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The Portland/Vancouver Axis and Allies Meetup Group Message Board › Axis and Allies 101

Axis and Allies 101

Kyle E.
user 12644962
West Linn, OR
Post #: 28
Thanks for sharing Andrew. Just wanted to comment on a few particular things you mentioned.

First of all, I couldn't agree more that it is actually harder to play Allies than Axis in AA50. That does not necessarily mean that the Axis have an advantage but I imagine that a slight majority of AA50 games are won by the Axis. Just thought it was interesting to point out.

Overall I want to address something that seems to be indicated in your posts which is that in AA50 there is a standard, or most efficient, way of winning the game. Each power has set objectives or roles that they have to do in order to maximize their chance of victory. I would like to argue that in AA50 this is not always true. One of the maxims I play the game with is "There is more than one way to win the game" and I'm not referring to mistakes or dice. From your experience with AA50, do you feel there are set ways to win and that if you don't follow those strategies you are doomed to lose to someone who does?

For instance, the only games I can remember winning with Allies were where we went all Pacific with the US. Even though the Japanese start with far more and make more in income they still lose the advantage on that side of the board when they have to take funds away from ground troops. By no means do I think this is the best or easiest way to win the game. However I do feel that the best players do not play to a strict strategy but rather make the best moves available. Here's an example - having a British navy in the Baltic is awesome! However, if getting into the Baltic means taking two turns of building all navy then is it really worth it? I would argue no. It would be more advantageous to put 60 IPCs worth of units in Africa than in the Baltic. Even if you don't agree with 60, you would certainly agree with 100 or maybe an even larger number at some point. Norway, Finland, and every other Axis territory in Europe can stay axis for the majority of the game and still have it result in an Allied win.

The reason I point at this example in particular is because it's very easy for Germany to keep a superior firepower advantage in sea battles - German bombers will always get you more bang for your buck than any UK naval build.

Here's another thing, you mentioned that the US and UK are probably going to take France or Italy and move on from there. I don't think this scenario is likely to be allowed. Germany and Italy know how important those territories are and will always prioritize their defense. In France's case, Germany may move out but only for a turn just to move back into France and hold it indefinitely.

Last point, making a lot of money with Russia is great. Nothing like making over 40 IPCs every turn. However, it's not as good as it would be in say Revised or Global. The reason being is that Russia can only build 10 units a turn, unless it owns Karelia, in which case it can build 12. If Russia is making lets say 42 IPCs but can only place 10 units then its probably putting down 6 tanks and 4 infantry meaning its producing only 4 expendable units at turn. If Russia is using tanks to do the job of infantry, like block a territory or defend Moscow, then its IPCs become less meaningful.

P.S. Thanks for the link, I hopefully fixed the problem with my email that prevented me getting your emails but not sure.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 121
Kyle you bring up some good points. Let me see if I can answer them.

"Overall I want to address something that seems to be indicated in your posts which is that in AA50 there is a standard, or most efficient, way of winning the game. Each power has set objectives or roles that they have to do in order to maximize their chance of victory. I would like to argue that in AA50 this is not always true. One of the maxims I play the game with is "There is more than one way to win the game" and I'm not referring to mistakes or dice. From your experience with AA50, do you feel there are set ways to win and that if you don't follow those strategies you are doomed to lose to someone who does?"

Yes I do feel that there is a standard, or most efficient way of winning a game. Does that mean you cannot win the game without following this standard strategy, of course not. First, there are always going to be exceptions to any particular strategy; such as the US rolling long-range aircraft or Germany and Italy going all out via a rush to take Russia. These unusual circumstances would certainly cause a shift in the standard overall strategy. Second, just because there is a more efficient strategy does not mean it is the only strategy to win. However, why would you not use a strategy that say can win the game 75% of the time versus a strategy that only wins the game 50% of time? Certainly you can still win using the latter strategy but you will not win as often. My point is that you determine what the most efficient strategy is and you follow that strategy to win the game as often as possible. Another point to keep in mind is that my discussions assume players of equal caliber and thus we're strictly talking about the best strategy that each player could use to win the game. Certainly if the players are not equal in capability and one player makes a mistake you should certainly capitalize on that even if it means adjusting your overall strategy to win the game. In contrast, a weaker player may use a far riskier strategy to try and win a game being that if he used a standard strategy his chances of winning would actually be even lower because he does not have the ability to follow through as efficiently as possible using a standard strategy. The most common example for this that I can think of is in the classic game, or second edition as it is referred to, where a weaker player would roll for technology in hopes to gain heavy bombers. While this may be a low odds strategy if they are successful they have an extremely high probability of winning the game unless their opponent can also roll heavy bombers. Another example might be an extremely risky opening for Germany, let's say only a 30-35% chance of success in AA50 1941, which if successful puts one player in an extremely advantageous position over the other but if it is unsuccessful actually puts the player in a much weaker position than a normal opening move. A stronger player would not want to take that kind of risk whereas a weaker player would be happy to. But my assumptions are that each player will play mistake free and use the absolute best, or most efficient, strategy to win the overall game.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 122
"For instance, the only games I can remember winning with Allies were where we went all Pacific with the US. Even though the Japanese start with far more and make more in income they still lose the advantage on that side of the board when they have to take funds away from ground troops. By no means do I think this is the best or easiest way to win the game."
Here you make my point for me. Can you win this way, sure, but you yourself say it may not be the easiest way to win so why do that? Also these examples are anecdotal because we don't know the quality of players in comparison to each other. The only way to really determine this is to look at the overall game and decide what is the best strategy to win for the Allies. As I have earlier said I would contend that the best way for the Allies to win is to not use a Pacific theater strategy and instead focus on an Atlantic theater strategy.

As I have said before, except for some of the specific scenario games, almost every single Axis and Allies game comes down to money. AA50 is certainly a prime example of one where it is all about money. The Axis is actually in a disadvantage in AA50 in comparison to some of the other Axis and Allies games because Germany and Italy are two separate Powers. Because of this Germany a) collects far less money than normal and b) has two vulnerable points to defend; both Germany and Italy. Thus this puts them on an even par with Russia and the United Kingdom. As soon as Germany loses Finland, Norway and Algeria at best they are going to be collecting $38 a Turn. This assumes they are collecting two national objectives but not trading Ukraine. If Italy is holding the Mediterranean, Egypt and Trans-Jordan but not having broken into southern Africa then they would be collecting $23 for a total Axis bounty of $61 a Turn. Once the United Kingdom gets into the Baltic they should be collecting at a minimum $28 and more likely $31 a Turn. The Russians are looking to collect at least $39 for a total of $70 a Turn for the Allies. The only upside for the Axis is trying to get southern Africa while still holding on to their gains in the Mediterranean while the upside for the Allies is to push further into Germany and take away if not a another $6 from Germany possibly even $13 more. I would contend that even in a best case scenario for the Axis in Europe - basically Italy pushes into southern Africa and collects as much as $30, Germany only loses its second national objective but holds on to Bulgaria thus gaining $31 and the Allies gain $24 for the United Kingdom and $41 for Russia they are still down $61vs $65 a Turn.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 123

So the Axis cannot win in Europe without the help of Japan. This would lead one to believe that therefore the correct Allied strategy would be for the US to conduct a Pacific campaign. And if one could guarantee at least a stalemate with Japan I would agree with that 100%. I just do not think it is possible to stalemate Japan completely and if the US intervenes in Europe Italy will not collect $30; in fact Italy will be lucky to collect $17 and more likely $10. Now the United Kingdom and Russia are collecting $70 a turn while Germany and Italy are only collecting $41 a Turn. Therefore we are back to the typical scenario where Japan is rushing to capture Moscow before the Allies can capture Germany. With such a large money advantage the Japanese are going to have to go really fast to accomplish that goal.

So can the US stalemate the Japanese if they use a Pacific strategy? Because if they can then that certainly would be a winning strategy!

At the end of Japan 1 Japan is virtually guaranteed of collecting $43 and having $166 worth of ships and planes to fight a naval battle. The United States, assuming they capture the Solomon Islands on Turn 1, would collect $48 and have $153 worth of ships and planes to fight a naval battle. Unfortunately the US forces are spread out with one destroyer off Panama and another one off the East Coast so their immediate resources are only $137 (vs $166), so the US needs time to consolidate their forces. Except for that small drawback at first this seems pretty even, however by Turn 3 things have changed because the Japanese have the ability to gain more territory whereas the United States does not. The Japanese are probably now collecting $53 versus the United States $48, however when you consider the Japanese are probably going to spend some money to try and increase their holdings on the mainland you might say the United States has the advantage. And they would except for 3 minor and 2 major issues:
1) Minor - Since there are no Allied reinforcements coming into the Asian theater, except for some minor Chinese, even a 2 infantry Buy per Turn would give the Japanese enough to certainly hold their territories and maybe even gain a little bit more thus providing them even more money; but even so we can say that it would certainly be even at best for the Japanese for the amount of money they could spend on ships and planes versus what the United States could spend on ships and planes. This alone is not enough for the Japanese because this accomplishes the goal of stalemating the Japanese so a Pacific strategy still works.
2) Major - The United States has to totally ignore the Atlantic theater; not only not send any troops towards Africa but actually pulling every ship, air and land unit from the Atlantic into the Pacific, otherwise they would have to buy infantry and transports which would nullify the fact that they are virtually even with the Japanese. We are talking about not even taking Algeria, thus we are looking at a scenario where eventually Italy is collecting $31 and Germany is collecting $31 and the UK and Russia are collecting $65. In addition the Italian fleet survives. This opens up some interesting options for the Italians; certainly they will take Brazil and they will threaten the eastern coast of the United States. This will draw some, not many, but some land troops into the eastern US but more importantly add three more dollars to Italy and subtract three dollars from the US so suddenly the US is at a slightly larger disadvantage in the Pacific and in Europe the money is exactly even at $65 each with the Axis defending. What this means is unless the US goes all out they cannot win in the Pacific and if they do go all out they have to at least stalemate Japan in the Pacific because even slowing Japan down is probably not enough as now we have given Italy and Germany enough money to possibly hold forever against the UK and Russia.
3) Major - It appears issue 1 and 2 make it a fairly even game therefore issue number three is what tilts the scales in favor of the Japanese. Because it is the Americans who must actually capture territory and thus are steaming their ships far away from their reinforcement points whereas the Japanese only have to defend or recapture what is taken and their purchases are coming in, if not into the battle area, then extremely close to the battle area. And this is the problem. Even one additional Turn of purchasing gives Japan the advantage in ships and planes for any battle that may occur.
4) Minor - The US fleet cannot stay near Japan and consolidate with its reinforcements. To have any success the US must be able to have mobility, having mobility requires the US to break its logistics train. After Turn 3 the Japanese won't need to have their fleet near the mainland and can consolidate their fleet to counter the US fleet. It will be a lot easier for the Japanese to add additional ships to their main fleet then it will be for the US. This is not a deal breaker but it does give the Japanese the advantage in mobility.
5) Minor - Since most of the firepower will be coming from aircraft it will be very difficult for either fleet to advance towards the other. As soon as one fleet moves within range of the other fleet’s capital ships the combined naval and air power will wipe out either side. So the advancing fleet is always at a disadvantage and remember a tie goes to the defender in this case because as long as the attacking fleet goes to the bottom it doesn't matter what's left over from the defender’s standpoint. Thus since the Japanese are defending they have the advantage of trying to push the Americans in one direction or another, determine the area of battle and force the Americans to somehow charge forward.

I think with the loss of any American help in the European and African theater, combined with the disadvantage the attacker has both from a reinforcement and maneuvering viewpoint that a Pacific strategy is far more difficult to play then doing an all out Atlantic strategy where the game virtually comes down to who dies first; Berlin or Moscow. Can someone win this way, most assuredly they can. Will this be more difficult than doing an Atlantic strategy; I think it will be and thus I would think in the long run would not be as successful as an Atlantic strategy.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 124

"However I do feel that the best players do not play to a strict strategy but rather make the best moves available. Here's an example - having a British navy in the Baltic is awesome! However, if getting into the Baltic means taking two turns of building all navy then is it really worth it? I would argue no. It would be more advantageous to put 60 IPCs worth of units in Africa than in the Baltic. Even if you don't agree with 60, you would certainly agree with 100 or maybe an even larger number at some point. Norway, Finland, and every other Axis territory in Europe can stay axis for the majority of the game and still have it result in an Allied win."

First there is no reason that the United Kingdom’s fleet cannot be in the Baltic on UK 2. Secondly even if it did require a two Turn build I would disagree with you because having access to the Baltic and taking Finland, Norway, Northwestern Europe and Poland is far more important than any amount of troops in Africa. Where are the African troops going to go? Once the Allies have Africa it makes no difference whether you have 10 troops there or 100 troops there; there isn't much for them to do after that. And by taking all of those territories from Germany you gain $10 for the United Kingdom, subtract $5 dollars permanently from Germany, force Germany to trade for the other $5 which greatly helps the Russian cause AND gain the $10 national objective for Russia.

"The reason I point at this example in particular is because it's very easy for Germany to keep a superior firepower advantage in sea battles - German bombers will always get you more bang for your buck than any UK naval build."

I will have to disagree with you here. There is really no reason the Germans should ever have more than a 25% chance of sinking the United Kingdom’s fleet and the only way to do that is to build at least one bomber a Turn for the first three or four Turns; after which that percentage will only go down so if the Germans want to take a 25% shot at winning or losing the game that is fine by me.

"Here's another thing, you mentioned that the US and UK are probably going to take France or Italy and move on from there. I don't think this scenario is likely to be allowed. Germany and Italy know how important those territories are and will always prioritize their defense. In France's case, Germany may move out but only for a turn just to move back into France and hold it indefinitely."

I guess it really depends on at what point in the game we are talking about. Certainly Germany and Italy will have enough to hold Italy and France for quite a while. But eventually with a large American fleet off of Algeria threatening both France and Italy and the United Kingdom threatening France and Germany with Germany and Italy collecting barely $40 it will not be long before the one of those territories must fall. And once one area falls then eventually so will the others. Of course Japan may take Moscow before that and of course that is the whole point of the game to see which one falls first.

“Last point, making a lot of money with Russia is great. Nothing like making over 40 IPCs every turn. However, it's not as good as it would be in say Revised or Global. The reason being is that Russia can only build 10 units a turn, unless it owns Karelia, in which case it can build 12. If Russia is making lets say 42 IPCs but can only place 10 units then its probably putting down 6 tanks and 4 infantry meaning its producing only 4 expendable units at turn. If Russia is using tanks to do the job of infantry, like block a territory or defend Moscow, then its IPCs become less meaningful.”

I would agree with you completely if Russia was not holding Karelia but there is no reason for Russia not to be holding Karelia. While Germany can capture Karelia early in the game and hold it for perhaps two or three Turns there is no reason for the Allies to not have recaptured it by Turn 4. In addition any attempt by Germany to actually hold onto Karelia would be a long-term disaster costing far more in troops to hold it then the monies gained by controlling it. In the 1942 version it is the Russians who have the advantage, not the Germans.
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 125
Here are some specific areas that I think are key to the game. I am not going to say how to accomplish these goals; I think each person should figure that out for themselves or at least have to wait till they see someone else do it. But from a tactical standpoint all of these are doable:

Baltic – the British can have a superior fleet in the Baltic on UK 2.
Finland and Norway – should be under permanent UK control by UK 2.
Northwestern Europe and Poland – should be trading each Turn by UK 3.
$10 Russian national objective – Russia should be collecting this no later than Russia 4 and possibly by Russia 3.
Egypt – Falls no later than Germany 2 and possibly Italy 1.
India – Falls on Japan 3.
Karelia – Falls to Germany on Germany 1 and back to the Allies no later than Turn 4 and more likely Turn 3.

An overall summary of game play by theater:
The European theater – Russia gains an immediate advantage on Russia 1 due to going first and having reinforcements come in directly into the battle area. They push south to gain control of Ukraine and threaten Bulgaria. Germany temporarily captures Karelia and counters the Russian push south to try and deny Bulgaria to the Russians. The UK moves into the Baltic capturing Norway, Finland and threatening Northwestern Europe and Poland. All positions become static until a US presence or Russian withdrawal changes the situation.
Keys to success:
Can Russia push into Bulgaria?
Can Germany hold on to its second national objective?
Can Italy help deny the $10 Russian national objective?
How weak will Germany and Italy be when Russia has to turn and defend its homeland from the Japanese advance?
How strong will the US presence be at this point too?

The African theater – Germany sets up an Egyptian attack that forces the British to withdraw giving Egypt and Trans-Jordan to Italy. Italy builds a fleet to hold the Mediterranean and threaten any fleet off the Algerian coast. The US lands troops in force in Algeria with a fleet strong enough to stand against the Italian fleet and then destroy the Italian fleet out right. US forces capture Africa and threaten Italy and France.
Keys to success:
How far south into Africa will the Italians be able to push before the Americans arrived?
How long will the Italian fleet be able to survive?

The Asian theater – Japan gains an immediate advantage in China by destroying the Flying Tigers. The Japanese must quickly set up its infrastructure for a ground troop mainland attack. Japan captures India on Turn 3. The Allies try to stall as best as possible never sacrificing troops needlessly. Japan gets to Persia in force holds threatening the Caucuses forcing Russia to retreat from the Eastern front to protect The Motherland.
Keys to success:
How well can China hold in the middle?
How well can Russia hold in the North?
How long will it take Japan to get to Persia in strength?

So in an even game what should happen is Germany and Italy will be severely weakened and be threatened by the United Kingdom from the North and the United States from the South. Japan will be knocking on Russia's doorstep with sufficient force for the Allies to make a decision; do the Allies push the Eastern front Russian troops forward to weaken the Germans knowing Russia will fall but hopefully guaranteeing that Germany will fall too before Japan can come to the rescue OR do the Russians retreat to hold against Japan for as long as possible knowing that Germany will fall before Moscow does because they are so weakened?
Andrew
user 3078346
Tacoma, WA
Post #: 126
In an attempt to confirm my thoughts on a good Allied strategy I have played three games of Axis and Allies 1942 version over the past couple of weeks. The first game was a complete wipe out and the Axis won handily. The second game the Axis won again although it was at least closer. Italy and France were both threatened when Moscow finally fell but the Axis were firmly in control of Europe and in no danger of losing. The third and final game the Allies finally prevailed but that may partially have been a bit more due to some favorable dice early which slowed the Japanese advance a little and on the final Turn when Germany fell in a very close battle. In fact over the last three Turns first Italy fell, then on the following Turn Moscow fell, in the very next Turn Germany fell. If Germany had not fallen the Axis would have won that one too. Because of that I am going to have to refute two of my own comments:

1) The UK can not get into the Baltic on UK 2. Unless the British player is willing to risk his limited Air Force to sink the German fleet then the Germans can keep them out till UK 3. Because of this, and thanks to the Italians killing any initial landing troops, the Russian player cannot hope to get its $10 National Objective until at least Turn 5.

2) It is much more difficult than I thought for the Russian player to get into and hold Bulgaria; this also accounts for a more difficult task to gain the $10 National Objective than I had originally assumed. In addition, just as the Russians finally gain a hold on Bulgaria and capture what amounts to $12 for them and minus $7 for the Germans They have to retreat and go back and hold the Caucuses against the Japanese hordes. In the first game where I decided to leave the Russians in Bulgaria it was a disaster for the Russians as Japan captured the Caucuses and immediately captured Moscow.

Confirmed:
1) The Japanese quickly become a monster and are in Persia no later than Turn 6 and possibly by Turn 5. In the one game the Allies won I was able to keep the Japanese from holding Persia by having a strong Russian force there to counterattack. However this was also the game where Japan had its worst start losing four infantry and a fighter on Turn 1. I also played my Asian strategy differently as the Allies and it seemed much more successful.

2) The Italian fleet build seems to work with an aircraft carrier. While I was never able to capture Africa with the Italians I was able to force the Americans into building a massive fleet and Air Force before they could gain entry into the Mediterranean.

3) The Axis are easier to play. As I played and learned more I was able to improve the defense of the Baltic and Europe with Germany and it seemed I was getting more and more efficient with my Japanese infrastructure too as I continued to play. However the overall increase in efficiency was minimal when compared to what I was able to do before playing the three games. In contrast I learned a lot with the Allies and that played I think a large part into why I was able to finally squeak out a win in the third game. The Allies are far more difficult to play and I'm sure this accounts for the inability to win as many games as the Axis.

Next up I am going to try and have the US use a Pacific strategy and see how that changes things.
Kyle E.
user 12644962
West Linn, OR
Post #: 29
Looking forward to hearing how things go. Thanks for the thoughts as always and I think this post validates many of my own feelings about the game - particularly on the European side.
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