Axis and Allies from Avalon Hill was a big item on our groups wish list. We have finally gotten a copy and have played it several times.
With-in our group, we have 1 player that has played quite a bit, and 1 who regularly participated in tournament in CA. Our over all opinion of the games is really still forming, but we have played enough to learn wether or not we like it.
General consensus is that the changes are great for the most part. I will detail each aspect.
1. Components: We love the new pieces. While not necessary, they do add a 'cool' factor to each country. The colors are nice and go well with the board. A lot of people have been complaining about loosing pieces in the sea-zones... but come on... if you are playing this game, and aren't blind then you should be fully aware of any pieces that you control or that can threaten you. The only colors that this could apply to are Russia and Germany... Russia... who cares... never been a big naval fighter, and germany... everyone had better pay attention to Germany.
The board is great. it looks nice and the numbered sea zones makes you wonder why they didn't do that previously.
Reference Cards look much better... but do have less than large type on them.... the ** and + indicators are easy to miss the first couple of times you play if your new to the game.
Chips... its well established that even if certain players have never run out of chips... it would be nice to have more.
Rules: We all know the rules well enough that we only had to search for new or different ones.... the rule book seems adequate, but could be a little confusing for a new player.
Game play: With all the different rules, we still found that games went about the same way they always have.... despite different types of game play, our Allies always won. We never played to a minor victory, always to 10 victory cities. I could see the Axis winning easily with a goal of only 8 cities.
We did find however that the new mechanics made the games more fun. Tanks were around longer, and everyone enjoyed the cheaper planes. This resulted in more exciting battles and more jitters when contemplating our purchases and moves each turn.
Over all the new mechanics seem to offer the same possibilities as the old game, but a lot more fun.
Gripes: These are my personal gripes.... I offer them so that other A&A players may gauge the calibre or type of player I am...
1. Britian's forces in and off the cost of India are a little to extreme. With the victory city in Calcutta, Britain will almost always build there and add to the navy. In several games we played Britain became the country that started cleaning out the Japanese owned isles, while America concentrated and sent everything to Britain. Don't get me wrong, this is a valid tactic, and one I will probably use, but a little of the history buff in me finds this to be ridiculous.
2. Marshalling cards are useful to some, I'm sure, but I hate them.... Maybe I will get used to them as time goes on... the game board is still to small for easy troop placement. I just find it distracting. I like to see everything on the board. Also (and this not a problem with our group....but) cheating is all together to easy when your forces are sitting in front of you and not in the middle of the board.... Tournament play will be challenging for judges I'm sure.
Other that that we love the game and spend all week in between sessions trash talking and devising new strategies.