Confessions of an Axis and Allies Addict

  • The year was 2012—the twelfth anniversary of the day of my birth.  I opened a wrapped box that had a famaliar slide of weight to it.  It was a board game, a new one too.  The cover alone was enough to make my jaw hang.  I read the title:

    “Axis and Allies: 1941.”

    Amidst conversations and objections and whatever trifles were going on around me, I turned the box around and saw something I had loved since I was a toddler.

    Toy soldiers.

    Lots of them.  And tanks.  And planes.  And ships.  World War II.  Politics.  Strategy.  Dice.  Production.  Competition.

    I was lost, and there was no bringing me back.

    Several days later, I opened up the box and screwed around with the plastic miniatures and read the rulebook (once).  A really poor game ensued between me and my sister.  We had fun (I much more than she), but we did everything wrong.  Well, almost everything (all the nations were going at the same time for starters  :-o).  I gradually learned my mistakes and continued to play the game through the school year day after day.  Even if there was nobody to play with, the game came out.

    Then months later, I took a closer look at the propaganda on the side of the box.

    “1942” “Europe 1940” “Pacific 1940” “Axis and Allies Miniatures”

    And human nature kicked in.  I went online and found images of the 1940 games, and I was convinced I would need nothing more in life if only I could get my hands on that.  I was amazed that the game I loved was available with a bigger map, more piece choices, and more countries.  The French blue mesmerized me like no woman ever would.  It was this infatuation that made me play France later whenever I could.  Hence, my association with de Gaulle among my comrades and those here.  But about $150 worth of board gaming was unheard of in my household.  So I kept my mouth shut and waited.
    Besides, Global 1940 would have extended beyond the dining room table, so I resigned myself to eventually just get Europe.

    Two years after my introduction to the series with 1941, my family got the hint and bought me the newest game: 1914.  It was brand new at the time and must have cost a fortune.  My first impression of World War I was that the game looked slow and complicated.  As I actually played it though, I realized it was an amazing twist on the World War II game and had phenomenal teamwork and simple gameplay.  It was during this time I started gathering together family and youths to enjoy this masterpiece.  My dad, little brother, and two casual friends were the original members and continue to be the most faithful and ingenious of all those I play A&A with.

    But…I was only satisfied for a little while.  The image of those French soldiers on the back of the Europe game all over Africa burned deep in my memory.  I wanted it.  I wanted it!

    So eventually, it happened.

    I got myself Pacific this summer, and since 2015 (when I got Europe) I have been playing Global with friends, family, and even strangers.  I have become addicted.

    Axis and Allies is now a necessary part of life.  Every weekend, me or one of the club is hosting a game.  There is a board set up in my bedroom perpetually.  How did I live before this…?

    We have approximately 23 1/2 members.  That is not counting the family parrot who shouts “Come on!  Roll a good one!”  Unlike most of you here, I am not an old guy who has retirement time on his hands, the young parent who does not have the time for an eight hour game, or the twenty year old who thinks board games are for “beer and pretzels.”  I am a teenager, a high school boy, the new generation of A&A gamers.  I represent the future of the game, and quite honestly, there would have been no future without 1941.

    Half the players are just decent guys from school and the neighborhood.  They love Axis and Allies like me for the same reasons you do: competition, excitement, and simple plastic fun.  The others are mostly young adults, but we do have my old man with us, my little brother, and even some girls and a women.  I tried to get my girlfriend to play, but…well, that didn’t go ever well.  She’s a child sweetheart, and we used to play Monopoly and Sorry and stuff as kids, so I thought maybe…but no. She does not like A&A.  I guess nobody is perfect. 😉

    But nevertheless, Axis and Allies is immortal.  It truly builds friendship and practical skills.  There is little I enjoy more than getting down with my Allies and planning our coordinated strategy to defeat the enemy.  And the theme itself�World War II?  I’M A WW2 fanatic!  Seriously!  I STILL play Bf1942!  AND plastic soldiers?  Do you mean to tell me I can play with toy soldiers when I’m seventy and no one will mind?!  YES!!!

    Last Saturday we tried Oztea’s 1942 (most of the guys don’t like this one so it was a rare opportunity).  I was Italy, little Italy, and an adviser to Japan (he’s kinda new).  My brother played Germany and a leftover cousin from Thanksgiving was the UK.  Dad couldn’t make it (poor old man).  Two pals of mine and a girl were the Soviets, China/France/ANZAC, and US respectively (with so many people trying to play, we commonly use Italy and C/F/AZ as sixth and seventh players).

    I set up the game ahead of time and having finished, took a moment to look at the board.  I turned off the lights and let only the pure November sunlight pierce through the windows and cast shadows with every precise piece.  Dad saw me gazing at my favorite toys.

    “Still havin’ a game tonight?”

    “Yeah, Dad.”

    “Have fun.”

    “I know I will.”

    Likewise, I know I will be playing this game until old age�when my hands are too hold to move about without wrecking the board.  I played through high school, and I’ll play through college.  I’ll play whenever I am not at work.  And even if I got bogged down by, perhaps a family, I will still keep the game and introduce it to the next generation.  Me and my buddies might get old, but this game will not.  It will always live on.  Just like superheroes, it will never die.

    Not everybody likes to be glued to a screen.

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13

    SWEET !

  • This is exactly like me! I am 19 and love this game, play it all the time, own almost every version. I relate to this post on almost ever level!!!

  • Disciplinary Group Banned

    It all started with me with WW2 toys back in the early 70s. When A&A 1984 came out I became a addict, and the rest is history.  8-) 8-) 8-)

  • 2017 '16 '15

    LOL !!!

    How’s 39 coming ?

  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Thank you for your nice lines.

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16

    Hehehe! 😄

  • 2019 2017 '16

    A very well written piece.  It’s encouraging to see some decent literacy from the young 'uns these days.  If I was an anal-retentive jerk I’d point out the “me and my buddies” grammatical error near the end.  Luckily I’m not like that at all  😄

    I wish you many years of enjoyment playing Axis & Allies.  🙂

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

    Great post, Charles.  It’s nice that physical boardgames with physical components – and better yet, with little plastic sculpts of actual WWII military units – are still being discovered and appreciated by a new generation of gamers, despite the competition from video games.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the 1976 movie Midway, with Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda, but if you’ve never done so I recommend that you have a look at it, even if only for the scenes with the two map tables (a huge one in Admiral Nimitz’s headquarters and a smaller one on Admiral Yamamoto’s flagship) equiped with wooden ship-marker blocks (and a few flat aircraft-shaped markers) are being used to plan and track the battle.  A few years ago I had fun replicating those scenes using my Global 1940 map and my A&A sculpt collection.  On the negative side, the Global 1940 map was small and crowded compared to the huge one used by Nimitz in the movie, but on the positive side the A&A sculpts looked fantastic compared to the very simple shapes of the film’s wooden blocks.  Moving real miniature pieces on a real map board is an entirely different experience from its electronic counterpart, even if the information being presented in both game formats is technically identical.

  • 2020 2018 2017

    I started in 1988 or so, the beginning.  But im not an old duff either.

    I’ve made many friends on this board, Argothair, Tirano, Imperial Defender, Black Elk, Ichabod, Hambone, Young Grasshopper–have met or spoken to them all on the phone.  We have a house club of 5 and a city club of 5-8 more guys, there is a game in KC every week.  The flame burns on.

    I have one request for you.  Go to Gencon next year.  I waited many years…don’t.  Your people gather there, in Indianapolis.

    I’ll see you there, and we will have a beer.

  • Stroutqb22,
    If you ever find yourself in central Jersey, give me a pm.  We are always growing (and unfortunately, losing players)

    My team put their kiss on the final version of Europe 1939 (Pacific and Global to follow in about a week)  I am not going to overwrite the outdated version (its evolved so much) so look out in house rules for a big update.

    Thanks guys for showing some love to a kid who does not really belong with all the adults here.

    I’ll love to participate in a convention, but I really haven’t the time or mobility.  Besides, I will probably be a little out of place with my Churchill jokes when the guys aren’t there to appreciate it.  Again, in Central Jersey, we have several homes we play in and lots of public places for the shy newbies.  For the time being, I can only come to those that live nearby.  Gen Con will have to be somewhere down the annals of life for me.

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