In our follow up article introducing Axis and Allies 1914, we preview the rule changes. The World War I strategy game takes the opportunity to deviate from polished rules from 1940 and 1942 variety. Many familiar characteristics return in this “prequel” including artillery, armor, battleships, cruisers, submarines, submarines, and an interesting take on the fighter. Infantry becomes more important than ever as new combat rules come into play.
Axis and Allies 1914 introduces eight powers, the Axis (hereby known as the Central powers) and the Allies. You had not be color blind differentiating between the 3 Central powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire) and the 5 Allied powers (Russian Empire, France, United States, British Empire, and Italy).
Its recommended that one player plays both Russia and the United States as the rulebook gives instructions up to seven players though the box says up to eight can play. Then again, the box says the game takes only one to three hours!
Inspired from the Europe and Pacific 1940 games, there are different categories of territories;
- Major power controlled with capital
- Major regional controlled
- Minor power capital, aligned with a major power
- Minor regional, its territory not aligned
- Neutral power territory with capital
- Neutral regional territory otherwise known as colonies
It is also important to recognize the emblems printed on the territory as well as their size. The size of the emblem determines if it is a capital territory or not and whether it indicates an affiliation with a specific power it aligns with.
Automatic mobilization rules must be carefully read when a minor or neutral powers sovereignty is threatened.
Movement, combat, and a new battle board
Axis and Allies 1914 introduces a new concept, the contested territory. And having done so removed the non-combat movement phase. To recreate trench warfare, the insanity of armies drawing so much blood without moving the front lines, units are moved into territories shared with the enemy. But combat is optional.
The theme of WWI make infantry and artillery the most important ground pieces. Infantry pieces are a required unit in every army, division, or collection of units. Armor and fighters, in their infancy of the time, have unique roles on the battle board. They’re not yet the fearsome machines of WWII, but they offer unique game play. With 36 dice coming with game, it is now dice moved on the battle board representing each individual unit.
Naval game play
New to Axis and Allies are mine fields. They are to 1914 what anti-aircraft guns are to most WWII variety. Naval bases are part of the game board and protected from enemy incursion. Submarine rules have been tweaked (again throughout the history of Axis and Allies), keeping their submerge ability but enemy warships have at least one chance to fire. Fighter planes do not participate in sea battle. Transports can still carry two land units or fighters. An infantry unit is not required to be one of the cargo, but any unit must be offloaded into a territory with at least one infantry of your power. Battleships require two hits to sink. Unlike 1942, there are no miraculous repair after end of battle. It requires a stop at a friendly naval base.
There are no factories. All new units are mobilized at your power’s capital. The United Kingdom gets a special exception allowing units mobilized from a second location of India. There are no limits in how many may be mobilized from a single location. Naval units mobilize from any naval base the power controls at the beginning of his or her turn.
The rulebook is not without omissions and oddly placed words, that in spirit, contradicts play from the WWII games. An errata has been quickly published online.
Unofficial errata (links 404 over time)