Sea Lion worth it?


  • '12

    I’ve been wondering why I don’t have more Sea Lions in my games (so far, nobody ever has!) even when I invite it by not doing an all-London buy UK1.  I’m in the middle of a game where my opponent offered me 95%+ odds to capture London so I thought I’d give it a try, and afterwards I wished I hadn’t.  The amount of money you get to loot from the British + French treasuries doesn’t come close to what you have to spend on the Transports and Britain only gives you access to 8 IPC, so the whole venture is a significant economic loss even if it results in a major victory with minimal losses.  Then you get to deal with the whole issue of having all your troops out of position to fight the Russians, so you’re just treading water for a long time.  I get the impression that a successful Sea Lion means you are banking on a Pacific win, when you would expect the opposite to be the case.  What are the group’s thoughts on this?



  • Well, it takes UK out of the war for a while, so he can’t reproduce units to hurt italy or reinforce india.  If america wants to liberate UK, he needs to buy atlantic which helps out Japan (Turn 3 DoW is not quite so bad if you were building decent).  Then, all Germany would have to do is to take 3 russian VCs or somehow, take cairo and 2 russian cities.  This all depends on: where the US is going, how strong is italy, how much you can minimize russian advances into europe, and most importantly, how cost effective was the battle for london.


  • Customizer

    I tend to agree that Sealion is more of a hinderance than a help to Germany. If you happen to luck into it, then it’s cool. Like midway through the game you happen to have 3 or 4 transports sitting in SZ 113 and the UK player leaves London really lightly defended because they are busy pounding Italy or trying to rebuild a navy. I’ve seen that happen.
    However, as a general strategy before taking on the Russians, it is usually bad. You have to invest so much into it then when you are successful the Russians attack. It’s really hard to build up proper defenses on the Eastern Front and prepare to invade England. Also, while I have heard a lot of guys say that it’s great for Germany to have those 10 transports around, I think once England is conquered they are just so much wasted money. Yeah, you might can use them to take Leningrad with an amphibious assault, but they do nothing to help you get Stalingrad or Moscow, much less holding back the Russian hordes from your territory. Whenever I have done Sealion then start having trouble with the Russians, I can’t help but think how much better it would be to have that 70 IPCs of tanks, men and artillery rather than to have those transports floating around up there.
    Another thing is it enables the US to come into the war 1 round early, which Japan may not like. If Germany is having trouble with Russia, the US may go all out Pacific and Japan could get crushed.
    Usually, I tend to take France and kill the Royal Navy, but deal with Russia first. If you can keep a decent number of planes around, then you can probably keep the UK off your back while slugging it out with the Red Army. Of course, it will probably make things harder for Italy, but oh well. It’s not Germany’s job to placate Il Duce, it’s job is to destroy Communism.



  • Can’t agree with that strat knp.  😞

    Everyone is different, but I honestly like making Germany the Europe controller.  I help Italy to the max, crushing UK fleet early, and building subs in the med.  I tend to build transports to make UK spend on their island, and then Italy and Germany can tag team Russia while having the subs to fend off USA.  Even better when Japan focus’s on Russia as well.  Germany needs help, and I like to make sure I have a buddy with me.

    Not to say knp strat doesn’t work, I played Russia once and Germany went all out on me with nothing but tank builds.  He sacked Moscow in 6 turns.  😢



  • I basically look at it one way:

    For Germany, TT are not a necessary evil to win in Europe.  Spending more than I have to on TT removes an Inf and Art that I’d like to place in Paris, or a Mech and Inf (In Berlin and Paris) or an Arm (In Berlin) from the Europe Map.  Buying up 70 IPC worth of TT equates to trading off with Russia 7 Inf / Art, 7 Mech / Inf, or 11 Armor.  Think about that for a moment before doing Sea Lion and how it would impact your odds against Moscow or pushing the Allies out of Europe each round when they do land.

    I’m willing to trade a few Inf/Mech/Art/Arm purchases early to keep the UK turtled up, but I don’t want to trade a full round of purchases of offensive ground units for the UK just to make 2 rounds of purchases to give me a 55% chance of either winning with terrible losses, or losing entirely.

    No matter the case, Sea Lion just doesn’t seem to be worth the investment except if you play against someone who has no idea how to play Russia and won’t make you pay terribly for the Sea Lion Maneuver.

    Of course, if the London player gets aggressive and doesn’t make defensive purchases early and leaves London open for trading 28-35 IPC worth of TT to eliminate them mid-game, I won’t hesitate to make that happen while shoring up gains in Russia (which inevitably seems to happen around round 5 or 6 anyways).


  • Customizer

    Spendo02,
    You and I seem to be of like minds considering German strategy and Sealion. As Germany, I like to try and keep 3 or 4 transports in either SZ 112 or 113 with a decent navy (carrier, cruiser, couple of destroyers) to A - protect those transports from British air units and B - keep the British from rebuilding a navy, at least around England. Three or four transports worth of land units, plus decent air support, could be enough to take London if the UK player gets foolish and leaves it too lightly defended. However, our player that usually plays UK has gotten pretty wise to that and tends to keep a decent stack of men and AA guns on London all the time no matter what else he is doing in other places.

    Dark_Destroyer,
    Like you said, everyone is different. It seems to me like your German strategy would not let them get ahead very much if they keep helping Italy so much. I may be wrong about this, I haven’t tried it myself. I almost never produce units in the Med, even if I take the IC on Southern France. Just too busy against Russia and keeping the Royal Navy down. Sometimes I will send Luftwaffe down to help clear Allied warships out of the Med which is a big help to Italy. Once I sent a fleet of bombers down to pound the crap out of Egypt so on Italy’s turn, they almost walked into Cairo. Usually, the main help I give Italy is keeping UK distracted. Like the naval purchase on G1 – carrier, destroyer, sub – will make UK think you are prepping for Sealion so they will buy defensively in London, allowing Italy to spread a bit. Then even if you don’t get the 10 transports and UK realizes you are not invading London, it might be too late for them to stop Italy from growing further.
    I will say though, I may have to try your way out next game. German subs in the Med sounds intriguing. Also wouldn’t mind seeing some German presence in Africa, perhaps help Italy get that “all of N Africa” NO a little sooner by taking out the French in Morocco and Algeria. Plus there is always the German land unit in Axis controlled Egypt NO to think about.



  • In my experience, if Germany takes the UK, it requires too many German resources(i.e. IPC’s) and Russia becomes too powerful. Most German players opt for the take Russia out strategy.



  • I think Sea Lion is worth it, but it has to be a complete Axis operation. Japan has to attack America turn 1 and put their foot on the Americans throat in the Pacific. Crush the Hawaiin fleet, take out Philippines. Japan then needs to keep most of their focus on America the subsequent turns, making sure to hold Hawaii and beating the Americans back to their own sea zone. Taking a smaller fleet and clearing out the money islands in the Indian Ocean is the 2nd objective, to start collecting enough money to support this.

    Germany and Italy then must focus solely on Sea Lion, with air assaults on the Royal Navy and bombing raids. Italy must give up on Africa for the time being and buy to stock up for the impending Russian invasion. Germany goes all out for sea lion too while also preparing somewhat for the Russian invasion too. By turn 3 London should fall to the Germans.

    If all goes well, it puts America in a huge dilemma. Help in Europe to get London back? Or the more immediate threat of a rapidly growing Japanese empire that is collecting almost the same ipc as America.

    If America chooses to get London back, it’ll take a few turns to get the necessary resources to be able to accomplish, while sacrificing in the pacific where Japan goes all out on America and could be sitting on their doorstep for an invasion.

    If America chooses to spend most in the pacific at the more immediate threat, the Japanese empire should be strong enough financially to be able to support such an effort for a long time while grabbing money in china, Russia etc. this scenario Germany now is only fighting a one front war and can put all resources to defeating Russia. The Russians will make an immediate push to start, but Germany should regroup, concede some ground then drive them back. Use the transports wisely to put a threat to Leningrad at all times.

    This is the strategy me and a friend will be deploying in a game that will be starting soon. In my group of friends the allies have been dominant recently winning 8 of the last 9 games. This is something very new as most Japanese players in our group don’t attack the us to keep them neutral while trying to eliminate china, and set up a crush of Calcutta and Sydney.

    On a side note we don’t play victory cities. In order for victory, the allies must capture and hold Berlin or Tokyo for a full round for victory, and the axis must capture and hold 2 of Wash, SF, London, Moscow for a turn to win.



  • Well Kingpin, I wish your axis luck then.  It is very hard for axis to perform a successful sealion, especially after a J1 DoW.  It is even harder to take and hold hawaii while also going after dutch islands/india.  But who knows, some dice may roll your way.



  • Just dont buy anything round one as Germany. If London goes soft on defence and gives you 90%+ odds its a kill r3. Never ever r4 London.

    Just by threathening London you can waste a entire UK r1 buy that could have been used against Italy. Btw taking London is great if that gives you the middeleast, 1-2 italy IC down there and suddenly you got caucasus and Stalingrad.


  • Customizer

    @ErwinRommel:

    Just dont buy anything round one as Germany. If London goes soft on defence and gives you 90%+ odds its a kill r3. Never ever r4 London.

    Just by threathening London you can waste a entire UK r1 buy that could have been used against Italy. Btw taking London is great if that gives you the middeleast, 1-2 italy IC down there and suddenly you got caucasus and Stalingrad.

    Ah yes, we tried that in one game and it worked fantastic. Germany did Sealion which basically took UK out of the game. The US was busy with Japan and Italy just started romping around Africa and the Middle East. They took Iraq and built a factory there. It was just like you said, while Russia was duking it out with Germany all along the Eastern Front, suddenly here comes Italian tanks and mechs grabbing the Caucasus and Stalingrad. Our Russian player was beside himself. He put up a stack of men in Moscow or Italy would have grabbed that too. As a result, Russia’s offensive on the Eastern Front petered out and the Germans came steamrolling through to join their Italian buddies.



  • @ghr2:

    Well Kingpin, I wish your axis luck then.  It is very hard for axis to perform a successful sealion, especially after a J1 DoW.  It is even harder to take and hold hawaii while also going after dutch islands/india.  But who knows, some dice may roll your way.

    Just finished a game where I was Japan, assaulted Hawaii turn 1 and held it for the whole game, while also taking the Dutch Islands. Did not get to India, mainly because the German player played very poorly, so the US needed to spend almost no attention to Europe and all in the Pacific front, where it cost the Japanese a lot of resources to maintain the sea superiority. I had to compromise land progress. Had the German player accomplished Sea Lion, or focused mainly on Russia to where the US player had to put attention in Europe or it would have fallen, then I think India could have been attained quite easily by being able to spend more resources that way.

    The great thing about setting up for Sea Lion is if the US does help London from falling, that really opens up the Pacific for Japan. It’s kind of like pick your poison.

    I did get some lucky dice at the beginning, or I should say the allies got unlucky dice, but nothing that out of the ordinary. The Chinese actually got very lucky dice halting some of my land progress.



  • 1 infantry 1 tank vs 2 inf 2 fighters for turn 1 hawaii?



  • Attacked and held the seazone in round 1, Took the land in round 2, where I had a battleship and cruiser left to bombard plus 2 inf and 2 artillery.



  • KingPin,

    Your SeaLion attack may work against a weak Allied opponent or if the Brit/Allied player doesn’t put up a good UK defense. I suggest you go play some of the better A&A players online via TripleA and see how that strategy works out for you. Then report back your results. Actually if you play in the League section of the Forum, everyone can see your results. You can go the Play Boardgames section of the Forum, then League, then League Results to see a list of the better A&A  players(Gamerman, Allweneedislove, Hobo, Zigguraut, etc…). Then challenge them to a game. Good luck!  😄


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Sea Lion being so ridiculously easy in Alpha 2 is what lead to this situation now, IMHO.  After all there was quite a lot of cauterwalling over on Larry’s forums about how horrible it was and over powering it was that the Germans could do Sea Lion (note there were very few voices calling out of the roaring hoards that pointed out that Sea Lion effectively saved Russia from defeat and since it was only 1 VC and could be liberated a lot easier, it was better to give Germany England than to lose Moscow) that Larry created rules to make it harder to take, and thus, far less rewarding.

    As for me, my opinion is this, I plan my strategy over the easiest method to win.  Which for the allies just means they can’t lose (they win by default if they don’t lose.)  For Germany however, I am of the mindset currently that a couple transports doesn’t hurt, helps hold Scandinavia gives you quick mobilization to Russia if needed, and you can exploit the British if they make a mistake on their defense.  Otherwise, I think Russia (yet again) gets dog piled which annoys me, we finally had a game where KRF did not HAVE to be the strategy of the day.

    These are just my opinions, keep in mind most of my experience with the game is around Alpha 2 and Alpha 3.



  • they win by default if they don’t lose

    The sole exeption is if Axis gain the income upper hand by controlling middeleast, but that is also a way to loose in some ways.



  • @Commando:

    KingPin,

    Your SeaLion attack may work against a weak Allied opponent or if the Brit/Allied player doesn’t put up a good UK defense. I suggest you go play some of the better A&A players online via TripleA and see how that strategy works out for you. Then report back your results. Actually if you play in the League section of the Forum, everyone can see your results. You can go the Play Boardgames section of the Forum, then League, then League Results to see a list of the better A&A  players(Gamerman, Allweneedislove, Hobo, Zigguraut, etc…). Then challenge them to a game. Good luck!  😄

    I’m sure the better A&A players would counter and blow up my strategy. I play global about 6 times a year. My strategy is a very aggressive one by the axis and if the UK builds a fortress, the release valve of an assault on Russia in Leningrad. I like it in theory because its a pick your poison for the US.


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

    Good post from Jenn - I agree with her on this

    I have never lost as Allies when G attempts Sea Lion
    We are getting to the point where we invite a Sea Lion attempt
    If you don’t pressure Russia, Russia will kick your butt.  Especially now with the 3 IPC NO per territory, which was another change as of Alpha2/3 somewhere in there.

    Jenn is right, there was an overreaction to complaints that Sea lion was too easy, and now it’s rarely rewarding, which leads to more 1-dimensional Axis strats

    Dog pile Russia.  If the Allies don’t lose, they win.  If the Allies don’t lose Russia, they will almost always win.  There are exceptions, of course.

    To answer the question of the thread “Sea Lion worth it?” I would say, yes, when UK has a lot of money to plunder and you can take it fairly cheaply (without losing your entire fleet to Allied strike after taking) and/or you can take it and hold it at least for awhile.

    I would not attempt Sea Lion with less than about 80-90% odds and also a very high chance of losing only a couple of aircraft.  If you’re looking at a 60% chance of taking London with 1 tank and losing most or all of the Luftwaffe - no way.
    You don’t win G40 2nd edition just because you successfully took London.
    Again, I have never lost after losing London.  It’s best to go full bore after Russia, because Moscow is the biggest threat to the Axis win.
    Like I said, I agree with Jenn on this.
    Show me a game where the Axis win after taking London first (in the first 5 or so rounds) and I will show you an Allied player who didn’t do his job, or got horribly diced, or both.  A good Russian player will be licking his chops when he sees the Germans attack London, and should absolutely mop up (assuming London is reasonably defended and G loses most ground units and several air craft, which they almost always will)

    New rules that make Sea Lion less rewarding since OOB, Alpha1 version -
    Russia AND USA immediately enter the war if London falls
    No more NO for London for Germany
    AAs can be taken as casualties and UK gets 5
    Transport in 113 moved out of range to 114
    UK can scramble 3 aircraft from Scotland and UK (for those who don’t remember, weren’t aware, you could not scramble from the UK or Scotland at all, OOB)
    Russia gets 3 IPC NO for every single original Axis, pro-Axis Europe/Africa territory (this is a pretty serious deterrent)

    And there are probably more


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    If Russia is not dead, the only way I see (looking at the board) for the Axis to win, realistically, is with Japan.  Not saying you CANNOT win if Russia is still holding it’s capitol, but I assume if you are at that point, you probably could take it (France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Stalingrad, Cairo, Novgorod and London at that point, right?  )


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

    Washington DC and Ottawa!  😉


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    You’re OTTAWA?  (out a wha)

    Although I do remember the surprise on a certain party’s “face” (post) when I took Washington DC on like round 4 with Germany back in Alpha 2.  (Feignted Sea Lion and went down to Gibraltar instead, he musta thought I was going for Egypt or something because he didn’t defend Washington.)



  • UK can scramble 3 aircraft from Scotland and UK (for those who don’t remember, weren’t aware, you could not scramble from the UK or Scotland at all, OOB)

    If Germany buys nothing r1, and UK makes itself juicy enough.

    You can do:

    1. A german sbr on london r2
    2. Buy trannies only (and dd if needed).
    3. Then do another sbr on Italys turn vs the airbase and suddenly you dont need to waste any units defending from the now not present scramble.

    If Germany already had 85-90% odds it might get closer to 99,9%. Then its bye bye britain and still alot of ground units left to kick Soviet. In ll its close to impossible to defend london and hit z97 r1 as uk, even with 1sub bid.

    Japan is ofc in a good position and require most US attention for the first 2-4 rounds so Germany/Italy is free to wreak havoc on Soviet. IC bombing is the way to go vs moscow after sealion. Just 4-5 bombers can shut down the soviet ecnonmy permanent, and that is an exelent task for stinking rich Italy.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Not making any purchases round 1 means you have lots opportunity for those units for the rest of the game.  Like the old poem, for want of a nail… …the war was lost.  (google it if you don’t know it, pretty good poem.)



  • @Cmdr:

    Not making any purchases round 1 means you have lots opportunity for those units for the rest of the game.

    did you mean lots or lost?


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