Risk, Axis & Allies, and the strategy game revolution
In the mind of the average consumer, there are two strategy war games that have stood the test of time, been the subject of countless birthday gifts, and the source of hours of entertainment for boys, teenagers, and men around the world: Risk, and Axis & Allies. Are they the world's greatest games? No. But since the arrival of Risk in 1957 and Axis & Allies in 1984, they've certainly been hot sellers, and they still fly off department store shelves today. And yet there's something about both games that has left many gamers somewhat dissatisfied.
What's wrong with Risk?
In the case of Risk, it was the fact that the game was simple. Too simple. Now there are many who will rise to the defense of Risk, and sing its praises. Good for them. I'm glad that many hours of fun have been had with Risk. I've had fun playing it too as a teen. But the reality is that there are also many people - perhaps even more people - who are frustrated by some aspects of the game, like the simple combat system, the randomness, and the player elimination. Consider comments like these:
"Another of those games which has player elimination and extended gaming time--the ultimate combination of boredom." - Gary Goh
"Really not a great game to be playing, the game is too random for any real strategy, you win simply by having more troops than your opponents, and in the later games you end up rolling too many dice for you even remember why are you playing this game." - Nicholas Teng
"The fundamental problem with Risk is that it gives you too few meaningful choices for how long it takes. There's only one way to attack and nothing you can do to influence battle outcomes besides bringing more guys and rolling high numbers, no real resource management, only one type of unit to build - it's just very monotonous. All you can do is place armies and throw them at people. And the game can drag on for ages and take forever to end. The amount of luck is also a problem." - Joel Joslin
"Fundamentally and irredeemably stupid. This alleged game ranks somewhere between reality t.v. and disco on the list of reasons why a spiteful god might choose to exterminate humanity and try again. Nothing but a wretched excess of pointless die rolling. Taking a crap takes more concentration, and you feel better afterward. If only we could flush this game, and the memory of its existence, from the collective unconsciousness. It's too long for a game that is 99 percent luck, and it's not challenging. I must say that of all the games I rank a "1", this one vexes me most heavily. I cannot think of a single reason why anyone would want to play this again." - mistermarino
What's wrong with Axis & Allies?
So is Axis & Allies the fix for Risk? For the average teenager, the problem with Axis & Allies is that it is complex. Too complex. Once again, there are many who will rise to the defense of Axis and Allies, and just adore it. Good for them. If you're one of them, that's great, and I tip my hat off to you. I'm glad that there are many devoted fans who appreciate what the game offers, and it does have a lot to offer for those who like it. But there are also many people - perhaps even more people - who are frustrated by some aspects of the game. Consider comments like these:
"Painful just to set up." - Nancy Canright
"A literal nightmare of a game, it will cure any enthusiasm for war. This game can easily go on for days." - Joseph Rudmin
"Extremely painful and time-consuming to set up. If I'm going to spend over 30 minutes doing anything it ought to be playing." - Benjamin Scriptor
"Much too repetitive. Sure it's historically accurate, but every game is too similar to the last. That and the extremely long setup and turn upkeep earn this sleeper a 2." - Jeremy Reed
"This game adds complexity to Risk and yields a far less pure and interesting game. Given a choice between playing this again and spending those hours on the porcelain throne, I elect the latter." - Jon Rosenthal
"Too many pieces, needlessly complicated, and not a heck of a lot of strategy. " - David Gorgos
"Thought Risk was too fast to play? Run out of paint to watch dry? Grab your dice pool and fritter away a weekend with A&A... Or not..." - Wibblenut
"A&A is really a 3-hour game that's five hours too long. You take eight hours to reach a conclusion you knew four hours ago." - Elijah Lau
What's right with Attack!?
It's not my aim to defend the above comments. They are clearly intended to be provocative. Even somewhat humorous. If you don't agree with them, please don't get all hot and bothered and write a ten page essay in response to this post. Just have a chuckle and keep reading. Because I don't even want to be suggesting that Risk or Axis & Allies are necessarily bad games, or that you can't have a good time with them. My point is simply: it seems that the world could use a game somewhere between Risk and Axis & Allies. Axis & Allies is two steps up from Risk, and quickly becomes inaccessible to the average teenage boy, who is left to amuse himself and his friends with the agony that is Risk. So is there a game that is one step up from Risk, without becoming Axis & Allies? Is there a game that has the gorgeous miniatures of Axis & Allies, different military units, without having the same scripted starting position or lengthy playing time or complexity? Is there a game that has the simple streamlined play of Risk but adds just enough to make it look good, and remove most of the worst things of the game? Something that has a picture like this on the back of the box that will make the mouths of most teenage boys start to water?
The good news is that this game does exist. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the secret love child of Risk and Axis & Allies, is Attack! It takes some of the best things of Risk and Axis & Allies, and combines them in a way that keeps the game streamlined, and still good-looking. Haven't heard of it before? That's why I call it the secret love child of Risk and Axis & Allies. Perhaps you have heard of Attack!, but I have to confess that until a couple of months ago, I hadn't. Probably, I expect, because the department store shelves are full of games like Risk and Axis & Allies, but Attack! goes largely unnoticed, unseen, because it's not produced by a big boy in the gaming business like Hasbro, but by Eagle Games. But thanks to Eagle Games, we get the happy medium we're looking for.
A disclaimer: Attack! isn't going to be for everyone. Maybe not even for you. But the reality is that there are thousands upon thousands of kids out there who are playing Risk, maybe even fighting tooth and nail over a dice roll or throwing bits at each other, when these same kids - right now - could be playing Attack and enjoying themselves much more. For only $20, you can get Attack!, with 600+ miniatures, and a better game than Risk, without the complexity of Axis & Allies. Why parents are still buying Risk for their ten year olds when they could be buying Attack! for less money and be getting a much better game is beyond me. Intrigued? Read on!
Let's check out what we can learn from the rest of the box. As is typical for Eagle Games, it's a big box:
The reverse side gives us an idea of what's inside:
We've already seen the lovely looking miniatures, but let's zoom in and have a closer look at what else we can learn from the back of the box. It tells us this:
"Take command! of your Nation's Army, Navy, and Economy as you attempt to become the most powerful nation in the world. ATTACK! is a new, easy-to-learn- and expandable game system: The basic game contains rules and components that allow players to play a simple fast-paced game of world conquest."
That sounds cool. But this isn't Risk is it? Or Axis & Allies? Nope. Read on:
Ahh, now we're talking! We want to learn more! Time to crack open that box!
So what do we get inside the big box? First of all, did you notice how heavy it feels? And our first peek inside the box makes us just about fall off our chair in amazement! This big box not only weighs a lot, but it is packed full of goodness:
Wow, there's a ton of stuff inside!
And look at all those miniatures! There's over 600 of them! 600 - count 'em if you please! They are going to keep us busy for a long time:
And then we have a massive game board featuring a world map that we'll look at later, with the name of the game on the reverse side:
There's also a bag with ten dice, the red ones featuring cool looking icons of military units:
And finally we get two shrink-wrapped decks of cards:
These contain various cards like the ones pictured here:
And of course we can't forget the rule book.
So here's the complete inventory:
* 1 gameboard
* 1 rule book
* 6 runners with 100+ miniatures for up to 6 players
* 8 battle dice
* 2 regular dice
* 2 decks of cards
Wow, do we ever like what we see so far! Let's get to work figuring all this out!
Components: The Rule Book
The rule book features similar artwork to the box cover, and makes mention of the four different types of military personnel - Join the Army, Air Corp, Navy, or Marines:
The rule book itself consists of 22 pages, but don't get too worried - only 9 pages of this are the actual rules. There's other filler relating to the theme and some other aspects of the game, and there are 7 pages with fully illustrated play examples of land combat and naval combat, which are tremendously helpful.
You can download the rule book here:
The rule book also has some very useful reference charts on the back, such as this chart showing the different costs and uses for different military units:
So let's check out the playing side of our game board:
Note that it's not entirely global although we do have North and South America, Africa and Western Europe. That's because they were leaving room for an expansion map on the east. So the map represents the western half of the world in 1935, shortly before World War II began.
Let's look more closely at a part of the map, Africa:
Notice how red lines divide the land areas into named regions, which are important for movement and battle. There are also gray lines in the oceans that connect land regions to one another - these are "sea lanes", and are important for movement between the regions connected by the sea lanes.
Components: Miniatures (Land Units)
Truth be told, you're itching to see the miniatures, right? They come in six different colours, one colour per player:
Each "sheet" or runner has over 100 miniatures! Wow!
I suppose you could twist them out, but you'll get best results if you just use a craft knife and cut them like this, in order to separate them cleanly:
Each player ends up with a massive pile of military land units!
And they look great!
Impressive! Here we see the four main types of land units or armies:
In the center is the "capital", which each player will use to designate which region is their capital. The four types of land units are:
Remember this order - it will be important later for resolving combat.
The larger miniatures simply designate five of that type of unit. There are five larger units of each type. The size comparison below shows the five larger Tanks (= 5 units) compared with a smaller tank (= 1 unit).
Most of the miniatures are smaller units, and you'll only need the larger miniatures if you're running out of room on the map because your army is too powerful or numerous!
Components: Navy Cards (Naval Units)
While land units are represented by miniatures, the naval units are represented by cards from the Navy deck:
The four different types of naval units available to players are Destroyers, Submarines, Battleships, and Aircraft Carriers:
While land units are used for occupying regions and fighting battles, the naval units play a less important role in the game. One person at a time will control the seas, and be able to prevent other players from amphibious movement across the ocean. Only by ousting this player in naval combat and getting control of the sea in his place, can another player make such amphibious movement (unless the player in control of the seas allows amphibious movement).
Components: Economics Cards
In addition to the Navy deck there's also an Economics deck:
These cards are used for the "Build New Units" phase of the game. Throughout the game, each player has one card for each region he controls (at the start of a game, this is four). Once per turn - if he wishes - you can generate new military units based on the value of the economics cards you own.
There are five different types of Economics cards. The four most important ones are: Rail Transport, Factories, Minerals, and Oil:
There are 11 different cards of each, with values of 1-4:
Additionally there are 8 Population cards, all with a value of 1, and are less useful to you:
Each time you conquer a new region, you get another Economics card, which will increase you production. There's one special rule here: a set of one of each of Rail Transport, Factories, Minerals, and Oil (but not Population) is worth double the point value printed on those cards. So in the example pictured earlier, the value would be double 1+1+1+1, i.e 2 x 4 = 8.
Now for the cool looking dice that are used to resolve combat! There are eight dice with icons on them that correspond to the four types of military land units:
These function much like the dice in Memoir 44: if you are attacking with tanks, you need to roll a tank icon to score a hit with your tank. "But dice have six sides," you say, "I see only five pictured here!" Yes, that's because the "plane" icon appears on two sides, which means it has the best chance of scoring a "hit."
There are also two regular D6s, which are used when attempting a "diplomatic blitz" to take over other regions:
It's time to learn how to play the game and start playing with those miniatures!
The game begins with each player having the following:
● four random Economics cards
● naval units: 1 Battleship, 2 Destroyers, 2 Submarines
● land units: 12 Infantry, 6 Tanks, 4 Artillery, 2 Planes
In turns, players select four regions, and then deploy their units, five units at a time, in any of the regions that they have chosen, and then place their Capital City in one of their regions.
For example, here's the setup at the beginning of a three player game, after the deployment of units:
The advantage of setting up the game in this way is that it is different each time. For the most interaction, the rules also suggest adding an optional requirement that players must pick a region from each of the four continents for their four starting regions.
Game-play: Flow of Play
In turns (clockwise), players may take up to three different actions from the following list of possibilities:
A diplomatic blitz is the only action that may be taken more than once on a turn. In most cases players will choose to build new units, move and engage in combat or perform a diplomatic blitz, but certainly these aren't the only options available to them.
Sound simple? It is! But let's just give a little more information about the different actions available to players each turn:
Each land unit can be moved to an adjacent region, with planes and tanks moving up to two regions. Amphibious movement to a region across the ocean (via a sea lane) is only possible when the player who controls the seas allows this (plane units cannot be blocked in this way). When you move any land units into a region owned by another player, a land battle results.
You cannot move through "neutral" regions, if you do, this also initiates combat (the forces in the neutral region are determined by taking a random card from the Economics deck, and applying the text on the bottom of the card).
● Blitzkrieg Move
This is the same as a normal move, but follows a regular move, and can only be performed by tanks and planes. Blitzkrieg!
● Strategic Move
This allows you to move as many land units as they wish through any number of connected regions you own. Movement must begin and end in a region you own, and must also be through regions you own. Consequently, no battles will result from a strategic move.
● Naval Battle
Only one player can control the sea at a time, and this player indicates this by placing his navy cards in the middle of the board. The Naval Battle action allows you to challenge the player who currently has control of the sea, by engaging in a naval battle, the winner of which gains control of the sea.
● Diplomatic Blitz
You can attempt to gain control of an adjacent neutral region by rolling an 8 or higher (9 or higher if it is not adjacent) with two D6s. In the case of a failed diplomatic blitz, the other players in turn get the opportunity to roll the dice, and if any other player rolls a 9 or higher, the region in question becomes theirs instead! Regions earned by Diplomatic Blitz have a free infantry unit placed in them, and also earn an Economics card.
● Build New Units
You total the production points on you Economics cards, add 10 production points controlling your capital city, and this indicates how much you may spend on purchasing new units that turn, which are immediately placed on the board anywhere in your own regions. The cost of new units is as follows:
Clearly this mechanic owes a great deal to Axis & Allies, and adds an interesting element not present in Risk. Note that if you conquer a region from an opponent in battle, you also get to take one of his Economics cards at random, which will help increase your production.
You can trade economics cards with another player, to try to get sets of four different types, and thus improve your production. Trading requires that you own regions adjacent to the player you are trading with, or else the trade requires permission from the player who controls the seas with his navy.
Game-play: Winning the game
You can choose to end the game as soon as one player is eliminated, i.e. when a player has no land units remaining. So unlike Risk, the game doesn't drag on after one person is eliminated! Alternatively, you can end the game at a mutually agreed pre-determined time, in which case the winner is the player at that time who owns the most regions. This is a good way of preventing a game from becoming overly lengthy, and is another great rule.
Combat: Land combat
One of the things I really like about Attack is how combat works, and how simple it is. All units in the contested region are used, and the battle continues "to the death", until only one army is left. In other words: no retreating! Here's how it works:
Setup: Each player (first the attacker, then the defender) chooses four units from their "reserve" pool of all the units in the contested region. The battle is resolved in rounds, first the defender takes steps 1-4, then the attacker takes steps 1-4, and then the next round commences.
1. Reinforcing: At the beginning of each "round", the acting player can move units from his reserve into battle, with the following maximum in battle: 4 units in the first round, 5 in the second round, 6 in the third round, etc.
2. Rolling: One dice is rolled for each of the acting player's units in battle (two dice for each tank). A minimum of two dice are to be rolled.
3. Resolving: For each die rolled that matches one of the acting player's units, a hit is scored (only one die per unit). So if you have 2 tanks and 2 planes, and roll 3 tank icons and 1 plane, you would only get 3 hits.
4. Eliminating: Units are eliminated from the player being attacked in the following order: infantry, tanks, artillery, planes. This is also an interesting but simple mechanic that makes combat interesting!
After the defender has followed steps 1-4, the attacker gets to perform steps 1-4, and then the second round commences, this time with up to 5 units in battle. The surviving player wins the battle and places his units back on that region (and takes a random Economics card from his opponent if he has taken over the region).
The combat system is simple enough when you see it in practice, and the rule book contains a full four-page example (pages 8-11) illustrating how this works. It favours having a diversity of units in combat, but still there are interesting choices to be made as to which units you should put into battle from your reserve at the beginning of each round, given that some units have special bonuses (e.g. tanks get two dice each; planes are the last to be eliminated). There are also some excellent play-mats available on BGG which assist greatly in figuring out combat, as shown here:
Example of land combat
Let's show part of the play example given in the rulebook:
Situation: The Tan player moves armies into Poland, attacking the Green player and forcing a battle. Both players have suffered losses after the first round of combat, and we'll just show what might happen in the second round of combat.
Green Player [Rolling Turn 2]: The Green player reinforces with 1 Infantry, 1 Tank, and 1 Plane (since this is the second round, the limit for units that can be in battle is now “5”). He rolls 6 dice. The result of the roll is: 2 Infantry, 1 Tank, 1 Artillery, and 2 Plane images on the dice. He has scored five hits! However, the Tan player only has four units committed to the battle, so that is all that he can lose in this round.
Tan Player [Rolling Turn 2]: The Tan player reinforces with all five of his remaining units. He rolls 6 dice. The result of the roll is: 1 Infantry, 2 Tanks, 2 planes, and 1 blank image. He has scored 3 hits and eliminates the Green player’s Infantry, Tank, and Artillery unit.
See the rule-book for the rest of this play example, but this will give you a taste of how the combat mechanism works.
Combat: Naval combat
Much of the game is about land combat, however there are instances where it is advantageous to seek to control the sea by naval combat. Here's an example of a massive fleet that one player owned before attempting to wrest control of the seas!
I won't describe the rules for naval combat in detail, except to say that these are also resolved in rounds. In brief:
1. Set-up: Each player puts their navy cards in a row (face down), lined up opposite cards belonging to their opponent.
2. Revealing: Cards are turned face up, and the ships opposite one another are now "matched up" in battle.
3. Resolving: Each match-up is resolved by players rolling two dice (D6s), and adding modifiers. The highest roll wins and a hit is applied to one of loser's ships (the ship at the beginning of the battleline).
4. Removing: Battleships need two hits to be sunk, thus after the first hit they are simply removed from battle and can't fight again in this battle (they are repaired before the next battle)
5. Repeating: If neither player chooses to retreat (this is a difference from land combat), the above process is repeated with the remaining ships.
Example of naval combat
So how does this work? Let's use a play example given in the rulebook (p.14-16).
Situation: The Tan player has control of the sea with 1 Battleship, 1 Destroyer, and 1 Submarine in his fleet. The Green player decides to perform a “Naval Battle” action in an attempt to take control of the sea away from the Tan player. The Green player has 1 Battleship, 2 Destroyers, 1 Submarine, and 1 Aircraft Carrier. The Tan player decides to fight the battle.
Set-up: Both players lay out three cards. (They only lay three cards each because that is the number that the player with the fewer cards has in his fleet.) The Tan player lays out: Sub, Battleship, and Destroyer. The Green player lays out: Battleship, Aircraft Carrier, and Destroyer.
Revealing: Both players flip their cards face up.
Resolving match-ups: The first match-up is the Green player’s Battleship against the Tan player’s Submarine. The Green player rolls two dice and adds +1 because he has a Carrier adjacent to his Battleship. He rolls an “11” for a total of 12. The Tan player rolls two dice and adds +2 to the roll because his Submarine matches-up well against Battleships. The Tan player rolls an “8” for a total of 10. The Green player wins and puts a hit on the Tan player’s Submarine (the first ship in the battle line), sinking it.
See the rule-book for the rest of this play example.
Expansions, Revisions, and other Improvements
As it stands, Attack! is quite a simple game. For many people, it's just right. But if you do want to add more, there are ways to improve it or add to the experience.
The Attack! Expansion is available to enhance the base game:
The expansion adds a lot more options, like an additional map, miniature ships, paper money, technology markers, political action cards, and more, as you can see here:
Many serious players prefer playing with the expansion because of the extra options and complexity it provides, but others will find that the expansion adds too much clutter, and will prefer the more streamlined base game as a step up from Risk.
Forthcoming in 2009 is Attack! Deluxe Expansion, a revised and improved deluxe edition of the game:
It is scheduled to be released this year, and reports from play-testers indicate that it is going to be good. Very good. Consider these comments:
"This promises to be the Attack! you've always dreamed of!" - Bill Andel
"I just recently playtested this game and although I have the original rules, I don't see a reason to ever go back to them. The game has really been cleaned up, although I still see a few issues, it's a great Axis and Allies-like experience that can be played from 1 to 2 hours." - Steve Wagner
"Another fortunate playtester here! This promises to be the game I've always dreamed of! And while I haven't played every big game of conquest out there, I have certainly played a number of them and I have to say that "Attack! Deluxe" is definitely the pinnacle of the genre. This is the game that finally does it all right, and it is my favourite board game of all time for 4-5 players! They have somehow managed to turn "Attack! Expansion" into a much better game while simultaneously simplifying it." - squash
Variants and Rule Tweaks
So what should you get? Well the Deluxe version isn't available just yet, so you could wait, because if early reports are anything to go by, it does seem to have great potential. On the other hand, you could just opt to get the base game now - for only around $20, how can you go wrong? If you're quite content with the base game, but looking to tune it up slightly, some excellent work has been done by one of BGG's own, squash, with some great suggestions for tweaking and improving the games:
Extreme Makeover Attack! Edition
Some of his suggestions include components from the expansion, but there are many other tweaks that make a great deal of sense to improve the base game as is. For example, the recommendation that players not randomly draw 4 Economics cards at the start of the game, but that each player starts with an Oil, a Minerals, a Factories, and a Rail Transport card (all with a different value from 1 to 4) to ensure an equal starting production is well worth considering. The use of economics tokens (not difficult to make and implement) to ensure that Economics cards are connected with a specific region is also a solid improvement and enhances strategic play.
What do I think?
How Attack! compares with Risk
After playing Attack!, I don't know why anyone in their right mind would go back to Risk. The step up in rules complexity isn't not significant, and yet look at what you get: much nicer miniatures, different military units, less luck, more strategic possibilities, and a better combat system. And a cheaper game! Attack! is currently selling at many online retailers for only $20, why would anyone in their right mind spend more money on Risk when it's clearly inferior? Clearly, the only reason that someone is at this very moment buying a copy of Risk at Walmart, is because they don't know about Attack!
How Attack! compares with Axis & Allies
Attack! clearly owes a great deal to Axis & Allies, especially the production and purchasing system, and the miniatures. But there are differences: Attack is simpler, requires less set up, and has a variable starting set-up that is determined by the players rather than the game. If you're looking for a more involved game that is closer to the history, then you'll prefer Axis & Allies. But if you like customized scenarios, a quicker and simpler game that is a step up from Risk, then clearly Attack! is the right choice.
How Attack! compares with Memoir 44
Let's be honest: Attack! is an Ameri-trash type game, not a Euro type game like Memoir 44. Memoir 44 has great miniatures like Attack, but is a completely different style of game. Its set up time is more extensive, but it plays much quicker (30 min), and is largely card driven, whereas Attack is longer game, less historically constrained, and more about moving miniatures and rolling dice. So Attack! isn't about to replace Memoir 44 any time soon. But as a game in its own right, it stands tall in between Risk and Axis & Allies.
What do others think?
Don't just take my word for it! Here are some comments from those are are particularly enthused about Attack!
"The fast pace of Risk combined with the strategy and options of Axis and Allies. This has quickly become one of my favorites." - Lucias Meyer
"The best of Risk (i.e. freewheeling setup and alliances) with the best of A&A (plastic pieces, nice map, WWII units and atmosphere). The political action cards and the numerous technology cards by themselves put this way ahead of either A&A or Risk." - Pierre Tellis
"Eagle Games set out to create a fun, fast, playable conquer-the-world type of game and they succeeded admirably. The basic game is easy to learn, can be played in a few short hours, and changes every time it's played. Yes, there are more complicated or more historically accurate games available, but if you just want to have a short, fun game of conqueror the world with a few friends, Attack! is your game. If you wish for a deeper experience, check out the Attack! Expansion with enhanced naval options and new rules." - John Ussery
"For those who want something in between Risk and Axis & Allies, this is the game for you!" - Gary Byzewski
"The best one yet from Eagle and once played you won't go back to Risk or A&A. Good simple rules, fun gameplay and it is pretty quick for such a rewarding game. The diplomatic system and political cards from the expansion adds a variety and complexity which add to the replayability." - Tom Tom
"Takes the basics from Axis and Allies and Risk that I enjoy and improve on them greatly with a great dice attack dynamic and simple economic system." - Glenn Price
The final word
Attack! isn't going to be a new Memoir 44, not least because it requires about 3 hours to play, like other games of its type (although you can easily make it shorter by stopping at a pre-determined time). But if you find Risk too random and simple, or Axis & Allies too historically constrained and predictable, then Attack may be just the thing for you. The miniatures are fantastic, and there's just enough extras (e.g. the production cards) to make it far more enjoyable than Risk.
Is Attack! for you? That will depend on your personal taste. I hope that this pictorial overview has helped you learn how the game works, and for a game with over 600 miniatures at only $20, it's kind of hard to go wrong, even if you only end up playing it a handful of times. And even if Attack! is not for you personally, most of us know some boys who just love playing Risk, but haven't been exposed to better games. Can I increase their joy by giving them 600 miniatures and a better game for only around $20? Count me in, let's Attack!
The complete list of Ender's pictorial reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596
- Last edited Sat Jan 31, 2009 12:15 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:05 pm
I don't quite follow the hate for this game either. The expansion improves the game greatly, and I have always had a fun day of playing it when it sees play.
Kudos on the sweet review.
Dance Dino, Dance!
I've never played nor heard of this game but the review certainly got me interested in it. Thanks for showing me the way to the light!
Also super kudos on what has to be the most thorough and demonstrative review I've read yet on this site. I mean; could you have possibly put more pictures in it! WOW! Great job!
Interesting. I didn't know that there was a new version coming out. Looking around, it looks like there will be kits to "upgrade" the original version to the deluxe version.
I have it, but it hasn't gotten on the table because the maps are so friggin huge. And yes, I'd probably play the basic game over Risk any day.
Excellent review, Capt. Wiggins. Now get your butt in that jeep and high tail it to some much deserved R&R!
KNEEL BEFORE ZOD !!!
100 geek gold and this is all I get? :p
Nice looking review, thanks!
I'm not sure denigrating other games is necessary to sell this game. I think Attack stands well enough on it's own, esp with the expansion. I sold my copies off some time back, but am looking forward to picking up the revised DX version when/if it ever comes out.
Also, I don't think everything with AA or Risk Brand is bad. The new Revised Risk sold everywhere is very good step up from 50's Risk. I'm glad they took the RISK involved in revitalizing this long standing brand's basic game (not just with licensed rethemes like Monopoly, etc.) I hope you get a chance to try the Revised version sometime. Risk (Revised Edition)
I'd also like to hear your thoughts on Dust in a similar review. I just picked it up, but haven't been able to play. I liked that it comes with two types of games, not just "basic" and "advanced" rules, sort of like what Eagle did with Conquest of the Empire. It's like getting two games with the same parts set. Nice idea.
- Last edited Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:39 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:19 pm
This title is a complete misnomer for this game because the combat system rewards the defender and it's best not to attack if you can help it unless you have invested in lots of fodder. Check the above example, how much PP's of stuff the attacker loses and realize that early on you will have 10-15 PPs per turn. And you must fight to increase that income
This game seemed really exciting to us when we first bought it (deep discount from a store going out of business). Definately not worth the small amount paid for it, wasted a couple of days trying to learn it and traded it away to someone who put it up for trade a few months later. There's a decent game in here, I just don't have the time to invest trying to dig through and find it. No way does it even compare to Axis and Allies and Risk may be palatable. If you are looking for this kind of game, spring for Nexus Ops and have more fun while saving yourself hours.
Yuki-chan, nice to see you here. Glad to see that we can agree on this game, at least.
I really enjoy your pictorial reviews, Ender. Keep doing these for every game in the database! I had one minor correction for you:
These function much like the dice in Memoir 44: if you are attacking with tanks, you need to roll a tank icon to score a hit with your tank.
In Memoir '44, the goal is to roll the type of unit you are trying to hit, not the type of unit you are attacking with. I think that the comparison between the two similarly-themed games is legitimate, I just thought that you wouldn't want to confuse your readers.
“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.” -Bukowski
“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
There's a decent game in here, I just don't have the time to invest trying to dig through and find it.
As Ender very kindly pointed out, I've already done the work for you!
Old Ways Are Best!
Excellent review of a truly innovative game. The Risk and Axis and Allies comparisons are inevitable and there are obvious superficial similarities to both, but this game has several new and interesting ideas going for it. I think the base game is playable but really comes into its own with the expansion. I was never a big fan of A&A or Risk (prior to 2010), but I'm happy to play Attack!
I'm not sure where the references to Memoir '44 come in - Mem '44 is a purely tactical level "miniatures played on a board" sort of thing where two players skirmish to capture flags or "take a hill" as opposed to a multi-player world spanning strategic level war game. Other than using three dimensional playing pieces the two games have virtually nothing in common.
Thanks very much for shining a very thorough and entertaining light on a much under-appreciated game!
- Last edited Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:08 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Jan 17, 2009 3:23 am
Okay, sorry to be critical, but...why not include the ship counters in the original release instead of in an expansion? Seems like a cop-out to me. I like the idea of starting anywhere and expanding from there-this would add some varied gameplay compared to risk and axis and allies. I think the mini's in Axis & Allies are far superior to the Attack mini's but that is just one opinion. I also think the game suffers from the same problem as Axis & Risk in that there are too few territories on the map...and this has been fixed in the new version of Axis & Allies. Perhaps they should have just made the map from an alternate reality type setting and created their own territories and countries if they really wanted to be different from Risk and Axis & Allies...I saw this game at a local store and was pretty much turned off right away..couldn't put my thumb on why other than it seemed like an imitation to me that was done very well. To me, if I see a game opened at a store and someone playing it and having a good time I would be more likely to allow money to jump out of my wallet and that was not the case when I saw the demo of attack.
Old Ways Are Best!
Agreed, the expansion (which "finished" the game) seemed in retrospect to be a bit of a "gotcha!" The hoped for re-release Attack Deluxe (or whatever) will be what the game could/should have been from the beginning.
Nonetheless, having actually played the game several times (as opposed to watching a demo), I can easily assert that it is very much its own game and superior in many respects to either the re-done versions of Risk or Axis & Allies. As others have already noted elsewhere, the game if anything more resembles Dust - or rather Dust was inspired by Attack! and comparisons of those two might be more enlightening...
Basically if you like Risk but wish for less luck and more strategy, play Attack! instead. I never played Axis & Allies (although I'm very, very interested in trying it). I loved playing RTS games (and am eagerly awaiting Halo Wars) and this game definitely fills the empty spot Risk left me. I just finished (by that I mean my 2 floormates and I called a draw because it was 2 am) a game and it is a lot of fun. There's sooo much more depth in this game than Risk. It's a must play for strategy game lovers. As one observer on my floor observed, "It's the Monopoly of Risk; It's Risk on steroids!"
Attack it's a very very very good game, bute play it ALWAYS with the expansion set!!!
I'm confused. Why did the OP compare Memoir 44 and Attack? Completely different games.
Certainly one of the best reviews I've seen for a long time.
Great stuff thanks
Comparisons Are Key
This is one of the most well-written and thorough reviews I've read on BGG. You hit all the usual topics (components, gameplay, etc.) but also address with aplomb the one thing I find lacking in most reviews: a thorough comparison with other similar games. Nicely done.
Certainly one of the best reviews I've seen for a long time.
Great stuff thanks
My thoughts EXACTLY. I was just about writing this .
Yes, excellent review. I have all three: Attack, Risk, and A&A. I would say that while there are similarities, they are all good games in their own right. Different games for different groups and occasions.
Coincidentally, I just played A&A today. I think that A&A and Attack take about the same length of time to set up (referring to the comment in the OP).