• Apologies for the noob question.

    I was going to buy 1941 for my 9-year old son, but I’ve read numerous reviews and forum posts that suggest it doesn’t have enough pieces to be playable out of the box.

    I understand there is no pseudo cash, so one has to keep tally sheets, and I’ve read some excellent posts about the need for more cash flow to make the game more fun, but for now I just need to know whether or not I can buy it and enjoy playing it as is? Or is it just going to drive us nuts and lead to me buying accessories right away?

    Thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated!

  • 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17

    @mordedura said in Is 1941 Playable Out of the Box?:

    Apologies for the noob question.

    Noob question away - I’ll answer as best I can. And the best part is, if I’m right, you will know it. That’s because if I’m wrong, people will swoop in to tell you and me that I’m wrong.

    I was going to buy 1941 for my 9-year old son, but I’ve read numerous reviews and forum posts that suggest it doesn’t have enough pieces to be playable out of the box.

    Can A&A 1941 be played out of the box? Yes. Can it be played well, or smoothly, out of the box? No. I’ll explain below.

    I understand there is no pseudo cash, so one has to keep tally sheets, and I’ve read some excellent posts about the need for more cash flow to make the game more fun, but for now I just need to know whether or not I can buy it and enjoy playing it as is? Or is it just going to drive us nuts and lead to me buying accessories right away?

    The problem with playing A&A 1941 straight out of the box is that:

    • You can make up for the lack of paper money by keeping track of the game money on paper (some players prefer to do it that way - simple to do and easy to see if a mistake was made);
    • You can make up for small number of dice (4 of 1 color) by adding more dice, especially with dice of different colors; and
    • The colored paperboard chits in grey, green, and red help make up for the small number of pieces in the game box.

    But for all that, the small number of pieces will still cause you to have to write out slips of paper with “US Tank” or “Japanese Destroyer” so that you can have tanks in more than 5 places or destroyers in more than 2 places.

    And that last point is the stickiest one. And it’s the one that drives many people away from A&A 1941.

    I’ve written more complete thoughts on this game before, so I’ll give you a review sandwich - opening thought, link to the full story, and closing thoughts. If you have questions after I’m done, please ask away.

    Axis & Allies 1941 is meant to be an entry level game for the A&A series. It is both an inexpensive game and a cheap game…

    BGG link to my full run-down of A&A1941

    While there is a vocal contingent that is not very happy with A&A 1941, I find much to love about 1941. I will caveat that with the fact that I have added in many of the things missing - plastic stacking chips, play money, and factories. But the rules and the map make for a lean and mean game of Axis & Allies. Just don’t let the cheapness of the suit and tie distract you from the value to be had in this game.

    Also, to add some breadth, here is one redditer’s take on making A&A 1941 all it can be. Of course, it’s an old observation: Just buy two copies… /s

    Thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated!

    I hope I was of help to you.

    -Midnight_Reaper


  • @mordedura

    I would say that it is absolutely playable out of the box, though I think it plays better if you dig out some poker chips, printed money from another game, or loose change to use as in game money rather than tracking income with pencil and paper as the manual suggests.

    For units, you won’t be swimming in spare pieces, but I wouldn’t expect to be with a game that is this detailed but costs so little!

    I have not played it as extensively as I have other versions, but I have never run out of pieces in the games I have played, whereas in previous editions (revised in particular) we would always have a cup of change ready to use as additional marker chips. (A penny means one extra unit and a nickel means five)

    In fact, I assumed all the complaints that 1941 did not have enough pieces came from people who did not understand how to properly use the chips to indicate multiple units of the same type. Having read Midnight_reaper’s reply I can see I was wrong, and it may be an issue even for experienced players.

    I don’t know if its a factor in my personal experience, but I personally LOVE how few new units you’re allowed to buy in this version and its the reason I play it.

    The ratio of the value of your starting units to your income is very different than other versions, which I think makes this game an interesting play even for experienced players and something beyond just being an “intro” version. You can’t replace losses easily so you really have to think hard about where and when to put your best units at risk, and the calculus about where to attack has a lot less to to with the value of the territory than it does with the value of the enemy units you’re hoping to eliminate.


  • Well, firstly I happen to love this edition but that’s because I have added 3 times the pieces the game comes with and painted them.
    As to your question, lets put it this way; a perfectly reasonable first turn buy for Japan would be a destroyer to bolster its navy but it already fields 2 and that is all the game comes with, so…


  • Both of the currently fielded destroyers are also away from the deployment area so chips won’t help either.


  • I should also add that in my opinion, sparsity of components aside, this is a really, really good edition. Other editions have more pieces, more territories, more income, more of everything. This is nice and all but it leads to a long, long, drawn out battle of attrition which ebbs and flows back and forwards interminably. Now, if you are a decades long Axis and Allies devotee, then this may be just what you’re after (it clearly is) and good luck to you but this one is a really neat little take on the game. Because material is so hard to replace, you tend only to attack when you have overwhelming local superiority, which leads to some cat and mouse manoeuvres which are a lot of fun.

  • 2022

    @mordedura

    My first game was 1941. It was a really good game. The problems highlighted are true-not enough pieces, and no paper money. But as this was my first edition, I didn’t really mind, and the piece shortage can be solved (if you want) by getting more pieces online. To deal with this problem, I simply limit the amount of units of any type that can be on the board at any one time. This can actually change up the game quite a bit, and whilst Germany starts with too many tanks, I just have grey chips represent infantry and red chips represent tanks. Once enough infantry and tanks are dead to solve this problem (after a few turns), chips are no longer needed for the rest of the game. Whilst I like this edtion (one time I could finish one game in a day), there are so many historical inaccuracies that I quickly moved on to the more accurate global 1940. So if you are willing to adapt to my changes, it is an instantly playable game (how I kept track of income was I used the National Production Chart to keep track of IPCs a nation has, instead of just the amount of IPCs a nation’s territories generate at any one turn. Makes it a bit more complicated but with smaller numbers, it’s not too hard).

  • '20

    I really like that version. Can be finish fast and game its dynamic. Only issue that you cant find other opponents to play it online.


  • @superbattleshipyamato
    I happen to really like 1941 as well. Mine is heavily customised with pieces, ancillaries and house rules which makes it great fun. I’ve never attempted the G40 game (though I own a set). I would say though, as far as historicity goes, that from what I’ve seen in G40, Spain always seems to get used as an Allied staging post where in fact Franco’s Spain was a strict neutral with Axis sympathies. Also, there always appears to be a stockpile race between Japan in Burma and the UK in the middle east. Both of these scenarios are far from the way the actual war played out.

  • 2022

    @leebear

    Yeah, well, there’s nothing rose in terms of accuracy. I’m waiting on people’s responses on the accuracy of War Room and Global War before thinking about purchasing them.

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