Best Strategy Games - Axis & Allies Strategy

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Map Changes in Axis & Allies 3rd Edition

There are a lot of significant changes to the new map, which add up to a lot more degrees of freedom.


The Eastern Front will never be the same. Where four territories existed before, eight territories exist now. The showdown that in the past would have taken place in Karelia will more likely happen in Caucuses or West Russia now.

In the past the path to Moscow went from Germany to Eastern Europe to Karelia to Russia. The Allied armies would typically camp out in Karelia and the German army would camp out in Eastern Europe and it would become a waiting game. Meanwhile, each turn the Ukraine would exchange hands and a couple of German infantry and a couple of Russian infantry would die each round.

Now, the second Russian factory is in Caucuses and Russia is much more likely to have their main army there in Caucuses where it gets replenished each turn. Instead of just a single territory (Ukraine) exchanging hands each turn, Germany and Russia will likely go back and forth on three different territories each turn.

The impact this back and forth has on the game is tremendous. It means that every turn both Russia and Germany are losing between 6-9 infantry taking and retaking those no-man’s-land territories between the main armies. That regular loss is nearly at the replacement level for both sides, meaning that neither side is ever able to build up a massive army, because they’re constantly getting bled down by those little battles in the tit-for-tat land grab.

Because of the added territories, Germany also has a chance to keep the Western Allied and Russian armies from merging. By constantly attacking into Karelia, Germany can often keep a big Western Allied land army from forming there. This comes of course at a price of several additional infantry per turn, meaning that as fast as Germany can build them, their infantry are getting gobbled up on the Eastern Front.

At the northernmost end of Europe, Finland/Norway’s IPC value has been bumped to 3 IPCs. However, with Germany much better positioned to fight over Karelia and an enhanced Baltic fleet, suddenly Finland/Norway isn’t necessarily a freebie for the first Allied player to go after.


Asia is the first place on the map that the newly drawn neutral territories make an impact. Neutral territories may not be invaded anymore and are considered impassable regions by both land and air forces. This cuts India off from China and greatly restricts the ability of planes and armies to flow back and forth across Asia to support one another.

Now there are three distinct attacking lanes.

1. North of Mongolia through Siberia

2. South of Mongolia through China

3. India

Whichever forces are allocated to one attacking lane will be unlikely to support the other. This makes air units and their positioning critical as they are often the “x” factor in Asian battles and the number that can reach a given territory may determine who wins that battle.

The northern passage, a traditional route to attack Russia, has gotten much less appealing. First there is the new territory of Buryatia, which has to be gone through to get to Yakut. Then the Russian territories are all worth less. Instead of two territories being worth a total 4 IPCs, you have three territories which are worth a total of 3 IPCs. Since it’s harder to get through and worth less for your trouble, other routes through Asia become more desirable.

China usually falls pretty quick along the middle passage, but it gets a lot tougher after that. The Russians and remaining US troops can put pressure on the Japanese and sometimes cause a lot of trouble in Sinkiang.

India, once the “jewel in the crown” of the British Empire is restored to that position again. Britain starts out in a much stronger position in India with an enhanced Indian ocean fleet, 3 infantry, and an antiaircraft gun. If the UK builds a factory in India, and particularly if they forfeit Africa to the Germans, then India becomes a stronghold like you’ve never seen before. Massive armies can quickly stack up in India and French Indochina, each waiting to get the upper hand and launch an attack. With the new importance of the Caucuses, Russia is nicely positioned to start funneling troops into India as India becomes the true lynchpin of Asia. As goes India, may go Asia, and the game.


Chopped into north and south by the impassable Sahara desert, all roads in Africa go through the critical territory of Egypt. However, a stronger German presence in the Mediterranean and in North Africa can make Africa a troublesome spot on the map for the Allies. Germany has never been better positioned to take over Africa and the Allies have never been so poorly positioned to contest for it.

The UK may often just give it up to the overwhelming German presence and evacuate troops to help defend in Asia.

North America

You’re familiar with the Eastern and Western US, but now there’s the Central US. It’s an additional territory that makes it more difficult for the US to juggle back and forth between different sides of the map. Eastern Canada now goes all the way to the top of the map, meaning that Western Canada no longer opens to the Atlantic.


The Atlantic has now gotten quite a stretching. The sea zone around the UK is now fragmented into a total of FIVE new sea zones. This makes any kind of naval/amphibious action in the Atlantic into much more of a logistical headache for both sides. For instance, the German Baltic navy can’t even reach the main UK fleet on Germany’s first turn!

The US can no longer send troops from the Eastern US sea zone into France, Finland/Norway or French West Africa in a single turn. The only enemy territory that the US can even reach in a single turn is Algeria.

It’s a total of five sea zones for a navy to move across to get between Germany and the US. This means that the US is severely limited in their ability to quickly get troops into Europe. The UK is hampered less, but still restricted in what they are able to do.

Eastern Canada becomes much more important as a staging area, because its sea zone is only 2 spaces from Finland/Norway, Western Europe, and Algeria.

All told, this is a huge advantage for the Axis as it slows down the entrance of the Western Allies into the war, giving Germany a little bit more time to breathe before all of the Allied players begin pounding Fortress Europe.


The Pacific has changed much less in terms of the impact that will be had upon the flow of the game. The Japanese sea zone got cut in two, but the outermost sea zone conveniently touches the new Russian territory of Buryatia, allowing the Japanese to funnel troops directly from Japan onto Russian soil.

Also changed are some of the island names and IPC values. Five more Japanese IPCs have been added to their island holdings, though the size of the Japanese fleet may still deter any would be island hoppers.