October 19, 2007

Axis & Allies Campaign Setting Timeline

This week Axis&Allies.org began to preview the upcoming release of Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal with a first installment looking at the various faction’s pieces. It’s not quite a dateline expose but it tickled our A&A funnybone, and given that we’ve been recently hooked on Ken Burns’ recent PBS documentary The War – it got us salivating for the series of naval and marine battles that'll take place on our table tops this fall.

But since the game isn’t out yet our excited energy had to be focused elsewhere, and so we thought we’d layout a bit of historic time line ourselves by listing the Axis & Allies games in chronological order of the theaters each represents. And ‘no’ Mr Fancy Pants, the mainstream Axis & Allies title doesn’t come chronologically first in the series - in fact it’s smack dab in the middle- so sit down, listen up, and have a nice tall slice of Belichickian Humble Pie.

Axis & Allies Europe [Amazon, Funagain]
June 1941
The earliest snapshot of WWII in all of the Axis and Allies board games, A&A Europe is a set period in history in the Spring of 1941. Western Europe has fallen, the Allied war in Africa has yet to begin, and Germany prepares to turn on its Russian ally and dive deep in to the massive Eastern European steppe. Germany’s modern mechanized army seems unstoppable, and the stage is set for the one of the longest, largest, and bloodiest land wars in modern history.

Axis & Allies Pacific [Amazon, Funagain]
December 1941
Half a world away Japan slips eastward to awaken a sleeping giant. The war has already come to the Pacific, with Japanese campaigns in Manchuria and the islands immediately surrounding Japan. But Japan is running out of oil and must expand into European and American interests. First on the checklist is Pearl Harbor – the proposed crushing blow that will eliminate the American carrier fleet, demoralize the country and open up the entire Pacific rim for Japanese occupation. Or so it was thought.

Axis & Allies Revised [Amazon, Funagain]
Spring 1942
The entire war in one box. Despite the misnomer that Japan’s near certain opening move is the attack on Pearl Harbor, Axis and Allies begins the following Spring. Instead their opening move is actually a timeslice in period just-before the Battle of Midway. Meanwhile, on the Western Front, Germany is drilling deep into Russian interests, and America is finally able to send aid to her Western Allies. This isn’t quite the turning point in the war – where Germany and Japan are driven back – but with America now in the fight the economic power just shifted to the Allies’ favor. The question remains –will it be enough to stop the Axis momentum? The answer is and was uncertain, and it’s why we play the game.

Axis and Allies GuadalcanalAxis & Allies Guadalcanal [Funagain]
August 1942
Midway is over, The Phililppines have been lost, but the Japanese advance has been slowed. Now is the time for the Allies to strike back. The problem is – the un until now obsolete American forces haven’t quite fought a modern battle yet. Here they take on Japan for the first time in the south pacific, just off the coast of Australia, and things start off on the wrong foot. When the American Navy retreats under Japanese naval pressure after the first landing, the soldiers begin to wonder if they’ve been left for dead like in the Philippines. But no, the Navy and the Marines are in this one for the long haul. Meanwhile Japan must move to protect their interests, and ensure that the momentum of the right remains on their side.

A&A Guadalcanal is slated for a release this Fall.

Axis & Allies D-Day [Amazon, Funagain]
June 1944
Everyone knows their own poetic introduction to D-Day. Allied forces are driving North through the difficult terrain of Italy in order to appease British strategic requests. Meanwhile a massive force readies itself in England, anxiously eyeing the inevitable assault on the German Atlantic Wall from across the channel. D-Day was one of the largest, riskiest and groundbreaking airborne and amphibious invasions in history. So many things could have gone wrong, and the Allies were certainly not marching themelves towards an inevitable victorious conclusion that we celebrate sof often when big guns go boom on the History Channel. As the Allies attempt to break out of the French hedgerows and secure a deep port, German mechanized forces hurry to maneuver themselves under the cover of darkness in an attempt to meet the Allies head on. Meanwhile allied Airpower – barely harassed by the crippled Luftwaffe buys their boys the precious time they so desperately need.

A&A Battle of the Bulge [Amazon, Fuangain]
December 1944
After the breakout of the invasion of D-Day, Allied forces rapidly drove through most of France, and marched right up to the boarder of Germany. After Operation market Garden failed earlier in the year, it became obvious that the War was not going to be over by Christmas as many people whispered. When late December rolled around, half a million German men and machines of war amassed just outside the softly defended Ardennes forest. Their goal - wait for inclement weather to mask the ground, rendering useless any attempts of Close Air Support from the Allied air force, then forge an all out assault to drive a wedge between the advancing Allied armies, secure a lane all the way to the sea, and cut off the Allied supply in the deep ports of Belgium. Once complete the Germans would encircle Allied forces and crush the advance.

But bad weather hampered the otherwise highly mobile German forces, and the constant bombardment of German infrastructure by Allied strategic bombers left the German fuel reserves (made almost entirely from manufactured coal) fighting to push the needle above the empty line. Luck would have to provide German forces fuel from captured Allied supplies and vehicles. The only problem, the Allies weren’t very eager to lose ground, especially the strategic hub of roads that is the sleepy Belgian town of Bastogne.

Meanwhile Patton’s 3rd army drives north to support allied forces under siege. The race to save the a potentially disastrous western front is on – for both sides.

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Posted by Critical Gamers Staff at October 19, 2007 3:26 PM

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