I find Axis and Allies takes a long time to play. Does anyone have any house rules that would shorten the game? I actually own A&A Europe, but general answers are welcome.
There is a variant of Axis and Allies referred to as Axis and Allies Chess. I've not tried it myself, but this variation uses no dice, which I presume would greatly speed up the game.
Alternatively, you could consider playing it online - then you don't have to spend all that time setting up, moving pieces, counting out IPCs, and so forth. But I guess that kind of defeats the social aspect of the game, unless you all bring your laptops over and play whilst visiting together. :-)
This is an excellent question!
For a board game I love but never play now since me and my friends, all working, can never get the 50 hours needed to finish it :) (ok, it's more like 8 hours no kiddin') if we don't simplify the rules and/or shorten the terms.
We have successfully used gentlemen's agreeements, as follows:
Shortened victory conditions (classic, revised, 1942, anniversary edition and 1940s):
This helps a lot since you may reach a point at which Germany has good chance of taking Moscow in two rounds, or die so you can simply resolve only the moves and battles that affect that and call it a game.
Japanese stalemate settlement (classic, revised, 1942, anniversary edition and 1940s):
Europe and Pacific 1940:
If you are new or almost new to the game:
And the golden house-rule: Accept the dice, be a gentleman.
Agree on these kinds of conditions when the game starts and accept that the game is over at any of these points.
I am serious on this, because most games finish with a bitter taste of no conclusion with statements like "but I could still attack here and win that and..." which mostly leads to hours of playing to reach the same apparant result.
Not surprisingly there are these A&A chess and "Low luck" (tripleA videogame) housee rules that to me are based on this bitterness. The game is not designed for that, thus making the game somewhat scripted after a while.