Many of us wargamers grew up playing the Axis and Allies boardgame in at least one of its incarnations–the original, Second Edition, Third Edition, Iron Blitz, Revised, 50th Anniversary (my favorite), or one of the big global editions. Many of these are still played in wargame clubs around the country, or in the basements and living rooms of gamers.
But the community seems to be declining with the new generation who don’t play physical boardgames. That’s a shame. The game is a popular classic that successfully straddles the line between hardcore gamer and casual gamer alike. It avoids the crushing zero-sum free-for-all of Risk in favor of a two-sided multiplayer model that allows for a lot more strategy, but the rules are still simple enough to be comprehensible to the casual player.
For a while, official computer versions filled in the gap, allowing play across the internet for anyone who bought the sanctioned CD to install the game on their PC or Mac. Then, Game Table Online ran a version that allowed online download and play for free. That folded, and the community suffered.
But now, and apparently for the last year or two there is Triple-A. It’s an engine that allows for not only all the old A&A versions, but also many variants and completely different games, such as Ancients, or Star Trek-type maps and rules. In fact, the engine will handle a lot of different types of games, as long as they are territory-based and use units with certain types of stats.
There is a learning curve–how the engine works, the map views, the bidding, the jargon–but is you have missed playing A&A over the past years, and you want to play it again without the hassle (and the joy) of getting a group together around the dining room table, Triple-A is for you.