The creators of Axis & Allies have seen fit to combine some of the finest elements of the Global games with the simplicity of 1941 and first edition 1942. Taken as a whole, it creates a perfect stepping-stone from the basic 1941 rules into the realm of Global 1940.
The first rule that most people will notice is a few key price changes in the unit lineup. With the new rules for AAA guns (covered later) they have been reduced from 6 IPCs to 5 as the unit itself is needed in more abundance to defeat large aircraft stacks. Also changing for this version is the armor unit. We’re back to the 6 IPC tank, making things a bit more challenging on the Eastern Front. While some oppose the 6 IPC tank adamantly, this seems appropriate given the higher potential to lose aircraft under the new AAA rules. The infantry turtle may rear its ugly head again… only time will tell.
Next is the inclusion of the last iteration of Anti-Aircraft rules from the Global 1940 alpha testing. Verbatim from the rules:
Limited Move: Normally, this unit can be moved only during the Noncombat Move phase. An antiaircraft artillery unit cannot move during the Combat Move phase (other than being carried on a transport if the unit was loaded on a prior turn).
No Combat Value: It can, however, be taken as a casualty. If a territory containing AAA units and no combat units is attacked, the AAA units are automatically destroyed. AAA units may never attack.
Air Defense: An Antiaircraft artillery (AAA) unit can fire only at an air unit when that unit attacks the territory containing that AAA unit. AAA units fire only once, before the first round of combat. Each AAA unit in the territory may fire up to three times, but only once per attacking air unit. In other words, the total number of air defense dice rolled is three times the number of AAA units, or the number of attacking air units, whichever is the lesser. Once the number of air defense dice is determined, the dice are rolled. For each “1” rolled, the attacker chooses one air unit as a casualty. These casualties are removed immediately, and will not participate in the remainder of the battle. This AAA attack is made immediately before normal combat occurs in the territory containing the AAA unit. AAA units do not defend industrial complexes against strategic bombing. Industrial complexes have their own “built in” air defenses.
Basically what this means, for those who are not familiar, is you can free up your AAA guns from protecting your ICs so they can protect your troops, but you may need more than one in a territory. You can take AAA units as casualties during a battle, but they are automatically destroyed if it’s the only combat unit in the territory.
Victory Conditions remain the same and the only change to Victory Cities is they have arbitrarily swapped Los Angeles for San Francisco. Honolulu is erroneously not mentioned in the rulebook.
Update: Industrial Complexes gain the ability of Air Defense, which allows them to fire anti-aircraft shots against bombers attacking an industrial complexing during a strategic bombing raid. An optional rules was included to allow attacking and defending fighters to participate in strategic bombing raids as escorts and interceptors, respectively.
The new rules all seem to work well and blend seamlessly into the new game lineup. I look forward to training new recruits for the more advanced A&A games.
Update (July 25, 2012): Added all the other special ability rules for AAA units. Adding information about the new strategic bombing rules.