Friday, May 27, 2016

Axis & Allies Miniatures: Dont Knock it Until You Try It!

I casually wrote off the AA ground-based miniatures game years ago but recently with my foray into hex-based miniature games I thought I'd give them a shot.  I have the rulebook (which is also available as a free, 30 page download here), I have the hex mat, so what if I tried playing it with my 15mm WW2 miniatures?

You can download all of the cards and statistics here, at the Axis and Allies Miniatures card database.  I used their "rifleman" as a rifle section, their MG34 team as, well, as an MG34 team, and used their MG42 team as a tripod based MMG section.  (I had to sub the Pak 36 as a Russian M1942 but it's the same gun so Alles Gut!)

I played the Introductory Scenario from "Schwere Kompanie" which is great as there are a handful of squads and MGs on each side.  The Russians have their 45mm AT gun, and the Germans have a Panzer III.  The Germans must capture the village.  (come to think of it, this will also make a good CROSSFIRE game, which I intend to play soon).

A sleepy Russian Hamlet....or so it appears
 The Germans move up to the line of departure with 2 platoons and a tank in support.  Their mission is to capture yet another village on the map in the endless expanse of Soviet Russia...

This time, however, Ivan has prepared a "scratch force" welcoming committee for them.  5 Soviet squads, an MMG section, and a AT Rifle section lie in ambush, under the watchful eye of the Kommissar and the CO.

Soviet rifle squad w/Degtyarev DP can hear the clank of the tracks of the German tank.

Down boys!  Get down!  Now we wait for Fritz!

A Soviet AT gun awaits the German advance.

Meanwhile to the west, things are starting to move as the Germans slowly creep across their start line and fan out towards the village.

Leutnant Wolfe tells the radio operator to try and communicate to the tankers not to move out too far.  He's seen it all before.  Tanks getting caught in an enemy ambush!

The Soviets move their AT rifle to the sound of clanking tracks.

HERE THEY COME LADS!  The Soviet AT gun jumps into action, and that was all the German gunners needed to see!
 AAM has a nice sequence that allows for simultaneous fire by having both players fire, but applying casualties in a separate phase.  The German Panzer III fires an HE shell at the gun and hits it dead-on as the Soviet crew gets off one good shot that bounces but stuns the crew!  The Pz III is "disrupted" while the Soviet 45mm AT gun is toast!

Soviet shot against the German tank.  3 "successes" [4 or better] which equate to 1 disorder marker.

The round ignites a small fire in the pine forest.  The remnants of the crew scatter, fully aware the Kommissar is a scant few hundred meters away.

A marker for disruption.

German infantry start taking fire from what sounds like a maxim!  This isn't the pushover they thought it would be.

Gerry returns fire!

Casualties are piling up as the walking wounded head back to the aid station.
 The Germans are making slow progress, but progress none-the-less.  Infantry move 1 hex and the village is 7 hexes from the startline!

The Panzer III's infantry support is stripped away by a high volume of Soviet lead.

The Germans approach the village and all hell breaks loose.

The Panzer III crew moves slowly, not wanting to move any closer to those woods!

A sharp, brutal 2 turns worth of close combat finally kills the comissar and his staff team, seizing the village on turn 8.

While technically the victory conditions have been met, no one bothered to tell that to Ivan, who is launching sporadic DP and rifle counter attacks from the woods across the lane.

Well like the title says - don't knock it 'till you try it!  This was a very interesting and fun game.  I think I like playing Axis and Allies miniatures (I cut my teeth on the Milton Bradley Board Game in middle and high school) occasionally and will definitely play it again.  

The systems for battle are very interesting.  You must roll more "successes" (4+) than your opponent's defensive rating.  (most infantry defense ratings are "4").  Much easier said than done!  Each system has a range band of close, medium, and long and has varying numbers of dice at those bands with which to try and inflict hits.

Speaking of hits, 1 hit disrupts any unit.  2 hits kill infantry and artillery, and permanently "damage" AFVs, and 3 hits kill AFVs.  Disruption only lasts 1 turn.  It's a cool system.

Also units have unique and special capabilities that really add an element of "interesting" to the game.  Like comissars, Soviet MGs, German veteran officers, etc.  Soviet MG's must have an officer adjacent to them in order to move!  Soviet MGs can fire twice, and German veteran officers are nightmares in close combat and against tanks.

My thoughts are if know of some youngsters who are liking the "concept" of miniature gaming, then this is a perfect game to introduce them to the hobby.

This was a fun game which I very much enjoyed.  Some games coming up on the horizon include Battlegroup Panzergrenadier Deluxe, Crossfire, and darn it I ought to play a Napoleonics game because according to my schedule, May is Napoleonics month!


  1. Great report Stephen.

    I had a look at the rules and they do look interesting.
    Did you assume that units were squads? Is that how the data on the cards work? I guess the data could be listed out for longer term games.
    Some of those mechanisms look really interesting too.

    1. Darren,
      It's a more lighthearted game and it plays quickly. What more could you ask for?

      Yes I made all the units squads and the vehicle was a single vehicle. The cards make it seem more like a soldier is an individual soldier but I instead made it a rifle squad. Officers were more like staff sections or small command groups.

      I took "snips" of the cards and pasted them all to a powerpoint slide and had the data arrayed that way. I think making a table would have been a tad easier.

      It was, all in all, enjoyable.

  2. Very cool, thanks for posting! And I agree with you two, these look very interesting. I recall that I'd checked them out several years ago and meant to try them out, but it got away from me. Thanks for the reminder to take another look.

    On a side note, your posts here have also spurned me to dust off One Hour Wargames. This past weekend my 6-year old boy and I played a Napoleonic game and had a great time. Well, he did anyway ;)


    1. Jack,
      Glad you enjoyed the post. AAM has alot of potential for "big" games and I do think I'll try it again, maybe with one of the bigger Squad Leader eastern front scenarios.

      I'm glad some of my posts have inspired you to take a look at 1HW. They're perfect for quick, fun little games and I think they give a good account of themselves and are AWESOME for starting off the kiddos into wargaming! Thanks for commenting sir!

    2. Steven,

      I was also thinking of AAM a bit more abstractly for one stand= a company, brigade or divisional sized games.

      The boy and I are definitely going to play some more Napoleonic games with OHW, hopefully a whole campaign's worth. I've already got the table set up for "Double Delaying Action." That's another benefit: setup and takedown time is really low due to the simple tables.

      I did change the rules up a bit; when I post the batrep I'll include my changes in there for anyone interested. We made it more random in activation and gave it a little more period flavor.