I would really like to here the communities take on this subject. Praises and criticisms. I realize I’m late to the ball, but here I am and I’ excited about getting into this game.
Here is my take.
This board and map are great.
I love the hugeness of it; this thing is just massive.
The geography and how that effects play was very well thought out. Africa is squashed down abut as much as possible and there is more room available in Europe as one could have reasonably made without completely distorting the world map. The point being , the map still looks like the world while still being able to provide effective space for game play- that is a tough balance to achieve.
The idea of making the Himalayas and Sahara impassible was inspired. Of course they are impassible to large armies. If the Axis want to do damage to the British Empire in Sub Saharan Africa, they need to either turn the corner at Alexandria or win the Atlantic or Indian Oceans.
The neutral spaces are very well done. More on that when I review the Neutral Countries.
But the main thing the map gets right is what it’s supposed to get right, it provides the right geometry to promote good game play. Their are major regions and regions within those regions and each set has its own keys to being manipulated for offense and defense. That makes for interesting game play.
Even better, I haven’t found any rinky dink ways of manipulating the geography in ways that don’t feel true to the intent of the game/WW2. The space in the Pacific is an obstacle. The Space of Russia is an obstacle. As they both should be. The benefit from gaining Scandinavia is big, but its not a game changer. The Far East or the Black Sea can’t be used as some unanticipated flanking move. One doesn’t want to be tied down to replaying WW2 as accurately as possible, but one doesn’t want to completely break with reality either.
Every game I play I learn new things about this board. I’ve played 4 intensive games with myself and am still feel like I am a long long ways from mastering the geography of this board. That is a good thing.
Certainly there are things I could quibble about.
The names for the Chinese Provinces could be better. In that , as someone who lives in China, I would prefer the proper current Pinyin names for them, A westerner defiantly made this game. But I understand they are trying to keep with the Pre 1949 feel for the region and using the terms the west used back then; so ok.
Having Kazakistan so far south is a bit weird.
There are times where I wish certain spaces were larger; I’m looking at you Bessarabia and SZ110. But most of my spatial problems stem from my style of game play which is still rooted in monolithic stacks of enormous proportions which worked well in the Axis and Allies of old.
Which brings me to my biggest opinion about this board. This board is infinitely superior to the previous incarnations of Axis and Allies.
This is a very good and interesting game and it starts with the map.
What are your thoughts?