Saturday, November 29, 2014

Axis and Allies: WWI 1914 - Review

Wow. Axis and Allies WWI 1914 is a fantastic and complex game that captures the essence of World War I.

Three of us traveled 100 years into the past to recreate the situation in Europe at the beginning of 1914 and play out the Great War, or the War to end all wars. This is what we do while the women in our lives face the crushing Black Friday crowds.

Thankfully, the game was simplified from the actual history of the time. The instructions indicate that the game averages 8 hour to play. We played for 10 hours and still none of the national capitals had been captured. The game played out much like history records WWI--slow and plodding. But, each turn was important and critical to the overall outcome.
The Board for Axis and Allies WWI 1914

We played with three players and I have to admit, I was the central powers and the game requires constant attention. The first round through the 8 countries took us 3 hours--but much of that time was learning the rules and the differences between the classic Axis and Allies versions and this one.

After the first round, the game picked up in pace, but our efforts to achieve a decisive victory on the field of conflict were just as inept as that of the countries involved in the war. No country or alliance could gain the advantage and the game quickly descended into a war of attrition which the allies gradually began to win especially as the U.S. was allowed to entry the conflict on turn 4 and in this case the French developed into an effective fighting force.

The game is complex. Eight countries are represented. On the allies side there are the French Alliance, the British Empire, the Russian Empire, Italy, and the United States arrayed against Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

My mistakes? As Germany, I thought that I could quickly take Moscow and before the French and British could organize and then I would be able to hold the lines while the Austrian-
hungarian armies pushed through Italy and then onto Paris. I didn't pay enough attention to the India connection of the British Empire and my Ottoman Empire forces were neutralized and I was in a defensive posture for the bulk of the game.

After 10 hours of play, Moscow was under attack and Constantinople and Berlin were under siege. The Austro-Hungarian Empire forces were finally making their way through the Alps to pressure the French and the Italians, but Ottomans and Germans were effectively neutralized. The Central Powers navies had been neutralized and the allies had unopposed command of the sea lines of communication. I conceded the game.

RECOMMENDATION: It was a great game and another fantastic Black Friday event! If you enjoy this type of historical simulation--this game is for you.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD
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