Well, the redoubtable Game Store Tony and I started a game of Axis & Allies Global 1940 (the combined A&A Europe 1940 and A&A Pacific 1940 mega game) on Saturday, continued Sunday, continued again Tuesday and finally called it on Turn 9 on Wednesday.
I'm definitely more comfortable with the naval/air powers such as the USA, Britain or Japan than I am with the land powers like Soviet Russia and the Germans.
I played the Axis, so I controlled the Germans, Italians and Japanese while Tony had all the Allies.
I wanted to make sure the Germans did the necessary deed that didn't happen in the last two games I played and I ensured the France fell on Turn 1. Unfortunately I couldn't turn that success into an effective campaign against Russia and I spent the balance of the game in a rough stalemate in the East. I made it partway into Russia but by game end the Soviets were pushing pack and Poland and fallen.
Tony's British did a good job on keeping pressure on Germany's Atlantic front, including invasions of Norway, Holland and Normandy that sometimes were pushed back but ultimately were able to stay ashore once the US arrived to help.
Meanwhile Italy ran rampant throughout the Med and Africa and even made forays as far as southern Russia, Iran and off Madagascar. It was all great fun, but the Allies eventually recovered (that factory in South Africa is a big help to the Allies) and retook most of sub-Saharan Africa. After a seesaw struggle that saw Gibraltar change hands at least five times the Americans sank the Italian navy and made landing attempts at both Southern Italy and Southern France that didn't succeed, but were costly for both sides. The German air forces wiped out some significant U.S. and British naval task forces, but the overall trend was inexorably in the favor of the Allies. While we felt that the Allies were not in a position to take the victory cities needed to win by Turn 11 (which would meet the criteria of the 'America +8' variant that's been suggested) we also felt that eventually they would be able to get them.
The story was somewhat different in the Pacific, where Japan was able to achieve a clear edge in the naval war, eliminating the British and ANZAC fleets and chopping the US down to size. We used the "Alpha Setup" which cuts down the number of aircraft by about half for all sides and makes tweaks to the setup. Hawaii, The Philippines and the Dutch East Indian colonies all fell. The Japanese invaded Australia but were not in a position to really follow up their success so the Australians were able to eventually liberate their own territory. It's very difficult to take out a player country unless you take the capital early. The ability to build new troops right at the scene of action helps a defender a lot.
On the other hand the Chinese were able to liberate almost their entire homeland with British help. Things were somewhat in doubt in the Pacific as it looked like it would be very hard for the Allies to rebuild their naval power in the face of Japanese sea superiority, but it would be equally hard for the Japanese to make a return to mainland Asia given the vast hordes of Chinese and British eastern forces. The probable outcome was a stalemate until a decision was reached on the European board.
This was the first game where we used the R&D rules, with the slight modification that you kept your R&D dice after a failed roll and could keep rolling until some success was found. The Italian investment in a couple of R&D dice was a waste as they never came up and the German investment in three R&D dice was a disappointment as well, gaining "radar" which improves the AA guns. As the Allies never tried a strategic bombing raid this had no game effect.
The Japanese and US investments, in contrast, paid off handsomely. A total of 3 dice bought three breakthroughs! While the US "rockets" never came into play the "Jets" were very helpful to the US, basically making Tac Bombers obsolete for them and playing a big role in several battles. Meanwhile the Japanese got "Improved Shipyards" which aided their achievement of naval superiority considerably.
Overall it was a great experience, although rather exhausting for both players. Because there was no "down time" for each player while others were moving we found that the game moved more slowly than it does with multiple players.
We're going to shoot for another Global 1940 come January.