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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.

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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. :-)

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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):

  • We use the shortest victory conditions, always. It still takes many hours
  • Capital conditions: If a capital falls; the game is over even if it can be retaken. In practice that is a game winner anyways. I am sure there can be exceptions, but not if you play aware of that condition. It affects mostly the crucial Russia/Germany stalemate.

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):

  • Our housee rule is: If japan has been wiped out from the mainland and has lost its fleet while there are at least scattered Allied ships in the Pacific, give all VP cities to the Allies and check if game is over. Taking Tokyo is a 6 round affair at this point, that takes hours.

Europe and Pacific 1940:

  • For Germany: if USSR is advancing while the Atlantic has protected Allied transports unloading troops in Europe for two rounds or more, we call it a game. (Even if Italy is huge, because it failed to counter the previous.)
  • For Japan: If Japan land troops are both in Caucasus and eastern Russia (3-4 territories) while Japan holds the biggest Pacific fleet, we call it a game as well.

If you are new or almost new to the game:

  • I think turn time limit helps a lot. Agree on one, just make sure Germany and Japan have a bit higher limit than the allies

  • If you will play often, play at least 3 games of limited rounds (for instance, 3). Discuss who would win and why. For games like 1942 or Revised this helps a lot because you will better understand what can be achieved at that round and will have an idea about how long your games will take.

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.

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Axis and Allies when played with many players (one player per nation, usually this means five) can be a long game with a lot of down time between turns.

A house rule we have used when we have a player for each nation is to rearrange the turn order so that allies move together (all the Axis, then all the allies). Yes, this does affect the game, some balancing changes need to be made, and I wouldn't recommend this for tournament play, purists, or the super competitive. It does remove a lot of downtime.

The way it works: All the Axis move together, then all the Allies move together, repeat. After all team players have finished combat movement, then combat takes place. Nations may attack the same territory, but must attack one at a time (the defenders defends together as normal). The attacking players may choose which order they fight in and each must fight at least one round before retreating, but they still must attack independently. Note this makes it impossible to clear speedbumps/skirmishers for a teammate's blitz.

Some balancing changes to consider: When we play this way we usually have widely different skill levels in the game so fine balance doesn't matter as much as having fun. We do make some changes to help nations where losing the initiative would cripple. For example, you may choose to give the USSR a non-combat move and full production phase before the first Axis move. You may also give the UK a bid or non-combat move in the Pacific.

We have played this way a few times and it has gone well. If you enjoy it please upvote and comment.

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