Last night I had a chance to play the new AA50 with four of my regular board gaming friends. All these guys are very competent gamers – over 40, been playing all sorts of board games for years and two of them plus myself have been playing all the AA variants going back as far as original from the 80’s. However, we do have one younger chap (19 yrs.) with us and he’s still trying to figure it out.
The new AA50 game was met with great applause. Here’s what we found:
•The National Objectives are the center piece to any strategy. All the previous game reviews that didn’t include them should be ignored. They really change the game play. This addition was well liked by everyone.
•The new tech tree and system is well founded and fun – nothing was a game breaker; it’s just too random to make a strategy out of “getting” the right tech. In our game the Japanese did get Jet Fighters, allowing fighters to attack on 4s, and that made Japan very powerful – but there was no way for Japan to plan on that happening I would call getting a favorable tech, luck rather than strategy.
•The new rules on strategic bombing are great. Once the Allies were able to reduce Italian production to nothing! That was fun. I was playing on the Allied side.
•The Italians are more powerful than you might think. In last nights game they retook France at least 3 time for the Germans and took Stalingrad twice. Eventually they were overrun but not until late in the game.
•I really like the new rules on transports having 0/0. This just simply makes the game better.
In our game Moscow fell in the same turn as Berlin. The Americans tried to contest the Japanese, but were not very effective, eventually settling on a Germany first strategy – but to the Allies folly that left a much too powerful Japan and in the end Russia, which was doing well against German, couldn’t contain a two front war. The Japanese were gaining up to 15 extra IPCs a turn and out building America – The Americans should have never abandoned the Pacific, it was a huge strategic error.
After one game it’s hard to say if there were any glaring imbalances. We started with the 1941 set up and 6 hours later we were minus, Russia, Germany and Italy and still had no clear winner. We considered it a draw. All in all it seems like this version of Axis & Allies is winner – I’m already looking forward to next week’s game.