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Axis & Allies: 1942» Forums » Reviews

Subject: New, but not improved rss

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Barry Munden
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I have read many excellent reviews here, but most of them seem a little fanboyish for my taste, so I decided to chime in. This version is still Axis and Allies, but it has sacrificed a lot of the original's playability in exchange for prettier game pieces and a few extra dollars for the manufacturer.

The IPC's have vanished, without so much as a notepad and pencil to replace them. All of the other play aids have been reduced in size and utility. The battle board is now a cardboard strip which would be more useful for stirring paint than resolving combat. The chips are no longer standard poker chips, so forget about borrowing chips from other games or buying more from anyone but Hasbro. The resource track has been moved onto the game board itself, which saves table space, but also insures that someone will inevitably drag their arm through it. The map itself tries a little too hard to look like Google Earth, to the point where it is nearly impossible to discern national borders. The only material component of the game to see any improvement over the original are the playing pieces themselves, which now more closely resemble their nation's actual hardware. Sadly, this also makes it very difficult for non-grognards to discern one class of ship from another.

The rules themselves are more like the original game, although play balance has been altered in favor of the Axis. It is no secret that, in early versions of the game, an aggressive Soviet player could sucker punch the Germans on the first term and put them on the defensive for the remainder of the game. It appears as if Avalon Hill tried to address this problem by powering up the Germans, but they seem to have overdone it. I have yet to see a competent German player lose the new game.

Cruisers seem like pointless additions to the game, and submarines are more cannon fodder than maritime menace. Strategic air war seems to be designed to introduce players to the more complex factory rules of the more advanced games, but there was a simple elegance to bombing someone and costing them money which seems thrown under the bus in an effort to indoctrinate players to other company products.

Overall, it's still a fun game, but it is no longer a well designed one. It is now made more for profit than for playing. If you want to introduce a new player to the strategy game genre, you would be better off picking up a used copy from the eighties.
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Jacob Williams
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The only thing I agree with is the decrease in production values. They need to go back and include IPCs and trays. Personally I think the battle strip is better than the battle board, and I am indifferent to the income tracker. Actually I take that back. Slight preference to the one on the board.

Speaking of the board, I love the new style. Now I can't even look at the old board without thinking a 3rd grader drew it. I have really good color discrimination, so seeing the boarders isn’t an issue for me. However, I do see it as a fair criticism. None of the games ever used standard poker chips.... They've always been mini poker chips.

All versions (and pretty much all asymmetric games) favor one side or the other. The original heavily favored Allies for example.

The new rules are fanatic as well as the new map (in terms of how territories are split up). If I had a real complaint about 42.2 is that it's hard to play it after playing Anniversary Edition and Global 1940 (wich if you didn't know is Europe 1940 and Pacific 1940 combined). Because those versions are so epic.
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Erik Stonemark
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In being a "fan" of A&A and ALL its versions and iterations, I have found reviews to be of two camps, positive and if viewed from a critical perspective perhaps "fanboyish". The second camp seems to me to be overly critical.
The vast majority of criticisms to me seem petty and minor. Ipc tracker on board now as opposed to being a seperate board saves table space(which is important due to the larger gameboards). No paper money, both fans of A&A and board games in general ahould already have access to any number of options(older versions of A&A, dollar store, monopoly, online, download and print your own).
The battle strip as opposed to battle board(again the battle strip is a space saver and let's face it, does anyone use either one after a few games)

In terms of the map, I find the newer versions to be gorgeous and a vast improvement from the original. I love the original map but now only as a nostalgia factor for having played on it so many times as a young adult. In both original and newer versions, most territories were innacurate both in a geographical/historical sense(which in most war games is sacrificed for gameplay and "balance".
Balance issues and their actual effect are often mis-represented in that it is all a matter of perspective and player's own personal experience and strategy. In almost every version of the global games the complaint started out as being a pro axis imbalance. As people get more experience and adjust their strategies, the balance arguements often swing to the allies. For what it's worth, I find A&A to have a pro Allies imbalance, but it is by no means a game breaker, nor does it diminish gameplay in my opinion(that of a history student and buff for 30 years).

My one disclaimer is that I am making my points in a general sense and am not specifically talking about any one specific A&A version.
If I had my drothers, here are the A&A games I prefer to play:
For global versions: I prefer A&A 1942 2nd edition(for me this has trumped all previous versions and is a fair bit easier to table than the monstrous global 40 game)
Theatre of War versions: A&A Pacific(the original)
Campaign versions: Battle of the Bulge(I found this version to be a great bridge into other wargames as it incorporates a lot of classic war game principals)
Honorable mention: D-Day

One closing thought is that A&A is one if the best selling strategy war game franchises and board game franchises in history, and if any of the criticisms were a major factor, one would no longer see it on store shelves nor see all the numerous sites and forums.

Happy Gaming!
May all your rolls be 1's
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Edward Reece
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The chips were never standard poker chips, they were always mini chips that were hard to get elsewhere.
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David Brown
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Quote:
The map itself tries a little too hard to look like Google Earth, to the point where it is nearly impossible to discern national borders.


100% agree, especially bad near the German/Russian start areas
 
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Robert Wesley
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'moi' awaits that "Alienspacebat" 'response' on improving any then. Check out earlier "A&A" editions for where I've replied about obtaining 'chips' from other games as similar of theirs. whistle
 
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Chuck Shaw

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I second that and also 100% agree. All of the new map versions of A&A now try to look like a satellite image of the Earth. Granted, it might look more "realistic" but it does not improve playability. My playing buddies were always saying... "Does that territory border that territory?" "Can't hardly see the lines?" To us this was a distraction and a sign of the game not being well designed thru play-testing. I have looked thru old World War Two books, and a lot of the maps made back then did indeed look like the old 80's version A&A map. I love that map, and so do my buddies. I read a review somewhere that a history teacher took his two A&A games to class with him to teach World War Two. One game was the old 80's version and the other was the new version. To his surprise, almost all of the students preferred the old version over the new in terms of map graphics and rule playability. Another complaint people have is the piece colors. I mean, come on, burgundy for the Russians? Orange for Japan? The original eighties version had more historically accurate piece colors. The Japanese did indeed have a baby-poop colored yellow uniform called "mustard yellow ". The reason they made Japan orange today is because of the PC crowd. Bring back the old 80's version!!
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Mark J.
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The only part of the review I can agree with is the lack of IPC markers and that some of the borders are difficult to see. Overall I think those are pretty minor issues that can easily be resolved. As much as I like the original high visibility color scheme, the google earth style maps have grown on me to where I prefer them.
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James Cox
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WRT IPC chart, battle chart/board/strip, and IPCs (paper $):

Having played the original back in the last century, and Avalon Hill's Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (remember their BRP tracking charts on the Order of Battle/Start Cards???), I can tell you that most players after a few games under their belts go for the scratch pad technique of booking over any kind of physical chit-on-a-tracker be it on-board or standalone "card".
So I think a lot of complaints about those items are moot.
 
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Jacob Williams
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Kukailimoku wrote:

WRT IPC chart, battle chart/board/strip, and IPCs (paper $):

Having played the original back in the last century, and Avalon Hill's Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (remember their BRP tracking charts on the Order of Battle/Start Cards???), I can tell you that most players after a few games under their belts go for the scratch pad technique of booking over any kind of physical chit-on-a-tracker be it on-board or standalone "card".
So I think a lot of complaints about those items are moot.


I have to disagree on physical money. I've been playing A&A for decades, and I have never met anyone who tracks things via pen and paper.
 
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James Cox
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ChromiumAgeCollector wrote:
Kukailimoku wrote:

WRT IPC chart, battle chart/board/strip, and IPCs (paper $):

Having played the original back in the last century, and Avalon Hill's Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (remember their BRP tracking charts on the Order of Battle/Start Cards???), I can tell you that most players after a few games under their belts go for the scratch pad technique of booking over any kind of physical chit-on-a-tracker be it on-board or standalone "card".
So I think a lot of complaints about those items are moot.


I have to disagree on physical money. I've been playing A&A for decades, and I have never met anyone who tracks things via pen and paper.


You have me beat then, I haven't played it since the eighties except for an occasional game three or four times since. But yeah, the crew I used to play it with hated that 'monopoly banker' shtick and we just honor-system the money (with rights to look - remember that great President's words: "Trust, but verify").
Same thing for AH's 3R. Who uses that three-chit BRP tracker anyway, and if you can't do the mental subtraction in your head the (3R's) tracker doesn't even function as an abacus so it's even useless-er.
 
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James Cox
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ChromiumAgeCollector wrote:
Kukailimoku wrote:

WRT IPC chart, battle chart/board/strip, and IPCs (paper $):

Having played the original back in the last century, and Avalon Hill's Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (remember their BRP tracking charts on the Order of Battle/Start Cards???), I can tell you that most players after a few games under their belts go for the scratch pad technique of booking over any kind of physical chit-on-a-tracker be it on-board or standalone "card".
So I think a lot of complaints about those items are moot.


I have to disagree on physical money. I've been playing A&A for decades, and I have never met anyone who tracks things via pen and paper.


This thread:

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/24365375#24365375

Seems like over time most tourney play has been going sans moolah.
 
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