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Author Topic: All the Russian openings: For Begginers  (Read 16633 times)
Black_Elk
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« on: March 08, 2015, 06:34:52 pm »
+7

So you just bought the Axis and Allies game 1942 second edition, the latest 5 man world theater game... Congratulations, good call!  grin

Perhaps you're returning to A&A from one of the older games, or maybe this is your first time. Either way, now that you've studied the map, got the pieces all laid out, and have finally puzzled your way through the rulebook, its time to dive in and start thinking about the Russian opening! Maybe you're pre-gaming it, looking to get a match with one of your friends face to face, or are playing WW2 v5 in tripleA vs the HardAI, to get a feel for the map. We've all been here at one point, looking at those Russian units and those 24 ipcs and trying to figure out the best way to make use of them. Right about now, you might be thinking to yourself that the Soviet starting position looks kind of ugly, what should you buy? and what is it you're supposed to do with these Russians units anyway? ha!

Well, here are some ideas about various openings that you might find helpful for the 1942 sec edition game when playing as the Soviets. What follows assumes OOB conditions, (if you know what a bid is and how to play with bids these conditions can be changed), but often times, if you're starting up a new game with newer players in your group, explaining what a bid is can take more time than its worth, and this is already a fairly involved game. Instead, you, as the more experienced A&A strategist and the one who bought the board, can just let your buddy play Axis while you take the Russians. Sure it's a challenge, but you're up to it right! Wink

But what to buy in the first round? This Russian planned economy gives you 24 ipcs out the gate, and this doesn't allow a whole lot of room for error. Maybe infantry is best? Lets consider it for a moment...

At a cost of 3 ipcs a pop, 24 ipcs gets you 8 infantry, and we know that boots on the ground are always important for the Russians right? I mean just throw more bodies at the problem, that's one ready solution isn't it? And surely infantry have the best defensive value for the cost of any unit, and provide the most hitpoints for the least amount of money. Another way to think about it is the total power that your purchased force can project: the cumulative attack value and defense value of the units in the force and how far it can move.  We often call these attack or defense 'points', or 'pips' for the purposes of fast calculation, and try to think about how much attack or defense power the units can bring to bear.

24 ipcs in infantry = 8 hit points, with a total attack value of 8 points, total defense value of 16 points, and it can move 1 space.

In two out of four dimensions, the 8 infantry buy does pretty well. 8 hit points, or hits that you can absorb, in terms of "fodder" with cheap infantry to protect your more expensive attacking/defending units. On defense 16 points, since each individual infantry unit hits at 2 on defense. Taken together, that's a solid 2 hits on defense reliably, and probably 3 hits or more if the infantry is grouped together and all "dug in." Rolling a lucky deuce or two, and that kind of infantry stacked together can be quite potent!

But in the other two out of four dimensions, the 8 infantry buy is somewhat lacking. 8 attack points doesn't sound all that bad at first, but when you start to crunch the numbers, you find that this only gives you a reliable 1 hit, and a "long shot" (1/3 chance) to grab a second hit on attack. And this only when the whole force is attacking at once. Sure there's always a chance you might roll a bunch of ones, but its not a great chance, and there is of course a chance that you could completely "dud" in your attack. A lucky "one" is just harder to come by than the "lucky deuce" when you're playing a game with six sided dice. This sort of thinking and logic has given rise to a style of play called "Low Luck" which you may want to familiarize yourself with at some point, just for reference, but similar principles apply in a normal dice game, when you're trying to figure out what the likely chances are that you'll get "X number of hits" in a given round of combat. Basically what you're doing is adding up all the "hits at" values for each unit, the number you end up with shows you how many hits you're likely to achieve with these units when rolling the six sided dice, by dividing that number by 1/6. This gives you the likely number of hits on average in a dice game, or the auto hits in an LL game, and any remainder left over can likewise give you a sense of how likely it is to pick up an "extra hit." For a regular dice game these are just rough averages but they're helpful when thinking about the attack/defense value of the force you're buying.

Finally there is the aspect that involves movement or range, which for infantry is just 1 space from where they are placed. Now when you look at the map and the production spread for Russia, you'll see that with an 8 infantry buy, some of these units won't be able to get into the fight immediately, because the factory in Caucasus can only produce 4 units at a time, and the factory in Karelia is indefensible in the first round, and inf units placed in Moscow will be two moves from the front during the second round. So having surveyed the situation on the ground, for the purposes of attack, buying 8 infantry doesn't really get you the full 8 attack points the very next round. Instead you end up with just 4 attack points "at the ready", from the infantry out of Caucasus, and the other 4 infantry units placed in Moscow will take at least one more round to move out "into position." To defend against German counter attacks in the second round you still get 16 on defense, but from the perspective of an early Russian offensive, the 8 infantry buy nets you just 4 attack points and 4 attack fodder hitpoints "at the ready" in the second round.

Now lets look at some other ways you could spend that same amount of money for different units beyond just "all infantry." These are all max placement buys, where you spend every ipc with no remainder left over. Listed below with the total hitpoints, total attack points and total defense points for each buy, and finally the number of units with effective range to the front, for immediate counter attack, and the max attack power they can project the following round (during the opening salvo of the combat phase).

----------

Potential Builds:

Buy: 4 infantry and 3 artillery =
Total: 7 hitpoints, 13 attack, 14 defense
Range: 4 units to the front (1 inf, 3 artillery from Caucasus).
Projected Power: +8 counter attack points against Ukraine.

Buy: 6 infantry and 1 tank =
Total: 7 hitpoints, 9 attack, 15 defense
Range: 5 units to the front (4 inf from Caucasus + 1 tank from Moscow).
Projected Power: +7 counter attack points against Ukraine, or + 3 against Karelia/Belo.

Buy: 2 infantry, 3 artillery, and 1 tank=
Total: 6 hitpoints, 13 attack, 13 defense
Range: 5 units to the front (1 inf and 3 art from Caucasus + 1 tank from Moscow).
Projected Power: + 11 counter attack points against Ukraine, or + 3 against Karelia/Belo.

Buy: 6 artillery
Total: 6 hitpoints, 12 attack, 12 defense.
Range: 4 units to the front (4 artillery from Caucasus).
Projected power: +8 counter attack against Ukraine. But this build is sometimes more about the +12 against Caucasus itself, when you plan to give up the factory and then re-take it the next round.

Buy: 4 infantry and 2 tanks =
Total: 6 hitpoints, 10 attack, 15 defense,
Range: 6 units to the front (4 inf from Caucasus +2 tanks from Moscow).
Projected power: + 10 counter attack points against Ukraine, or + 6 against Karelia/Belo.

Buy: 3 artillery and 2 tanks =
Total: 5 hitpoints, 12 attack, 12 defense
Range: 5 units to the front (3 art and 1 tank from Caucasus + 1 tank from Moscow).
Projected power: + 12 counter attack points against Ukraine, or + 6 against Karelia/Belo

Buy: 2 infantry, 2 artillery, 1 fighter
Total: 5 hitpoints, 11 attack, 12 defense
Range 5 units to the front (2 inf and 2 art in Caucasus + 1 fighter in Moscow).
Projected power: +11 counter attack points against Ukraine, or + 3 against Karelia/Belo *extra advantage in light trading of territories/total unit value over time, provided by the third fighter.

Buy: 2 infantry, 3 tanks
Total: 5 hitpoints, 11 attack, 13 defense
Range: 5 units to the front (2 infantry and 2 tanks in Caucasus + 1 tank in Moscow).
Projected power: +11 counter attack points against Ukraine, or + 9 against Karelia/Belo.



Now that's a lot of numbers I've thrown around, but when you see them all laid out, you'll notice that when you opt to buy more expensive units, what you're doing is trading Russian hit points and defense points, for Russian attack points and a greater effective range on counter attack. There is some flexibility here and a little room to pick and choose, depending on how aggressive you want to be with the Soviets, but there is a point at which it's simply no longer worth it to exchange hit points/defense, for power projection on counter attack. I would suggest that if you go lower than 5 hit points in the opening round purchase with Russia, its likely that you will lose control of Moscow to the Axis during the endgame (if your opponent is fairly competent.) Even 5 hit points is rather low, and what I would consider a "gambit," meaning that you're counting on a fairly lucky roll with your Russian openings and counter attacks to make up the difference on hitpoints by killing German units and just losing a couple pawns.

A 6 hitpoint purchase will allow you to project some power with counter attacks in the second round, without giving up too much defense later on. This is what I would consider an aggressive Russian purchase, meaning that you will have a decent offensive capacity if the rolls go your way, but still retain an alright defensive capacity if the rolls go poorly. The 6 hitpoint purchases are all about threatening counter attacks against an early German stack in Karelia or Belo. Trying to buy yourself one more round of trading territories, before you have give them up to the Germans.

A 7 or 8 hitpoint purchase is what I would consider fairly conservative, meaning that you plan to play a primarily defensive game with the Russians, giving up ground early in exchange for a slightly better defense later on, and relying heavily on the Western Allies to make up the difference for you.

Why does all this matter? You might rightly ask.
Well basically, because what you buy with Russia will determine how many attacks you can realistically run in the first round, with decent odds of success, and how quickly your friends the Anglo-Americans will have to send you assistance to prevent your capital from being captured by the Axis.

----------

Now that we've thought about purchases for a minute, lets look at the Russian production spread, and see how the starting factories factor into things.

Karelia: Forget about it!  grin There's just no way you're going to keep the Germans from taking this territory in the first round. Seriously, its a lost cause. Even if you took Belo and Baltic states, even if you somehow managed to sink the German  transport in sz5 with a risky double fighter attack, even if you took W. Russia light, and then blitzed all your tanks to Lengingrad on Non Combat, even if you bought 2 fighters and placed them in Karelia... its just not going to happen. Sadly the Germans will still have you beat, and the Total Unit Value (TUV) trade is terrible, not to mention costing you the whole Eastern front in the process. So just resolve in your mind right now, that Karelia is toast for the time being. Eventually you might be able to liberate it, but holding this factory at the outset is hopeless. The best you can do is trade the territory back and forth for a couple rounds, and keep the Germans from using your own factory against you! And that's the real key, because what you'd really like to avoid here, is Germany stacking the territory on the first round. In addition to all the German units in the neighborhood, the Japanese can even reach Karelia with their Tokyo Bomber (6 moves) to put an extra defensive pip on the territory. That's a lot of Axis units for the Russians to overcome!

It means that you either need enough units of your own stacked against it, or you have to shave off some of those German units in your opening attacks to prevent them from going north. The latter option is particularly risky, since its hard to predict how many hits the German defender might put up in W. Russia itself, let alone Belo, or Baltic States. There's also Caucasus, that other all important factory territory you have to consider in your opening....

Caucasus: Don't forget about it! grin
Now that Karelia is off the table, and you're firmly resolved to just grin and bear the loss of that northern factory for a while, its time to look at that other factory down south! Caucasus is arguably the most important Russian territory after Moscow and W. Russia, not because you need the production per se, but because its very important to deny this production to the Axis. Letting the Axis gain control of a factory that boarders your Capital is just an all around nightmare for the Allied war effort, so you should do everything you can to avoid this for as long as possible. Fortunately, unlike Karelia, it is possible to defend Caucasus in the first round. Its also possible to trade this territory and recover it quickly, owing to the fact that the British are in the area and can lend a hand with their tanks/fighters if need be, but its still a good idea to keep Caucasus under your thumb. Even if you can't hold it forever, you at least want to threaten it on counter attack with enough force to prevent the Germans from stacking there and then flying in Japanese fighter cover. Once that happens, it becomes very hard to control the center of the gamemap and your Russians will be more or less pigeon holed into an entirely defensive "turtle up" posture. This is something you might be able to manage during the endgame, once the Western Allies have some units nearby to help prop you up, but its a disaster to let happen in early rounds. Caucasus is the main objective of most Axis drives early on, and what they will try to do is force you out of this territory (often by making you choose between Caucasus and the Capital Moscow.) For your part, you'll want to push this decision out as far as possible. The best way you can do this is to either stack Caucasus itself, or stack W. Russia and Moscow with enough troops, that any German units that move into Caucasus will be immediately destroyed the following round on counter.

Finally, Moscow: the Center must hold!  grin
Losing Moscow early on, is basically losing the whole game. During the endgame it is possible to trade Moscow for an Axis capital, but in order to even get to the point where something like that is possible, you need to hold Moscow for a pretty long time. Lets put it this way, if you give the Axis a shot on the Russian capital anytime before round 7, things are probably going to end badly for Allies. So what does this mean? Well basically it means keeping Axis units more than 1 move away from Moscow, while at the same time keeping Allied units close enough that they can reach Moscow in 1 move if they have to. And frequently, it means sending US/UK units (esp. aircraft, but also ground) into Russian territories to ensure this.

OK, that was all background and a fairly long winded way to arrive at...

----------

All the Russian Openings!

The rest of this thread below will be for descriptions of specific Russian openings, from basic/general stuff to the more complex, and I invite anyone else here who has thoughts on the subject to post those here as well. TripleA saves would be nice if you want to share examples. I'll start us off with one of the more popular...
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 06:00:42 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2015, 06:35:24 pm »
+2

Ukraine Offensive:

There are two basic versions of the Ukraine opener, we can call them Ukraine "Alpha and Beta." Or Ukraine "Heavy and Light", or whatever you want, but it comes down to whether you bring 3 tanks or just 2 tanks into the Ukraine fight. In previous games, this opener was often described as "the Summer offensive" but whatever the season, it is a fairly standard issue Russian opener in A&A, and a good one to be familiar with. Here is the move...

Alpha: Hit Ukraine "Heavy" with everything in range, then send everything else to attack W. Russia!
3 infantry, 1 artillery, 3 tanks and 2 fighters to Ukraine.
9 infantry, 2 artillery, 1 tank to W. Russia.

In Ukraine retreat after the first round of the combat phase. This is what we call a "Strafe" in A&A. With any luck this will allow you to peel off a good portion of the German ground forces in Ukraine, but still allow you to retreat your tanks safely to Caucasus where they can defend the Russian factory, while simultaneously threatening Karelia on the blitz, and supporting the British position in India (both 2 moves from Caucasus.) Note that attacking beyond the first wave is a little dangerous, it runs the risk that you will "sweep" Ukraine entirely and be forced to occupy the territory. Its also possible with 3 tanks that you might get a strong opening roll and take the territory outright. This is rather less desirable than a solid strafe, since it leaves your tanks exposed to German counter attack, but its still workable. If that happens be prepared to send UK assistance to Russia immediately, in the form of UK fighters and Persian infantry. Otherwise, if the strafe succeeds as planned, what you want to do is continuously stack W. Russia with infantry and artillery, and use the Tanks in Caucasus to threaten larger scale attacks against the Germans. In other words, you don't want to use these tanks in minor combats, but instead save them for the really large engagements. They can also be used to defend or liberate India in a pinch, should the UK find itself in trouble and desperate for Stalin to sacrifice a tank or two on their behalf.

Beta: The same as above except here you hit Ukraine "Light" with just 2 tanks, and send the other tank to W. Russia.
3 infantry, 1 artillery, 2 tanks and 2 fighters to Ukraine.
9 infantry, 2 artillery, 2 tanks to W. Russia.

If you have a brilliant first round of combat in Ukraine, or a catastrophic first round of combat, it is still possible to strafe/retreat your tanks at advantage, but ideally what you want to do is take Ukraine and destroy that German fighter. The advantage to this approach over going heavy, is that you are only putting 2 tanks at risk to the German counter attack in Ukraine, and the second tank in W. Russia increases the likelihood that you will take the territory in fewer rounds of combat (e.g. taking less hits from the German defender in the process) and a stronger defense in W. Russia, should the Germans go crazy and attempt to counter attack here.

The Non-Combat move for both these openings is essentially the same, with a couple important options depending on the results of the battles, especially in W. Russia.

1 Sub from sz 4 to sz 7 (remember to take as the first casualty if possible)
1 AAAgun from Moscow to W. Russia
2 fighters land in Caucasus
2 inf from Evenki to Archangel
1 inf from Novosibirsk to Moscow.
1 inf from Yakut to Evenki
2 inf each from Bury and Far East to Yakut

Then, if the battles went poorly consider sending the Caucasus AA gun to W. Russia, and1 Kazakh infantry to Caucasus.

Otherwise you can send the 1 Kazakh infantry forward to Szech (optimal) to save the Chinese Flying Tiger, which can then be used to support W. Russia on defense.

This opening supports most of the Russian purchases I highlighted in the post above, though I definitely prefer the 6 and 5 hitpoint builds that include some additional Russian tanks to maximize the armor advantage, especially in the case of a strong strafe.

Follow up: expect to receive immediate British air support in W. Russia, Archangel, or Caucasus depending on how the British wish to respond to Germany's opening moves. Ideally you want the British bomber to be in Caucasus or Kazakh to provide the maximum threat against Japan, and you want to get the two British spitfires from UK into a position where they can fly to India if they have to which means either W. Russia or Archangel. The US fighter and infantry in Szech should pull back to protect the center. I consider a sz 61 attack on the second Japanese transport fairly critical, though it is possible to focus on Egypt instead if you wish, in the later case be prepared to evacuate/trade India somewhat earlier and as the Russians you may have to use your armor to liberate India for the British.

There is a third Ukraine opener worth mentioning, which we might call Ukraine Gamma, or the Soviet fighter rescue. This looks exactly like the heavy opening with 3 tanks to Ukraine, except rather than sending the Moscow fighter into the Ukraine attack, you send it to Egypt instead (4 moves) to defend the British position from a G1 attack. This puts the fighter out of commission for an entire round, but some will go this route under OOB conditions for fear of a losing Egypt and the British fighter stationed there to German amphibious. I think this Soviet fighter to Egypt strategy works somewhat better in Russian games that don't involve a Ukraine attack, but that's a discussion for another post.

Next time, we can look at some other Russian openers. Such as moves and placement strategies that involve tank trapping Caucasus, and just stacking West Russia with everything (or almost everything). Or the merits of other strategies like the Belo Blast with the northern focus. Or the Baltic gambits. Or hardcore KJF positioning. But I've been typing for a while now and this at least gets us started. Hopefully some of this stuff will help the newer players to 42 sec Ed. I know many of us have been through this stuff before, but the threads get buried and can be hard for new people to locate, or they spiral into endless digressions and die off. So here's a new thread, where we can just discuss Russian opening tutorial stuff again ad nauseam  
grin

Have fun and good gaming all!
Catch you next time
-Elk

(Edit: I removed the outdated saved game attachments. If I get a chance I'll update them with a current build of triplea.)
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 09:17:40 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2015, 09:34:32 pm »
+2

West Russia Stack:

This is another popular opener, and a good one to get your head around as a beginner. This is what I would consider an ultra conservative Russian opening, and it works a little better with some purchases than others. The broad strokes are pretty simple though, and might be laid down as follows...

W. Russia is the most convenient territory for all your Soviet forces to converge in at the outset. It provides the most coverage and the best counter attack potential of any forward space that you can reach in the first round. It borders the critical spaces of Ukraine, Karelia, and Belo (all territories which the Germans will want to stack and hold against you). It also covers Caucasus and Archangel on counter attack, and is adjacent to Moscow itself in the event that a rapid retreat proves necessary. Perhaps even more critically, it is an optimal "transit route" for fighters based out of UK to travel into Eurasia. Basically if you park it in W. Russia, you want to stay there for as long as possible, because it gives you a lot of flexibility to manage the Eastern front against Germany, and its also conveniently right next Caucasus, Moscow, and Karelia, in case you have to abandon W. Russia at any point to stack one of those other locations. And finally, W. Russia is at the cross roads for Western ground units, esp. UK tanks trying to race 2 moves or blitz around across eastern Europe. Often times in A&A, we will use a move called the "can-opener", where one player tries to set up a blitz attack for a teammate on their side, clearing out a space and then letting the teammate blitz through with their tanks or race somewhere on non com. Similarly the enemy can try to "can-open" you, and clear out one of your spaces so their buddy can then blast through with tanks to screw you royally. W. Russia is a particularly advantageous territory to hold for this can-opening purpose, and to guard against the can-openers of your enemy. Allied tanks can strike out across a wide area when based in W. Russia, and Axis tanks, if they take control of this space can be a total nightmare.

For all these reasons and more, W. Russia is an extremely critical territory for the Soviet and overall Allied war effort. In fact, one could make the case, that W. Russia is so critical, that's its actually more important than Caucasus... despite not having a starting factory on it, and being occupied by Germans at the outset. Its the first the territory you want to reclaim from Germany, and the last territory you want to give up to them, before going into full on "Turtle up" Moscow mode.

Unfortunately for the Russians there is a slight problem, and that's the 3 infantry, 1 artillery and 1 tank unit that Germany has occupying W. Russia at the beginning of the game. Four German fodder units that hit at a 2, and a tank that hits at a 3. It might not seem like much, but if the Russians have a poor opening salvo, or the Germans put up a stiff resistance, or if the combat drags out too long, this can easily bleed down the Russian forces to a point where the Allies are completely screwed right at the outset. For some people, a dicey opening like that can really sour the experience. Some might quit and surrender then and there. Some might request a reroll, or might ask for a bid to compensate for this possibility (A bid, for those who are unfamiliar, is a kind of balancing tool for A&A, that awards extra opening IPCs/Units to the underdog). Still others might look to change the game with house rules, or find different ways of rolling the dice altogether, which is basically the Low Luck approach I mentioned in the earlier post. All this to get around the issue of being totally diced at the outset . There are similar dicey battles in the first round for 1942.2 but few quite so critical as this opening battle for W. Russia. Considering all that, some people favor an approach that just says conserve as many Russian starting forces as possible! Don't make risky attacks in the opener, and instead throw everything at W. Russia, to make damn sure you take it in force!

With 12 infantry, 3 artillery, 4 tanks and 2 fighters, taking W. Russia is a given.
Taking it in the first round of combat is also much more likely, which can help to cut down the total casualties you sustain. This large force, with all the infantry fodder, the 4 Tanks, and both Russian AA guns will surely back down any German attacker.

But the issue then is, "how to manage the defense of Caucasus" against all those other German units in Ukraine and Belo that you didn't destroy? And what is the best purchase you can make to support the play? And which non combat moves, and what kind of assistance is necessary from your Allied teammates, once you've committed to an all out W. Russia attack? There a few different ways to answer those questions, but using what we know about unit values and production from the analysis above, a couple clear realities present themselves. First, you can't land your fighters in Caucasus or attempt to hold the territory with force, because there are just too many German units in range. Just like the Karelia situation, any units left here will likely be destroyed by Germany in the first round, since you sent so much into W. Russia. The territory itself is worth 4, if you leave it open to a walk in, the Germans might send just a single infantry unit to take the money (trading 3 ipcs in TUV for 4 ipcs in income, and shutting down the factory.) This would leave them vulnerable to a British counter attack out of Persia though, so its also possible they might send 2 infantry, risking a net loss of 2 ipcs to shut down the factory for a round.

Any Soviet infantry you place or move into Caucasus, is another inf unit Germany will likely bring in as fodder, just to shore up the risk of taking an unlucky hit. If they take the territory with less than 2 infantry, then the British can bomb in immediately with a single Persian infantry unit + air support to reclaim the factory and restore it, before Russia's turn is even up again. So here its really a question of how much German TUV you want to try and draw into Caucasus and then destroy on counter attack. Some people think its best to just abandon the space entirely, and leave no defending units there. They let the Germans take the income, for one round but then immediately reclaim the territory destroying whatever forces the Germans committed with a large stack. Other people think its better to leave behind some more units, basically baiting Germany to commit more than they can afford into the attack and then counting on your vastly superior numbers to crush them with mass force, the same way you rocked into W. Russia initially.Other tricky tactics might include, leaving one AI gun behind, to possibly draw in a German tank or two, or draw the med battleship to the Black Sea (away from Gibraltar or sz 17). Or you might just want to move infantry there with no AA cover to draw fighters away from other battles.

Now above I said move "Everything to W. Russia" but there are also other forms of the opening, which have you still bringing all the Tanks and Artillery to West Russia, but leaving a certain amount of infantry behind in Caucasus this time. The more infantry you leave behind the more options you have to set up a Caucasus defense and to tank trap the territory, depending on how many you leave and how many you place.

---------

For purchases with this kind of strategy, you'll want to consider going heavy on the hit points. This is not a great time to be playing a 5 hitpoint purchase, you're going to want at least a 6 hitpoint buy for the opener. I find going artillery heavy is best in this situation. The following round, depending on what Germany did, you may want to go heavier on attack units. Even a third fighter can be advisable at some point if you have the income and a position of relative safety, but its not something you want to do for the opener. For the opener you want to buy a lot of hit points to try and maximize the fodder advantage of stacking W. Russia early and not risking any units in other attacks.

Here the magnified aspect comes from having just way more boots on the ground than Germany, and trusting in your friends the British to fly in sufficient fighter assistance to make that fodder effective. If UK goes all out they have 4 starting fighters in the area to back up your W. Russia stack, and any fighters purchased in UK can transit to your aid in one move. Its also likely that you'll be able to engage in light trades if you want to, putting pressure on Caucasus, Karelia, and Belo, while you keep Archangel and W. Russia secure with large stacks. Its hard to overstate the value of artillery in this kind of situation, if you can double the attack value of all your infantry units, it makes it that much harder for Germany to go "all in" to any one of those territories. And once they do decide, it will often take a round of set up, which gives you as the Russians a little more time to plan your final defense against the German drive. I've seen these W. Russia stack games go different directions depending on what the UK and USA decide to do. It can work with a focus on either theater, but the main advantage is for Russian stack defense. Meaning that they will make less progress initially and collect less income over all, but will also be harder for Axis to kill at Moscow, because of the stack sizes involved.

Another interesting aspect of this strategy, is that it doesn't require you to land your fighters anywhere in particular for defense, the only territory you are defending in the first round is W. Russia itself and you can't land the fighters there anyway, so the fighters are free to move farther afield. The Moscow fighter is not necessary to take W. Russia in force, so here is another gamma example, where you could send it to Egypt if desired. Or you could position your fighters for a more KJF oriented game in a territory like Kazakh. Or you can land them in Archangel and give yourself some northern flexibility and an emergency route to England in the unlikely event that Germany goes after UK instead of you.

All units will likely be placed in Moscow, unless the British make a Caucasus liberation move, so this sort of strategy can be fun if you buy 6 artillery in the first round, or 4 inf 3 artillery, 6 inf and a tank, or even just 8 infantry, basically going heavy on the ground.

You can decide how many infantry from Caucasus you want to bring into the attack in W. Russia, and whether or not to include the Moscow fighter in this attack. They are not strictly necessary, but will of course help to ice it  
grin

For non combat the Russian sub goes from sz 4 to sz 7 (first hit as usual) but it is possible to some different things with all the other units on non com. For example, you can bring the Kazakh unit to Caucasus for fodder or send it to Szech. The far east troops can be stacked together in Yakut or dropped into Sinkiang for KJF. Or you can just bring everything "home" as most will, and consolidate your forces around Moscow/Arch.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 09:18:56 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2015, 10:51:41 pm »
+1

Baltic Gambit: and the 30 IPC Russian Opening!

30 ipcs! You know you want it! Who wouldn't? grin There's just something about that nice round number, 30, and the prospect of getting 10 infantry, that is hard to ignore. Sometimes greed and the desire to fan out and be aggressive early just trumps all other considerations. I've been there too. Haven't we all?

Unfortunately in 1942 sec Edition, there is really only one reasonable way that the Russians can come up with 30 ipcs on the first turn, without being just totally reckless, and that's the Baltic Gambit. The gambit part is this... Russia attacks Baltic states with 1 infantry 1 artillery and 1 fighter vs Germany's 1 infantry and 1 tank.

Basically you're trying to "trip up" the opponent by trading one of your weaker units for one of their stronger ones. In this case it's trading a Russian artillery unit for a chance to kill a German tank at odds. Here the Russians have a very strong chance (close to 75%) to destroy both German defending units, with their artillery surviving to take Baltic States. The fighter can fly all the way home to Moscow once the job is done.

Its a trade of 7 ipcs in total unit value from Russia, to destroy 9 ipcs worth of German TUV, with a good chance to pick up +2 ipcs for taking the territory. But more importantly, it destroys one of Germany's precious tanks and likely nets the Soviets 4 in the total exchange. The downside risk is that other 25%, because in a dice game there is always a chance that you dud completely in the first round of combat, and Germany hits, and then those Soviets units just died without netting you anything. It can definitely happen, but most times you will prevail, and there is no way to lose the fighter in the first round of combat, so as far as gambits go, its pretty solid.

Another downside is that, in order to do this Baltic attack, you'll be bringing one less infantry and one less artillery unit into W. Russia, which means, in turn, that Belo is now a bit of problem as well. You don't want to see those 3 German infantry counter attacking your slightly weaker stack in W. Russia, and you still want that 30 ipcs don't you? hehe of course you do! There's that greed again. Fortunately you still have a tank, 3 infantry, and another fighter that you can use to blast Belo!

Of course, if you're content collecting 28 ipcs instead of 30, its still possible to destroy that German tank with the Baltic gambit, and then send everything in Archangel to W. Russia instead of Belo. This will conserve all your tanks, and give you more fodder to absorb hits, but it also leaves those 3 German infantry units to escape. The sort of purchase you make for a 28 ipc opener might be a little different than the 30 ipcs opener. Here I would suggest going for some more forward attack units out of Moscow. Or if you go for an all infantry buy, this might be one of those instances where you consider placing some infantry in Caucasus to bait the Germans and then destroy them on counter. Whether you elect to "Belo Blast" or not, it would still be advisable to rush British fighter assistance over from UK asap, as nearly every solid Russian opening requires fighter cover to exploit early gains on the eastern front.

Sure, by the same token, there are other less expensive or more certain ways to achieve the "Belo Blast" alone, that don't involve also hitting Baltic States at the same time! Like brining in both fighters instead of the tank, or adding an artillery unit to the Belo Attack.

But since the original plan is the bold 30 ipcs at collect income, the 3 inf 1 tank and 1 fighter combo is the best you're going to get if you're trying to hit Belo and Baltic. Its basically above 90% that you're going to take Belo with at least the tank surviving (and likely an infantry unit too.) So it's doable, but the risk is that you're spreading out your favorable odds across 3 separate battles, and that clearly decreases the likelihood that all 3 will go according to plan.

----------

If you do go for the triple hit, there is still W. Russia to worry about, as always. Provided you bring everything else from Moscow and Caucasus into W. Russia, (because as I tried to show in the post above W. Russia is a major priority), then this leaves you with a total of 8 inf, 2 artillery, 3 tanks for the West Russia attack. On average that gives you odds to take W. Russia with 10 surviving units. You might get in cleaner, and hopefully you don't get in too much dirtier haha, but as long as 5 infantry survive, and you send both AAguns to back them up, there is a strong chance you will back down any wouldbe German attacker.

Do all this in one go, and you will collect 30 ipcs at the close of Russia's turn and be in a strong forward position against Germany. But be careful, this sort of move will definitely extend your forces. Germany has a lot of heavy hitting counter attack units, and he may still eject you from all this land right quick. You may wish to use all your non combats to support your position at Moscow, and make a buy that has you maxing out your hitpoints 7 or higher. But hey, at least you'll have 30 ipcs the next round. Maybe you can buy that 10 infantry, or more tanks, or artillery, or a fighter. I'd say if you're going to make a large investment in forward attack units then the second round is the best time to do so, as you won't be this rich again for a very long time Wink

« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 09:19:28 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2015, 04:10:13 am »
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Thank you for these ideas, i have just started playing this edition, so far i keep getting diced in the first few rounds and it all goes downhill. i must be a real novice because i am losing to the medium ai.......
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 04:31:11 am »
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That's a really nice article about Russia opening!

For the W Russia stack, I love to vote for 1 more variance....destroy Germany Baltic Sea force gambit!  This hurt's the Germany's plan to rip the whole British Navy at 1st round.

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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 03:52:06 pm »
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A yes good call innohub! That opener is probably worth discussing as well, even if its a bit dicey. Two if by sea, or maybe just 1? Wink

Yak Attack
choppy seas in the baltic! Haha

In case anyone is curious the gambit move he's referring to is an air strike by the Russian fighter from Karelia against the German Cruiser and transport in sz5.

It's fairly high risk but the potential payoff is one less German cruiser that the British have to deal with and one less transport = 2 less ground that Germany can unload into Karelia or Baltic states in the first round. If successful this basically eliminates any potential that Germany might buy a carrier or destroyer to try and save the Baltic fleet for another round (it's debatable whether Germany should be trying to buy ships here anyway, but this move will definitely shut it down.) It also gives Germany a somewhat more challenging attack in sz7 since they only have the subs and air to bring against the British battleship. This could result in G bringing the bomber into the sea zone 7 battle rather than flying it somewhere else.

Now the trick for Russia is this, if they bring both fighters into the attack and both survive, then the Moscow fighter must land in Karelia. If one dies then of course it's the fighter with less range, but either way it's probably a loss of 10 Russian TUV to destroy 19 German TUV and shut down their Baltic fleet ambitions. It is possible to run this attack with just a single fighter, but then it's not quite 50/50 shot, because you need to hit and you need the Germans to miss, otherwise you don't get to kill the transport. You might just find yourself in that situation bringing both fighters too, if you miss in the first round of combat, and G hits, then things could get pretty ugly. Trading 10 ipcs to kill 19 is pretty reasonable, but losing 20 and the whole Russian airforce is a different story. So I would say consider this strategy carefully and understand that you're making a gamble. It's basically like spinning the roulette wheel, and you're betting the farm on Red! If it comes up Black you're bummin' haha. Losing that Yak might make you yack, but don't let it get the better of you. Just a game after all, it's not like you just lost World War 2 or anything  grin

But we know when we're gambling, so adopt the right mindset for it, and let those dice roll. Keep in mind that Karelia is still impossible to defend against the German advance, though if you have to land a fighter there anyway, it might be worth providing some fodder cover just to make the Germans pay a bit more for it. Its still possible for G to hit sz7 even without the Cruiser, so you'll want to keep that in mind too on non com. Definitely don't forget to send the Russian sub.

From a purchasing perspective I'd consider a tank buy, and perhaps expanding the airforce again in the second round, since you'll be down a fighter.

Whether to bring the Moscow fighter into the attack to ice things is up to you, but if you do bring it just know that it must land in Karelia. As with the other W. Russia openings you can decide whether to bring all the infantry from Caucasus into W. Russia or leave a few behind, which way to send the Kazakh and eastern infantry. It's also worth remembering, that you don't necessarily need all 4 tanks in W. Russia. If you decide to just bring 3 tanks to W. Russia, you might try using the Archangel tank against Japan, since it has a decent amount of range on an interesting path. Or you can do the same with one of the tanks from Caucasus in a different direction. To run an effective W. Russia attack you want at least 2 tanks in it though, and as much infantry and artillery and air as you can afford, given the requirements of your strat. That said, some strategy tweaks involve sending a fighter or tank somewhere else to try and set up some broader game plan for the other Allies.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 09:23:05 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2015, 04:52:16 pm »
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Air Transits

At this point I'd like to discuss how Aircraft can be transited into or around Russia. Its not a Soviet opening, but it is information which is relevant to the Russians, since they will require Air support to stay alive into the endgame. Some of these may be more apparent than others.

BOMBERS

Bombers from E. USA can reach Archangel in one move.

Bombers W. USA can reach Yakut in one move.

Bombers from England: can fly over Karelia or Archangel to reach Yakut, Kazakh, Persia or Sinkiang in one move.
They can also attack sz 14 landing at Caucasus or sz 17 landing at Egypt/Transjordan.

Bombers from Caucasus: Can SBR Germany and return to Caucasus or UK after. From this position they also cover all the sea zones surrounding the Baltic, the Mediterranean, the India ocean, and Africa.

Bombers from India or Kazakh: Can hit sz 62 and land in Yakut.
Bombers from Sinkiang: can hit sz 62 and land in Evenki.


FIGHTERS

Fighters from UK can reach W. Russia and Archangel in one move.

Fighters from a carrier in sz 7 or sz 6 can reach Moscow in one move.

Fighters from Iceland can reach Moscow in one move.

Fighters from Gibraltar or sz 13 can reach Caucasus in one move.

Fighters from Greenland can reach Karelia or Arch in one move.

Fighters from E. USA can reach Russia in 2 moves (Karelia/Arch) from Greenland or 3 moves (W. Russia, Arch, or Caucasus) from UK/Gibraltar. Fighters placed on a carrier in sz 11 can reach these same territories in one less move. Fighters in Eastern Canada can likewise make similarly shortened transits.

Fighters from India can reach Moscow, Karelia or W. Russia in one move, or vice versa.

Fighters from Karelia can reach Buryatia in one move.

Fighters from E. USA can reach Persia in 2 moves, via french W. Africa (this can be helpful in a pinch if you lack Atlantic carriers or the North is shut down.)


Some KJF (Kill Japan First) novelty: whether its advisable of not, who can say, but...  grin
Both Russian starting fighters can reach Buryatia in one move.
The UK starting fighter in sz 35 can reach Buryatia in one move after a sz 61 attack, or it can do the same but go to Sinkiang.
The US starting fighter in sz 53 can reach Buryatia in one move. It can also reach Eastern Canada or sz 11 to transit across the Atlantic towards Russia 3 moves altogether. It can reach India in 2 moves via W. Australia.
The US starting bomber in E. US can also reach Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in one move.

Some Axis Perspective...

If Axis hold Karelia:
Japanese Bombers from Tokyo can reach Karelia in 1 move.
Axis Bombers there can cover the North Atlantic, the Channel area, and the Mediterranean. German Bombers placed in Berlin can hit Moscow and then land in Karelia. Bombers in Yunnan can cover more Russian territory and Pacific sea zones than one might realize at first glance, while retaining the option to SBR Moscow and land in Karelia. Axis Fighters from Karelia can hit sz 8, provided there is a landing spot available in either N.W. Europe or France.

If Axis hold Ukraine: This is ugly, it allows Japan to bounce fighters between Europe and the Pacific with ease. As the Russians this will be problems for you. Its ultimately pretty hard to avoid this situation, but if you can push it out another round, or at least match the German stack to keep them out of Caucasus for a while, that's definitely helpful.

If Axis hold Evenki: they can race tanks towards Europe from Asia across the northern route, and have another flexible landing spot for Air at the Russians back door.

If Axis hold W. Russia: This is a very bad scene, just like Ukraine, Germany can take the territory and then receive Japanese air cover for defense. If Axis stack it, they can force you from Caucasus to defend Moscow, which is one of the principle objectives for Axis against the Russians, to link up in Caucasus and then crack the center.

If Axis hold Kazakh: This is a bad scene too, Kazakh for the Japanese is a lot like W. Russia for the Germans. If they can stack it against you, there is a chance they can force you out of Caucasus to defend Moscow, since the territory of Kazakh borders both. Expect to see Axis landing fighters here.

If Axis hold Caucasus: They can do all the same great things with their fighters and bombers from this location that the Allies were trying to do initially! Not to mention a factory, a line on Moscow, and the ability to move their ground forces freely between Asia Europe and Africa. It's all bad from the Allied point of view. Which is why, as the Soviets, you really want to do everything you can to prevent this, mainly by flying your aircraft around to places where those fighters and bombers can do the most good!  grin


« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 10:59:04 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2015, 08:43:01 pm »
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Red Turtle:
and thoughts on the 3rd Fighter


Thinking more long term, with the endgame in mind, it's probably good to discuss a couple other aspects of the Russian situation. One of the most critical things to keep in mind as the Russian player is the fact that you occupy the main Axis target on the board!

Moscow isn't strictly necessary for the Allies to win in the end, but it is almost certainly necessary for the Axis. There are all sorts of reasons for this, the production spread, the distribution of ipcs on the gamemap etc, but just going with most intuitive, you're in the middle! Right in the space where the Axis are trying to meet up, and then exploit the turn order to support each other the same way the Allies do. Fortunately as the Russians you've got one thing going for you, and that's Moscow itself. This territory is worth 8 all by itself (that's 2 artillery units eight there.) But it also borders six territories worth an additional 12 ipcs.

That means altogether, Russia can potentially collect 20 ipcs just by trading the territory immediately surrounding their capital! Provided you stack up ground early, Russia doesn't require all that much money to stay in the fight. At 18 ipcs they can still place 6 infantry a round. At 16 ipcs they can place 1 artillery and 4 infantry. Drop down to 12 ipcs and that's still 4 infantry units. If you can take just one other 2 ipcs territory that gives 10 ipcs which is enough to buy a fighter! All this when added to an already large force can become increasingly difficult for the Axis to match, especially if their supply lines get stretched, or if the western Allies can stall or distract the Axis for a round. As the Russians your main job is to build up ground early, and not throw it away in minor trades, but instead to build up a big wall, that you can park on Moscow during the endgame. Once supported by Western Fighter defense, the giant wall at Moscow serves as an anchor and the principle Axis objective/distraction while Allies set up their final drive in one theater or the other. This feature of Moscow is what we call the Red Turtle, or the ability to fight minor battles around Moscow, for income but then retreat to the safety of that defensive fighter Shell. Basically you snap out with your Infantry and Artillery trading the Germans or Japanese for light units. Trying to keep your income high enough to buy more units than the Axis can reasonably attack, and then just drag things out as long as possible.

To do this, it can be very helpful to have a 3rd Russian fighter, or even a 4th or 5th!

Expanding the soviet Air force

It can be hard to play the trading game with only the 2 starting fighters. With just 2 fighters you end up committing more ground forces in the trade than you can sustain long term. Or you end up taking more risks with your fighters splitting them up, and counting on that fighter to hit at a 3, when often times you roll a dud! Everyone has cursed that Yak dud! The one that just screws you time and again. So this gives rise to the question should Russia buy a 3rd fighter? And if so when? I think a 3rd Russian fighter can be a very smart play, so long as you're not being threatened and can afford the investment. The safest time to do this is during the second round purchase. For 26 ipcs you can get a third Yak with 16 ipcs left over to buy ground. With 28 ipcs you can get a third Yak and 6 infantry. This is likely the richest you'll be for a long time coming, so if you want to make the buy, now is a good opportunity. By waiting until the second round, you get to see what Germany buys and then decide if you can pull this off comfortably. Rather than buying in the first round and encouraging Germany to rush you. There is also the intimidation factor! Sure some Axis players might see the fighter buy as a novice play, but if they've suffered a set back or two of their own, they probably won't be in a position to do much about it right away. And that third fighter, just by existing, can change the calculation in the light trading game. Over time it will pay for itself many times over in destroyed Axis tuv or an extra ipc on income here and there. If you want, you can also enter the air game later on, I usually do this when Russian income starts dropping off down to 10 ipcs. Provided your infantry/artillery wall is substantial enough, and extra fighter might be more advantageous than 2 inf and 1 artillery. There are some definite times when buying a third fighter is not advisable though. For example if you sustained several casualties in W. Russia during the first round, don't buy a third fighter, it will leave you too light on total hitpoints. But if you are in a comfortable position with your friends the Anglo Americans flying in aid, and extra Yak can be good for business.

How to deal with SBR (Strategic Bombing Raids)

There is one surefire way that the Axis can disrupt your Turtling tactics, and that is SBR against Moscow!  It can turn Moscow from a turtle that snaps and swims around, to one that just hangs out on his rock hiding in his shell. If you want to stack like Yertle and run this pond, you need to keep your income at a working level!

If you do get bombed down consider restoring the minimum damage and buying a heavy hitting unit like a fighter instead repairing the full damage. There's a good chance you can't max place 8 units anyway, so this is one of those later game situations where you might consider expanding the Soviet air force. Finally, along these lines, it might just be a good idea to buy one more AAAgun. You start out with 2 and if you can keep them both alive to hang out at Moscow during the final hours that is optimal. There is also the British AAAgun in India which might be able to lend a hand, but that one is harder to count on. If you see the Axis going very fighter or bomber heavy, it might just make sense to invest in anti-air.These units are expensive and fairly useless under most circumstances, but they do have one decent use and that is in the final Axis attack on Moscow. I say don't buy it until you really need it, and even then only in the final hours.

The main thing you want is hitpoints at Moscow. You want to stack tall as the Soviets, and as the Western Allies you want to be ready to fly in as much support at possible. At some point, it may no longer be possible to hold Moscow. Here you have to decide whether to evacuate the air and try to trade Moscow for an Axis capital within one round, or else leave them in place and trust in the dice gods. There is no telling what a bunch of infantry rolling 2s, and a bunch of fighters rolling 4s might do, if the stars align. As Allies, try to keep you Air near the center, or one move away from the center, just to give yourself as many options as possible. Even bombers can be used in a defensive roll, and give you an extra chance back down an Axis attack, or even to prevail in a key battle like one for control of Moscow.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2017, 04:05:13 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2015, 09:30:06 pm »
+1

Russian Bomber bid

OK its time to switch sides!  grin

You've been playing Allies for a couple games now, and your buddy decides he wants to give them a try. But maybe your friend isn't quite as experienced as you? He hasn't read through this small mountain of text I've posted like you just did ha.
And now you're just a slight bit concerned that the match up won't be a very even? Well, here's something fun you might try...

Give your friend a Bomber at Moscow!

In A&A this what we call a bid, or a preplacement bid, in this case the value of the bid is 12 ipcs. There are other ways to bid as well. One of the most popular is for each player to bid a certain number of extra ipcs for Allies, then they go back and forth lowering the number until one player decides its too low and just plays Axis. The Allies take their extra ipcs and spend them on additional. It's a way to playbalance the game, and to choose sides, where extra units are introduced onto the board at the outset. Often times there are other rules associated with this bid process too, like only one unit per territory, or only in territories that are already occupied by other units etc. But that's all a bit complicated for now. Instead you can just give your friend the extra Russia bomber and feel confident that it makes up the difference!

The bomber sculpt itself is nice and large, its outsized even when compared to the other Nation's bomber sculpts, so seeing it at the Russian capital should inspire confidence!

And it brings Russia on a more even playing field when compared with the other 4 four nations. Now each major power has a starting bomber!

What this extra unit does, is allow the Russians to be a bit more secure in their attacks and light trades. It has the reach to adapt to conditions as they change, and gives some much needed flexibility for creative opening attacks and strategies. The effect isn't too huge though, because it is only a single unit, and one which has the weakest defense value of any unit in the roster. So it doesn't do the Russians a whole lot of good on defense, just attack. It also gives them an opportunity to make risky bombing runs, which are always entertaining.

Bombers are a great unit all around, some would say too great haha. But bombers are also prohibitively expensive for the Russians, and their poor defense value makes them an unlikely purchase (esp. When fighters are cheaper and give you the strongest defense). So that's why we just give our friend the bomber outright. This makes for a somewhat more entertaining game on the eastern front and a more enjoyable Soviet experience all around for your friend. Sure its harder on Axis, but not quite as hard on them as say, a pair of British Submarines would be! Or a bunch of infantry, or artillery, or armor scattered around all over the gameboard. This is set bid, just the one extra bomber, and it goes in Moscow for game balance.

I consider the 1942 sec Game map to be Axis advantage OOB. Meaning that if you pit the best Allied player against the best Axis player, most would put their money on Axis. The bomber bid is my ready solution. It fixes the game balance by giving Russia a stronger opening and more flexibility to be aggressive for the duration. There are alternative bids to balance the game, but I think this one is the best for overall player enjoyment and relative fairness. It restores the overall balance by sides in my view.

Notice that Russia has a significantly better chance to pull off all those Opening moves discussed above, because now they have a Bomber!
« Last Edit: November 30, 2016, 09:23:41 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2015, 01:42:59 am »
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Thx for some nice posts! I completly agree with your idea to give a bomber to Russia instead of a bid, we do that in all our games. Bids, or rather good bid always seem to end up with unbalanced local strength, like adding 4 inf to eqypt or something.
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2015, 02:54:17 am »
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I'm glad you've also discovered the merits of this Russian bomber bid approach. And I'm glad you bring up Egypt!

Why the Russian Bomber bid at Moscow is best for game balance.

Lets consider for a second the situation in Egypt. Because honestly Egypt is one of the most critical territories in the early game. Any bid that messes with the Egypt opening really does throw off the balance in a disprortionate way. Ever consider how nearly every bid on every board going back to Classic, seems to gravitate there?

This is why I believe the Russian Bomber bid is the single best bid for overall game balance, because the Russian Bomber only defends at a 1. And that matters for Egypt.

With this set bomber bid, the Allies still have the option to fly this Russian unit to Egypt, for 1 added hit point (and a very expensive hit point at that!). But, even more importantly, it adds just a single defense point.

In order to achieve this boost to Egypt's defenses, Allies have to actually make a risk! And the defensive effect is short lived too, because the bomber is likely to fly away on the second round, since it is desperately needed for trading territory on the Eastern Front. As Allies, in this one respect, the Russian bomber bid actually has less influence on the Egypt round 1 defense balance than a single extra Brit infantry unit would! The bomber is Russian, which means it can't immediately coordinate with British ground or air in Africa (the way a UK inf bid unit can!)

Moreover the bomber can be used in a first round Russian attack, in W. Russia or Ukraine and still reach Egypt for defense. This means that in the first round infantry trade with Germany, Russia is likely to come out slightly better than they would otherwise. Also unlike the Russian Moscow Fighter, which is out of commission for 2 rounds if you send it to Egypt, the bomber can be back in action on the Eastern front immediately, for key second round counter attack options against Germany.

Egypt controls the canal and is the gateway to Africa and the guardian of British ipcs! If you give the Allies too much of a boost in this area, you dramatically undermine the Axis starting position. This is why I feel that a Russian bomber bid is  "more fun" and "more fair" for both sides. It's puts the power where it's needed for gameplay enjoyment (with the Russians! Who can be somewhat lackluster to play). The Russian bomber gives a slight leg up to the British in Egypt if desired, but it does this without the same huge distortions you see with a UK bid.

The Moscow Bomber gives Allies a potential high risk attack against the Japanese transport in sz61! And this is really what the board needs for a good KJF option. Some way for the Soviets to mess with Japan. This set Russian bomber bid preserves the traditional ability of Allies to choose a theater of focus early on, Either Africa and Europe, or against the Japanese. A hit on sz 61 by the Russians could take presure off the India factory and free the British Indian Ocean Fleet to attempt other things, like a dicey hit on 37, or an even better quick move towards Africa, with more heat, if the Brits don't have to deal with the second Japanese transport directly. Again though, the Russians can't give the British this India advantage without taking some risk themselves.

A Russian bomber can also be used against the German transport in sz5. Once more at a risk, though better odds and at less cost than trying to pull it off with just 2 fighters. This use of the bomber could make for a more entertaining Northern focus game.

So that right there gives you 3 very interesting openings that the Russians might try (Egypt defense after an Eastern Front attack, or sz 61, or sz 5), but a single bomber unit can't do all 3 at once! And that's the critical point. You have to decide how to make the best use of it. All this gives the Allies a little bit more initiative and a better vehicle for trying out new and different strategies, but without departing too much from the OOB model. I find that the bomber alone vastly improves the 1942.2 Russian player's experience and increases the entertainment potential for all nations.

Basically the Russians should have had this bomber all along, is what I'm saying. It makes the game a lot more fun and lot more dynamic  grin

-----------

How the Russian bomber bid benefits the Multi-Player game:

One final thought, if you ever get the chance to actually play a 4 or 5 person game, this extra Russian bomber at Moscow is a great way to ensure that the Russian player still has an enjoyable time. The Moscow bomber allows the Soviets be more potent on their own in a multi-player game, and this offsets the added difficulties of trying to coordinate a Grand Allied strategy with other people. It's always easier to play Allies in a 1v1 situation than a Multi, but with the right group the Multi is the best sort of A&A experience. If you manage to grab one, then you can definitely expect that the Axis side will have an easier time coordinating than the Allies will in 4 or more person game. In this type of situation, the Russian bomber can help ease the frustrations that your Soviet player might feel, at being too dependent upon the the UK and American player, to do anything at all.

With the bomber they can at least make a bolder opening, or run one more attack in a given round than they might otherwise be able to. They can even try for a vengeance strat bomb against Caucasus or India! during those situations when there's just nothing else they can do, because the Axis are the gates of Moscow.
 grin

And again, the bomber has a defensive value of 1 (and 1 is still better than nothing), so the Russians now have a kind of "run around unit" joint defense of their own, that can be helpful to the UK or USA in some situations where the balance of forces is narrow. It allows the Russians to play an Air "support" role of their own, in the same way all other player/nations get to, which really helps the Russian player to feel relevant to the action. Something to do beyond just spamming infantry at their capital and not much else. It gives them another Run around unit (sort of like the red October in Revised, where the sub sometimes made a really important block). Now that special unit role "Russian Roaming unit" can be restored in 1942.2, but now with dynamics at a range of 6 spaces and an influence on land and at sea too. All these enjoyable aspects of the Moscow Bomber will keep your Russian player engaged in the game, and give them a meaningful sense of purpose each time their turn in comes up in the sequence.

I just think the Bomber bid is good for balance all around, which is why I wanted to recommend it here again.

« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 06:43:41 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2015, 05:40:16 am »
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Yes that would help KJF a lot. Though I think it would that more than that to make KJF viable =) I maybe extremly bad at it also and I find it easy to defend as Japan for a veru long time using lots figthers and subs =) You should make a guide for KJF for beginners!
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2015, 05:06:44 pm »
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Cool...  these are great openings.  I hope to use them this weekend when I will get my first live game against my friend that says no way the Allies can win.  I plan on building 3 arm for the Brits and go for a full KJF strategy to take the high IPC islands.  Of course, I fully expect him to destroy the USA fleet which puts a significant damper on this strategy.  How about some openings for USA?  In my opinion, they are one of the most difficult to play because it takes them so long to be able to bring any sort of presence to the battlefield.  Or how to have the Allies play as a single team and use their 1-2-3 punch against the Axis (Germs are the only real viable option)...

Thanks!

CK
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Baron Munchhausen
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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2015, 06:31:24 pm »
+2

If he goes full attack on Hawaiian Islands, you can easily respond by destroying everything.

Another way to force him to move the Carrier with the Cruiser (at least, in NCM) is to immediatly submerge your US Sub. So there will be 3 units remaining. And hope you hit nothing, so the Japan's Zero would need the Carrier to land on.
Then, you would be able to obliterate this fleet on US turn.
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