Unit Changes in Axis & Allies 3rd
A big change from the former game is that now all factories, not just
newly built ones, are restricted in that they can only build as many
units as the IPC value of the territory. This means for instance that
Japan can only build 8 units in Japan. The effect on the game is that
Japan (assuming the Japanese manage to expand and capture additional
territories) is forced to build additional factories on the mainland
(also assuming that Japan isn’t interested in building lots of
expensive units such as bombers and battleships).
Infantry haven’t changed all that much. They’re still the
cheapest unit, offer the most value on defense, and if there is an
accompanying artillery unit, offer the most value on offense as well.
Without question, they are still the bread and butter of the game.
The introduction of the artillery unit shouldn’t come as a surprise
to gamers who have played Axis & Allies: Europe or Axis &
Allies: Pacific. This 4 IPC unit moves one, defends at a two, and
attacks at a two. What is really special about this unit is that for
each artillery you have attacking in a battle, it raises the attack
value of one infantry to a two as well. A few artillery can make a huge
difference in the offensive punch of a stack of infantry. Whenever you
are making purchases and are buying a bunch of infantry and have 1 IPC
left over, exchange one of those infantry for an artillery – it’s
well worth it. The change in transport rules also has a big impact on
this unit. Transports can carry one infantry and one other land unit.
One infantry and one artillery per transport can give an amphibious
invasion significant power.
One of the most significant unit changes is that tanks now defend at
a three or less. This is a big help to a unit that was in dire need of
being strengthened. However, while the new defensive capability makes it
a more desirable unit, overall the tank may have been weakened by the
introduction of the cheaper artillery unit and its offensive
capabilities. In practice, players will typically find they’d rather
spend fewer IPCs and get a couple of artillery units rather than tanks.
Antiaircraft have had a couple of rule changes that strengthens them.
They now fire at each attacking aircraft independently, meaning that a
different group of dice is rolling at the fighters than the bombers,
which results in bombers having to be lost. The improvements to rocket
technology also increase the ability of this unit, as they can be used
to put a nice drain on your opponent’s economy each round.
A reduced cost of 10 IPCs is the only change this unit has undergone.
In the initial placement on the map, there are significantly more
fighters than there were in the previous version, so there is guaranteed
to be more air action than before.
The only change to bombers is that the technology for heavy bombers
has gotten more attainable, because players are now able to select the
technology they want to pursue, but instead of getting three dice with
heavy bombers, now you only get two dice. Also, bombers are now more
vulnerable to antiaircraft fire, as the antiaircraft targets fighters
and bombers separately.
A big change here is that instead of carrying either two infantry or
one tank, transports can now carry two infantry, one infantry and a
tank, one infantry and an artillery, one infantry and a AA, or just one
of any land unit. This doubles the potency of amphibious invasions,
meaning they may now be more self-sustaining and less dependent upon air
support for backup. The biggest disadvantage to transports is the
increase in the number of sea zones. It now takes longer for transports
to get anywhere, particularly across the Atlantic.
Submarine rules are now clarified. They now fire both offensively and
defensively in an early phase of battle. Unless enemy destroyers are
present, their casualties (both offensive and defensive) are then
removed before any other units fire. Instead of withdrawing, they now
Destroyers are also familiar to players of Axis & Allies: Europe
or Axis & Allies: Pacific. They are pocket battleships that have no
bombard, and fight on a three or less. At a cost of 12, you will
probably see more of them purchased than battleships. They make a good
purchase when you need fleet protection from an air attack and can’t
afford a carrier.
At a reduced price of 16, and new mobilization rules, carriers now
have significantly enhanced capabilities. Existing fighters can now be
redeployed to your newly purchased fighters. New fighters can be
redeployed to new carriers. New fighters cannot be redeployed to old
carriers. This means that any nation can buy a carrier and stock it with
fighters immediately, giving them an instant tripling in defensive
While the designers flirted with the idea of an 18 IPC battleship,
they stayed with the 24 IPC cost. This prohibitive cost will mean that
you probably won’t see any new battleships built, but the existing
ones become much more exciting, as they now require two hits to kill.
After the first hit, your battleship gets turned on its side indicating
its damaged. Another hit to hit will kill it, but if it doesn’t get
killed in that battle, then at the end of the battle you get to right
it, and it’s as though it was never hit. This means that you can use
your battleship to absorb the first hit in any battle, giving any fleet
with a battleship an extra “cannon fodder” hit.