Japan/USSR Non-Aggression Pact



  • One of the issues that I have had with Axis & Allies since the original game in the 1980s was the way the tendency of Japan to attack the Soviet Union as a means of gaining Axis victory.  My frustration with this strategy was purely historical, it did not happen in fact but it always happened in the game (esp. in the early days).  This has been steadily worked on in subsequent versions of the game with more territories being placed between Japan and Moscow.  However, there remains some advantage from an non-historical Japanese attack on Soviet Russia.  If the Soviets get the 18 Siberian infantry awarded them in the Global rules, there emerges a strong advantage for an non-historical early Soviet attack on Japan.  I am not sure there is a good solution to this problem, but I have been toying around with the following:  The Soviets and the Japanese gain a National Objective bonus if they are not at war.  This bonus begins at 5 IPCs and decreases by one for every turn of the game.  What do folks think about this house rule?



  • A valid point.  One of my strong points has always been “exploding” Japan across Asia.  That does not happen as readily in this version.  Probably to your chagrin I am slowly figuring out how to move the Japanese West.

    To make you feel better:
    1. The Soviets did attack Japan when it became a sure victory.  If Japan ends up with fewer than six infantry up there or with fewer than that many to counter attack with then Japan does deserve to be attacked.
    2. Battles did occur.  A small one in 1938 and a larger one at Khalkhin Gol in 1939.  Probably with more than 100k men involved.  Zhukov won, possibly decisively pushing the Japanese into the “Nanshin-ron” South Strike doctrine we all know about instead of any plan to seize Siberia up to or past Lake Baikal.

    By mutual benefit neither side attacked the other after 1940.  Not because they got along.  The Russian and Japanese Commanders here sometimes go straight at it, other times mostly do nothing.

    Outlawing any Japanese/Russian battles is a reasonable house rule though.

    Who do you think it favors more?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hokushin-ron-Map.svg



  • @MarkVIIIMarc:

    To make you feel better:
    1. The Soviets did attack Japan when it became a sure victory.  If Japan ends up with fewer than six infantry up there or with fewer than that many to counter attack with then Japan does deserve to be attacked.
    2. Battles did occur.  A small one in 1938 and a larger one at Khalkhin Gol in 1939.  Probably with more than 100k men involved.  Zhukov won, possibly decisively pushing the Japanese into the “Nanshin-ron” South Strike doctrine we all know about instead of any plan to seize Siberia up to or past Lake Baikal.

    This does make me feel better!  I did not know there were such large forces involved in 1939.

    My thinking is that a Soviet/Japanese war should be possible, even a viable strategy at some level, but that no attacks whatsoever (after 1940) should also be something that happens from time to time depending upon the strategies of the players.  I am also fine with late game attacks by either side on the other, as I think such conflicts were inevitable. I am still trying to figure out how to make this work in the game.  I don’t want a complex house rule, something very simple.  The National Objective House that I mentioned above might work, but one consequence of it would be making USSR stronger in the East (Extra NO IPCs plus no lost IPCs from Siberia), something the Axis probably do not want to do.  It might encourage Japan to attack even more than with the OOB rules!  Maybe add “If not at war with Japan during first four turns” to USSR’s Archangel NO and give Japan a new National Objective bonus (5 IPCs?) if they are not at war with USSR.



  • Because it was of mutual benifit for both powers to not attack eachother
    There should have been an NO involved here….

    Perhaps only 3 IPCs…but any ammount is enough to discourage players from breaking the pact hastily


  • '10

    First I preferred a russian/japanese non-aggression-pact.

    But you can’t do this to your european Axis comrades. 37 IPCs income is too much.

    Reduce the russian income from the very first game turn.

    Force Russia to send units to the Far East and China.

    …by the way, sending tanks, artillery and infantery to the Far East will bring you in a better position versus american amphibious operations.



  • I encourage that you read “Rise and fall of the third reich.” That details Hitler’s attempts to get Japan to attack Russia to pressure them from both sides in order to make it easier for Germany to overtake Russia. The main problem was the Americans were on the move in the pacific and the Brits and Aussies were being a pain in the butt and the last thing Japan wanted was another front to fight on. Granted the strategy was not done but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t thought about. I personally think if Japan could have somehow made a move into Russia, Stalin would have had to leave his Siberian troops in the East instead of bringing them to the West to push back the Germans. It might have made things a lot more interesting if the war had played out like that, which is what many of us do in the game.



  • @maverick_76:

    I encourage that you read “Rise and fall of the third reich.” That details Hitler’s attempts to get Japan to attack Russia to pressure them from both sides in order to make it easier for Germany to overtake Russia. The main problem was the Americans were on the move in the pacific and the Brits and Aussies were being a pain in the butt and the last thing Japan wanted was another front to fight on. Granted the strategy was not done but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t thought about. I personally think if Japan could have somehow made a move into Russia, Stalin would have had to leave his Siberian troops in the East instead of bringing them to the West to push back the Germans. It might have made things a lot more interesting if the war had played out like that, which is what many of us do in the game.

    Why would Stalin defend Siberia as opposed to Moscow?



  • because of his ego coupled with the fact that they smacked the japs around in 2 prior actions?



  • The main reason Stalin had not brought his Siberians in earlier was because his spies had told him that Japan might try and invade. Trust me, the last thing you want is a two front war.



  • @maverick_76:

    The main reason Stalin had not brought his Siberians in earlier was because his spies had told him that Japan might try and invade. Trust me, the last thing you want is a two front war.

    Well, if Japan invaded Siberia, Stalin already has a 2 front war, so I bet he’d save the capital rather than snowy siberia



  • Latest version of the National Objectives:

    (1)  New USSR National Objective:  If the USSR and Japan are not at war, the USSR receives a bonus of 4 IPCs on the first turn of play, 3 IPCs on the second turn, 2 IPCs on the third turn, and 1 IPC on the fourth turn.

    (2)  New Japanese National Objective:  If the USSR and Japan are not at war, Japan receives a 3 IPC bonus.

    My hope is that these national objectives would not prevent a Japanese player from developing and implementing a strategy involving attacking the USSR, but that it would not be something done casually without a carefully thought out plan.  In other words, I would like to preserve the option of intensive Siberian warfare while reducing the frequency of such fighting, especially when the Japanese player decides to focus on China, the Pacific, etc.  A built in assumption of this plan is that the large number of Siberian infantry from the Global rules are in place.  They make the decision to attack Russia harder.  If Russia begins to abandon Siberia in turn one, I think the math would favor a Japanese attack, as only seems right.



  • Quaker,

    NO’s that favor one side over the other will just give an advantage to one side that was not intended when the game designers worked the mechanics out. What is 3 ipc’s to japan when they can just get that the first turn more than likely by taking the three furthest territories? If Russia attacks they will loose anything gained anyway since they have no offensive pieces to back up a thrust, or their income negated through naval blockading. By turn two japan can be making 4 ipcs by taking an additional territory and if Russia is lax in thinking will loose all the infantry to a major air attack. So it only benefits Japan in this case and seems lopsided.



  • Deadbunny, you may be exactly right and such comments are one of the reasons I wanted to post the idea for discussion.

    While I mull it over, let me say that while it is true that Japan could easily get three IPCs worth of territory from USSR, they would have to spend serious resources to take those three territories if Russia defends them with some of those 18 infantry.  If they utilized some of those same resources to do more damage against China and/or elsewhere, the NO would still give them 3 IPC bonus so the net result would possibly be better for the Japanese (though perhaps not for the Axis as a whole).  Meanwhile, some of the boost Japan gets in this scenario would be countered by the boost USSR is getting for not attacking.  I agree that Russia doesn’t have as much incentive to attack as Japan, but the 18 infantry can be a tempting offensive force, esp. if the Japanese player moves forces southward into China.  The NO would give them an additional disincentive to attack early in the game (something I like) and a counter-balancing reward to make up for the advantage given the Japanese player if they decide not to attack USSR.

    The point of the NO is not to discourage a Japanese attack on the USSR, which I want to remain a viable option, but rather to make a path that does not involve attacking the USSR equally interesting and viable.  My particular house rule might not fit this bill if it still seems like the “best” option is an attack on the USSR with or without the NO, which is what I take deadbunny’s critique to say.  Do others agree?  If so, what might make a Japanese avoidance of war with USSR equally viable to an attack on the USSR?



  • @maverick_76:

    The main reason Stalin had not brought his Siberians in earlier was because his spies had told him that Japan might try and invade. Trust me, the last thing you want is a two front war.

    Hitler should have taken the threat of a two front war seriously.



  • Quaker,

    The reason I said what i said is that I have yet to play a game where Japan does not strike Russia in the first round. It costs the Axis nothing because the current Russian NO is countered by the loss of the territories in (-3 in round one and -1 in round 2 so the Russian not at war NO goes to 1 ipc). Plus the Japanese if waiting till round 3 to attack UK/ANZAC/US have an overwhelming force to both crush China with and the Russian far east with a modest setup to attack the DEI. Maybe if I played different people the result would be different but I always see Japan striking  Russia early, and I would do it myself. Any NO would have to be a penalty to Japan to prevent it, such as giving Russia offensive pieces in the far east or some such.


  • '10

    You want to give the Russians more money for being not at war with the Japanese?

    Don’t know, what is your production for Russia, but I buy tanks, artillery and infantry, maybe a plane in R1.

    …and the road to Moskau is very long.

    It’s hard enough for germany to figth the UK back in the nort sea and the mediterrane sea, without spending too much money. One of the biggest german problems is, to get air support to the eastern front.

    How do you want to outnumber Russia with an IPC income of 40?

    Russia should not be allowed to attack anyone till R4.



  • An important part of my National Objective suggestion is that the power who didnt break the pact STILL gets those IPCs

    So USSR is at 40 at the end of their first turn….not much more than the normal 37…

    The actual rule would read

    The Russo-Japanese Non-Agression pact is a National Objective for both Japan and the Soviet Union. While bound to the pact each power collects 3 IPCs.

    • Japan is considered to break the pact if it:
      a) Attacks original Soviet Territory

    • The Soviet Union is considered to break the pact if it:
      a) Attacks original Japanese Territory
      b) Attacks/Occupies Chinese Territory

    Powers still collect their 3 IPCs even if the other power has broken the pact.
    You may never collect the National Objective after you have broken the pact.



  • @oztea:

    An important part of my National Objective suggestion is that the power who didnt break the pact STILL gets those IPCs

    So USSR is at 40 at the end of their first turn….not much more than the normal 37…

    The actual rule would read

    The Russo-Japanese Non-Agression pact is a National Objective for both Japan and the Soviet Union. While bound to the pact each power collects 3 IPCs.

    • Japan is considered to break the pact if it:
      a) Attacks original Soviet Territory

    • The Soviet Union is considered to break the pact if it:
      a) Attacks original Japanese Territory
      b) Attacks/Occupies Chinese Territory

    Powers still collect their 3 IPCs even if the other power has broken the pact.
    You may never collect the National Objective after you have broken the pact.

    Sounds not bad.
    And yes the “receive IPC’s until break the pact” line is necessary, since 3 IPC’s wouldn’t matter for Japan, (as it can get that from taking Amur, Siberia and Soviet Far East - taking those IPC’s away from Russia). (edit: but i see now that deadbunny already said the same)

    So Russia would be allowed to fight back on it’s own territory, right?



  • @oztea:

    The Russo-Japanese Non-Agression pact is a National Objective for both Japan and the Soviet Union. While bound to the pact each power collects 3 IPCs.

    • Japan is considered to break the pact if it:
      a) Attacks original Soviet Territory

    • The Soviet Union is considered to break the pact if it:
      a) Attacks original Japanese Territory
      b) Attacks/Occupies Chinese Territory

    Powers still collect their 3 IPCs even if the other power has broken the pact.
    You may never collect the National Objective after you have broken the pact.

    Thanks very much for this.  I like it better than mine.  The kind of discussion that has taken place has been very helpful and constructive.  This may make Russians even stronger, but I am not sure it is decisive.  Another house rule that I like is the one that gives German submarines three IPCs of convoy damage which doesn’t exactly balance this but couldn’t hurt in conjunction.



  • Global 40 is not a bean count of IPCs like the other games were.
    One extra infantry a turn for USSR will not make or break a game.

    The Incentive the 3 IPCs carries however is powerful.

    You rarely see a player willingy choose to violate the conditions of one of his own National Objectives……so there is a sense of protection there.

    Also…would you sacrifice your NO, knowing that that has little effect on the other pact member…they still collect theirs.



  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    Well, if Japan invaded Siberia, Stalin already has a 2 front war, so I bet he’d save the capital rather than snowy siberia

    You live in Canada right? Well imagine what would happen to morale if Japan and Germany invaded BC and Quebec, respectively? Would you be pissed if your government decided to let BC go in order to protect the more populated area?

    It is not just economy and capital that matters, there are other factors that don’t come into play with the board game. You know that America was actually invaded during WWII right? The Aleutian islands were attacked by the Japanese, and I guarantee you that Roosevelt didn’t say, “Guess that sucks for Alaska.” Most people don’t even know about that, because we like to boast that we have never been attacked since the war of 1812 on our home soil.



  • Alaska wasn’t a state until 1958.  So TECHNICALLY…



  • @maverick_76:

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    Well, if Japan invaded Siberia, Stalin already has a 2 front war, so I bet he’d save the capital rather than snowy siberia

    You live in Canada right? Well imagine what would happen to morale if Japan and Germany invaded BC and Quebec, respectively? Would you be pissed if your government decided to let BC go in order to protect the more populated area?

    It is not just economy and capital that matters, there are other factors that don’t come into play with the board game. You know that America was actually invaded during WWII right? The Aleutian islands were attacked by the Japanese, and I guarantee you that Roosevelt didn’t say, “Guess that sucks for Alaska.” Most people don’t even know about that, because we like to boast that we have never been attacked since the war of 1812 on our home soil.

    I actually live in California. However, if I did live in BC, I would understand if the only troops were sent to defend Quebec.

    As for the Aleutians, they weren’t reinvaded for an entire year.



  • Question:  If Russia is NOT at war with Japan, can America or any other allies move through Russian territories and or camp in them?


  • '10

    From ILs 1939 game rules.    NON-AGGRESSION PACT: The Soviet Union and Japan have a special treaty in place. The Soviet player can never attack Japanese territories until Berlin falls. The Japanese player can attack the Soviets as early as turn 4.


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