Best Strategy Games - Axis & Allies Strategy

Join the mailing list for free Axis & Allies, Risk, and general board game strategies:

Your Name: Your E-mail Address:
Privacy Policy: We hate spam too, and we will never share your information with any unauthorized third party.
Unit Changes in Axis & Allies 3rd Edition


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 submerge.


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 capability.


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.