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First Impressions: Axis & Allies

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WarpSpeed writes:

Didnt the World of Tanks miniatures game die a rather ignoble death last year ? i dont find collectable minis games attractive because i dont like the monty haul "whats inside the box" aspect.

Revision Log
14 September 2005page first published

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pmglasser reports:

Upon first impressions, the Axis & Allies miniatures game will make a good introductory game for first-time wargamers.

Italian M13/40 tank

The quality of the models is moderate and the painting is acceptable. But, the problem with the tanks is that the soft plastic used for long-barreled cannons is pliable, and easily deforms in shipping or while being used. Armored vehicles are fairly detailed, but the infantry pieces are sloppy and vague.


The wide selection of pieces is another hindrance. Instead of limiting the initial release to the British, Americans, Russians, Germans and Japanese, Avalon Hill also included the Italians and French. The pre-eminence of German pieces combines with the token presence of Russian, French and Italian forces to dilute the American, Japanese and British selections.

Although the Russians may not fight side-by-side with any other Allied forces, they have four units in the first release: a rifleman, a leader, the T-34 medium tank and the KV-1 heavy tank. The Italians and French factions only have two units, but they may be deployed in a mixed army with German and Allied forces respectively. Players may decide to make factions, like the Japanese and Russians, exclusive, but no serious wargamer would consider creating a mixed Italian/Japanese army. In a game based on realism and historical accuracy, it's strange to even include the option of creating something based on fiction.

Italian M13/40 stat card

With such a variety of factions and rarity levels, there are so many permutations that it will be difficult to build a standard German 100-point army for less than $50 USD. A 100-point Allied army can be created for $50 USD, but it requires a medley of American and British units.

The Russians and Japanese may not ally themselves with any other armies, but only have a token presence in the first release. It will be almost impossible to create an army for either faction with any sort of reasonable budget.

Marginal armies, like Italy and France, should have been delayed for the first expansion set to make room for the Soviets and Japanese. With such a limited selection, all four nationalities are ineffective and inefficient.


However, both the Italians and French have one rare unit, even though that comprises half of their available forces. Some collectors will be frustrated when their rare unit ends up being a French tank or an Italian unit, when they’re striving to build a standard army.

Poor choices have been made for units that have been designated rare, including the Panzer II Auf. C and Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks. Both units amount to little more than poorly-armored and highly mobile machinegun squads. Both tanks have a low-armor rating of 2 and are ineffective against medium and heavy tanks. They provide excellent stopping power against infantry, but are more expensive than the equally powerful heavy machine gun squads.

Historically, the Ha-Go and Panzer II were underpowered even by 1942, and they were totally outclassed by the end of the war. Although they are not totally useless, it seems like a poor choice to designate two weak units as rare collectors items.


Overall, the rules are solid and the gameplay is quick and easy, but serious collectors will be frustrated by basic design choices and disappointed by the mediocre production quality.