Session Report: Axis & Allies 1941
I got my copy from Amazon last week, and I played a solo session to test the balance of the game, having seen a lot of suggestions that that game was biased toward the Axis. My analysis after this multi-day solo playtest is that the Axis are in better position in 1941 than in perhaps any other version of the game, but I don’t think that the game is broken or severely out of balance in favor of the Axis. In fact, the Allies won in my playtest (according to my assessment since the official victory conditions were still not met after eight turns). The way I see things is that the Axis have the initiative in the early stages of the game and can expand rapidly to achieve economic parity with Allies. However, if the Allies play defensively and smartly, they can hang on to their capitals (including Moscow) and begin to push back the Axis tide as they are now spread out and unable to defend their entire lines. The Axis are not done, however, at this point, because they are still powerful enough to win if the Allies make any mistakes or just get unlucky. Of course, bad luck can play a role with the paucity of total units in this version of the game. Japan had some terrible luck in the game when their attack on the US Pacific fleet ended in disaster when they had a significant numerical advantage. Given the US’s decision to focus on Europe, this was big moment in the war. Although time will truly tell, my guess is that there will be great replayability in the game.
This is my recollection of the turn by turn action, could be off a bit esp. with last couple of turns, but I think this is basically correct summary.
Turn One: USSR counter-attacks into West Russia with larger force; Germany decimates British navy, swings around and takes Caucasus, UK begins rebuilding; Japan takes Philippines, Borneo, China; USA prepares for Germany first strategy, retreats transport from West Coast.
Turn Two: USSR recaptures Caucasus; Germany takes Egypt and West Russia; UK reconstitutes navy with Aircraft Carrier build, flies fighters to Moscow; Japan takes East Indies and Australia, Siberia; USA continues building for invasion of Europe, lands two fighters on British AC.
Turn Three: USSR falls back to Moscow for total defense of capital; Germany takes Caucasus, moves more units to West Russia; UK girds for defense of India, readies for Turn Four Invasion of Europe; Japan takes India, more of Asia; USA lands in North Africa with 5 infantry, 3 tanks; sends bomber and one fighter to defend Moscow.
Turn Four: USSR builds up for defense of Moscow; Germany opts not to invade Moscow, retakes Caucasus while leaving enough troops in place to threaten Moscow; UK takes Western Europe; Japan takes Middle East and South Africa; USA takes Southern Europe and Egypt.
Turn Five: USSR continues to build up defenses; Germany retakes Western Europe and Southern Europe; UK rebuilds for new invasion; Japan moves units into Caucasus to support Germany, takes Hawaii; USA retakes South Africa, retakes Middle East, defends West Coast, prepares for second invasion fleet.
Turn Six: USSR continues to defend; Germany prepares for second invasion of Moscow; UK lands forces in North Africa; Japan continues to put units into Caucasus, had disastrous sea battle with US navy in Pacific; USA lands second invasion force in North Africa.
Turn Seven: USSR attack Caucaus all out, inflicts damage, retreats back to Moscow; Germany moves closer to Moscow for final attempt; UK invades Norway; Japan retakes Middle East, builds up India; USA to Egypt for attack on Middle East, begins preparation for third invasion fleet.
Turn Eight: USSR defends; Germany makes all out attack on Moscow with 40% chance of taking capital (according to D.S. Kelly’s calculator) but fails, Axis now doomed; UK takes Eastern Europe; Japan moves units to defend India, counter attack Middle East; USA takes Middle East. Axis concede. Allies win.
Final Economic Situation
Allies: 31 (down 5 from start)
Axis 27 (up 5 form start but down 2 from high water mark of 29)
USSR (7): Karelia, Archangel, Russia, Caucasus.
Germany (10): down for Norway and Eastern Europe.
UK (9): up for Norway, Eastern Europe; down for Australia, Borneo, East Europe, India.
Japan (17): up for India, Australia, Borneo, East Europe, China, Phillipines, Hawaii.
USA (15): down for Phillipines, Hawaii.