Axis & Allies: Europe 1940
The Boardgame Axis & Allies: Europe 1940
AXIS & ALLIES ARTICLES
How to Play Axis & Allies: Europe 1940
Axis & Allies: Europe 1940 is a spinoff board game from Avalon Hill which rolls back time to present war gamers with a much different European crisis than in the original game. Imagine a time before France fell, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union were allies, Mussolini still hadn't declared a side, and Hitler's armies faced only England and France in open warfare. This is the scenario presented in Axis & Allies: Europe 1940.
This may be the most intriguing scenario in the line of Axis and Allies products over the years. You get to replay war in Europe to see what would have happened if the leaders followed different paths.
Axis & Allies: Europe 1940 Instructions and Setup
The setup on Europe 1940 presents gamers with a different scenario than they're used to. The scene is May 1940, because Germany has invaded the Low Countries (Belgium, Holland) and is well on its way to crushing France, but the French units are placed on the board. This means that, even though France is almost certain to go down to defeat, the French fleet and few overseas units might continue with the war effort, instead of following the Vichy regime and forcing the British into their infamous attack on the French fleet anchored in Oran. Other counter-factual scenarios also have a chance of playing out.
For instance, the Italian units don't (necessarily) suffer from the same breakdowns in command and leadership they did in the historical war, so if the player controlling the Italian army and navy is smarter than Mussolini and his generals, then Italy can exert a major influence on how the war plays out. Since the Soviet Union and the United States can't enter the fighting until several rounds into the game, the early rounds become a battle between Germany and Italy on one side and the United Kingdom on the other. Italian infantry and armor units are just as effective as German or British ones (perhaps a failing in the game), so the Italians have a real chance of winning in North Africa without the Africa Korps on hand.
Axis & Allies: Europe 1940 Rules
The rules of this game are quite similar in most ways to the original game, though with different game-specific rules that affect the strategy. The Soviet Union cannot declare war on Nazi Germany until the beginning of round 4, which is a major deviation from the original. If Hitler (or the German player) decides to invade Russia before that time, the Soviets can enter the conflict, but otherwise, the Germans have free reign across Europe in this pivotal period.
Also, the Axis & Allies rules stipulate the USA can't join the war until the end of round 4 (when their turn comes), so once again, England fights alone (with some minor help from the Free French). Rules for neutrals are a little different from the original game, so whether to invade or not requires new evaluations.
Axis & Allies : Europe 1940 House Rule Suggestion
One rule I'd like to see in a later version would be to allow the Axis, but not the Allies, to invade neutrals. That idea came from a recent re-reading of Gerhard Weinberg's "A World at War" and a passage about how the Germans' "enthusiasm" for invading neutrals and the Allies' respect for neutrality became an advantage for the Axis in dealing with neutrals, at least until it became obvious in 1944 that the Allies were going to win. Perhaps the earlier rule suggestion might include a rule where all non-invaded neutrals began working with the Allies later in the war, thus calling on the Axis to be more aggressive on this front early in the game. I'd like to know of any house rules on this subject.
Axis & Allies: 1940 Europe Strategy
The strategic challenges are quite different in this game. The Germans and Italians are encouraged to go for the knockout on the British Empire early in the war, recreating the sense of desperation of mid-1940 when the world thought the British would have their neck "wrung like a chicken" by the Axis powers. A simple attack across the English Channel is obviously not going to be easy--as it shouldn't be--but this leaves the Germans with the dilemma of trying a desperate invasion, finding other ways to destroy the UK's ability to make war effectively (especially in North Africa and the Middle East), or to do as Hitler did and forgo this step, building instead for the inevitable clash with Russia and timing Barbarossa for maximum effect.
As always, the United States presents a special challenge for the Axis powers, because the USA has almost twice the industrial capacity (IPCs to spend) as any other power. The United States becomes a clock ticking on the Germans' and Italians' chances of winning, because they must pull off victory before the U.S. can bring its full war potential into the battle.
Axis & Allies: Europe 1940 Game Pieces
Let me give one final note on this fine game: the game pieces are tailored for the powers involved. So the Russian tank is the famous T-34 model, while the American bombers are the B-17, and so on. This might not matter much to war gamers who are used to the chits (some have complained they would prefer chits with unit strength on the label), but it's a nice touch that does just a little more to evoke the time and place. Axis and Allies: Europe 1940 has the same high production quality you've come to expect from the Axis & Allies game line. Put this together with the Axis & Allies: Pacific 1940 for a much grander, more complex game than the original Axis & Allies World War II game.
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