Axis & Allies Miniatures: Starter Set
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Axis and Allies Miniatures gives both novice wargamers and veteran grognards the ability to engage in historically authentic, squad-level tactical combat with detailed, 15mm scale, pre-painted plastic miniatures. Hard-hitting, fast-paced game play makes every Axis & Allies Miniatures battle a blitzkrieg.
I looked all over for the perfect miniature game and found one! I looked all over for the perfect game, narrowed it down, and because I like WWII, i bought this one. I loved it! I do not like painting miniatures for like, hours, so am very pleased! I recommend it.
I have always wanted to get into a miniature war game and I found the perfect one!! A&A is fun, fast, and compared to the other miniature games out there very very cheap!! I am currently collecting the base set but i'll soon have em all. Definite must have for any casual wargamer!!
For anyone already familiar with the Axis & Allies game universe I don't have to describe how addictive this game can be. I've been an avid player of A&A for over 10 years now, and while I can't play as often as I used to it doesn't mean the desire isn't there.
A&A Miniatures is the perfect solution for older gamers on a time-crunch and it's about time Avalon Hill figured this format out. A&A Miniatures is based on a "sqad level" or skirmish style battle with each games lasting between 7 and 10 real-time minutes, one minute per turn. The units used in this version of A&A are like no WWII unit you've seen before from Avalon Hill. This time around you'll find actual miniatures that are scaled quite well to each other. For starters, this game is as much a collector's game as it is a gamer's game. The first unit set of A&A:Miniatures features 48 units from both Axis and Allied forces. This doesn't mean just USA and Germany as UK, Russia, and Japan also bring units to the party. These units include infantry, recon units such as jeeps and armored cars, anti-tank guns and artillery, and of course tanks (armor) of all sizes. Each unit is uniquely painted instead of dipped one color like the standard A&A games. The unit sizing is as close as you can get and still remain playable, if infantry were actually scaled to a tank you couldn't find them on the board! In other words an M1 Garand Rile team is about the same size as a standard A&A infantry piece. An SS Panther Ausf. G is 3" long and 1" wide while a US M4A1 Sherman is only 2" long. This gives an actual feeling of scale to battles involving infantry teams and tanks instead of the universal unit size of the standard A&A games.
Before you get excited about playing with 48 miniature models however, you must know that this starter set only includes 12 units out of the 48 possible units. Avalon Hill took a page from miniature combat games such as Warhammer and MechWarrior by creating three separate classes of units. Common units are usually the more basic infantry teams and anti-tank guns, Uncommon units tend to be heavy infantry and commanders, while the hardest to find Rare units are the heavy tanks and armor of the game. This means that most of the time you'll only find 1-3 great units in a starter kit or expansion pack whicle most of the rest will be duplicates or common infantry. Don't get me wrong as this isn't bad, you'll need quite a few grunts to round out your forces in the future. I'm just saying it's always fun to rip open a new Booster Pack and see what's hiding inside... remember baseball/basketball cards as a kid? Same principle, just imagine looking for that rare rookie card and substitute a Tiger 1 tank instead. :)
Each unit is accompanied by a unit card listing all sorts of stats on that unit including; attack, defense, cost, movement, range, and info on the real world unit. These unit cards are displayed during the game for the units you've chosen to fight with. This makes keeping track of combat info for various units much easier during battles.
The actual battles are very fierce and over in about 45-60 minutes once you and a friend or two get the rules figured out. Each player gets 100 purchase points to spend on his army. Unit prices vary from 3-10 PP each for infantry teams to 15-65 PP each for armor and half-tracks. You'll see combat squads of anywhere from 11 to 4 units depending on purchase choices. Each player keeps his purchases secret until the map is chosen (by a die roll) from the 6 available maps. Each player may then place his/hers units on the map after turn order is decided by a die roll. Game phases are as follows:
Initiative is rolled for at the beginning of every turn, this determines the first and second player for that turn. This is quite important as movement and assault order can make or break your turn.
Movement allows your units to use up their movement points and place themselves for the assault phase. Units may incure defensive fire while moving near enemy troops.
Assault phases are where you actually fire and calculate damage done to enemy units. There are differing levels of damage for infantry and vehicles, possibilities are disrupted, damaged, and destroyed.
After all combat is resolved casualties are removed and damage applied using damage tokens for each unit. There are other rules I won't describe here such as line-of-sight, cover and camouflage, and specific unit bonuses. I'll just say there's definitely depth to this game that will take a few games to grasp completely, but when you do it's worth it.
Victory Victory may happen after the casualty phase of turn 7 if one player controls the objective hex without an enemy unit also next to the objective. If both players are next to the objective at turn 7 you will continue to check and see if the victory conditions have been met after every casualty phase until turn 10. If by the end of turn 10 no one has uncontested control of the objective both players count the purchase point value of their currently-surviving units. The player with the most PP value left alive is the winner.
I'm so glad Avalon Hill took a chance with this game and brought some fresh air into a crowded and dusty Axis & Allies atmosphere. Older games are generally busy with work, families, and all manner of responsibilities that make those dorm-room all-night battles a thing of the past. A&A: Miniatures has given all of us armchair generals a new lease on combat. With games usually lasting less than 1 hour it's even possible to play a couple games on a Saturday evening. The balance between realism and playability is just about perfect with A&A Minis, it's more detailed and strategy driven than A&A Revised or the Europe and Pacific versions yet still very beginner friendly.
My long-time complaint about A&A versions before has been the likelihood of several horrendous dice rolls that ruin your whole game. I've had 12 tank attacks completely fail against 6 infantry and a fighter due to perfect rolls of 5 and 6. A&A: Minis takes the luck out of the game due to it's combat system. With as many as 17 dice for tanks and as few as 5 for infantry teams, the likelihood of ridiculous outcomes is lessened considerably. Thanks to the new rules and the Small-Soldiers skirmish-style gameplay, this is a much better 2-player game than D-Day ever was.
I strongly recommend picking up a few Set 1 Booster Packs and at least two Set II Booster Packs. You'll need a decent variety of units to set up a decent combined-arms strike force, plus it's just fun seeing what unit's you've acquired. At its current price point the Starter Set and Booster Packs are very reasonable, just buy one every month or so and by next holiday season you'll be able to wipe that grin off your buddies face with your incredible unit choices.
NOTE: These pieces may look like the G.I. Joe army men you used to have but they aren't near as bulletproof. The men are decently strong but can be broken off their base easily. Each tank gun raises and depresses for elevation and the turrets rotate realistically. A warning from personal experience, the tank guns are very easily broken if tossed into a box. Small children could easily choke or chew on most of these units, so keep kids away for their health and your unit's safety.
2ND NOTE: I tried keeping my A&A Starter set in its original box for awhile but soon abandoned that idea after my 2nd Booster Pack. I now keep all my units in a fishing tackle box from Plano, it works great and has adjustable sizes for its compartments. My box is double-sided with clear lids on both sides. One side is Allied, one Axis, and my maps go in one big compartment. Just a thought, it's better than plastic baggies and broken tank cannons.