Friday, November 4, 2011

Good Games for Busy Gamers 2

Next up is one of my all time favorites for easy session gaming.  The simple Axis & Allies minis game.  Along with War at Sea (another game I really love), they make for some very fun sessions without much work.
Of course, they come pre-painted and look fairly good, so that is a huge plus for busy guys, right from the start.  But the one thing I really like about the game is that it allows me to play a lot of variety that I would not be able to afford to do otherwise.  I don't know about you, but I get tired of playing 1944 all the time.  In this game you can throw up some pretty obscure times and places with little effort and low cost.  Sure, I'd love to have units of every year and theater in some line of minis like Flames of War, but it isn't going to happen on my budget.  Bang for the buck, you get a lot of fun out of this game.
But to get the most out of AA I recommend doing two things.
1.  I really recommend getting a hex mat and playing in 3D terrain.  The one big negative to the vanilla game is the 2D maps.  Just doesn't do it for me!  Now in a pinch, if traveling light, they can be ok, but normally I need some good looking table in front of me.
2.  Use hidden units and dummies.  For simple no-record keeping FOW, we simply put the unit cards down on the table and cover them with another card until they are spotted.  Along with a few dummies, this makes the game a real blast and takes advantage of the great recon units and their abilities in this games system.  This simple technique makes a good game great.
Here are some pics from a couple of recent North Africa games we did.  My friend Jil (Herrodadog) threw down some 1:600 scale terrain he uses for other games on a 4" hex mat and off we went.  This is our typical type of set up for this game.
George was playing the Germans and had to get across the map and escape.  He gets points for anything he kills as well as anything that gets away.  Jil was the Brits and had a couple of slow but very menacing Matildas which do a great job of controlling whatever area of the battlefield they happen to be on.

We were playing late N. Africa and for simplicity we allow any units you like as long as they fall into that year's availability.  So sometimes we get some strange appearances like that Brumbarr which actually wouldn't be here.  I also believe it came out too late in the year for even a theoretical appearance, but what the heck.  George likes his Brummies!

George's recon keeps dancing around and spotting Jil's positions so he can decide upon his strategy.  Recon units are had to catch, but if you do they are in trouble!

Here is Jil's Humber recon getting caught!

Oops, looks like a Mattie just caught that SDKFZ as well!

The Brummie lurking on the outskirts with a burning PZ I in the background.

A fast moving PZ II has encircled the British position but can only watch from a distance as the Matildas own the roads.

George took a big risk using the PZ III to decoy while his other units get away.

A kubelwagen that got caught by the RAF.

Speaking of the RAF, here is that pesky pilot again, but this time he is going after some of my infantry in another game we played right afterwards.  George played the same British force that Jil played previously, and I brought a new German late N. Africa force.  Final days of the African campaign.

For fun I invested most of my points in a early Tiger that actually was present historically.  Looks like the Matildas won't be total Queens for this match.  I would have liked to see the look on the Matilda's crews face when they came over that rise!

That darned RAF maniac is at it again.

I love the look of the Matildas and they are fun early war tanks because everything else sucked so bad.