Rules of Warfare

by Mark Slattery

Art by ArtToday

"It is the spring of 1942. The world is at war. Five world powers are struggling for supremacy. You and your opponents control the military and economical destiny of one or more of these countries. The Axis powers are Germany and Japan. Challenging their expansionism are the Allied powers of the United Kingdom, the USSR and the United States."
-- Axis & Allies game play manual

Axis & Allies is a brilliant and very strategic board game, but all games need a little change from time-to-time; Just to keep things interesting. This article presents seven new rules and four additional units to spice-up your battle-plans. All of these rules may be used separately or together if you really like your war unpredictable.

New Units

The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his."
-- General G. C. Patton (1885-1945)

Artillery Batteries

Rules of Warfare The military has used artillery in warfare since the discovery of gunpowder, from the early cast-iron cannons to the giant guns that fired hundred-pound shells during WWII. Artillery batteries are purchased for 8 IPCs during the Purchase New Units/Develop New Weapons phase and are deployed in the same way as standard land units. Artillery batteries may only move one territory per turn and may only move during the Non-Combat Movement phase. They are also subject to the same transport restrictions as antiaircraft guns. Like antiaircraft guns, there may only be one artillery battery per territory, but there may be an artillery battery and an antiaircraft gun in the same territory.

The long range of artillery batteries is represented by the unit's ability to participate in battles in adjacent land territories or sea zones. Artillery batteries may fire once into battles you initiate, in an adjacent zone or territory, hitting on a roll of a 3 or less. Any units hit by artillery fire are sill eligible to counterattack during defensive fire. Artillery batteries can not be forfeited during a battle in an adjacent territory or zone. After the artillery battery has fired in this manner, it is no longer considered to be participating in the battle. If involved in a battle in its own territory, it attacks on a 3 and defends on a 1.

An artillery battery may perform a form of Strategic Bombing Raid on industrial complexes in adjacent territories, instead of participating in a battle that turn. Roll a die for each artillery battery performing a raid -- the controller of the industrial unit must lose IPCs equal to the sum of the dice. Use anti-aircraft gun figures to represent an artillery battery, marking them in some way to distinguish them from actual anti-aircraft gun units.


Destroyers were used as escorts for convoys and support for battleships during WWII and, while much smaller than battleships, they where instrumental in winning many naval battles. Destroyers are purchased for 15 IPCs during the Purchase New Units/Develop New Weapons phase and are deployed in the same manner as standard naval units. Destroyers can move two sea zones and are subject to the same movement restrictions as battleships.

Destroyers have an attack and defensive value of 3. Due to the shorter range of their weapons, destroyers can not participate in Amphibious Assaults. At the beginning of the game, a player may exchange a battleship for two destroyers; these units must be placed into the same zone as the replaced battleship. Use transport figures to represent destroyers, marking them in some way to distinguish them from actual transport units.

Resistance Cells

During WWII, patriotic citizens in occupied territories formed resistance cells to supply allied troops with information and to sabotage enemy supplies. Resistance cells are purchased for 5 IPCs during the Purchase New Units/Develop New Weapons phase and are deployed during the Place New Units phase. Resistance cells may only be placed in territories that were under your control at the beginning of the game and have been captured by enemy powers. (For example: If Germany captures India, this becomes legal territory for the UK to place a resistance cell, since the UK controlled India at the start of the game) Cells do not have to be deployed in to the same territory as an industrial complex and may not move by any means.

To represent the resistance members sabotaging equipment and relaying vital information, roll a die for each resistance cell during the Combat Movement phase. On a roll of a 1, the occupying enemy force takes must discard a unit in that territory; if the territory contains no enemy units, it is liberated and returns to its original controller at the end of the Combat phase. If a 6 is rolled, the resistance cell has been discovered and captured. Discard the cell immediately. Resistance cells may not participate in battles in any way. If a territory containing a resistance cell ever returns to its original owner's control the resistance cell is discarded. Use one of your own control markers to represent your resistance cells in enemy territories.

Sea Mines

During WWII naval units laid sea mines to block enemy routes and to protect their own naval yards from enemy attacks. To represent this you may use your transports to lay sea mines in sea zones. Sea mines are purchased for 5 IPCs during the Purchase New Units/Develop New Weapons phase and may be loaded onto a transport adjacent to one of your industrial complexes, during the Place New Units phase. A transport may carry up to two sea mines at a time.

Transports may deposit one sea mine into a friendly sea zone, one that contains no enemy units, during the Non-Combat Movement phase. Place one of your control markers on the sea zone to represent the sea mine; a sea zone may only contain one sea mine at a time. Laying sea mines takes the remainder of the transport's movement. Therefore, a transport laying sea mines may either: move one sea zone and lay one sea mine; move two sea zones and lay one sea mine; but can not move one sea zone, lay a mine and then move another sea zone.

If an enemy naval unit, including submarines, passes through or stops in a sea zone containing one of your sea mines, roll a die for each enemy unit. On a roll of 1 the enemy unit is hit and that unit is discarded; the sea mine is also discarded after all rolls have been resolved. Otherwise, the vessels evade the sea mine and may continue their movement as normal. Naval units are immune to the effects of their own and their allies' sea mines.

Table of New Units

Type of Unit    Cost    Movement    Attack    Defense
Artillery Battery   8131
Resistance Cell5--1--
Sea Mine5--1--

New Rules

"To secure peace is to prepare for war."
-- Carl Von Clausewitz


At a cost of 24 IPCs, battleships are very expensive. To compensate for this expense and to reflect the sturdiness of their design battleships, can now take two hits. When a battleship is hit for the first time it becomes severely damaged. Instead of discarding it, place the unit place it on its side. Its attack and defensive capabilities are reduced to 2 and its movement is reduced to 1. If a damaged battleship is in a friendly sea zone, one that contains no enemy naval vessels, and adjacent to one of your industrial complexes at the beginning of your turn, it may be repaired. To repair a battleship you must pay 8 IPCs during your Purchase New Units/Develop New Weapons phase; the battleship's attack, defensive and movement values are reduced to zero for the remainder of this turn. The repairs are completed during the Place New Units phase; turn the unit upright to represent this. Its attack, defensive and movement values return to normal. If a battleship is hit again while severely damaged, it is discarded.

Rules of Warfare

Elite Units

During every war there are heroes, those who accomplish amazing feats for king and country. Each player may choose one of their starting units to be an elite unit; this unit should be marked in some manner to distinguish it from its comrades. Once during each battle an elite unit participates in, it may reroll one of its attack or defensive dice. If a player's elite unit is lost in battle, he may send out a new one during his next Deploy New Unit phase, for the same price a standard unit of its type.

Kamikaze Pilots

Japanese Kamikaze pilots would fly into battles with no hope of returning, deliberately crashing their aircraft into enemy vessels when their fuel was spent. To represent this, Japanese fighter planes may now move during the Combat Movement phase without allowing for a possible return to friendly territory or an aircraft carrier. Planes taking advantage of this special movement are discarded at the end of the Combat phase, whether they are hit or not.

Lost Transports

During the war, transport ships were used to carry much needed supplies and equipment to allied countries and forces abroad, and not as simple cannon fodder for naval battles. Therefore, whenever a transport not carrying another military unit is lost during a battle, the owning player's income is reduced by 1 IPC for each transport lost, during his next Collect Income phase only. This represents the loss of the supplies the ship was carrying.

Monetary Aid

Friendly countries may now loan or give IPCs to each other using the following rules. The player donating the IPCs must allocate them during the Purchase/Develop New Weapons phase; these IPCs may not be used to purchase anything else. One player on the opposing side rolls one die -- on a roll of 1, that player receives the IPCs instead, during their next Collect Income phase. The funds were captured in transit! How the opponents determine who gets to make the roll is entirely up to them. If the funds are not captured, the receiving player gets the IPCs during the Collect Income phase of his next turn, after which they may be spent as usual.


During WWII, soldiers would parachute into enemy territory to form beachheads for advancing troops and to perform strategic strikes. To represent this, bombers may transport infantry units. Each bomber can carry one infantry unit, which may be loaded at the beginning of either the Combat Movement or the Non-Combat Movement phase. The bomber may then move, following its normal movement rules, and deposit the infantry unit into any territory it passes over. If the bomber lands in a friendly territory the infantry unit must be unloaded. Being transported by a bomber constitutes the infantry unit's entire move for this turn.

If the infantry unit is unloaded into enemy territory that is controlled but not occupied the territory is automatically captured at the end of the Combat phase. If the territory is occupied, the unit must fight the enemy units as normal. Both of these maneuvers may only be performed during the Combat Movement phase. If an anti-aircraft gun hits the bomber, the infantry unit aboard is also lost. A bomber can not attack or perform a Strategic Bombing Raid during the same turn it transports an infantry unit.


Units no longer have to be deployed on the turn they are purchased. Instead, they may be stored in warehouses, which are considered to be within your industrial complexes. Naval vessels and anti-aircraft guns that cannot be placed, due to enemy units or an existing anti-aircraft gun present in the adjacent sea zone or territory, are automatically placed into a warehouse instead of being discarded. These units may not move or participate in battles in any way. The units may be deployed during subsequent Deploy Units phases as normal, from any eligible industrial complex. If an industrial complex is targeted by a Strategic Bombing Raid a stored unit must be discarded (owner's choice) for each 5 or 6 rolled on the raid dice.

Article publication date: June 4, 1999

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