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Axis and Allies and Zombies at Origins



  • Do you like Call of Duty Zombie Modes? Have you wondered whether the walking dead could conquer East Poland from the Russians? If so, this game is for you.

    AH had demo versions of the new game (coming out this October). Although they did not allow photographs, I did get an opportunity to play a few rounds of the game. And I’ll share what I know.

    First, the game is based upon the 1941 version, although there was word that AH will have rules/expansion for use in the 1942 version of the game. The map is slightly bigger, with a few more territories and increased IPC for each country.

    The mechanics of Allies vs Axis are similar to prior A&A games. However, when the walking dead enter an area, all bets are off. They have special dice that control who they attack. And every infantry that dies gets turned into a zombie.

    Additionally, there are cards that each player turns over at the start of their turn that place new zombies, even in capital cities. The basic version merely places a zombie, but you can add complexity to the game because there is special text that you can also use on the card to create technology or other events which cause more chaos.

    If the zombies get 25 IPC, they “win”. They can also “spawn” in formerly neutral territories (like Spain), which allows them to be attacked and taken over by the axis or allies.

    I was not sure whether I’d like the game, but actually it was not too bad. I think the rules need changing on some things, but it does seem like an interesting variant.

    Happy to answer specific questions that anyone has.


  • 2019 2018

    I have a number of questions, based on the conversations I’ve been having on the forums with other members who are justifiably concerned with the direction the game seems to be going:

    • Are the Zombies optional (can you play without them)?

    • Is there any way to interact with Neutral Countries (Spain, Sweeden, Turkey, etc.) without the Zombies (ex. in G40/1914 you can invade the Neutral countries and they will fight back with INF)

    • Do you surrender your IPCs if Zombies seize your capital?

    • I understand that the map itself is bigger than 1914. But what about the actual board you play on. The 1941 board is pretty small, which causes it to be cluttered

    • Can you explain the Zombie Dice in more detail than that? How does combat with Zombies work?

    • Do Zombies spawn from any combat involving INF casualties, or only casualties from Zombie attacks?

    • Can Zombies coexist with an army in a territory, or does combat with Zombies last until one side or the other is wiped out?

    • If Zombies can coexist with an army in a territory, what happens when another army enters that territory? Ex. My Soviet stack is in Ukraine alongside some Zombies. The Nazis attack Ukraine. Do the Germans attack the Zombies, the Russians, both, or do they get to choose?

    • Is the game going to be sold in standard retail stores (like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.), or will it only be available in hobby shops/game stores?

    • You stated the victory condition for the Zombies (they infest 25 IPC’s worth of territories). What’s the victory condition for the Axis/Allies? Please tell me it’s not the tired old “control all enemy capitals” that never actually happens.

    • How long does one game take?

    • How balanced was the game, from your initial observations?

    • Can you compare the starting setup to any other game in the series?

    • If you can’t, can you attempt to describe the starting setup?

    • Was anything said about the “1939 Setup” that was alluded to in one of the early articles about this game? I was very interested in that concept but we’ve head nothing of it beyond that one article.

    I’m sure other members of the forum have their own questions/comments/concerns, but these were the ones I personally see as most important.



    • Are the Zombies optional (can you play without them)?

    • Is there any way to interact with Neutral Countries (Spain, Sweeden, Turkey, etc.) without the Zombies (ex. in G40/1914 you can invade the Neutral countries and they will fight back with INF)

    • Do you surrender your IPCs if Zombies seize your capital?

    • I understand that the map itself is bigger than 1914. But what about the actual board you play on. The 1941 board is pretty small, which causes it to be cluttered

    • Can you explain the Zombie Dice in more detail than that? How does combat with Zombies work?

    • Do Zombies spawn from any combat involving INF casualties, or only casualties from Zombie attacks?

    • Can Zombies coexist with an army in a territory, or does combat with Zombies last until one side or the other is wiped out?

    • If Zombies can coexist with an army in a territory, what happens when another army enters that territory? Ex. My Soviet stack is in Ukraine alongside some Zombies. The Nazis attack Ukraine. Do the Germans attack the Zombies, the Russians, both, or do they get to choose?

    • Is the game going to be sold in standard retail stores (like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.), or will it only be available in hobby shops/game stores?

    • You stated the victory condition for the Zombies (they infest 25 IPC’s worth of territories). What’s the victory condition for the Axis/Allies? Please tell me it’s not the tired old “control all enemy capitals” that never actually happens.

    • How long does one game take?

    • How balanced was the game, from your initial observations?

    • Can you compare the starting setup to any other game in the series?

    • If you can’t, can you attempt to describe the starting setup?

    • Was anything said about the “1939 Setup” that was alluded to in one of the early articles about this game? I was very interested in that concept but we’ve head nothing of it beyond that one article.

    I’m sure other members of the forum have their own questions/comments/concerns, but these were the ones I personally see as most important.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    YOU??? after all these years??



  • well, sounds like the board can be used to replace the 1941 board as an intro game to A&A.

    This, plus the upped IPCs, might just be the gate way game 1941 should have been.

    I  sense there will be a lot of house rules created to help this along.

    Thanks for the insights, too bad about the picture taking ban. Even shots of the pieces, which must be done by now, would have been nice.


  • 2019 2018

    @squirecam:

    Q: Are the Zombies optional (can you play without them)?
    A:Not officially, no. But whatever you do in the privacy of your own home is none of AH’s business. 🙂

    Don’t ask, don’t tell  😉

    @squirecam:

    Q: Is there any way to interact with Neutral Countries (Spain, Sweeden, Turkey, etc.) without the Zombies (ex. in G40/1914 you can invade the Neutral countries and they will fight back with INF)

    A: No, you can only attack them once zombies spawn in them.

    meh/10.

    @squirecam:

    Q: I understand that the map itself is bigger than 1941. But what about the actual board you play on. The 1941 board is pretty small, which causes it to be cluttered

    A: IIRC, its a bit larger.

    Was hoping for something closer to 42SE’s size. I’m concerned about the size of the board in certain areas where large stacks of units tend to gather (Eastern Front, UK and surrounding Sea Zones). Was clutter an issue for your group when playing the game?

    @squirecam:

    Q: Can you explain the Zombie Dice in more detail than that? How does combat with Zombies work?
    A: Zombie dice have 3 sides: Attacker, Defender and blank. Blanks hit no one but the other sides kill an infantry of that country.

    Seems the Zombies are equal opportunity employers…

    @squirecam:

    Q: Do Zombies spawn from any combat involving INF casualties, or only casualties from Zombie attacks?
    A: Every time an infantry dies. No matter who killed it.

    Q: If Zombies can coexist with an army in a territory, what happens when another army enters that territory? Ex. My Soviet stack is in Ukraine alongside some Zombies. The Nazis attack Ukraine. Do the Germans attack the Zombies, the Russians, both, or do they get to choose?

    A: Zombies attack first. Attacker hits Defender, but excess hits go to zombies. Also, Zombies get auto-killed when that certain # is rolled.

    Follow-up question for these two. Are Attackers still allowed to retreat from battles? I ask because of the following situation:
    Setup: German stack in Ukraine, Russian stack in West Russia.
    1. USSR attacks Ukraine.
    2. Fight begins, Russians lose most of their INF.
    3. Russians retreat back to West Russia.
    4. Zombies spawn.
    5. Zombies wipe out Germans during the “Zombies Attack” phase of their turn.

    This sort of scenario seems like a blatant way to abuse the Zombie mechanic. Is there something I said above that doesn’t jive with the rules for zombies?

    @squirecam:

    Q: Can Zombies coexist with an army in a territory, or does combat with Zombies last until one side or the other is wiped out?
    A: Co-exist. This led to issues concerning “hostile” territories. Our group thought that such countries should be hostile and not controlled by anyone.

    Neato. At least now I can pretend/house-rule that the “Zombies” are just “Attrition Casualties” (Russian Winter, Spanish Flu, whatever you want to call it).

    @squirecam:

    Q: You stated the victory condition for the Zombies (they infest 25 IPC’s worth of territories). What’s the victory condition for the Axis/Allies? Please tell me it’s not the tired old “control all enemy capitals” that never actually happens.

    A: IIRC, its the standard.

    Q: How long does one game take?
    A: It says 1-3 hrs. But its based on 41, so I’d just add 30-45 minutes to whatever a 41 game takes.

    meh/10. Why “streamline” the game if you’re not going to address the main issue for casual players (the length of the game). If WOTC is trying to appeal to “youngin’s” by adding Zombies they could have at least done something about needing to accomplish the neigh impossible task of occupying Berlin/Tokyo/London to “win”.

    @squirecam:

    Q: How balanced was the game, from your initial observations?
    A: I think balance is an issue, but its being worked on.

    Q: Can you compare the starting setup to any other game in the series?
    A: More than 41 but less units then 42. Germany seems too strong and USSR hampered because they need infantry and they will be zombified.

    meh/10. As for the balance, see my above follow-up question about how the zombie mechanics work. I’m convinced that dead INF can be flung at your opponent to gain an unfair advantage, but I could be wrong…

    @squirecam:

    Q: Was anything said about the “1939 Setup” that was alluded to in one of the early articles about this game? I was very interested in that concept but we’ve head nothing of it beyond that one article.

    A: That I dont know.

    Crap. I hope the 1939 setup makes it into the final game. Wouldn’t surprised if they scrapped it, though…

    Thank for you taking the time to come here and answer all of my/our questions. I greatly appreciate it.



  • Follow-up question for these two. Are Attackers still allowed to retreat from battles? I ask because of the following situation:
    Setup: German stack in Ukraine, Russian stack in West Russia.
    1. USSR attacks Ukraine.
    2. Fight begins, Russians lose most of their INF.
    3. Russians retreat back to West Russia.
    4. Zombies spawn.
    5. Zombies wipe out Germans during the “Zombies Attack” phase of their turn.

    This sort of scenario seems like a blatant way to abuse the Zombie mechanic. Is there something I said above that doesn’t jive with the rules for zombies?

    Yes, attackers can retreat. And if zombies are left over, you do NOT have to wipe them out. Although you can continue attacking them if you wish.

    This does lead to some “abuse” in a way. Germany has West Russia in force. 10 zombies are there too. I sent 1 USSR infantry in. Since the zombies attack first, they managed to turn 3 Germans into zombies, along with my dead USSR inf. This mechanic did NOT save USSR from defeat though. But you can use it to spread infections and try to slow down your opponent.



  • @Imperious:

    YOU??? after all these years??

    Like a zombie, I have come back to bite you.  :lol:


  • 2018 2017

    @DouchemanMacgee:

    @squirecam:

    Q: Was anything said about the “1939 Setup” that was alluded to in one of the early articles about this game? I was very interested in that concept but we’ve head nothing of it beyond that one article.

    A: That I dont know.

    Crap. I hope the 1939 setup makes it into the final game. Wouldn’t surprised if they scrapped it, though…

    Thank for you taking the time to come here and answer all of my/our questions. I greatly appreciate it.

    From Dave Jenson’s article on the Front Page of the site in February:
    https://www.axisandallies.org/p/axis-allies-zombies-questions-answered/

    The announcement mentioned “streamlined gameplay.” Can you elaborate on that?

    One of our goals was to make Axis & Allies accessible to new players while maintaining the depth and strategy existing players have come to appreciate. We did this by keeping the play time fast, and by removing some rules for which the costs in complexity and learning the game outweighed their benefits in fun, balance, and simulation.

    We are also including an introductory scenario to help new players acclimate to the basic mechanics and jump into the action quickly.

    {snip}

    What is the time period of the game? Pre-WWII? During WWII? Post WWII? Or some other time?

    The main game begins in 1941, with Germany close to the peak of Operation Barbarossa and Japan poised to attack Pearl Harbor. The intro scenario (mentioned above) roughly recreates the European theater in the time period from 1939 to 1941 where Germany captured the majority of Europe.

    I suspect that the 1939 to 1941 scenario is 1) still there but 2) not being previewed at Origins and 3) meant to be a two-person warm-up/intro to A&A gameplay.

    -Midnight_Reaper



  • Well,

    Not even two days later and you got a jump on it Squirecam!

    I am reading through the questions…interesting.  Are the Zombies optional?  Why would you buy it if they were?  Just play '42 and call it a day…

    I got 3 games in myself and had the chance to talk to the designer at length as well as others that played the game.

    I am not sure how detailed Squirecam got, but it is simple.  The game is a normal AA game, somewhere between '41 and '42…at the start of each countries turn they turn over a Zombie card that directs them to do 2 things, one good and one in favor of the Zombies…then the Zombies attack where ever on the board, the turn continues on normally except for purchase units and placing units are at the end of the turn instead of the beginning…

    Victory conditions for the game are the same for the Axis and Allies but the zombies are an independent entity and can win if they gain 25 IPC of controlled countries.

    That is it…

    This is the closest I was able to get…

    zombies.jpg



  • @smo63:

    I am reading through the questions…interesting.  Are the Zombies optional?  Why would you buy it if they were?  Just play '42 and call it a day…

    Because AAZ is nowhere near the size or complexity of 1942… not even close.

    No, what AAZ resembles in map size and complexity is 1941… with one minor exception… the map IPC totals are much higher than 1941… probably the #1 complaint about 1941 is its complete lack of IPCs on the map.

    So… why would people want AAZ without zombies? Easy… to get a playable map for 1941 and have a much better intro map for A&A that is very much like 1941’s map, just with more IPCs on it…

    There’s no way this AAZ map would ever be confused for 1942’s map.



  • @Nowhere:

    @smo63:

    I am reading through the questions…interesting.  Are the Zombies optional?  Why would you buy it if they were?  Just play '42 and call it a day…

    There’s no way this AAZ map would ever be confused for 1942’s map.

    Ok, not sure if Squire mentioned this but the game comes with a way to add zombies to 1942 2nd Ed. if you like…?  I don’t believe there ever was an intention to confuse the AAZ map with '42…


  • 2019 2018

    @Nowhere:

    So… why would people want AAZ without zombies? Easy… to get a playable map for 1941 and have a much better intro map for A&A that is very much like 1941’s map, just with more IPCs on it…

    We’re 100% on the same page, Nowhere Man. What I quoted is exactly why I would want to Zombies to be optional (along with easier-to-obtain victory conditions). I have a need for a fast and relatively simple A&A title that isn’t as bare-bones as 41. Most of my attempts to expand my local A&A circle crash and burn because people get put off by either size/complexity of the map (even the small games like Revised and 42SE are too much for some of them, which is as bizarre for you as it is for me, trust me) and the length of the average game (I only get to see some of my friends 2-3 times a year and those friends aren’t too keen on dedicating an entire day to A&A). My only way out has been to house-rule in simpler win conditions (custom VCs with a hard turn time limit, similar to how tournaments are run), but I would have appreciated an official version of the game that did this for me.



  • @smo63:

    Ok, not sure if Squire mentioned this but the game comes with a way to add zombies to 1942 2nd Ed. if you like…?  I don’t believe there ever was an intention to confuse the AAZ map with '42…

    Well aware there are optional rules introducing zombies into 1942… honestly,  the way the rules are written you could probably introduce zombies into any version of A&A from 1941 to Global and everything inbetween…  the only hiccup I see in adding zombies to any version are the cards saying “place zombies in zone-x”… where zone-x might be labeled differently in a different version but that would be very easy to house-rule fix.

    My main point was that there are plenty of people interested in a slightly modified map for 1941 intro player map, and this AAZ map sure looks like a valid candidate to replace 1941’s map for a lot of people.



  • @Nowhere:

    @smo63:

    Ok, not sure if Squire mentioned this but the game comes with a way to add zombies to 1942 2nd Ed. if you like…?  I don’t believe there ever was an intention to confuse the AAZ map with '42…

    Well aware there are optional rules introducing zombies into 1942… honestly,  the way the rules are written you could probably introduce zombies into any version of A&A from 1941 to Global and everything inbetween…  the only hiccup I see in adding zombies to any version are the cards saying “place zombies in zone-x”… where zone-x might be labeled differently in a different version but that would be very easy to house-rule fix.

    My main point was that there are plenty of people interested in a slightly modified map for 1941 intro player map, and this AAZ map sure looks like a valid candidate to replace 1941’s map for a lot of people.

    I’m not sure how balanced the game is. Taking out the zombies might make things worse.


  • 2019 2018

    @squirecam:

    I’m not sure how balanced the game is. Taking out the zombies might make things worse.

    You’d have to try pretty hard to make a game less balanced than 41.
    Or 42SE OOB, for that matter.

    Even G40 OOB is better than these two, and everyone on this forum should know the nightmare it took to get the game where it is today (which, after all this time, is STILL heavily Axis-favored).



  • @DouchemanMacgee:

    @squirecam:

    I’m not sure how balanced the game is. Taking out the zombies might make things worse.

    You’d have to try pretty hard to make a game less balanced than 41.
    Or 42SE OOB, for that matter.

    Even G40 OOB is better than these two, and everyone on this forum should know the nightmare it took to get the game where it is today (which, after all this time, is STILL heavily Axis-favored).

    Yeah. Revised and AA50 were pretty balanced. Then it went in the wrong direction, like Classic.

    The AAZ setup seems to favor the axis without (and even with) zombies added. So there is going to have to be a large adjustment if they are not used.



  • Guys,

    I see your point about a game that needs to be introduced between 41 and 42…I will pass the word along.

    And IMO, there is no game as balanced as AA50…!

    And after playing 2 more games than Squirecam, I am not so sure the Axis are favored.  Here again, it all comes down to the level of players you are playing against.  Once we get enough games in, we will know more about the game balance…

    As for the board, playing AA on the Zombie board might be the answer you guys are looking for, for a version between 41 and 42, and playing without the Zombies?  But need to look at that as well… :?

    Peace,
    Greg



  • @squirecam:

    I’m not sure how balanced the game is. Taking out the zombies might make things worse.

    Not sure if you noticed, but if you take out the zombies, it becomes regular 5-player Axis and Allies.  Aside from the IPC totals, the map is nearly identical to 1941’s map. Minus zombies, you’re probably looking at something very close to 1941’s play balance. As with anything, home modding is super-simple to do… You seem as upset that people might take out the zombies as others have been about putting in zombies. Let folks play with it as they see fit!  😄



  • @smo63:

    the turn continues on normally except for purchase units and placing units are at the end of the turn instead of the beginning…

    You purchase units at the end of the Turn ? What is the reason for that ?

    What I loved the most with A&A was you had to calculate and figure out what units you needed before next turn. To purchase the right units at the start of the turn is what separated the skilled player from the beginner. Now it gets too simple, you do combat and move units around, then have a look at the map and see what you need, and then you do purchases. Its getting too simple, man


  • 2018 2017

    @Narvik:

    @smo63:

    the turn continues on normally except for purchase units and placing units are at the end of the turn instead of the beginning…

    You purchase units at the end of the Turn ? What is the reason for that ?

    What I loved the most with A&A was you had to calculate and figure out what units you needed before next turn. To purchase the right units at the start of the turn is what separated the skilled player from the beginner. Now it gets too simple, you do combat and move units around, then have a look at the map and see what you need, and then you do purchases. Its getting too simple, man

    When a major complaint of the game is that it’s too complicated, I expect Hasbro/WotC/AH to attempt to simplify it… And if you don’t like that rule, don’t play by that rule. The thing I love about board games is how easy it is to change how you play. Try modding a video game sometime to see the difference.

    -Midnight_Reaper



  • @Nowhere:

    @squirecam:

    I’m not sure how balanced the game is. Taking out the zombies might make things worse.

    You seem as upset that people might take out the zombies as others have been about putting in zombies. Let folks play with it as they see fit!  😄

    I am not upset about anything regarding the game.  Players can do what they want.  I am just offering my thoughts on my play of the game and what I experienced at ORIGINS.



  • @Narvik:

    @smo63:

    the turn continues on normally except for purchase units and placing units are at the end of the turn instead of the beginning…

    You purchase units at the end of the Turn ? What is the reason for that ?

    You need to ask the game designer that one…


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    HA HA HA  game aint out yet and already coming up with House Rules!
    SWEET !


  • 2019 2018

    @smo63:

    Guys,
     
    I see your point about a game that needs to be introduced between 41 and 42…I will pass the word along.

    If you have any sway with WOTC, please advise them to not do an overly gimmicky game again for a while. At least not in the next A&A release (assuming we get a next release…). This whole Zombie thing, while I (and most others) personally don’t mind it, has been a huge “base-breaker” in our community, with several members of the forum threatening to boycott the game over it.

    Their main gripe can basically summed up as “The game offends me because my relative was in WW2.” I imagine this can be smoothed over a bit by having someone involved with AH or WOTC either:
    A: Do an interview with someone and explicitly state that they support veterans, and apologize for any perceived disrespect that may have resulted from the inclusion of Zombies in the game.

    B: Have a statement in the instruction manual/box for the game that states something similar. For comparsion’s sake, refer to the passages Larry included in the manuals for just about every game he was involved with.

    @smo63:

    And IMO, there is no game as balanced as AA50…!

    I consider Revised to be more balanced than AA50. AA50 (41 scenario, Axis are too strong in the 42 scenario OOB) only becomes balanced if you turn NOs off, otherwise Axis win easily without a pretty sizeable bid, in both scenarios.

    Gripes aside, AA50 is still my favorite version to actually play on. Small enough to be finished in 4-5 hours, but big/optimized enough to not fall into stale, super dead-zone-heavy strategies after turn 1 (except in Russia, but that happens in just about every A&A game).

    @smo63:

    And after playing 2 more games than Squirecam, I am not so sure the Axis are favored.  Here again, it all comes down to the level of players you are playing against.  Once we get enough games in, we will know more about the game balance…

    I think it will take more time for a meta to develop. IIRC people thought Allies were overpowered in G40 for a while before people figured out the Italian Can Opener -> unstoppable German drive to Moscow strategy.

    @smo63:

    As for the board, playing AA on the Zombie board might be the answer you guys are looking for, for a version between 41 and 42, and playing without the Zombies?  But need to look at that as well… :?

    What you said is what I personally am hoping for, at least for the more casual group of friends I’m trying to play with.

    @Narvik:

    What I loved the most with A&A was you had to calculate and figure out what units you needed before next turn. To purchase the right units at the start of the turn is what separated the skilled player from the beginner. Now it gets too simple, you do combat and move units around, then have a look at the map and see what you need, and then you do purchases. Its getting too simple, man

    If they had to change it, I would have had purchasing and placing both came at the beginning of your turn, to encourage holding territories Vs. being rewarded for making over-extensive land-grabs. The new system further encourages poor plays like sending a Tank to blitz through two enemy territories and leaving it to die, confident that the IPCs you gained from the briefly occupied territories will translate into a net IPC profit for you.

    Way off-topic, but what you said, along with the apparent rule-change for turn order, reminded me of a house-rule system I tried creating one time.

    Basically, instead of each country performing its turn in a vacuum, each country took a turn playing out a phase. So you had something like this:

    1. USSR buys units.
    2. German buys units, after seeing what USSR bought.
    3. UK buys units, after seeing what Germany bought.
    4. etc.
    5. USSR Combat Move + Resolve Combat.
    6. Germany Combat Move + Resolve Combat, after taking a beating from USSR.
    7. UK Combat move, after seeing what Germany did.
    8. etc.
    9. Same deal for NCM and placing units. I made up these rules for Revised a long time ago, so I never accounted for things like the new Strategic Bombing Rules, convoying, etc.

    My idea was to keep new players engaged by letting them play more frequently, and it sort of worked, since I now play normal A&A with them whenever we get the chance.

    /endrant.


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