Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 peering onto the box

Picked up my copy of Axis & Allies Europe 1940 today in preparation for this weekend's grand Global 1940 game.

No big surprises, component wise. Everything's pretty much the standard established by the A&A Pacific 1940, A&A 50 and A&A 1942. It's clearly going to be massive however. I can't wait to see all four maps laid out.

Of real interest are the political rules, including neutrals, and R&D. Altogether it looks to me that this package brings Axis & Allies to a whole new level. This is not your father's A&A by any means.

For one thing, I suspect that the massive scale of this game will work against the "perfect planitis" that seems to afflict the A&A games. With nine playable powers and twice as many spaces as any previous version of the game, I don't think players will find it easy to come up with "fool-proof" strategies.

The Russo-Japanese dynamic is especially interesting in this game and may affect the heretofore common Japanese Asia First strategy. The Soviets start the game at peace and are restricted in their ability to start fighting in Europe -- but they have a free hand against Japan, should they choose to play it, and fairly substantial forces in the East. The Japanese certainly have an incentive to reach an understanding with the Soviets that doesn't involve a march through China on the way to Moscow. Likewise the Russians have reason to avoid a war with Japan that may bleed off precious resources needed to hold off the Germans.

More than earlier versions of the game there's scope for diplomacy, even between enemies.

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