I continue to play classic as it is used in a summer historical gaming program that I teach in. The 6th through 10th graders pick up the rules pretty quickly, and generally we can play enough in the time alloted to determine a probable winner. We have just purchased the 2004 edition, and after my initial review of the game, we might work some aspects, mainly the destroyer into the Classic game rules.
I am not a fan of the new board, as it looks depressing, and the though of staring at it for several hours over a 5 day period is even more depressing. The use of victory cities makes the game much more complicated for a beginning gamer, while the classic game of focusing on the capital simplifies the game greatly and clarifies what each players objectives are. I am not a fan of the National Advantages either, especially as some of them are incorrect historically, and it one case, totally wrong.
All of the weapons development focuses on increasing attack capabilities, nothing increases the defense capabilitiesl. By the end of the war, with the development of the Hedgehog and Squid antisubmarine projectiles, and use of larger depth charge patterns, the Allies were killing over half of the subs attacked, and aircraft were using sonobuoys, homing torpedoes, and Magnetic Anamoly Detection gear to locate and attack submerged subs.
There is no consideration of the proximity fuze used by the US and UK from 1943 on, which drastically increased the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire, to the degree that between intercepting fighters and anti-aircraft fire, the Japanese were taking losses of 90% of their aircraft in conventional attacks. Also, the British and the US shared all information relating to radar with each other during the war, so if the British get to use radar for their antiaircraft, so should the US. Also, radar allowed for far better positioning of intercepting fighters, so in theory, your fighters should be able to defend at 5 with radar, rather than 4.
Japanese tanks were not exactly potent, to say the least, yet Japanese tanks have the same attack as the Sherman, T34, or Panther. The Allies loved to see a Banzai charge, as the normal casualty exchange ratio started at 10 to 1 and at times hit 700 to 0 (Merrill’s Marauders in Burma).
The Germans did attempt to use the Stuka in the Battle of Britain as a strategic bomber. After one week, it was withdrawn because of heavy losses. When they tried again with fighters later, the British had a field day shooting them down, and German fighters never had the range to really attack anything significant in Britain.
Overall, I do not regard the Revised Edition of the game as an improvement over the Classic edition. We will likely incorporate the destroyer into the classic rules, most likely using the destroyer rules from Axis and Allies Pacific. The units will also prove useful in expanding the Axis and Allies Europe game to five players, and for my expansion of the Pacific game, as we will now be able to distinguish between Indian and Australian units, or use the odd color of the UK units for the Dutch.