Supreme Axis & Allies

I have been working on a version of the classic World War 2 board game, Axis & Allies, based on some of the imaginings I had together with my college roommate (we played this game backwards and forwards in the 90′s), as well as more recent thoughts. One of the things I had done back then was to create an enlarged version of the game map, subdividing it into more territories as a way to offer deeper strategy. That original map was just done by hand, and the one foam-mounted copy I have is badly faded and warped. I decided to take another stab at it, this time using the computer and graphics software, and basing it on the current version of the game.

The image below is a portion of my map; click it for a low-resolution overall image of the map. I am still tweaking this, and will post a high-res file later when complete.

Portion of My Revised Map

One surprise to me was to see that the Spring 1942 version of the game, now in print, actually incorporates a lot of the features that my roommate and I had conceptualized back then, though with slight differences. For instance, on the map there were a number of added territories that accomplished somewhat the same thing as my map. So, in re-doing things I took a long hard look at the gameplay implications of what I was doing, and have striven to do things in a way which increases the strategic depth without bogging the game down.

New Rules!

I took it on myself to rewrite the entire rulebook, and in so doing I found myself questioning a number of basic gameplay assumptions. For instance, I figured that it actually is not necessary to have separate pre- and post- combat movement phases; by relegating all movement to pre- combat resolution, one avoids thorny issues such as determining which units can move into a freshly conquered territory. In addition, it opens up the possibility of misallocation of reinforcements, which is a real danger in warfare.

After seeing the IPC Production Chart being incorporated into the margin of the game map in the new game, I had some thoughts as to what more this chart could accomplish. This led to the development of Morale as a factor, with a possibility for surrender negotiations by any nation that gets too low on the chart.

New Game Mechanics!

Other game enhancements consist of whole new game mechanics, such as Dogfighting which resolves combat between opposing fighter aircraft separately, and Naval Detection in which small navies might not find each other out on the open seas. Many game effects also take into account the regional nature of the revised game map, in which there is a heirarchy of regions and territories (each region corresponds to a territory on the original game map). And the operations of some unit types have been tweaked, such as having bombers attack only in the first round of combat.

I have tried to distill out simplified rules wherever I can, such as declaring that movement of transported units happens first and then the transporting unit moves; such rules obviate all the errata that seems to have been issued to deal with various circumstances. Also, missing from the 1942 version of the game is any form of technology development. I have reintroduced technological research in a fashion which provides noticeable reward and progress toward a goal.

New Units!

In addition to all of this, I have added a number of new units and redefined others, such as artillery. In basic conception, there is a regular version of each unit, such as Infantry, and a special version of each unit, such as Scouts. The special units are limited to a certain maximum number of that unit type, i.e. the game pieces must be real tokens and cannot stack. Back in the 90′s, my roommate and I had developed a much more extensive list which included not just these but also a “light” and a “heavy” version of the regular units, but this much variety ended up being just burdensome detail. In order to assemble a playable game, I have had to purchase additional units with unique sculpts and paint these; if anybody else chooses to use the same set of units they will need to acquire the same (or similar) pieces.

If you are interested in reading or even playtesting my version of the rules, please download the following files:

SupremeAArules.pdf

SupremeAAunits.pdf

And, if you’re crazy enough to download the big image file, here’s a TIFF file of the current version of my map.

MRRbigboard-120712.jpg (3.5 mb)

THINGS I STILL NEED TO DO:

  • Finalize rulebook, need playtest feedback to set certain values
  • Acquire game pieces suitable as Forts
  • Develop Technology Cards as described in rules
  • Draft each nation’s setup cards

Credits

While most of this has been extruded from my own mind, I do need to acknowledge the input of two others, Matthew Eastman and Wayne Mathieu. I have freely adopted ideas they provided and transformed them only slightly.  Matt was my college roommate who helped me develop a deep appreciation for the original game, as well as helped flesh out ideas for extra units. Wayne came up with such gems as Dogfighting, Naval Detection, and discrete bomber missions. The game map was my own doing, but at least for the first iteration of it I have used a screenshot of a computer game version as the basis; unfortunately I do not know who to assign credit in this case. At any rate, I have substantially modified the original screenshot and hope to re-develop the map graphics at some future time so that I can take unreserved credit.