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Subject: A beloved game that is the gateway for many into wargames rss

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Sean Shaw
United States
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This is a review for Axis and Allies by Milton Bradley.

This is one of my favorite games. This is one of the games that got me into wargaming. This is the game that I try to find a replica of with a different theme in so many other games I play. It's this gameplay style with a different theme that has given me some of my favorite games (such as War of the Ring, Conquest of the Empire, etc.).

Many played this game in the 80s to the late 90s, and it was this particular version that inspired many to get into the wargaming fields. I was surprised then to see that it only had 1 page worth of reviews compared to many other newer games that had pages worth of reviews.

I figured then that I'll review some of my favorite games for fun, and to gather my thoughts on them to compare and contrast their differences. This being the base of most of those that I'll pursue soon, I figured that this is the one I should start with.

The summary of the game is

Components = 8
Rules Presentation = 7
Gameplay = 7
Personal Tilt = 10
Replayability = 6
Useability = 7

Final Score = 7.5

I figured it would score better, but then being frank about how it ranks compared to other games, it seems it isn't as high in rank as I would have hoped. Nevertheless, my personal opinion of it stays unchanged as you will see on my Personal Tilt of the Game.

Components - This game is great for components. The map is large and there are literally hundreds of small plastic figures that represent the different armies you can use. It also has plastic portions for the factories and anti-aircraft cannons. The chips that you use to represent stacks of armies are like small poker chips and actually quite durable. It has standard dice, and nice cardboard counters to represent nations which have been taken over by other nations. There are only two minor complaints on the components. The first is that the cardboard counters/chits were nice quality back when they were made, but compared to such fare as Mayfair games now, are on the lower end of quality. The other is that even with how large the map is, and how roomy it is, you can have certain areas get crowded quickly, to the point where you don't seem to have enough room. They rectified this with most areas that were most likely to experience this, with rectangular areas around the board to put extra pieces, but certain areas unexpectedly get tons of pieces at times that don't have enough room. Overall due to the extra spaces on the edge of the board built into the game itself, it is a minor complaint, but something worth noting.

It scores an 8.

Rules Presentation - The rules can be a little confusing to the first time player. However, overall they are rather straightforward, and have some pictures to bring out the mood of the era. Unfortunately it's a lot of rules for an introductory wargame, and it can feel overwhelming to the novice player. To the experienced boardgamer first coming to the game however, it should be pretty lite fare and easy to understand. There are some flaws, and the rules aren't as pretty as they could be, but the get the job done and present the game in a nice way.

It scores a 7.

Gameplay - The game starts with the obvious two sides of World War two, the Axis and the Allies. The Axis are composed of two empires, that of Germany and that of Japan. The Allies are based off of three nations and their relative areas of control, that of the US, that of England, and the of Russia. This means that between 2 to 5 players can play in the game, though it works best with 2, each taking a side, 3 with 2 taking a side of the Axis and one of the Allies. When more play on the Allies side, there tends to be one of them that ends up not doing much for a lot of the game, though it can change throughout dependant on what events have occurred.

Each player has a set up on the board with a certain amount of forces and factories in each nation for the pregame. Each player also gets a certain amount of money to spend on research, or building up forces.

With the turn order of Russia, then Germany, the the UK, then Japan, and then the US, each in turn decides whether to do research for some special abilities that add to their capacity to wage war, or buy new forces varying from infantry to battleships to bombers (and more).

They then decide upon where to move their troops, and combat takes place.

Combat is relatively simple, with all forces striking at the same time, however rolls are normally accomplished with the aggressor rolling first and then the defender. Each unit has a set amount they have to roll under (also determined by whether they are defending or attacking, for example infantry are much better to defend than to attack). For ever roll that succeeds, the enemy loses a unit.

If all the enemy units are eliminated from an area, you gain that area along with any economic benefits that go along with it. Each area is worth so many economic points in monetary value. This determines how much funds you get each turn, as well as how far towards victory you are.

Hence gameplay is simple, direct, and yet adds a sense of complexity with the different units fighting power, and a few different types of movement abilities each unit has.

Great for introducing a wargamer, or good for experienced gamers. However, it is a little simple for the experienced wargamer, is a LOT of luck based rolling for those who like less chance, and have some older mechanics. I love the gameplay, but overall, it's not for everyone.

It scores above average at a 7.

Personal Tilt - I love this game. It's one of the games that just appeals to me. I enjoy many Lite Strategic Wargames, and it's to this game that normally I compare them to determine just how high on my list they rate. It's a great game that I completely enjoy. So obviously my tilt on it is probably out of wack with the rest of the universe. My personal tilt on this game is it's a great game.

It scores a 10.

Replayability - This game is okay for replayability, but when looking at it objectively, it's not a great game for playing over and over again. I CAN play it over and over again, but for many it would just create a tendancy for boredom eventually. Since the board is preset there's only so many different ways to go before you've played them all, and it's only when chance intervenes that variations and surprises occur. Great game, but only about an average in replayability.

It scores a 6.

Useability - As stated before, this game can be played from anywhere from 2 to 5 players. It is a fun intro game for those who haven't played wargames, simple enough for those who only want a taste, and deep enough to keep normal wargamers occupied (even if they are dreaming of deeper and heavier games). Overall it's above average for replayability, however, it takes a long time and once played, some may not wish to play it all that much. My wife unfortunately is one of those. It normally evolves to equal play times where I play a game or several games with her in order for her to consider playing A&A with me. In that light, it's not a perfect game for replayability either, even if it is slightly above average.

It scores a 7.

Overall, I love this game and this gamestyle, however despite how much I enjoy the game, it doesn't score that perfect 10 that I would hope. There are other games that score better. It's an above average game that has held up to the test of time.

It's amazing, this game started as a normal wargame, though introductory intent, with the full chits and other wargame accessories. Then picked up by Milton Bradley as one of it's premiere games, being in the Gamemaster lineup, it was beefed up in components with plastic and this great board. Now, revised and getting ready for it's anniversary edition (will review the revised soon), the original and this version both hold up well to the test of time.

It's final score is a 7.5

(For reference, link to explanation of my game ratings )
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Robert Wesley
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Then you're a "brazenly manny" than 'moi' on THIS "Gungho DIN!" laugh
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