Happy Holidays everyone! I hope the season has been cheerful and you are ready for a great new year. I also hope that Santa has been good to you... while I didn't get any miniatures, books, paints, etc. I did get a good surprise that I'm quite happy with: "Axis and Allies Europe 1940" and "Axis and Allies Pacific 1940". These are essentially the latest versions of the Axis and Allies line of board games - but on steroids.
First off, I spent Christmas up in the mountains. The wife, kids, and I were all happy and surprised to wake up to a White Christmas... a surprise snow storm had blown in the night before and dropped a few inches that we were able to play in.
Living in Arizona, I don't consider myself an expert in heating (furnaces, space heaters, wood stoves) as I've never had much use for it. However, with the temperatures dropping to around 4 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 C) I had to learn quickly. I think my wife was quite impressed that I was able to get such a hot fire going :)
On account of the cold weather, I had a perfect opportunity to crack open my gifts from Santa. I have to admit that I am pretty impressed with the quality of these board games. All of the represented nations (US, UK, Germany, Franch, Italy, USSR) have their own sculpted miniatures with the exception of France; you can easily tell what the sculpted variants are. The counters, manual, and storage boxes, etc. should hold up just fine over time.
And here is the Pacific board that comes in the Pacific 1940 game. There is lots of space in that big ol' Pacific. China and ANZAC are represented as well.
One of the reasons that Wizard of the Coast (Avalon Hill? Hasbro? Who knows...) created this series was so the two stand-alone games could be combined into a single "Global" game. I have to admit, for a board game it is pretty large! The picture below shows it sitting on my table that is about 6 feet long... I have not played the Global game yet, but I imagine it will be a big undertaking.
I did manage to setup and play the Europe game for a few turns before we had to take it down so we could eat dinner. I definitely recommend that you use a dedicated table so you have time and space to play. The mechanics are pretty simple and easy to grasp and there is enough complexity to allow a lot of diversity in strategy. My kids enjoyed it and my wife has committed to playing another game on New Years Eve (yay!).
Overall these are both pretty cool board games and I'm excited to get a little more use out of them. Thanks Santa :)
Amazon has both the Europe 1940 and Pacific 1940 available for free shipping. As of this writing, it seems that several places have sold out of the Europe edition (it's popular I guess). Be sure to look for "Second Edition" as it has some updated rules and playing pieces.