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Posted on Nov 10, 2006 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Axis and Allies Minis: Reserves

By Paul Glasser

aam_reserves_booster.gifOn Nov. 10, forty five exotic and experimental units will be released for the Axis and Allies miniatures game.

The Reserves expansion set will focus on support units and bizarre weapons like the Dornier Do335 fighter. The miniatures game is part of the classic Axis and Allies franchise and simulates squad-based combat using pre-painted plastic miniatures. The newest units will include infantry, paratroopers, tanks, jets, and heroes. A number of armies will be represented, including Germany, France, England, Hungary, the USSR, America, Italy, Japan, Canada, and Poland.

Once again, Germany receives the most attention and will be able to deploy three new infantry units: Werwolf partisans, Volkssturm troopers and the much-anticipated Fallschirmjäger. Other units in the release include the Panzer 38(t) which was produced in Czechoslovakia and the Panzerjager 731. These two units create the possibility that more captured vehicles may be incorporated into the game in future sets. After purchasing a booster pack, players will be able to deploy the famous jet-powered Me262 and the unique Do335. The Do335 featured front and rear-mounted propellers, and in the game receives a special one-time ability that allows the Axis player to instantly resolve an attack rather than waiting until the end of the turn. The Goliath, an Elefant tank destroyer, the Panther Ausf. D, and the Nebelwerfer 42 are also included in the newest set. The Panther Ausf. D is almost identical to the SS Panther Ausf. G included in the premiere set, but it is 14 points cheaper. However, it has slightly weaker attacks and is lacking the special skill SS-Determination, which allows the crew to move while under fire.

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A number of key American units will also be included in the Nov. 10 release. The Thompson gunner is the same price as the Soviet counterpart, the PPSh 41, but gains the ability to use close assault tactics against tanks. The US Rangers provide the Allied player with an elite, hard-hitting infantry unit that can also call in fire support. The F4U Corsair is an expensive, but tough fighter-bomber with good firepower and heavy armor. The M4 Sherman T-34 Calliope is another Sherman variant that provides improved anti-personnel abilities and the ability to launch a massive rocket-salvo. The M8 Greyhound armored car and the M20 75mm recoilless rifle are also included.

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The Red Army also gets a shot in the arm, and will field 5 of the 15 rare units included in the next release. These units focus almost entirely on armored fighting vehicles, except for the DP-27 light machine gun. The Soviet commander will be able to deploy the BT-7 light tank, the massive IS-3 battle tank, the powerful SU-152 assault gun, and the BA-10M fast attack unit. A lend-lease version of the M3 Lee will also be featured. Everything, aside from the BA-10M and the DP-27 will be considered a rare piece.

Several important units will also give the Japanese army greater depth. The Kawanishi Shiden-Kai fighter will be a vast improvement over the Mitsubishi Zero. For only 4 more points, the player will receive better armor, more firepower, and greater agility. The Type 3 Chi-Nu medium tank will also give players the ability to engage Allied tanks on almost equal terms. The powerful 75mm gun and strong armor will let the Japanese player go toe-to-toe with a Sherman. The tank also automatically receives cover against long-range attacks while in a forest hex. The Type 97 rifle will give the Japanese forces some badly needed anti-tank support. Finally, the Azad Hind Fauj infantry will include the option of fielding Indian POWs who were recruited to fight for Japan against the Allies.

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The British will be able to deploy the M22 Locust, a light tank used by airborne forces, and the jet-powered Gloster Meteor. Although it didn’t actually see combat in World War II, the Centurion A41 tank will also be included in this set.

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