- War at Sea -


Richard Baker
et al.




G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Being confronted with a successor of one of the games I hardly ever won, I had to remind myself to be neutral during this review. Even more, I was required to be careful especially because the game Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures is a collectible miniatures game, which is exactly the sort of game I thought I had overcome since I completed my decks for Diskwars. But here it was, and my review had to be written (although I made it to be the last one for the first half of 2007). And then I was quite surprised: despite of the simple rules that are explained in length with a lot of examples, the game is quite interesting and offers a good change to the traditional Axis & Allies boardgame.

[IMAGE]As said, Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures is a collectible game with starter boxes and boosters. Each of the starter boxes contains two sets rules. One is for the beginners (though these rules is not really necessary because the game is simplified too much) and one is for the advanced. With a starter box you also get a simple battle map (made of heavy paper), some island cards you can place on the map, dices and 9 of the 64 collectable miniatures which exist for the game. A booster will bring you five more of the miniatures. Each miniature also comes with a statistic card, showing the strength and the special abilities of the miniature and an explanation of the original function and history of the ship or the aircraft.

The miniatures are pre-painted ships or aircrafts, manufactured of plastic and rebuild after the original design. Smaller miniatures like aircrafts and destroyers are set upon a plastic base whereas bigger miniatures like battleships stand for their own. Details of the miniatures are satisfactory but could be better, especially the painting is a little bit poor. Of course, you always have the chance to paint the miniatures yourself, but for me it would be nicer if I hadn't to.

Each of the miniatures has special costs. For a basic game you normally set up a fleet with a value of 100 points. To give you an idea what that means: a typical torpedo boat costs about 6 points, a cruiser about 15 points and a battleship start at about 50 points. So, as you can see, a single starter box with 9 miniatures will usually not give you the chance to set up a force, especially because the game includes ships and planes from quite a few different nations. If you want to build a realistic force that is not mixed with letīs say Germans, Italians and Japanese, I would say that you will need at least 5 boosters or a lot of trading partners.


The game itself is simple, but the elegant rules guarantee a lot of fun. It is a strict two player game, one for the Axis and one for the Allies. Unlike the mechanism of the big brother, it is not possible to divide a force further more between several players. In the basic game, at three mission objectives with a value of 50 points have to be captured. Losses of the opponent also count as victory points with a value that equals their costs. The first player who reaches 150 points wins the game, so there are several ways to finish it. This gives the game some interesting varieties, so one player might intend to destroy the enemy while the other chooses to quickly enter the three mission objectives.

A turn of the game is divided into 8 sequences:

  1. Initiate phase to determine the starting player of the turn
  2. Sea movement phase
  3. Air mission phase (placing the aircrafts on the board wherever you like)
  4. Air defense phase (the ships struggling with their flaks against the incoming planes)
  5. Air attack phase (aircrafts strike back)
  6. Surface attack phase
  7. Torpedo attack phase (the time of the submarines)
  8. Air return phase

In each sequence of a turn the player's forces attack or move simultaneously. However the starting player has the advantage to watch his opponent's moves, giving him a strong advantage for this turn. All forces have a specific speed to move.

Normal Attack is a simple but clever mechanism. Each ship or aircraft has specific armor, vital armor and hull points. Depending on the range of the weapon and the distance to the target, a specific number of dice may be rolled. Each 4s and 5s are successes, 6s count as two successes. To get a hit, the number of successes must be equal or higher than the armor, and this will result in 1 point of hull damage. If the number of successes equals the value of vital armor, the target is destroyed at once. Torpedo attacks will result in hull damage directly. Stronger units have several weapons, giving these units the opportunity to attack twice or even more often in a turn.


Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures is a fast-paced and entertaining, especially because of the easy mechanism for attack and defence. This will result in interesting battles, giving the players a lot of varieties for tactical movement with different units. However, to build a strong and balanced force, you should be willing to spend some money on several boosters, otherwise you will beaten by your opponent easily. And with this observation I get to a small flaw which actually does not relate to the game itself but to the sales concept. In my opinion, starter pack and boosters are a little bit too expensive (starter about 20 Euros, booster about 13 Euros) for the contents you get. Units are divided into common, uncommon and rare, so it is really hard to get the real strong units without trading. However, on the other hand the game play is quite strong and the game is not too long (about 1 hour). For a war game, the simulation is not very realistic, so hard-core fans of strategic simulations may be disappointed. But the game is a lot of fun and a desire to get a strong force will be aroused easily. So beware of the collecting fever!

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Copyright © 2007 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany