Well finally bought my first Axis and Allies game other then the first one today at a local game store for $35 and was greatly disappointed with its design and structure, first off the game only lasts 8 turns, pity about that, secondly the pieces make me scared they will snap in two (the German Flak Guns), the "storage tray" and I use the word lightly is a disappointment (I like the Styrofoam trays from the first game), now I keep asking myself why this game is so much when it offers so little, because of the name, Avalon Hill AKA Wizards of the Coast AKA Hasbro are playing us players like fools by offering little for a high price knowing die hard fans like us will pay a lot for these games.
Well I'd say, going from Classic to Bulge is like changing from driving your old school bike to a bus without going through the middle steps.
For instance, the styrofoam trays, Classic is the only game that has them (and everyone has complained since them about their absence. The 88s may look fragile but they have existed since Revised (2004) and they are sturdier than they seem - never had one break. Keep an eye for your German/American trucks though - those are the rarer pieces to replace if you lose them.
But this are all little details. IMHO, Bulge is a great game if you learn how to enjoy it, because the game mechanics are completely different from the main A&A games and that's it's value. It is a shorter game (8 rounds) without much variety (stop the Germans or lose) but learning how to run the combat/supply phases and achieve your objectives is very challenging and fun for both sides. On a typical A&A game each country plays in turns while here you have initiative in the combat phases and both sides alternate their attacks, so you need to be able to determine what are the most important ones.
But like I said, you did a huge change going from Classic to Bulge, without getting familiar with many of the changes that the series has suffered since Classic. Above all, look at Bulge as if it is a completely different game than Classic (which is, it merely has the A&A logo and its pieces) and if you clear your mind of expectations/ comparisons about it then you might enjoy.