Axis and Allies
Several years ago, we bought our son Aiden (age 9) the board game Axis & Allies – 1941 for Christmas, as his interest in World War II was increasing. For two years prior, Aiden and I had been attending the D-Day Conneaut event, held every third weekend of August. This three-day long event, with re-enactment of the D-Day invasion day off the shore of Lake Erie on the third day, brings re-enactors from all over North America and Europe to this small town 90 minutes east of Cleveland, Ohio.
Axis & Allies – 1941 is based on World War II, the Axis (Germany and Japan) against the Allies (Russia, Britain, and the US). It can be played by up to 5 players. Each country has units of infantry, tanks, bombers, fighter planes, and a Navy, comprised of air craft carriers, battleships, cruisers, submarines, and transport ships. All of this is played on a game board of the world, broken up into thirty sections.
Each game could last several days. We would the take side of the Allies or the Axis, and play on behalf of a total of 5 countries each round. The game ends when Berlin and Tokyo are captured by the Allies or 2 of 3 capitals of the Allies are captured (Washington DC, London, and Moscow) by the Axis.
This game and the D-Day reenactment visits created an environment where I could discuss history, geography and politics with Aiden as well as decision-making strategies. (Aiden had much better strategy skills than me at this game and he beat me most of the time.)
On his own, Aiden discovered The History Channel’s show Top Ten of WW2, which listed the top ten military weapons of WW2. This included weapons such as tanks, bombers, and fighter plans.
He began to apply what he learned from Top Ten by changing the rules of Axis & Allies. He would adjust the value of the various units based upon these lists. After his changes, the German tank had a higher attack and defend value than the British or US tanks but not that of the Russian tank. This pleasantly surprised Colleen and me, realizing that Aiden understood how to take a list from the Top Ten and turn that information into a numeric value, between 1 and 5. He adjusted the game to what he believed would be more realistic to what the soldiers had to face during World War II. It was something he did without direction. He was just given the time and space to apply it in a way that was meaningful and impactful to something that interested him.
Here is an affiliate link for Axis and Allies . . .
When has your child surprised you by something they adapted or expanded?