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Subject: Cardboard Mountain Review - Axis & Allies 1942 rss

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Andrew Verticchio
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Axis & Allies Spring 1942 (A&A 1942) is the newest edition of Avalon Hill's venerable World War II board game. Axis & Allies has gone through several revisions since its inception and the 1942 version hopes to present the most optimized and streamlined version to date.

So, is 1942 the best version yet? Or is it the same game with a new coat of paint? We shall see if investing in a new version of A&A is Worth It.

What You Get:

Axis & Allies 1942 encompassed the scale of World War II in its entirety so you get five nations to command; Germany, Japan, USA, UK, and USSR. There are 370 game pieces included to represent the various units of each nation. There is also a new version of the game board which features some fantastic new art. There are also mini set-up cards with the locations for the starting armies, a new combat strip, control tokens, a handful of dice, and a rulebook.

Playing the Game:

1942 plays like all other versions of Axis & Allies. If you have played any version before, you will right at home. Set up,combat, and the object of the game remain the same from A&A Revised. The game plays the same as its predecessors with just small rules tweeks and a few changes to the units.

The object of the game is to capture a set amount of Victory Cities. Each side starts the game with six VCs. The game is played in a series of rounds. In each round, each faction gets to take a turn. During your turn you train (purchase) new units, make combat moves, resolves combat, make non-combat moves, and place your newly trained units. Gameplay, at its core, is simple. But players can get bogged down in all the moves to make and battles to fight. The game continues until one side has captured enough VCs to claim victory.

Axis & Allies is the master of historical board games and is best played in two teams of two. Having a teammate to discuss strategy makes a big difference. Commanding the entirety of the Axis or Allies solo is a monumental task.

What Changed:

No Research - They got rid of Research. Really? The ability to research awesome new powers for your units was great and rolling that Research Die was often one of the most tense moments in the game. Except for Heavy Bombers. Everybody knows that Heavy Bombers broke the game and everybody house ruled that no Heavy Bombers could be researched. But to get rid of it all together? C'mon. Purchasing a Research Die was part of what made A&A so much fun.

Submarines Defend on a 1 - Another gripe with the new rules. Subs used to defend on a 2, respectable, not overpowered. Now, it's a 1. Sure, they lowered the cost but who wants to buy subs when they cannot defend themselves. And considering how little Destroyers cost, there is no reason to waste money on an Attack 2, Defend 1 unit.

Transports Cannot Defend Themselves - This is strictly personal preference but the removal of Transport Ships ability to defend themselves is annoying. I completely understand that as a transport ship it is not designed to fight in naval battles but it takes away one the moments that made Axis & Allies so great...the ability for a lowly Transport to strike back at an overwhelming enemy force. It is a classic A&A scenario, the lone Transport attempting to run the blockage and it attacked by a huge naval force. But will the transport go down quietly, of course not! They get to roll a single die and will take an enemy ship down to Dave Jones' locker with them! But not anymore. Now transports just die if a hostile plane or ship moves into the same zone. More realistic, sure. More fun, hell no.

The Combat Strip - Instead of using the large, space consuming Combat Card we have a minimal Combat Strip. It is a great update to the game. It has all the information you need printed right on it and you no longer have to worry about where to find space for the battles.

Strategic Bombing Raids - The rules for Strategic Bombing have changed quite a bit and they may be the only rule change that makes sense. Instead of forcing your opponent to discard IPCs they Industrial Complex itself takes damage. That damage can be removed at the cost of one IPC per point of damage. If the damage reaches certain thresholds then the player cannot built any units until the Industrial Complex is repaired. This rule change brings more balance to Strategic Bombing and adds an interesting element to the game.

The Good:

The Game Board - It is a work of art. Each new version of A&A has featured a new and improved game board and this version takes the cake. The territories are wonderfully detailed and the addition of the ice caps across the top of the board is a cool way to make the edge of the map.

Built In IPC Chart - The game board now has the IPC chart built in. You no longer have to keep track of the money on a separate board which helps cut down on table clutter. This is just another reason to love the new game board.

New Model Sculpts - Axis and Allies has always entranced me with its detailed game pieces. 1942 sets the new standard for historical board game miniatures. Each nation now has historically accurate models for each unit that are cool and easy to recognize. There is also the addition of a new naval unit, Cruisers, which add more depth to the sea battles.

The Bad:

No IPCs - Collecting and spending ICPs is a huge part of Axis & Allies, it's the money of the game after all. Often the best player is the one who makes the best use of their precious IPCs. So why does this version not include a single IPC? The rulebook instructs you to just use a piece of paper to keep track of your money. Yeah, I don't think so. We used the IPC's from the previous version of the game. Of course, you could also use Monopoly Money...

No Victory City Tracker - Like I mentioned before, the object of the game is to capture a set amount of victory cities. So it would make sense if there was some kind of score card or tracker to use a quick reference to see how many VCs are controlled by each team. Makes sense right? That is why there is a VC Tracker in Axis & Allies Revised, so players know who is winning. So why is there no tracker in this version? Beats me. Of course, A&A 1942 also did not include IPCs so, I shouldn't be all that surprised.

No Unit Reference Cards - Another item that A&A 1942 lacks. All previous versions of the game included wonderful reference cards that had all the information a player needed regarding the cost, the stats, and the abilities of each individual unit. This made sense because each unit on the table is different. There are tanks, fighters, bombers, infantry, artillery, cruisers, battleships, and many others. I do not have the stats memorized and i think it is unfair for a game to expect you to have the stats for each unit memorized but that is what 1942 wants the player to do. This is just another item that was stripped away from 1942 that creates a frustrating experience.

Not Enough Tokens - Just another component that 1942 lacks. There are barely enough tokens to finish basic set up and we constantly had to clutter the board with more unit models because we ran out of unit tokens. This could have been easily fixed but instead the game shipped with too few components.

Worth It?

Not at all. I figured that Axis & Allies Spring 1942 would be an improvement from A&A Revised, it's not. Not even close. This version simply lacks the features needed for an enjoyable game experience. There is nothing to represent the game's currency, there is no method to quickly track victory, there no convenient way to look up unit stats, there are barely enough tokens to set up the game. I constantly felt like I was playing an incomplete game. Before we had even finished setting up the game we broke open a copy of Axis & Allies Revised and grabbed the IPCs, the Victory Tracker, and unit tokens to use while we played. Here is my advice, use the board and the units from 1942 and everything else from Revised. That way you can have a complete, fun, game of Axis & Allies.

Not Worth It


Info:
Players: 2-5 (Best with 4)
Ages: 12+
Playtime: 3+ Hrs.
Designers: Larry Harris Jr.
Publisher: Avalon Hill and Wizards of the Coast (2009)

Cost:
CoolStuffInc: $42.00 - Not Worth It

Take a look at the full review (with pictures) at Cardboard Mountain
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Isaac Citrom
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Exactly what you said.

All the components are top notch, especially the unit sculpts. But, we have to pull out A&A Revised to grab the IPC notes, more dice, more counters and the victory city track. We are also using the factory sculpts from that game instead of the very plain counters that come with 1942. The game definitely feels lacking in terms of quantity, but not quality.

The rules and new units that come with it are pretty good, though. As for the values changing for some of the units, I'm reserving judgement. A&A is probably the single most tested game of all time besides Chess. I'm going to assume that all the rules changes are good and are the best evolution of the rules.

I do think we are going to do away with IPC notes and make our own IPC chips. In fact, if one gets more counters chips, you can use that to count IPCs as well (grey-1, green-5, red-10).
.
 
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Andrew Verticchio
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That's a good idea to use counter chips as IPCs.

I agree with you about the rules too. I am sure it was for the best but it will take me a long time to get used to not being able to have my transports fire back.
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J J
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Thanks for the review. I quit buying the A&A series after I purchased Europe and Pacific 1940. From the sounds of it I can pass on this one.
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Isaac Citrom
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DoctorDH wrote:
That's a good idea to use counter chips as IPCs.

I agree with you about the rules too. I am sure it was for the best but it will take me a long time to get used to not being able to have my transports fire back.


Not just that, you can't take transports as a hit unless there are no other ships left.
.
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Andrew Verticchio
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isaacc wrote:
Not just that, you can't take transports as a hit unless there are no other ships left.
.


Ah yes. I forgot to mention that in my review. Add that to the list of gripes against this version...
 
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Isaac Citrom
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DoctorDH wrote:
isaacc wrote:
Not just that, you can't take transports as a hit unless there are no other ships left.
.


Ah yes. I forgot to mention that in my review. Add that to the list of gripes against this version...


A&A is very abstracted so take this with a grain of salt. It does make sense. Imagine, previously: "OK, take your squadrons, bomb all the transports. When you're sure they're all sunk, only then go after the aircraft carriers."
.
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Jan van der Laan
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Manchu8990 wrote:
Thanks for the review. I quit buying the A&A series after I purchased Europe and Pacific 1940. From the sounds of it I can pass on this one.
+1!

It seems as if WotC/AH has ran out of new ideas. Instead we see an ever increasing wave of redone A&A's (with ALL NEW sculpts). AAE40 and AAP40 were quite innovative (up to a certain degree and needing some new ruling such as Alpha 2 + 3) but AA41 and AA42 (2nd ed.) are imho cheap tricks to earn a few bucks without developing new concepts or giving the costumers what they ask for.

Edits:typo's
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Leo Zappa
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Let's keep in mind that the 1940 Europe and Pacific games were meant more for the hardcore hobbyist, with a price tag of $200 for the combined package, while the 1942 version is meant for the casual gamer at around $35. Two different target markets, two different games. Me, I'm in the first group, and have a four-player campaign of Global 1940 set up in my game room even as I type this. However, I won't criticize 1942 for what's it's not supposed to be.

The only real complaints I'd have about 1942 are the lack of paper money and too few chips. Seems kind of cheap to me - not the way you want to introduce new gamers to the A&A world.
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Dan Long
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For IPC's our group uses poker chips, and we use to use play money that you can buy at the Dollar Store for...a...dollar.
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Andrew Verticchio
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El Supremo wrote:
For IPC's our group uses poker chips, and we use to use play money that you can buy at the Dollar Store for...a...dollar.


You are correct and these are good ideas. But both of those items should have been included in the base game.
 
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Kaufschtick
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DoctorDH wrote:
El Supremo wrote:
For IPC's our group uses poker chips, and we use to use play money that you can buy at the Dollar Store for...a...dollar.


You are correct and these are good ideas. But both of those items should have been included in the base game.


LOL! Really?!? You want play money!? laugh If I had a nickle for every thread in which someone complained about not getting play money! LOL! Wow, that's funny everytime I read it. You keep track of your IPC level right on the board, there is absolutely no need for play money. Unless you just happen to like playing with play money, I guess. Or complaining about not being able to play with it. Either way, what a completely insignificant comment to go on about.

AA42SE is terrific! This version of the game really goes back toward it's roots. The game board is right on the money, just the right size and very well done. It's about the size of the original MB A&A, and just as nice to look at.

The naval combat rules blow away the crazy rules from back in the MB A&A days in which transports escorted warships! Now the naval action rests on the shoulders of the warships you put to sea. Those ships have various roles to play now as well, and the subs & DDs have a nice cat and mouse game that they play with one another now.

The new chips that come with the game are somewhat smaller, and now they have green chips which = 3. The smaller size is nice and makes moving on the map easier, especially for newer players. With the green chips now, this is the first edition of the game where we played with just the chips that came with the game, and didn't have issues running out of them.

For $42 bucks from Coolstuff, this game is a steal!

The only downside to this game for me was that I found myself rebuying an A&A game all over again. I had the first edition. But I will say that this edition was worth buying the game again for, and it blows the first edition out of the water. In fact, this may be the edition of A&A that gets all the table time from now on.

After the original MB A&A, they tried to update it with A&A Revised. Horrible gameboard, hated that remake. Then they tried A&A42 first edition. I liked it a lot better, but the game board was way too small.

This new A&A42SE has it just right, finally! If you really just can't play the game without play money, then raid a game of monopolly or something, but for crying out loud, enough with the "where's my play money"! It sounds ridiculous! What are we, 8 year olds!?! laugh

Conclusion: Absolutely Worth It!
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Jay Sheely
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I got a copy for $20 - but haven't played it yet. I immediately noticed that box was 80% empty air.
 
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Andrew Verticchio
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I appreciate your feedback and critique of my review.

But let me say that no one is whining about the lack of IPCs and tokens in the game. It is a legitimate criticism on the production quality.

Some of the new rules may be more realistic but they did not feel right to me. Not allowing transports to fight back removed one of my favorite moments from the game, when a single transport ship can turn the tide of battle. It's the same with a huge stack of infantry. When you get a bunch of low rolls and throw back the enemy tank blitz, its just fun.

This version of A&A removed many things that made the game fun. And by not including basic game components it became a frustrating experience.
 
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Kevin Chapman
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It's important to note that while this review is of the 1st edition of the game, the price listed is that of the 2nd edition. The 1st edition currently sells for around $25.
 
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Chris Allen
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I agree with you that there are not enough pieces and that there should be paper money. The board is too small. However, this game costs less than the original one that I bought in 1986. I bought another copy to take care of the shortage of pieces.

I own all incarnations of the Axis & Allies games and have enjoyed them all. Each has their own flavor which is why they never get stale.

As I type this the USPS is transporting my 1941 and 1942 second editions to me. I realize how lucky I am to have a copy of the Anniversary Edition and I don't want to ever risk missing out on any future editions.

I have enjoyed playing 1942 and it is an excellent game, despite the shortcomings. But its $30.00 price tag brings quality Axis & Allies play to more people and primes them for Anniversary and Global.
 
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Chris Allen
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I must stick up for us pro-printed money people. Its just nice to have. Global lacks money, plastic factories, and plastic AA guns, plastic naval bases, and plastic air bases. As my eyes get older it is harder to see small dark colored cardboard chits on a lage dark colored map. To solve this I bought components off of ebay.

I used original Axis & Allies IPC certificates for money, original industrial complexes for major industrial complexes, Star Wars Monopoly houses (Skywalker farm) for minor industrial complexes, original AA guns, and I painted original fighters and transports gray to represent air and naval bases.

Remember, one of the reasons Axis & Allies is popular is because of its astetics. As much as I loved the original Avalon Hill style games (Squad Leader, Midway, etc.) it has been much easier to find people that are willing to play Axis & Allies because the miniatures (and yes, money) make it more real to them than the seemingly abstract cardboard chits on hexagons.
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For A&A, money is like the battle board. You use the battle board a few times until you get the idea, then you never use it again.

Heck, if you want to add something to the game, at least make it something you're going to use more than once!

Add a little cardboard, put-it-together yourself dice tower! Or a dice cup, or one of those Sham-Wows! for when the dice go against you so you can wipe away your tears, or a couple table coasters to set your beer on so you don't leave a mark on the table (and get yelled at by your wife) or on the game board (and get yelled at by your friends), or a little sticker of the Russian flag you could add to game box cover in case you think there ought to be one on the box cover, or a couple of those little stress balls (again, for when the dice go against you), or a cheap pair of sunglasses you can wear the next day so nobody will know you stayed up all night playing A&A; a small bottle of ibuprofen would be nice at times too, or a coupon good for $5.00 off the complete set of HBO's Band of Brothers or The Pacific... any of the above would be better than a stack of play money. And you had to provide your own pencils and graph paper even!

Heck, who even uses real money anymore?! It's all electronic deposits and bank card transactions these days. If you make young folks use play money, you'll just have to stop and explain what money is to them, and then they are going to be confused. They're going to say, "Didn't they have bank cards back then?" The next thing you know, you're going to be to explaining what an abacus is.

You know what else I'd rather have than play money; some of those fancy dice that are colored for each nation with the one spot replaced with the nations symbol! Or a pair of triple AAA batteries in case the ones in my TV remote need replaced, or a bottle opener; or a corncob pipe so I can act like MacArthor when playing, or a big stogie so I can be Churchill, or a small letter opening knife so I can stab my friends in the back like Stalin (sorry-sorry; cheap shot, I know...), or a roll of packing tape so I can tape the corners of my box when it gets old and worn....anything but play money.

I spent about $3 dollars each at Walmart on 2 little calculators to add to my box, 1 calculator for each side. If the game is going to add $$$$ to the retail, throw in a couple calculators instead of play money! I got those calculators for $2.97 each, and they even have solar thingies on them, so they'll last longer than I will!

Heck, play money isn't even "green" these days (no pun intended). The old MB A&A had styrofoam trays to hold the unit pieces in, and you can't do that anymore cause it'll kill the planet, it's not "green"! What do you think that play money is made from? Paper! And where does paper come from? Trees! Go ahead, kill some trees for no good reason, and see who shows up.

You add play money back to the game and you're going to get Larry & WotC in trouble with Greenpeace! They'll be picketers, and those little rubber motorboats driving around all over the place getting in your way, and just chaos in general.

I mean, those greenpeace guys don't play around, you get in Dutch with them, and you've got problems my friend.

So...I'm just saying is all. If you want, you can take your chances with greenpeace; but for me, I'll stick with the IPC track on the game board. I don't need the hassle and I know I could never really explain how to actually operate an abacus. I have no idea what numbers the different colored beads represent; but hey, maybe you do. Knock yourself out then.

Me' I'll stick with my $2.97 Walmart special, solor powered-thingie calculators.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot!
PeterZiegler wrote:
You really sound harsch, Mr. Kaufschtick.
I hope I wasn't too harsh for you here again! Here's a big kiss for you! kiss
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Kaufschtick
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Heres's the link!

http://www.historicalboardgaming.com/Battle-Bucks_c_12.html

There you have it! If you want play money, just plunk down $7.95 (plus shipping) in real money, and the issue is solved!

Then you can use the IPC track, which is printed right there on the gameboard for all the players to see, to...well, to...I've got it!

To keep track of how many beers each player has had! I think it even goes up to 80!

 
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Andrew Verticchio
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Old Curmudgeon wrote:
For A&A, money is like the battle board. You use the battle board a few times until you get the idea, then you never use it again.

Heck, if you want to add something to the game, at least make it something you're going to use more than once!

Add a little cardboard, put-it-together yourself dice tower! Or a dice cup, or one of those Sham-Wows! for when the dice go against you so you can wipe away your tears, or a couple table coasters to set your beer on so you don't leave a mark on the table (and get yelled at by your wife) or on the game board (and get yelled at by your friends), or a little sticker of the Russian flag you could add to game box cover in case you think there ought to be one on the box cover, or a couple of those little stress balls (again, for when the dice go against you), or a cheap pair of sunglasses you can wear the next day so nobody will know you stayed up all night playing A&A; a small bottle of ibuprofen would be nice at times too, or a coupon good for $5.00 off the complete set of HBO's Band of Brothers or The Pacific... any of the above would be better than a stack of play money. And you had to provide your own pencils and graph paper even!

Heck, who even uses real money anymore?! It's all electronic deposits and bank card transactions these days. If you make young folks use play money, you'll just have to stop and explain what money is to them, and then they are going to be confused. They're going to say, "Didn't they have bank cards back then?" The next thing you know, you're going to be to explaining what an abacus is.

You know what else I'd rather have than play money; some of those fancy dice that are colored for each nation with the one spot replaced with the nations symbol! Or a pair of triple AAA batteries in case the ones in my TV remote need replaced, or a bottle opener; or a corncob pipe so I can act like MacArthor when playing, or a big stogie so I can be Churchill, or a small letter opening knife so I can stab my friends in the back like Stalin (sorry-sorry; cheap shot, I know...), or a roll of packing tape so I can tape the corners of my box when it gets old and worn....anything but play money.

I spent about $3 dollars each at Walmart on 2 little calculators to add to my box, 1 calculator for each side. If the game is going to add $$$$ to the retail, throw in a couple calculators instead of play money! I got those calculators for $2.97 each, and they even have solar thingies on them, so they'll last longer than I will!

Heck, play money isn't even "green" these days (no pun intended). The old MB A&A had styrofoam trays to hold the unit pieces in, and you can't do that anymore cause it'll kill the planet, it's not "green"! What do you think that play money is made from? Paper! And where does paper come from? Trees! Go ahead, kill some trees for no good reason, and see who shows up.

You add play money back to the game and you're going to get Larry & WotC in trouble with Greenpeace! They'll be picketers, and those little rubber motorboats driving around all over the place getting in your way, and just chaos in general.

I mean, those greenpeace guys don't play around, you get in Dutch with them, and you've got problems my friend.

So...I'm just saying is all. If you want, you can take your chances with greenpeace; but for me, I'll stick with the IPC track on the game board. I don't need the hassle and I know I could never really explain how to actually operate an abacus. I have no idea what numbers the different colored beads represent; but hey, maybe you do. Knock yourself out then.

Me' I'll stick with my $2.97 Walmart special, solor powered-thingie calculators.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot!
PeterZiegler wrote:
You really sound harsch, Mr. Kaufschtick.
I hope I wasn't too harsh for you here again! Here's a big kiss for you! kiss


Wow. I..I have no words.
 
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RJD
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I'm another one of the guys who cannibalized money from a copy of Monopoly to replace the missing IPCs, and it works just fine. Still, I've gotta agree that it's a little irritating and looks pretty cheap that the proper IPCs were missing at all - and plastic industrial complexes too. At least the board is properly BIG this time around though it still suffers from some really hard to see borders in Europe.
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Stephen Crane wrote:
Apparently playing with plastic toy soldiers is OK but toy money is where he draws the line.whistle


I draw the line at complaining about something that has absolutely no effect on gameplay.

You don't need play money to play the game, the economy isn't exactly great lately, and so it's gone.
 
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Old Curmudgeon wrote:
Stephen Crane wrote:
Apparently playing with plastic toy soldiers is OK but toy money is where he draws the line.whistle


I draw the line at complaining about something that has absolutely no effect on gameplay.


For you. Has absolutely no effect on gameplay for you. But apparently it does for the rest of us. Also, last I heard, technically the plastic toy soldiers have absolutely no effect on gameplay either and could be replaced easily with cardboard counters too, same as the industrial complexes... but it might not sell as well then since, for a lot of us, the look of the plastic pieces does have an effect on the game.
 
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Bill Norton
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I just got the game.

No IPCs and no battle board make a lot of sense to me to keep costs down.

And while I haven't played with the new transport rules yet, I already like them.

Maybe, in my first play I will change my mind...

Bill
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bnorton916 wrote:

And while I haven't played with the new transport rules yet, I already like them.


thumbsup I'm a big fan of the transport rules too. Having to go out of my way to protect them makes so much more sense than using them for cannon fodder ever did. And I've loved the introduction of Destroyers and Cruisers.
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