How should Japan try to save Europe?



  • It seems a great deal of Allied players like to focus on hitting Germany and/or Italy first, leaving Japan relatively unmolested. This strategy seems to weight the game in favor of the Allies, because each major power is able to focus most of their income into the European theater, while for the Axis, teaming up is much harder. I imagine many of you, as I am, are trying to solve the problem of what Japan should do in a 100% KGF and/or KIF scenario.

    On turn 1, the US can pull their pacific fleet into sz89, and with additional purchases can be ready for action with a fleet of 2 loaded CV, 6 loaded TT, 1 BB, 1SS, 2DD, and 1CA. Britain can accomplish Taranto and fly 3 fig and 1 tac to British Somaliland from India, and possibly build a factory in Egypt or pull more troops using the Malay transports depending on the board situation. Russia can build 9 artillery and begin marching them to the front. Germany and Italy will have their hands full from the start.

    If the Allies make these moves, how should Japan respond?

    The most instinctual answer is to simply smash the entire Pacific side of the board, becoming a monster as the European Axis gradually dwindles. This has worked in previous editions because Japan has then been able to save the day by throwing tanks at Moscow. This edition is different, though. Russia is bigger, meaner, and farther away. Japan’s optimal play might be different. Perhaps they should sacrifice rapid income growth in favor of rapid assistance to their partners to the west.

    The most obvious way to do this would be to punish the United states for ignoring them, perhaps massing a huge invasion fleet or perhaps conducting a polar express. However, there is little income to be gained in the long run taking this route.

    Another possibility would be to start producing massive amounts of land units as quickly as possible, pushing through to Russia and drawing pressure off the Eastern front. China will be eliminated around turn 4 or 5, and then Russia will have a new front to deal with.

    Some players have proposed flying in Japan’s massive air force to save the day. There are logistical problems to this plan because of the limited range of the aircraft. The best method I can see that avoids an early DOW is pushing through China to Tsinghai or Sikang, then landing the aircraft next turn, then flying in to Romania. The earliest they could arrive would be turn 5; turn 6 or 7 is more realistic given the propensity of the Chinese to screw things up as much as possible.

    A final possibility would be for Japan to fake a standard India crush, then blow right past them and start rampaging on the European half of the board. They could take Persia and Iraq on turn 3 at the earliest, then build 2 minor factories and use them as a base of operations. Depending on the board situation, from there they could put pressure on Russia’s southern flank, help Italy in the Med, start taking Africa, or some combination of these.

    Which option is best?

    You may feel that a combination of two or more of these would be ideal, but the purpose of this poll is to determine which single Japanese strategy is generally most effective for responding to KGF and KIF.



  • A 100% KEF will fail because Japan will easily take India and pour tanks into the Middle East and Southern Russia while it’s navy at the Indian naval base can reach the East African coast from Ethiopia to Kenya. Japan taking ANZAC, India, and Russian territories gives it around 100 ipcs, more than the US! Then, it can go from Moscow or for WUS, which has less income available to protect it thank Japan can throw at it



  • Of course, if any continental US territory is taken, the US loses the 30 ipc NO



  • It sounds like you’re in favor of gaining income rapidly, then hitting the Allies. I’ve found the KEF to be so effective, however, that Japan’s efforts may come too late. Italy, in particular, is hard to defend if the Allies focus on it.



  • I think balancing the steady solid progression for more income in the Pacific theater with threatening the USA is the main thing Japan should accomplish.  Germany and Italy should be able to do the Reine River 2 step aka Potomac 2 step with Russia and England.  I think by time turn 3 rolls around, Japan should have have an establish pipeline in mainland asia, either a factory or dedicated transports.  They should have a sizeable task force at either Japan or Caroline to threaten Hawaii-ANZAC-Alaska.  I ultimately think the main goal for Japan is to spread their sphere of influence across the Pacific which most people would agree with and do, but I don’t think people contest the USA enough to make them dump round after round of units in the Pacific.  You must make the USA feel threatened from round 1 so they don’t dump 150+ IPCs worth of units on the east coast and just wait on your to attack in the Pacific.

    In some respect, you are the same as the UK and USA, you have to balance 2 completely different fronts and make progress in both for overall success.  Like I said, you must keep the USA honest in the Pacific, you CAN’T let them just steam roll Europe.



  • Take India! Then spread to africa crippling the UK and perhaps Australia or Pearl Harbor whoch ever is easier.  Really japan needs to be a little opportunistic. If them 18inf are there to be killed then take them out and take siberia. China, blah no factories or ipc to be won there. 😮

    Germany needs to save the italians in two ways. One, look interested in Sealion to prevent the turn one Taranto. Second move some darn infantry south. America is coming, if you sacrifice Italy by not helping your decision.



  • The axis strategy I’m working on now is a combination of Sealion and a J4 India crush.

    If America puts enough money into the Pacific, Japan will attack early and take the money islands instead of India. If America puts early money into the Atlantic, Japan will hold off and buy some cover for the Germans to pull out of England and throw everything into Russia without needing to buy more fleet to defend the transports. Germany will maintain the transports in SZ 115 as long as possible, using them to defend Norway and Leningrad using units bought at an upgraded Germany factory.

    If America guns for Europe, I’m hoping that Japan can take pressure off the Eastern front using factories in Persia and Iraq and help Italy take out Africa. In this way, Germany can focus on defending itself.



  • I just played a 20+ hour game to a draw although I might of lost if it was played to conclusion. I sent the Japan Navy to Africa and protected Italy.  Italy then was spending close to the points of Germany.  The USA fleet battled the Japan fleet in the Med Sea and the Japan fleet destroyed it along with 17 US transports.  At this point Europe was Fortress that the US could never crack because I built mostly inf and art with Italy and Germany all game.  The problem is I was only able to destroy India and the Russian Inf.  China and Australia got out of hand because I did not kill them.  The Australians boarded transports and took some islands and china had a stack of like 40 inf.  We were at a point of after 20+ of play that I was not in position to get 14 victory cities but that I had about 200 inf art in Europe and America had to start a new fleet to come over to attack.  It was called a draw.



  • That sounds like a monster game.



  • @maverick_76:

    That sounds like a monster game.

    It was a game that we played over 3 seperate days.  I felt sure the axis needed Japan to help in Europe but it cost me in the Pacific.



  • @larrymarx:

    It sounds like you’re in favor of gaining income rapidly, then hitting the Allies. I’ve found the KEF to be so effective, however, that Japan’s efforts may come too late. Italy, in particular, is hard to defend if the Allies focus on it.

    These are my thoughts exactly.  When the big three (US, UK, Russia) go for Europe early it is hard to defend everything that needs to be defended.  The allies have many options for landing spots and it is hard to defend them all. Yes Japan can grow to a huge country in the mean time but it is hard for them to hit Russia hard before the allies hit Berlin/Rome hard.

    I helped the Axis out in Europe last game by using Naval Bases and sending my starting Japan fleet to the Med but the cost in the Pacific to the Axis were terrible.



  • You can’t ignore china, they can just save up a few rounds if you are attacking them then dump about 15 guys in a brand new territory they just took.  Divide and conquer I say, or divide and cripple.  ANZAC, India, and China have meager income compared to Japan.  You can just blockade ANZAC and wage a land/air war against Asia and send some naval might east to face off against USA.  You must keep the USA honest, and threaten mainland USA.



  • I guess it’s back to the drawing board with Japan.



  • @ Frank T

    The only Axis win that my group has seen resulted from a couple oversights that allowed me to Sealion a turn early and then take Moscow a few turns before I should have been able. They retook Moscow, but losing all that cash was enough to cripple them.

    It seems to me that if the Axis want to win legitimately, they have to play perfectly for the first few rounds and reach a point where they’re making enough to actually thwart allied invasion attempts. This will result in long, drawn out games as was the case with yours. I can’t see a way for the axis to win quickly unless the Allies make mistakes, but the Allies are pretty easy to play well. With the Axis, not so.

    If China and Australia both get out of hand, wouldn’t it be better to deal with Australia first, since China can only defend themselves and it’s much easier for them to do so?

    @ Gharen

    I intend to try your suggestion about keeping the US honest the next time I play Japan, but I don’t think it’s the only option. If they want to, they can take care of any realistic threat in one turn by building 20 infantry. If Japan masses enough to threaten even that, they can just build another 20 infantry. It doesn’t seem like a long term way of stopping KEF, but it would buy Germany a turn or two early in the game I imagine.

    What if Japan did that followed up by an Australia invasion on turn 4 while focusing on eliminating China and then eventually flying their air force into Europe? They would slow the US down, gain income, and round out Fortress Europe quite nicely. Of course, meanwhile, the British are rampaging out of control.


  • 2018 2016 '13 '12

    @ LarryMarx

    Remember that there is more than one way to “threaten” the US. And the game isn’t won by taking the US. It’s won by taking victory cities. 7 of which are very attainable by Japan.

    Let me explain: Suppose Japan takes Hawaii and stations a huge fleet off the of US west coast. “the US will build 10 infantry!” you say. I say: Gladly. Because that 30 IPC bonus they get has now been devoted entirely to useless western infantry rather than landing in europe. Not to mention the 10 IPC drop from your convoy zones. -40 for USA.

    Furthermore, you now also threaten Panama, by extension the canal, and by extension any US transports on the East coast bound for Europe. You could also forray into latin america, threatening Brazil and by extenson Africa.

    Build big money, threaten, if not capture, the USA.



  • @Canuck12

    I understand the goal of threatening the US isn’t actually to take any territory, and I do believe that it’s a good idea, but it doesn’t present a long term solution to KEF.

    However, your plan of moving through the Panama canal is something I hadn’t considered. Maybe an even better idea would be to swing around the tip of South America. Japan could take Brazil on turn 4 with their starting navy…



  • My friends and I did it this way and it worked out pretty well but it is a combination one. The Japs need to punch a hole through either Siberia or Northern China and send their overwhelming air force to the Eastern Front as the Luftwaffe will be focusing on destroying Britain or helping the Italians in Africa. The Japanese Air Force will serve as a can opener for German armor, infantry, and artillery as well as bombing their industrial complexes and preventing the Soviets from stocking up on infantry. The other thing is that the Imperial Japanese Navy needs to scare the crap out of the US. This can be done in a number of ways but they at least need to capture the Phillipines, Hawaii, and be making a move or impling that they are making a move on Western US or Latin America. This will force the US to build infantry to protect the West coast or tanks to protect the Panama Canal.



  • This sounds remarkably similar to a strategy that I’ve been working on but haven’t used in a game yet. I’m glad to hear it worked out.



  • I’m of the camp that thinks sending your Japanese air force all to Europe will stall the allies but will not win the game. If my axis player did this I would immediately drop 80+ ipcs in the pacific and, since I do not move my starting pac fleet as America and slowly build it all game then this would prove fatal IMHO for the axis, or at least Japan. This will at a minimum allow my American fleet to protect Hawaii and Sydney negating any gains in VC gains in the East by this tactic, and more than likely result in blockades for Japan.



  • The options that I presented at the beginning of this thread are in response to the Allies going 100% kill Europe first. If you slowly built your pacific fleet all game I would never send the air force away from the Pacific, but on the other hand Europe would be in better shape than if you had. When I play as the Axis, I view sending that fleet to the Atlantic so that you can build mostly ground troops from the start as the most deadly option and so I endeavor to counter it.



  • Larry,

    Your right, I somehow missed the fact that the US player made these moves. Sorry for the confusion. I still think that sending the US fleet eastward is a mistake though.



  • @Frank:

    I just played a 20+ hour game to a draw although I might of lost if it was played to conclusion. I sent the Japan Navy to Africa and protected Italy.  Italy then was spending close to the points of Germany.  The USA fleet battled the Japan fleet in the Med Sea and the Japan fleet destroyed it along with 17 US transports.  At this point Europe was Fortress that the US could never crack because I built mostly inf and art with Italy and Germany all game.  The problem is I was only able to destroy India and the Russian Inf.  China and Australia got out of hand because I did not kill them.  The Australians boarded transports and took some islands and china had a stack of like 40 inf.  We were at a point of after 20+ of play that I was not in position to get 14 victory cities but that I had about 200 inf art in Europe and America had to start a new fleet to come over to attack.  It was called a draw.

    The problem is that you would have lost if the game played out as a simple money thing. The allies have more to throw at the axis over time and they could have taken Japan out forcing Germany to attack with lots of 1’s  or sit back and watch Japan get killed and then over time wittle down Germany and Italy. It would have taken another 20 turns at least.


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