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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Hasbro

Ups: Faithful port of a classic boardgame with some extas thrown in,  and you don't need four others to play.

Downs: Graphics just OK.

System Reqs:
P133, 16 MB, RAM, 1 MB SVGA card, 40 MB Hard drive space, 4X CD-ROM

a&a1.jpg (5699 bytes)There have been several fun wars in American history.  Who could forget the spectacular, slam-bang hijinks of the Civil War, or the trench shenanigans of World War I?  By far, however, World War II has inspired more games, novels and History Channel documentaries than any other ruckus the good old United States has had the pleasure of participating in.  Axis and Allies – the board game – made everyone feel the joy of infantry maneuvers in Mother Russia circa 1942, and now Microprose has made that game available on the PC.

 For those of you who haven’t spent hours over various holidays playing the German war machine and beating the crap out of your snotty little cousins, I’ll describe how the game works.  You have the choice of taking command of either the one of the Axis powers (Germany or Japan) or the Allies (the United States, Great Britain or Russia).  France was left out for obvious reasons.  Each country begins the game with a certain amount of territories, all of which produce a certain amount of Industrial Points.  Players spend their points to purchase toys like tanks, infantrymen, bombers, fighter jets, aircraft carriers, submarines, and the chance for technology upgrades.  Fun for the whole family.

The point, as in all games worth their salt, is world domination.  By taking territories from your opponents, you gain more Industrial Points and thus increase the potential size of your army.  In slaughter, size does matter.  All of your machines of war have a set attack and defense scores (1-6) that correspond to a dice value.  The computer version takes the work out and rolls electronic dice for you. 

a&a2.jpg (6552 bytes)Game play is straightforward and simple except for a few glitches.  For example, a game round is divided into a combat turn, and a non-combat turn (like I said, straightforward).   During your combat turn, all troop movements must end in combat.  Makes sense and the reverse is true for the non-combat turn.  For most units, the game engine won’t allow movement that doesn’t.  Naval units can, however.  If you move an aircraft carrier with planes attached during a combat turn and that move doesn’t result in a fight, those precious planes drop into the drink.  This is a glitch that can be avoided, but is annoying.

In terms of graphics or sound, some of the usual categories of review, nothing special goes on in Axis and Allies.  This is a board game translated to the computer, and it retains most of its characteristics in the transfer.  There are no animations and few sound effects beyond a cute boom when something gets destroyed.  This seems a bit static and uninteresting when almost every game that gets put out these days sets new visual standards.  Not that I object to this simply functionality, or that I want more eye-candy, but Axis and Allies comes off somehow archaic and quaint.  This is not a complaint so much as a warning.  Axis and Allies is not meant to compete with products like Quake III or Unreal or Balder’s Gate. 

a&a3.jpg (6822 bytes)The PC version of Axis and Allies does add a few interesting options not contained in the board game.  You can give technology advantages (things like super submarines and long range bombers) to the Axis or the Allies prior to play, and, probably the biggest reason to purchase the game, you now have the ability to go solo.  Axis and Allies – the board game – is a large and playing with just two people is difficult.  The ideal way to play is with five.  Getting a game together is difficult and takes a lot of time.  On the PC, you can take over the world on your own.

However, across-the-net-multiplayer has potential as well.  Several Axis and Allies playing groups exist, and the Axis and Allies website ( hosts tournaments on an almost daily basis. 

I think that Axis and Allies fans will not be disappointed.  If you like the game already, then Microprose’s release will provide plenty of hours of fun.  If you’ve never heard of the board game, I’d recommend it for kids and for board game fanatics (not too many of those around anymore).  It looks a little impoverished beside titles like Heroes of Might and Magic III, but solid and interesting play make up for any deficiencies. 

--Matt Blackburn