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The Armor of Axis & Allies


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SeattleGamer writes:

Several points . . .

First, air units are coming (according to AH). Prepainted (well, what passes for painted anyway) plastic aircraft. No idea what scale.

Second, my initial impression is that tanks will not be the big killers. I suspect that a well balanced force will overpower some kid who fasions a tank force with no support. You are basically limited to 100 points in your force, and a good tank is 3-50 points. Infantry are 3-4 points. To offset that though, you are also limited to no more than 15 units. Finally, the game's objectives are to take victory hexes, not eliminate your opponent. Larger combined arms forces should do better overall because they will have over lapping fire zones, and can advance and take/hold the objective.

Third, I consider wargaming to have only one element, gaming. Now, when you talk about the "hobby" I'm there with you. It's about doing hobby stuff like making terrain and painting minis, PLUS doing some research to back up your force selections, and THEN playing games.

I'm happy to do any/all of it, but my limited time means I have less overall time to spend on my wants, so some days, I'm more inclined to just play, while others, I'm up to my eyes with research materials.

I purchased AAM to just play. If I can use those minis for some sort of true tabletop minis gaming, then terrific. If not, then I have a quick playing Beer & Pretzels game available to play. No harm in that.

Oh, regarding fathers and sons. Mine is 12, and while we didn't watch Band of Brothers together, he did see me opening the booster packs and wanted to know about my new game. When I told him this was a game based ona real war his eyes got big. He plays fantasy computer games, and he and I have played a little 40K. But the idea that these particular minis represented real stuff, not imaginary stuff, sparked an interest.

Five minutes later, he was pawing through some of my Osprey titles, looking at the pictures of the uniforms and weapons, and asking me questions.

And THAT is definately a good thing.


Revision Log
16 September 2005page first published

4,638 hits since 14 Sep 2005
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

pmglasser Inactive Member reports:

Battles in Axis & Allies are decided by tank duels.

Armored Fist

Since infantry are virtually defenseless against armored vehicles, the outcome is usually determined as soon as one tank force is eliminated. It is unlikely that infantry will score a hit against a tank unless it is exposed or severely damaged.

Tiger tank

The heavy tanks - KV-1, Churchill Crocodile, and Tiger - are almost unstoppable because their superior armor makes it difficult to score a critical hit. Unless their defense is overcome by two or more extra attacks, they will not be damaged, and disruption only lasts one turn. Even at point-blank range, most close-assault tactics or field guns are unable to score "9" successes (the number required to damage most heavy tanks).

Balance of Power

Many armored units have special characteristics that can be helpful or harmful. For instance, the Italian medium M13 tanks are highly flammable and will probably be destroyed as soon as they take damage. On the other hand, the British Crusader II was used to probe enemy lines in the deserts of North Africa, and may move 4 spaces before the game even starts.

Soviet KV-1 tank

Quality versus quantity is an important issue when battling the German army, because they have the best, most expensive tanks. The Tiger I is superior to even the hulking Soviet KV-1 - but it costs 63 points, twice as much as a KV-1. With that in mind, Allied players could field two tanks for every Tiger I, and use superior tactics to outflank and overpower their opponent. For instance, one KV could face the Tiger head-on while his comrade fires upon the German from behind.

The German medium tanks (like the Panzer IV Auf. G) are still more powerful and tougher than anything besides the T-34, but they still cost 10 points more than their Allied counterparts. Again, the Allies must use their greater numbers to surround tough Axis opponents and silence them.

KV-1 stat card

From another perspective, the German players must decide if they want to field two less-powerful Panzer IV tanks or put all the eggs in one basket by deploying one Tiger. The Tiger will surely defeat any opponent, but it might be destroyed if the Allies field several T-34s that could outflank and overpower it. The Panzer IV tanks would be able to counter multiple threats, but are more likely to be destroyed by weaker units.

Accuracy

The overall strategic limits of World War II are accurately recreated in the game dynamics of Axis & Allies. By the war's end, highly advanced German units like the Me262 and Tiger I were simply overwhelmed by the never-ending tide of Allied vehicles, men and supplies.

The high point-values of German armor reflect the real-world problems associated with producing complex vehicles. The panzer divisions were supplied by a huge industrial complex that spanned the Third Reich, including oil fields in the Caucuses, ball-bearing plants in Czechoslovakia and coal mines in Yugoslavia. Despite the mythology of the German blitzkrieg, much of the Wehrmacht operated throughout the war with nothing more powerful than horse-drawn carts, because German industry simply couldn't meet the needs.

Tiger stat card

Conclusion

The game is a fun way to explore the battles of World War II for the first time. If players learn to adapt to the real-world limits and exploit the strengths of their units, a lot of exciting battles will develop. Players must wage war intelligently and use their infantry to screen their flanks and suppress units that charge in for a close assault.

However, mediocre production values and poor design choices limit the first release, which could have been much better. If different armies were postponed for later expansion packs, the game could have been a lot more fun to build and play.