A&A Global for first time players

  • Axis & Allies 1940 Global for first time players

    The invitation.

    OK, so you’ve been invited to play a game of Axis and Allies 1940 Global with a few of your friends, however, there’s just one problem…… you don’t know a thing about it. Well, don’t worry my little newbie, we’re gonna get you up to speed so you can feel comfortable around the game table. This should also help your friends by relieving some of the stress involved when teaching such a complicated game. Keep in mind that this article is just a little primer and more like a briefing rather than a tutorial.

    What is it?

    It’s a World War 2 strategy board game which has a lot of small poker chips, plastic miniature figures, cardboard counters, 6 sided dice, and one massive map of the world. It helps if you have experience playing strategy board games like Chess, or Risk, but it’s not necessary. A little knowledge of World War 2 would also come in handy. Basically you rewrite the history books by playing the roles of some of the most powerful leaders of the century while changing the events of the Second World War…. Awesome right?

    A brief history of Axis and Allies.

    Axis and Allies in a huge franchise of war strategy games created by Larry Harris. The phenomenon began with the first edition released in the early 1980’s by Milton Bradley. Since than, there have been many, many variants by Avalon Hill, and Wizards of the Coast including the game you are learning today… Axis & Allies 1940 Global 2nd Edition which from here on in will be referred to as A&A.

    The participants.

    In A&A there are major powers like Germany and The United Kingdom, and minor powers like France and China. Before the game the experienced players will divide the nations among everyone in a way that is fair. It’s quite normal for 1 player to control up to 3 nations, while a new player is given 1 to handle. There are a total of 9 Nations in A&A, and one of the most important things to remember is, none of them are on even terms. Some begin the game with more units than others, some begin the game with more money than others, and some don’t even get to fight right away. Learn only the nation you have been chosen to play, like who your teammates are, where your capital is, how much money you start with, and what your national objectives are.

    The order of play.

    In A&A, there are a lot of things that have already been predetermined, like the setup of starting units, the amount of starting income, the relationships between nations, and the order of play. At the beginning of every game, Germany will begin their turn sequence…. this will not be you. Germany is arguably the most difficult nation to play, and quite possibly the most fun. Regardless, the order of each round of play is as follows… Germany, U.S.S.R, Japan, U.S.A, China, United Kingdom, Italy, ANZAC, France.

    The turn sequence.

    In every game, during every round, for every nation, a turn sequence must be obeyed. Using Germany as an example, we are going to go through the turn sequence together…. ready?

    #1- Research & Development - don’t attempt this in your first game
    #2- Repair Damaged Units - spend money to repair capital ships & facilities.
    #3- Purchase New Units - look at everything available to buy, decide what you need, and place it to the side (they don’t go on until the end of your turn).
    #4- Combat movement - this is the most difficult phase in the whole sequence.
    #5- Resolve combat - take over territories, and sea zones by rolling dice.
    #6- Non-Combat Movement - move any unit that was not already moved, or is required to move after combat.
    #7- Place New Units - spawn the units that you bought in step 3 on any eligible territory or sea zone.
    #8- Collect Income - get money for all territories, national objectives, and conquered capitals.

    There are different strategies by different types of players, that said, here is an example of Germany’s first turn…

    Research & Development:

    Repair Units & Facilities:

    Purchase New Units:
    1 Strategic Bomber
    1 Fighter
    1 Destroyer

    Combat Movement:
    SZ#106 - 1 Submarine
    SZ#110 - 2 Submarines, 1 Battleship, 2 Fighters, 2 T.Bombers, 1 S.Bomber
    SZ#111 - 2 Submarines, 2 Fighters, 1 T.Bomber, 1 S.Bomber
    France - 7 Infantry, 4 M.Infantry, 3 Artillery, 3 Tanks
    Baltic States - 3 Infantry, 2 Tanks, 1 T.Bomber
    Eastern Poland - 2 Infantry. 3 Tanks
    Bessarabia - 2 Infantry, 1 Tank, 1 Fighter, 1 T.Bomber

    Non-Combat Movement:
    1 Cruiser, 1 Transport into SZ#113 / 2 Infantry from Germany into Norway
    3 Infantry from Norway into Finland
    3 Infantry from Germany into W.Germany
    6 Infantry, 3 Artillery, 1 AA Gun from Germany into Poland
    6 Infantry, 2 Artillery, from S.Germany into Slovakia
    1 AA Gun from Germany into Slovakia
    1 AA Gun from Germany into W.Germany
    3 AA Guns from W.Germany into N.Italy
    1 T.Bomber from Poland into Poland
    1 T.Bomber from Germany into Poland
    1 Fighter from Slovakia into Slovakia
    All surviving air units from the Atlantic into W.Germany

    Place new units:
    1 Strategic Bomber into W.Germany
    1 Fighter into W. Germany
    1 Destroyer into SZ#113

    Collect income:
    $38 income
    $5 National objective
    $19 Capital gain
    = $62

    Now before you start freaking out, and thinking about how you’re gonna get out of playing this game, just remember that you won’t have to deal with these kinds of decisions your first time. If the circumstances are right, you will be given a small role with lots of advise from experienced teammates. There will be plenty of time between turns to evaluate the board, read the materials, and ask for help.

    The unit profiles and details.

    There are many different units that can be purchased, and placed on the board to ultimately support your war effort. Some units fight on land to take over valuable territories, some fight on sea to strategically strengthen your position, and some have no combat value at all, but can allow extended movement, or better spawning locations. What ever unit you buy, remember that it has many attributes and rules that are specific to them only. However, the only thing you need to know in your first game is… how much does it cost, how far can it move, what is it’s attack value, and what is it’s defense value. Luckily for you, all this information is displayed on charts in both lower corners of the game board. Your teammates will help you with many of the complicated rules associated with each unit, however, you will be doing them a great service if you can learn the basic statistics of each unit by using the charts provided.

    A&A game plans and strategies

    Basically…. your job is to take new territories while keeping the ones you already own. After that, you should just try and have fun. That said, remember this… experienced A&A players are a weird species, we have played, and talked this game to death. Don’t let us play your nation for you by telling you what to buy, where to move, what to attack, and with what… ask us to explain all your options, and than choose one with conviction. Just understand that there is no “one way” to play this game, my German turn 1 blueprint above for example is widely unpopular with other experienced players, but I play it every chance I get. There is one truth to this game, and that is “there are no perfect plans”, and if there were, they would get humbled by simple mistakes, or angry dice gods (I told you we were weird).

    A&A game etiquette

    When invited to play A&A at someone’s house, try to be mindful of some bad habits that most new players fail to correct. In A&A, you will be required to roll lots of dice, try to do it quickly and efficiently, you know… without throwing them hard and wiping out pieces on the board, or constantly dropping them on the floor. Try and find a small box to roll in if one is not provided, and confirm how many dice to roll before you toss them.

    Also, keep a clean area… if you have a minute between turns, put your dead units back in your tray, and keep your drink on a separate table beside you. Don’t get mad over poor dice rolls, everyone knows that you can’t control the outcome of the dice, so don’t behave like you can. And finally… don’t be a dick, if you are trash talking to much, over celebrating your rolls, or blaming teammates for loses, they won’t invite you back to play the best board game ever, and you will end up alone in the online game forums (where the really weird ones play).


    This could be the beginning of a life long obsession that could turn you into an elite strategist, embrace it and understand that you are playing a highly popular game franchise that has sold millions of copies world wide. Watch some youtube videos that explain the basics of the game (BGRWJ 002 is a good one). Also, try and watch some World War 2 documentaries to get you in the mood, nothing makes me wanna play quite like watching footage of Rommel cutting across Africa, the great Marianas turkey shoot, or the Battleship Hood and Bismarck stand off. Perhaps after reading this, you will become compelled to download the rule book from wizards.com, or maybe I have made you run away to never speak of this game again? Well, what ever you do…… good luck.

  • I posted this article about a year ago in the player help forum, and have decided to repost in the article forum. Not to long ago it got recognized by Larry Harris who reposted it on his own site, and I’m hoping to get it featured on the A&A.org home page.

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

    Great, thanks.  Good summary.

  • Customizer

    I used this article with some newbies I introduced to G40 recently. We ended up playing G42, which I felt was a little quicker paced and easy to understand for someone new to the game.

  • @ossel:

    I used this article with some newbies I introduced to G40 recently. We ended up playing G42, which I felt was a little quicker paced and easy to understand for someone new to the game.

    The meat and potatoes of this article can work for beginners of any Axis & Allies edition.


  • 2018

    @Young-Grasshopper Very good read for a new player. Thank you for posting it. I’m going to host a game over Christmas and will send a link to this article to a couple of the players who are new. One addendum to the game etiquette for our group specifically is not side tracking the group with too many “why does the Bible say this!” questions making the turns longer than they should be. ☺

  • @Guam-Solo

    Thanks Kev, great to see you here on the forums… I don’t have that problem unfortunately, all my group members are non believers… (but I keep praying).

  • @Young-Grasshopper

    Thanks for the help with this article. I have been watching your tutorials on YouTube as well. I really appreciate your mission!

  • @Young-Grasshopper this game is fun throughout and I highly recommend it to anyone a fan of world war 2 like me been playing it my whole life and I like playing both sides with victories for both but I find it more achievable to win as the axis I like using subs and fighters a lot to scare the English most of the time

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