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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #6: Axis & Allies

Sadly, when playing Germany, there is no option to search for the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail

Analogy time: Axis & Allies is to Risk as San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds is to Pittsburgh Pirates Barry Bonds.

Steroids, folks. Juiced. All jacked up.

If you need your world domination in under and hour, go back to your brisk game of Risk. Not for the faint of heart (or busy of schedule), Axis & Allies takes longer to set up than Risk does to play. Set in 1942 with the world at war, this magnificent monstrosity of a board game has five main antagonists. Three Allied powers (the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States), and two Axis (Germany and Japan). The map of the globe is divided into nations and regions, and covered with belligerent troops, tanks, ships, and aircraft. You know happens next. This game is ideally played between two people (one taking the Allies and the other the Axis) or five (with each player taking one power), though anything in between is manageable. Each turn involves moving instruments of war in ways aggressive, defensive, or strategic, as would be intuitive. But part of what makes this game so great is that there is an added economic contest afoot. Your goal is to possess sufficient IPCs (Industrial Production Certificates) that you are able to choke your foes out with might both military and monetary.

This is yet another game my brother and I played with friends, though I also have memories of sleepover parties where we would play all night - mostly because if you made the rookie mistake of dozing off, you might not find all of your armies or aircraft carriers where you left them. The board becomes so littered with plastic totems and territory markers that it also was not unknown for a player in an untenable position to mistakenly bump into it. Or so I've heard...

Axis & Allies was a commitment, sort of like Monopoly or modern marriage, frequently undertaken but rarely seen through to the end. The most frequent outcome of all three was for one player to become frustrated, tired, or simply bored, throw their hands in the air, and quit.

Sort of like Hitler did.

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