Joe and I, who had never played this game, were taught it by Nathan and Ben who both love it. Nathan and I were the Allies and Ben and Joe were the Axis. We initially agreed to play to 10 cities in order to shorten the game a bit. That didn't really work, but by 5 hours in the writing was on the wall. England and Russian were in trouble, and while the U.S. had built up a pretty good navy, it was pretty evenly matched by Japan. At this point both Japan and Germany were making more money than the U.S. and England and Russia were broke as a joke. So we called the game.
I'm glad I got a chance to play this, but I don't think I need to play it again. It just moved a bit slowly for me. In five hours, I, as the U.S., pretty much just built up my navy, occasionally fighting a defensive battle. I like the idea of fighting the entire war, but on a board this size, things should happen faster. Maybe with a larger board, the pace could be slower. Does that make sense?
For Thunder's Edge it was Joe, Danny, Nathan and I. None of us had played this one before. I liked this one better. Even though I made some military mistakes early on, I still felt like there things that I could do to get some points. I would have liked it to be easier to play the mission cards that it was. This would make the senate phase more interesting and speed up the game. I have a fix in mind for this for the next time we play. Danny jumped to an early military advantage and would have won if Joe hadn't have shut him down. This made it possible for Nathan to get his units on the board and use them to pick up enough points to win it by our self-imposed 11:00 deadline.
This game played a bit quicker than A & A, but was still too long for Danny, even though he did pretty well at it. I think the rest of us liked it and would be willing to give it another go, maybe with the expansion.