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Axis & Allies
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Store:  War Games
Edition:  Axis & Allies
Series:  Gamemaster, Axis & Allies
Theme:  World War 2
Genre:  War & Combat
Format:  Board Games

Axis & Allies

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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 180 minutes 2-5

Designer(s): Larry Harris

Manufacturer(s): Hasbro, Milton Bradley

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Product Description

Decide the fate of a nation and the destiny of the world when you play this World War II Strategy Game!

The year is 1942. The Axis war machine appears invincible. The Balkans have fallen. Pearl Harbor has been attacked. Wake Island is in Japanese hands. And Rommel has the British on the run in North Africa.

At this explosive time in history, Axis & Allies challenges you and your opponents to decide the outcome of World War II. As one of the world powers battling for supremacy in 1942, you must spearhead your country's military drive. During play, you'll discover that the theaters of war remain the same and the familiar embattled frontiers still exist, but astonishing events will occur. The Battle of Midway could be lost by the United States--the Russians might not stand at Stalingrad--MacArthur may never return to the Philippines--and the Normandy invasion could happen again and again.

As a world leader in Axis & Allies, you must be a brilliant military strategist. You must have the perseverance of a Montgomery, the elusiveness of a Rommel, the courage of a Patton, the daring of a Yamamoto and the steadfastness of a Zhukov!

Decide where to strike, when to strike and the intensity of the strike. Will it be a strategic bombing raid, a sneak submarine attack, a hit-and-run assault by your well-trained infantry, an antiaircraft barrage or a major invasion by land, sea and air forces? Plan your attack, move into the embattled territory with your forces and resolve the conflict.

The economic destiny of your nation is also at stake. Buy armaments and develop secret weapons from your stockpile of production certificates... an income based on your own natural resources and successful territorial expansion.

If you're a brilliant military strategist, a prudent economist and an astute politician, you'll lead your nation to victory.

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.8 in 18 reviews

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The war within the child
March 03, 2004

wow. been playing since 4th grade- adapted from garage rules to now 'official' rules. A game could not bring the world together being at war more. With the roll of the die anything can happen.....I feel allies have upperhand but axis can make it interesting. I dominate this game so i do say AA is in my favor if you go up against me. have fun playing. it's a great game

by Todd
Greatest Strategy Game
December 08, 2003

For all the complaints about the time commitment involved to play this game, my friends and I have found a solution. Buy both the board game and the PC version. Thus while the guy who's turn it is plays on the computer, the rest of us plot strategy on the larger boardgame version. Much more fun and less time consuming.

January 20, 2002

A&A is a game that you will love to play again and again (if only there were more hours in a day). I recommend to the guy who is still playing with his paper money to go to the store and buy some 'play money' and use the COINS in place of the IPC notes as they are infinitely more durable. I would also recommend that you purchase at least 2 additional colors of chips to help eliminate the monstrous stacks that usually build up in Germany and Russia (I have white-1, yellow-2, red-5 and black to indicate 10 units). We play this game so much that we scanned the board and enlarged it, then we reassembled the larger board onto a piece of thin plywood and varnished it... It is SOOO much easier to place units now. I wish Milton Bradley would come out with a limited edition with maybe a nice 'roll-out' leather? gameboard which would be at least 150% larger than the included cardboard one. This limited edition set could also maybe use plastic 'bullion' pieces as IPC's (say platinum, gold, silver, copper), the paper money usually dies a terrible death fairly quickly. This limited edition would of course include at least 4 different colored 'chips' to be used as indicators of numbers of troops. Last but not least, this Limited Edition set should eliminate some of the 'blow up boxes' that never seem to be used (wouldn't need them since board is bigger). Anyhow, this game is an excellent way to kill an afternoon and have fun doing it.

by Ryan
A Classic!
May 29, 2001

I bought Axis & Allies when it first came out in 1987 and I've been playing it ever since. There are not many games that a person can play on a fairly regular basis for almost 15 years and still find it as challenging and as fun as the day he got it, but that is exactly the case with Axis & Allies. It is, quite simply, a classic strategy game.

For those of you unfamiliar with the game, it is a World War II strategy game set at the Axis high water mark in 1942. The Axis countries represented are Germany and Japan while Britain, the USSR, and the USA represent the Allied powers. The first side to capture 2 enemy capitals is the winner. There is a rule to win with economic victory, but I personally have never played with this rule--it's not quite as satisfying to make a mad scramble for IPC's ('dollars') as it is to crush your opponent by marching into his capital (Patton would NOT approve). As for the rest of the game, the board is a map of the world divided into different territories, each with a country of ownership (or neutral) and a value in IPC's. The combat pieces are divided into 3 types of units: Air (bombers and fighters), land (infantry and armor), and sea (battleships, carriers, submarines, and transports). There are also industrial complexes (factories) and AA guns, which have some special characteristics in the game. Combat is dice-based, with different units attacking and defending at different values. The combat system is fairly streamlined and abstracted, so it's pretty easy to figure out.

As for the qualities that make this game a classic, I can think of three. First, it is an excellent balance of simplicity and strategy. There are a myriad of choices each turn for each player. Buy tanks or troops? Planes or subs? Attack Germany in the Ukraine, or bomb Japan in Manchuria? Maybe you're preparing for that big amphibious invasion of Western Europe, or maybe you're frantically trying to shore up your defenses in your capital as enemy tanks come knocking on the door? Because the rules are so 'clean,' the options are easy to understand, but the decisions are still excruciating to make.

The second reason this game is a classic is the group dynamic involved in the game. This game is best played with all five countries controlled by different players. This creates tension between allies as each country seeks to defend itself but also help out its allies. The USSR always wants the British and Americans to open the 'second front' in the West while Germany and Japan find cooperative efforts complicated by simple geography. No matter who your allies are in the game, they'll never do exactly what you would like them to do on every turn, and this makes for some fun, if not frustrating, table-talk. (E.g. 'For crying out loud, attack the USSR from Manchuria already, my assault on Moscow has stalled.' Reply: 'Easy for you to say, I've got my whole Pacific fleet tied up fighting the US right now. I can't spare the planes or transports.')

The third factor that makes this game a classic is replayability. It's never the same game twice. Well, maybe if you play a rookie it is (they tend to make the same kinds of mistakes), but overall, you can never plan on the same strategy working the same exact way every time. In the 19th century Helmuth von Moltke stated that, 'No plan survives contact with the enemy' and that couldn't be more true with Axis & Allies. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, someone throws a monkey wrench in the machinery by buying fighters when they 'should' have bought infantry or your opponent destroys your entire invasion force with one determined infantry unit--thanks to a couple of fortuitous rolls--when your numerically superiour forces 'should' have wiped him out. For players of approximately the same skill, this game is a dogfight that can go on for hours and hours. The minutes just seem to melt off the clock and before you know it, it's five hours later and you've only gone twice.

For the reasons mentioned above, I still enjoy Axis & Allies to this day. I am seriously considering investing in the Axis & Allies Europe and Axis & Allies Pacific games. If they're half as good as the original (and some say they're better!) they're well worth the money. As it it is, I suspect I'll keep on playing the original Axis & Allies for a long time. A few of my pieces are MIA now (the vacuum cleaner incident of '89), the board is faded, the money is pretty tattered, and I'm still using the first edition rules that came with the game (I cringe when someone tells me I can't build 3 infantry on Australia), so maybe it's time I bought another copy of the game to replace it... Nah, I think I can get another 14 years out of this one.

The Best Strategy Game Ever
March 10, 2001

If you like games like Chess, Risk, and Stratego then you will love Axis & Allies. This is The Mothership of Strategy Games. The only downsides would be the time it takes to play and the complexity of the game. It is a shame they don't make this game as much.

incredible war game
February 15, 2001

Axis & Allies ranks as my favorite board game of all time. Like stated in other reviews, it is a step above Risk, requiring a lot more skill and long-term planning than luck of the dice. A veteran can easily defeat a novice in 2 hours of play, but when several vets get together, this game can go on, literally, for days, as they each take their time to strategize and form secret plans with their allies to win. Also, it is easy to modify the rules to speed up gameplay, escalate battles, and intensify the frustration of your opponents. If you like Risk and chess, you'll find this game an excellent culmination of the best of both.

by Will
Superb war strategy.
December 09, 2003

One of the greatest strategy games ever.Would be virtually flawless if it weren't for the combo of now fighter interception on bombing runs and the improvement of super bombers. This can be fixed with just an institution of the rules from 'Axis and Allies : Europe' or just buy that game, both a worth the investment.

by Kevin
A great game, but you better have all day.
August 11, 2003

I bought axis and allies after hearing several good reveiws and looking to try a strategy game that actually involves strategy. While it is true that some of the first moves are pretty much the same, strategies vary quite a bit later in the game. I read a review where someone said they liked risk more and wanted less luck-based games, but um, isn't that self-contradictary? He prefers risk, where all you have to do to win is roll high numbers? At least in axis and allies you don't have to roll better than your opponent to succeed, and all the different unit types add much strategic depth. For those of you who think axis always wins, you're wrong, and for those of you who think allies always win, try playing with some of the rule variations included in the latest edition of instructions, also avalible online. Okay, i'm done venting now. I'll finish up by saying the only thing bad about axis and allies is that it takes about a half an hour to learn and several more hours to play.

Why, oh why, do I like this game
June 23, 2003

I don't know why I like this game, but I keep coming back to it since I first bought it about 15 years ago. A&A was the first game that I owned that wasn't standard American fare (i.e. Risk, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, etc.) The game is too long (it has never lasted less than 5 hours), players wait too long between rounds, the first few moves are always the same and it is tough to find opponents with enough time and desire to play.

On the other hand,........Well, on the other hand I like it.

It is no coincidence that the strategies that work well in the game were the ones used in real life. A Japanese attack on Hawaii is a must, Germany and Russia are at each other's throat, Britian and America must open a second front to keep Russia in the game while keeping Japan in check. The Allies need to work together to win and it certainly doesn't hurt the Axis to coordinate strategy, although less coordination is needed.

The game is well balanced, despite the fact that many complain only the Axis can win. Others swear that only the Allies can win. I believe this is proof of how well balanced the game is. Personally, I have no preference. I can win playing either side and I enjoy kicking butt on someone who insists that one side can't win..... Come to think of it, maybe that is why I like this game.

A good game to dig out once a year.

by Reed C
One of the best ever, if you have time
December 30, 2002

I've enjoyed this game for years. The strategy and play is intense. I've found myself writing pages of opening strategies. Blows away Risk. It is not perfect however. I've lost a best friend arguing over the rules, which can get complicated and up to interpretation. Also, the game usually lasts 5 hours, so it is dang difficult to get a commitment out of friends to play now that we have real jobs and families.

A major breaktrough, but not as real as....
April 26, 2001

As I was 10 years old I started playing this game with my brother. We played it for years and years, until there was A&A Europe and.... World at War. The game concept of the original A&A was great & original. A breakthrough in gaming. But as you watch the game historicly, I have to say lacks a lot. It's too easy (even with veterans) to take India and China with the Japanese. As it is with Germany to take Russia, especialy when the Japs are invading the East and South. England and the USA have to rescue Russia, witch is hard when all your factories are way too far and your new factories produce too low. It's a chalange to fight with the Allies in a game with veterans.

Another thing: Europe is devided in 4 zones, which are too low. But I guess you'll find that out by yourself and your friends. It's a masterpiece to start with. If you are seeking the real thing try Axis & Allies: Europe or (try this one baby!) the World at War (by Xeno Games). It's the real thing! By the way, that's an expansion for A&A, so try A&A first, you'll have fun, If you get it, then go play World at War. Or Europe, or...

I am waiting for Axis and Allies: Pacific. This game promises to be ROCKING. But I'm from the Netherlands, so I guess I can wait for about 2 months.

Not a simulation, but a helluva lotta fun.
November 29, 2000

Axis & Allies is an excellent game for gamers who are ready for that next step up from Risk and the like. Rules are designed for 2-5 players; the more, the merrier.

Situation. The game starts nominally in 1942 at the high-tide of Axis expansion (although there are no scales as to time or unit size). The USA, UK, and USSR players are teamed up against Germany and Japan.

Forces. Each country can build infantry, armor, bombers, fighters, aircraft carriers, battleships, submarines, transport ships, factories, and anti-aircraft units. There's a lot of ahistorical flexibility in production; for instance, the USSR can build aircraft carriers if it chooses, or the Japanese could build lots of armor to rampage across Asia toward Moscow. Generally, the more powerful the unit, the higher its production cost. Game pieces are handsome molded plastic figures; first rate.

Playing board. The entire global map (save the Arctic and Antartic) is divided into land and sea territories. Most non-neutral land territories have production values expressed in points. It's mounted, very colorful, and quite functional.

Action sequence

  1. Develop weapons and/or Purchase Units
  2. Combat movement
  3. Combat
  4. Non-combat movement
  5. Place new units on the board
  6. Collect income

Victory conditions. The Allies must capture both Axis capitals. The Axis must either (1) capture 2 of the 3 Allied capitals, or (2) push their combined Production Levels to 84 points.

Movement. Players can move all or as many of their units as they choose each turn, within the ranges specified for each type of unit.

Combat. Resolved on a separate battle board. Dice are rolled for each unit and compared to their respective firepowers; if the roll is equal to or less than the combat value of the unit, it kills a unit on the other side of the battle.

GAME VALUE. Axis & Allies does not simulate the actual campaigns of the Second World War. However, basic concepts of mid-20th Century warfare are abstractly recreated: the ascendency of air superiority; industrial production planning; island hopping in the Pacific; massive armored battles on the Eastern Front; etc. Because natural terrain barriers (e.g. mountain ranges, major rivers, deserts, dense jungles) have no impact on movement or combat, battles will take place in the most unlikely places, such as Central Asia.

But this game is a lot of fun for novices and veteran wargamers! It provides more strategy and tactics than Risk, yet it is not so complex that players spend more time in rulebooks and cumbersome charts than they do rollin' dice and conquering turf.

It's really wild and wooly, so don't take it too seriously--just enjoy it! But you'd better give yourself about 3-4 hours to play this gem.

One of the best Strategy Board Games!
April 02, 2000

I would say, Axis & Allies is one of the best board games.

I played it a lot times with my friends in Germany and we always had a lot of fun. The only way to win in this game is tactic, useful allies and luck.

Luck is probably the only reason why I gave the game 4 Stars, because you sometimes have the best chances to win a battle, but then the dice will mess it up for you!

Sounds good, but unfair!
March 25, 2003

This game is very enjoyable when played with a group of experienced players. A major problem with this game is that it is inherently unfair. If playing to IPC victory the Axis will almost always win and if playing to world domination the Axis will win a good 75% of the time. The reason for this is almost scientific. The Axis have Germany which is their main powerhouse. Japan does not lag to far behind and, if played cleverly, can be the most important power on the map. The Allies, however, lack a single dynamo. The Soviets are too busy defending themselves while the UK is just trying to scrape by holding their empire together and supporting Russia and the US. The US, the closest thing the allies have to a powerhouse, starts off weak and vulnerable. If the Japanese make an all-out attack to the USA, the USSR and UK will be left alone to fight the Nazis, a battle that they cannot win. Final Verdict: A fun game, but not good if you enjoy diplomacy or other 'fair' games.

Extremely good for a lengthy war game
September 06, 2001

Unlike the previous reviewer, we've played this game since it came out in the late 70s/early 80s (then by Nova Games). The original version was a good deal better, as each country had a special attribute which others did not possess. But the components were really horrid.

So, when Milton Bradley picked up the game and made nifty plastic pieces, we expected great things. But what we got was a watered-down version of our old favorite Axis & Allies. It's still good, mind you, but it's in no way special, except that you get to roll lots and lots of dice for a long, long time.

If you like conflict games and don't mind playing for a while doing little more than rolling dice, then this and [page scan/se=0033/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Risk are right up your alley.

Not bad, but not the end all, be all of war games either...
February 26, 2003

I originally came to Axis & Allies as an experienced Risk player, and I assumed that A&A was simply a slightly more in-depth Risk styled game...which is very much the case.

A&A has a great historical feel, and decent components. The rules are fairly in-depth, but I wouldn't feel uncomfortable explaining this to people who are used to playing standard fare American games either.

This said, the board, though large, is much too small in many areas for the amount of troops that build up, especially around Germany, and I echo earlier sentiments that a larger board should be at least made available.

The pre-determined stance and strategy of your country can also take away from the game, with the first few moves being almost necessary to avoid having Germany start rolling through the mainland.

Initially, I thought the game was going to be better than Risk for the increased depth, but the more I played it the more I realised that the game, while adding new dimensions, is actually less fun than Risk because of the straight-jacket that seems to be put on you in terms of viable strategy as there's very little room for new wrinkles in the basic game play.

The game is also long, even by American standards. Explaining the game to casual gamers will be decently easy, keeping them at the table for 5 hours plus is not. And though it'd be easy to get experienced gamers to sit down for that long, why would you want to when other, more in-depth and less luck based games are available?

If you're looking to kill a few weekends then I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

Same game every time
October 28, 2001

This game is enjoyable for the first few times it is played. It does take some time to set up, though. It is also interesting to see that many of the better strategies mimic the actual historical events. But the strategies to deploy are where the game breaks down. Each country is designed to initiate one strategy. After playing the game for a while, you know what each country is going to do. So the game comes down, not to who has the best strategy, but rather who is the luckiest dice roller. Even worse, if you step back and really look at what is going on during the game, you can see that the game boils down to just two of the countries involved, Russia and Germany. Therefore, if you are playing with more than two people, those extra people have very little effect on the game's outcome. They are just there to clean up the mess unless they, too, are unbelievably lucky with the dice.

not much chop
November 14, 2001

I don't like this game. It's slow and tedious and also suffers from what many games of its type suffer from: similar starting strategies. I don't know why it's so popular at all. I'd rather play [page scan/se=0033/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Risk or History of the World, so I was quite surprised to see it getting such a high review rating.

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