What went wrong with Japan?



  • So this past Tuesday i wrapped up a 10 hr game of global as Japan and lost (again) and i am very puzzled as to what went wrong that made things turn so quickly against Me.
    Myself-Japan
    Dillon-Germany
    Jamie-Italy

    Lucas-UK/ANZAC
    Morgan-USSR
    Justin-U.S./China/France

    (my friend and his brother in which i was gonna have a player dilemma did not end up showing up :p)
    Axis started out on a bad note with Germany failing to take France or destroying even one sea zone of UK navy (Dillon had no experience with Germany and did not ask for advice). Thus, the rest of the game on Europe side was mostly spent trying to take France (it was finally taken for good G4), Despite this setback on the first round, axis in Europe survived and remained very stable being able to make considerable gains in Africa and Soviet Union. On the pacific side I made a goal to take on Justin head on and make sure that he did not try and KGF. I attacked and took every Chinese territory bordering Japanese territory J1 cutting off Burma road and getting my NO for just attacking China (also built a minor in shanghai). US1 I saw Justin doing his old strategy of moving his entire West Coast fleet into Caribbean and buying heavy Atlantic to Invade Germany. Seeing that there is no way Euro Axis could handle this (especially without France) I decided to J2 western allies by an all out assault of Kwangtung, French Indo-China, British Battleship off Singapore, Guam, Solomon Islands, Pearl Harbor, and Philippines In addition to continued assault of Chinese territories. When the Carnage ceased, only one american transport and one destroyer remained in the entire pacific (due to extremely bad dice when attacking phili). My plan worked in that U.S. had to take its fleet back to the pacific which saved Euro Axis and bought me time to build up. From then on I only spent a bit of money on mainland Asia and devoted almost all IPC’s to Navy and was able to conquer Gilbert, Midway, and Wake islands for the NO and all Chinese territories except for Szechwan. I had a strong naval presence off of Malaya ready for Invasion of East indies and the bulk of my fleet off of Wake which i was building up for confrontation with America. But then things started to unravel, America’s huge Air Force of at least 7 Heavy bombers in addition to a B-ship, destroyer, and cruiser completely obliterated my 2 loaded aircraft carriers, B-ship, and Cruiser. Before i knew it, There was an absolutely gigantic Stack of Naval and Air off of Hawaii and nothing to stop it. US 4 had the entire Hawaii Stack destroy my Home fleet off Japan despite my additional 5 Kamikaze strikes. In no time Tokyo was flying the Stars and Stripes despite my handsome income of 36 IPC’s without my capital (was still making NO as he did not bother to island hop and went straight to Home islands). Any hope of retaking Japan with the South Pacific fleet was dashed with a massive British-Australian assault that took Siam and French Indo-China that took place the round before hand. And So We with absolutely no hope of Getting Tokyo back and Germany only just being able to take France and already facing the possibility of a Normandy invasion by U.K. and the eastern front stagnating at Belarus and Ukraine, we decided to call game in favor of the Allies.

    Ignoring the obvious pitfall of axis strategy in the west, what did I (japan) do wrong? Was my failure of taking Phili as bad as Germany’s failure of taking France?. Did i divide my forces too much? What happened?



  • Short answer:

    Germany f***ed up.
    The Axis partners have a big, big influence on each other via the USA. Meaning if one of the major partners (Germany, Japan) screws up big time, America doesn’t need to spend on that map as much. Which in turn hurts the other partner.

    @BluGerman:

    US 4 had the entire Hawaii Stack destroy my Home fleet off Japan despite my additional 5 Kamikaze strikes.

    In this case it looks like you were screwed by bad dice a bit and most importantly the abysmal performance of Germany, giving the USA a huge income (Philipines intact + possible European conquests) and no need at all to spend on the European map…
    If the USA can kill your fleet US4 it must have put major effort in destroying you, wherever they placed their units initially…



  • Once i pearl harbored America, US put all its weight from atlantic into pacific. Hawaiian stack consisted of 4 loaded transports, 1 battleship, 2 loaded aircraft carriers, 3 destroyers, 2 cruisers, and around 7 heavy bombers.

    When i asked Justin he also brought up a good point. He says that he was able to capture tokyo US4 by ignoring island hopping as it is a “waste of time” and going straight to Japan is best. Is it?



  • I suggest playing a 1 vs. 1 game as the Axis before you start beating yourself up about your Japan strategies.

    PS: Nothing is worst than failing to take France G1, especially if they leave the UK fleet floating.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    I think you have to take both Philippines and Kwantung on your initial attack on the Allies as this denies both the UK and the US their NO.
    Your next objective is to gobble up the DEI. These four islands are worth 19 IPCs to you, while doing this you need to move your fleet as one force towards India, building an AB in Indo China or Kiangsi( both are 3 SZ from India). If you keep your fleet together and have this AB, the Allies cannot attack you, as they are too weak even when combined.
    Your aim is to get to 60-70 income quickly, while suffocating India’s income.
    You must always keep a Fighter on Japan, so you can scramble if the US tries to land a Transport, unaccompanied by Surface Ships, in Korea.
    As Japan you need to be buying Destroyers and Subs to block the Allies or sink their blockers.
    Meanwhile, you trudge inevitably towards Stalingrad, through China. A factory in Asia helps this.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    You mentioned your NO for those Eastern Pacific islands. I suspect very few Japanese players ho after them, as they are too near the US and worthless.
    Your aim is to take India and amass more income than the US.
    You might lose the Carolines. (I like to leave one Ft there as well as the starting : ground units.) It does not matter, as long as you ensure the US cannot land in Korea or Japan.
    If you need to use Kamikaze, target he Carriers, as his Air will not be able to take off of land if he does not hold Korea. Without Air support, the US is useless.

    I hope your next game pans out better. Japan is hard to play, but can be a monster.
    Good luck and enjoy learning!



  • Ugh My head spins when thinking about Japan :p. In retrospect it would have been smarter to have put less emphasis on eastern pacific islands and focus more on an India crush to pull ahead. But quite honestly, i don’t have fun as Japan. I have to fret about the IPC sink hole of china, the 18 inf Soviet threat, and the Indians on land, and then worry about the absolute monster of America with his little sidekick ANZAC at sea. It makes my head want to explode trying to deal with all the threats and there doesn’t seem like there is a clear path to victory, merely just hope that US isn’t out for your blood. Too much stress for me i guess, I like how with Germans and Italians I know exactly what my objectives are :p. That’s just me anyways.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    Don’t worry, I am the same. I have played A&A since 87 and only ever wanted to be Germany. Maybe it is because I live in Europe, that I have only ever cared about the ETO.
    I have learned much history about the Pacific from the many Americans whose interest is more the Pacific theatre.
    I do not think I have ever been a good Japanese player, but you can learn so much from the people here on this forum. Playing Japan right might be the hardest thing to do in Global.



  • @BluGerman:

    When i asked Justin he also brought up a good point. He says that he was able to capture tokyo US4 by ignoring island hopping as it is a “waste of time” and going straight to Japan is best. Is it?Â

    I have to disagree. As Japan you can counter this too easily.

    Buying (max 10) inf in Japan just for 1 turn is usually enough (together with at least 3 AAA still there).
    If it isn’t, 1 blocker is enough to buy you another turn of inf-buying and return some aircraft/fleet to Japan.

    Alternatively you can return the IJN to Japan and kill the USA fleet, and then return the IJN to the DEI again if you lost ground there and/or go directly to Hawai from that point on.

    I agree with everything what Grasshopper an Wittmann said. Especially Grasshoppers’ suggestion!
    Japan is hard to play right. As far as I have learned, Japan can either:
    A) strike hard and fast anywhere on the map (usually India is completely overrun), or;
    B) strike slowly and steadily on multiple fronts, maybe even everywhere.

    In situation A, the allies can attack Japan where he aint, becoming very dangerous on the other side of the Pacific. In situation B, Japan will not suffer the loss of territory anywhere soon, but taking the last VC needed is, for all different reasons (IJA spread out thinly), as difficult as in A above…


  • Customizer

    One thing that kind of makes it fun to play Japan is you sometimes can kind of sneak a win in. This really depends on whom you are playing against, but I have seen a lot of times Allied players tend to get into this mindset that Germany is the real threat and needs to be dealt with right away while Japan can just wait awhile. If this goes on for a few rounds, you can let all the Allies gang up on the Euro Axis while you mess around in China and build up your own forces. Then WHAM! Suddenly Japan has wiped out the Chinese, taken Calcutta and the DEI, is making 70+ IPCs per turn and is 1 VC away from victory, assuming you play with the 6 VC rule on the Pacific board. Some people don’t like that rule.
    Not all, but some Allied players really underestimate Japan’s potential to grow into a real monster.

    As for your game, I think you did pretty well as Japan. Getting that 5 island NO might have thinned you out some, but I applaud you for getting it. Most Japan players rarely do. As for your USA player’s attack on Japan, don’t feel bad. I have been guilty of leaving my Japanese homeland woefully under-protected before and getting robbed by a fast US invasion. One time I actually still had a bigger fleet than the US, but just couldn’t scrounge up enough men to put on transports. By the time I did, he used MY factory to place new men so he could keep it from me.
    I was surprised that your Euro Axis buddies did as well as they did after having such dismal results against France and the Royal Navy.



  • Thank you guys, i actually feel a lot better about myself in general :)…… You guys have been great with giving me answers to my questions and i got 2 more for you.

    1. If i am planning to go all out on all fronts, how do I manage India and China while using as few resources as possible? China since it doesn’t have a capital seems like there is nothing to do except attempt to conquer every last territory (I did this my last game and ended up with leftover troops trying to attack the last Chinese territory which had a stack of 8 inf and a few artillery) But if i leave it mostly to itself than I have to constantly worry about art and inf strikes on all Japanese occupied Chinese territories without a capital to bottle it up. In terms of India I just get to making a French Indo-China IC and then start scratching my head. Even If i take Hong Kong and Borneo the Brits still have 10 IPC’s moving in one direction towards me from India and I don’t see how to take it without using my navy

    2. We have had a house rule since our days playing the original axis and allies where there are no blockers for amphibious invasions. For example during an amphibious invasion of the Philippines, Japan would choose which forces he would want to take out US navy in that sea zone and then which forces he would use to accompany transports in the assault of phili. This would take place as two separate battles so one unit could not be used for both, However if the battle at sea ends in favor of the US, then the invasion does not take place and those units return to where they started (this was my disaster at phili because I devoted too many forces to the actual invasion and not to the sea battle So US navy held out and my invasion force had to retreat to Hong Kong). We established this out of a little bit of laziness but also because it represented the element of surprise that is eliminated when blockers are taken into account. After reeling from the realization that Japan would have survived if we had followed the rules, it makes me ask the question of whether this is a good house rule or if it breaks the game.



  • Hey Blu,

    About 1:
    All out on all fronts means you are slowly swallowing more and more territory. I guess that’s the plan ;-).
    You are right to assume that you have to kill China or else it becomes a big nuisance and rather sooner than later it becomes a real danger instead.

    Out of scratch I believe Japan has around 51 land units and 21 aircraft to start with. So in the opening turns you can put as much of them as needed against Russia (depends on whether they retreat their ‘Siberians’ or not) and the rest can move into China, towards India and the total destruction of the Chinese.
    You can try to kill India quickly (J3-J4) but I find that procedure too costly and it also leaves China and the ANZAC very strong to attack your back and flanks. Not to mention the USA. But if you are interested in how-to (always nice to know how), just search this forum for ‘India Crush’ ;-).
    Slowly grinding however, means building 1 IC per turn (starting J2 at the latest) untill you have at least 3 IC in Asia, preferably in FIC, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Shantung in stead of Hong Kong is also fine. Those IC are vital for producing troops marching/rolling into China and India. With the leftover income you can put extra weight into 1 or 2 fronts of your choice, either one will work.

    The UK cannot be allowed to have Malaya, so you must take that away from them as well as Shan State and, eventually, Burma. That way the UK will have 5 to 6 IPCs max and you can put a few submarines in the indian ocean to reduce this even further. India will now be able to produce 1 to (absolute max) 3 units in Cacutta, while you cranck out 9 land units per turn. With some airsupport as well, you will take India eventually.

    By this time you will be making around 80 IPCs per turn so you can put heavy weight into your ultimate goals: Calcutta, Hawai, Sydney, or even Moscow (helping Germany).
    Whatever targets you go for depends largely on what the allies did and how Germany is faring but assuming the allies play well, only 1 of those targets can be achieved while maintaining enough defensive power against the other tartgets to prevent being overrun where you are not attacking.

    I have not mentioned the IJN so far but it plays a major role (duh  :lol:). It has to protect your transports while ‘annexing’ the DEI (and Philipines ofc), defend against the USA and threaten to take India by surprise if they stick their heads out too far. Even for the IJN this is too much, so positioning is very important… Keep the fleet together, never divide it into more than 2 stacks (or else the allies nibble them away) using your Kamikazes also for additional defense. Once the DEI + Malaya are yours you can start roaming the fleet through the Pacific, driving back the USA and ANZAC from wherever (if) they attacked you all the way into their pretty golden cages: Sydney (always possible) and San Fransisco (only possible if USA went KGF or KIF). If USA went KJF, all of the above must be reconsidered and altered to maximise your survivability above large conquests. You won’t do as well, but Germany will become the monster you were supposed to be!

    Always keep an eye out for possible allied threats to take back one or more of the DEI away from you. Build more new warships to prevent that from happening so you don’t need to split your (also) growing big 1-stack IJN.

    About 2:
    I am always very careful with house rules, but as long as a house rule handicaps or helps both sides equally I guess it is all right…



  • Thank you once again Clerc 🙂



  • You are welcome Blu  🙂

    Before I forget, another tactic I often need to use if the USA comes relatively strong at Japan (not to KJF, but threatening enough while your fleet is too busy south):

    You can use your factories in South East Asia for warship production as well, if the USA threatens to kill each and every warship you set up in Japan as a reinforcement. You might even consider building 1 or two more IC just for this purpose (Malaya). If you want/must continue building 9 land units a turn in asia.
    As an alternative you can save all IPCs that the USA prevents you from spending on warships, return the IJN to Japan and then set up a large amount of reinforcements with it.



  • Just wanted to add something to the Japan discussion:

    Opportunity Cost of replacing land units in China:

    When there is a single Chinese infantry on your flank, sometimes its better to swing in with fighters and risk the 10 IPC loss of a fighter than it is to lose the infantry you use to attack with.

    Here’s my reasoning:  As you get deeper into mainland China, it becomes more difficult to replace lost ground units.  If you win that first battle against China and have to trade an Inf and are only left with maybe an artillery and a Mech you run into a problem where China placing a single Infantry unit on your flank creates problems.  Sometimes it is better to simply send extra aircraft or even JUST aircraft to remove that infantry from the map.

    If not, you face the quandary of figuring out how to prevent China from replacing lost IPC you fight hard for in the South by simply moving a single Infantry into a territory on your flank and no units coming from the rear to stop that advance.

    I’ve found that building a Minor helps alleviate this, but the risk of losing it by any Allied nation shooting in to cut your supplies and returning the territory to China (hence destroying the minor) is a dangerous proposal.

    Alternatively, you can use transports that generally require an escort with an American Bomber on Hawaii, Midway or some of the other Islands with AB’s.  That is generally going to mean you want at least a DD and a TT to resupply ground units to Mainland China costing you at least 15 IPC plus 2 ground units worth of IPC.  I’d happily trade a Fighter than have to spend 21 or 22 IPC to stop a Chinese advance of even a single Inf on my flank and wait multiple turns to stop the bleeding.  I’ve played people that will risk the US bomber anyways at the proposal of the DD missing and the US being able to sink 22 IPC worth of units and costing Japan more time before ground forces arrive to reinforce the mainland front.

    With the minor, you can generally address this with fast moving Mech’s where you spend initially 12 IPC J1, 12 IPC J2 on 3 Mech and then on J3 can move them 2 spaces from the Minor provided you control the spaces next to it.  Again, you are costing yourself at least 20 IPC and 3/4 turns before addressing it on J3/J4

    So, the opportunity cost is:
    1.) Deal with the problem immediately and maybe lose 10 IPC
    2.) Spend 12 IPC 2 rounds in advance for a Minor, at least 8 IPC, potentially 12 IPC 1 round in advance and on the third round address the problem and probably STILL use aircraft to finish the job as Mechs still only attack @1.
    3.) Spend 15 IPC on a DD and TT, plus 7 IPC (Inf/Art or Inf/Mech) for 22 IPC, Land a round later and on Round 3 you may be in position to address that Flanking move while potentially STILL using aircraft to make sure you don’t get diced.

    Personally, I’d rather just cut the red tape and risk 10 IPC early with an asset I have many of (aircraft) to give me more flexibility in IPC spending on the naval threats that face Japan once she advances into the South Pacific.

    Note I’m not saying that the purchase of a minor in China or FIC is a bad thing - generally its a requirement and a boon if the US moves into convoy SZ6 while your ships are in the DEI/India.  I’m simply pointing out that I’d rather be able to send 3 Mech towards India than have to shoot them into the heart of China to deal with rogue infantry on my flanks or behind my line.


  • '16

    Things I learned about fighting China:

    1:  Try to control them not conquer them.  Contain them from getting to the coast.  Always be able to take the road back.

    2:  I have found that an IC in Kiangsu can work.  I always have some land based Aircraft that are designated for Chinese attacks.  Spend what Chinas income is as a rule of thumb at the IC.  I usually buy 3 mechs a turn.  Movement to the road is quicker and supporting Aircraft make most fights manageable.  Going transports can work too.  Just a lot harder logistics.  Japans Achilles heel:  getting troops to the land.

    3:  Dont be afraid to slam a chinese stack with just Airforce!! Especially early turns.  Kill that flying tiger whenever you can.  The payoff is much greater than the potential loss of aircraft.

    4:  Fight China with the end goal of getting to India!  Once you have Calcutta the road is closed!  Do not let the allies coordinate!  Russia cant be helping china or UK reinforcing them.  Keep them isolated from each other.

    5:  Know when to leave them be.  Concentrating on China to much can hamper all the other objectives Japan must accomplish.  Dont let it be a money pit.

    Just some thoughts on fighting China.  I have yet to play the perfect Japanese game but i would suggest giving them another chance.  They are a blast to play.  Sometimes you have to understand what your role as Japan is going to be.  They are sometimes very dependent on what Germany does or how Germany is doing.  Have fun!


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