I got the original Axis & Allies board game when I was the perfect age for such a game: old enough to understand the rules, and young enough to have a lot of free time to play it with friends or solo. That original game became played out after many rounds and results and as an adult I found myself enjoying the more detailed Pacific and Europe versions instead.
But when I heard the old original had been updated with new rules and extra units (Destroyers and Artillery!) the urge to revisit the game was strong and for Christmas my wife bought me the game and I coerced Andrew, another early adopter of the original game, into playing me this past weekend.
Note: if you haven't played the original Axis & Allies, this post is not for you.
The first thing we noticed different was the map changes. A lot of sea zones had been added to slow down movement of ships and planes, and a few land zone changes in Europe and Africa would vastly change the ground war there.
We randomly picked sides and I winced a little as I got the harder Axis forces. I prefer defence in strategy games and knew that Andrew was my superior in taking apart offensive strategies. Still, I gamely setup and pondered how I would approach dealing with Russia and UK in Europe, and the American navy in the Pacific.
Another game changer: Soviet Union has the first turn! In the original, Germany got to go first giving them a step up in the attack. In this version, the Soviets were able to go on the offensive and take out my lead units. I tried to mount a counterattack but found I was always short infantry and tanks for the rest of the game despite purchasing almost nothing but those units.
I tried to make an attack in Africa, but despite battleship bombardment and outnumbering the British 2 to 1, my landing was repulsed and on the UK turn Andrew brought in the Indian Ocean navy to crush my hopes of Mediterranean Sea logistics. I retaliated next turn by putting his Atlanitic ocean transports to the bottom of the sea, but it was a short reprieve as the Soviets continued to push into German territory and roll back the waves of Volkstrurm and Panzers I poured at him.
By sending the British Indian navy fleet to the Mediterrean, Andrew gave up India to the Japanese (another game changer: victory is determined by controlling 9 out of 12 cities on the map, India containing one of them) and I did the standard "Pearl Harbour" attack. I made some progress in the land war in Asia, but a smart move by Andrew to eliminate my transports followed by a disasterous attack against the Soviets from Manchuria crippled my efforts and at one point I had no territory in Asia proper. I remedied that quickly but the lost turn was enough to ensure that Japan's days were numbered, especially after Andrew's fourth D-Day assault on Western Europe finally had enough forces to actually hold it.
I conceded at this point (actually, I admitted defeat a long time ago but we played on because we were having fun seeing how the Pacific theater would evolve) and moved on to some games of Panzer General which Andrew covers here.
I'm not sure what happened in Europe. I was on the back foot early and never recovered. I'd love to switch roles and see how Andrew plays the situation.
Next time Anderson! *shakes fist*
EDIT: Added images.