We take a look at the newest addition to our game collection, Axis and Allies 1914. Long anticipated World War I strategy game named with a most trusted Axis and Allies brand, known exclusively for World War II until now. While the game remains faithful to many characteristics of prior releases, it makes many attempts to recreate the theme of the first world war with new approaches. This article takes a closer look at the game’s hardware; the pieces and the board.
The game board
Like the 1940 and 1942 2nd editions, there are two tri-fold boards placed side by side. Not a global map, it reaches from the Eastern United States stretching to western India. Eastern Russia and all of Pacific Asia are omitted. It does reach pole-to-pole from the Scandinavia to Southern Africa.
The Industrial Production chart and the Mobilization Zone is placed into the impassible region of the Sahara Desert. An interesting use of space, the overly large “Axis and Allies WWI 1914” logo takes up nearly a quarter of that space requiring the artists to create a new “abacus” system for the IPC chart. It will require each power to sacrifice two from their already limited supplies of roundels to keep track how many IPCs they have.
Another thing new, is the board design. It is oriented in diagonal fashion. Unless you’re willing to set up your game board like a diamond, the points facing the edges of your table, you’ll be reading it cock-eyed. It’s new. It’s different and unorthodox. I find it not user-friendly.
Because there are eight different major powers with a contributing number of minor or neutral powers, you had better be good with geography of the early 20th century. Territories are designated with nation’s emblems. Some are large, some are small, some have two different with a large and a small. Many emblems have been long lost to modern geopolitics. But as a game player, you better brush up on your history.
The dice, chips, and battle board
With 1914, we’re given thirty-six (36) tiny dice. Thirty-six little random number generators to be used on the battle board. The game has brought back a real, solid, battle board and not the cheap, and insulting battle strip many have decried. Instead of putting pieces on the board, you now use dice representing each individual piece.
For reasons I have not yet embraced, Axis and Allies have begun moving away from poker-style chips to what I describe as a smaller variety proprietary interlocking chips. You won’t find replacement chips from your poker supply store. They come in four colors, dark red and dark blue, light red and light blue. With so many powers on the table, the design is using a particular shade of red or blue to denote the Allies from the Central powers and from “1” count and “5”.
The game pieces
The pieces are interestedly sculpted in a World War I design. There are biplanes, lumbering armor, artillery, and naval pieces. Unlike the second edition, the pieces look identical from each power with an exception to infantry. The infantry look formidable with their bayonets ready. Most of them look similar, only their hats and colors are different.
Speaking of colors, you had better not be color blind. With eight different powers, you must differences between green, light green, maroon, dark teal, dark grey, brown, dark blue, and dark green.
The numbers of pieces that comes with the game has been criticized on forums. You may want to give thought to invest another $25 for extra pieces and chips for a game you may had already spent $75 from your industrial production. If you’re wondering if paper Industrial Production Certificates are included, the answer is no. Avalon Hill continues their latest tradition to withhold paper money.