I recently planned to have a game of Axis and Allies (Spring 1942 Version 2) over the Christmas break with some fellow gamers – one of whom was arriving from interstate, and so I grabbed the game from the cupboard, dusted off the box and laid the board out on my billiard table, thinking this would make for a great playing field – plenty of room for the four of us to stand around the board, discuss strategies and make battle. Yet the board looked rather small sitting there in the middle of the billiard table which is 10 feet x 5 feet).
I thought to myself ‘how good would it be to have a Giant Axis & Allies board, one that fits the size of the billiard table’. We were playing in two days time so I had to get to work if I was going to make this happen.
First, with a simple search on Google, I found that the board that I have in my Axis & Allies set was already scanned onto the net. So I copied the image into photoshop and then enlarged it so that it was 1.2 x 2.1 metres in size ( a size I had determined would fit nicely on the billiard table) – a large file! The image was blurry at this size, however this was okay because I then redrew the whole board using the original image merely as a guide.
The board that I have in my set is the dark board with the almost blackish water and dark brown,grey land. Personally I don’t enjoy this board’s colours and have often thought of buying the later version with the more earthy coloured land masses and blue seas. So I changed the colours on my giant board to greens and brown for land and blue for the oceans. I then added sea and ocean names that are not on the original board, and also continent titles – Europe, Asia, North America etc.
Another feature I included that is not on the original board is setup symbols. On each land space that requires pieces for the start of the game I then added the appropriate symbols. This makes setup so much easier.
It took me approximately 18 hours to recreate the board in photoshop. It could probably be done much quicker, however, I’m a bit of perfectionist when it comes to these sort of things. The next morning I made some phone calls to 6 different signage companies who do print on demand and ‘one offs’. Each was on on holidays (it being the period between Christmas Day and New Years). The 7th company I rang were situated miles away, across the other side of the city, yet I gave them a call anyway. So glad I did. The gentleman happened to be doing some work that day and when I told him what I needed and that it needed to be ready the following day, he said he would do it!
He did the job, printed, finished and delivered it the afternoon of the day before we were to play.
The board is professionally printed, mounted on 5cm armour board and coated with a protective contact. It is incredibly smooth and durable. The printer did an amazing job and it was a terrific surprise for my fellow gamers when the arrived to see the giant board awaiting on the billiard table. The game was played with zest and was very enjoyable, however we ran out of time and so there was no victory outcome, although the Allies definitely had the upper hand.
When the game is not being played I store the board on my study wall. It is affixed with mounts that keep it flush and stable, but also allow for quick removal ready for the next big game!
For others wanting to create their own giant Axis & Allies board, there are some good posts on gaming forums that describe how one can do this. Please do not ask me for the photoshop file. I will not be giving this out or selling it as this would breach the intellectual property rights of the game developer. This board I created purely for personal use … and it makes Axis & Allies (already a magnificent game) even more enjoyable.