I completely agree with your analysis of Axis and Allies being an ECONOMIC game, as well as Strategic, and Tactical.
I think the MOST USEFUL and often overlooked gaming unit is the INFANTRY. You referred to it as a “Pawn”, and I concur in the conclusion of losing only the the pawns if you can manuever this to happen. And you do that, of course, by surrounding your more expensive and important pieces with them.
This tends to lead to longer games,…but VICTORIOUS games!
This is also a great way to help “even” the disparity of incomes between the Axis and Allies. If you force the Allies to put more of their (IPV value) in units back in the box as loses than you suffer, while at the same time attacking and encreasing your ECONOMIC base(IPC income) you could come to a “parity”, or even “superiority” of income.
Also, another point to consider is that(in a 1940-global game) the TOTAL income of the Allied powers is dispersed between several countries in several areas,…while the Axis powers can more easily concentrate their individual power.
I’ve found that one of our players who enjoys playing Germany or Russia seems to be enthralled with buying as many Tanks as he can(without a coresponding amount of Infantry). This leads to what I call “The Balloon Theory”. The player “blows up” his power with the Tanks and after several succeding battles, through attrition has lost all of his Infantry, and then I counter-attack and kill all of his expensive and powerful Tanks and “pop his balloon”.
Russia can be really interesting. If not attacked, and she build numerous Infantry(almost exclusively), she transforms herself from a country with weak defenses to one that can attack. With numerous Infantry combined with her “power” units, you will get some hits and be able to suffer losses without diluting your strength.
This is a wonderful game with many differrent ways to win. And although flawed to a certain degree, it’s still the BEST and MOST FUN I’ve had in any game. And it only get’s better with time. Many new maps/games are being introduced and FMG and HBG are about to release an avalanche of new, well detailed units that will deeply enrich our gameplay. I CAN’T WAIT !!!