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Subject: 25th Anniversary edition, a simpler, cheaper, easier edition rss

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Sean Shaw
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This is a review of Axis & Allies 1942 edition. Normally I get many plays in with a game before reviewing it, this time, I must admit, I've played this version once. I have played the other versions enough times that I have no idea how many games of A&A I have under my belt. The main interest I had in this game was that I wanted to have an easy to carry travel version. I travel a lot, and so that seemed attractive to me. Overall, it will do what I wanted it too, so it fulfills that area.

It is very similar in it's dynamics to earlier A&A games, which is why I don't feel the need to play it several times in order to review the game...HOWEVER...I probably will also miss some of the more intricate problems or bonuses this version has that would become apparant with more plays.

One BIG thing I should come right out and state is that this game lacks IPCs. IPC's, are like the money of A&A. In fact, in all the older versions it was represented by paper money with various amounts on them. This game has rules which has you paying and recieving IPC's, but does NOT provide any IPC's for you. It tells you to have a banker track the IPC totals on a piece of paper OR do whatever method to keep track of IPC's that you feel like. I feel as if this is actually the weakest point of the game.

1942, from what I understand, is for the mass market buyers. Intentionally leaving out a defined method and materials to do that in the game itself seems like it may throw off some new players to the game. We made do with keeping track of it on paper and assigning it to a newbie whilst making SURE to ALSO keep our OWN paper with tracking how much we had (sure we trust each other...but hey...War is War).

This was so off putting to me at first however, that I actually checked with my fellow BGG'ers to see if I was over reacting. My initial reaction was quite poor...and I probably did over react, hence the above will affect the review scores slightly, but not in the drastic fashion I originally thought it would.

Anyways, having stated the above, it's onto the actual review.

A summary of it's review is as follows...

Components - 5
Rules Presentation - 10
Gameplay - 8
Personal Tilt - 10
Replayability - 5
Useability - 8

Final Score - 7.6

The game scores as follows, use whichever areas of the review that you want, recognizing each area is it's own mini review of different portions of the game.

Componennts - This is where the money issue comes into play, but I'll cover that in more detail later.

First up is the board. The board is actually really nice. It folds properly, doesn't appear that it will suffer from warping, and looks pretty. For those who have the A&A50 edition, it looks a LOT like that board, but smaller, with out Italy or China. It is marked for WWII starting in the Spring of 1942 (as should be obvious from the title of the game).

A nice addition they included on the board is the national production chart and the Mobilization Zone Charts.

The National Production chart shows exactly what each nation is producing IPC wise each turn. This chart is now at the bottom of the board and goes from 1 to 75.

Next to it is the mobilization Zone chart. In older versions each player had a card that showed how much they paid to build units, and other information. All the information on how much units cost, how far they can move, their attack and their defense value are all found on this chart on the board now. I think this is also a great idea.

This is used for players to buy units and then they place the units in the Mobilization Zone on the board until they place the units at the end of their turn.

The downside of having these two new areas on the board is that the playing area ON the board seems to be even smaller. I had a terrible time trying to fit everything in Europe, and even the new player remarked that they couldn't tell what was where. I think this actually detracts from gameplay, and there had to be some other way to make it so that it still appeared to look nice, but at the same time had areas be slightly larger. This detracts strongly from the components usefulness as far as the board is concerned, but I DO appreciate how they have the new charts at the bottom.

The board appears very similar to the A&A50 board, but the areas are more like the traditional regions found in A&A revised, so for the hardcore A&A50 players that means that China doesn't have a ton of regions, that there is no Holland, and other similar changes.

The pieces are not the same as those found in the A&A50, and not quite exactly as those found in the older versions. They are all nice pieces though, and there are 370 of them if the box is accurate. They are composed of plastic men, artillery, tanks, Anti-air, and Industrial Complexes for ground forces, fighters and Bombers for air, and transports, subs, destroyers, cruisers, Aircraft Carriers and Battleships for Sea forces. Cruisers were introduced in the A&A50 version but for the cheaper/mass market versions they are a new vessel.

They are all nice pieces, and seem your standard plastic. They have the P-38 fighter for American forces, and unique molds for each Nation in the conflict for each of their ships. The German cruisers are NOT the same as used in A&A50.

Another downside of the game is that they require you to use IPC's for money, however, as I explained above, no money is present. You will need to ensure you have pencil and paper to record how much each side takes in each turn. They do NOT provide these pencils and paper, or any other item to keep track. If you do not have any way to have these items...tough luck on you. We did fine, providing our own paper and pencil, and I would even say that the smallness of the map is a greater game problem then IPC tracking...HOWEVER...it is less then Ideal.

What was worse was that during setup, we ran short of some pieces. The game uses chips in order to allow you to increase the number of forces represented, as well as making it so that you can stack chips under a piece in order to save room. Normally we use chips during setup to make it so that we save space. Even with the chips, you can be hardpressed to find enough room. We ran out of chips before we even finished setting up. It was just shy, but still, you should at least include enough of them for an initial set up if nothing else. This is ALSO a detractor from the game component score. Hopefully it's just my copy, but it could be something that is in this production run.

The cardboard markers are actually nicer in this version by far than they were in the revised edition. They are not as thick as counters in the Anniversary edition, but they are nice enough to do the job.

In addition each side gets a set up card, that you use at the beginning of the game to set up the pieces and then you don't need to use again.

The battleboard...actually...unlike other editions there is NO LONGER any battle board. Instead there is a battle strip which you place your pieces next too. It works, but it's not quite as intuitive as the old battleboard. They also have ONE casualty strip, for the defender, which they place and put their pieces behind which still get to attack.

It feels as if Hasbro was completely cutting corners on any area of the game that they could on this edition. That would explain why there is no money, a lack of chips, and NO battleboard. I DO appreciate the thicker cardboard however (a MARKED improvement over the revised edition paper thin cardstock that they used) and if pressed, I would probably take the thicker cardboard used in this edition and accept the loss of components, then have the components and the thinner cardstock of revised.

Overall, I'm not terribly impressed with the components. The plastic parts are great, but the integration and apparant corner cutting (and I understand the need to keep the cost of the game lower however) makes it so that the component score is merely a low average. It's better then revised, but worse than the original, and FAR worse then the Anniversary edition.

It scores an average score of a 5.

Rules Presentation - The rules are nice...really. At the beginning it has an introduction by Larry Harris, and in it he includes an interesting piece of information. Last year they released the Annivesary edition which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Avalon Hill...however THIS edition is also an anniversary edition of sorts as well. It celebrates the 25th anniversary of Axis & Allies.

The rules are in full color. The rules are written WELL. They are easy to understand. It breaks down the game in a logical fashion, covering the components, then the setup, and then goes through each of the six steps. There are examples set in color throughout the booklet, as well as segments of the artwork of the box cover found throughout.

The paper itself is set on glossy paper, and I must admit...I'm impressed. This is really how one should put together a rulebook.

You could argue that I am a very experienced A&A player in some regards, and hence the rules would be easier to understand...but to tell the truth, I think these are the best written rules for A&A that have ever come out. I think they make it very easy to grasp and very easy to understand.

One reason for this could be that they've stripped out the options that have traditionally been found in other A&A games. They made some of the game less complex, and the rules are VERY straightforward.

For example, the other A&A games have something called research and development found in them. This game completely removes that step. It no longer exists. This simplifies the game down more to it's core feel, that of a WWII period grand strategic type game.

I can't say much except I am greatly impressed with the rules presentation of A&A 1942.

It scores a 10.

Gameplay - The game replicates the WWII forces of the Axis and the Allies. These are split to 5 nations, that of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the US for the Allies, and Germany and Japan for the Axis powers. Each side begins with a set amount of forces, with certain amounts of units being in specific countries found on set up cards. Each nation begins with certain amounts of IPC's, with the Soviets starting with 24, Germany starting with 40, the UK with 30, Japan with 30 and the US with 40.

Play goes through an order of the Soviets going first, then Germany, then the UK, then Japan, and finally the US. there are six steps in the game, to Purchase Units, perform a combat moves, perform non-combat moves, mobilize new units, and then collect income.

At the beginning of each turn you start with either your starting IPC's, or the amount that you had saved plus what you picked up at the end of your last turn. With these amounts you reference the mobilization zone on the board and purchase units. During this point you may also repair Industrial Complexes which may have been damaged previously. Industrial Complexes are where ALL your units are produced, and if they are damaged (they can be damaged by bombers, which roll one die and reduce the production capacity of the Complex by that amount) they cannot produce as many units. After you decide which units you will produce, you place them in the Mobilization zone on the board. You will NOT place them until later in your turn.

You then perform Combat moves. In a nutshell, combat moves are moving your troops into combat. All units can move a specific amount, across the border of adjacent countries. Infantry and artillery can move one, tanks can move two IF the first space is either a friendly space or empty of enemy troops, fighters can move four, but must land in a friendly space...bombers can move six but with the same caveat, and all ships can move two spaces as long as they do not engage the enemy in the first space they move into.

Transports can be utilized to load troops onto them at any point in their movement and can load multiple times in the same movement, but can ONLY UNLOAD once. Unloading ALSO ends their movement.

Submarines can move through enemy waters due to their submerge rules, and other ships can move through areas that only have submarines or transports. Transports have no real combat ability in this version, and hence provide NO threat to other naval vessels, which is why enemy vessels can move right on through an enemy zone with only transports if they so desire. If they stop in the zone with transports (if the transports are alone) they automatically destroy the transports.

In sea battles transports cannot be chosen as casualties unless there are no other choices.

Battles proceed typically with the players selecting which combat move to resolve first (combat moves all occur before combat), then placing pieces on either side of the battle board, and rolling their dice. Each combat unit has a combat value, you hit when you roll equal to or less then the combat value of the unit. The enemy player who you hit decides which unit of his is destroyed.

If that unit has not fired back yet (there are exceptions, but I'm not going to cover them in this review in any detail. An example would be submarines get to fire first and if the defender subs hit the attacker loses that piece from play) they get to fire back.

Each round proceeds through all the units, then begins again until either the attacker retreats, or all units on one side are destroyed.

Each territory is worth a certain amount of IPC's. As players conquer territory, they move their IPC value on the National Production chart at the bottom of the board up, and the person who lost territory moves their's down based upon the worth of the territory conquered or lost.

If capitals are conquered, then the losing player gives up all his IPC's to the player who conquered it in addition to losing National Production...however the player is STILL in the game.

In the game there are also 12 cities called Victory Cities. These cities have the five capitals as well as other cities. These cities are Washington, London, Leningrad, Moscow, Calcutta, Los Angelos (Allies), Berlin, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Manila, and Tokyo (Axis). Each side begins with 6 cities. Whoever controls 9 of these cities first wins the game.

The only real variant to the game is based upon the Victory condition. If you wish to play a longer game you can play the Total Victory variant which means you must control ALL 12 of the Victory cities in order to win.

After the combat moves and combat occurs, you perform Non-Combat moves. These are moves similar to the ones described above, except that they do NOT have you invade enemy territories and do not end in combat. In addition, you must have enough moves left on your air units to return them to friendly territory.

The fifth step is mobilization. All the units that yiou bought at the beginning of your turn can now be placed on the board in the same nation as an Industrial Complex that YOU OWN. Each Industrial complex can only produce the amount of units equal to the IPC value of the country in which it resides. The number of units is reduced by any damage that has occurred to it. If that damage is negative (up to 2X the amount of the IPC value of the country) no units can be produced.

If you cannot mobilize the units you purchased, they are not placed, and you have your money returned.

Finally, you collect income based upon your final IPC Production value found at the end of the turn (as indicated in the National Production Chart).

Many units have special exceptions in this game, for example each Infantry that attacks and is supported by an Artillery (it's a one to one deal) can roll a 2 instead of a one to attack, tanks can blitz and attack and defend on 3, Battleships can be hit twice (and must be hit twice in order to destroy them, they heal if they survive the battle to full strength), and subs cannot be hit by air units (nor attack air units) unless their is an enemy Destroyer present, Battleships and Cruisers can do an offshore bombardment (when ground forces land from transports to land, for each infantry or ground force one of these can roll once to hit an enemy ground force which then still gets it's defensive roll) and a few other special abilities with units.

Overall, the game flows well and moves rapidly enough. My wife, who really doesn't like A&A, but will play it, said that this is the most fun she's had with an A&A game thus far. She likes the victory city dynamic in this one as spelled out in the rules better, she found the rules more defined and easier to understand, and though it's not in her top 10, enjoyed it. Her only complaints were about the space on the board, and having to track IPC's like we did on the paper.

It seemed easy to grasp for a newbie, and really the only problem came in with a slight misunderstanding at the beginning of the game about how bombers worked in their attacks vs that of bombing and the interactions of Anti-Aircraft guns.

The gameplay works well, is somewhat simplified and without as many options, but this is a good thing for the average player, especially those being introduced to A&A. You want more options, go play A&A50 Anniversary edition.

It scores an 8.

Personal Tilt - I know many are mostly concerned with two sections of my review, that of the gameplay review, and that of my personal opinion of it, and could care less about the other sections. While I have spent a considerable time on the Gameplay area, I have to admit, I'm more scarce on my personal tilt. I completely enjoy A&A, and probably will always give it a 10. I will say I enjoy this version less then the original and A&A50. I think others will enjoy it more, since the rules seem more straightforward, and in many ways it appears MUCH prettier then the original or the revised version.

I'm not as much a fan personally of less options, and no research and development, however that's why I have A&A50 which is superb in that in every way. I think of all the A&A versions, this is ideal to introduce people to A&A with. If the makers are looking for a better game for the typical boardgame player, they did well with this game. I personally would have included IPC's, and am quite put off that they did NOT...however of all the A&A versions I'd say this is the most friendly to a group of newbies with no prior exposure to the game. Much of that is because of the rules and how they are written, more than anything else.

My personal tilt on this game is a 10.

Replayability - I haven't played this version a ton of times yet, however the map seems remarkably similar to the revised version, and overall I'd say the same comments I had for it, apply here. Hopefully I can be forgiven hence for a copy and paste of my comments on that version, to this one's replayability.

The game forces you to take certain routes around barred areas (your military must go around Neutral territories, you cannot enter them), and tries to focus your attention and hence strategy on certain cities of the board. It's not as freeform as the original in that regard, nor does it have as many options and paths as A&A50, which can be seen as a weakness on replayability, even as it could be seen as a strength for gameplay and useability. Of course the original version was not above average on replayability either (though I could replay it all day), and hence the game is still average in the replayability area. It's just slightly less replayable than it's older cousins the original and Anniversary Edition.

It scores a 5.

Useability - I think this version is more newbie friendly than other versions of A&A, in fact I'd even go out on a limb and say that it perhaps is the MOST newbie friendly of any of the games. The victory city dynamic also reduces the gameplay time from that of the original, and as there are less to control, probably from that of A&A50. The more newbie friendliness of the game, as well as the shorter time makes it more useable in a group. It can be played by 2-5 players, but probably works best with 2-4 players. It still can be a longer game, and that reduces it, and it is more concentrated as a light war strategy game which also reduces it's usefulness. I think it could be a go for at least one night, and could be enjoyed overall, as long as noone was terribly against a game of this type. For those I game with I think I could introduce this to any of the groups and they'd try it at least once. My wife was even willing to play it, and she typically dislikes A&A (she's one of those solid Eurogame types so it's not just A&A, she doesn't really like a LOT of games that I enjoy of this sort) and she actually enjoyed playing tonight.

Overall I'll give it a tentative score of 8...though I'm a little nervous on that rating. A safer rating for those who want to be more conservative on this would be a 6 or 7...however for my review I'm going to be more liberal on this review and give it an 8.

Final Thoughts and score - Overall, despite the disappointments I had with the components, it actually scores better then the original OR revised. I hope it's not because I'm getting to be an easier reviewer as I review more games (I'd prefer to think I get harsher). I attribute that it scores better because it is more accessible to new players, even with the IPC mishap. A LOT of this is because of how easy and straightforward the rules are written and executed. Overall, it is an above average game.

It's final score is a 7.6
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Leo Zappa
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Sean, can you upload any pics of the new pieces? I'm especially interested in the new German cruisers. I don't really need this game as I have the 50th Anniversary edition, but I might pick up a copy just for the pieces. Oh, and good review!
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Could you upload a picture of the gameboard also.
And is the territories exact the same as in Revised. And could you tell more specific details about the difference from Revised, b/c this is the most important and interesting details for the veteran A&A players.

Very interesting to hear that tech has been removed.


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Sean Shaw
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I'll take some pictures today. I'm a terrible picture taker (I have an over 50% rejection rate on my pics to BGG), but as long as the mods accept the pictures, I'll take some today and try posting them.
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Kenny Wang
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Could the tech rules from AA50 be pasted onto this version?

I was seriously thinking of picking up this game along with Attack! Deluxe, but now maybe I should just wait for the AA50 reprint?
It sounds like AA42 isn't quite 'complete'.
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Sean Shaw
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I don't believe there are any "tech" rules. R&D is no longer in this version of A&A

PS: Taken pictures trying to upload them now. I'm not the best picture taker, so it will be up to the mods.

PPS: Pictures that I took are now posted, thanks mods.
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Runs with scissors
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The die is cast.
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The A&A 50 board is truly massive, and there were still times when I wished some of the European countries were a little larger. I can image what new players are going through with a smaller board.

If I read your post correctly, running out of poker chips during setup would be a little disconcerting. I guess you just have to be careful about not using poker chips until you've used all your armies (which takes up more space in those small european countries.

Thanks for taking the time to do a early review.
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Einar Jansen
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Is Germany adjacent to South Europe ? I cant see from blury pic
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Sean Shaw
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Yes, southern Europe is adjacent to Germany
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Is the unit costs the same as in AA50, if so, it means that bombers are priced at 12 ipc instead of 15 ipc as in Revised. And all the naval units costs the same as in AA50?

And all the territories is exactly the same as in Revised?

So it seems that AA42 is mainly Revised with AA50 rules, except from the obvious matters like no Italy and China, and no NOs, I'm also happy to hear that tech has been removed completely.







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Sean Shaw
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I haven't gone over it with a fine toothed comb, but yes bombers are worth 12 IPC, and I think that they are similar costs in Naval Units.

I'd have to get my AA50 out to do the comparisons and verify it all to be certain, as well as the revised for the map stuff,

But overall it sounds as if you nailed it, mainly Revised ed. with some of the rules of AA50.
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Sean Shaw
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Heads up, just noticed, one of the pictures that got accepted, somehow I forgot to put the Russian tank on the Table...Russia DOES have tanks.

I DID notice if you can pull up the pic of the back of the box however, it has the tank on that picture if you can make it out.

I uploaded another pic that has a pic of the Russian tank on it.

I also tried to upload a CLEAR and rather large scan of the set up's, however whoever was modding refused probably the best and clearest pic I've ever submitted for the supposedly following reasons...

20% Too Small
20% Blurry
20% Badly Cropped
60% Badly Rotated
10% Other (specify)

HOW an image just as large as those I've posted is rejected is beyond me. How an image where the wording is clear as day, is also beyond me. I can try to resubmit later if people want...but if they reject a direct scan...not much I can do.
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Niko Ruf
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Thanks for the extensive review.

GreyLord wrote:
What was worse was that during setup, we ran short of some pieces. The game uses chips in order to allow you to increase the number of forces represented, as well as making it so that you can stack chips under a piece in order to save room. Normally we use chips during setup to make it so that we save space. Even with the chips, you can be hardpressed to find enough room. We ran out of chips before we even finished setting up.


Just to be clear: does this mean there is no way to set up the game with the components provided, or did you merely use chips too liberally instead of models? I don't mind the IPC issue, but not having enough playing pieces for initial setup is a bit much.
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Sean Shaw
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I always use chips when possible, especially in Europe. You have enough pieces all together, but you'll have to use extra infantry, or tanks, or whichever you choose to use multiples of in some nations as opposed to just using chips.
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Dr ?
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the components look much like previous editions. Why did I have the idea that the pieces would be new sculpts? Wasn't that advertised as such?
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John M
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Dr. Dan - some of the ships are new.
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Mike Bauer
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What ugly dice!
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Kevin Chapman
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Axis & Allies Developer and Playtester; War of the Ring Editor and Playtester
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Nice review, Sean!


GreyLord wrote:
The rules are in full color. The rules are written WELL. They are easy to understand. It breaks down the game in a logical fashion, covering the components, then the setup, and then goes through each of the six steps. There are examples set in color throughout the booklet, as well as segments of the artwork of the box cover found throughout.

The paper itself is set on glossy paper, and I must admit...I'm impressed. This is really how one should put together a rulebook.

You could argue that I am a very experienced A&A player in some regards, and hence the rules would be easier to understand...but to tell the truth, I think these are the best written rules for A&A that have ever come out. I think they make it very easy to grasp and very easy to understand.

I was very happy to read this. We put a lot of effort into cleaning up the rules for this game. It seems that effort paid off. I'm glad you like them!


Subota1 wrote:
Is the unit costs the same as in AA50, if so, it means that bombers are priced at 12 ipc instead of 15 ipc as in Revised. And all the naval units costs the same as in AA50?

Yes.

Subota1 wrote:
And all the territories is exactly the same as in Revised?

Not exactly. There are a few minor changes.


Warpiglet wrote:
the components look much like previous editions. Why did I have the idea that the pieces would be new sculpts? Wasn't that advertised as such?

About half a dozen of the units got completely new sculpts, including the Soviet battleship, cruiser and destroyer. The rest were simply "refreshed". They have better detail and are generally sharper than the units in previous games.
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What are the map changes? I couldn't notice anything at the first sight but I have to admit I didn't spend much time on it.

DotP
 
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GreyLord wrote:
The pieces are not the same as those found in the A&A50, and not quite exactly as those found in the older versions. They are all nice pieces though, and there are 370 of them if the box is accurate. They are composed of plastic men, artillery, tanks, Anti-air, and Industrial Complexes for ground forces, fighters and Bombers for air, and transports, subs, destroyers, cruisers, Aircraft Carriers and Battleships for Sea forces. Cruisers were introduced in the A&A50 version but for the cheaper/mass market versions they are a new vessel.

They are all nice pieces, and seem your standard plastic. They have the P-38 fighter for American forces, and unique molds for each Nation in the conflict for each of their ships. The German cruisers are NOT the same as used in A&A50.


Are the colors for the playing pieces (US, Germany, etc.) the same as the Anniversary Edition?
 
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Allen Saunders
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Still mad about the lawyers shutting down TripleA
I'm not willing to buy any more Avalon Hills, or more generally, Hasbro products due to the unwarranted shutdown of TripleA, the ONLY software implementation of Axis and Allies (with AI or recent rules).

To HELL with them.
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allen_s wrote:
I'm not willing to buy any more Avalon Hills, or more generally, Hasbro products due to the unwarranted shutdown of TripleA, the ONLY software implementation of Axis and Allies (with AI or recent rules).

To HELL with them.


I agree with you, the only logic is that Hasbro can demand that the A&A names and references are removed, so the TripleA developers must rename the maps and mods which makes A&A playable within the TripleA game engine.

 
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C Lloyd
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Massachusetts
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Well, that just stinks. I only recently found this software, and it's quite nice.
 
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Steve K
United States
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Grrrr... with all the bits, the board is too small. It invites the 'Where did that unit start?' bickering. Using space for the IPC track was a waste. I guess I'll have to hand make one. : (

My other beef with this game is the restriction on transports as 'cannon fodder' which I feel is an attempt to contain player behavior... With the addition of destroyers to the game it seems like that restriction isn't really necessary. A difficult player, *cough*cough* might argue that defenseless transports on their own can be ignored by hostile units. Am I wrong?
 
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Kevin Chapman
United States
Powhatan
Virginia
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Axis & Allies Developer and Playtester; War of the Ring Editor and Playtester
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Transports on their own may be ignored by enemy units.
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