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Posted on Apr 23, 2004 in Stuff We Like

Axis & Allies Variants

By Roger Cooper


For the Hasbro edition, balance has always been a problem. With proper play, it is easy for the Allies to win. Even with the common ?No Russian First-Turn Attacks’ rule, the Allied edge is significant. In the Avalon-Hill edition, it is not yet clear who, if any, has the edge. Many tournaments use a system of secret bidding to determine who gets the Axis. Each player or team writes a bid. The lowest number receives the Axis. (If individuals are bidding, the lowest 2 get the Axis assuming you have enough players). Some things you could use for bidding are:

Economic Victory Level: In this case high bids get the Axis.

National Advantages: In the Avalon-Hill edition, you can bid for a number of advantages to be chosen randomly.

No Attacks: The number of player-turns the Allies can’t attack. For example a bid of 2 means no Russian or British first turn attacks.


Starting IPC’s: If a team bid, the team decides how to split the money. For individuals, each receives the amount bid.

Turn Limits: Decide a fixed number of turns at start of the game (anywhere from 6 to 10 is good). Bid for Axis income level or # of Victory Point cities held.

Turns: Number of turns to achieve total victory (all enemy areas captured)

Units: Bid an amount of money that can be used for starting money or additional units. Additional units must start in controlled areas or adjacent sea areas without enemy naval units.

Victory Points: The Axis receives 1 VP for every 10 points of income held at turn end or 1 VP per victory city held. Bid for # of Axis VP to win.

Victory Point Cities: In Avalon-Hill edition.

Quick A&A

This variant creates a scenario with only 2 powers, good for a quick game.

1. Only 2 powers are active. A third power is open to attack by both active powers (while the rest of the board is off-limits).

2. Take 1 control marker from each nation. Choose 2 markers at random to the active powers. Choose 1 remaining marker to be the civil disorder power. The remaining 2 markers indicate the off-limits powers.

3. Setup the units in the normal positions for the active powers.

4. The players decide which active power is at a disadvantage. If they disagree, each player takes the power they consider to be at an advantage.

5. Each player makes a simultaneous bid to take the disadvantaged power. The low bidder receives the disadvantaged power. The amount bid is added to disadvantaged power’s starting money and its income each turn.

6. Each area of the civil disorder power is defended by a number of infantry equal to its economic value. If an attack on a civil disorder area is repulsed, the defenders are rebuilt to their original strength.

7. You can’t enter the areas owned by the off-limits nations (not even with an air overflight). Sea movement near them is unrestricted.

8. Win by taking your opponent’s capital, or all his areas except his capital. If a stalemate develops, the game is a draw.

Limited Combat Rounds

Real battles often end indecisively. To allow this the attacker must withdraw after 3 rounds of combat. If invading amphibiously, the attacker is destroyed.

Air Superiority

In A&A, aircraft never seem to fight each other. To allow this, all hits inflicted by fighters and defending bombers must be taken from enemy air units if there are any.

Armed Neutrals

Invading neutrals is pointless in the Hasbro edition because they lack income, and is prohibited in the Avalon-Hill edition. Try this instead. Argentina, Spain, Switzerland & Sweden have economic values of 2. Rio de Oro has a value of 0. All other neutrals have a value of 1. Invading a neutral costs 3 x its value. In the Avalon-Hill edition, Sahara & Himalaya remain impassable.

For more variants check my website.

Roger Cooper

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