automatically counter for them.
This game is like an amped-up version of the Risk boardgame, but one that removes all of the annoying limitations that Risk brings to the table.
The different units and the means of purchasing them is an obvious difference, but there are more subtle ones as well. Anyone who has played Risk knows that it is sometimes frustrating to be forced to leave a unit behind in every territory, especially when just one more unit means the difference between victory and defeat. That restriction is gone in the Axis and Allies board game. You can leave your territories as undefended as you so choose. At your own peril, of course.
This game is the dream of anyone who felt Risk just wasn’t complicated enough.Pros and cons
The Axis and Allies board game is not a casual game by any means. It is designed for people who enjoy intense strategy games, and want something a little more than what you might find in Risk. It is also incredibly time-consuming: it isn’t unreasonable for a group of good players to keep a game going for days, even a week or more. Make sure you have the time available before getting into this game.
The game board is also extremely small, so much so that it can hinder a good game. If you are creative, you can make a larger board yourself using the standard board as a template. In my history with this game, I played on a custom board that was nearly the size of a ping-pong table, which really enhanced the gameplay.
The board the game comes with is adequate, but it really is barely large enough to hold the pieces you might minimally need.
As you improve, you will also find that you quickly run out of tokens and markers and you will have to find some sort of substitute.
Thankfully, there are Axis and Allies board game expansions available, both from the original manufacturer and from several third-party companies. (We’ve tried to find them all and have linked to them on this page — Ed.)
I have even seen some versions which introduce France and China as player nations, which really adds more flavor to the game.
AXIS AND ALLIES: EXPANSIONS AND MINIATURES
Click the links for further information on Amazon.com
Axis and Allies: Europe
Axis and Allies: Battle of the Bulge
Axis and Allies: Pacific
Axis and Allies: D-Day
Axis and Allies: Guadalcanal
Axis and Allies miniatures
North Africa booster pack of miniatures
Contested Skies miniatures
Buy the Axis and Allies board game. This is a game every avid strategy gamer needs to have in their collection.