Evolution of Axis & Allies pieces – Take 2


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    AXIS & ALLIES PACIFIC – Released 2001
    The next game put out by Avalon Hill/WOTC was a Pacific Theater version of the game with the United States and United Kingdom facing off against Japan. This game also had China represented to a small amount, basically represented by Russian Infantry sculpts in red or dark brown, depending on the version of the game that you got.
    Early versions of this game came out with Japanese units sculpted in bright red color. These versions also had an incorrect piece count on the box cover (345). Later versions of this game came out with Japanese pieces sculpted in a dark or “burnt” orange color which has lasted to the current style. The piece count on the box of this version was also corrected (335).
    The Chinese Infantry that came with the early versions were dark brown. When they changed to orange Japanese, the Chinese Infantry became bright red.
    UK pieces in both versions of this game were molded in a dark tan color. I think this was done to make them represent Australian and Indian forces of the greater British Empire. Some have suggested this would be a good color to go with for Australian units or Indian units that might be put out by FMG or HBG in the future.
    US pieces were put out in a light olive green, which seems to be the overall standard for US pieces in just about all A&A games.
    The US did get 2 extra units not provided to UK or Japan: an F6F Hellcat fighter sculpt meant to be used for carrier based fighters while the P-38s were to be used for land based fighters. Otherwise, they operated like any other fighter for game purposes.
    Also, the US had a Marine Infantry sculpt in a brighter green color from the olive color of the rest of the US pieces. Some have called it Forest Green. US Marine Infantry cost 4 IPCs and could attack @2 in Amphibious Assaults.

    A&A Pacific.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES REVISED – Released March 2004
    Finally, Avalon Hill came out with what is basically a replacement for Classic. A world-level game involving all five major powers of WW2: United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Germany and Japan.
    The map was somewhat different from Classic and some of the rules were different as well. In addition to the new units, destroyers and artillery, many of the other rules were somewhat refined, probably making the game somewhat more complex than the original.
    As for the pieces, there seems to have been a number of different versions of this game. The most drastic differences occurred with the German and British pieces.
    In some early editions, German pieces were molded in a medium grey color and British pieces were molded in a light green color, sometimes referred to as sea-foam green and celery green.
    In later editions, the German pieces went to a very dark grey, moving closer to black, and the British pieces were molded in a light tan color that seemed to have a very slight touch of pink in it. Not like the salmon color of Europe, but just enough that they do not look like a pure tan color.
    Also, the German tank piece seems to have underwent a number of changes. Some games had long, skinny Panthers while others had Panthers that were a little shorter and wider. The wider version does look better in my opinion.
    Russian pieces came out in Maroon, Japanese pieces in Burnt Orange and US pieces in bright Olive Green. Actual sculpts did not change from Europe or Pacific.
    (On a personal note, I like the medium grey color and wish WOTC would have stayed with that. I think it’s better for representing German combat units.)

    A&A Revised 1.JPG
    A&A Revised 2.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES D-DAY – Released June 2004
    This time WOTC released a much smaller level game. It only covers the Normandy landing area and game mechanics are quite different from the world level and theater level games. First, it has a set number of rounds (10) in which the Allies must acheive their objectives to win the game. If the Germans can keep the Allies from doing so, it is considered a German victory. Also, you do not purchase units with IPCs. Rather you have a set number of reinforcements and once they are gone, that’s all you get. However, the game is designed so neither side will run out of units before the end of round 10.
    The pieces in this game came out in interesting colors. In some versions, the British were a very light, off-white color normally referred to as “Blonde”. The Germans came out in what appears to be a very dark blue color. US pieces were still a bright olive green.
    Later versions of the game had the British in more of a light beige color, similar to their current color, and German pieces back to dark grey, like later versions of Revised.
    One special pieces included in this game was the German Blockhouse piece, used to represent the fortifications that Germany built along the coast to repel an Allied invasion.
    This game included NO naval units at all, just Air and Land forces for US and UK and just Land forces for Germany. The reason Germans didn’t get air units was to represent the overwhelming Allied air superiority in June 1944.

    A&A D-Day.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES BATTLE OF THE BULGE – Released November 2006
    This was another small level game with somewhat similar mechanics to D-Day. This game plays out the final German offensive against the Western Allies which took place in December, 1944, and was meant to drive a wedge between the American and British armies and eventually capture the crucial port town of Antwerp to deny it’s use by the Allies and stretch their supply lines. Strong American resistance and running out of fuel halted the German advance and this operation ended up being a big waste of men and material for Germany.
    In this game, like D-Day, you get a certain amount of reinforcements to work with. You also have to use Supply Tokens to move and attack. Germany has 8 rounds to gain 24 Victory points and win the game.
    As for the pieces, WOTC seems to have finally settled on final colors for the different countries. While most of the units involved in this game are German and US, there is a small amount of British units as they had some part in this action.
    German pieces are molded in black, UK pieces are molded in light tan and US pieces are molded in bright olive green. These colors are maintained up to 1942 second edition.
    The German tank was changed in appearance. It’s still a Panther, perhaps a later version with armor skirts. The German fighter was changed too. Now it is the Me-109.
    Two extra units included in this game are trucks for US and Germany. The US truck is a GMC 2 1/2 ton and the German truck is an Opel “Blitz” 3 ton.

    A&A BOTB.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES GUADALCANAL – Released November 2007
    This game is a small level game but is slightly larger than BOTB or D-Day. It covers the Solomon Islands chain and the tough struggle by the US to wrestle it away from Japan. The US and Japan are the only nations represented in this game.
    The game board has 6 islands. Each side tries to clear the sea zones of enemy navy, take control of these islands and build air bases on the islands. This game also has supply tokens, but they are used mostly to build the air fields. You gain victory points for each island under your control, for operational airfields under your control and for sinking enemy capital ships. The first side to get to 15 victory points wins the game.
    This game includes all the units found in Revised with the following exceptions:
    Neither side has tanks. Only land units are Infantry and Artillery.
    Both sides have nation colored Anti-Aircraft Guns (Green = US, Orange = Japan). AA Guns are treated somewhat differently in this game from previous games.
    Cruisers were added to the naval lineup. This is the FIRST A&A game to include Cruisers. On a funny note, a number of copies were sold with mis-molded Cruiser pieces. They had US Portland class cruisers in burnt orange and Japanese Takao class cruisers in olive green. People who got these simply had to call or e-mail WOTC and they were shipped new cruisers in the correct colors.

    A&A Guadalcanal.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES 50TH ANNIVERSARY GAME – Released October 2008
    This was a huge game meant to be the Flagship game of the Axis & Allies line. It was a world level game that introduced Italy as the 3rd Axis power and new rules for China with their own unique infantry sculpt. This game also had scenarios for 1941 and 1942 starts. The game rules and components were very good. The cardboard pieces, such as the battle board, IPC chart and control markers were of very high quality.
    However, when it came to the plastic sculpts, it was a big disappointment. Many pieces were badly warped, had a lot of excess “flash” or were even not fully molded. I have even heard stories of mis-molds, like British Matilda tanks molded in Italian brown.
    As for the sculpts, Britain did get their own tank in this game, the Matilda II.
    All nations got Cruisers now, although Russia simply got the British cruiser in maroon. Also, the German cruiser oddly had the aft end chopped off. I am guessing they wanted to make sure people didn’t confuse it with the German battleship. It is very strange looking to me.
    With Italy, while it is cool to have them in the game now, they didn’t do well in their sculpts. The Infantry was unique and so was the tank, which is a little Carro Armato M13/40. All of the naval units and the fighter piece were copies of German units. The artillery and bomber were actually Japanese sculpts. This mess was what caused Jeremy at FMG to first start the idea of the great FMG Italian Combat Units set released last year.

    A&A Anniversary 1.JPG
    A&A Anniversary 2.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES 1942 – Released August 2009
    This game is a much more basic game which was meant to replace Revised. It’s basically the same game - world level, major 5 nations involved. This game did not include the paper IPCs. It was a very stripped down version which made it possible for WOTC to offer it for a very low price, roughly $20 on the average at most places.
    With the plastic pieces, it looks as though WOTC learned their lesson with the poor quality of the pieces in Anniversary. These pieces were sculpted very nicely and were much better quality.
    One change is the Battleship piece. They are a little bigger than in previous versions and look much nicer. Also, the German cruiser piece is now molded correctly with a pointy aft end. Perhaps since the Battleship piece is bigger, they don’t think people will confuse the cruiser with the battleship anymore. Whatever the case, it is a welcome change.
    Also, Russia finally gets some of their own naval units. While they still share a carrier with the UK and sub and transport with the US, Russia now has their own Battleship, Cruiser and Destroyer pieces. The Battleship is the Gangut class, the Cruiser is the Kirov class and the Destroyer is the Gnevnyi class.
    Further changes included are the wings of the Russian Bomber, German Bomber and British Fighter. They are now flat across from tip to tip. Previous versions had the wings curved upward so the wingtips were higher than the wing roots. I personally think this new look is better. I wish they would apply it to the Russian and Japanese fighters too.
    A final change was to the Japanese Artillery. Now the towing/support braces are spread out like it is ready to be fired. Previous versions had the support braces closed together, like it was ready to be towed.

    A&A 1942 1e 1.JPG
    A&A 1942 1e 2.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES GLOBAL 1940 – Released, Pacific 1940 December 2009, Europe 1940 August 2010
    Now we get to the Axis & Allies SUPERGAME. While this consists of two seperate games, Pacific 1940 and Europe 1940, most people prefer to put them together to play the Global 1940 game. This is of course the most complex and involved Axis & Allies game to date, with many rules to add realism to the game, as well as two new units: the Tactical Bomber and Mechanized Infantry unit. This game also brings back Italy, has China in a more involved capacity and introduces two new powers: France and ANZAC (Australia/New Zealand Army Corps). The game starts just after the Allied evacuation at Dunkirk with Germany preparing to drive into France. So, in most games, poor France is pretty much out of the game in the first round, but it’s cool to get new pieces anyway.
    As for the new pieces, WOTC was kind of unimaginative. Still, while we may not get a lot of unit variety, it’s nice to have new powers added to the game.
    Italy now has ALL German units in Italian brown. Only the infantry is uniquely Italian.
    France has ALL Soviet units in French blue. Only the infantry unit is uniquely French (and looks pretty cool too).
    ANZAC has ALL British units in ANZAC grey, INCLUDING the infantry unit.
    The new Mechanized Infantry units are generally represented by Half-tracks. USA, UK and ANZAC use the US M-5 Halftrack. Russia and France use the ZIS-42 Halftrack. Germany, Japan and Italy use the SdKfz 251 Halftrack.
    The new Tactical Bombers are generally represented by dive bombers. USA uses the SBD Dauntless. UK and ANZAC uses the Dehaviland Mosquito. Russia and France use the IL-2 Sturmovik. Germany and Italy use the Junkers Ju-87 Stuka. Japan uses the Daishyi D3A Val.

    A&A Global 1940 1e 1.JPG
    A&A Global 1940 1e 2.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES 1941 – Released June 2012
    This game is a world level game like 1942 and Revised, but very stripped down and simplified. Many functions of the larger games have been deleted, such as SBRs, AA guns and shore bombardments. Also, the territory IPC values are much smaller to make calculating income easier and purchasing units much quicker. (Example: Eastern US in Global = 20 IPCs, 1942 = 12 IPCs, 1941 = 6 IPCs).
    This game was designed this way in hopes of bringing new people into the Axis & Allies world. Many people that might enjoy board games would be scared away from a game like 1942 or Revised because they are so involved with many rules. Also, these games tend to take several hours to play. As for a monster like Global 1940, forget about it! However, 1941 with it’s much simpler rules and a playing time of 2-3 hours may just interest some new people. Then perhaps after a few games of 1941, they may get a taste for A&A and want to try 1942 or one of the theater level games.
    1941 also came with all new sculpts, totally divorced from the regular A&A line. However, due to the simplicity of this game, not all the units are represented here. There are no artillery, Mech inf, Tac bombers or Cruisers. Only Infantry, Tanks, Fighters, Bombers, Aircraft Carriers, Battleships, Destroyers, Submarines and Tansports.
    To further the simplicity of this game, all three Allies share the same sculpts and both Axis share the same sculpts.
    Allied sculpts: Tank = IS-2, Fighter = P40, Bomber = Lancaster, Carrier = Kostromitinova, Battleship = HMS Hood, Destroyer = USS Sumner, Submarine = U Class, Transport = Fort Class
    Axis sculpts: Tank = Tiger, Fighter = Fw190, Bomber = He111, Carrier = Akagi, Battleship = Kongo, Destroyer = Akitzuki, Submarine = Kaichu Type, Transport = Yamazuki Maru

    A&A 1941.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES 1942 2ND EDITION – Released July 2012
    This game was released as a replacement to the first edition of 1942. Apparently it was felt some improvements were needed but it also provided them with the chance to introduce some new unit sculpts.
    One big rule change was with the Anti Aircraft guns. Alpha+3 for Global 1940 changed the way AA Guns are used in the game. Instead of being a permanent fixture that can fire an unlimited amount of times per gun, now each AA Gun can only fire up to 3 times and they can be taken as casualties in a battle in place of other defending units. They transferred this rule to the 1942 game and as a result, they also decided that each nation should have their own specific AA Artillery instead of the old standard piece (or cardboard marker) for everybody.
    So, with this game, each country gets a new Anti-Aircraft Artillery piece.
    Russia now gets their own Artillery (152mm Howitzer), Submarine (Srednyaya) and Transport (Baltic Timber Ship) piece.
    Germany gets a new Artillery (10,5cm LeFH 18) piece that is a true field artillery piece. This replaces the old 88mm Flak that had represented German Artillery up until now.
    England gets their own Artillery (Ordinance QF 25 pounder), Destroyer (Saumarez) and Submarine (Truculent) piece.

    A&A 1942 2e 1.JPG
    A&A 1942 2e 2.JPG


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    AXIS & ALLIES GLOBAL 1940 2ND EDITION – Released September 2012
    Finally, we have updates on the SUPERGAME of the Axis & Allies line. When Global 1940 first started being played after Europe 1940 was released in August 2010, gamers were finding there were problems with it. Basically, it was unbalanced. I believe most thought that the first version made it too hard for the Axis to win. So, Larry Harris came out with Alpha, the first revision of the setup and/or rules for Global 1940. While this fixed some problems, it didn’t fix all of them or new ones came up. Over the course of the next year or so, a number of revisions were put forth: Alpha, Alpha+, Alpha+1, Alpha+2… Some versions made it too hard on the Allies, others too hard on the Axis, so Larry kept tweaking it here and there. A couple of these Alphas actually had 2 or 3 versions under the same name. Finally came the version titled Alpha+3.9, which was considered as the final Alpha.
    So, WOTC decided to put out a whole new version of Europe 1940 and Pacific 1940. This 2nd Edition would include the latest rule changes, a number of changes to the gameboard to correct issues found in the first edition and even more new sculpts. Besides working in the new sculpts from 1942 2E, Italy and ANZAC get ALL UNIQUE sculpts of their own. One minor disappointment is poor France which is still stuck with all Soviet sculpts with only the Infantry being uniquely French. However, since Russia got a number of new sculpts, in a way so do the French. They are just new Soviet pieces in blue.
    ITALY: As stated, Italy got all Italian units now. Many of the sculpts are the same sculpts that were used by Field Marshal Games in their Italian set. While the WOTC pieces don’t look quite as nice as the FMG pieces, they are still nice and better than having German pieces in brown. Finally an Axis power gets a big, 4-engine bomber in the Piaggio P.108. They designated the SM.79 for the Italian Tac Bomber which seems like kind of a large plane for a Tac Bomber, but the piece looks really cool. Also, instead of a Halftrack for the mechanized infantry, they used a truck.
    ANZAC: As for the ANZAC sculpts, there has been much discussion as to if these are proper units to represent ANZAC forces. For instance, the fighter and tank it has been said were actually used very little or not at all by Austalian forces. As far as I’m concerned, since they are uniquely Australian, they are good for this game. As for the capital ships, it has been said neither of these ships were even near Australian waters in WW 2. Personally, I think that is nit-picking. ANZAC didn’t really have any capital ships of their own in WW2 so I think using British models that weren’t already used for UK ships is just fine.
    The only problem I have with ANY of the ANZAC sculpts would be the over-sized Infantry piece. I was at first excited that ANZAC was getting their own infantry piece until I got them and saw they were a full head bigger than any other infantry piece. I tried using them, but they just look weird on the board. I have went back to use the old ANZAC infantry with the new equipment sculpts.
    So, there we are, up to date for now. I have heard there is a WW1 A&A game in the works. I guess that will require a new update. Hope everyone enjoys these pics.

    A&A Global 1940 2e 1.JPG
    A&A Global 1940 2e 2.JPG


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Thanks for the great-looking update!  It’s quite long, so I look forward to reading it in detail as soon as I get the opportunity later today.  The new pics are much appreciated too.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '15 '13 '12 '11

    Yes, thank you for keeping it up. I do like the write-up and pics too. Cheers

    J. 8-)


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    Thanks guys. Glad you like them. I tried to be thorough but if I missed any small details, sorry about that. It wasn’t until the last couple of years or so that I was even aware of there being so many variations in some of the early games. It was like Avalon Hill just couldn’t decide on proper piece colors.


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    Still waiting for Panzer III/IV for early war German light/medium tanks. Starting off with Panthers in 1939 is just wrong.

    Wonder what happened to the molds for the more detailed units shown on the 1984 box - or were they borrowed from a different game?


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    HBG has Panzer IIIs (medium) and Panzer 38(t)s (light) currently available in their Axis Minors sets. They come in a variety of colors so you can use them for Axis Minor countries as well as Germany. There is Black, Dark Grey, Light Grey, Ivory, Italian Brown, Bright Yellow and Mustard Yellow.
    There is also a German expansion set coming at the end of this month that will include the Panzer VI (Tiger) and the Panzer II. Those will only be in Black and Dark Grey.
    We don’t have a Panzer IV available just yet. Coach says he plans to include it in another Axis Minor set later on in 2013. It may be a while because we have 3 Japanese sets and a French set to get made for sure. I don’t know what his plans are after Japan and France. A lot of people have been clamoring for British units.
    Still, between the Panzer IIs, Panzer IIIs and Panzer 38(t)s you will have plenty of variety in size and time-period tanks.



  • Hi knp, excellent list. Recently I got both 1940 2eds which rekindled my interest in the evolution of the A&A pieces.

    Regarding your post on AXIS & ALLIES 1942 2ND EDITION: in my '42 two ed. copy the USSR still has the artillery and transport as ‘same as US’… As far as I can tell the Soviet Baltic transport and the 152mm howitzer are new to the Europe 1940  two ed. or am I mistaken?

    Thanks to one of your other posts I ‘salvaged’ the eight Hellcat fighters from the original Pacific, they seem more appropriate for ACC’s. Even though I have the HBG variant planes this seems fitting.

    Keep up the good work!



  • Many, many thanks to you. This is gonna help me a ton in my military building efforts.



  • thank you for doing this page, it helps me find pieces I want from other games to make upgrades / house rules!


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    @Flashman:

    Still waiting for Panzer III/IV for early war German light/medium tanks. Starting off with Panthers in 1939 is just wrong.

    Wonder what happened to the molds for the more detailed units shown on the 1984 box - or were they borrowed from a different game?

    As has been said, PzIII are available from HBG and I am totally with you on panthers for 1042. That is what led me to scratch build my own tanks for the original game. The original game had painted GHQ pieces on the back cover and was actually deceptive in insinuating that the game pieces were the same as the picture in the back. Here is a link to my game piece modifications and replacement thread. I try as much as possible to use original game pieces but sometimes only HBG pieces are available. HBG also make 38Ts for early war tanks along with PZIIs to go with the PZIIIs. I use the PZIIs for the Liechte divisions while the German Panzer divisiona use the Panzer IIIs. Those equipped with Czech tanks (which made up 1/4 of the Barbarossa panzer divisions and Rommels 7th Panzer prior to the DAK during the French campaign) get the 38Ts.



  • @sgtwiltan:

    The original game had painted GHQ pieces on the back cover and was actually deceptive in insinuating that the game pieces were the same as the picture in the back. Here is a link to my game piece modifications and replacement thread.

    I always wondered what the pieces shown on the back cover were. Needless to say, my friends and I were very disappointed when we opened the game and saw the actual pieces.  Deceptive advertising indeed.



  • Minor Factory.
        I have used a white house piece from ‘Finance’ (an old Parker Bros game) - the same one as in Monopoly. It works fairly well to represent a Minor Factory piece. I guess one has to spray paint them white as the real white ones are probably very rare.



  • Your history of the A&A pieces is excellent knp 😉 : 😄



  • @sgtwiltan:

    @Flashman:

    Still waiting for Panzer III/IV for early war German light/medium tanks. Starting off with Panthers in 1939 is just wrong.

    Wonder what happened to the molds for the more detailed units shown on the 1984 box - or were they borrowed from a different game?

    As has been said, PzIII are available from HBG and I am totally with you on panthers for 1042. That is what led me to scratch build my own tanks for the original game. The original game had painted GHQ pieces on the back cover and was actually deceptive in insinuating that the game pieces were the same as the picture in the back.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’ve been wondering why the pieces pictured on the back of my first A&A game were different from what was in the box. For 27 years that has been a mystery to me.


  • 2017 '16

    @knp7765:

    In Anniversary, cruisers were introduced and the Germans got the Hipper class cruiser.  For some reason, they chopped off the aft end of the cruiser piece so they look odd.Â

    Ya, well, that may be because the German Hipper class had faulty stern designs to begin with… they failed often, and the same problem even extended to the Bismark (when the battleship went down, the stern quickly broke off).

    Here’s a couple of pics of what happened to the Prinz Eugen… maybe the sculpts were just made to give you a more realistic depiction of what your cruiser would look like in war!  lolz

    PrinzEugenstern2.jpg
    PrinzEugenstern1.jpg


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