Axis and Allies Classic 10 part series on YouTube

  • Hello all!

    I have decided to rebut Don’s essays on Axis and Allies classic in a ten part series on YouTube. You can check out the first video (in two parts) by clicking on the link below:

    My intent is to release one part every week over the next ten weeks. I hope this gets some folks to break out the classic again!

  • Thanks for putting these together; I’m looking forward to seeing the rest! You certainly make some strong claims but I’m very interested to see if you can back them up.

    I have a few suggestions:

    1. You give your background early in the first video but I’m particularly curious to get the level of the opponents you have played successfully, particularly when matched up with your claim that in your experience the Axis have been stronger, which as you indicate you are aware goes directly against the experience of most other players. In the games you have played online, have you actually played against highly ranked opponents in the various organizations or leagues that are playing A&A classic? And still found your Axis strategies to be successful? And that’s without Russia Restricted or any other handicaps given to the Axis? I just find that hard to believe - I haven’t really played in over 10 years but I used to play a decent amount online and in person before that and just would like to get the measure of how much weight I can actually give your claims.

    Note that you reference Don Rae’s essays, which were published something like 20 years ago, and I know that the level of play in many of the online communities has gone far past that, even when I was more active over a decade ago. If there are still people actively playing A&A classic, then I’m sure that the level of play has developed even further. As evidence of that, I think I remember hearing that without any other changes such as RR (Russia Restricted), at the time Don’s essays were published typically bids for Axis were around 15 IPCs; in the mid 2000s when I played most the typical bids were around 22 IPCs.

    So basically I think it would be helpful and lend support to your arguments if you were to provide some sort of attestation not just to the amount of games you have played, but the quality of your opponents as well.

    1. Why is your video broken up into two segments? And there is no direct link from the first video to the second, so I had to find it by looking at your channel, which is further inconvenient. There is certainly no length restriction for a YouTube video that would have prevented you from posting both videos as a single video. But if you really do have a reason for wanting it in two videos, I would suggest that you should find a better way to cut the video in half, as currently your video is split in the middle of a sentence! Fortunately I’m familiar with everything you’re talking about, otherwise such a split would be very difficult to follow.

    2. Just a minor note really, but at the end of the second video when you are giving the recap notes, you can’t read the top line because it’s above the camera.

    3. I am assuming in subsequent videos you will talk about why the specific rules you describe actually matter as far as the balance of the game is concerned? If so there might be legitimate reason to say that online players generally feel balanced is skewed particularly because players are usually asked to specify an Order of Loss ahead of time for any complicated battles and the assumption usually is that all dice for a particular round of battle are rolled together to save time and back and forth discussions between players who might not be online at the same time. I can see why that might slightly favor Axis if played correctly, but I do not think that this is such a strong factor that it would be sufficient to even balance the game from the perception of most other players who think that Allies have the advantage.

  • Thanks for this post!

    I am not offering a silver bullet for the axis. My argument is that the game may not be as imbalanced as I was led to believe and that a solid, competitive game can be had between two opponents who understand the game at a level which I hope to convey in my videos once completed. I’ll try to make that clear in a future video.

    1. I have the names and some of the backgrounds of the online opponents. I’m not sure by what metric to rate them and so I’m not sure how I can answer this question. Lay out a metric and I’ll do my best to answer. This argument is also one I bring to bear against Don himself. He never cites his experience in his essays so I wanted to make sure that I at least tried to fill this gap. And to your experience with the game, Don updated his essays up to 2003 I believe, not long after you stopped playing it (everyone stopped playing it?). If there is any new material that has developed I would be very interested in your pointing me in the right direction. This is especially true in regards to the “various organizations of leagues that are playing A&A classic”. I haven’t run into anything so dedicated in my internet perusals and I hope that its obvious that I would be EXTREMELY interested in such a thing.

    2. Good call. That was something my camera did which annoyed the hell out of me. I will endeavor to stitch them together in the future before posting and will update the first video with a link to the second.

    3. The five recap notes are all visible starting around 9:40. Maybe you had scrolled down on your screen?

    4. I may or may not. I’ll bring them up if its interesting. The specific target audience in this video is anyone from the global or contemporary versions of AnA that have never played classic. At one time or another, these rules surprised an opponent. I don’t like when my opponents are surprised by rules.

    Again, to anyone reading this, I’m not offering silver bullets. I’m an AnA player like the rest of you, not a boardgame god. I’ve racked up a lot of AnA classic games and I’m sharing my experiences and of course always trying to get better!


  • As I said the bulk of my online play was in the mid 2000s (specifically, 2004-2007), a few years after Don’s essays. I played mostly on where players are ranked on a ladder (and looking it up now, it looks like they do still maintain an active ranking for “2nd edition”), but also played informal forum games here and I think one or two other places as well that had similar ladders. The highest ranked opponent I ever played was then ranked 2nd in the DAAK ladder, and he absolutely crushed me with Allies against my Axis bid of 23 IPCs, and it felt like I had almost nothing I could do to stop the impending doom against Germany.

    One thing I note is that the prevalent strategies at the time at higher levels was no one ever built any extra ICs or AA guns. Which is also a difference from Don’s proposals since he advocates an IC for the UK at least I think. I don’t know what may have evolved in the past decade or so. I haven’t been keeping up and now am only browsing around because I started playing with my kids who are now old enough to appreciate the game themselves, and it’s been stirring up fond memories. But I’m very intrigued by your assertion that you’ve played a game where all the ICs were bought out within the first round of play, because in my opinion that seems like an utter waste that ought to slow down both sides. I had been quite convinced that good transport play is in every circumstance superior to ICs. I’m now probably a much humbler player than I was at the time I was playing more actively and more open to hearing that I’m wrong, so I’m very interested in seeing a different style of play than I’m familiar with.

    Will you be posting an update here when the next set of videos are up?

  • '20 '16 '15 '14

    Avin is right. 23 was a very hard bid to play as Axis. The difference was that 24 allowed that 8th infantry to be placed which seemed to give the Axis the advantage (but at 23 I contend that Allies have the advantage with good player vs good player). My experience in 2nd edition play was AAMC, so it seems to have similar experiences with DAAK.

    In 3rd edition (which is what the CD clubs played, “Spring1942” was where I was an officer for a bit – I think that started a bit over 20 years ago, omg) where the BB’s have 2 hits and so forth, the debate on bid was at 18. If you didn’t want to face a 6 inf Power Europe bid, then you would bid 17. One of the tournaments I directed played a Swiss System tournament where there were even amounts of Axis and Allies assigned (just like White and Black in chess tourneys) and there was a fixed bid of 18. Honestly, the results were pretty darned even. This was for the second tier players, but those said players were still 99% better than anyone just playing casually on the real board.

    If playing Russia Restricted (like the “Utah” rules in the club that became AAWC) 3rd edition, I liked Axis at 6, but others would give me a 12 bid and still kill me as Allies, so that one was more interesting…

  • Thanks for the links!

    Those are huge bids, goodness. I still intend to finish out my series for my own development and for the raw fact that there doesn’t seem to be any substantial content on YouTube concerning this version. Perhaps after I finish my video series and then gain more experience through these clubs, I can make more videos showing development of strategy. Thanks a ton for the push in the right direction.

    Yes, I will post every new video link into this forum.

  • '20 '16 '15 '14

    @AcesWild5049 that sounds great – and I want to reiterate that those bids were for 2nd edition OOB (basically) rules without Russia Restricted – in other words, Russia can attack on R1.

    If it’s Russia Restricted, the bids would be less.

    So, it’s been over a decade since I played a 2nd edition game…

    And, I’m not an Allied expert (better with Axis) or anything…

    But, would you be willing to play me some second edition games via TripleA here on the forums? We could even make the games where people could give suggestions and things like that. If you would like to see why Axis needs a bid then I’d be willing to play Allies first game with no bid and then we could adjust from there.

    Anyway, just a thought, but it could be fun and maybe lead to you creating your own strategy videos post-Don. :)

  • I’d love to follow that game if it happens, certainly.

  • @DizzKneeLand33

    I’m always down for a game of classic. My preferred vehicle is VASSAL but I can give AAA a swing, sure.

    ryan.voznick (skype)

    PM me


  • '20 '16 '15 '14

    For those interested, here is the game link:

    I will be posting the R1 turn in the morning. Enjoy!

  • Sorry for the delay guys. Here is a link to video #2:

    I should get video #3 out this evening and next week I should get the first of my Turn 1 strat videos out (R1).

    As to the game with DizzKneeLand33, I have decided to continue with that game just as soon as my video series is complete. I think this will make future videos more interesting in a developmental sense.

    Enjoy! and thank you for the feedback…it is entirely welcome.


  • Glad to see you’re still around; I had been checking in daily to see if there were any updates both on the game and the videos.

    Regarding the new video, it does feel much better to only have one uninterrupted video so thanks for getting that to work. Nothing was new or surprising content wise with what you presented which doesn’t surprise me given that Classic is really the only version of the game I’m familiar with, but I’m looking forward to the next few where you go into your take on openings then.

    Possibly my only comment is that in most of my online games, I’ve rarely if ever gone for weapons development. A lot of my games have ended by the losing side conceding rather than meeting one of the victory conditions - for the losing side to suddenly recover with a fortuitous Weapons Development roll would feel awfully anticlimactic so when I’ve been on the losing end, I’d rather just concede and move on to the next game than have the dice be entirely responsible for my win. Experienced players can generally tell who is going to win a game, barring a huge upset of the dice, and again I’d rather not let that sort of factor change the outcome of the game. As you note, when the Axis surpass the 74 IPC mark several rounds in a row, it’s often inevitable that they’ll be able to hit 84 eventually, but it may take a few rounds for the logistics of their war machine to be able to secure that, and if both players agree, then it’s over and you move on. On the other hand, if Axis fails to break the 74 IPC mark, then even if they’re holding steady for several rounds, usually the Allies will be able to turn the tide eventually but it also may take several rounds of play, especially when both sides have large infantry stacks on all the right places.

    DizzKneeLand, since it looks like your game with AcesWild is on hold for possibly a couple months, would you be interested in a bid game of classic with me?

  • '20 '16 '15 '14

    @Avin sure that sounds great – maybe we can get something setup in the next few days after I get some work done this week lol. That will be fun.

    Now, I’m going to go out there and spew some heresy about tech. Honestly, the most solid Axis players set up Japan to buy bombers and then when ready roll for tech. This isn’t getting lucky in this case, the strategy centers around it. US will have to counter heavies at some point. Otherwise, Axis cannot win the long game (non 84 victory) consistently.

    I won’t throw more details out there since there are those better than I at these strategies. I have lots of 3rd edition strat articles on an old computer.

  • '20 '16 '15 '14

    Okay, I’m done with most of my work for the week so I’m good to go on our game if you are still interested. Did you want the standard 2nd edition rules? And, I will let you bid first. :)

    EDIT: Oops, thought I sent this as a PM, but that’s okay, just don’t want to hijack the thread…

  • Replied by PM (I think) to avoid thread hikacking as you suggest. ;)

  • Video number three is now up. This is the final preparatory video. The next five will be the strategic videos demonstrating the “Don’s essays” first turn “recommendations” followed immediately by demonstrating my personal first turn strategy.

    Axis and Allies series: Video 3, My Board

  • Video number four is now up. This is Russia’s first turn. I lead off with the “Don’s Essay’s” version of how things “must” go and follow up with what I like to do on R1.

  • Interesting suggestions for R1. I found myself wanting to disagree, but then thought further and realized that my gut reaction was probably off based on the fact that I am so used to playing with an Axis bid. With classic rules out of the box, your Persia move is fine, and while I think you are playing things overly cautiously for Russia I don’t doubt that it would work; after all if Allies have the advantage as I still think is the case, there’s no use being risky and throwing away that advantage.

    On the other hand I’m looking forward to seeing your suggestions for Germany and Japan to see if you have something new to bring there too!

  • '20 '16 '15 '14

    After watching, that Persia move is only valid in Russia Restricted. There is a WORLD of difference between Russia Restricted and non Russia Restricted. That world of difference is (85% at least) the battle of Ukraine. Russia can completely crush Germany there. That’s why the 18 bids are needed – to offset that crushing. Bids in Russia Restricted range from 6-12 (Utah rules, where there is no tech until round 4 and such).

    So, there is never a time in a no bid game that Russia shouldn’t hit Ukraine, and, I do like the Persia move in Russia Restricted (I do it slightly differently, but it’s the same in concept).

    I now know why I prefer 3rd edition rules – 2 hit BB’s, and no stupid unit restrictions based on the number of pieces in the box. I mean, I can chip bomber stacks up to 100, but if I dare try to break that 100 into 4 stacks then the world ends. Doesn’t make any sense. :)

    EDIT: The reason for taking Ukraine in that scenario is killing a German fighter in addition to a lot of other reasons. That fighter loss will compound as Germany progresses, even in the North Sea or other places (one less attacker will mean more losses). Japanese fighters aren’t as important, which is another reason you can leave Manchuria as a strafe. But German fighters are dear.

  • Video number five is now up. This is Germany’s first turn. I lead off with the “Don’s Essay’s” version of how things “must” go and follow up with what I like to do on G1.

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