In the summer of 1958, a boy found a tattered leather bound book tucked away in his parent’s room. Cracking it open, he became captivated by wonderful illustrations alongside incredible tales of distant sea combat and dense jungle battlefields. It wasn’t long before he realized that the man at the center of these stories wasn’t some mythical hero, but his own father. He had stumbled upon his father’s personal diary chronicling his service to the US Army during World War II.
This young man consumed the diary and the history surrounding those stories, but he couldn’t help but wonder… What if his father’s story had ended differently? That question set young Larry Harris on a path that would have an impact on millions around the world.
Larry Harris is the creator of one of the most popular World War II strategy games of all time, Axis & Allies. This tabletop and online board game asks players to take on the roles of the top generals of WWII and engage in a battle for global conquest. The game offers players the opportunity to test out endless strategies as they command land, air, and sea units far above the politics of the time.
First released in the UK and Australia in 1981 by Nova Games, Axis & Allies was the flagship of the Milton Bradley GameMaster Series when it was released in the US in 1984. In the 40 years since its original release, Axis & Allies has had twenty spin-offs or expansions and won nearly all of the industry’s top awards. It has been a desktop PC game and is now available online. The game has sold millions of copies in all its various formats and is beloved around the world.
Those that have played the game with friends are almost always hooked. The basics of the game are fairly easy to learn and play is dynamic and exciting. But, it is a long game. A game of Axis & Allies typically lasts at least one hour per player and some versions of the game can accommodate from 2 to 8 players. So, pack a lunch.
The current edition of the primary game is Axis & Allies: 1942 Second Edition and can be found in most local board game stores for around $60. The game is a lot of fun for ages 12 and up. For younger players, it is a great way to introduce strategic concepts, spark an interest in history, or teach world geography.
The fastest way to learn this fantastic game is to use videos to guide you through the first few games. A complete how-to-play video series and helpful beginner strategy videos can be found at BoardGameNation.com. There you will also find a full interview with Larry Harris if you want to learn more about the amazing stories in that diary.
Conquering the world can be tricky business. Do you have what it takes to change history?
Let’s find out.
Gary Blevins is the President of Board Game Nation, a community of people that love all types of tabletop games. Board Game Nation shares this love by creating and promoting engaging content surrounding great games while featuring our favorite local game stores.