If you like battle for battle’s sake, you only need to know one word: Attack!
The revised expansion to the classic Attack! boardgame. You need the Attack! basic set to play.
In 2003, Eagle Games introduced a new way to fight. The 1st edition of Attack! stripped global war down to its basics, appealing to
fans of complex wargames and abstract strategy games alike. In theory, this game took place just before World War II began, but in
reality, it didn’t just take place everywhere, it could take place everywhen. In this way it hearkened back to classic games like Risk and
Supremacy, reminding the players that the reason to battle was not to recreate an era of history, but rather to battle for battle’s sake.
When it first came out, the game proclaimed that it would deliver on its great name. That first edition of Attack! didn’t reward caution.
You and I girded up for war and started wailing on each other. Simple, straightforward, and fun.
I became aware of Attack! as I was developing another world-spanning battle game, the first revision of Axis & Allies in 18 years. That
game was locked in place historically. It was early 1942: the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor had lit a fire under America, and
Germany was at the height of its expansion. Axis & Allies staked its foot in the ground and said, this war, this time. And yet…
And yet it wasn’t quite, because for a wargame set in 1942 to have any chance of being balanced, Axis & Allies needed to
compromise. The Germans needed to get more resources than they had in reality, because despite millions of people working to decide
the outcome, by 1942 the Allies had made most of the gains they needed to win the war. It’s hard to imagine what the Axis could
have done to win, assuming anything but inactivity from America and its European partners. So Axis & Allies put the Axis first, and a
whole bunch of compromises with reality followed from there, all in the name of great gameplay.
Attack! doesn’t even try to be historical, and so it starts from a point of balance. You’re a nation, and you want to beat the other
nations into oblivion. I’m not America, you’re not Germany, and we’re evenly matched. The only thing that makes you more capable
of beating me is if you’re smarter or luckier or more adaptable than I am.
When Sean and I started to redevelop the game for its 2nd Edition, we looked at both the base game and its expansion, and thought
about what we wanted to keep. The combat system was excellent, for example, and the huge map (once you added the expansion
to the base set) was awe-inspiring. But some things weren’t awe-inspiring, and we pruned those away. This gave us the freedom to
introduce new rules—new technology, new naval battles, and lots more—that made the game more flexible and more fun, and allowed
us the supreme luxury of combining the base set and the expansion into one. This is all you’ll ever need to conquer the entire world.
But maybe, after all that buildup, you still don’t think this game’s for you. Maybe you’d like something more methodical, realistic, or
slow. If so, I’m sure someone will create a game called Defend! just for you. But if you like battle for battle’s sake, as I do, you only
need to know one word:
—Mike Selinker, February 2009