Axis & Allies – 3 Home Rules to Spice Up Your Game

Axis & Allies Spring 1942 Setup

Note: This post marks the 4th article (of 6) by Statbonus writer and guest to this site; J. The last few will be featured over the next few weeks, after which we’ll return to our usual Sunday posting schedule. Please enjoy.

I never could just leave things be. Once you become a rules tinkerer, sooner or later every rule-set becomes a victim of your perverse attention. So rather than learn something that would be useful in life (like underwater basket weaving) I wasted a good portion of my youth pushing plastic soldiers to their death.

I refer, of course, to Axis & Allies. The board game that lets you replay the worst military conflict in human history to your little black heart’s content.

But there is a problem with Axis & Allies. No, not the lack of atomic weapons on the technology table. The problem is in the basic premise; That the Empire of Japan will attack Pearl Harbor, that the Nazis and Commies will wage war against each other, and that diplomacy can not end the war. After playing Russia for the 50th time even the most dedicated A&A fan will feel the compulsion to do something other than buy more infantry.

So let’s change the assumptions. Here are three alternative histories to liven up your game of Axis & Allies…

Parlamente aus aller Welt! Das Parlament der Völker. Blick in den Sitzungssaal des Völkerbundes in Genf.


The Monroe Doctrine

With the United States military forces deployed on every sea and continent the world over it’s hard to remember that America once held an isolationist attitude. The Monroe Doctrine had been the basis of American foreign policy for nearly a century, until President Wilson dragged the country kicking and screaming into the Great War. So when Roosevelt saw the Nazi threat rising in Europe he faced the near impossible task of mobilizing the American citizenry to combat it. The Great War wasn’t popular in America, and the idea of sending America’s sons to fight in yet another European mess held about as much popularity as urine flavored ice-cream.

Having learned their lesson from the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, the Germans had taken extra care not to provide the Americans with an excuse to enter the war. It was widely believed among the German leadership that the Great War was all but won– that is until the American Expeditionary Force turned the tide against the Central Powers. For this reason they believed the Second World War would end favorably for the Axis, if only they could prevent the Americans from intervening again.

That all changed on December 7th, 1941 when the Empire of Japan destroyed the bulk of the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. For Roosevelt, the surprise attack couldn’t have worked any better if he had planned it himself. So much so that for decades there have been conspiracy theories accusing him of exactly that. Having presided over eight years of the worst economic disaster until the Carter Administration, Roosevelt had an excuse not only to declare war, but to begin a period of deficit spending so extreme that we’re still paying it off almost a century later.

But what if it didn’t happen? What if the Empire of Japan declined to strike the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, and in doing so deprived Roosevelt of domestic support for the war? What if America’s entry into the Second World War was delayed?

How to Play:

The USA player collects only half of normal IPCs until America enters the war

The USA player can not build any infantry units until America enters the war.

The USA player can not make any attacks until America enters the war.

America does not enter the war until:

  1. An Axis power attacks an American unit (except for those in China)
  2. An Axis power attacks American territory (except for China)
  3. An Axis power violates the neutrality of a New World territory
  4. An Axis power moves a fleet into a sea zone adjacent to an American territory (except for China)

All other rules remain in force.



Alternate Allies

This variant explores an alternate history where the London Naval Treaty of 1930 allowed Japan equal naval tonnage with the United States. A decade later President Roosevelt accepts Prime Minister Konoye’s invitation to negotiate and those negotiations result in a treaty between the US and the Empire of Japan.  Meanwhile Hitler holds to the German-Soviet non-aggression pact, delaying his eventual invasion of Russia until after Britain has been successfully occupied.

How to Play:

Japan plays as an Allied power until it attacks another Allied power

Russia plays as an Axis Power

America remains bound under the Monroe doctrine as described above.

All other rules remain in force.


Google Images

Japs and Krauts and Ruskies, Oh My!

This involves a truly nightmare scenario– in which Hilter isn’t a total madman and accepts the USSR as a full member of the Berlin Pact. This results in the English-speaking world facing the combined military juggernaut of the USSR, Imperial Japan, and Nazi Germany simultaneously. This variant will test the limits of your strategic abilities (For experienced masochists only)

How to Play:

America is constrained by the Monroe doctrine as described above.

Russia plays as an Axis power.

Allies lose if either allied capital falls to the Axis.

Regardless of other victory conditions, the Allies can not win until Berlin falls

All other rules remain in force.

Featured image from


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