This game seems rather broken to me…


  • Looking at the game, and having played/heard multiple sessions, outside of bad die rolls and extreme player eccentricity, its hard to see how the game does anything other than this:
    1. Russia falls by Turns 3-5, generally depending on whether or not Germany diverts airpower to sinking the British fleet first.
    2. The game enters a long boring stalemate where both sides trade Eurasian and Oceanian territories willy nilly before someone takes a capitol or dies trying.

    This is basically because of two factors:
    A: Because of the reduced IPC income, Germany can build 4 Infantry for every 2 that Russia does.  This gets ugly once you factor Germany having way more support units that ensure good exchange rates, Russia having no AA to counter those support units, and the Berlin=>Moscow march being back down to 3 spaces.
    B: Because of the reduced IPC income, it takes longer for Great Britain/America to pressure Germany in Western Europe.  Great Britain generally has to build an Atlantic fleet, Atlantic transports, and ground forces in both the UK and India.  America generally has to build a Pacific Fleet, Atlantic transports, and ground forces to field in both areas.

    The net effect is that Russia gets wiped out, whereupon the game trends towards a stalemate due to Russia being as subpar a reward as it was a threat to the Axis.  Even if all of Russia falls, its still only 28 Axis income to 27 Allies income, plus or minus whichever Eurasian and Oceanian territories have exchanged, but its hard to see either side getting the capacity to threaten the other’s capitols for a looong time.  Frankly, it amazes me that this game passed muster.  This game is supposed to be focusing on simplicity, yet “Russia will always fall” means the game is either broken if you assume “Russia falling ends the game” and is complex if you assume “Russia falling doesn’t decisively end the game” which is the case in pretty much every other Axis and Allies game.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Yes - this is true.

    But, if you’d NEVER have played Axis and Allies before, and bought it to learn, and it was the FIRST game or two you ever played, you’d probably think it was the most awesome thing ever.

    The game may be broken, but the marketing strategy isn’t yet.


  • If I were a first time player, I’d go “how do you build a fleet?  How do you fight with a fleet?  How do you handle its air support and move troops with it?”.  I mean let’s review:

    Transport: Doesn’t participate in combat, (complicated transport rules go here)
    Subs: 0.33 Attack, 0.17 Defense, and 0.17 HP per IPC.  (complicated sub/destroyer/aircraft interaction rules go here)
    Destroyers: 0.25 Attack, 0.25 Defense, and 0.13 HP per IPC (detects subs)
    Battleships: 0.25 Attack, 0.25 Defense, and 0.13 HP per IPC (can soak a hit)
    Aircraft Carrier: 0.08 Attack, 0.17 Defense, and 0.08 HP per IPC (2 Fighters can land on it)
    Fighters: 0.30 Attack, 0.40 Defense, and 0.10 HP per IPC (complicated landing rules, weird interactions with subs)
    {Note that Carrier Groups as a whole have 0.22 Attack, 0.31 Defense, and 0.09 HP per IPC}
    Bombers: 0.33 Attack, 0.08 Defense, and 0.08 HP per IPC (as Fighter but with superior mobility, weird interactions with subs)

    Every single one of these units is important to naval conflicts, requiring you to carefully use them as a combined group.  And every single one of them costs 50% of more of any country save the USA’s income.  How precisely is this supposed to be “simple” or “open” to new gamers?  I’ve been playing/pondering Axis and Allies for years and its still easy to forget about the esoteric properties of units at inconvenient moments, such as forgetting that the reach of the Bomber lets it sink an undefended Transport and then land in some minor territory, or that a single Sub can wipe an unsupported Carrier Group 4/9s of the time.

    If they really wanted to make the game simple, they should have done this:
    Infantry: Attack=1, Defense=2, Movement=1, Cost=3 (land)
    Armor: Attack=3, Defense=3, Movement=2, Cost=5 (land)(blitz)
    Aircraft: Attack=3, Defense=4, Movement=4, Cost=8 (air)
    Ship: Attack=2, Defense=2, Movement=2, Cost=6 (naval)
    Fleets can transport/carry 2 IPCs worth of land/air units for each Ship in them.  Defending fleets can block 2 IPCs worth of land units from landing per ship in a sea zone adjacent to the invaded region.

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    How precisely is this supposed to be “simple” or “open” to new gamers?

    Golf is a really hard game to master, and can be an incredibly difficult game to learn as a beginner.

    But that doesn’t mean you go and play a completely different game like soccer because it’s -simpler-. You might play -mini- golf first… and then work your way to the driving range, then a 9 hole course, etc…

    Yes Axis and Allies is complicated, just like golf, even the 1941 version (which is for beginners).  But it’s best to get your head around the most basic elements first, however difficult they may be.

    Consider 1941,  -Mini- Axis and Allies.  Yep it’s tough, but there isn’t a simpler version in existence, except perhaps classic, but people are quite -done- with that game.


  • @Gargantua:

    How precisely is this supposed to be “simple” or “open” to new gamers?

    Golf is a really hard game to master, and can be an incredibly difficult game to learn as a beginner.

    But that doesn’t mean you go and play a completely different game like soccer because it’s -simpler-.

    Soccer is WAY more difficult than golf!


  • @Gargantua:

    How precisely is this supposed to be “simple” or “open” to new gamers?

    Yep it’s tough, but there isn’t a simpler version

    But a good board game designer makes its games “easy to learn, hard to master”. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Unfortunately, Larry Harris does not always adhere to this principle.

  • '18 '16 '13 '12

    @HolKann:

    But a good board game designer makes its games “easy to learn, hard to master”. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Unfortunately, Larry Harris does not always adhere to this principle.

    Yeah that guy sucks at making games. I never buy any of them.

    …wait did you say Larry Harris?

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