This review is really for the Global Version of the game that you get when combining this one with Europe 1940.
After the success of the 50th Anniversary edition of Axis and Allies, I was really looking forward to this newest version. Unfortunately, there are a number of things that were a step backwards from the previous installments. It is still a fun game, but I'm not impressed with a number of factors. Let's look at the pros and cons.
1. GAMEPLAY. Once you get the new rules and setup, the game is quite deep and strategically balanced. It is a great challenge for experienced players, and I really enjoy it a lot. The new units (Tactical Bombers, Mechanized Infantry, Cruisers), countries (Italy, France, Australia, China), and the Facilities (Airbases and Naval Bases) add a lot to the strategy.
2. THE BOARD IS HUGE!! It is so awesome seeing this game set up on the giant board. When you combine the two games the board is about as long as I am tall and quite an impressive sight. Really makes you excited for the game.
1. MISTAKES IN THE RULES. This must have been rushed to production, because there are tons of mistakes in the rules and the setup. In order to get the full experience, you have to go to the website for Harris Game Design and get the new rules and setup that have been edited numerous times. I suspect that the publishers didn't want to pay people to test the game, so they just sold the rough draft and took the advice of people who complained about it on the axisandallies.org forum. Basically they used customers as play testers. Anyone who posted a suggestion should get a refund, in my opinion.
2. LOW QUALITY PARTS.
-There is no paper money...just a chart so that you can keep track of your cash flow. Somehow, they thought that making the customer repeatedly photocopy the half-page chart that only lasts ONE TURN and then doing a bunch of arithmetic would be easier than just having some fake money. Stupid.
-The Antiaircraft guns and Factories used to be plastic pieces just like the other units in the game, but now are just flat little pieces of cardboard with a picture of an AA gun or Factory on it. Cheap and harder to see on the board.
-The storage boxes have no dividers, so it's really hard to find pieces when they are all mixed together. Annoying.
-There are not enough roundels (little country markers used to mark conquered territories) for some countries, and way too many for others. Bad planning.
-Japan doesn't come with enough Tactical Bombers to set up the game! You have to request replacements (for free).
-There are not enough chips (used to represent additional units) for such a large scale game. I even borrowed some from an older game and I still ran out.
-There are no reference charts of any kind. To remind yourself of the turn order, the available research options, the national objectives for each country, or the price and statistics of each type of unit, you constantly have to be searching through the rulebook. The 50th Anniversary edition of Axis and Allies had these all on a convenient reference card for each country in the game, but not this version.
3. IT TAKES FOREVER TO PLAY. My friend and I just completed a game in 16 hours. That was fast for us. There is so much stuff going on and so much to think about that it just takes a really long time. If you have the time, it's worth it, but as a result I don't play it as often as I would like because...you know...I have a job and a life, and so do my friends.
Overall, I really like this game, but I had to do a lot to soup it up so that it would be nice. I bought better storage boxes so that I could find units more quickly. I borrowed chips, money, AA guns and Factories from an older Axis and Allies game that I have. I requested the replacement parts from the company. This is a lot of work that shouldn't have to be done after spending a lot of money on the game. It's worth it because the game is so much fun to play, but just be warned that it's not as great as it could be.