We played our first game of Alternate Histories tonight and decided not to use any of the optional boosts. I was concerned that the Axis might be significantly disadvantaged by the Allies having 2 extra armies in play at that start but we went with it anyway.
We only had 3 players and I ended up playing all the Axis with Richard playing the Western Allies and Alan the Soviets.
Germany started badly ,no attack cards or scary status cards in the initial hand. Germany's first play was a build army into Italy to give the option to attack back into Germany. The French were able to attack and clear Germany on turn one so things were looking bad for the Axis. Turn 1 was topped by the US playing the card that means Japan has to discard extra cards to attack Chinese units.
Over the next few turns Germany managed to build back into Germany and then took out the French with an attack from Italy. The Italians occupied France and the Soviets gradually expanded. Britain brought India into the war. Japan with the aid of a Banzai attack took out China.
Germany was still holding on (just) and a conscripts status card allowed them to keep building into Germany after Soviet attacks. The USA was steadily building up a pile of status cards and the threat was looming for Japan but Japan took China and then sneaked an army into the Philippines.
All the way through the early game the Allies were keeping cards and the axis discarding to avoid losing points. The Allies were ahead on VP and the Axis struggled to keep up. If the Allies had discarded all their cards it could have been close to the 30 point margin but the lead never went over 10.
Things picked up for the Axis when the Germans got the Strategic Planning card the turn before this was played the Germans finally burnt through a bunch of cards with an Economic warfare card and I think a play of an Air Force. The result was that the Germans now held Blitzkrieg and Strategic Planning. The next turn the Germans picked up Bias for Action and Landkreuzers and over the next few turns all of these cards made it into play.
Italy built a sold defence with a closing of the straits of Gibraltar and the new status card for holding Western Europe which meant with some other status card that the Italians were scoring 6 or 7 a turn.
Japan used the SNLF card to take Australia and Indonesia which with their status cards put them up to 8 points a turn.
All the while Germany was taking a pounding from the Soviets but was always able to keep them at bay even if they could not draw the land battle cards really needed to crush them. Over the mid to late game a couple of Soviet response cards kept the lid on Germany. A surprise German strike through the Middle East almost took India but a response card (can't remember the name) prevented the capture of India for a while.
Even with a low scoring Germany the strong scores of Japan and Italy meant that the Axis were pulling ahead. The maximum Axis lead was in the mid 20s.
The US with a mountain of Status cards then exploded into the Pacific threatening to upset Japan and taking the Philippines back. The French built up in Africa and took North Africa but ran out of steam there.
In the end game the US decided that they would not hit Japan and shifted totally to Europe, then Germany fell multiple times and was recaptured a few more times. Firestorm bombers ripped the remaining cards from the German hand and other bombers pulled the Axis score right back. With the Germans totally without cards by turn 18 and Germany conquered on turn 19 it was just a question of if the Allies could pull back the lead.
Eventually with every country exhausted apart from oddly enough Italy and Britain the allies just failed to pull the score back. The final scores were something like 257 to 252.
The game took a fair bit longer than a normal game, not sure if it was because I was playing 3 countries with several new cards to worry about or if it was just more complex in general.
Overall it was a great game, happy to play again and again but I think it needs experienced players to get everything out of it.
Now I need to buy another copy so I can have a vanilla game and an expanded one.
New York City
I agree. I'm in touch with a new set of QMG players through introducing the game to them, but they are not ready to add the expansions yet, so I haven't been able to play Alternate Histories. Its good to know that it works!