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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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Do you have a link to the online site? –  sixtyfootersdude Mar 1 '12 at 14:34
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There is a Java-based, "real-time" game you can play called Tripple-A - triplea.sourceforge.net - that has a lot of variations to it, is open source, etc. There's also a website-based game at GamesByEmail.com - gamesbyemail.com/Games/WW2 - where you can play at your own pace (so make one move now then wait for your opponent, who might not make a move until the next day, etc.). The GamesByEmail.com version only supports the Axis & Allies Revised Edition rules, however. –  Scott Mitchell Mar 1 '12 at 17:04
    
BTW, if you ever want to play a game of A&A on GamesByEmail.com, drop me a line. –  Scott Mitchell Mar 2 '12 at 23:12
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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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The "scripted" feel is what I always disliked about the original game, regardless of dice rule changes. There seem to be only a few options for Axis in early turns, and no mid-game choices unless the first turns go well. Which is why the tournament "bid" system was introduced, I believe. –  mghicks Nov 30 '12 at 0:03
    
@mghicks On Revised or in Classic? –  quinestor Nov 30 '12 at 8:51
    
Classic. My feeling of the 'scripted' nature is based on the many, many games I played in college. I've not played the new edition, and Pacific only once or twice. –  mghicks Nov 30 '12 at 10:11
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