Axis and Allies: 3D Printing Your Way to Victory

Posted by Elsie K on

The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play. ~James Kirk, Star Trek TOS

Good day all!

My name is Paul, but you can call me PJ. I am an avid gamer/geek and a practitioner of NERDCRAFT. *-CRAFT-AFT-aft* *echo effect and thunder*
What’s that you might ask? Well for me it’s when the gamer in me meets up with the gnome tinker in me.
I’m here to tell you a short story about my desire to play a board game from my childhood and the rabbit hole it took me down.

Several years ago I discovered the wondrous hobby of 3D printing. This was a direct result of the desire to print my own D&D minis. Usually I’m up late watching YouTube videos, see something game-related and say to myself ‘I want that but don’t want to shell out the cash to buy it.’ So often I try to make my own stuff with varying degrees of success, eventually this became a very fun hobby and I ended up buying 5 different 3D Printers, 4 filament printers, and last but not least my newest one - a Creality LD002R LCD Resin 3D Printer - that fits in with this story.

Axis and Allies map with various game piecesNow that I have provided you with some background I can tell you my tale.
When I was around 15, my group of childhood friends and I used to play a board game called ‘Axis and Allies.’ We would play this game for days at a time, but to be honest we never finished a game. Kind of like how no one has ever finished monopoly.
we home brewed the hell out of that game and it was always fun! I have very fond memories of playing this game even with my one friend who always cheated. LOL
Well as it turns out I'm an old man now - soon about to reach my 50th bday - and I still hang out and play games with the same group of friends to this day. It’s like we’re still 14. Since we all grew up together it came to be that we all decided to take a cruise to celebrate our 50th bdays and 35+ years of friendship.
Me being the gamer that I am, thought it would be an awesome idea to play this game again since we all were going to be at the same place at the same time.
So off to Amazon I go do some searching. After a few minutes I find the game and place my order.

A few days later my game arrived but it is the wrong edition. It seems that there have been several editions since I’ve last played (this will come back later). So I head back to Amazon and continue the search. I finally find MY VERSION of the game that I remember, so I place my order. $100. I didn’t mind that much as it was for a good memory, but I found out it is somewhat of a collector’s item now and I was lucky to get it at $100.
The other available game listing was sold for a considerable price, so I felt very lucky.
I was very excited about my purchase, so I called a board game buddy of mine and told him about it. He let me know this was one of his favorite games as well, and after swapping board game war stories it was agreed that we would play a game with a few others.
I took to YouTube to watch some videos to re-familiarize myself with the game and its rules, and that’s when I made an amazing discovery (at least to me). I found there was a 50th anniversary edition of my beloved game.

Axis and Allies 3D printed boat piecesI was shocked and amazed to find that several house rules we played with as kids made it into the game! Like paratroopers. Many of the new rules were almost like what we had set up back in the day. It even had a 6 player Italy so I had to have a copy for myself. Back on Amazon and I found a copy for $499 since this was a super rare collector’s item. I went to other game sites and stores, but everywhere was either the same price, or out of stock. However, what I was able to find were some of the anniversary edition game pieces, like the troop placement cards and I was able to find pics of some of the other stuff. Then it hit me. I have several 3D printers and I got them for gaming projects anyways, so I rushed to my PC. First I find out what new pieces have been added: 2 ships, 1 ground unit.

I was able to find 3D models for the 2 new ships and some mini stands for the air planes, but I was not finding anything for the new ground unit. So I took to Tinkercad, a newbie CAD program I'm still learning. Fusion360 and Tinkercad are really good with primitive shapes, so 20 mins of design later and I had my newly made ground unit model!

Axis and Allies 3D printed planesAxis and Allies 3D printed ground units

Now it's off to the printers. I loaded my models and hit the print button about 10 different times, but when it was all finished I had several dozen newly printed game pieces. Plus with the images I edited and reprinted along with the placement boards I ordered, I was able to upgrade my ‘Axis and Allies’ game from the OG game to something that looks a lot like the new anniversary edition! Some may say “But you’re missing the new game board!” This is true, but there are sites that sell just the board and maybe at some point I’ll do that. But for now I’m super happy with the way my new game pieces came out, and when we played with the new rule set it was so much fun! I’m glad I took the time to get crafty. It saved me like $495, and still provided me with a mostly upgraded game.

Axis and Allies game and pieces displayed

Keep track of all of Paul's posts here!

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