In a lot of ways, I did board game backwards. I did cut my teeth on Risk and had some fun with that but from there, our next best options were the more complicated Avalon Hill games. Not the Avalon Hill that’s part of the Wizards of the Coast now, but the “old” Avalon Hill with their detailed war simulations. A lot of this was in the mid to late 1980s so we went from playing Risk to games like The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich. Since then I’ve reread some of the rules of those games and needless to say, we were definitely cutting some corners.
Then one summer (I want to say either 1985 or 1986), I got Axis & Allies for my birthday and for the rest of the summer, that’s all we played. If we weren’t playing ball, we were out back on the picnic table or in someone’s basement playing this game. We eventually bought some of the other games Milton Bradley put out like Fortress America (one of my favorites) but Axis & Allies stuck. Since then I’ve kept up and bought most of the recent incarnations (except the most very recent 1941 and 1942 editions) and have even bought most of the theater games.
Now for a little segue. While World War II has gotten a ton of love, I always thought World War I was underrepresented in the gaming world. We played The Guns of August but I don’t think we ever made it out of 1915 before calling it quits because it was slow and just too a lot of time. Since then I’ve picked up Paths of Glory: The First World War but haven’t had a chance to play it yet because that has it’s own time committment.
Back to Axis and Allies, that’s why I was happy when I saw this. They’re making a World War I incarnation of Axis and Allies and I’m really interested in seeing how they pull this off. Infantry was a huge part of the war but eventually tanks came into play. I’m also interested in seeing how they pull off the trench warfare on the Western Front. The good thing is, we only have a month until this game is out so we can check it out for ourselves.