Friday, November 15, 2013



Axis and Allies is a strategy game set in World War 2 that can be played with 2 – 5 players, or more depending on the version you get.  This is a game that has been around for a long time (first released in 1981) and has spawned many different variations.  If the board game Risk and the video game Command and Conquer had a child, it would be Axis and Allies.
Although there are many different versions of the game available, they all play basically the same.  You start by choosing a country (or alliance) that was one of the major players in World War 2.  Turns then go in a predetermined order and consist of the player first spending their money on new units, research, or building repair, fighting any enemy units to try and take their space, moving any other units for strategic positioning, and finally collecting money at the end of their turn.  Combat is solved by dice roll, but is also much more complex than that.  Each unit has an attack, defense, and movement rating.  Hits on opposing unit are only achieved by rolling the appropriate number on the dice.  Certain units can also give other units a bonus.  This is where the strategy of the game really shines.  You have to be constantly thinking numerous turns ahead to try and decide what units or upgrades to buy, and how to move your units to give you the best possible advantage over your opponents.  You can also strategize with your allies to try and divide your opponent’s troops.  Setup of the game can take about 20 minutes or so, due to the number of units each country starts with and the different types.  Depending on the experience of the players, the randomness of the dice rolls, and the strategic positioning of the pieces in the game, at minimum it may take a few hours to play.  I have personally been involved in a game that took over 8 hours.  No matter the length of the game, players are never bored.  The strategy involved make the game very engaging and keep you involved even when it is not your turn.
Due to the strategy involved, the starting setup, and the number of unique units, this game is fairly complex.  The first play through will be slow because players are learning the stages of the turn, the different interactions of the units, and trying to decide the best course to take for victory.  The rule book that comes with the game is very thorough, and the official Axis and Allies website offers a comprehensive FAQ section for rules that may be unclear. 
Axis and Allies offers high replayability due to the randomness of the game and the strategy involved.  Each country has unique strengths and weaknesses, so playing as a different country will offer an entirely new perspective on the game, and will allow you to experience the game in a new way.   This is one game that the more you play, the better you become. 
This game really works hard to capture the feel of the chess match that World War 2 was, and I feel it does a very good job.  The countries involved do a great job in demonstrating the strengths and weaknesses of those powers during the war (Britain has a strong naval fleet and air force, Germany comes out very strong and fast, USA builds up slowly but has a powerful late game).  The game does a good job in depicting the units that the countries would have used, including giving the player access to infantry, tanks, artillery, bombers, submarines, battleships, as well as allowing you to build air and naval bases, anti-aircraft guns, and industrial complexes.  The figures are beautifully crafted and really help to add to the experience of the game.

Unfortunately I feel like this game’s strengths are also some of its biggest weaknesses.  People can get intimidated at the complexity and game length, but I urge you not to let those things discourage you.  Overall I think this game is one of the best board games to ever come out.  If you love games that are complex, strategic, and long then you will love this game.  This is the perfect game for anyone who is a fan of the board game Risk, or the video game Command and Conquer.  I highly recommend this game and will be putting a new version on my Christmas list this year.