I used to play Axis & Allies all the time when I was younger. I recently purchased the Axis & Allies Revised Edition, and was floored by all the added complexity/new units/new rules/map changes. It was definitely a whole pile of fun, but I notice now that there are many other versions of Axis & Allies available as well. Are the "new" rules the same across all the "new" versions? Does each version have its own rules? Are the differences in the rules relatively minor, or do I need to keep track of six different sets of infantry rules for six different games?

  • I was helping some friend with one of the new versions, and it was way different. No research rules for starters. It would be nice if someone had a definite guide on the differences. Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 20:37
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    Looks like there are quite a few differences. I'm not sure how to convert the info to a readable form for this site, especially as I'm not too familiar with A&A, but the Wikipedia page for the game appears to have significant detail.
    – Pat Ludwig
    Commented Jan 18, 2011 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


##This is a community wiki

This is a running list of the changes to the the traditional 1942 version of Axis & Allies listing each progressive revision below it with all the changes from the previous version--just like software release notes.

Please add to the list if you see something missing.

Axis & Allies (Nova Games Edition) — 1981

  • Initial release

Axis & Allies — 1984

a.k.a. "Axis & Allies: Classic"

  • Map and setup is changed
  • Sequence of play has been revised
  • Costs and incomes are 1/100th that of the previous games
  • Bombardment is added
  • Neutral countries can no longer be occupied (previously, it could be done by paying a cost)
  • Fighters can no longer be built directly onto carriers; they must be built in land areas and then travel to carriers
  • Air units no longer add 1 to their movement if they start on islands
  • Loading land units on ships is now part of the land movement phase, rather than naval movement phase
  • Submarines now participate in normal naval combat, instead of firing a single salvo during their own phase prior to naval combat
  • National advantages have been removed
  • The option to produce an atomic bomb through technology research has been removed

Axis & Allies 2nd Edition — 1986

1986 reprint

  • Commander-In-Chief rules deleted
  • Transport rules changed
  • Amphibious assault rules changed
  • Multiple Force rules changed — such forces cannot attack together any more
  • Newly built and captured industrial complexes have limited production
  • The sea zone surrounding Panama is two sea zones
  • Appendix IV added with five optional rules variations: (1) Total Victory condition that requires ownership of original capitals plus two enemy capitals; (2) Ability to place naval units in occupied sea zones; (3) Germany starts with jet fighters and Japan with super submarines; (4) Russia is not allowed to attack on the first turn; (5) No new industrial complexes may be bought or placed.

Axis & Allies: Revised — 2004

a.k.a. Axis & Allies 20th Anniversary Edition

  • Map and setup has changed
  • The Artillery and Destroyer units have been added
  • Cost of fighters has been reduced from 12 IPCs to 10
  • Transports may now carry 1 armor + 1 infantry
  • Armor attacks and defends on a 3+
  • Victory cities have been added as a replacement for economic victory

Axis & Allies: 50th Anniversary Edition — 2008

  • Italy and China have been added as factions
  • A 1941 setup has been added in addition to the standard 1942 setup
  • The Cruiser unit has been added

Axis & Allies: Spring 1942 — 2009

a.k.a. Axis & Allies 25th Anniversary Edition

  • The changes from the 50th Anniversary Edition are not incorporated except as follows
  • The Cruiser unit has been added

Axis & Allies: Spring 1942 (Second Edition) — 2012

  • The Anti-aircraft Artillery unit has been added
  • The 1986 edition definitely allows submarines to fire before other ships. I have a copy, and the manual says it's printed in 1986. Neutral territories can also be occupied. So, I'm wondering if your comments on the 1984 edition are incorrect, or if they we reversed again for the 1986 edition? Or perhaps you're referring to a 1999 edition?
    – user21600
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 5:45
  • I have A&A 1942 1st edition. The copyrights on the box and manual all read 2009 and there are anti aircraft units. They even have a statblock in the appendix. We're they net new in 1942 2nd Edition or were there rule changes for them?
    – Michael
    Commented Jun 15 at 21:36

I own Axis and Allies 1984 original, the 2004 and 2009 revised editions, as well as the new Europe and Pacific games.

The new rules, new units, new everything make the game so much more interesting.

For example, in Europe and Pacific, there are "Harbors" and "Air Bases." These allow units that move from them to move one extra space. Let's say a fighter is in Hawaii. Fighters have a move of 4. If it leaves from an area with an "Air Base" however, its mobility is upped to 5. The same is true for bombers (and the new tactical bomber). These bases add one movement to any unit. Harbors allow all ships leaving the harbor to move at a 3.

If you want more info on these versions, please comment back.

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