Tactics and Gameplay
Axis and Allies Spring 1942 : Soviet Strategic Defense
Welcome Comrade! Here you will find a guide to understand the Soviet Union (USSR)’s position and role in the game.
Part 1 – Soviet Strategy
There are 3 factors that make the Soviet Union the weakest country in A&A: •Its position in the middle of the two Axis powers, forcing it to play a defensive two front war.
•It has the lowest starting income of all powers, limiting its purchases to ground units and the occasional plane/sub.
•It is the best target for the Axis to achieve victory due to the conditions above.
However the USSR also possesses 2 key advantages to balance its initial disadvantages:•Russia is at the center of the board and is the only country with easy land access to all of its starting territories, plus several key map areas. This allows it the benefits of quick reinforcement of its defenses and the ability to easily switch armies between fronts.
•Russia plays first – it can take advantage of any opening created by the UK against Germany or any opportunity created by an US attack on Japan. And any Soviet moves against Japan can also create openings for the UK to explore against Japan. The UK-US-R combination against Germany and the US-R-UK combination against Japan can be one of the Allies’ greatest assets, if you know how to use them.
Within these conditions, the Soviet Union’s objectives are here defined as:•Defend the Russian Motherland against the combined aggression of G/J.
•Increase its income by conquering Axis territories and liberating Soviet ones (with UK/US assistance).
These 2 objectives are the center of the Soviet strategy presented on this article. It is a defensive strategy but that requires an aggressive attitude towards the Axis. Or, in other words, mess with the bull, you’ll get the horn. By itself, it does not assure an Allied victory but it can make an Axis one long and costly.
Objective 1 – The Motherland
The Motherland consists of the territory of Russia and the six territories adjacent to it (its main line of defense). Control of that line will protect Russia from any attacks on Moscow and give it a combined income of 21 IPC. If the Axis move an invincible stack into any territories of the defense line it is usually bad news for the Soviets.
The six territories of the main line of defense are:•Caucasus – Usually the main target of the Axis thrusts against Russia. It can be attacked by either Germany or Japan from several land territories (Ukraine, Kazakh, Persia) and SZ16 (with the Dardanelles open). If captured it allow either G/J to build units right next to Russia, if the Allies don’t recapture it.
•West Russia – The pivot territory of the Eastern front, giving access to six land territories, including Russia. German control of this territory will allow it to directly threaten Russia/Caucasus and to force the USSR to abandon Caucasus.
•Kazakh S.S.R. – Kazakh is very similar to West Russia, although a less important because of the different Asian geography. Due to the ICs on Russia and Caucasus, Kazakh can be transformed easily into a ‘dead zone’ for the Axis – any stack of units moved there will be destroyed by the Allies.
•Novosibirsk – While it can be harder to turn it into a ‘dead zone’ than Kazakh, Novo is the key territory to block Japanese advances through Yakut/Sinkiang.
•Archangel – Besides its value this territory is strategic to any Allied reinforcement of the USSR.
•Evenki National Okrug – Sometimes may not be worth the effort of being retaken by Russia, however it can be used as a gateway for Japanese tanks to strike into Russia.
Objective 2 – Increasing Income
The 2nd aim for the Soviet Union is to raise its income to 30 or more, at the expense of all other powers. The higher the number, the lower the Axis income and the more units G/J will have to spend to retake territories away from the Soviet Union. Besides keeping the Axis units away from the main line of defense, the higher production will also allow the Soviets to replace destroyed units and build up its forces, specially armor.
The main territories for the USSR to increase its income are:
•Karelia – 2 IPC. This can be the easiest since either the UK/US can liberate it through an amphibious assault after Germany has taken it.
•Ukraine S.S.R. – Its 3 IPC value makes it important, however its position makes it easier to be fortified by Germany/Japan against a Soviet counterattack.
•Yakut/Buryatia/SFE – 1 IPC each, for a total of 3. Bur and SFE are very unlikely since J usually takes those territories on the first turns and it is not worth it to send units just to retake them. Yak is more possible to maintain/retake, depending on the number of Japanese units on the area.
•Norway – 3 IPC. Norway is usually taken by the UK/US but you might want to reconsider it, especially since Germany tends to leave it empty of units after the first rounds. If the German transport on the Baltic has been sunk then a single Soviet tank in Arc/WR can take Norway after the US/UK liberate Kar.
•Belorussia – 2 IPC. The Soviets will need to have available forces on WR, although attacks from Kar/Ukr are also possible.
•Eastern Europe/Balkans – 3 IPC each. Not that uncommon, depending on dice results, the overall situation and the position of Soviet/German units.
•Manchuria – 3 IPC. A long shot, depending if the USSR has massed its 6 infantry on Buryatia on R1, if J does not attack that stack on J1 and how much units are left there at the end of J1. Usually the best chance to take Manchuria happens on R2, after which any Soviet units on Buryatia face destruction by Japanese amphibious assaults.
Imagining on R3 that the Soviets have lost the 3 Far East territories (-3 IPC) but has control of Kar/Nor/BR/Ukr (+10), it will receive 31 IPC. Of course if G/J are pushing hard against the Soviet Union this number might be impossible to obtain but the ’30’ should be kept as a reference.
Finally, one very important thing to remember is that any Soviet infantry moved into those territories is effectively removed from the defense of Soviet territory for one full game turn.
Finally, the following are the territories that the USSR can conquer/liberate, in case the opportunity presents itself. They can greatly help the overall Allied strategy but most are special/rare occasions where it is necessary to weight the benefits/cost for Russia.
•India – While it may not look worthwhile for the USSR to spend units, specially armor, to liberate it, there are very good reasons to do so: the UK will receive critical income from it and Japan will not be able to place an IC there on the next turn.
•Persia – Like Evenki it may not be worth the effort of being liberated by the Soviets, however it can be used as a gateway by Axis armor on India against Caucasus.
•Trans-Jordan- Rare for the Soviets to liberate it, usually happens to prevent the Axis from using the Suez channel.
•Sinkiang/China – Unless Japan can’t retake them, it is useless and a waste of units for the USSR to liberate any of them, since the US will never receive any income from it because Japan plays before the Americans. But if Japan has left the corridor empty them it can be used to threaten the Japanese coastal territories.
•Southern Europe – 6 IPC. Somewhat rare for the Soviets to take it, usually happens when the UK/US take Balkans and Soviet armor blitz to S. Eur.
•Kwantung/French Indochina – 3 IPC each. Rare, unless the Allies are pushing Japan hard.
•Germany – 10 IPC. Very rare situation, unless the combined UK/US assaults will fail but there’s a Soviet armor stack within range to conquer Berlin.
Like the previous territories, Soviet units moved into those territories will be most likely unable to assist in defense of the Motherland during the next game turn(s).
With the objectives defined, I’ll now go over the geography to explain the dynamics of Eurasia and how the USSR can achieve its goals.
Part 2 – The Gameboard
Looking at the illustration provided on the bottom of this post, the first map shows the attack routes used by the Axis towards Russia (full arrows primary routes, dotted arrows secondary paths). Achieving the 1st Soviet objective depends on the Allies’ ability to stop/delay Axis advances through those lines and disrupt the coordination between both Axis powers.
There are five main Axis attack fronts, two in Europe (through Karelia and/or Ukraine) and three on Asia (Sinkiang, Yakut and Persia), each with a lenght of four spaces from the starting grey/yellow territories and Moscow. Caucasus is the only Motherland territory that is on the path of both German and Japanese routes. As long as Russia can turn any of main line of defense territories into dead zones (spaces where the enemy can’t move a force large enough to defend itself against counterattacks) it will be able to stop the Axis before they reach Moscow.
The second map shows the key areas for Russia to hold back the Axis advance and perform counterattacks into German held territories. The full arrows show the custom Soviet attacks on Europe, to slow the German advance and to achieve the 2nd objective, raising income. The dotted arrows should secondary options to raise income or to strike at other important territories.
Finally, the third map shows the usual positions for Axis stacks (defined as a pile of units that can’t be crippled/destroyed by an Allied attack) as they advance towards Moscow and reach the outskirts of the main line of defense. Soviet survival depends on how the Allies manage/react to the presence of Axis stacks on those locations and the level of initiative and coordination show between the German/Japanese forces. Each position offers special challenges and the presence of 2 or more stacks in those locations can and most likely will limit the Soviet response(s).
Even though the defense of the USSR should be considered as a whole, there are major differences between Europe and Asia.
•Germany is the strongest threat to the USSR at the beginning, due to its starting power and units.
•Allows Soviet income to significantly increase by the capture of several original German territories.
•Axis units can easily switch units between both the Karelia/Ukraine routes.
•Expected UK/US assistance with amphibious landings.
•Karelia – Allows German attacks on Norway, WRus and Archangel. Can shut off Allied reinforcements to Russia landing on Karelia/Archangel (the blue arrows). Secures victory city for Axis.
•Ukraine- Allows German attacks on Caucasus and WRus. If combined with a Japanese stack on Persia/Sinkiang it can effectively lock the Red Army in defending the Caucasus, at the expense of abandoning the other territories of the Motherland.
Notes on Europe:
•The ideal situation at the beginning is that Germans keep their stack on Eastern Europe, either by German ‘combat shyness’ or the Soviets turning Karelia/Ukraine into dead zones. Later this can be achieved through the threat of an UK/US invasion in Europe.
•However, against an experienced or aggressive German player this won’t happen. His main goal will be exactly to create a stack in either position and be looking into advancing further.
•The Allies completely stop the German advance if they are able to move a stack to Eastern Europe, freeing the Soviets to deal exclusively with Japan.
•The first step to this usually involves creating an Allied stack on Karelia. The Soviets should help, if possible by contributing with its armor and fighters. However, it will divert the armor from the line defense line for 1 turn.
•Karelia can and should be liberated by the UK/US, to allow the USSR to conserve and redeploy forces.
•On the beginning of the game the USSR should keep a stack of its own on West Russia to contest Karelia, Belorussia and Ukraine from the Germans and try to turn those territories into dead zones, slowing the German advance.
•There are two ways to deal with German stacks on Ukraine or Karelia. The first is to create a stack of your own in front on it, either West Russia or Caucasus. The second is to turn the territory into a dead zone for the Germans.
•If West Russia has to be evacuated, it may be possible to redeploy some units from those territories, in order to deal with Japanese stacks that were able to move into the Motherland – or to trade away territory while dealing with more close threats or to crush unsuspecting Japanese units.
•However, the Germans may be able to move a stack strong enough to West Russia, defended by Japanese planes, preventing the creation of a dead zone. If this happens, the Axis are very close to controlling the entire Eastern front.
•Regarding Caucasus, it’s the same lesson the Germans learned at Stalingrad during WW2 – you shouldn’t hang the entire fate of the war on a single city. If the Germans move a stack to West Russia, retreat. If a combined G/J attack can take it or Moscow is about to fall, retreat. As long as the Soviets can turn Caucasus into a dead zone and the Allies keep contesting it, it won’t be as bad as seeing the Axis producing units there.
•Archangel can be usually overlooked but it can be a crucial territory on occasion. If the Germans have a stack on Karelia they may be able to move it to Archangel, forcing the Soviets to call units to its capitol. It will also completely block any land reinforcement of Russia by the UK/US.
•G1 naval/air purchases are good news for the USSR – those units will be used also against the UK/US. Naval purchases are the best, since those are IPCs not spent on ground units that will have limited or zero effect on land and most likely will be destroyed by the other Allies.
•Japanese aggression against the USSR is limited during the initial rounds due to geography.
•The Soviets can trade space on Asia for time against Japan, with a smaller loss of income than in Europe.
•Japan’s armies are limited on their strategic moves by the impassible territories present, creating 3 axis of attack that cannot support one another on the middle.
•UK/US assistance restricted to the starting units, reinforcements brought in from Europe or ICs built on India/Sinkiang.
•Yakut – The easiest route for Japan to use (and usually the 1st one), by landing units into Buryatia. Allows attacks on Evenki/Novo.
•Sinkiang – Usually used by Japanese units on Manchuria/Kwantung/FIC. It is usually the least effective to use since Japanese units built/landed on FIC will have to be split between it and Indian. It allows attacks on both Novo/Kazakh.
•Persia – The longest route, until Japan builds an IC on India. A Japanese stack in Persia can turn into a big threat to Caucasus, especially if the Germans move a stack to Ukraine. On the other hand, Japan can also use the route to hit Africa, diverting units that would go otherwise to Caucasus/Kazakh.
Notes on Asia:
•Asia is almost useless to the Soviets regarding income, as long as they keep control of Kazakh/Novosibirsk. The other territories are all worth 1 IPC but the distance and proximity to Japan make their liberation unlikely, except for Evenki. And conquering any of the Japanese territories on the coast is usually very hard and dependent on being prepared if the occasion presents itself.
•The liberation of UK/US territories on Asia is usually not worth if the liberating Soviet units will be destroyed in counterattacks, since the money goes instead to the UK/US.
•Not depending on territories for income actually give the Soviets more options on Asia. They can afford not to attack isolated Japanese units on Yakut/Sinkiang/Persia or further away from Russia. However, if they do attack them it needs to serve a higher goal than retaking the territory.
•The more efficient way to deal with the Japanese is to let them advance piecemeal through the 3 routes and destroy them when they advance to Kazakh/Novo with a force that can’t be destroyed in a counterattack.
•The UK/US shouldn’t never build ICs on India/Sinkiang unless the Japanese are being defeated on land and the sea. Building ICs during the first round can be specially bad because: 1) The Allies can’t lose them – they are on the middle of the Japanese advance on Asia and will give Japan the ability to cut by half its travel time. 2) They extend too much the Soviet defense line and place a burden on its defensive flexibility. 3) They can’t support one another and Japan can choose to direct its strength against a single one – once it is conquered, the other usually falls afterwards.
•The presence of a Soviet stack on either Kazakh/Novo will also can stall the Japanese advance in two of those routes and if units in Russia are also able to create dead zones on Yakut/Sinkiang/Persia they will force Japanese units to retreat, delaying them even further.
•If Japan is able to create a 1 stack on any of the territories above that projects a dead zone on Kazakh or Novo, the Soviets can prevent it from creating a 2nd one by moving a stack to the other Motherland territory. Example: a J stack on Yakut creates a dead zone on Novo. USSR creates a stack on Kazakh that prevent Japanese units from advancing on the Sinkiang/Persia ones and also contributes to Novo becoming a dead zone for the Japanese stack on Yakut. Japan has to reinforce those routes and Yakut.
•Japan’s actions against the USSR will be dependent on two factors: its need for income and the presence/absence of the US on the Pacific.
•Soviet ability to be on the offensive against Japan is limited by the geography and the distances involved. As long as there are Japanese transports operating on SZ60 and/or ICs on Manchuria/Kwantung/Indochina it can be impossible to reach the coastline.
Finally, the Soviet player needs to take into consideration events on both theaters when planning his/her moves.
Part 3 – The Two-Front War
One way to picture the USSR is to imagine a boxer standing on the middle of the ring, surrounded by two opponents on each side. By himself he can hold out against one of them but if both advance at the same time he’ll have problems.
Next, I’ll describe a series of possible situations of Russia against one or both Axis powers, illustrating them on map sequences and explaining the rationale behind them.
Example 1 – Forcing a Japanese Retreat
•Germany has 1 stack on Karelia, while Japan has moved 2 smaller stacks to Yakut/Sinkiang. Russia has 1 stack on West Russia facing the German one – both can’t attack one another.•The Soviet player looks at the board and realizes that the Germans won’t be able to advance the Karelia stack into West Russia because it will lacks both enough attack power against its stack and it is possible to create a dead zone on West Russia.
•On Asia the situation is more worrisome because if both Japanese stacks merge in Novosibirsk it will force the Soviets to destroy them, taking away its initiative by forcing it to react to Japan.
•The Soviets decide to deal with the Japanese first – they attack both Belorussia and Ukraine for the income and to destroy German units but move their armor to Novosibirsk to join the infantry from Russia to create a stack there. It also pulls back its infantry from West Russia/Caucasus to prevent their destruction since the movement of the armor to Novo turns the area into a dead zone for the Soviets.
•Germany wants to advance its stack into West Russia but it is unable to do so, because there’s not enough defense against the Soviet inf/art on Russia/Caucasus and the armor on Novosibirsk. The Japanese could land some fighters to help but the territory would still be a dead zone for the Axis. Germany decides instead to retake Ukr, Belo, WRus and Archangel while waiting for further reinforcements to arrive its stack on Karelia.
•Japan now has a problem – even though it can reinforce Yakut/Sinkiang both territories are now dead zones. The Soviets cannot attack both but they can destroy all units or make a strafe attack on one of them. Japan decides that it can’t lose the units so it attacks only Kazakh and retreats to Buryatia/China.
•Due to its movements the USSR has now temporarily delayed the Japanese advance by 1 turn, at the expense of Europe, but on the next turn it can refocus against the Germans and retake the territories it lost, with the exception of Belorussia.
Example 2 – USSR Gets Cornered
•The UK/US have managed to land a stack on Karelia and turning the territories around Russia into dead zones, stopping the Axis advance. Control of Novo/Kaz/Evenki has been contested between the Soviets and Japan for a couple of turns and the Japanese have been able to steadly move reinforcements to Sinkiang/Yakut.
•Soviet options are limited since the presence of the German stack on Ukraine pins most of the Red Army to the defense of Caucasus. It prevents them from performing a similar move to the one on the previous example, to move a stack to Kazakh and turn Sinkiang into a dead zone, forcing the Japanese units there to retreat or preventing them from conquering Kazakh.
•Instead, the Soviet Union can only retake West Russia, Kazakh and Novosibirsk. It doesn’t retake Evenki or Persia because it would cost too much precious attacking units for the gains.
•Next round, Axis keeps the pressure on the defense line, taking back the territories lost to the Soviets on the previous turn. But due to the reinforcements and most of the Soviet army being on Caucasus, Novosibirsk is no longer a dead zone for Japan.
• Japanese units pour into Novosibirsk, creating a stack, while armor produced/landed moves in to Yakut/Sinkiang and position itself to strike into Moscow.
•The Soviet player discovers that Japan has turned his/her capitol into a dead zone. It will have to move part or all of its army back to Russia. And that can also create a dead zone for any Allied units on the Caucasus because of the German stack on Ukraine. It can possibly retake West Russia and Kazakh
•The USSR can possibly retake West Russia and Kazakh but it is facing now a combined Axis death grip. Its income will drop below 20s and the Japanese will keep the pressure until they are able to conquer Moscow. Unless a major change happens, the Soviet Union is now limited to contesting the former defense line territories and waiting that the rest of the Allies can achieve victory.
Part 4 – Game Progression (WORK IN PROGRESS)
Finally, this part will describe the possible actions for the Soviet Union during its first turns.
1st Turn Purchase Options
•3 inf, 3 arm – Replaces armor used to attack Ukraine on the first round and gives the Soviets some attacking power to prevent the Germans from creating a stack in Karelia on G1. 2 armors can also be placed on Caucasus to liberate India in case of a successful J1 attack.
•5 inf, 1 art, 1 arm – Less offense, more defense and 1 more unit than the previous buy.
•4 arm, 1 art – All offensive buy. In case you really want to prevent a German stack to be formed on Karelia on G1.
•1 ftr, ground units – To augment the airforce and threaten the German Med fleet or to replace a fighter used to attack Norway on R1.
•1 sub, ground units – To be placed on SZ16 (if the Dardanelles are open) and attack the German Med fleet on R2.
•8 inf – All defensive buy. If you are attacking Ukraine on R1 you shouldn’t do this purchase since you’ll be left with few attacking units for the 2nd round.
•It is useful for Russia to always have at least 1 artillery when trading WR/Belo/Ukr to preserve armor.
•Armor is crucial – the objective is to create a growing strategic fast reserve that can be used afterwards to switch quickly between the European and Asian theaters and/or to be used in specialized strikes (against India, Norway, etc.).
•The submarine purchase on the 1st round can be very helpful in sinking the Med fleet and/or preventing the Germans to amphibiously attack Egypt on G2. However, this means that the Russian fighters will not be available to clear out Karelia/BR/WR, requiring instead art/armor. The Germans can also react to a sub/plane purchase in several ways, such as a strong push on the Eastern front to try to overwhelm the Russian response (see the Case Blue Axis strat article for more details).
•Finally, when deciding between buying infantry or armor you need to decide the number of attacks you’ll make, how many units you’ll use and whether they can be counterattacked. One good benchmark is to be able to begin your next round with the same number of units or attack/defense power that had on the previous round. There are also a few ways to do this already described above: use the UK/US to liberate Karelia to lower the number of attacks Russia has to make, apply overwhelming force on Asia, etc.
1st Turn Combat Options
•Russia attacks WR with at least 11 units to kill the German units and position a stack to contest Belorussia/Karelia (reinforced with an AA during non-combat). It also uses all of the units on Caucasus plus 3/4 armor/fighters to clear Ukraine of German units and conquer it.
•This attack aims to kill the German fighter to prevent the sinking of the UK BB on SZ2. The fighter from Russia is sacrificed, either taking it as a loss or by landing it on Karelia. Regarding WR, the Soviets usually needs to keep some forces back to evaluate the situation after combat is resolved and reinforce either WR/Caucasus against a German counter attack.
•This is safest of all combinations, destroying part of the German army and saving the starting Russian armor. However, it also allows the 2nd largest pile of German units at start to be spared from destruction by not attacking Ukraine.
•This attack has very high odds if playing with low luck but if playing regular dice there’s about a 2/3 odds that at least 1 attack will fail. Which can leave the Russians units at West Russia vulnerable to a German counterattack.
•If successful, this combination of attacks destroys 2 German fighters and prevents the sinking of the UK Battleship on SZ2. However, it only has 1/3 odds of all 3 attacks being successful. And it may also be possible that Germany retakes all the 3 territories again on its counterattack.
Note: there are quite a few more choices for the Russians. I’ve seen twice Russia opening the game by making strafing attacks on Norway and West Russia and then retreating everything to Karelia and landing the fighters there. Either you are very lucky or the entire German army and airforce will wipe out the Russian forces at Karelia on G1.
1st Turn Non-Combat Moves
•Submarine from SZ4 to SZ2
•Infantry to Soviet Far East and Yakut to Buryatia – puts pressure on Japan to defend Manchuria, let it fall to Russia or try to destroy the Russian units. Or you can also retreat those units back to Russia.
•Infantry on Novo/Evenki to Russia, on Kazakh to Caucasus – to form a strategic reserve of infantry to use against the bigger threat of Germany. Or you can send them to try to stall Japan as much as possible.
STRATEGY – PACIFIC 1940
“UK and ANZAC: Slowing Down the Japanese Assault”
Written by Trallis on 01-07-2010 at Axis and Allies.org
Pacific 1940 is in many ways an expansion released before its base game. Of the six major powers in global only one has its capital on the Pacific board: Japan. However, it is still a very interesting game to play in its own right. These articles will serve to give a feeling for the depth of strategy and breadth of options available to each power. I intend to show the options at each point. I have my own conclusions, though, and to these I will dedicate the most time and space. You are welcome to disagree with them, even encouraged. Please. Write me to tell me how wrong I am.
My play group always divides the Allies into US/China and UK/ANZAC, and the articles will be grouped accordingly. I’ve heard of groups that split it as US and UK/ANZAC/China. I can see the logic behind this. I am also writing assuming a house rule which forbids an attack on the first Japanese turn. I am considering writing a fourth article (after one for each power) on how to deal with a turn 1 declaration of war as the Allies.
Axis and Allies: Pacific 1940 : United Kingdom and Australia & New Zealand
Pacific 1940 will eventually become a clash between two titans – Japan and the United States. In the middle of this, the UK and ANZAC can get a bit lost. A successful ANZAC player will make around 20 IPCs. A US player will have a difficult time making less than 55, and if successful can be producing 70. The UK may be able to crank out around 30, but it will plummet by the time ANZAC reaches 15. It is all too easy to fall in to the trap of feeling irrelevant when playing as the British Empire in Pacific 1940. However, this is a mistake.
Your centers of industrial production – India and Australia – are much more strategically located than the Western United States. If you purchase a minor complex on Queensland you can move ships from Australia to any space in the East Indies the turn after they are purchased. As the US, it takes a minimum of three turns from Western US to Celebes or Java, and that assumes ownership of the Caroline Islands and no hostile presence. Your forces will get there first. You are also right in the middle of the fight in a way the Americans just aren’t. Japan is going to be going after your territory, not the Americans, most of the time. America has the Philippines, Hawaii which is too hard to defend to be valuable to Japan, and a few islands like Guam and Midway that aren’t worth any IPCs to either side. Between the UK and ANZAC you’ll have Kwangtung, Malaysia, Borneo, Celebes, Java, Sumatra, Burma, New Guinea, not to mention India and Australia themselves. You are really in the thick of things. You may have to rely on America coming to rescue you, but you’ll be the one fighting the war long before they get there. Using these tactics, you can maximize your resistance and the amount of time it will take Japan to take India and Indonesia.
Your goal isn’t really to win in the sense that you aren’t really going to be pursuing the Allied victory conditions. You aren’t going to be the one invading the Japanese home islands. Your goal, instead, is to keep the Japanese from winning. You want to make every space captured be as expensive as possible to the Japanese, and force them to spread their force thin. When they take a space, you take it back. In this manner, you slow their advance to a crawl and give the United States time to arrive and obliterate their navy. When you do your job right, Japanese industrial production will be insufficient to repel the Americans and they will loose. When you do your job wrong, Japanese industrial production will climb until it rivals and eventually exceeds that of the United States. For the US to even matter, you have to be on your game.
As the UK the name of the game is force maximization. Attrition is your enemy. You’ll only have the opportunity to buy a few units before Japanese bombing and the loss of most of your valuable territories leave your industry in tatters. That said, you start with a reasonable amount of force. You have a reasonable navy, and quite an air force with 5 planes. You need to make those units count as much as they can. Japan would love to force you into a casualty-heavy pitched battle where both sides take heavy losses. Japan is far more able to replace those losses than you. The best strategy you can take is to mass your forces but leave them in positions that are inconvenient for the Japanese to attack. If you put all 5 planes on Malaysia, it will be very hard for the Japanese to attack. But beyond that, it will mean that every Japanese naval task force in the Indies will have to deal with the possibility of being attacked by 5 planes. Even if you don’t strike with those planes, it will mean the Japanese constantly will be forced to deal with the possibility of you attacking. Keeping ships near India is also good. They’ll be too distant to be worth Japans time, but with your naval base you’ll be able to strike at any time. Also as India you will want to focus on holding the Indies as long as possible, and that means a focus on naval power rather than land power. It may seem strange as the Japanese push through Burma and toward your capital, but Java is worth twice as much as Shan and Burma put together, much less all four Indies which are worth 20 IPCs to you all together. Eventually, though, Japan will eliminate your forces in the Indies, and at that point, you want to turtle with as many infantry as possible. But you want to delay that point as long as possible.
As ANZAC you’re usually, but not always, in less immediate danger than the UK. Your first goal is obviously to take New Guinea, but after that you want to focus on the Indies as much as possible. They are valuable, close to you, and can seriously help out your embattled British brothers. Your goal should be to take and retake the Indies, forcing the Japanese navy to keep fighting for them long past the point where the UK has given up resisting. If you take Celebes, say, from the Japanese it denies them 8 income because of the objective and give you 3. 8 income is more than a thorn in the side, they will need to dedicate force to taking it back quickly. As the game continues, you can be a very big help the US, providing cleanup and valuable air-support. If the US takes a valuable space that may be taken back by Japan, fly in planes. You can give the Japanese player all sorts of headaches in this manner.
* Keep Malaysia and Hong Kong: Barring a J1 attack you’ll keep these only your first turn. Hong Kong always falls the turn Japan declares war. Malaysia may fall quickly, or you may hold it quite awhile, depending. Even with Malaysia, taking back Hong Kong is next to impossible.
* Take all four Indies (Celebes, Java, Sumatra, Borneo). This only happens in a game where the Allies are winning, and usually only with help from ANZAC. Still, if you hold those four islands its a very powerful boost to your industry.
* Take New Guinea, Solomon Islands, New Britain. This is easy to accomplish and maintain. Japan may make attempts to slow you down by taking one of the four needed spaces, but its rarely worth Japans time to make a dedicate push against this objective.
* Take a Japanese space. This one is nice, and easy to accomplish, but it only works once.
Turn by turn synopsis
Because of varying strategies, differing roles, and other factors no game will exactly match this scenario, but it is given as example of the tactics to use when playing as these powers.
Japan will have maneuvered itself in a position to attack the Indies next turn, penetrated deeper into China, and have built an industrial complex on the mainland somewhere, probably in Kiansiu. US maneuvers its fleet to Hawaii, and China retakes the Burma road.
UK Turn One:
You have time on the mainland. Japan can menace India, but right now, that will be a few turns off. You need to secure the money available in the Indies, and secure it quickly. Naval power is what matters now.
Purchases: 1 Transport. 1 Destroyer.
Movement: Try to establish a boundary by moving your infantry forward from India to Burma and Shan. Leave one infantry and one artillery behind so you can load them on the newly-built transport turn 2. Move all four fighters and 1 tac bomber to Malaysia since you can threaten the Indies from there. Move your transports from Malaysia to Sumatra and Java, bringing 2 infantry to Java and 1 to Sumatra. Move your battleship from Malaysia to India. Those transports will die. You can’t stop this. The best thing to do is to keep your valuable units out of harms way.
Alternate to putting your planes on Malaysia, using the air base on India you can get them to Borneo. The advantage is that you defend Borneo, but you also don’t have any infantry to absorb hits if the Japanese go after your air force. Borneo is a more vulnerable position, and without infantry the enemy can do quite a bit of damage.
Placement: Put them both on India. Now off the coast of India you have 1 BB, 1 CA, 2 DD, and 1 AP. With the Naval Base you can move those three spaces. The Japanese can’t ignore that, especially since your Malaysian air force can swoop in to support.
ANZAC Turn One:
Right now you need New Guinea. Other than that, watch Japan. Most of the time they aren’t going to menace you too much this early, but if they do, be ready for it.
Purchases: A minor complex on Queensland would be great, but you don’t have the IPCs for it. Instead, buy a transport. If the Japanese are looming too close, instead buy a destroyer.
Movement: Move your transport on New South Wales to New Zealand, bringing one infantry with you. Now next turn you move those two infantry to Dutch New Guinea, making use of New Zealand’s naval base. Move all four of your fighters somewhere, either New Guinea, or if the Japanese have more than one transport on the Caroline Islands, Queensland. By going through Sea Zones 33->48->49->54 its disturbingly possible for Japan to attack Queensland, so see if they have enough transports to do this. You can’t plug the hole, having only one surface ship to stop them, so your best hope if it looks like they might attempt this is to leave the four fighters on Queensland. Leave your 2 INF and 1 ART on Queensland in any case.
Placement: Put your transport off New South Wales, as this is the only place you can put it.
Japan declares war! Hong Kong/ Kwangtung, The Philippines, Borneo, Java, and Shan State fall. Japan moves further into China yet again. Most of the IJN is around Borneo, Java, and the Philippines. Japan also does a strategic bombing raid on India and deals an exactly average 12 damage (see average SBR damage at bottom). The US moves and takes the Carolines. China retakes Yunnan a second time to restore the Burma Road.
UK Turn two:
Japan has pushed into Shan, but they don’t have anywhere near what they would need to take India yet. The Indies are in much graver danger, and you must push back now and push back hard.
Purchases: Assuming 12 IPCs on damage have been laid on India then you should purchase 5 IPCs of repair on India, 1 cruiser, 1 transport, 1 artillery. Adjust for higher or lower damage. Your goal is put yourself in a position to strike back and retake the Indies, which requires transports, ground troops to load them onto, and a navy to protect them.
Movement: Consider whether now is the time to strike. If the Japanese have concentrated their navy, it isn’t. Concentration is actually good, it means that it will take too long to actually capture the Indies. If they have split themselves up, pick a tempting target. Choose one of the four Indies, one that has a nice Japanese fleet around it, hopefully a fleet small enough that we can sink it without losing anything too expensive. Bring the navy from India and bring your air force from Malaysia, leaving one fighter behind. You should have enough power to take them out. Your Navy probably won’t survive the next turn, though. The transport you built should carry 1 infantry and 1 artillery to retake the island (Borneo or Java, probably). You want to send the remaining fighter north to attack Shan supporting the infantry from Burma. That way you maintain a buffer between India and the Japanese land forces. Land the air force that attacked the Japanese navy back on Malaysia. It will survive the next turn, unlike the navy that it accompanied.
Placement: Put the cruiser and transport off of India. Next turn you can try to take another island back.
ANZAC Turn Two:
Let’s assume the Japanese did not strike at Australia, they usually won’t. If they did, get them off your continent as fast as possible. Otherwise, its time to increase our income by 50% and industrialize Queensland. We won’t be striking the Japanese where it hurts, yet, but we will real soon.
Purchases: Buy a minor industrial complex. Putting a complex on Queensland, which has a naval base, will mean we can send ships built in Australia right into Indonesia, the heart of the fray.
Movement: Move your transport from New Zealand to Dutch New Guinea. Objective accomplished, lots more money to work with! Move the transport you built on New South Wales last turn up to pick up troops from Queensland, and the north again to drop them in (east) New Guinea. Send your submarine west to where the action is. You may be able to pick off a lone wounded Japanese capital ship or transport. If Java belongs to the UK, put at least two of your fighters there. If not, leave all four fighters on New Guinea.
Placement: Put the complex on Queensland. Next turn you can build ships on a space with a naval base.
Japan will generally be able to complete the conquest of the Indies this turn. You, of course, need to make this temporary. Japan will wipe out the main part of the UK navy, leaving behind only the newly-built cruiser. It will push back into Shan, although it will be another turn before the units built on the Kiangsu IC will make it south. Japan builds a second minor IC on Kwangtung. It takes Yunnan and looks to be able to hold it. It will probably leave a large navy and air force to defend the Philippines. It will SBR you again for an average of 10 damage.
Since the Philippines are heavily defended the United States captures Iwo Jima this turn and begins to crank out ships at its usual enormous rate, preparing to eliminate the IJN and save you. If you are lucky China will take Yunnan one final time, keeping the flow of money from India. If not, it hunkers down and prepares for the Japanese to slowly finish it off.
UK Turn three:
Japan has reduced you to 9 IPCs of income. Fortunately you can strike back, and Australia can as well. You are in grave danger and must succeed quickly to survive.
Purchases: Nothing. You will be near the cap for IPC damage. Its to your advantage to wait, since you will have more leverage to buy things next turn.
Movement: Your final proactive movement should be to take the cruiser and transport and try to take whichever island in the Indies is least defended. Use your air force to help clear the way. However, if everything is well defended then its more important to leave your air force alive.
After this point attacking is rarely worth it, except for orphaned transports. Your forces are much more useful on the defensive. That air force in Malaysia forces the Japanese to group together and to protect their transports, since you can strike at any time. If you attack but lose a lot of the air force, you may have done some damage, but the Japanese now do not need to protect their forces from a potential attack.
Placement: Nothing to place.
ANZAC Turn Three:
Australia is now ready to hop into the war like a kangaroo. Or some other marsupial. Celebes will be your first target, probably. But Java is also a nice target if its available.
Purchases: Buy an aircraft carrier if you built a transport turn 1. If you built a DD turn 1, you will not be able to afford this. In such a case, buy a cruiser instead. You need a navy to defend transports as you try to liberate Indonesia.
Movement: Move your transport to Celebes, using the fighters to clear the IJN from the area. You now will have increased your income and denied the Japanese an objective.
Placement: Put whichever ship you built on Queensland. It can get to Celebes next turn without issue.
Japan re-completes its conquest of the Indies and has a major naval battle with the United States. The US offensive is blunted, for now, but they will be back. Japan will probably not be able to afford such a naval presence ever again. They SBR India for another 8 damage, reaching the damage cap. Things get especially dire for China as the Japanese factories on the mainland gear up, and the units they built start to penetrate into China. Japan upgrades its factory on Kwangtung to a major complex.
The United States continues to crank out ships. China whimpers.
UK Turn Four:
Its time to prepare to defend India. That’s your only thought at this point.
Purchases: Buy off the damage and buy as many infantry as you can afford, which may not be very many. The good news is you probably have shot down at least one bomber by this point, if not two.
Movement: If India looks secure for the time being, keep those planes on Malaysia and threatening the Japanese. If not, bring them to India to help defend.
Placement: Place the infantry on India.
ANZAC Turn Four:
Keep up the pressure on Japan in the Indies.
Purchases: Build 1 transport, 1 infantry, and 1 artillery.
Movement: Take Celebes or Java, whichever is easier. If the Indies are too defended, snatch Palau for an easy one-time 5 IPCs. Use the planes to support any attack by sea. Bring in the carrier to this attack, and land two of the planes on the carrier.
Placement: Place all three units on Queensland.
Japanese units are starting to move into South-East Asia. Japan is preparing to take India, but you have another time before they strike, perhaps even two. Japan may take Malaysia, but it is likely that it will be too busy defending against the United States. Japan will not have yet finished off China, but there will be little left.
The US amasses enough force west of Hawaii to start to be a very real threat to Japan. China sits backs and waits for the pain.
UK Turn Five:
Keep up the defense.
Purchases: Don’t buy units this turn. Save your money and plunk down a bunch next turn.
Movement: If you haven’t brought those planes back to India, now is the time. Other than that, there’s not much for you to do.
Placement: Place nothing.
ANZAC Turn Five:
Keep up the pressure on Japan in the Indies. As long as you keep attacking there the Japanese will have to split their forces, making it easier for the US to destroy them.
Purchases: Build 1 transport, 1 infantry, and 1 artillery again. The US should have you increasingly covered, and its your mission to provide the troops to land in the Indies.
Movement: Keep taking the Indies as possible.
Placement: Place all three units on Queensland.
India will not hold out very long. However, the US fleet is going to obliterate the Japanese navy and retake the Philippines. Australia will waltz Matilda into the Indies and supercharge is economy. The US and Australia will be able to land on the Asian mainland in Malaysia, Kwangtung, Korea, and other valuable locations to establish an industrial base on the mainland and push the Japanese back. Eventually Japan will become very income starved and the US will invade and win.Your efforts as the UK and ANZAC have slowed Japan down enough to allow the US to gain naval superiority, and the Rising Sun will set.
Mainland UK strategy:
As the UK you can focus on mainland Asia. Ships are expensive, and it take awhile for the Japanese to gain momentum in Southeast Asia. You can really help China out this way, and a strong China gives the Japanese all sorts of headaches. The problem with this tactic is that without building a navy in the Indian ocean the Japanese can get the Indies very quickly and keep them. That means a lot of money for them and very little for you, so this tends to fizzle pretty quickly.
Invasion of Australia:
If Japan forgoes an early attack on the Indies they can often instigate a devastating invasion of Australia. This is easy to discourage by defending Queensland. You can make it so expensive to do that it simply would not be worth their time. However, should Japan really dedicate itself to this goal it can wipe out Australia fairly quickly. This tends to be self-limiting. They will have used so much in this effort that the UK will take the Indies and have an enormous amount of money to resist them. Japan may not have to worry about the Aussies, but they will be crushed like a can by India from the west and the United States from the east. It tends to be a pretty interesting game, though. If you?ve never played a game where Japan attempt this, do.
Japan should move nearly everything it has to the Carolines on its first turn. Turn 2 it declares war and invades Queensland. Even if New Guinea is protected by a destroyer, the Japanese can use their naval base to sail around. Turn 3 they move south from Queensland and into New South Wales, using carrier born aircraft to support the attack. They can usually win this. Mopping up the rest of Australia is a breeze. While they do this, the UK should secure the Indies and will be able to build a very large fleet. American can then come to rescue Australia.
Early 1940 Declaration of War:
This will covered in a separate article. My playgroup considers this unsporting. Never the less, its a reality and can be resisted with a bit of luck.
Average SBR damage:
Calculating the average damage from an SBR has only one variable now that all facilities have AA, which is number of planes. Now, you may claim that since each plane does 1D6 damage they will deal an average of 3.5 damage per plane. This is wrong. There is a chance each plane will be shot down before it gets a chance to deal damage, and this must be factored in. We have three factors.
IP = Initial Planes, a variable
SR = [Survival Rate] = (Surviving Planes / Initial Planes) or 5/6
ADPP = [Average Damage Per Plane] = ( 1D6 Damage / Surviving Plane) or 3.5
The units cancel out to damage.
Let’s assume 4 planes. So 4 * (5/6) * (7/3) = 11 and 2/3. An average of slightly less than 12 damage with 4 planes.
For successive turns of SBR I assume 5 of 6 planes will survive to bomb again, allowing for fractions. Nobody in the history of the game has been bombed by 3.33 planes, but for averages, it works.
MCH (Mechanized Infantry)
AA (Anti-air gun)
TBM (Tactical Bomber)
SBM (Strategic Bomber)
CV (Aircraft Carrier)
Note, all naval units are abbreviated by their standard US hull classification. CA (Cruiser, Armored) is used because CL or CH is not quite appropriate. CV (Carrier, heaVier than air) is the historically appropriate classification even if counter-intuitive. Same story for AP, that’s the US Navy classification for a transport vessel.
Axis and Allies Anniversary Edition
A beginner’s guide to 1942
Written by Darkman on 21-11-2010 at Axis and Allies.org
Since the 1942 is a map that gains more and more players, I will try to give you a short guide for beginners here.
This guide will include the basic strategies for Axis and Allies in ’42, along with separate advice for every nation, and some common openings.
I don’t advise this map for a player who is completely new to Axis and Allies. Get used to the game by playing Classic or Revised, which have smaller and less complicated maps. Then play 41 or 42 a few times and try to use this strategy guide. Be familiar with the game mechanics and the rules! The game is usually played with national objectives (NOs), which are very important since they give additional income if you have them.
Basic setup: The bid
As in WW2 v3 1941, the Axis have an edge in this map. To compensate that, Allies should get a bid of mostly 9 or 10 IPCs.
The most common way of spending the bid are Russian ground units on the German border for the initial attack, possibly you might want a unit in Egypt to make sure you keep it (especially if playing with dice).
1. General team strategy
1.1. Overall Allies strategy guide:
The momentum is clearly on the side of the Axis, the advantage in production is on your side though. Try to consolidate your positions and stabilize the Russian front. You have two basic strategy options: 1) Kill Germany or Italy first and neglect Japan. This will mean that you have a race: Kill Germany or Italy before the Japanese kill Russia. 2) Try to slow Japan while you try to kill Germany or Italy. This leads to a more balanced game, but you will need a very good teamwork on both fronts.
1.2 Axis strategy guide:
Your goal is use your momentum and conquer territories to get even in production. Your overall strategy depends on the Allies: If the Allies choose to neglect Japan, you will have to build up forces on the mainland and advance towards Russia as fast as you can. If the US builds troops in the Pacific, just get enough fleet to deter them while you try to advance on the mainland. The game is usually won or lost on the Russian front, keep that in mind!
2. Strategy guide, opening buys and opening moves by nation
Since you start before the US does, you make sure you gain momentum on the mainland and then choose your strategy depending on the US.
Early game: Make sure you get troops and production capacities on the mainland. Place a factory in French Indochina or Burma and establish a transport bridge to Manchuria. If the US neglects you, build more factories, the interesting territories are Burma and French Indochina in the early game, later India and East Indies along with a small transport bridge. If the US goes Pacific, make sure you max out your carrier capacities and get some subs to deter them.
Mid and late game: Depending on the US strategy, either build factories in India and East Indies to ship a load of troops towards Caucasus each turn, or deter the US while you build up a smaller force on the mainland. If the US neglects you, Germany and/or Italy might need your help, so you can either get your fleet in the med sea or send fighters over for defense.
Strategically important territories:
India is a National Objective for Japan. You could also take Australia or Hawaii, but India has a better production and you should build a factory there. Make sure you take it turn 3 by latest (unless Allies defend it hard, that’s possible). Apart from that, always watch your transports!
Common opening moves:
Kill the UK fleet and the US fleet. Take as much of China as possible while you try to avoid too many losses. The Chinese air unit should have a high priority. If you can, try to hold Burma.
Common opening buys:
3 transports, 2 tanks or 2 transports and 1 factory or 2 factories.
As the starting power and at the same time the crucial point of the Axis and the Allies strategy, you need to find a good balance between aggressiveness and defense.
Early game: Push Germany back to make them lose income and to establish dead zones on your front.
Mid game: Try to move the dead zones west and gain income of the territories while you build up a stack to deter the Japs that are getting closer.
Late game: Send more troops towards Berlin or Rome, gain your 10 IPC NO and defend your main territories against Japan.
Strategically important territories:
Karelia and Caucasus are German National Objectivess. Karelia is very hard to hold against Germany. You might choose to give it up turn 1 and establish a dead zone there. Make sure you don’t lose Caucasus, if you lose it for a whole turn and cannot take it back this can lead to a fast decay for Russia!
Common opening moves:
Take Belorussia, Eastern Ukraine and Ukraine (alternatively, Baltic can be an option if you try to hold Karelia turn 1). You can also try a bomber gambit in SZ13 to weaken the German ambitions in the med sea and against the British fleet.
Common opening buys:
8 infantry, 4 infantry and 1 bomber, and most common 5 infantry, 1 artillery, 1 tank. Later, make sure you have enough infantry.
Germany has an easy objective: Throw down Russia. An attack on UK can only succeed if the UK player makes some major mistakes. Germany and Italy have to play as a team.
Early game: Depending on the Russian opening, take Karelia if possible. Kill as much of the UK fleet as you can, you don’t want to play against 2 UK transports. Also, make sure that the UK fleet in SZ12 doesn’t survive and kill the Italian fleet turn 1. Reinforce Africa if possible and try to take it turn 2 with Italian help. Try to avoid too many losses on the Russian front early on, the Russian support lines are shorter than yours. Either hold France or threaten to kill any UK sea units that enter SZ7.
Mid and late game: Find a balance between advancing against Russia and holding France and Germany. If you bought a carrier turn 1 to keep the Baltic fleet, you will lose that fleet in the mid game unless you spend a lot of credits on fleet, which will help Russia to break your front. If all the Allies play against Germany, make sure you get enough defensive forces as well as the help of Japanese fighters and try to hold long enough to allow Japan to kill Russia.
Strategically important territories:
Karelia and Caucasus, which is your National Objective (see Russia). Keep in mind that the UK navy can attack you in Karelia. France is important too, do not give UK or US too much income by trading it back and forth. Egypt is the key to gaining income in Africa.
Common opening moves:
As said, kill as much of the UK fleet as you can. Hit either SZ12 and either SZ1 or SZ2. Take Karelia if you can and stabilize your eastern front. If you did not buy a carrier to keep the Baltic fleet, it might be interesting to spread your ships.
Common opening buys:
1 carrier and ground troops or 1 carrier and 1 air unit and ground troops or all ground troops. You will need infantry as cannon fodder on the Russian front!
The power that is spread all over the world needs to find a way to avoid getting crushed on all front. Try to hold Egypt and, as long as you can, India. Your allies will have to help you, but in exchange UK is the nation that needs to take pressure from Russia.
Early game: Consolidate your forces from all over the world. After a ‘normal’ German opening your fleet will have had heavy losses. Bring your transport from Africa towards the med sea, your Australian fighter to India, Hawaii or Madagascar, and stabilize your fleet around UK. Your attack options can be France or Norway, but be aware that your fleet is vulnerable.
Mid game: Build up a fleet with transports. Once you have a fleet Germany cannot sink and 4 transports, you build 8 land units each turn in UK and land in France or Norway, or if you want to help Russia, in Poland, Baltic or Karelia. If you can afford it then, you could build an IC in the colonies.
Late game: Stick with your playgrounds and look for options to invade Germany or team with Russia.
Strategically important territories:
Egypt is important, you don’t want to lose Africa. India can hardly be held over a longer time, but should delay Japan as long as possible. Your main playground should be France, while you try to fulfill the other National Objective of holding Gibraltar, Egypt, South Africa, Australia and Canada.
Common opening moves:
Hard to say because it depends on the German turn. Common landing targets for turn 1 are Morocco, Norway, France and Karelia, but they depend a lot on the board. Sink the German Baltic fleet if you can; and make sure that Germany can neither sink your fleet nor land in UK if they bought a carrier turn 1. Don’t forget to move your units that are spread all over the board (Australian fighter, transport near South Africa) and to consolidate Africa and India.
Common opening buys:
Building ICs in India or South Africa is usually a bad option unless you got very lucky against the Japanese or kept a lot of your fleet. Most common are a carrier buy along with destroyers, a fighter replacement (you usually lose one when you attack the German Baltic fleet) or transports.
Italy’s role as Germany’s little helper is limited to few options: Help to defend France, help to get Africa and help on the southern eastern front. Its resources though usually allow to support two of those three objectives at most. Because of it’s limited resources, Italy is the most fragile part of the axis, but it’s also hard to reach for the allies.
Early game: Try to help Germany, see above. Always be aware that your fleet is not killed.
Mid and late game: Make sure you do not get pressured too much because you spread your forces too far. Focus on the most important objectives. If the US comes into the med sea, make sure that you get German or Japanese help.
Strategically important territories:
Egypt (see Germany) as well as everything that you need for your National Objectivess. You need all income you can get.
Common opening moves:
Depending on the German and British moves, attacks on Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Gibraltar or Ukraine are possible as well as just transporting units to Libya.
Common opening buys:
2 infantry and 1 artillery or 1 transport and 1 infantry or 2 tanks.
As the nation with the biggest resources, you need a good plan on how to use them. If you opt to go Pacific, you will most likely need air units, carriers and subs to fight the Japanese. If you go Atlantic, you get just as much fleet as you absolutely need to protect the transports.
Early game: Do not lose too much time. Your possible targets are Solomons to get a National Objective, as well as landings in Morocco. Build up a fleet and make sure you max out your transports and their capacity.
Mid and late game: Establish a steady flow of landing units. You will need at least 8 transports if you want to fight Germany or Italy. If you capture Italy and you can make sure that Germany cannot take it back in its turn, that is usually game. If you attack Japan, make sure you have enough cannon fodder (subs) for sea battles.
Strategically important territories:
Solomon and France as National Objectivess. In the Atlantic, SZ1, 7 and 12 are important for a transport bridge; in the Pacific the Carolines are in range of everything that’s important.
Common opening moves:
Depending on what happened before, landings on the Solomons (beware of the Japanese counter) or Morocco are possible, but often you only prepare landings.
Common opening buys:
2 transports, 2 tanks and 1 carrier (Atlantic attack) or 2 carriers and 1 fighter (Pacific attack)
I’ll keep this short… without massive support of the allies, who usually cannot afford that early on, China is dead by turn 3 or 4 against a good Japanese player. Use it as a brakeshoe as long as you can.
The German Lurch: Revised Edition
Written by DarthMaximus on 29-05-2009 at Axis and Allies.org forums
The Lurch is a mid-game stack based German strategy that is used to coincide with a strong push on Moscow by Japan. The goal of the Lurch is to gradually move your German stacks East eliminating trading territories for Russia as you continue to get stronger while Russia gets weaker. You are playing for control of Wrus and Cauc, which aren’t easy to get, but using a Lurch strategy you can attempt to claim them without a fight by manipulating your stacks such that any Russian advance can be easily countered, while your advances can’t be stopped because you are able to merge multiple stacks into a single targetted territory.
Unlike Classic where the Germans Lurched from EE to Ukr (to Cauc) and then to Kar, in Revised the Germans have 3 initial avenues to consider:
1 – EE to Kar
2 – EE to Belo
3 – EE to Ukr
Each one has its pros and cons, but all should result in the same conclusion, a German stack in Wrus or Cauc.
Before we get to Germany lets first talk about Japan briefly. If you are planning on using a successful Lurch you will need Japan, so they should be focused on Asia and getting to Moscow. You’ll likely need a few of Japan’s fighters in Europe so take Aus early (round 2 if possible) and make sure you always have ftrs in range of Ukr after J3. Your goal should be to have Chi, Sin, Bury, Sfe, Yak by the end of J3, one factory on the mainland, and 4 trns running your shuck from Japan. A 5th trn is a great bonus which you can use to pick up Aus/NZ/Hi. I think these are modest goals and definitely achievable in the vaste majority of games. The only issues that may arise would be an ultra aggressive UK 1 open and/or a possible KJF strategy, but then again if the Allies are going KJF you do not want to use a mid-game Lurch with Germany, you’d want to be much more aggressive.
As for German bids, you can use the Lurch with most land based bids, whether it is placed in Africa or Europe, but the Power Africa bid (2-3 units in Lib) tends to be a little better since it is vital that you are able to blitz Africa and gain its IPCs. You have to make sure you can take Egy and hold against any UK 1 counter.
Now to the Lurch. The theory of the Lurch is to leverage your initial IPC gains in the early rds (1-4) into a sizable attacking force that can be put into motion from round 4 on. You are ulitmately playing a position game rather than an IPC (or economic game). While there are periods where the Axis can out earn the Allies, it is very difficult to maintain this advantage against quality opponents. Time is typically on the Allies side, so the Lurch is designed to maximize this effect before the Allies can block the threat to Moscow and begin to close in on and cripple Germany. Your targetted time frame to take Wrus/Cauc should be between rds 6-9. Anything much later than this and it may be too late.
So, how do we go about employing the Lurch and leveraging these early gains to a positional advantage?
Lets start with the Purchases. Buy Infantry. Buy infantry early and often, an upgrade for an armor or 2 is also recommended, but with excessive Rt purchases you may be limiting your effectiveness. If you like to buy Rt, buy it early (rds 1-2) b/c you’ll need the mobility of armor later. 8 inf, 4 rt in rd 1 is a good foundation as is 12 inf, 1 rt, however you can’t go wrong with the Inf + Arm buys. Remember you aren’t really interested in attack you just want to project force to prevent an Allied stack and then you want to move your stack into the vacant territory, so you are more concerned with the cheap defense of Infantry and added defensive muscle of the Armor than the added attacking power of Rt. Armor is also vital to your initial defense of WE, so again don’t go Rt crazy with your buys.
Okay we know our buying strategy, what about the layout of Africa and Europe?
Africa is easy, use your bid in Lib and take Egy heavy. Surviving Armor should immediately blitz everything insight, while 2 more units can land in Trj in round 2. In round 3 you have a few options, positioning your fleet to help in Europe, getting out of dodge to take Mad and then perhaps a combination of Ind/Aus/NZ/HI, going around Afr to take Bra, reinforcing Perisa, or just safely remaining in the Indian Ocean and re-invading empty territories in Afr. While blitzing Africa you want to keep as many of these units alive as possible so you can ultimately get them to the Middle East as well. You’ll probably need to get them back Trj by round 4 otherwise they risk being trapped, which isn’t terrible since you can still cause some trouble in Afr, but it is always nice to have the extra threat to Cauc from Per.
Europe is a bit different and requires some patience. You aren’t planning on blitzing to Moscow so you need to set up your initial defenses and get into position to trade Kar/Belo/Ukr with your infantry and airforce. You also want the bare minimum of defense in WE b/c you want to maximize what you are sending East. This is where tanks come in handy, you usually don’t need all of them to deter a Russian move so you can spare a few for WE and their 3 on defense is enough to make any UK landings highly unlikely. How many units should you have in WE? You want just enough inf to survive the first wave of a UK attack and enough arm/ftrs to wipe out the entire land based attacking force. So if UK can attack with 3 inf, 3 arm, 2 ftrs, 1 bom, you’d want 4-5 inf with 8-9 arm/ftrs.
Now that we’ve got a basic plan for our early WE defense, lets get busy Lurching. First your EE stack, move everything that isn’t needed elsewhere to EE. SE can go to Blk if they aren’t needed in WE. This is the foundation of your offense, you will be using your infantry and ftrs to trade Kar/Belo/Ukr. Standard trading logic applys (2 inf + planes vs. 1 inf), however in trading Belo and Kar you can feel free to match inf for inf, so if you have to attack 2 inf, only bring in 2 and overload planes. You do not want to bleed off too many inf and you do not want infantry out of place depending on where you plan to lurch first. For example, a few too many infantry in Kar may hurt the potential to Lurch to Ukr and vice versa. You aren’t likely to be able to Lurch anywhere for the first 3 rds, infact I’ll work under the assumption that G4 is your first potential chance to move out. Side note: If at any time in the first 3 rounds you can safely move to Kar/Belo/Ukr please do so, it may require an extra “build-up” turn later but you’ve denied Russia a trading zone.
Okay, so we’ve got our stack of Infanty in EE, a few Inf/Arm/Ftrs in WE, and our arm are done blitzing Afr and heading back to Egy/Trj while Russia has a stack in Wrus trying to prevent further German aggression. How do we proceed? First, find the path of least resistance. I’ll go through each possible Lurch but you ultimately want to pick the easiest one or one that fits in with your Japanese strategy as well, and I’ll touch on that within each Lurch. These are listed in no particular order and I’ll give pros and cons for each so you can decide.
EE to Kar
Here you are lurching from EE to Kar. You are confident the Wrus stack cannot kill your stack, while you will still be able to tade Ukr with either Blk inf or EE reinforcements, while Belo can be handled from EE or your new Kar stack.
You can cut off the other Allies from reinfocing Moscow.
You are now able to trade Arch and possibly Nor assuming that wouldn’t drain too many inf.
You maintain a threat on Wrus.
You are vulnerable to both UK and US attacks as well as a Russian follow-up.
You only threaten a move to Wrus, so Cauc can potentially be lightly defended.
Russia could counter with a Ukr stack, so depending on your total forces in Kar (what you estimate could make it to Mos if you went to Arch) you may be forced to back track a bit.
Works well with a northern Japanese push via Bury to Eve or Novo or with Japan placing a major threat on Cauc via Per in an effort to split the Russian defense
EE to Belo
Here you are going to Belo first, and from there you can then expand to Kar, Ukr, or Wrus. You also maintain the ability to trade both Kar and Ukr.
It is typically the easiest lurch to make since it is only threatened from Wrus. (UK/US can’t attack via amphibious)
You are still in position to Lurch to either Kar or Ukr.
You can maintain Kar as a deadzone, which can cut off Allied reinforcements to Mos or at the very least force them to land directly in Arch
Time. It is usually the easiest Lurch to make, particularly early on, but will usually require a turn or two of build up once you hold Belo.
you won’t be able to trade Arch and Nor is a lost cause.
Works with any Japanese approach considering you haven’t committed yet as Germany.
EE to Ukr
Here you are going straight for the throat. No time to waste up north and you aren’t worried about the UK/US quite yet. You want Cauc or Wrus and you want them now!
If done right, you’ll get Cauc or Wrus.
You can use your Afr forces to help squeeze Cauc.
You can use your Med Navy to help boost your move bring your SE units into play.
SE armor can immediately reach Ukr.
Japanese ftrs can boost defense from Fic (or the India Sz).
Subject to a massive counter from Inf in both Wrus and Cauc.
Armor from Kaz/Per are also in range.
Nor and Arch are lost causes for trading and Kar may become a problem area since it would be extremely difficult to deadzone with only your EE reinforcements.
Any approach will work but South and Central are extremely effective. Some ftrs should always be stationed in the Fic/Ind region for added European defense. You also have the ability for a nice 1-2 attack on Cauc with Germany doing the heavy lifting while Japan can swoop in and claim the IC.
Now that we’ve decided on the path of least resistance, you have to execute the Lurch. You should have been buying mostly inf your first few turns along with a few armor, while blitzing Africa and waiting for Japan to get going and now its come time to make your move and start your expansion. There’s a good chance you may have to trade WE at some point since the UK and US have the potential to each shuck 8 units to Europe. You want to keep those units out of Russia so you can get Moscow to fall. You will eventually need your armor in WE to move to EE as you lurch beyond Kar/Belo/Ukr and this makes WE expendable. It is just too hard to try and defend all of Europe and threaten Moscow so you use your armor’s mobility and superior airforce to shift East and now Deadzone WE. A typical Lurch movement may look like this:
EE: 15 inf, 2 rt, 2 arm
Ger: 10 inf, 2 arm, 1 bom
WE: 8 inf, 8 arm, 4 ftrs, aa
SE: 2 inf
Ger buys 10 inf, 2 arm
Belo: 15 inf, 2 rt, 4 arm
EE: 10 inf, 8 arm, aa
Ger: 15 inf, 2 arm, 4 ftrs, 1 bom
SE: 2 inf
WE: 1 inf
Blk: 2 inf
Now if you can hold WE with just the 8-10 inf + ftrs you can do so, but you have to get as much Inf and Armor East as possible. But you also want to make sure the Allies aren’t going to be landing in Kar, so a little bait (like 1 inf) in WE can help the over all cause. Assuming you do deadzone WE, the Allies shouldn’t be able to land a massive force considering the threat you can provide: 17 inf, 10 arm, 4 ftrs and at this point (round 5 or 6) the UK and US should not be able to throw a total of 16 units at you so you can trade WE with your SE inf and planes while still sending the rest of your infantry East. The Allies may have the overall IPC lead or even army lead, but Russia’s army will not be more than Germany’s and once you add in Japan’s army it becomes problematic for the Allies.
Your next move should be coordinated with Japan. As Germany sends its massive stack to Ukr (combine the EE and Belo stacks) and Africa corps to Per, Japan should move its stack to Kaz (Per + Chi) or Novo (Chi + Yak) while landing supporting aircraft in Europe if needed. As much German armor as possible should remain in EE to maintain the threat on WE. You shouldn’t move your armor out of range of WE until you can take and hold Wrus or Cauc. Russia now has a huge decision to make which will likely cause them to vacate Wrus or Cauc since they should now be facing a German stack in Ukr as well as the prospects of a possible merger of a massive Japanese stack off the boarders of Mos/Cauc. If Russia leaves Wrus, then Germany can stack that (with J ftr support) and once again deadzone Kar, meaning no Allied reinforcements and if the leave Cauc you gain an IC which gives you more freedom to defend WE or Kar with your Ger and EE units since you can place new units directly into Cauc.
At this point, with Germany holding Wrus or Cauc, your only concern is holding Berlin and making sure no Allied land units get to Mos, while you wait to make sure Japan has enough to finish off Moscow if Ger starts the attack. If you’re looking for a Magic number to take out Russia’s stack you need Germany to have a 4:3 advatage in TUV and if you are planning a 1-2 attack you need Ger + ??? to have a 5:3 advantage.
By Linkon 05-07-2007 at Axis and Allies.org forums
Strafing has a few basics.
Beginning A&A players have a tendency to want to win land because it can deliver IPC value.
The trade-off is that it can often put armor or other offensive units at risk of counter-attack without much defensive infantry or fighter support. The replacement costs can be considerable.
The answer that many veteran A&A players use is called strafing.
This means that you have a big stack and your opponent has a modest one.
You also expect reinforcements to that stack for non-combat moves or purchase placements after your battles resolve.
Reinforcements (Air) are never allowed into newly taken territory. Noncombat fighter landings are also not allowed there.
The strafe means your big stack attacks the smaller stack for a round or more, but then retreats back before the enemy defenders are wiped out. This should yield more hits on the smaller defending stack than your attacking stack. Wiping out the defender forces your ground units to stay in the newly conquered territory and be subject to counterattack by that opposing country and its allied forces. Against intellegent opponents, you won’t get to use those ground units again.
A successful strafe allows you to keep a stack on the front line.
Now you have also whittled away part of your opponents forces (favorably if the strafe went well).
You can then bulk up your stack some more with reinforcements. So the stack advantage should be substantially bigger than at the start of your turn.
Repeat as needed to build up your ground forces advantage.
Only take the land when you expect the surviving ground offensive forces to fully survive a round of countattacks by all of the opposing players.
Strafe when you have infantry to spare.
The idea is to get the defender to lose costly offensive units on defence before you lose yours on offence.
Be sure you have upcoming infantry in your reinforcement pool.
For every numeric allocation of die roll defence, you should ideally have 1.5 or more of die roll offence. Less is OK if you have lots of infantry.
It is very risky to put fighters and bombers over AA to strafe. Lose 1, and it gives the defender a huge gain.
No amphibious assaults, because that forces the attacker to fight to the death (no retreat).
Axis and Allies Revised: Standard Tactics: Planning, Risk Assessment, and Calculation
Written by Bunnies_P_Wrath 20-06-2007 at Axis and Allies.org forums
I. Steps for Assessing Risk
II. Approximation Methods for Large Battles
III. Assessing Utility Gain (IPC Loss and Gain)
IV. Calculation Methods for Small Battles
V. Other Utility Gain Calculations
VI. Assessing the Board Situation
VII. Long-Term Goals
I. Steps for Assessing Risk
I thought I?d write a few words regarding proper risk assessment and calculation. The proper steps for a turn are:
1. Determine long-term goals.
2. Determine short-term goals.
3. Determine minimum acceptable required to maximum available forces to carry out those short-term goals
4. Determine differing probable battle outcomes and the utility gained from each likely scenario, and opponent responses to minimum acceptable forces to maximum available forces allocated to those goals, along with the opponent?s utility gained from each opponent?s countermove. Determine what contingency plans to undertake in case unfavorable odds occur during a battle. Determine what battles are unacceptably risky in case unfavorable odds occur.
5. Determine whether or not, by factoring in probable opponent response, possible unfavorable odds, and unacceptable risk, whether or not a given short-term goal is viable, in context of long-term goals and available units.
6. Depending on calculated net utility gain, including both your own immediate utility gain, and anticipated opponent utility gain in response to your moves, allocate forces as necessary to carry out goals of greatest importance. As final allocation of forces for the most important goal is made, the available forces for other less important goals will change, changing the maximum available forces to carry out other short-term goals. So repeat steps 3 through 6 until a list of acceptable short-term goals is made (in context of the long-term goals).
7. Purchase units and/or research tech based on what is required for the long-term goal, and make appropriate combat moves.
8. Carry out the combat whose result should be known first to determine the desired outcome of other combats.
9. During combat, press the attack or retreat as is determined to be best, based on other combats still to be carried out, the anticipated non-combat move, and the anticipated unit placement at the end of the round..
10. Repeat steps 9-10 until combat is over.
11. Make a final reassessment of the board situation, and make the appropriate non-combat movement and placement.
That is, in a few words ? figure out what you want to do in the long run, figure out what you want to do right now, figure out the what benefit your moves will give you, figure out the possible benefits your opponents can get from your moves, make sure your plans don?t conflict with one another, do what you want to do, but reassess the situation constantly, and act appropriately to your reassessments.
How can you figure out what a probable battle outcome is? How do you calculate utility gain? How can you determine what unacceptable risk is? How do you determine long-term goals, and how do you reassess the board situation?
A full answer of the last question does not fall into the scope of basic risk assessment and calculation. However, all of these questions will be addressed below.
II. Approximation Methods for Large Battles
An approximation of the most probable battle outcome can be determined by adding up the attack values and defensive values of the attackers and defenders, and dividing by 6 in each case to determine the first round losses on each side, then repeating that process to determine the second round losses, and so forth. In the case of fractions, round down or up as appropriate.
That is, suppose you have a bomber and two infantry attacking one infantry. The attackers are a bomber (which attacks at 4 or less) and two infantry (each of which attack at 1 or less). If you add up the attack values of the attackers, they add up to 6; similarly, if you add up the defense value of the defender (a single infantry, which defends at 2 or less), that adds up to 2. Dividing by 6 for both indicates the most likely first round result is the attacker inflicting (6 (total attack value) / 6), or 1 casualty, and the defender inflicting (2 (total defense value) / 6), or 0 casualties, making the most likely outcome will be a bomber and two infantry surviving, against no infantry surviving.
III. Assessing Utility Gain (IPC Loss and Gain)
Sometimes, a player will want to make a more precise estimate of gained utility, though. In such cases, the probabilities should be calculated, and the immediate utilities factored in. An example of such an estimate, and the way to estimate utilities, follows.
Example: Your opponent has 11 infantry and 4 tanks, and 1 fighter in West Russia. You have 5 infantry, 2 tanks, and 1 fighter in Eastern Europe. Your opponent controls Belorussia with 1 infantry. In a REAL game situation, the rest of the board would be relevant, but we will ignore the rest of the board for most of this example.
A veteran player would immediately discard the though of attacking Belorussia with all available forces. This is because even if Belorussia were taken with no losses, Russia could follow up with their own all-out attack, crushing the Germans. Even assuming the best case scenario of 5 infantry 2 tanks in Belorussia (having taken no casualties on the attack), you must consider the Russian attack on the Russian turn.
Since there are so many units involved, the approximation system already described will be used. The Russian attack of 11 infantry 4 tanks 1 fighter has an attack value of 26 against the Germans? defense value of 16 for 5 infantry and 2 tanks. Even were the odds skewed in favor of the Germans again, giving the attacker only 4 inflicted casualties on the first round and the defender 3 inflicted casualties, that still leaves the Russians with 8 infantry 4 tanks 1 fighter (attack value 23) against the Germans with 1 infantry 2 tanks (defense value Cool, with the next round likely ending with the Russians with 6 infantry 4 tanks 1 fighter (at the worst), and the Germans with nothing. In the end, then, the Russians lost 1 infantry in Belorussia, and 5 more infantry on the attack, which is 18 IPC worth of units. The Germans lost 5 infantry and 3 tanks, which is 30 IPC worth of units, and gained Belorussia for a turn, gaining 2 IPC of territory for one turn. All in all, though, 18 + 2 = 20, and 20 is much less than 30. So if the Germans stand to gain 20 IPC worth of units and IPCs, and lose 30 IPC worth of units and IPCs, then the Germans should not carry out the attack.
It may be, though, that a lesser force could attack, and thereby increase Germany?s expected utility. Consider what happens if a German infantry and a German fighter attack the Russian infantry in Belorussia.
IV. Calculation methods for small battles
For this small battle of three units, although the probability calculation is a bit cumbersome, it is not awful. So, I will list it, and also show how simple utility gain (or IPC gain) is calculated.
The German fighter has a 3/6 chance of inflicting a casualty, and a 3/6 chance of missing. The German infantry has a 1/6 chance of inflicting a casualty, and a 5/6 chance of missing. The Russian infantry has a 2/6 chance of inflicting a casualty, and a 4/6 chance of missing.
The probability the Germans will get two hits, that is, both the fighter hitting and the infantry hitting, is 3/6 * 1/6, or 3/36. The probability the Germans will get one hit is the probability of only the fighter hitting (3/6 * 5/6) added to the probability of only the infantry hitting (3/6 * 1/6), or 15/36 + 3/36, or 18/36. The probability the Germans will get no hits is (3/6 * 5/6), or 15/36. To error check, we add up the probabilities; 3/36 + 18/36 + 15/36 = 1. The probabilities are correctly estimated. Since the Germans can only get one casualty (even if they hit twice), the probability of wiping out the Russians is thus 3/36 + 18/36, or 21/36. Note that this is NOT the same as you would get if you simply added the probability of the German fighter hitting to the probability of the German infantry hitting. (That is, if you add 3/6 to 1/6, you will get 4/6, or 24/36. You will not get 21/36). The probability of missing is still 15/36.
The probability the Russians will get one hit is 2/6, and the probability the Russians will miss is 4/6.
Now we combine the two probability sets. The probability the Germans will get one hit and the Russians will get one hit is 21/36 * 2/6, or 42/216. The probability the Germans will get one hit and the Russians will get no hits is 21/36 * 4/6, or 84/216. The probability the Germans will get no hits and the Russians will get a hit is 15/36 * 2/6, or 30/216. The probability the Germans will get no hits and the Russians will get no hits is 15/36 * 4/6, or 60/216. Again, we add up the probabilities to error check; 42/216 + 84/216 + 30/216 + 60/216 = 216/216 = 1. The probabilities are correctly calculated.
If the Germans inflict a casualty, and the Russians inflict a casualty, the combat is over. If the Germans inflict a casualty, and the Russians do not inflict a casualty, the combat is over. If the Germans do not inflict a casualty, and the Russians do inflict a casualty, a new situation arises. If neither the Germans nor the Russians inflict a casualty, the exact same combat of one German fighter and one German infantry against one Russian infantry repeats.
Let us examine what happens when a new situation arises (that is, when the Germans do not inflict a casualty, and the Russians do inflict a casualty). Either the German infantry will be chosen as a casualty, or the German fighter will be chosen as a casualty, and at that point, the German player will either choose to press the attack or retreat. What should the German player do?
If a German fighter is chosen as a casualty, the Germans immediately lose 10 IPC worth of units. If the German infantry is chosen as a casualty, the Germans immediately lose 3 IPC worth of units.
If a German fighter attacks a Russian infantry, the German fighter has 3/6 a chance of hitting. The Russian infantry has a 2/6 chance of hitting. Calculating the probabilities as above, the chance of both the German fighter and Russian infantry hitting is 6/36, the chance of the German fighter hitting and the Russian infantry missing is 12/36, the chance of the German fighter missing and the Russian infantry hitting is 6/36, and the chance of the German fighter missing and the Russian infantry missing is 12/36.
Whether the Germans and/or the Russians inflict a casualty, the combat is over. If neither Germans nor Russians inflict a casualty, the combat repeats. If we assume that the German player will continue to press the attack (after all, the German player could have retreated to begin with) until the battle is decided, then we can effectively eliminate the probability of neither side inflicting casualties, as the combat will repeat until one side or the other or both is destroyed.
So, instead of having the probability of both German fighter and Russian infantry hitting as 6/36, or 6 out of 36 times, the probability of the German fighter hitting and the Russian infantry missing at 12/36, or 12 out of 36 times, the probability of the German fighter missing and the Russian infantry hitting at 6/36, or 6 out of 36 times, and the probability of both missing at 12/36, or 12 out of 36 times, we are going to calculate as if the last case did not exist. That is, the 12 out of 36 times that both Germans and Russians miss will be eliminated.
After that happens, there will only be 24 different instances instead of 36. And of those 24, both Germans and Russians will hit 6 times, German hit and Russian miss 12 times, and German miss and Russian hit 6 times. (Effectively, you eliminate the probability of all parties missing, and you create a new denominator based on the sum of the remaining numerators, then you slap that denominator on all the remaining fractions).
That is, 6 out of 24 times (1/4) of the time, the Germans will hit and the Russians will hit, 12 out of 24 times (1/2) of the time, the Germans will hit and the Russians will miss, and 6 out of 24 times (1/4) of the time, the Germans will miss and the Russians will hit.
At this point, we will calculate a simple version of utility gain and loss. In a real game, actual utility gain and loss depends on the placement of units on the board as well as their raw IPC value; ten infantry in Western Europe would probably be infinitely more valuable in the Balkans on the Germans? second turn, for example. But I digress; that is a topic that is beyond the scope of this article.
If the Germans and the Russians both hit, the Germans lose a 10 IPC fighter and the Russians lose a 3 IPC infantry. If the Germans hit and the Russians miss, the Germans lose nothing, and the Russians lose a 3 IPC infantry. If the Germans miss and the Russians hit, the Germans lose a 10 IPC fighter and the Russians lose nothing. We will sum this up as the Germans losing 7 IPC, the Germans gaining 3 IPC, and the Germans losing 10 IPC, respectively. (That is, the amount of IPC damage that the Germans inflict, minus the amount of IPC damage in units that the Germans take.)
Figuring this out, that?s ((1/4) * -7) + ((1/2) * 3) + ((1/4 * -10) = -7/4 + 3/2 + -10/4, or -11/4. The Germans should expect to gain -11/4 IPC worth of units if they send one German fighter against one Russian infantry. That is, the Germans should expect to LOSE unit value overall. So unless there are mitigating factors, the Germans should not carry out the attack of a single German fighter attacking a single Russian infantry.
What are mitigating factors? What may be lost or gained as an indirect consequence of the battle, what the overall board situation is, and (closely related to the overall board situation) the perceived value of a piece. That is, suppose that Moscow is only defended by four infantry, and IF Germany succeeds in its one German fighter on one Russian infantry attack, twelve Japanese tanks will be free to blitz into Moscow. (Assume there is no UK unit that can move into that emptied territory on the UK turn.) Or, say that the Germans are capturing Ukraine, and want to leave enough units there so that Russia can?t take Ukraine back on its turn; in that case, German fighters may be chosen as casualties before German tanks, as German fighters can?t land in the Ukraine to strengthen the German defense of that territory, but German tanks can stay in the Ukraine, strengthening the German defense there. And so forth, including values of mobilized units that are on the front as opposed to IPCs in the bank, and so on. The subject of mitigating factors does not fall within the scope of an article addressed to beginners, though, so there will be no further explanation of that topic here.
Getting back to the subject ? notice that in the calculations for a German fighter going against a Russian infantry, the fact that a German infantry is already lost at that point is not taken into account, as at this point, the German infantry is lost. The fact that the German infantry could be lost is figured into the calculations at the time when deciding what forces to allocate to the initial attack.
Probability of both German infantry and Russian infantry hitting is (1/6) * (2/6), or 2/36. Probability of German infantry hitting and Russian infantry missing is 4/36. Probability of German infantry missing and Russian infantry hitting is 10/36. Probability of both missing is 20/36. Again, we eliminate the last possibility, arriving at a final probability of 2/16 chance of both Russians and Germans hitting, a 4/16 chance of the Germans hitting and the Russians missing, and a 10/16 chance of the Germans missing and the Russians hitting.
This time, if the Germans and Russians both hit, both sides lose 3 IPC worth of units. If the Germans hit and the Russians miss, the Germans lose nothing, gain a 2 IPC territory (the value of Belorussia), and the Russians lose a 3 IPC infantry. If the Germans miss and the Russians hit, the Germans lose a 3 IPC infantry. We will sum this up as the Germans losing 0 IPC, gaining 5 IPC, and losing 3 IPC, respectively. (That is, the amount of IPC damage the Germans inflict, minus the amount of IPC damage in units that the Germans take, plus the IPCs in the bank that may be gained from captured territory).
Using the same formula, that?s ((2/16) * 0) + ((4/16) * 5) + ((10/16) * -3), or -10/16. That is, the Germans should expect to gain -10/16 IPC worth of units if they send one German infantry against one Russian infantry to gain a 2 IPC territory. That is, the Germans should expect to LOSE unit value. So, once again, unless there are mitigating factors, the Germans should not undertake the attack.
Now that we know that the battle of German fighter against Russian infantry is unfavorable, and that the battle of German infantry against Russian infantry is unfavorable, we return to the earlier given figures of what happens when a German fighter and a German infantry attack a Russian infantry in a 2 IPC territory.
Remember, in a battle of a German fighter and a German infantry against a Russian infantry, the probability that both sides will inflict a hit is 42/216. The probability that only the Germans will inflict a hit is 84/216. The probability that only the Russians will get a hit is 30/216. The probability that both will miss is 60/216.
Now, we know that if both Russians and Germans inflict casualties, the combat is over, the only decision left is for the German player can choose to lose the 10 IPC fighter, and gain a 2 IPC territory (net -8 IPC), or lose the 3 IPC infantry (net -3 IPC). If the Germans inflict a hit and the Russians do not, the combat is over. If the Germans do not inflict a hit, and the Russians inflict a hit, previously, we only knew that a new situation arose, we did not know the outcome. We now know that, ignoring mitigating factors, the German player should retreat, as pressing the attack does not result in IPC gain.
Since we now know the outcome anticipated action for each of the combat results, we can eliminate the probability of no casualties occurring. What are the new probabilities? They are: 42/156 chance of both sides inflicting a casualty, 84/156 chance of only the Germans hitting, and 30/156 of only the Russians hitting.
If both sides inflict a casualty, the German player must decide to either lose the German fighter (losing the 10 IPC in fighter value, but gaining 2 IPC in the bank from gained territory for net loss of 8 IPC), or lose 3 IPC from the infantry. Barring mitigating factors, the German player should lose the infantry. In this case, taking the amount of IPC damage the Germans inflict, minus the amount of IPC damage in units that the Germans take, plus the IPCs in the bank that may be gained from captured territory, the Germans can expect to gain 0 IPC. If only the Germans inflict a casualty, the Russians lose 3 IPC worth of infantry and the Germans gain 2 IPC worth of territory, for a net gain of 5 IPC. If only the Russians inflict a casualty, the Germans can either lose a 10 IPC fighter and retreat, or a 3 IPC infantry and retreat; in the absence of mitigating factors, this means the Germans should retreat with an effective loss of 3 IPC.
Given this, then, what is the expected change in German utility from the attack of German fighter and German infantry against Russian infantry?
The immediate result is:
((42/156) * 0) + ((84/156) * 5) + ((30/156) * -3), or 330/156 IPC. That is, the expected gain in unit value from the attack is a little under 2 IPC.
However, remember that IF the Germans capture the territory, the Germans will then have an infantry in that territory. If the Allies don?t recapture that territory, the Germans will retain that territory and the IPC income from that territory. If the Allies do recapture that territory, though, the German infantry will have some chance of inflicting a casualty on the enemy attackers, though (barring battleship support shots, which are a possibility). So, really, if the Germans DO capture the territory, there is every chance that the Germans will have at least a 2/6 chance (that is, the value of a German defender) of destroying a unit worth at least 3 IPC (that is, an enemy infantry). That adds an effective anticipated IPC gain of 1. (That is, the possibility of inflicting a casualty multiplied by the value of the casualty inflicted). In practice, the anticipated gain is really a bit MORE than 1, because there is a chance that all the opponent?s attacks will miss on the first round but the German infantry will hit, leaving the German infantry free to inflict additional casualties, and there is also a chance that the opponent will not have any infantry free to attack the German infantry with, so the Allied player may have to risk a more valuable unit, such as a tank, in case an attack is decided upon. Of course, though, if the Germans do have an infantry in that territory at that point, the Germans will lose an infantry, so will lose a 3 IPC unit.
So, the expected previous result is modified. Even though we know that the anticipated IPC gain of the German defender is worth a bit more than 1 (barring battleship support shots), we will only add 1 to the anticipated IPC gain if the Germans capture the territory with no defenders. Adding -3 to that result, for the anticipated loss of the German infantry gives us, in the 84 out of 156 cases when the Germans capture the Russian territory with no German casualties, an additional -2 IPC expected out of the German defender (that is, it is anticipated the Germans will lose a 3 IPC infantry, but have about a 1/3 chance of destroying an enemy 3 IPC infantry in turn), making the former figure of 330/156 into 330/156 + ((-168/156) * 1), that is, 162/156, or a still respectable 1.0384615384615384615384615384615 IPC gain.
Yet, the picture is still not complete. Even though the Germans stand to gain from the attack, there is a question of what the Germans stand to lose if the attack fails; this question goes beyond the immediate IPC gain or loss already described. Also, we have not yet determined whether or not some other German attack may be even more cost effective. Finally, we have not yet determined what benefit the opponent may receive from the proposed move, or what cost the opponent may yet have to pay for the proposed move.
V. Other Utility Gain Calculations
If the calculated utility of a move is to be considered completely calculated, we must figure in the fact that in the example above, the Russians can attack the Germans on the Russian turn, with the exact same expected utility gain as listed above ? but for the Russians. In turn, the Russian counter will be subject to whatever German counter the Germans can muster ? and, of course, the Russians will in turn be able to counter that German counter, etcetera ad infinitum.
The example given at the beginning of section III shows that if your opponent has considerable forces, an attack that is profitable for you in the short term may be very unprofitable in the long term.
However, what that example does not show is that if your opponent does not have considerable forces, an attack that is profitable for you may end up being even more profitable.
Say that instead, there were one German infantry and one German fighter in Eastern Europe, one Russian infantry in Belorussia. Also assume that Russia cannot bring any forces to Belorussia on the Russian turn. Now, the utility calculations change.
Previously, we assumed that if the German infantry captured the territory, that the Russians would counterattack. At that point, it was anticipated that the Germans would lose a 3 IPC unit, and gain about 1 IPC (for a 1/3 chance of destroying a 3 IPC Russian infantry). In this example, though, the Russians cannot counterattack. Nor can they gain back that territory on their turn.
So in the 84 out of 156 cases that we assumed a German infantry would be destroyed, we instead now know that the German infantry cannot be destroyed, so we can add back the ((84/156) * 2) IPC that we subtracted. Furthermore, the Germans will still be collecting income from that 2 IPC territory on the next German turn, as the Russians cannot recapture that territory, so we add an additional ((84/156) * 2) IPC.
Instead of 162/156 IPCs anticipated, then, the Germans in this case anticipate a gain of 498/156 IPCs. That is, 3.1923076923076923076923076923077 instead of 1.0384615384615384615384615384615 IPCs, a fairly considerable difference.
Usually, there will not be a case in which the Germans have units with which to attack, and the Russians have both insufficient defense, and no units in the surrounding attacks that can counter the German attack next turn. However, it may well be the case that the Russians will be unable to respond in a cost-effective manner to all of the German attacks. For example, if the Germans control Karelia, Belorussia, and Ukraine, each with one infantry, Russia will very likely have the infantry required to respond, but it is very possible that Russia will not have the necessary fighters, as the Russians would need three fighters, but fighters are very expensive and Russia only starts with two.
VI. Assessing the Board Situation
When you look at the board at the start of your turn, you know how many IPCs you have, where your opponent?s units are, and where your own units are. With this knowledge, you can plan your attacks, and in turn, what units and/or tech research you will purchase.
Deciding what the most cost-effective allocation of your units for your combat move phase will be is difficult. Sending an additional infantry to attack on this turn will mean a better chance of succeeding at the immediate battle, but will probably mean that you won?t have that infantry available next turn to respond to your opponent?s countermove. Sending an additional fighter to participate in a naval battle may save valuable naval units, but may also mean that you don?t have good odds in a land battle, which can potentially be more important in the long run.
As difficult as this is, though, it is even more difficult to assess what the most cost-effective allocation of your opponents? units will be, and what your opponent is therefore likely to build. It may be that even though you have a move that will greatly increase your utility, that your opponent has a countermove that will greatly decrease your utility.
The complexity is increased another degree by the fact that units can be produced. Although the units your opponent is going to build on his or her turn can?t counterattack any attack you made this turn, the units your opponent is going to build on his or her turn can counterattack any counter that you make to your opponent?s counterattack to your attack, and vice versa.
Even yet, there is more to the situation. The units that you build on your turn may not be immediately usable to attack. However, even if the units you build on your turn cannot be used to attack on your next turn, or even the turn after that or later, those units can still be moved into position so that you can attack later. This last is the reason why it is effective for Germany to produce mostly infantry on the first two turns, but produce tanks starting about three turns before serious pressure is to be exerted on Russia. Infantry that are produced early can march towards Russia, and the tanks? speed means that the German infantry and the German tanks can hit the Russian lines at the same time, creating a difficult situation for Russia to deal with.
There is still one more thing to address; the use of friendly powers? units to help defend your own. The most common examples of this are for the Allied fleet in the Atlantic, and the German attack on the Ukraine and/or the Caucasus. In both cases, the powers in question unite their forces to make themselves more difficult to attack. Specifically, when the Allies control 1 Russian sub, 2 UK transports, a UK battleship, a US destroyer, a US carrier, and 2 US transports, that is quite difficult for Germany to take down, if the Allied players make sure the German navy and airforce can?t both hit the Allied fleet. Or, if Germany puts a lot of units in the Ukraine or Caucasus, Russia can very likely make a very damaging attack, but if Japan lands some fighters in the Ukraine, any Russian attack becomes considerably more expensive.
VII. Long-Term Goals
The ability to figuring out the short-term risks, costs, and benefits of a decision is important, particularly when the decision contemplated is crucial to the course of the game. However, the short-term risks, costs, and benefits of a single decision must be viewed in light of the long-term risks, costs, and benefits, which are not easily calculable.
For example, it may not immediately be obvious that if Germany loses fighters, the Allies will have a far easier time moving infantry and other cost-effective ground units into Europe and/or Africa. However, that is the case; if Germany has few fighters to threaten Allied transports, the Allies won?t need to build as many escort ships for their transports. In turn, that will mean the Allies will have more IPCs to build transports and ground units to transport to Europe and Africa.
It may also not be immediately obvious that Germany should purchase some number of infantry on Germany?s first turn in response to a Russian infantry build. After all, if Germany produces tanks on Germany?s first turn, Germany?s position against Russia will become much better very quickly. However, if Germany produces nothing but tanks first turn, the German player won?t have the numbers of units needed to absorb Russian counterattacks, once the Germans reach the Balkans.
On the other hand, it may be that Germany should purchase nothing but tanks, in response to a Russian double fighter build and overly aggressive combat move. Russia will have more units that it can use immediately on its next turn, and the German front will be depleted, but Germany?s counterattack can be very costly to the Russians, and the German tank build may well stop the Russians from counterattacking. In the end, German numbers and speed may mean that the Germans may be able to secure more territory on the Russian front, and together with the Japanese, eventually secure Moscow.