Games that made up 'The Game'
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There was a period of time in my life when my friends and I were heavily addicted to a war game which we simply called "The Game". It all began when we decided that Axis and Allies was too predictable, with its standard starting deployments and the map with its inherent strategic constraints. So we played a more generic version using home-made maps of make-believe worlds. Then we added in mechanics and pieces from other games for even more richness.

We would play for days in a row, generally while partying pretty hard. This would have been roughly from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, when I lived in Virginia. A couple of us even had spray-painted unit sets, one black and one gold.

I've lost touch with my buddies with whom I played "The Game" so very many times. I don't have any of the old pieces or maps that we used; they all ended up in the hands of other people. But I still have notes on the rules, and scraps of paper from games, with my builds planned out from turn to turn.

So here is a summary of the development and the rules, as I recall them, of "The Game".
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1. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1483] [Average Rating:6.57 Unranked]
Board Game: Axis & Allies
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Axis and Allies was the foundation of "The Game". We used a set for most of the pieces, and for the IPCs which were the currency for building units. The basic system from this game was in force: building new units, combat moves, battles, non-combat moves, and finally deploying the new units.

The statistics (cost-attack-defense-movement) of the original units remained the same. We did add the rule that Battleships took two hits to destroy; a rule that has now made its way into at least some of the new A&A versions.
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2. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1867]
Board Game: Fortress America
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Someone had some pieces from this game. I don't think we ever had the boxed set; I have never seen the box or board except in images on this site. But with the pieces alone we were able to invent new unit types. Each player got a set of FA pieces whose color closely matched their A&A pieces (e.g yellow went with the Japanese, and red with the Russians).

Here are the unit types we created using the new pieces:

Shock Troops: cost 4, attack 2, defense 2, move 1
Sniper: cost 6, attack 3, defense 3, move 1
APC: cost 4, attack 1, defense 2, move 2, could carry up to two infantry
Hovertank: cost 5, attack 2, defense 2, move 2, could cross water
Helicopter: cost 8, attack 2, defense 2, move 3, could carry up to two infantry; was an air unit but could land in a newly taken territory
Transport Plane: cost 9, attack 0, defense 1, move 6, could carry up to three infantry, or one mech unit and one infantry

We actually used the FA planes as Bombers and the A&A bombers for the Transport Planes. Transport Planes were very useful for waging war on large continents.

Shock Troops were a good choice for amphibious attacks. They counted as infantry when being transported.

Snipers also counted as infantry. Everyone's Snipers were represented by the kneeling green infantry (an American partisan unit, I think). Each player was limited to six Snipers in play.

For the purpose of being transported, Armor, Hovertanks, and APCs all counted as "mech" units.
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3. Board Game: Supremacy: The Game of the Superpowers [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:16134]
Board Game: Supremacy: The Game of the Superpowers
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Here's where "The Game" went off on something of a tangent. Somehow we got into Supremacy for a bit. So we figured, why not meld the game with Axis and Allies? We actually played games where we used the Supremacy turn order and economic system, deploying our A&A-style armies and navies on the Supremacy board. You had to prospect for resources, and sell them on the market to make the IPCs needed for unit production. You also needed resources to build, move, and make attacks.

Ultimately this version of "The Game" proved to be too cumbersome, and we scrapped the Supremacy-style play. The streamlined Axis and Allies mechanics were preferable.
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4. Board Game: Supremacy: The Game of the Superpowers [Average Rating:5.65 Overall Rank:16134]
Board Game: Supremacy: The Game of the Superpowers
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Of course, we still had a Supremacy set, so we used the colorful squares and oblongs for yet more unit types. Everyone got a set of oblongs that closely matched their other unit colors, to be used for two different unit types, one land and one sea.

Escort: cost 6, attack 1, defense 1, move 2, naval unit (useful for screening)
MRL: cost 4, attack 0, defense 1, move 2, could carry up to four SAMs or Cruise Missiles, and launch up to two at a time

The squares became different types of munitions. Munitions were expended when used, and soon proved to be essential for your forces. Major combats were always preceded by several turns of munitions build-up. All munitions cost 4 to build.

Bomb (pink squares): hit on a 5 against land units, 4 against sea units
Bombers could carry and deploy up to 4 bombs, and Fighters could carry and deploy up to 2 bombs. When deploying bombs, a plane did not make its normal attack roll.

Cruise Missile (dark green squares): hit on a 4, range 3
These could be fired from a MRL or from a combat ship. They could accompany other air units as part of a combined assault, and could be taken as losses from SAM fire, but were not included in the subsequent AAA fire effects. They could also be fired pre-emptively, i.e. on another player's turn in response to a combat move.
Submarines could carry and deploy up to two cruise missiles. Carriers and Battleships could carry up to eight and deploy up to four.

SAM (blue squares): hit on a 4
SAMs only hit air units. They were fired in response to any air force moving over the square in which the SAMs were deployed, and were resolved before AAA fire. A common tactic to protect valuable airplanes from SAMs was to launch Cruise Missiles as part of an air assault.
MRLs and most combat ships could carry SAMs. Carriers and Battleships could carry up to eight SAMs and deploy up to four.

Also, any unit that could transport infantry could transport two munitions in place of one infantry. E.g., a Transport Ship could carry up to eight munitions, though it could not deploy any of them.
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5. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:20333]
Board Game: Risk
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We played "The Game" on custom maps. From Risk we borrowed the idea of having a deck of cards to correspond with the regions or provinces on the map. We used random geographical names for the map areas, like "Honshu" or "Fernando Poo".

The cards were dealt out at the beginning to determine starting territories. For every card you were dealt, you put an infantry in the corresponding map region. Then we took turns choosing where our initial Industrial Complex went, and deploying our starting forces, generally a couple hundred IPCs worth of stuff.

Whenever you finished a turn in which you successfully conquered new territory, you got to draw a card. The cards came in three different colors, and sets could be turned in, as in Risk, for extra IPCs on the build phase.

When we got bored with a map, we made a new one, using the same region names so we could re-use the deck of cards.
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6. Board Game: World War II The Expansion [Average Rating:6.69 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.69 Unranked]
Board Game: World War II The Expansion
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At a gaming convention I came upon a booth where this guy had an Axis and Allies supplement for sale. So I bought it, and we used the counters from it for new units. I don't think we ever read the rules. I don't have this stuff any more, so I can't check.

Basically, we introduced two new sea units.

Destroyer: cost 8, attack 2, defense 2, move 2, could carry and deploy up to two SAMs, Cruise Missiles or Depth Charges
Cruiser: cost 12, attack 3, defense 3, move 3, could carry up to six SAMs or Cruise Missiles and deploy up to three

With Destroyers came a new munition type, the Depth Charge, only usable by this unit type. They were represented by the light green squares from Supremacy. They targetted enemy Submarines, and when the enemy was the attacker, Depth Charge fire was resolved before the Submarine initiative fire.

Of course, recent A&A versions have their own rules for Destroyers v. Submarines, which honestly are probably superior. But we played this way back in the day, and liked it just fine.
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7. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1867]
Board Game: Fortress America
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But what about these pieces from Fortress America? For the most part they sat unused. But someone came up with a rule for using the city pieces, called "Urbanization".

Urbanization cost 7 to build in a region. Like an Industrial Complex, once built the piece remained and could be captured. When a region had Urbanization, mech units used up all their movement points moving into it. Defending ground forces in the region could take two losses for every three hits. And infantry units could be built in the region, assuming it was held at the start of the turn.

Most of us did not like this variant and we played very few games using it.
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8. Board Game: Risk [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:20333]
Board Game: Risk
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Yes, there's more. Risk comes with cannon and cute little soldiers. So we had artillery, and honestly we could never agree on what the rules should be for this unit type.

The same guy who came up with Urbanization came up with Engineers, which the Risk infantry represented. Engineers cost 6, had an attack 0, defense 1, move 1. They had one special ability: on the second or any subsequent round of combat, they could use a Bomb to target any enemy ground unit or infrastructure (i.e. Industrial Complex or Urbanization).

Engineers were another unit that weren't used in very many games.
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9. Board Game: Rules for the Conduct of the War-Game [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Board Game: Rules for the Conduct of the War-Game
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One problem we had with "The Game" was that we couldn't always agree on the rules. This led to much time wasted arguing instead of playing.

We never developed artillery rules successully. I came up with the idea of "suppressing fire", where artillery would fire first, and for every hit scored, an opponent's unit was not allowed to make its attack roll. But this added an extra phase to combat resolution, and nobody else liked the idea.

Someone insisted on a rule for Escorts (the cheap sea units). They should be allowed to roll two dice in combat, to make up for the fact that they only hit on a 1. I thought this was a stupid idea.

This was all before the recent slew of new Axis and Allies games. I'm sure there are many new units and rules from these new editions that could be made a part of "The Game". But this all happened long ago, and those days are gone forever. And I will never forget the great times we had.
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10. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1483] [Average Rating:6.57 Unranked]
From gallery of sbarrera
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I had the fortune recently of visiting an old friend in Virginia, who, as it turns out, is the Keeper of the Game. We dug it out of his closet, and I took a few photos. Most of them came out so poorly I decided not to upload them, but I did want to post a couple that show how we used the different pieces.

This image shows a modest fleet, with the extra ship types depicted by counters. The dark green squares with the battleship and cruisers are SAMs to defend against air assault. The light green squares with the destroyers are depth charges for use against submarines.
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11. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1483] [Average Rating:6.57 Unranked]
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This image shows an air force assaulting. The bombers (fighters from Fortress America) are carrying loads of bombs (pink squares). They can unload them for multiple dice.

The purple squares in front are cruise missiles, useful to soak the hits caused by the inevitable SAM barrage to come.
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12. Board Game: World War II Expansion 3: The Battle of Midway [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.40 Unranked]
Board Game: World War II Expansion 3: The Battle of Midway
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Having now seen our old copy of The Game, I realize that I put the wrong Gamers Paradise A&A expansion on the list earlier. This is the one that actually has the counters we incorporated.
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