This expansion was created according to the site for the second edition of A&AE. I presume that I must in fact have the first edition, if a second indeed exists, for two reasons: 1. nowhere on the box or in the rules booklet is any reference made to an edition and 2. the set-up given in my game differs in some respects [particularly in Greece] from that described in and pictured on the website. [I find this surprising since I purchased this game not more than three or four years ago and more likely considerably less.] Be that as it may, this DIY expansion is quite playable with the edition I have [presumably the first edition].
The reason cited on the site for the creation of this expansion is a perceived imbalance of the game. I cannot address the second edition, but my own edition does not seem to me imbalanced except in the sense that the Germans [Axis] have a marked advantage initially but due to relative levels of income the Allies [the USSR, Great Britain and the USA] gain more of an advantage the longer the game progresses. Thus, if the Axis are to win, they must win relatively quickly. This is a property characteristic of this series of games [A&AP being a notable exception] which I consider a strength of the series rather than a weakness. This expansion was created therefore for those who disagree with me on this point, but it can also be enjoyed by those who do not.
Since I do not agree with the premise on which this expansion was created, I was actually surprised to find that I like it as a game. This is not an expansion that would cause me to stop playing the base-game without it, but I find it offers an interesting strategic/tactical puzzle different from the base game. Since this is precisely what I like in games, this is a good thing to me. I have not yet played enough to have figured out all the in's and out's of this game, but again since I've only played a single full game, that is as it should be.
As suggested by the designers on their site, the Italians [the additional nation from which this expansion derives its name] are most easily represented by Japanese units from any game in the series where Japan is used-- other than the original A&A of course since this did not include artillery units or detroyers. If these are not available, one can use whatever one has available to represent the Italians.
The base game is of course Axis & Allies: Europe, the components of which have been described in reviews of that game. They are of the usual standard one expects from this series of games, which is in fact pretty good. Since most people who own A&AE also own at least either the original or revised Axis & Allies-- albeit not all do-- for most people, this game will use equipment the player already has and possibly slight substitutions.
All the normal rules of Axis & Allies: Europe apply except the following:
I. Initial placement:
a. German units in both Northern and Southern Italy and north Afrca, i.e., in Tunisia and Morrocco, in the initial set-up are simply replaced by Italian units. b. Italian units are also placed initially in Greece but only 1 infantry and using A&AE 2nd edition 1 armor. The other units described in the initial placement for Germany in Greece are as usual. Since in the edition of [standard] A&AE I use, the only units initially placed in Greece by the Germans are 2 infantry and 1 artillery, I place 1 Italian infantry and 1 Italian artillery in Greece initially along with a single German infantry. c. The German naval units in the Mediterranean remain German except for the transport which becomes Italian. d. Although not mentioned on the site, in my edition of A&AE, after initial placement of units, additional units up to the value of 12 IPCs [with excess lost] are placed first by the Axis and then by the Allies. The Allies split the 12 IPCs up in any manner they agree. So, I extended this rule to the Axis who still must place additional units first; they too split up the 12 IPCs worth of units in any manner they see fit between the Germans and the Italians. e. All other aspects of initial placement remain exactly the same as in the normal game of A&AE.
II. Income (IPCs) a. The IPC value of Germany is increased by the 10 IPCs which would otherwise be lost to Italy. (The site seems to indicate that Germany may be subdivided into smaller areas in the second edition and so the 10 IPCs are specifically added to Berlin; the wording of this is however ambiguous and Germany may not be subdivided in the later edition after all.) b. All oil income taken from the Allies goes entirely to Germany.
III. Restrictions on Italy
a. Italian units in Greece cannot move during the first turn. b. Italy cannot build naval units, either combat ships or transports. c. Outside of Italy, i.e., apart from the territories of Northern Italy and of Southern Italy, Italian land units cannot under any circumstances occupy more than 3 territories simultaneously or exceed 6 units [total of any type(s) except for AA guns since these are not nation-specific] in any one land territory. Thus, the Italians can never have more than 18 land units outside of Italy. The site's wording precludes the possiblity of units beyond 18 on transports.
IV. "Italian Patriotic War"
a. In analogy with the rule for the Russian Patriotic War by which the Soviets can replace Allied units in Soviet territory with Soviet units, the Italians can similarly replace German units in Italy or naval units in waters adjacent to Italy with Italian units during non-combat movement. b. Germany cannot build units of any kind in Northern Italy.
V. Turn Order
a. Turn order is modified to to following: 1. Germany 2. USSR 3. Italy 4. Great Britain 5. USA b. For 2 players, one plays Axis and one plays Allies. For 3 players, one plays Axis, one plays USSR and one plays Great Britain and USA. For 4 players, one plays Axis & one plays each of the Allies. Only for 5 players are Italy and Germany played by separate players, although of course IPCs must be kept separate for all nations as usual.
VI. Victory Conditions
To win, the Axis must at the end of the USA's turn control both Northern Italy and Germany [Berlin?] as well as any one Allied capital. Similarly to win, the Allies must at the end of the USA's turn control all Allied capitals and either Northern Italy or Gemrany [Berlin?].
VII. Combined Forces
All rules regarding having both German and Italian units in the same territory are similar to having units of more than one Allied nation in the same territory.
4. Strategy in A&AE
The only way to genuinely describe game-play is by contrast with A&AE, since this is an expansion. For discussions of A&AE itself, one is referred to that game's page at the link Axis & Allies: Europe under reviews. For the record, I consider A&AE an excellent game of the light wargame type. As mentioned however I do not concur with the creators of the expansion being reviewed that the base game is inherently "imbalanced", except in the sense that for the Axis to win, it must win relatively early.
Because of my view, the way that I normally play the Axis can be summed up as follows: Quote: Yes, this is a strategy article in the midst of a review, but it is needed to make my point.
I. At Sea Priority is given to destroying Allied naval units, especially carriers. By judicious use of planes and naval units I usually eliminate virtually all of the Allies' naval units in the first turn; the carrier by Canada since it cannot reach Europe apart from Great Britain itself is often spared until the second turn. Whatever survives is mopped up in the second turn along with any new Allied units built. The idea is to effectively keep the USA entirely out of the game apart from planes landed in Great Britain, and Great Britain is kept from landing any units in Western Europe. Germany therefore always buys at least one submarine, the main vessel the Germans use. Second only to destroying carriers is taking Allied convoy zones.
II. Strategic Bombing Raids? A bomber which cannot do anything else, does a strategic bombing raid on England supported by any fighters that cannot be otherwise engaged, however for the Axis all units must be dedicated first and foremost to taking and keeping territory. If in doubt, attack. Taking away Allied IPCs is important, but getting to Moscow-- the only genuinely reachable Allied capital-- is paramount because it wins the game. The only reason destroying Allied carriers [and other vessels that attack units which attack carriers] is that these land Allied troops in Europe and so potentially cause the Axis to lose the game.
IV. North Africa and the Middle East Right from the beginning of the game, North Africa and the Middle East are attacked with as much materiel as possible. British ships in the Mediterranean should as much as possible be eliminated on the first turn. I've used various combinations to do so, up to and including the German bomber landing in Libya after taking out the British carrier [and destroyer, less importantly] in the Eastern Mediterranean. The idea is both to gain IPCs at the Allies' expense and to force a second front. As soon as one takes Persia, one should attack the Soviets from the south. Usually Egypt is best attacked on the second turn, using the first to bring forces into place. Units in Egypt then continue onward while units transported from Crete and/or Greece land in Syria during the third turn. Persia should be taken on the fourth turn. Vital to all this is to use the transport to land a couple of infantry in Malta during turn one both to take out the potentially destructive plane and to take away a crucial stepping stone so that the British cannot funnel planes into the Middle East. If done correctly by the Axis, the Soviets won't be able to spare units for the Middle East.
V. The Eastern Front Everything else, all that can be, is thrown at the Soviet Union, with non-combat movement just used for landing planes and bringing forces up for the next round. Purchases otherwise are generally infantry in the first turn and tanks after the second with a mix of tanks and infantry during the second turn. Usually all or most of the territories taken in the first round are retaken by the Soviets on their turn but then territories are retaken and generally held on the second turn. Wherever possible, the attackable perimeter is minimized, but nothing is held in reserve that could attack. If Moscow is not being attacked on the fourth turn or at latest the fifth, the Allies will usually win. The initial 12 IPCs' worth of placement for Germany I will usually use in infantry units, one each in the four territories from which the main assault on the Soviets will come.
This is the tried and true long-game allied strategy this expansion was apparently created to counter-balance.
I. Soviets The job of the Soviets is to survive first but also to keep enough pressure on the Germans so that the Axis cannot afford to devote units to defending Western and Southern Europe. Play by the Soviets should be no more aggressive than is needed to achieve these ends. The Soviets just buy infantry and slog the Germans to death.
II. Great Britain The Allies' initial 12 units of additional placement, I usually use for 4 infantry placed as one unit each on countries in the Middle East. Initially, the British should not attack in the Middle East unless the Axis player does something abysmally stupid, but rather the British want to hold the Middle East. If a route exists whereby to do so, planes should be funneled into the Middle East both to increase the defense capability and to give these units a genuine attack capability.
The next priority of the British is to try and bleed Germany dry of IPCs using strategic bombing raids. After this priority-wise comes helping the Americans to clear the Atlantic of enough German vessels to allow funneling of American infantry into first North Africa, then Southern Europe and finally Western Europe. The order here has to do with vulnerability rather than historicity, but that was historically the same reason the Allies in WWII attacked as they did. Of course, if the Germans leave anything open for a quick and easy British landing, they should sieze the opportunity.
III. USA Finally, the Americans initially build naval units, especially subs, to take and hold a clear path to North Africa by sea. Transports to ship with and infantry to be shipped should be build from the outset as well, but the former should be build only once they are isolated from German attack, even if one has to sacrifice a single American sub to create a buffer zone.
The Americans finally simply overwhelm the Germans with numbers, attacking in too many places in Southern and then Western Europe [after taking northern Africa] for the Axis to deal with, all the while with the Soviets attacking in the East and then the British getting into the act as well.
The Allies' game is unchanged except that the game can now end with the taking of Northern Italy as well. No fundamental change in strategy is needed for this.
For the Axis, the push for early victory described above is effectively precluded. Restriction of Italian units to only three non-Italian territories hamstrings a devastating lightning attack on the Middle East, given that units in Greece cannot move the first turn and Italy starts with units in the maximum number of territories. Yet, conversely, this restriction also forces the Italians to build up Italy, the only place where Italian forces have no stackign limit. With the additional 10 IPCs per turn for the Axis, Southern Europe will end up relatively well defended.
The result is that this expansion is designed for a long-game strategy by both sides, both Axis and Allies. As such it is a good game, albeit with a tendency to become relatively long. This seems to be exactly what the designers wanted and in this they are quite successful. So, if one wants a version of A&AE that goes beyond at most six rounds [by which time usually the Axis will have either clearly won or clearly lost in my experience], this is a very good option.
Initial Axis strategy options that occur to me are:
1. Use the transport to move the Italian unit first to Gilbraltar to interrupt the British supply line to the Middle East and then take that unit back to Italy in order to free up the possiblity of the Italians taking territory in the Middle East. This of course should only be done if the Germans control the southern portion of the Atlantic securely enough to preclude for the time being an Allied landing in North Africa.
2. The Italian trnasport must be kept out of range of attack by Allied planes and ships. ASAP that Britishplane in Malta has to go and until then the transport should stick with heavier vessels. For similar reasons, the British destroyers have to go.
3. One should attack the Middle East as much as possible, but German units can still be brought in to do this. Then Italians can be used just to bolster defenses in North Africa.