Effective Japan complementary strategies



  • What can Japan do, to best aid a progress towards Axis victory?!
    Hoping for some ideas from the community, because I am loosing hope for Japan (see below).

    I have been thinking about this for quite some time now. But I am stuck. For my next game against one of my friends I want to find a better Japanese strategy. He will be playing Allies and he is not to be trifled with ;-).
     I will be playing Axis and I will plan to (again) go full onto Moscow with Germany + at least try to capture Cairo early with Italy and a little German aid early on. What I lack is a strong Japanese complementary strategy  :oops:…
    Below a summary of what I have been thinking and testing. So far the ‘tests’ underscore my thinking. I have been testing against myself as allies and always with the LL-system to see the results of the strategies with average dicing.

    1. Crushing India J3 sounds cool but to me it seems this serves only one purpose: to show your friends you can do such cool stuff with the Japanese and hopefully intimidate them into mentally giving up.
     Because if the allies play well against a J3 India, Japan is forced to either loose a minimum of 18 units (a minimum of 13 will be aircraft) OR loose its initiative/momentum fighting the UK there for too long to be good for a Japanese victory in the Pacific, or an overall axis victory for that matter.
    Losing the said number of units is assuming one of the ‘Shan State’ Japanese approaches and the needed counters for an allied ‘Burma stack’ + removal of UK blockers in SZ 37 and 38. Other Japanese approaches are also viable (for example kill the Chinese in Chzechwan and land Japanese aircraft in Yunnan) but result in other loss-patterns: 20 to 23 total losses with a minimum of 9 to 12 aircraft losses respectively (1 more aircraft for every land unit Japan wants to keep alive on top of just 1 land unit).

    The loosing of units may seem the lesser of the two evils, but I consider loosing this amount of units (especially aircraft) this early in the game also a loosing proposition for Japan.
    Rationale: USA+ANZAC will have a much easier time in the pacific in this case since Japan has lost so much of its aircraft that it can never effectively threaten Sydney and/or Hawai anymore. Most likely Japan needs to kill off even more of its aircraft to save some more of its land units (more often than not the weakest link in any Japanese invasion force). MrRoboto’s argument about a 100% Pacific spending for the USA may not even be necessary anymore. It can be done to achieve a Japanese defeat faster, but it may not be a necessity.

    The alternative is abandoning the ‘rape of Calcutta’ alltogether, just isolating/starving the UK there, which also seems not to lead to axis victory.
    Japan can go for the ‘money-islands’ and will become very rich but due to the sacrifice of momentum, in the end, it will just go down Rich.

    2. Other strategies include totally different approaches such as chasing the Russians from the beginning (hoping to destroy the retreating Siberians or tempt them into attacking you), Pearl Harbor, Crush Sydney, you name it.
    As far as I have seen it, all those alternatives leave the ‘unopposed’ ally much stronger. Most notoriously India, which can then help out its besieged ‘friends’ with extra RAF units (Russia/other allies) or otherwise (other allies).

    The best strategy seems to be chasing the Russians AND destroying the Chinese AND Isolating India (or even crush it) all at the same time… But I fear this is overstretching at a premium and therefore I have not even tried to put this to the test. At the same time, this relieves the USA of its need to spend on both maps and it can go 100% in either Europe or Pacific.

    I can’t seem to get into the winning mood for the Japanese anymore :oops:…



  • Allies playing “well” against India crush is bad for them. Force UK to block with the cruiser, force anzac to make a risky landing on Java (in my move one tranny go to Paulau island, its not like the allies can afford to sink it anyway), and last force Russia to send planes to India (the only way to realy stop it).

    You dont HAVE to do it, just show its possible for you.

    Best option besides India crush is Dow r1 and hold money islands for as long as possible.

    Btw crushing India leaves a big hole in the allied economy and military power. China is NOTHING.
    You should collect 26IPC from raiding calcutta. This leaves you with an economy around 60-80 IPC each turn.

    Force US into playing 100% pacific for 8rounds and you have yourself a dead Russia. Btw I have won against a US in Pacific who went 100% pacific as my economy was equal of both Anzac and US.



  • Theres a lot of approaches with Japan that can work, but it is really difficult due to how many different places the allies can atack you.

    I personally look to declare on J2, unless waiting a turn can really benefit the europe side, mostly based on usa1 purchases and what india and anzac did with their trannies.

    I like to buy IC and 2 trannies on J1, and I feel that this factory cranking out mechs means that the ground units already on Asia are more than enough to push into India and force its capture, or the India units to run away to the middle east, usually on about turn 6 or 7.

    This frees up my navy to aggressively stack against the combined Allied fleet, helping to hold the dutch money islands without contsantly trading them back and forth with the allies.  So far my favorite spot is to stack and hold off of Java with several trannies and ground loads, with enough air and maybe ground on phil so the allies cant really go get it back easily. Ive seen other spots played and work very effectively tho.

    This leaves contsant threat on India, while giving my ground factories (usually i put a second one on FIC once I take it)  The time they need to move in and stack burma without India being able to take it back.


  • 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    There is the SBR option.  Build a bomber and 2 transports J1, take Chahar and the 3 other Chinese territories.  J2 take Philippines, Hong Kong, Borneo, Malaya and build an airbase in Chahar with your bombers there.  Build another bomber.  J3 you can bomb Moscow and land in West Ukraine assuming Germany went in to Russia G1 or G2.  Russia has to spend most of its income turns 4 and 5 rebuilding instead of on infantry.  Germany kills Moscow G6.

    The flaws in this strategy are you can get stung by AA, and putting that much into helping against Germany means you are a less serious threat in the Pacific, so USA can help in Europe.



  • Thanks guys, appreciate it.

    I’ve got some interesting new ideas thanks to your tips. Not that I think I can now win it in the Pacific (unless my opponent will execute his favorite plan with the USA again: all in Europe US2 if I DOW J1 or J2).
    But I can certainly make it a bit harder than last time I played against him ;-).

    That time he went all in Europe with USA r2, putting a very serious threat in my nose so I had to interrupt the mighty flow of German armies into Russia and start defending G3! Italy had to turtle that same round so effectively the offensives bled to death.
      At the same time in the pacific I made a mistake: I went all-in for Mainland Asia. Didn’t need to build more navy, as the US was building none, I thought. Every turn I built anonther IC in Asia and built mech and arm. By J6, the ‘east coast industries’ cranked out 15 fast per turn after already rolling out 45 fast in the previous turns. Still no big navy needed, tho Hawai and Sydney were well defended, each by some 9 FTR and a shitload of infantry -particularly Sydney, but Hawai also had a nice infantry army of some 20 units.

    The goal was to maximize pressure and to actually take Moscow, India, Middle East, Cairo. But time was running out fast. Germany and Italy were under such high pressure that no more troops could be send to the eastfront. USA had been running amok in Afrika, the Atlantic, the Med and Scandinavia, removing all axis presence there; UK building a LOT of RAF units and Airfields (Gibraltar, Malta) and USA also built an AB at Sicily. Man, THAT AB is a pain in the –-! Their aircraft were all over the map and could hit almost each and every spot… All German/Italian factories were maxed out.
      Because our time limit was near, I told him I was going to do something I would normally NOT do in this situation: attack Moscow. Moscow fell, but at the end of round 9 the allies had taken it back, took Rome and removed India from my grasp, also aided by 2 factories in the Middle East. Japan had taken Hawai (at a price…) and dominated the Pacific waters and was still able to crank out 15 fast per turn from the east coast industries. Sydney was no viable option for at least another 3 turns. Maybe 4.

    As there was no more time we had to stop but it looked pretty grim for the Axis in Europe. Germany could maybe hold out another 3 to 4 turns and Japan had 2 options, and ofc (as always) was only able to pursue 1 of them: retake India with the aid of the east coast industries, or take Sydney with the risk of India capturing the east coast industries…
    Maybe a 50/50 approach would have been an option: 40 IPCs per turn for the defense of the east coast industries, 40 IPCs for the attempt to take Sydney.
    It must be said: Sydney was heavily defended and no easy nut to crack, considering I lost half my aircraft and about all but 4 land units who were now in Hawai! So I think my best bet would have been to (try to) swarm India again and hold Hawai.



  • Its not game over for the Allies, but taking India out of the picture means Egypt is going to be much easier for Germany to take for Europe’s win.  Leaving India around and particularly if not threatened generally means Cairo is going to be a tough nut to crack for the Axis.

    Everything else is very subjective and situational because the Pacific is so big and the US can simply spend rounds 1 and 2 in the Pacific and can cause some serious problems for a Japan that has not removed any US starting navy.


  • 2019 2018

    @Spendo02:

    Its not game over for the Allies, but taking India out of the picture means Egypt is going to be much easier for Germany to take for Europe’s win.  Leaving India around and particularly if not threatened generally means Cairo is going to be a tough nut to crack for the Axis.

    Everything else is very subjective and situational because the Pacific is so big and the US can simply spend rounds 1 and 2 in the Pacific and can cause some serious problems for a Japan that has not removed any US starting navy.

    That’s a very good statement here.
    I want to say, however, that you do not need to capture India to ensure a fall of Cairo.

    Putting a submarine there to reduce UK-PAC income to <=3 is sufficient more often than not. As long as you make sure, that you’ll always be able to move a couple of transports in range for an India invasion, the Indian forces can’t move to Cairo. As soon as they start moving, just put the transporters to FIC or Malaya again, and UK-Pac will have to retreat to defend Calcutta.


  • 2020 2018 2017 '15

    “What can Japan do, to best aid a progress towards Axis victory?!”

    Threaten their own Pacific victory.  End of story.  I’ve won many times with Japan, as they’re too often overlooked by Allied players.  The US is the only power able to stop them.  If you rely solely on India/ANZAC, even with a no-waring J4 move, the Pacific will go to Japan.



  • @Whackamatt:

    “What can Japan do, to best aid a progress towards Axis victory?!”

    Threaten their own Pacific victory.  End of story.  I’ve won many times with Japan, as they’re too often overlooked by Allied players.  The US is the only power able to stop them.  If you rely solely on India/ANZAC, even with a no-waring J4 move, the Pacific will go to Japan.

    I agree they are often overlooked. That is however not the case with good USA play. In our group Japan is only ‘ignored’ to aid the Germany first strategy but is NOT allowed to take Sydney/Honolulu. IF the USA allowes Japan to take one of those latter, it is ALWAYS ‘under pain of’…

    If Japan takes, for example, Sydney as its 6th VC, the UK recaptures Calcutta, or the USA takes back the Philipines or moves in to liberate Sydney and kill the IJN… you name the price. ‘Germany First’ doesnt mean the USA spends nothing in the pacific and if Japan has a big enough fleet budget to really hurt the US’ expenditures for Germany, Calcutta will be retaken by the UK with ease later in the game. Japan can NOT buy enough warships to contest the USA AND expect to be able to defend it’s territories on land.

    To explain my question:
    If Japan just plays its own game, without a greater perspective, it will become very, very rich, but that will not give Japan a victory (and thus the Axis, for that matter).

    Initiative and tempo (yes, like in chess) are still essential for Japan because after turn 6, no matter how rich Japan has become, the chance for victory has gone if all Japan did was taking India + the Money Islands + China and a chunk of Russia. If there is not also a SERIOUS threat towards Sydney/Honolulu AND Japan can defend Calcutta from the returning UK, Japan will die just rich.

    Sydney can have a serious defense at turn 7ish (around 40 units@100 defense factors is not impossible if necessary). Japan cannot take this without hurting its warship builds. It can also not take Honolulu because a good USA player will always have the defensive edge there. That is priority 1 for the USA.

    Anyway, that is my own experience, from play in my own group.



  • @MrRoboto:

    @Spendo02:

    Its not game over for the Allies, but taking India out of the picture means Egypt is going to be much easier for Germany to take for Europe’s win.  Leaving India around and particularly if not threatened generally means Cairo is going to be a tough nut to crack for the Axis.

    Everything else is very subjective and situational because the Pacific is so big and the US can simply spend rounds 1 and 2 in the Pacific and can cause some serious problems for a Japan that has not removed any US starting navy.

    That’s a very good statement here.
    I want to say, however, that you do not need to capture India to ensure a fall of Cairo.

    Putting a submarine there to reduce UK-PAC income to <=3 is sufficient more often than not. As long as you make sure, that you’ll always be able to move a couple of transports in range for an India invasion, the Indian forces can’t move to Cairo. As soon as they start moving, just put the transporters to FIC or Malaya again, and UK-Pac will have to retreat to defend Calcutta.

    There is truth in this statement.  Containing Calcutta is more important than conquering it.  There is a cost associated with allowing India to persist such as maintaining a convoy which requires shutting the economy down outside of India whilst protecting SS that can be threatened simply by UK putting a DD off S.Africa which will be difficult for Japan to block.  Sydney can also sneak DD around to remove the convoy.  Blocking both routes to lift the convoy costs resources Japan would much rather have threatening the VC win at either Hawaii or Sydney.

    Alternatively you have to basically go “All-In” to take out India as Japan which may or may not include sacrificing a significant portion of the air force to do so.  An Air force that generally creates a massive advantage in the naval battle because Japan can spend 16 IPC to place a Carrier and load it with 2 Aircraft whereas the US must spend 36 IPC to maintain the equity of naval presence.  Japan will happily trade its surplus in aircraft to sink US carriers, and BB.  Of course the inherent weakness of a heavy Japanese Carrier build are US bulk builds of submarines which nullifies the air superiority of Japan once Japan has to decide between losing the screening Destroyers (to hit the subs with aircraft) or aircraft to get another round to hopefully wipe out the subs before Japan’s carriers are unable to let aircraft land on them.

    As it is with the common cold, it would be infinitely better to cure the common cold than treat it as treating it leeches resources better used elsewhere.  The problem is curing things is easier said than done.

    In the case of Japan, removing Calcutta is infinitely more valuable than simply convoying it.  Convoying, however, is a good alternative if India plays well and creates an expense battle for Japan.



  • Couldn’t agree more, Spendo!

    I must admit I have never included the Japanese submarines into the process of starving India.
    Not because I didnt think of it. I saw the possibility but I needed those submarines against the USA and ANZAC as cheap losses and I thought India producing 5 IPCs per turn couldnt hurt for a while… I guess building a few subs during the first 4 turns won’t hurt since it is only equivalent to 3 mech. Hardly a miss if you already have around 40 land units in Mainland Asia


  • Customizer

    Hey guys, I don’t understand something. A few of you have mentioned Japan taking Calcutta and the UK taking it back. I don’t understand how this is possible. In our games, whenever Japan has managed to take Calcutta, that is pretty much the end of the UK presence there. From then on, it’s up to ANZAC and the USA to contain Japan.



  • Hey guys, I don’t understand something. A few of you have mentioned Japan taking Calcutta and the UK taking it back. I don’t understand how this is possible. In our games, whenever Japan has managed to take Calcutta, that is pretty much the end of the UK presence there. From then on, it’s up to ANZAC and the USA to contain Japan.

    I agree, worse still is that Anzac and US will find it hard to defeat a Japan that has equal its income.



  • @knp7765:

    Hey guys, I don’t understand something. A few of you have mentioned Japan taking Calcutta and the UK taking it back. I don’t understand how this is possible. In our games, whenever Japan has managed to take Calcutta, that is pretty much the end of the UK presence there. From then on, it’s up to ANZAC and the USA to contain Japan.

    It depends on whether UK decides to pull out the turn before or not.



  • Often times the UK will build up a large presence in Persia (or elsewhere in the middle east), to prepare for the fall of Moscow or to help prevent Moscow from falling.
    Sometimes some of those troops can be sent to liberate India, depending on how the war is going in Europe.



  • What Chocolate and ghr2 said.

    I could elaborate on this but let’s just give the example of one of the games I played:
    UK marched towards India with around 60 units@120 combat factors. Not 100% sure about the number of units but the combat factors I remember… The UK pulled out before Japan could attack India (round 6) and merged that army with the incoming troops from the Middle East. Then liberated Calcutta round 9.

    Chasing the retreating troops can be difficult if the RAF is in Range of west-India…


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