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Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A negative review..... rss

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Michael Ornelles
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First, let me start by saying my friends and I have always loved Axis &Allies even buying multiple copies and creating our own mapboards and house rules. I have played and enjoyed Axis & Allies for many years.

That being said, I have to say I was VERY Disappointed by the 50th Anniversary Edition.

First of all, the minis are very poor quality when compared to the old pieces. The ships in particular are nearly impossible to tell apart and the subs, well, they have a tough time even staying upright and are so thin one would think a hair fell out of someone's head onto the playing board. The artillery pieces are way too small and there are not nearly enough pieces contained in the set so you are forced to use poker chips for everything. I felt like taking my micro armor pieces and Airfix soldiers and using them instead!

The map board, while improved in the way territories are laid out, is also of poor quality.It's very thing and in 3 pieces so you are going to have to mount it if you intend to play this game with any frequency. I am not sure that the earthscape really adds any value and most of my gaming group said they prefered color schemes by nation for territories.

Next, Karelia can only produce 2 units? At a starting factory! Russia is pretty tough to hold now even with allied help and the American's can hardly get into the game at all and make a difference in time. I did not have a very good impression of this game or its components and after 3 plays now I wish I would have spent my money on another title like Europe engulfed......

I know there are a great many positive reviews for the game but I have to be honest and I really WANTED to like this game. I keep thinking I could have bought 2 or maybe 3 good games with the money I plunked down to get this stinker!
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Jim Patching
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mjornelles wrote:


First of all, the minis are very poor quality when compared to the old pieces.


But .... the minis are exactly the same as the other versions of Axis and Allies. Well, unless you're talking about the old MB version, but I'd be suprised if you thought they were better. I mean, each to his own and everything, but the old MB version had the same sculpts for each nation and those scultps didn't look like World War II era vehicles. The new version has nation specific pieces that are based on real vehicles.
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Leo Zappa
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You're not serious, right? The minis are the sames ones as used in A&A Revised, plus new nifty cruiser minis, and include use of new minis for Brit tanks, and incorporation of German Me-109 and Panther tank minis from A&A Battle of the Bulge, which are excellent minis. You can't possibly be thinking that the generic and poorly molded minis from the old original A&A are better than the ones used in Revised, and now in Anniversary?

As for the map, it includes new territories and a far better color scheme than Revised, and much better than the cartoonish original. Yeah, the three part board would have been better had it been a one-piece tri-fold, but with the use of inexpensive binder clips that you can get from any office supply store, the three pieces stay together quite nicely.

As for values of territories, well, I don't know what to say other than that the game appears to be the most balanced, finely-tuned version of A&A to ever be published, so I think the territory values are probably fine.

A negative review is one thing, and I suppose no one's opinion can be "wrong", but this review just seems like a rant on some personal preferences regarding some of the game components, and at least in the case of the minis, a somewhat misguided rant. How these quibbles amount to declaring the game a "stinker" is beyond me, but to each his own.
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Jeff Khoury
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The board color scheme is awful. It's very hard to see the borders on several key territories in eastern Europe/Russia.
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Count Ringworm
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mjornelles wrote:

Next, Karelia can only produce 2 units? At a starting factory! Russia is pretty tough to hold now even with allied help and the American's can hardly get into the game at all and make a difference in time.


i'm not sure that you're playing this correctly.

in the original A&A, starting factories were not bound by the territory's IPC limitation for their home country, ie. Russia can produce as much as it wants in karelia. only conquering nations get the penalty.

this may have changed for the newer versions, i haven't played them, but i'd be very surprised if it did.
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Leo Zappa
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Ringworm wrote:
mjornelles wrote:

Next, Karelia can only produce 2 units? At a starting factory! Russia is pretty tough to hold now even with allied help and the American's can hardly get into the game at all and make a difference in time.


i'm not sure that you're playing this correctly.

in the original A&A, starting factories were not bound by the territory's IPC limitation for their home country, ie. Russia can produce as much as it wants in karelia. only conquering nations get the penalty.

this may have changed for the newer versions, i haven't played them, but i'd be very surprised if it did.


No - he's right. Since Revised, the maximum number of units produced by a factory each turn is equal to the IPC value of the territory in which the factory is located, including starting factories.

I still think the Russians can be held successfully despite this, but it takes good play on the part of the Russian player, and aggressive action by the UK and US to distract the Germans.
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Jim Patching
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Ringworm wrote:
mjornelles wrote:

Next, Karelia can only produce 2 units? At a starting factory! Russia is pretty tough to hold now even with allied help and the American's can hardly get into the game at all and make a difference in time.


i'm not sure that you're playing this correctly.

in the original A&A, starting factories were not bound by the territory's IPC limitation for their home country, ie. Russia can produce as much as it wants in karelia. only conquering nations get the penalty.

this may have changed for the newer versions, i haven't played them, but i'd be very surprised if it did.


He is playing it right. In this edition, the build limit for all factories is determined by the value of the space. It does make it tricky to defend Karelia as you can only 'spawn' 2 re-inforcements per go. On the other hand, that means Germany can only produce 2 units there if they capture it. It's also pretty easy for the UK to strike at this territory.
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Greg Low
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mjornelles wrote:
First of all, the minis are very poor quality when compared to the old pieces. The ships in particular are nearly impossible to tell apart
It was easier to tell the ships apart when there were only battleships, subs, aircraft carriers and transports, but I like the addition of destoryers and crusiers.

mjornelles wrote:
there are not nearly enough pieces contained in the set so you are forced to use poker chips for everything.
I'll agree that there were too few pieces and too few chips too.

mjornelles wrote:
The map board, while improved in the way territories are laid out, is also of poor quality.
Hmm... I find that strange. My AA50 board is thicker and heavier than any previous edition. Personally I like the lack of folding due to durability, but that's just my preference.

mjornelles wrote:
I am not sure that the earthscape really adds any value and most of my gaming group said they prefered color schemes by nation for territories.
Agreed. I think topographic, rather than political colors may have been due to having the 1941 & 1942 scenarios, but I'm with you. I like the national colors better.

mjornelles wrote:
Karelia can only produce 2 units?
Yes, but the map has changed dramatically since the MB days. Karelia is no longer the gateway/expressway to Moscow. Notice that Karelia and Moscow no longer share a border.

The factory limits are a great change, and notice that the limit also affects Germany, both in Karelia and at home. There have been many changes, and factory limits (from Revised) have been a good one.

mjornelles wrote:
I keep thinking I could have bought 2 or maybe 3 good games with the money I plunked down to get this stinker!
Simple fix. Sell it.

-Greg
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Ryan Hanson
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I agree that not enough chips were included in the game. I also agree that the naval ships can be very difficult to tell apart.

Apart from these two relatively minor component issues, I completely disagree with the rest of your review. You barely touch the gameplay, and most of your other componenent complaints are more a matter of taste. I don't think the game was ever designed with the intention of using figures for every unit in play, it just isn't feasible to play without the chips. If you want to use 3rd party miniatures to be able to do this then go ahead but don't complain the game developers didn't deliver on a promise they never made.

Your one gameplay comment on the production limit for industrial complexes seems misinformed. This is a great addition to the gameplay and is crucial to the new strategic bombing system. It forces more strategic decisions on the players and is more consistent and simple than the original rules which required exceptions for captured ICs, etc.

I appreciate anyone taking the time to write a genuine review and I am sorry you found the game disappointing, but it sounds like your expectations were off quite a bit from what the game is trying to deliver.
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Count Ringworm
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desertfox2004 wrote:
[No - he's right. Since Revised, the maximum number of units produced by a factory each turn is equal to the IPC value of the territory in which the factory is located, including starting factories.


ah, interesting. that really changes some dynamics then. i have a copy of the old MB edition sitting in the basement, untouched for years. these changes, though, are piquing some renewed interest.
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Moshe Callen
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I also have to totally disagree. Mind,I'm of the old school A&Aers and have said elsewhere that I prefer the original over Revised. So I am hardly just jumping on the new band-wagon but this game seems to me to appeal to old school fans like myself and fans of Revised as well.

If you genuinely are that disappointed, I would sell or trade away the game perhaps but frankly I don't think you sound like you've given it a genuine chance-- whatever you say to the contrary.

1. Some fans feel the Axis start out too powerful, the Allies too weak and some the exact opposite. So, this game has two scenarios-- one for each of these.
2. Pieces are like Revised but I don't see your case they're not as nice. Again, I'm known to prefer the original over Revised but I can't claim it's due to the quality of the pieces.
3. Limiting builds IS annoying until you get used to it if you're used to playing the old way. I don't think it's better or worse but it is different.

Still I've gotten lambasted in past for a negative review and didn't like it. I just disagree but I think I'd have given you a more favorable hearing if the review were more detailed and thorough.

edit: lots of typos
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Lawrence Gamehappy
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I have to agree and disagree. I hate the new board. I think that the cartoonish colors and attempt at clouds and mtz were what made MB the Easy see-able board.

The games pieces have not changed But the differences between bumps on the ship makes identification almost impossible for older eyes.

While I have played only once I have written a better china Version than this too realistic 40th china. Yet teh Italians are an improvement.

And some of the rules changes are a little strange with subs/destoyers. But the IPC bombing is great. I guess the game has pro's and cons for everybody.

But I can tell you I'm not paying 80-120 for it!!

OH M G!!
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Michael Ornelles
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I never said I did not like the gameplay. Perhaps the United States has been watered down a tad bit...it seemed like they could never really get into the mix quickly enough in the games we played but that actually balanced things out. I never thought that having country specific mini's really added much to the game..as long as the pieces are good quality and different colors that's all I need. You can't seriously hold up the pieces & board from the 80's version and then the ones from the new one and say they are of equal quality and production value.... I like the fact that more territories have been added and the IPC values adjusted. I think most true fans would pay almost anything to get this version (and are if you see the prices it fetches on ebay) and wouldn't mind paying for a better board and pieces. Gameplay is more a matter of the rules which I admit have been improved but tweaking rules doesn't add to much cost to produce the game...the real cost is in the mini's and board. I don't expect a game to be perfect in all areas but to me those parts I critized just jumped out right off the bat. I have sold the game so PLEASE stop sening emails requesting to buy it. Wow, it's just an opinion I wanted to put out so people who have NOT bought the game can get another opinion and make an informed judgement. Well, I have to go because a mob of axis and allies fans with torches is coming up to my castle........
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Ludwig Nijholt
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mjornelles wrote:
I did not have a very good impression of this game or its components and after 3 plays now I wish I would have spent my money on another title like Europe engulfed......


That is a good game indeed.

I must say - after conferring with my bro and discussing first impressions, mainly off BGG, we decided not to buy this one - that it looks quite a bit like World at War, which first introduced Italy and cruiser/destroyertype ships (originally called "1/2 battleships"). So it looks like A&A did take a look at existing variants for the Anniversary Edition.

On a different note: if anyone is interested, a modified rules set, entitled 7 Ages - Axis and allies variant 1.0 has just been approved and can be downloaded here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/41943. (What it does, basically, is apply the World at War rules to the map of 7 Ages, with some modifications, mostly to account for map variations, as the map included with 7 Ages is even bigger than the WaW map.)
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While I don't necesarily agree with your points, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to write up a review on a game that you were disappointed by, and pointing out what you didn't care for. It's always good to hear a variety of views.
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Klaus Brune
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Just wanted to add a quick note to let you know that there are others who agree with your take on the components.

Yes, there's something to be said for game pieces that are miniatures that replicate actual military units from the era... but NOT when it is at the expense of game play. If I hadn't bought it online, this would have gone back to the store ASAP. And I'm referring to ALL the Avalon Hill versions here... I'm beginning to think that Avalon Hill should stick to cardboard counters.

Even though the newer units are missing, the old Milton Bradley edition had much better playability just because of the component design. I mean, the subs alone in the new set were so annoying, I found myself wondering if anyone even bothered to play-test this thing before it went to market.

And let's not forget the unit reference cards. Lots of great new graphics. Too bad that the charts are now practically impossible to READ. In the unlikely even that I ever want to actually introduce people to this game, I'm going to have to print my own charts. While I'm at it, I may as well build the rest of the game, too.
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Michael Ornelles
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I agree with you...I think that Hasbro is the culprit. They have a track record of poor quality. Remember when they tried to do the computer version of Axis & Allies? It was so full of bugs the game barely worked and then instead of fixing the bugs they came out with another edition in an effort to grab more money. What Hasbro has done to the good name of Avalon Hill is a travesty! I wish some other company had purchased the rights and actually done some quality remakes/updates. I own many older Milton Bradley games from the 60's and 70's and the parts are still holding up well today! That shows the committment to quality. I would rather pay more for a game knowing the components were high quality and going to last. Let's just keep getting the word out and support those companies that make quality products and respect their consumers and don't try to make a quick buck off of them without providing value in return.
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Matt Jones
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The only issue I had with the components was determining the differences between the cruiser and destroyer units. At first, this was quite irritating but once you play a couple of games and get used to the designs it's actually pretty difficult to mess things up. For those who still might have difficulty telling the units apart my suggestion would be to add a little paint (or other type of markup). That said, sure the pieces could have been designed to be a little easier to differentiate and they may not be the highest quality components ever produced -- but to state that it absolutely ruins the game smacks of protesting too much.

Frankly, I think some of the negative reviews on here are knee-jerk reactions based on a single play session -- a plague that is all too common on these boards (for various games). In this case, it was probably a session that was littered with rules confusion, unit misidentification and banana hands that couldn't properly balance a submarine when placing it down on the board.

I've played every version of A&A over the years and AE is by far my favourite rendition of the game. It's disappointing that this wonderful game is so expensive to pick up (another reason gamers have been jaded) but I'm certainly glad that I did. As always, your mileage may vary.
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