How useful are cruisers??


  • Moderator

    Note:  I’m mainly talking about the UK here.  Other than the US I don’t see the other countries needing a navy.  Japan can usually buy whatever it wants to due to its high income.  Germany can build a navy, but doesn’t need one, and Ita already has 2 CA and a BB.

    So….

    I don’t really disagree with some of the assessments, but what I think you guys might be missing is the Cruisers value over time.  Looking strictly at dd vs. ca or ftr vs. ca, okay maybe you don’t get a ca, but you also have to look long term.  The 8 ipc to 12 ipc comparision doesn’t work as well when you consider that for every round you have a cruiser you have a 50% chance to kill an enemy inf.  So if you are anticipating having it around for 8 turns, that means you’ll do 12 ipc damage, essentially paying for the ca, where as the dd would just be sitting there.  Again this all comes back to needing the minimum amount of fodder ships to deter an attack.  If you anticipate needing 6 dds (maybe combined UK + US) + a couple loaded ACs as an unsinkable fleet, I don’t know why you wouldn’t consider 3 DDs and 2 CAs + carriers instead.  If you can get your unsinkable fleet in the water by rd 4 and your games typical go to rd 12, then with the CAs you’ve spent 24 but also killed 24 ipc worth of units over 8 rds, however if you spent that 24 on DDs you are simply out of the 24 ipc.

    Having only 3-4 DDs is usually enough to skew any air to navy battle in your favor anyway.  So even if you have to lose 1 CA or 1 ftr in the last rd of battle you should come out ahead, assuming you can add.  Heck if Germany wants to sack some planes trying to kill a CA, then fine.  The important thing is to make sure they can’t get to your transports.

    Germany with 8 ftrs can’t sink a fleet of
    #1 - 7 DD + 1 AC + 2 ftrs + trns but they also can’t sink
    #2 - 4 DD + 2 CA + 1 AC + 2 ftrs + trns

    Assuming you ended up taking 7 damage in both battles.  Yes you’d lose more in ipc value if Germany attacked fleet 2 (56 vs. 66) but in both cases Germany lost 80 and didn’t get to your trns.  I can’t see any player playing Germany doing either attack.  But again for the duration of the game fleet #2 will be killing on avg 1 inf per turn, so for every rd the game goes on the CAs continue to pay for themselves.

    That’s why with the UK I like to try and get 2 CAs (or 1 BB + 1 CA) in the water ASAP.  The longer you have them the more you get out of them.  I still go AC on UK 1 but by UK 3-4 I’m looking to drop a CA or 2.  Note:  I typically play longer games (10+ rds easy).



  • Another thing, to get the use of bombardment, you need to drop a land unit for every single of them. The more CA you have, the harder it is to use them all to their potential.

    On long run, if you get there, 20 Fighters don’t need 20 infantry to strike on land. You could even send them without land fodder if you’d wish to.

    On long run,  even if you could fuel your CAs every round with land units, the more the games goes, the more fighters become cost efficient even spending for an AC each 2 fighters (And I mind you, past a point, you simply don’t need to reinforce the fleet, simply going with bombers ).

    EX: 9 cruisers bombard at 3 vs 6 fighters at 3 EVERY battle round. On the second round of battle, the fighters already rolled 3 more dices… that gaps get bigger and bigger the more units you get and simply disproportionate as soon you can buy bombers without worrying about fleet defense.

    On long run, 1 AC + 2 fighters will always be better than 3 cruisers on defense. Once ''unsinkable" status is achieved, 3 bombers will always be better than 3 cruisers.

    On the long run, air units versatility cannot be match by any boats. For exemple If Russia is suddenly about to collapse, you can’t send the CAs to defend that gap while you could always retreat the fleet to safe sea zone while sending all fighters to correct a end game situation. V

    Understand me here: It is not that the cruiser is a bad unit, it would be balanced in regard to ALL other units. The Truth is that it is air units that are totally unbalanced in this game. A supposed flaw that prevent them from landing after an attack actually makes them the best unit there is as they don’t need to sit there to take the counter attack. Their fly range is out of proportion, in WWII , crossing the english channel was more then often a one way trip for BF-109 and Spitfires…  the same goes for bombers flying over Germany. There is so many things wrong with thoses 2 units, I could go on and on and on. On the other side, they effectively were then end of conventional naval warfare but do we really want to reproduce that to the uselessness of most other units?

    The end result remains, they are the best at almost all aspect except land fodder ( hey, they are only 2 ipc more than a DD whe it comes to sea). To make matters worst, the best technologies applies to them. This in itself should be a thread.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @Corbeau:

    Understand me here: It is not that the cruiser is a bad unit, it would be balanced in regard to ALL other units. The Truth is that it is air units that are totally unbalanced in this game. A supposed flaw that prevent them from landing after an attack actually makes them the best unit there is as they don’t need to sit there to take the counter attack. Their fly range is out of proportion, in WWII , crossing the english channel was more then often a one way trip for BF-109 and Spitfires…  the same goes for bombers flying over Germany. There is so many things wrong with thoses 2 units, I could go on and on and on. On the other side, they effectively were then end of conventional naval warfare but do we really want to reproduce that to the uselessness of most other units?

    The end result remains, they are the best at almost all aspect except land fodder ( hey, they are only 2 ipc more than a DD whe it comes to sea). To make matters worst, the best technologies applies to them. This in itself should be a thread.

    Good points.  Also, due to some strange ways zones are drawn, air can go ridiculously far in some places, and not very far at all in others.  And then there’s the techs…  3 of them applying to bombers, 2 to fighters…

    Good point about the fighters only costing 2 more than a destroyer.  That’s why I don’t buy many destroyers - just enough to handle subs and be cheap fodder against enemy air.



  • @DarthMaximus:

    Germany can build a navy, but doesn’t need one

    At first I thought this as well, but each game I play I feel more that Germany needs keep her baltic navy. I know at least one game where I could lose just because I failed to buy the AC G1. That for 1941 scenario, but for 1942 I think the navy is really too good for Germany to not buying it

    I’m giving a last chance to 1941 scenario now we have a better bid system, but that for I’m seeing is pretty probably I quit totally from this scenario after tourney ends

    Agreed with your statements about cruisers


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    I agree with Func.  I think Germany needs a navy, because it’s too easy to lose Norway and Finland without one.  I can’t imagine allowing the Allies free access to Norway, Finland, Karelia, Baltic States, Poland, Germany, and NWE early in the game.  It’s bad when Germany loses her navy.  And 1 or 2 transports can move 2-4 ground units from Germany to Karelia or Baltic States for several turns.  I don’t lose many games as Axis, but in every game that I lose, it’s largely because I lost the German and Italian navies by round 3-4.

    I can’t think of a round 1 purchase that is as important to me as a G1 CV.



  • @Darth Maximus

    While it is true bombarding ships are the only ones that are directly valuable to land attacks, if I were concerned about an over time bombarding ship with intangibles I would choose 1 20 IPC BB to 2 24 cru, as it is cheaper, offers more protection and has comprable bombarding stats.  The IPC differential adds even more due to the absorbtion on an attack (as in it may be worth more than a 4 IPC cost).

    Also I think, it isn’t so much as comparing a cruiser to a destroyer but comparing a cruiser to an air unit.  Air is just a superior build 9/10 times.  The only reason you build a navy at all is because you absolutely have to. When compared to air navy has; less power projection, has more limited range, has more limited movement, has worse stats (ipc for ipc), still can’t take land, has less than or equal to movement, is in danger of becoming next to worthless past a certain point in the game, and less versital/ flexible. I will take 1 carrier and two airplanes over 3 cruisers any day of the weak and on UK1 (where you are in the best position to buy multiple capital ships) to not build a carriers in favor of cruisers seems particularly like a bad idea (as in you can immediatly utilize up to 4 allied fig by G2 making your fleet untouchable for at least 3 turns and giving your fig better range). I may even take 2 battleships over three cruisers.

    Not only that the cost deficiancy is even more when you consider the otherwise worthless extra transports you are building (for those advocating the over 4 cruiser bombard strat) and the infantry you sacrifice everytime by straffing.  Add that to the fact that you can’t be doing much in any other theater with the UK other than straffing and weaking 1-2 German territories per turn.

    I just think the UK is capable of a lot more with better money managment and unit allocation.  That being said, buying a cruiser can and should happen sometimes, just not very often, particularly with a UK making less than 30 IPC’s.

    In short

    carriers at least utilize fig (which are cheaper, stronger, and more versitile)

    destroyers are cheaper if you need a “quicky” unit to defend (though this is when I would buy a cruiser if I had the money), or if you have to build one due to subs

    While I still don’t advocate buying the BB, I think the math is better on them than on a cruiser in most cases.

    @ those advocating German builds

    The problem compounds itself 10 fold with Germany and Italy (Japan can build anything it wants, because it’s Japan).  The game is designed for the Allies to dominate the Atlantic almost at will.  If the Allies can not control the Atlantic due to the mechanics of the game, the game becomes truley hopeless for the Allies.  Even if that was not the case I think the math still shows fig / bomb will be the better buy in over 90% of G1-G3 purchases than a cruiser.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    dondoolee -

    CV = Carrier, not cruiser.



  • Cruiser’s are best for Japan. UK doesn’t really need a navy anyways and Cruiser’s are a bit costly for money towards Britain. The US are rich enough they can mainly buy Battleship’s. Germany just need a one time navy in the Baltic to sink the Royal Navy, and for the Italy, navy you can just smoke the British Navy. Russia don’t need a navy. So for Japan, it’s good because they shouldn’t spend too much, for a battleship, besides they start out with two. So Cruisers are like tanks, very useful pretty strong, so yeah.


  • '12

    Dylan, exactly how many times have you actually played AA?  The UK really doesn’t need a navy?  Really, exactly how do they get units into battle then?

    The utility of straffing with offshore bombardment and landing units really does not seem to be of economic nor strategic benefit, if it were a good idea, then BBs over CCs should be the choice with a 33% better chance of inflicting a hit.  I just don’t see how even a battleship shot and infantry is a smart attack against a stack to ‘just weaken it a bit’ never mind a cruiser shot.  With a total offense of ‘5’ you should do 5/6th of a hit and therefore 5/6th of a 3 IPC unit.  Spending 3 IPC to inflict 2.5 IPC of damage just doesn’t win it in my books.  Better off to buy bombers and strategicly bomb there you spend 15 (or 12 in later games) IPC to do 17.5 IPC.  Moreover, you should drop 2 units rather than 1 to fully utilize the transport.  The best ratio would be 1 INF + 1 ART for land units using the math every 1 point of offense does .5IPC of damage against a stack of infantry.  Couple it with 2 CC you get 10 offense inflicting on average 5 IPC of damage for the cost of 7 IPC in units, you lose the war of attrition.  Moreover, those 2 units landed in a shuck operation in time coupled with air assests might take out 2-3 units in a territory being traded back and forth and thus actually earn income and change the tactical situation on the board.



  • LOL Japan shouldn’t spend too much.

    Oh boy that is a good one. Considering from round two they are ahead of the US in IPCs in most games as Darth said above Japan can buy whatever they want. And for Pacific action I like Battleships and Carriers above cruisers. The carriers and fighters project the power and once a proper mass of battleships is achieved they can strafe opposing navies to death due to the healing ability. Plus it can be amusing starting an invasion with 6 or 7 bombardments at 4.  😄 And before the comments come that was in a League game that I won.  😛

    Cruisers can be good for the UK, as far as the invasion strafes I think MrMalachiCrunch is missing the numbers. When you are wearing down a heavy stacked territory it is not using just 1 Cruiser to bombard with, done properly it should be using about 4 or more. It is very hard for Germany to keep replacing those losses in France or Germany depending where the strafe is taking place. As far as the bombers and that math, the bombers are subject to AA fire. There is no guarantee of that 12 IPCs doing 17.5 in damage, that 1 out of 6 can very well come the first AA roll.


  • '12

    I don 't think I am at all missing the numbers, numbers is one thing I am very good at.  If you drop 4 units off with 4 cruiser shots you are merely scaling up the same ratio.  2 INF + 2 ART + 4 CC shots =  a power punch of 20 inflicting on average 20/6=3 1/3 units of damage for the cost of 4 of your units.  Unless you are taking out tanks or airforce you are killing about 10 IPC on average for the cost of 14 IPC of units.  Therefore you lose the war of attrition.

    Now, for the bombers, lets talk averages.  You build 1 bomber per turn and own 6 bombers.  You fly out 6 bombers, 6 AA shots on average downs 1 bomber per turn.  The average damage a bomber does is (1+2+3+4+5+6)/6=3.5 damage per bomber.  (3.5 ave damage) x (5 remaining bombers) = 17.5.  So yes indeed, on average you can say that 12 IPC of bomber investment yields 17.5 IPC of strategic bombing damage and scale it any way you want.  Yes, some turns you might lose more than 1 bomber, and some turns you won’t lose any.  Never bet against averages when there are many trials of many units.  Yes, 1 destroyer might take out a 1 battleship, but never count on it.  And NEVER EVER count on a 5 destroyer fleet taking out a 5 battleship fleet.

    Now, those 6 bombers might inflict more than 17.5 IPC of damage if used in land combat as they might get to fire several times each in a long battle.



  • make cruisers 10, and i’d buy them
    else: fighters, destroyers and AC’s



  • At 10 they would be too powerful. As much, 11. Or give them a aagun shot



  • Interesting thread so far…

    I’ve always seen cruisers as a ‘win more’ unit. In other words, they’re only good to purchase if you’re already on the offensive. Why?

    Mathematically, cruisers are only better than destroyers if you get to use their shore bombardment ability. Successfully. Twice.

    This means that in order to make a cruiser purchase a rational one, the enemy’s navy must have already been neutralized, meaning you’ll get your free bombard shot every turn for the four turns it’ll take to get it to pay off (at a 50% hit rate).

    However, as has been pointed out already, if the enemy’s navy has already been neutralized, you no longer need ships to thicken up your navy’s defence (unless they have a large air force lying in wait), and so fighters and bombers will always be the better economical and tactically flexible units to purchase.

    So, only under conditions wherein the enemy’s navy is dead but her air force isn’t, are cruisers a good buy. And even then, if you’ve got the money to fork out for an aircraft carrier and fighters, a good argument could be made for that purchase instead.

    In short, cruisers are a luxury item; your purchase of them should signal to the enemy that the game has already been decided in your favor (or your miscalculation to that effect).



  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    Dylan, exactly how many times have you actually played AA?  The UK really doesn’t need a navy?  Really, exactly how do they get units into battle then?

    The utility of straffing with offshore bombardment and landing units really does not seem to be of economic nor strategic benefit, if it were a good idea, then BBs over CCs should be the choice with a 33% better chance of inflicting a hit.  I just don’t see how even a battleship shot and infantry is a smart attack against a stack to ‘just weaken it a bit’ never mind a cruiser shot.  With a total offense of ‘5’ you should do 5/6th of a hit and therefore 5/6th of a 3 IPC unit.  Spending 3 IPC to inflict 2.5 IPC of damage just doesn’t win it in my books.  Better off to buy bombers and strategicly bomb there you spend 15 (or 12 in later games) IPC to do 17.5 IPC.  Moreover, you should drop 2 units rather than 1 to fully utilize the transport.  The best ratio would be 1 INF + 1 ART for land units using the math every 1 point of offense does .5IPC of damage against a stack of infantry.  Couple it with 2 CC you get 10 offense inflicting on average 5 IPC of damage for the cost of 7 IPC in units, you lose the war of attrition.  Moreover, those 2 units landed in a shuck operation in time coupled with air assests might take out 2-3 units in a territory being traded back and forth and thus actually earn income and change the tactical situation on the board.

    Well even if they do they need cheeper units can’t spent too much towards a navy.



  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    The average damage a bomber does is (1+2+3+4+5+6)/6=3.5 damage per bomber.  (3.5 ave damage) x (5 remaining bombers) = 17.5.  So yes indeed, on average you can say that 12 IPC of bomber investment yields 17.5 IPC of strategic bombing damage and scale it any way you want.

    Hang on a second.  I know this (bombers) isn’t cruisers … but I’m confused at your math here.

    Each bomber does an average of 3.5 ipc’s of damage.  So 3.5 ipc’s x 5 remaining bombers = 17.5 ipcs (like you said).  However, that’s an investment of 60 Ipc’s, not 12 (5 bombers x 12 = 60 … 72 if you include the assumed 1 bomber hit by AA)



  • Ahh someone from the accounting school of Axis and Allies

    Axis & Allies is not an accounting game.

    Let that sink in a moment.

    It does not always necessarily matter that a unit take out its IPC value to be of worth. Especially if you can replace the losses easier than your opponent.

    With whittling away at Axis stacks in France or especially Germany those loses MUST be replaced to stave off invasions. Under the damage rules of Anniversary unlike in earlier editions damage can be ignored. If Germany has enough units to deter allied invasions, and maintain against Russia while Japan takes out Moscow it can sit there with 20 damage if it so pleases. Also with the UK’s limited funds if she has been buying a bomber every round there is not going to be much left over for invasions or a fleet to even carry out such.

    MY point is that CAs are not a bad investment for England. They will need something to flesh out their fleet, and as Darth and some others have pointed out, CAs can be used to bombard with while DDs are just going to sit there as potential fodder against an air attack.



  • @Rorschach:

    @MrMalachiCrunch:

    The average damage a bomber does is (1+2+3+4+5+6)/6=3.5 damage per bomber.  (3.5 ave damage) x (5 remaining bombers) = 17.5.  So yes indeed, on average you can say that 12 IPC of bomber investment yields 17.5 IPC of strategic bombing damage and scale it any way you want.

    Hang on a second.  I know this (bombers) isn’t cruisers … but I’m confused at your math here.

    Each bomber does an average of 3.5 ipc’s of damage.  So 3.5 ipc’s x 5 remaining bombers = 17.5 ipcs (like you said).  However, that’s an investment of 60 Ipc’s, not 12 (5 bombers x 12 = 60 … 72 if you include the assumed 1 bomber hit by AA)

    I think by “investment” he meant loss


  • '12

    Calvin is indeed correct.  My point with the bombers was simply to illustrate the math using less fractions.  Choosing 6 bombers makes it easy to note you have ‘on average’ a 1 in 6 chance of losing a bomber, so if you have 6 you can count on ‘on average’ losing 1.  It’s much harder to use an example with 1 bomber where you lose 1/6th of it to an aa shot.

    One neat thing about being a software engineer is that I can easily write a program to simulate anything I want, and I have with the bomber example above.  With the simulation, 1 bomber per turn was purchased, all surving bombers faced AA shots then did a bombing raid.  As one would expect the bomber fleet slowly increased until it reached a steady state of about 6 bombers losing on average 1 per turn and buying 1 per turn, thus investment of the cost of a bomber 12 or 15 depending.  The average damaged inflicted was about 17.5 IPC

    I am not advocating SBR as a strategy, but if you think dropping infantry with cruiser shots against a huge stack is the way to slowly attrit the enemy I would strongly disagree.  Sure, if you ALREADY own a cruiser and its NOT being used then maybe…maybe, but you are still trading 7 of your (IPC or units) for 5 of the enemy.  However, that X units infantry landed into russia releaves the russians of X units of their own to counter defensively a german stack, which allows those units to press perhaps the Japs.  Or it allows England to clear a russian territory of a few germans/japs using just a few infantry and massed airforce.  Nothing better than to hit a stack of 4 enemy units say 3 infantry and a tank which just took a satelite russian territory with 3 Brit infantry, 2 bombers and 4 fighters.  Battle simulator says you win 99.7% of the time and ‘on average’ you inflict 14 IPC (14 as its only 99.7% certain you will win!) at the cost of 8 IPC.  Moreover, you change the strategic situation on the ground AND russia will get the income from that territory next turn without having to fight for it, thus allowing it to retake a different territory.  So, rather than trading 7 for 5 you are trading 8 for 14.

    Now as for this game not being an accounting game, I could not disagree more.  Its all about accounting.  Accounting for what can hit you so you have just enough to defend against an attack, having too much on defense implies you might not be using those ‘surplus to need’ forces somewhere else.  Purchasing capital ships for fleet defense when it is not required implies you have less land force to better your position.  Not accounting for the fact your enemy has tied you with income and you are trading 7 IPC for 5 of his over a long period of time will win you few wars.  Obviously, sometimes you have to lose the IPC battle to gain strategic advantage, sacrafice the queenfor a biship is obviously a bad IPC choice unless it gets you checkmate in 2.



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    @Rorschach:

    @MrMalachiCrunch:

    The average damage a bomber does is (1+2+3+4+5+6)/6=3.5 damage per bomber.  (3.5 ave damage) x (5 remaining bombers) = 17.5.  So yes indeed, on average you can say that 12 IPC of bomber investment yields 17.5 IPC of strategic bombing damage and scale it any way you want.

    Hang on a second.  I know this (bombers) isn’t cruisers … but I’m confused at your math here.

    Each bomber does an average of 3.5 ipc’s of damage.  So 3.5 ipc’s x 5 remaining bombers = 17.5 ipcs (like you said).  However, that’s an investment of 60 Ipc’s, not 12 (5 bombers x 12 = 60 … 72 if you include the assumed 1 bomber hit by AA)

    I think by “investment” he meant loss

    Ok, thank you for the clarification.  That makes sense.  Just a terminology issue then.


  • '12

    I wrote the software utility years ago.  It’s really not that much code, hardly something worthwhile to put up as a download.


  • '12

    It’s too nice a day to write code now, maybe tonight I’ll fire up visual studio and whip together a re-creation of that little app tonight, or maybe I’ll got hit the bar, its ladies night at the Olympia!  Put on your thickest pair of beer goggles and geterdone!



  • @a44bigdog:

    Ahh someone from the accounting school of Axis and Allies

    Axis & Allies is not an accounting game.

    It does not always necessarily matter that a unit take out its IPC value to be of worth. Especially if you can replace the losses easier than your opponent.

    True that!

    If someone defeats you AND they purchased cruisers, do NOT cry that there is something wrong with the rules!

    Just realize that you were outplayed and that the winner understood that each unit has its place and purpose.

    In a game, every unit may or may not be purchased or used, but it is there if needed.


  • '15 Official Q&A '11 '10 Moderator

    @a44bigdog:

    Ahh someone from the accounting school of Axis and Allies

    Axis & Allies is not an accounting game.

    Let that sink in a moment.

    What a great point, bigdog.
    I’ve been a professional accountant my entire adult life, and I echo this sentiment.
    Axis & Allies is NOT an accounting game.
    Sure, math and averages and stat analysis are useful in helping you play smart, and ignorance of these things will hurt your game a lot.  But by the same token, Axis and Allies cannot be reduced purely to formulas.  One of the great appeals of the game is that decisions every turn are so situational.  I don’t want to play a game where the optimal strategy is always “buy max bombers per turn with the USA and strat bomb Europe every single turn”, for example.  Or “never ever buy cruisers because they are a sub-optimal unit”.


  • '12

    I guess it means what you mean by accounting.  If you compare your income to that of your enemy, is that not ‘accouting’ for differences.  If you don’t know if you are outearning your enemy and you don’t know if you are winning the battle of attrition then I want to play you next!

    I ‘account’ for every move, what can hit me, what can I hit.  Am I safe here, can I force the enemy to retreat because he ‘accounts’ for the fact he is going to lose a battle.  If you put out some ‘bait’ you account for the fact you might lose more in that battle but the strategic position is improved to a greater extent.

    The argument was cruisers are awesome cause they can do shore bombardment.  My premise was that the utility in that action is not so good so is it that great a benefit to sway you to have 2 CC over 3 DD?


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