New Axis & Allies

So, Dave, Ben, Eric, Matt, and I played the new Axis & Allies from Avalon Hill. It was very good; I liked the addition of artillery. However, we discovered a seemingly major flaw: a first turn strategy allowing Germany to take over the UK isle.

  1. Germany puts all their money (40 IPCs) into researching Long-Range Aircraft. Using the eight dice gives them a 76% chance of discovering the technology.
  2. Germany attacks the UK with all their aircraft (six fighters and one bomber) and their transport with a tank and infantry.
  3. Assuming nothing crazy happens with the antiaircraft gun, Germany has a very good chance of winning the fight. Each time we’ve done it, Germany has lost all their aircraft, but kept a tank to conquer the island.
  4. Germany optionally moves the submarine in sea location 8 to sea location 9, blocking an attempt by the US to help refortify the UK.

By taking the UK player’s capital on the first turn, you get all their money (30 IPCs) and prevent them from building anything the first round. They will likely liberate the island with their tank from Eastern Canada and bombardment from the battleships they have in the area, but they still can’t produce anything that turn. If the US’s fleet has been blocked by a German submarine, then it’s possible Germany could try and take the island again the next turn.

That 30-IPC boost plus the eight from the island proper and the various spoils on that first turn will give Germany roughly 80 IPCs to spend on their next turn. If Germany buys 16 tanks (80 IPCs and conviently the maximum number of units Germany can buy with their starting industrial complexes) on that second turn, by the third turn, they can storm Russia, who will hardly be prepared for it. Germany will have slowed down the UK enough that they will not build a complex in India and will be scrambling just to get back to where they were on the first turn.

This plan obviously has risks for the Germany player, but not too many. Again, the chance of getting the technology is 76% and the battle itself is pretty favorable. If the Germany player merely invested two dice in the technology, it would be a much safer bet. If he/she didn’t get it, the plan could be abandoned, and there would still be 30 IPCs to spend on equipment. If Germany’s researchers did discover the technology on such a shoe-string budget, Germany could put even more pressure on Russia.

It seems like a gaping flaw in the game to allow such a ridiculous series of events that are so crippling to the UK player. The only saving grace is that Russia goes before Germany. Russia can try to attack a territory that holds one of Germany’s planes, but most of those options don’t make sense outside the context of preventing the UK attack. Russia can also move a fighter over to the UK for defense. This would help UK’s odds a lot, but I’m not sure who the battle favors at that point. Even so, Russia would be going out of their way to prevent a hypothetical attack. Germany can always not attack if the fighter moves or they lose one of their own fighters. Russia is forced to stick its neck out rather than Germany.

So, besides that silly strategy, things seem pretty well balanced. I’m interested in what other people think and if anyone knows of a good way to stop Germany from succeeding with the above attack.