My cousin had a HUGE map printed, and that has not only made playing easier (space wise), but it's just incredible to play on a board that takes up a whole table.
Some of the other things we've added:
- Flight stands for fighters and bombers. These are really cool.
- Big fishing tackle trays for the units. I don't know why, but it adds a seriousness to the game.
- Magnets. Two types: flat flexible sheet magnets, and little round rare earth magnets. The flat magnets go on the decks of the carriers, and the little round ones go in a whole drilled on the bottoms of the fighters and bombers. They also go on the tip of the flight stands. The planes sit on the carriers and flight stands really well and (especially with the carriers) don't fall off nearly as easily.
- I have a spreadsheet that calculates IPCs for each country. My buddies doesn't seem to like it very much (I don't think they trust my cell calculation skills). It also tracks victory cities. I think I'll try it one more time, but if they don't warm to it, then I'll drop the subject.
So, what do you guys do?
Axis- black 5 units/ grey 1 unit
Allies - red 5 units/ white 1 unit
For activated minors I use -
Grey German infantry from AA-revised to represent Axis.
Ugly Yellow-green UK infantry from AA-revised to represent Allies.
I also put neutral units on the board at start-up with the infantry unit laying on its side. When activated stand it up. That way you can easily see which countries are axis/allied leaning and how many units they have.
Where I play I have track lighting shining on the board kind of lighting it up, it is pretty cool looking.
I have little pieces for the Capitols - a white house for washington, a square gray fort for London, a round gray tower turret for Berlin, a Golden Dome for Moscow, and a beige pagoda for Tokyo. All the other victory cities have a little red house on them.
I bought a set of US Marine pieces for use in the Pacific.
I have a dice tower with the A&A map and roundels on it.
I bought a giant map to play on.
I plan to eventually get special dice.
The only thing I can think of is "official" correspondence between the various powers. One of the banes of game such as Axis and Allies and Risk (for me anyway) is confidential communication between different players. Lets face it. there is only so much that can be said in front of ones enemies and have a prayer of keeping things going in your favor. (Don't believe me...grab a time machine and ask the Nazis how the felt with the Brits reading their mail...) In this modern age I have done everything form have computers for everyone (they brought their own) or text message.
The computers I have found to be distracting. It can be hard enough to remain involved and emerged when turns can take a while to progress. Park a laptop with internet connection in front of everyone and pretty soon no one is paying attention to anything on the board.
Cell phone have their own set of issues. Not the least of which is i I have received messages from an ally not less than three hours after it was sent.
I also don't like losing the atmosphere of the game. The only two options I have found are pretty basic. Passing notes and holding separate meetings.
You can make the notes anything from scraps of paper and a pen to full sheets of paper. They are then passed to allies and messages returned.
The meeting I set up as set "war conferences" after the check for victory phase of a round. The Axis powers go to one room and the Allies to another. Tactics and plans are discussed and then the game resumes.
I'll admit, both of these options slow down the game as it can take a while to pass notes around and to get up and leave the table to chat. They also add to the atmosphere of the game because Churchill and Stalin didn't text and Hitler couldn't hop of Facebook and send off a quick chat to his generals.....I'd like to think that if the real war could be won with what would be seen as technology that would almost be considered to be rudimentary at best I can do the same in my living room.
a white monopoly house for DC, Gold for Russia, I love the pagoda for Japan I could see a tower for london, castle or clock tower for UK, a large white dome for sydney. I like these ideas
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