Axis & Allies

It was Rob’s birthday back on the… 18th, I think. I’m sure he’ll correct me when he reads this. Anyway, this year that was somewhat brushed over with project and whatnot, and I had my dad’s 50th that weekend so I couldn’t join Rob. He went to Darkzone in Box Hill with his sister and Jess, and was actually denied entry because they were already fully booked! Most of the times we’ve been they’ve had more than enough room… ah well, bad luck that.

Anyway, that’s all anecdotal… the point is, last year for Rob’s birthday I bought him (possibly with Tony; can’t remember) Axis & Allies, a board game quite similar to Risk; more involved, with a basic economy, production, a dozen different unit types, etc. So we finally got around to actually playing it, Rob & I together, on Saturday night. I’d never played it before, by the World War II theme and the general Riskness of it seemed a good fit for Rob.

Rob & I invited a few people, but still fell short of five players, with just Tony & Tom joining us. So I played as two, which is good, because one of my factions was pretty much wiped out immediately. :/

Long story short, Rob & Tom versus Tony & I, they creamed us. Tony & I had never played, and I hadn’t had a chance to actually read any part of the manual prior, so I didn’t know the game mechanics at all. Both Rob & Tom had played at least a couple of games before. Rob has also been playing TripleA (an open source Java implementation of Axis & Allies) for a while now. Anyway, they knew what they were doing, we didn’t… I had a reasonable strategy to execute with Tony, but I wasn’t aware of many of the extra rules – which Rob conveniently made us aware of only when he eventually used them :P – and didn’t appreciate some of the basic tactics of the game (like using weak units as human shields, which will grossly immoral is apparently the way to conquer the world) and the power of aircraft.

As I said, one of my controls – Russia – was pretty much broken on the very first play of the first turn, when Rob (as Germany) invaded Karsakiakasdffisdfkasdfglkjsddf S.S.R. and wiped out half my starting units. Russia went downhill from there, losing their capital in the next turn. I was also playing England, but had no luck there. Tony did reasonably well as the U.S., but of course they have a slower start by virtue of their isolation.

I was quite eager to play before hand, but almost immediately became crestfallen… in the end things dragged on quite a bit, and with defeat utterly inevitable, there wasn’t much enticement to actually keep playing. In the end, while reading the rulebook, I found that the Axis could achieve an economic victory, which I enacted so as to end the game quicker.

But, it really all came down to just not having played the game before. Since then I’ve played half a dozen games of TripleA, and now have a much better understanding of the strategy and tactics necessary. I also now know where Rob got his strategy from; the computer AI. :P

So even immediately after the game I was willing to give it another shot, some time in the future. Now that I’ve got a grasp on it, I think I could almost look forward to the next game… vengeance will be mine! :D

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