Axis & Allies Iron Blitz PC CD-ROM

Microprose, 1999, 1-5 players, ages 12 and up. The Iron Blitz edition of Microprose's Axis & Allies improves upon the original in a number of ways. It eliminates most (although not all) of the bugs of the original edition, as well as offering new rules options, an improved AI to play against, and some new units to play with. More noteably, it offers a variety of interesting new scenarios to play. Rather than the standard Germany/Japan versus England/America/Russia setup, there are a number of different alliance options and setups to choose from:

1939A - Standard alliances with Japan/Germany starting with fewer territories but more starting units
1939B - Russia and Germany allied against Japan, USA and UK
1939C - Standard alliances with the USA neutral
1942A - Standard alliances with Russia neutral
1945A - Russia, Japan and Germany allied against USA and UK
1945B - Russia and Germany against USA and UK (Japan neutral)
Cold War - Russia against everybody

This game is really fun. The AI is challenging enough that you can actually get beat, and if you take turns playing each of the powers in each of the scenarios, the permutations are nearly endless. The only scenario that I didn't really care for is the one with Russia being neutral (the world gets too danged small). The Cold War scenario is particularly entertaining, with everybody starting out with jets, super bombers, etc. In fact, these scenarios are so much fun I'm almost disappointed that they didn't come up with a few more. I'd love to have seen a Germany/Russia/Japan against USA with a neutral or conquered UK scenario (although with the option editor you can literally create any kind of starting scenario you want - there is total control of alliances, who owns/occupies what countries and with what forces). This is the best PC game I've played in years. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find and quite expensive (expect to pay $100 or more for a boxed copy in good condition). As of this writing, Atari is set to release a new, more graphical version of Axis and Allies. I checked out their demo and was disappointed to discover that it has very little in common with the original board game and later PC games. The good news is that Iron Blitz still works very well under the latest editions of Windows, so hopefully it won't become obsolete any time soon.

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