Inspired by some of the recent positive reviews, a friend and I decided to pick up Axis and Aliies: War at Sea and give it a try.
The Starter Set claims to have enough pieces (9 ships) for a two-player gamer. However, since this is a collectible game, you practically have to destroy the box to get the thing open...
There's a "getting started" type pamphlet in the box, but it only gives you enough rules for a two-ship bow-to-bow fight, so we opted to go for the full rules. (Although we kept flipping between the two booklets - some things are explained better in the "getting started" booklet, and the main rulebook has some organization problems.)
We chose the standard scenario, and rolled the dice to find out we were fighting on Battle Map 1 - which is created by using the "open sea" sides of the mapsheets, plus five island cards.
The Allied fleet will enter from the left side in the picture; the Axis fleet from the right. The grey circle markers in the middle mark the Objectives - if you control one of these spaces at the end of the turn, and no enemies are in adjacent spaces, you win the Objective and 50 points. You also score points for destroying the enemy. First to gain 150 points wins.