Strategic Placement of Industrial Complexes for Classic Axis & Allies

| May 17, 2000 | 2 Comments

It is without question that one of the major factors concerning the play of Axis and Allies, (A&A), is the stationary position of the various industrial complexes. At the beginning of the game their are eight complexes distributed among five nations: Russia, two; Germany, two; UK, one; Japan, one; USA, two. These eight complexes never change and set the whole framework for material distribution and, I would argue, the game itself. The power of these complexes are extensive and not to be questioned in this paper.

The strategic placement of other complexes, however, are very important. Important enough to redefine the game in many ways after play has begun. How, where, and why one should place these four additional complexes is the subject of this paper. The structure of this paper shall attempt to present a strategic and rational theory for placement by each country for maximum power and utilization of its output.

Russia

The play of the game begins with Russia so it shall be the plan of this paper to follow the order of play.

With industrial complexes in Russia and Karelia, Russia does not need any more output on the German border. The question then remains, does Russia need any additional output, and if so where? Those who favor an offensive defense would recommend an immediate purchase by Russia on the first turn. This is what I call the von Chirine plan in honor of Andre Vladimirovich Chirine. Though I too had thought out the implications of such a plan several years before, I do not share the enthusiasm which he does.{1}

Thus Russia has two major options to begin the game. The first which I call “classic” Russian move is to pass on the purchase of a complex and invest the money into either weapons development or more men,etc. However, if one should embark on the von Chirine plan one must then decide where to place the new industrial complex.

The basic choices are in the east of the Russian empire and most fall next to Russia. Kazakh, Novosibirsl and Evenki Nat’l Okrug are the most likely places. One most remember that the point is to prevent the Axis, especially Japan, from purchasing the unit and placement for the Russian player is not that important. However, an aggressive player may wish to place the unit in the Soviet Far East in an attempt to threaten Japan early. I, however, think that this would ultimately lead to the capture of the unit by Japan.

Thus, at the beginning of the game Russia must decide whether to execute the von Chirine plan and should do so in consultation with other Allied players. Without the cooperation of other Allied players the von Chirine plan would cause major plans to the overall strategy of the Allies.

Germany

The German player also only has several options at the beginning of the game if he intends to purchase. These two are to place a complex in Africa or in somewhere on the Russian front. I believe that Africa is the only logical move if one wishes to build a complex for Germany.{2} The placement of a complex in Africa must come at the right time. Because both England and Germany have units in Africa there could be a race to see who could produce the most units in Africa.

The German player starts with Libya and Algeria which only produce one unit each. It would be better for Germany to build its Africa complex in Anglo-Egypt Sudan. However, to do this it must first take over and secure that territory. This is not an easy task unless the UK player is very passive. Thus Germany must decide early if its wants to pass on a first round build for Algeria or Libya in hopes of better placement in UK territory.

UK

he UK player has the huge task of protecting a weak empire which is spread out all over the board. To compound the problem the UK player only has one industrial complex. Thus I believe that it is very important for the UK player to build a complex and build it fast. The placement of this complex however may be open to more questions.

In recent games the placement of a complex in South Africa has helped stop the German advance in Africa. This perhaps is the most safe placement for UK while also being practical for security reasons. However, it does leave the complex at the edge of the battle rather than closer to the center. A more aggressive move would be to build the complex in A-E Sudan so as to speed troop deployment to aid India.{3}

Other placement for UK could include India, Australia or Eastern Canada. To deal with Canada fist this would simply be a part of the von Chirine plan to secure a complex out of Japan’s hand. Its benefit to the battle in Africa would be very limited indeed.

India and Aus. however, lend themselves to be aggressive moves against Japan. From India UK could threaten Japan’s holdings on the mainland and support USA forces in China. This move however has several problems in that it 1) does not really help limit Germany in Africa; and 2) could lend itself to overextension and capture by the Japanese. A Japanese-held complex in India increases the Japanese output on the mainland while also extending the reach of Japanese forces from Japan.

An Australian build is much more safe for the UK but does not do anything for Africa and does not help out much in the mainland. However, a good and experienced player in conjunction with USA may be able to cause problems for Japan. From this base in Australia the UK player could harass the Japanese player and perhaps take over several islands which would otherwise be safe for the Japanese. This move could be very good or very bad for UK.

Japan

Japan in many ways has the most to gain and lose by its complex placement. It is of the utmost importance that Japan get one complex on the mainland. This ensures that Japan is not dependant on sea power and transports to remain in control of the mainland. Without this it is almost guaranteed that Japan will not be able to grow in power.

For a better chance at controlling the mainland Japan should have two complexes on the mainland. The placement of these two complexes will now be discussed in more detail. Japan has three options for placement which are already under its control. All three of these territories have a value of three. Thus Japan has several good options to build. The three territories are French Indo-China Burma (Burma); Kwangtung; and Manchuria.

For a southern offensive strategy Burma is probably the best bet for Japan. For northern offensive strategy Manchuria is probably the best choice. Both of these choices, however, leave themselves open to a concentrated attack from the Allied players, especially Burma which is surrounded by three countries. Thus the Japanese player may wish to chose Kwangtung which has only one country bordering it which is China. From here the Japanese player can send troops either north or south in conjunction with transports which would be needed to back it up.

Should the Japanese player get the chance to build another complex the other two mentioned territories could expand Japan’s reach to the north or south. Another move which could further extend Japan’s reach would be to build in India or one of the eastern Russian territories. From India Japan could threaten the Caucasus and Sudan via the Persia corridor. Also from India Japan would be in a very good position to harass the coast of Africa and Australia. A build in Russian territory would allow faster troop deployment into the Russian battle though the Russian territories do not allow for as fast a build up as India.

Thus the Japanese player should keep in mind what his overall strategy is and build accordingly. However, once the battle begins the Japanese player may have to take what he can get. He must remember that any build which is secure on the mainland is better than no build on the mainland.

USA

The USA player in many ways does not need to build an additional complex. Starting with 36 industrial points the USA player has more money at his disposal than any other player. With a good naval build up he can support Africa quite well as well as threaten Japanese interests in the Pacific. However, should the von Chirine plan be in effect he needs a place which is secure to build his complex. The best options would be Alaska and Brazil. >From Brazil the USA player could support Africa easily while being out of the way of both Japan and Germany. Ships operating off of Brazil would have little trouble with enemy attacks. Thus USA could deal with the “Africa problem” while also executing the von Chirine plan.

The Alaska build does not allow more as much build up, but as seen in the previous game would allow for an USA attack against Japanese shipping. A build in Alaska also allows for more offensive options by USA against Japan. An Alaska build, though in some ways less secure than Brazil, could be supported by movements from Western USA early in the game.

Though the USA player could build in Sinkiang it would be a risky move. Sinkiang would need support from both Russia and UK to maintain its security. With only 2 industrial points it is questionable if this is a wise move. However, if it had enough support in the beginning it could be used as a rallying point for severe harassing moves towards Japan.

Thus once again the USA player must decide whether to execute the von Chirine plan and act accordingly. The USA player is the safest in the game and whatever he does should never put himself in unnecessary harm.

FOOTNOTES********************************

{1} The von Chirine plan is based upon limiting the Axis powers from purchasing more industrial complexes by purchasing more of the four non- original complexes. If Russia, Britain and the USA all buy one complex each on the first round this leaves only one complex for the Axis powers to buy. Thus leaving one Axis power unable to buy a new complex. This is a type of offensive defense for it does not allow the extension of power by an enemy and id therefore a type of defense.

{2} The reasons for building a complex on the Russian front are quite dubious. Eastern Europe and Ukraine can only produce three units each. Russia, however, can produce unlimited units in Russia or Karelia. Thus the Germans would be in a production war they could not win. If, however, Germany could take Karelia then perhaps a complex on the Russian front would help to bring units to the front more quickly. This is a very dangerous and unsure move for Germany in the end.

{3} However, as shown in a recent game, Jan. 19-21, 1997, the use of ships with the South African move may be all that is needed to support Russia and India.

Category: Axis & Allies Classic (2nd edition), Strategy

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  1. john says:

    Russia – none
    England – South Africa
    USA – Alaska

    Axis- none

  2. Peter says:

    Already in version one of he game the Allies who know the game ALWAYS build industry. In fact back then Allies ALWYAS built 1-2 Industries on turn one in Asia and/or Africa. House rules often said “no industry turn 1” to help the Axis.

    Russia, none unless you can hold Manchuria (game over for Japan)
    UK, India if safe (supports also Russia). Otherwise South Africa (safe)
    USA, Sinkinag if possible to hold.

    Germany, Africa
    Japan, Manchuria (anti-russian) or Kwantung (safe spot)

    In my opinion Japan and UK NEEDS to build industry already on turn one.
    Germany benefits from an extra industri but the island nations depend on it.

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