Questions on how to play Japan



  • I have the most trouble playing as Japan so I figured I’d turn to this board for help. I usually set up for a 3rd turn money island grab and do my best to take and hold southeast Asia.

    I’ve noticed in my few games as Japan that I seem to run into manpower shortages. Do most players build a minor complex or 2 on the mainland or do they rely on transports to funnel units from Japan itself?

    I also find myself a little aimless once the money islands are mine. I’ve tried using subs to neutralize ANZAC and Calcutta’s income and I’ve had great success with that, but it’s also been difficult capturing either capital without risking a lot of aircraft and I’m more of a conservative player. Where should I go and what should be doing after the island grab in the south?



  • First advice i would give you, seing from my own point of view. - Being “conservative” with my japanese airforce doesnt accomplish anything at all. Go straight for the throat, jump near to any good fight where you are favorite. Even fights with just airforce can be worth it, if it accomplishes something for a greater good by picking off a stray pack of units. Also waiting with a DoW until J3 seems fairly late, and im surprised no one havnt linked you  on to Cow’s japan guide. It might seem like a big mouthful if you dont enjoy reading “tactics/openings” but it is really useful and it will probably make your standard japan play more interesting or better more challanging in decision making.

    axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=26960.0

    Back on topic thought, what i would suggest if you want to keep your J3 strat of taking money islands in 1 go - make sure your TTs are protected well enough so that you immediately after can go straight for either of the capitals. Dont try to take both or do it half-hearted, it wont work. As i said earlier go straight for a target - with the japanese enourmous air supremacy it is near to impossible not to get what you want.
    On note for minor ICs, (or major in korea), i would suggest getting one placed in FiC asap. it is a good strategic spot for taking Calcutta and a suitable landing strip for your air force. But until youve got money islands i, personnally, would rely more TT-based so that your navy can keep doing stuff and be a threat where ever it might be.

    But first of all take a look at the Japan book, by CoW, it is helpful and inspiring for a dedicated japan player.

    Hope it helps
    /ET



  • There are several things you can do with Japan.  First you have to decide early on whether you want to actually take Calcutta or just reduce its income so low that it becomes irrelevant by taking the islands and convoy raiding like you said.  Second thing to decide is whether you want to try and win in the Pacific by taking Hawaii and/or Sydney, or forget that and just support a European win by going into Russia and sending planes to help the Germans.  If you want to do the latter option you will want a couple of minor ICs in China to pump out mechs.  Kill the Chinese with those mechs supported by your air force and then drive on to Stalingrad.  An airbase somewhere in China can also be used to get air units over to support the Germans on the Eastern Front, perhaps with bombers to SBR Moscow.  Meanwhile a smaller force can snip off some of Russia’s income in Siberia, and your navy makes headaches for the Americans so they have to spend their income on the Pacific side and not the Atlantic side.  There are lots of ways to handle Japan which makes it a very complicated power to play IMHO.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Japan for conservative dummies who run in fear from mad Cow strategies! 🙂

    Keep or break the NOs
    High priority
    Get 10 IPC for turns 1, 2, and 3 by being nice and staying out of French Indo China
    Get 5 IPC for all four DEI islands or each of the enemy Pacific VCs.
    Prevent 5 UK and 5 ANZAC IPCs by taking Malaysia

    Low priority
    Prevent 5 ANZAC IPCS by taking one of the ANZAC Islands or DNG
    Get 5 IPCS for taking five specific islands

    So let’s line up the moves then assuming Germany wants the Americans kept out as long as possible for Turn 3 Sea Lion or a Turn 4 Barbarossa.

    Turn 1 - Should be similar for everyone, take four Chinese territories, build a minor factory in Shanghai and two transports.

    Turn 2 - Retake Yunan, take a three more Chinese territories, watch for Russia doing strange things with their 18 infantry.  Position the fleet defensively in range of the DEI in sea zone 36 and more fleet in sea zone 6 guarding Japan.  Build 3 mech or tanks in Shanghai, position the two bombers in range of India.  You’re likely to get DOWed by the UK on turn 2 so best to be defensive.  Build some infantry along with your favorite naval units.  Move submarines into likely spot for convoy raiding.  Where did US build and move it’s fleet?

    Turn 3 - If UK/ANZAC declared war, start taking Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the DEI islands.  If London fell, take Phillipines as well or refrain to still get the 10 IPC.  Position the fleet as needed against the US or ANZAC fleets.
    Build 3 mech in Shanghai, bomb India, etc.

    Turn 4 - Complete taking Philippines, Malaysia, and DEI plus (Dutch) New Guinea. Grab Guam if you have spare transport.  Bomb India, convoy raid ANZAC, stare menacingly at Hawaii with a fleet in Sea Zone 6.

    Turn 5 - Go for Hawaii with naval forces by taking Midway island first.  A surface fleet at Midway blocks fleet movement from Hawaii to Japan so will help protect Japan.  The initial fleet can be small, only need a DD, transport, and 1 infantry to start the threat. It will likely get smacked down by the US but then the US fleet isn’t sitting on Pearl backed up by the naval and air bases.  Land forces in Asia should continue smacking Chinese and laying seige to India with bombers.  Bomb the factory, bomb the port, bomb the airfield, etc.

    Turn 6 - Etc.

    Lots of other options especially from reading Cow posts.  I’m just not radical enough to feel comfortable trying them.



  • Well, if u go aggresive on russia, it signals to the US that japan wont be trying to win in the pac, so the US can dedicate 70-90% of his buys to the atlantic side knowing that UK india/anzac will be rich enough to hold their vcs while the US just plays a strong defense with his navy in hawaii or queensland to threaten the japanese if they try anythign ticky.  The key to beat the KRF strat  is to knock out italy asap and to make cairo a fortress while holding japan back.


  • TripleA

    Or you can let russia die. Own the pacific and focus on holding london and egypt.



  • I’d prefer to try to win on the Pacific side instead of forgoing that theatre entirely and trying to help Germany and Italy. In my group, the UK/ANZAC player normally does NOT declare on turn 2, so I’m not sure how that affects some of the advice I’ve been given. The Allies usually wait for the US to come in before any aggression is taken on Japan.

    Is 2 subs and 2 transports a decent buy for turn 1? I used to do 2 transports and a minor complex, but like I said originally, I’ve had great success convoying ANZAC and found that it completely shuts them down and prevents them from taking back the money islands in the south.

    Question for the pros: do you take the money islands in the south all at once, or over a period of 2 or 3 turns? If all at once, do you assign ships to protect every transport in the 4 dfiferent sea zones? I find that if I spread out to take all 4 in one go and try to protect them all, it means I have to take most if not all of the starting navy to adequately defend all 4 sea zones, and then I get locked south away from Japan by intervening blockers. I’m now considering escorting the transports with most of the navy until I grab the islands, and then going north with the warships to meet the US navy instead of babysitting the transports south.

    Finally, I think I’d like to try for a Calcutta grab but I’m not 100% sure how to do so and may just be content to neutralize them economically. I know simply neutralizing them makes a Pacific win less likely, but in some situations I might be content simply drawing American IPCs away from the Europe board.

    I appreciate the feedback so far, any additional help would be awesome.



  • It seems to me, that your play-group consist of conservative players ?
    I’m curious how long your games take if everyone are playing “passive”…?

    On topic note, i think this

    Is 2 subs and 2 transports a decent buy for turn 1?

    is, in my honest opinion, a horific buy. those two subs are absolutely useless until you get into war with uk/anzac/usa, and even then - Do you need more navy??? O.O Japan needs to concentrate on tasks at hand. The idea of convoying pac/anzac down is way too slow for my taste. (im a cow kinda guy - i want to jump the gun right away or slowest at J2).

    Your J1 buy in my opinion should either be 2 TTs and minor IC, or 3 TTs and do whatever with your 5 IPC. I tend to save those for next turn to keep since you could use em for a tank on the newly build minor IC.

    As for your transporters go, and i mentioned it earlier - doing this kinda slowplay, is still insanely valuable. So if you cannot defend your transports, that have a threat to be taken, all of them - then you cannot take the money islands in one go. Every time a TT dies down south, it has to come from Tokyo, or waste precious production of land units from mainland factories that might be closer.

    As a follow up on taking the money islands, i would put alot into taking down calcutta and china. Even if calcutta is gonna cost you a plane or 5, get it for god sake. dont be a wanker 😉

    Hope it helps somehow!
    /Et


  • TripleA

    I have a strategy guide for playing japan… I will bump it for ya.

    You should buy transports regardless of what you are doing, you need boats to take control of dutch islands and to take calcutta.

    Also try doing J1 DOW, it will accelerate your gameplay experience and most people have more fun doing that - it is fun for everyone. If you are playing a multiplayer and you are not going to war on the first round with Japan… people will lose interest in the game fast.  There is no real advantage to postponing a declaration of war, at least from the perspective of Japan, unless you have something better to do like kill a bunch of infantry that decided to stack up on amur, which is rarely the case. Maybe the Europe half needs usa out of the war while it goes sea lion, which could cause you to wait… most of the time I still J1 DOW even if I do go sea lion.

    The axis have it good like that. Also most of the fun is in the pacific in global. Maybe if the Russians started with 2 additional armor and a bomber would I find the europe half interesting.



  • Generally Transports and Inf/Art or Inf/Arm for the first… 3 turns is generally appropriate.

    Just be wary of a US Bomber on Hawaii and leaving your TT undefended.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    Japan is simultaneously easy and hard.

    Easy:  your grand strategy is to attack everything everywhere.  Rd 1: invade Soviet Far East.  If the Russian player holds, use your superior air force and local land units to destroy Soviet super stack – big help to Germany, no 18 inf rolling to Moscow.  Rd2-4, build up inf and trns for seizure of south sea islands Rnd 4.  Start placing miICs Rd3, first in Ksu, then Hon and then Fic.  With those working you should build enough stuff to take out India Rnd 7/8 depending on how competent your opponent is.  Then wheel around and take out Hawaii for win.

    Hard:   You have to be very careful when moving your ships around to safeguard them from counter attack by allies. Especially watch the US opening a block that Anzac can exploit.  Be sure to have enough dds to block US fleets from knocking your fleet out, especially blocking them from moving into sz6.  If the US goes for KJF, these problems are magnified by an order of 10.



  • If you invest too much into russia, the allies can turtle in the pac while US dumps heavy in the atlantic.


  • TripleA

    I usually do KJF with the allies, Russia is a lost cause no matter what you do with America, better to just own the pacific real fast then turtle egypt/london. When russia falls it is just germany / italy vs everyone.

    That is why you should just blow up with japan and maintain your fame as long as possible.

    Axis usually win, because this is world war 2.



  • @Cow:

    I usually do KJF with the allies, Russia is a lost cause no matter what you do with America, better to just own the pacific real fast then turtle egypt/london. When russia falls it is just germany / italy vs everyone.

    It is still very tricky to go 100% on japan, and still be able save London/Cairo before Ger/Ita wins.


  • TripleA

    yeah but it is all the allies can really do. xporting men is a biatch, the game starts at even TUV after G1 if you do not count all infrastructure units on the board (ics airbase naval base etc). So if you have to invest in transports which don’t do anything other than move groun units… then you end up playing from behind really far.

    the only strategy larry harris left for the allies was a KJF. only when germany does sea lion do you want to invest in the atlantic.

    Also the income evens out quickly. Bigger rewards are in the pacific that are more accessable for the allies to gain. So yes ideally the allies want to make things happen in the pacific.



  • Ive had better luck going hevay atlantic to protect cairo/london better then buy defensive pac to protect hawaii and anzac.



  • Otherwise, japan takes india and and dutch islands for a turn, and has enough air/navy to prevent you from moving too close.  If you dont start putting money in the atlantic by turn 5(even then its tricky), germany will easily have russia and be getting rdy for sealion.


  • TripleA

    I usually DOW J1, so if usa is not going full pacific, it is pretty much a free win.



  • As USA I’m a strong believer in:

    Bombers, Bombers and Bombers.

    1. You can relocate them easily.
    2. Japan will have a lot of problems splitting his fleet.
    3. If Germany built a Navy, it would not last much. Same with Italy.

    Bombers cost 12. Bombers can attack land and sea. Bombers can IC bombard. Bombers have attack 4.
    Compare them to a cruiser now.

    Bombers can change a 90% battle to a 40%/30% battle, letting you hold India or Russia one more turn.


  • TripleA

    Japan usually just brings everything south for the first 5 rounds till he busts calcutta. usually if you want to get anywhere against japan you have to park a big fleet on japan sea zone or have some kind of fleet to contest dutch islands.

    Usually the Europe half is cut n dry. I either go barb and don’t really pay much attention to anything, just make sure germany/italy is safe and that is it lol. America can’t do jack, uk can’t do jack, so w/e.

    Everything needed to take russia is already bought in the first 5 rounds, the allies got nothing.



  • @Noll:

    As USA I’m a strong believer in:

    Bombers, Bombers and Bombers.

    1. You can relocate them easily.
    2. Japan will have a lot of problems splitting his fleet.
    3. If Germany built a Navy, it would not last much. Same with Italy.

    Bombers cost 12. Bombers can attack land and sea. Bombers can IC bombard. Bombers have attack 4.
    Compare them to a cruiser now.

    Bombers can change a 90% battle to a 40%/30% battle, letting you hold India or Russia one more turn.

    Strongly agree.


  • TripleA

    I am more of a carrier fighter guy. best bang for the buck in defense… in fact it costs more to kill it than it does to produce it.



  • The starting carriers that Japan has, definitely makes them one of my favorite countries to play. As the United States, I try to match the number of carriers Japan has.



  • @Cow:

    I am more of a carrier fighter guy. best bang for the buck in defense… in fact it costs more to kill it than it does to produce it.

    Carrier 16 fighters 20 = 36

    2 ss 12 and 2bmb 24 = 36

    and 2@2 is better than 1@2 and 2 hits



  • @Noll:

    @Cow:

    I am more of a carrier fighter guy. best bang for the buck in defense… in fact it costs more to kill it than it does to produce it.

    Carrier 16 fighters 20 = 36

    2 ss 12 and 2bmb 24 = 36

    and 2@2 is better than 1@2 and 2 hits

    He said defense.

    so technically it is 1/1/1/1 vs 4/4/2 +soaker

    (even though in reality that wouldn’t make sense, i know that)

    About the cost to kill it, you have a point though


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