Photo courtesy Glen Cote
Playing the global combined Axis & Allies 1940 is definitely the absolute ultimate Axis & Allies experience. We played at Arkham Asylum in Norwich, Conn. While people drifted in and out, at least seven different people got to play at least part of the game.
Everyone had a fantastic time. most of the players were new, but everyone enjoyed themselves, the game got a lot of attention and we had a lot of people express an interest in taking part next time -- which we've already tentatively scheduled for Oct. 2 & 3rd. Yes, TWO days, because it's obvious this is a Looong game. We almost finished 4 turns. (All that was left was the U.S., who probably was going to have rebuilding turn due to a disaster I'll mention below, China, which had a single piece left (the Flying Tiger) and France (two pieces left, one infatry in Africa and a destroyer far from the action.
Like many A&A games featuring mostly inexperienced players there was all sorts of craziness. The Germans were able to grab Britain after decimating the British fleet, although the blundered a bit by leaving Berlin open for a sneak Russian seaborne invasion. Still, the Russian definitely weren't going to keep Berlin (although they were getting quite an infusion of IPCs). The Allies however, were not going to get London back anytime soon, as the Italian (!) navy and air force finished off the rest of the British Atlantic Navy, massacring an American convoy they were protecting. Five US transports and 10 ground units were lost.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific things were going less well for the Japanese, who were a little behind schedule on grabbing territory. On the other hand, all the navies had taken heavy losses so things were not poised to change quickly. The one bright spot for the allies was in China, where the Japanese were thin on the ground and a large British/Anzac army was starting a counteroffensive.
Overall I think the Axis had a slight edge when we finished. The U.S. had been knocked back on their heels, the British and French capitals were captured and the Chinese were dciemated. Only the Anzacs were basically untouched, but there aren't many of them. The biggest question would have been how well the Russians would be able to exploit their windfall -- they had 145 IPC to spend!
For the Axis, Italy was in excellent shape, while the Germans were ready to face the Russians and take Berlin back. Meanwhile the Japanese were facing a challenge holding onto China, but were not in too bad shape for the short term in ocean areas, although the long-term outlook was questionable.
Overall the grander scale of the 1940 game seem to upset some tried and true A&A strategies and the tactical game is more intricate because of the addtional units (mech infantry, tac bombers) and the additional spaces. Everyone agreed that the strategic situation is fascinating.
I expect the next game will play quite differently. For one thing, the coup de main that took London and Berlin won't be easily repeated a gainst more experienced players.
Overall it was a great time and hopefully next time we'll be able to make greater progress. I think the Axis were ahead, but it's my opinion that you can't really judge an A&A game based on the first couple of turns because the Allies have great recuperative powers. In this game the Next Soviet build was going to be 145 and the next US build was going to be almost 90, so depending on how wisely they built the story for turns 5 or 6 might be quite different.