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Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: There and Back Again rss

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Carl Forhan
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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My son has been waiting a long time to turn 10... because he knew I would teach him Axis & Allies! He was so excited, he wanted me to start playing a game on his birthday a couple weeks ago, so we did. Now, 14 days later, the game is finished. I was Axis, my 10-year-old son was Allies. I gave him some coaching through the game to help him not miss obvious choices and shore up his defenses, but he played a lot of it on his own.

Here are my thoughts on the Anniversary edition, from a fan who has played dozens of the original MB version but skipped past the 2004 Revised version. It's been a long time since I played any form of A&A, but this was a welcome return to an updated classic.

Components
* Like the unique unit sculps (tanks, etc.) per power
* Don't mind the segmented board, but wish the board was thicker / less prone to warping. Would have paid another $10 for this, but instead I bought a 2'x4' sheet of plexiglass for $40.
* Really like the component trays
* Rulebook has a great layout and is generally not hard to read or look up rules (although one rule on subs regarding amphibious assaults was not contained in the sub unit description, which made it tough to find)
* Not enough territory tokens for Japan; I ran out and started using damage markers instead! And that's with Japan focusing on Asia and doing very little in NA or near Australia.

Set up
* Skipped the National Objectives and Tech Research to make a simpler game
* Used the 1941 set up
* Lots of territories and sea zones now... very easy to forget to place a piece here or there
* Wish one of the set ups (1941 or 1942) would have had units pre-printed on the board, but realize that would have gotten cluttered fast

Gameplay
* Like the new cheaper cost on units. Now it's actually possible -- even likely -- that several battleships will be built.
* Like the new navy units, but not sure they needed a destroyer and a cruiser. Ditching the cruiser would have been fine with me. Plus, cruisers and destroyers are really hard to tell apart for most powers!
* Like the new sub rules except for one part: enemy fleets can end their movement in the same space as a sub, and the enemy fleet can choose to ignore the sub and still conduct an amphibious assault. But other than that, Germany can now build subs with no threat of aerial retribution from GB/USA.
* Subs are really wimpy on defense. Defensive subs are merely the fodder that transports used to be.
* Thought I was going to hate transports with 0 defense and "choose last for losses" rules, but actually enjoyed it. You really have to build a navy now, not just a mass of transports. And the cheaper unit costs means you can build a defensible fleet for 30 IPC or so.
* Artillery are a nice option and priced right, but we rarely built them. Tanks are sooo much faster at getting to the front!
* In original A&A, wasn't it true that "starting factories" had unlimited build potential for the owner? I didn't see that in the new rules, and thus Russia was limited to only 2 units per turn in Karelia. I think it still worked OK, but want to make sure I didn't miss a rule somewhere.
* Was very surprised that both the USA and GB had a small fleet left in the Atlantic after turn 1. Germany simply couldn't reach all the ships, so I think this will be a common occurrence in the 1941 setup.
* Liked Italy as a new player, but obviously its role is small. Italy needs to take Africa and protect its small but strong fleet to keep North Africa secure. The best part (for Axis) is that Italy can be used to counter an Allied one-two punch on France by beefing it up with more infantry or even mounting a small counter-attack on France if lost.
* Liked the new China rules and territories. Yeah, it's not much, and they wisely avoided making it a true stand-alone player, but I could see China hold its own against a moderate Japan player. At least for the first 5-6 rounds.
* No economic victory? We called the game even though the Axis didn't have 13 victory cities, because Japan and Germany combined were about 80 IPCs, plus Italy was another 18 IPCs or so.
* Strategic Bombing Runs are cool. You can ignore the first one or two runs if they roll low damage, but pretty soon the damage markers stack up, and you have to spend lots of IPCs to recover. Germany spent 6-8 IPC per turn on several occasions just to bring the damage below 5 markers total!

Overall, we had a great time with this. I (the Axis) did defeat the Allies, but it was a hard-fought war all the way. As soon as we got done, my son asked "Can we play it again?" The sign of a great game.
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Just Another User
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All industrial complexes (starting or added later) can only build new units up to the value of the territory; you read it correctly.
 
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Ethan Van Vorst
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Spencer
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I've had the Anniversary Edition for 1 1/2 months now and haven't played it yet. Motivating my group to play is pretty rough...they'd love this incarnation if they got their hands on it though. Excellent review!
 
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