KJF or KGF



  • Which strategy, KJF or KGF yields the highest win%? Does it matter if you play against great-axis player or an intermediate players, ie should you use either strategy based on your opponents skill (meaning which one is less random)?



  • I think it’s safe to say KGF results in an easier Allied win. Mainly because of how easy it is for UK & USSR to fight the Germans compared to the Japanese.

    The soviets can’t really fight Japan in any way that matters and the UK only has one factory in India capable of producing 3 units per turn to fight on the Pacific part of the map. Also often when the Allies go full blown KJF - Germany goes crazy in Europe and it ends in a Axis victory.

    Yeah it also matters if you’re playing a skilled Axis player or a rookie but most of the time i go for KGF regardless.



  • I’ve played about 30 games of 1942 2nd edition and over 300 revised games, many at high levels of play. In 1942 2nd edition, the KGF favor isn’t as obvious as Revised, but going KJF is still a significant Allied disadvantage with optimal play on both sides. KJF works against intermediate players to take advantage of unfamiliar play.

    The fundamental reason is that the US makes less progress in the Pacific vs Atlantic given similar investments.
    KGF: US can start contesting europe/africa territories in R2 or R3 latest with a 2 carrier R1 purchase.
    KJF: US needs at least 2x the navy investment (4+ car, subs, fig etc.) to start contesting Asia territories. With optimal play, US doesn’t start contesting Phil, Eindies, Borneo, and SE Asia until R5-7 unless Japan makes a mistake.

    Japan KJF strategy:
    1. Purchasing - A good Japan recognizes the allied intentions with the US1 buy and UK1 movement. If UK commits to a risky R1 SZ37 attack and sinks the 1 car, 1 bb, 2 fig, this signals KJF and Japan should buy 2 fig & 3 inf R1 instead of a more standard 2 trans, 2 inf, 1 fig. R2+, japan buys something like 4-6 inf & 1 fig or 2 subs.  Fighters are the best overall unit for naval battles with 3 attack/4 defense/ 3-4 range for 10 cost. Submarines are slightly better on attack, but have weaker defense and a huge disadvantage in range.

    2. Positioning - Japan can center the navy off china coast and continue ferrying all the infantry into asia. Each carrier can project 4 fighters (2 on deck, 2 within 4 striking distance) against every sea zone within 2 of the Japan navy. This allows Japan to deadzone the surrounding sea zones for about 5-7 rounds even with full US commitment. If US is able to move in to threaten Japan’s navy, either move to Japan and reinforce with naval purchases or retreat the Japan navy to the indian ocean. Seek to maintain income as long as possible in Asia with existing land and air.

    Note on pearl harbor: Pearl harbor is profitable to attack with 2 fig, 1 bomber, 1 sub, 1 cruiser. Make sure to the 1 fighter as a loss, so that you don’t need to place a carrier there. Many people aren’t aware, but in A&A rules, the carrier doesn’t need to actually move to Pearl in non-combat if the fighter that moved 4 is taken as a loss.


  • 2019 '15 '14

    I agree with MarineIguana and would also just add to that list, the strong endgame advantage of going KGF over KJF.

    In the deep endgame, after capitals are traded (and especially if they are traded in the same round) it is nearly impossible for Axis to win if the Allies are in Berlin, even if Japan holds Moscow. Whereas in the alternative best case KJF scenerio, with USA in Tokyo, it is still possible for G to take Moscow and then direct all focus on London. So there is a definite danger in letting Germany go monster rather than containing them. Not that the Allies can’t win if Tokyo is taken and the Allies dominate the sea (that is one of the more enjoyable deep endgames because it is essentially impossible for G to liberate Tokyo once taken) but its just a much harder game to pull off. Japan’s navy is difficult to destroy if it consolidates, UK has a hard time maintaining income parity, since they also have to take over responsibility for the Atlantic, Russia and Africa.

    KJF is fun though, if you roll hot, or put the opponent on edge by forcing them outside their comfort area into a game that is played rather less often than kill germany first.  KJF requires a bid to get going, because Russia is rather weak and there is more pressure to retain control of India.



  • I agree that KGF is easier, but I have to disagree about two points that have been made here about KJF by MarineIguana.

    First, the best purchase for Japan to contest the US fleet is subs, not fighters. For the same cost, they’ll perform better than fighters on both defense and offense by giving you more units to take as hits. Their only drawback is their inability to counter attacking planes, so you’ll need a few carriers as well, but the bulk of your fleet as Japan should be made up of subs.

    Secondly, yes it does take a big naval purchase for the Allies to contest the Pacific, but the US doesn’t have to contribute all of it. I’ve had a lot of success in one game going KJF using US carriers with UK fighters on them. UK bought 2 fighters each turn, plus 3 land units for India. The UK fighters went to West Russia, then India, then onto the carriers. Japan was hard pressed to compete against two nations on the water and ended up losing big islands quite early.



  • Overall, I think we’re in agreement that KJF could work against top players, but it’s at a handicap compared to KGF. My response below elaborates on my thinking.

    @Zombie69:

    I agree that KGF is easier, but I have to disagree about two points that have been made here about KJF by MarineIguana.

    First, the best purchase for Japan to contest the US fleet is subs, not fighters. For the same cost, they’ll perform better than fighters on both defense and offense by giving you more units to take as hits. Their only drawback is their inability to counter attacking planes, so you’ll need a few carriers as well, but the bulk of your fleet as Japan should be made up of subs.

    Okay, I should have taken a more nuanced position between fighters and subs. A mix fighter and sub purchases is ideal for Japan against a KJF allied strategy. Overall, I favor fighters because the 3/4 range of fighters allows Japan to pressure on land while deadzoning sea zones. For example, you can place 4 fighters on 2 carriers and an additional 4 fighters in china. These fighters have great coverage of both land and sea.

    Subs are straight out better than fighters on naval attack and slightly better on defense. On defense, subs are slightly better in a mixed force mostly because of the hit advantage (60 IPC buys 6 fighters vs 10 subs). The main disadvantage of subs is that they’re only naval and it doesn’t protect against air.

    Secondly, yes it does take a big naval purchase for the Allies to contest the Pacific, but the US doesn’t have to contribute all of it. I’ve had a lot of success in one game going KJF using US carriers with UK fighters on them. UK bought 2 fighters each turn, plus 3 land units for India. The UK fighters went to West Russia, then India, then onto the carriers. Japan was hard pressed to compete against two nations on the water and ended up losing big islands quite early.

    I’ve put a lot of thought into that scenario with a US R1 3 carrier buy and intention of merging US and UK in one of the big islands R3 or R4 latest. Allied naval defense R3 ideally would include 4 US carriers, 4 US fighters, and 4 UK fighters. It’s not a terrible strategy, but there’s 2 problems on closer examination that I believe makes it unreliable in top play:

    1. Japan positioned off china is very likely to take India the round UK moves the fighters from India. Japan can be expected to land 6 land units into asia per turn starting R2, while India produces 3. The UK fighter purchases are critical to defending India. It seems reasonable for UK to retreat and deadzone India the round the fighters move to support US; however, trading India really reduces the land pressure on Japan.
    2. Japan always has the option for a profitable R1 pearl harbor trade. This really sets back US pressure with KJF. Japan attacks with 2 fig, 1 bomber, 1 sub, and 1 cruiser. Expected loss is US 1 fig, 1 carier, 1 dest, 1 sub vs Japan 1 cruiser, 1 fig, 1 sub.



  • Well said Marine. Your points are dead on. I’d also like to add to this discussion that it also depends on where you bid your units, and how the first turn rolls went down. If you attacked Japans fleet and only lost a couple units, then maybe going KJF isn’t a bad idea. One major thing to remember in a KJF game is that you need to hold Moscow for as long as possible. This means possibly having to give up India to save Moscow.

    The hardest part about a KJF, IMO, is that Japan makes too much money. After turn 2 Japan should be making more than US. A smart Japan player should be building only 4 ground at most and the rest navy. This means that a 40 IPC Japan is spending an average of 30 IPC’s a turn on sea, while US is spending 38. That is going to take a long time to make enough to take and hold any one of the major Islands. By the time US gets to taking the Islands India should have fallen because UK needs to retreat to defend Moscow against Germany.



  • @MarineIguana:

    On defense, subs are slightly better in a mixed force mostly because of the hit advantage (60 IPC buys 6 fighters vs 10 subs).

    That’s not a fair comparison because in order for your fighters to help on defense, you need carriers to place them on. So a better comparison would be 3 carriers and 6 fighters for 102 IPC vs. 17 subs for the same price. The subs give you 17 defense and 17 hits while the carrier gives you 30 defense and 9 hits. The subs win big time.

    Your point about fighters being able to attack land is a good one, but typically there’s not much for your fighters to attack on land anyway, other than a few easy battles. It will help take India, but that’s it.

    @MarineIguana:

    It seems reasonable for UK to retreat and deadzone India the round the fighters move to support US; however, trading India really reduces the land pressure on Japan.

    It doesn’t have to. If India is retaken by US or Russia rather than by UK, then UK can still produce 3 land units on it on that very same turn. Setting up a counter with one of those nations is a good idea on the turn that UK retreats.



  • @theROCmonster:

    The hardest part about a KJF, IMO, is that Japan makes too much money. After turn 2 Japan should be making more than US. A smart Japan player should be building only 4 ground at most and the rest navy. This means that a 40 IPC Japan is spending an average of 30 IPC’s a turn on sea, while US is spending 38. That is going to take a long time to make enough to take and hold any one of the major Islands. By the time US gets to taking the Islands India should have fallen because UK needs to retreat to defend Moscow against Germany.

    Did you read my post? If UK helps the cause by producing 2 fighters a turn to go on US carriers, that’s a total Pacific production of 58 for the Allies against 30 for Japan. So with good UK involvement, a KJF goes much quicker and the Islands get taken long before Russia falls. Indeed, if done well, Russia may not even fall at all. I’m not talking just theory either, I’ve done it in an actual game.

    Now I’m not saying that KJF is better than KGF, because it’s not. But if you decide to go KJF, this is the way to do it and pretty much the only way that can get there fast enough.



  • I feel that the posts above covers the general view among experienced players about the viability of KJF and some specific tactics on both sides. The debate between Roc, Zom, and me in the last few points are what I consider advanced discussion about fully optimizing the strategy.
    –-----------------------
    Summary:
    To boil it down, KJF is when the allies seek to “Kill Japan First” by pressuring Japan through purchases, taking territory, and battles. KJF can work, but it’s not as consistent or effective as KGF. This is because all 3 allied countries can apply more pressure to Germany earlier than they can for Japan. This is especially true against good players.

    Against KJF, the Japan player should purchase mostly subs, fighters, and infantry and seek to keep the navy alive off China. US should buy mostly carriers and subs. UK should buy 3 land in India and 2 fighters in UK that fly UK->West Russia->India. The allies should seek to create a big naval stack that can move to Borneo/East Indies/Philippines.


    Advanced discussion:

    subs vs fighters:
    Zom you’re right that I overstated how much better fighters are vs subs in my initial post (I oversimplified). Subs and fighters are ideal purchases for Japan. Subs provide the best raw naval attack and defense. Fighters can reach land and sea, and they can deadzone territories from a range of 3 (vs 2 for subs). On naval defense, a mixed force of subs, fighters, and carriers does better than a stack of any single unit. This is because fighter/carrier has a higher defense/IPC ratio while subs have a higher hit/IPC ratio.

    Japan fighter pressure on land:
    Japan’s fighter threat on India is the main goal of Japan fighter purchases, besides naval defense.


  • 2019 '15 '14

    Nice summary MarineIguana

    I still maintain that the advantage of KGF over KJF in the deep endgame is fairly evident just by looking at the mapboard itself in the most basic terms…

    There is more total income and 3 capitals (Berlin, London and Moscow) in contention in the area around Germany, and only 2 in contention in the area around Japan (Tokyo and Moscow). So if you want to set up an endgame with the best chance of total victory as Allies, it makes sense to “cover” the region that ultimately has more at stake. By playing the KGF game you are essentially taking London out of contention for the duration, whereas if you play KJF you are potentially putting this capital back into play. I think it is very important for the Axis to prevent the Allies from gaining complete dominance of the ocean at any point (whether in a KGF or KJF situation), one Axis power needs to drop ships at some point, or at least retain a naval presence. This is because there is not enough total income in Eurasia, even after Moscow falls, for Axis to dominate the globe without a navy either in the Atlantic or Pacific. There is just too much coastline to cover, and, while the production in Eurasia appears adequate, total income and proximity (i.e. speed getting units to the front line) is often not adequate enough to expand beyond Eurasia (specifically into Africa) when the Axis have no navy left on the board.  This may factor into your decisions about which units to purchase as Axis, for defense in either theater (e.g. more subs, or more fighters + carriers.) I tend to favor subs early to establish a defense around the carrier core, then fighters to give that core a greater attack potential.

    After a certain point, the movement advantage (and the ability to defend land territories as well as carrier decks) makes the fighter more attractive. Basically the fighter gives you more attack/counter-attack flexibility, since a single deck can bring 4 fighters into an attack by switching out positions e.g. land based fighters to carrier decks, and carrier based fighters to land territories.  Most people will concede defeat after Moscow falls, but if you play Allies with a masochist’s determination it is possible to recover from the loss of Moscow, provided you control the sea, and trade capitals within a round, or maintain overall income or unit parity in the theater you chose to concentrate with Allies. I call this the slow grind for Allies, and it demonstrates why the mapboard itself favors KGF over KJF in the long run…

    More coastal production, more total income, more Capitals in the Atlantic/European theater than there are in the Pacific. Everything else being equal (which it may not, depending on the specific game) it is generally “safer” to Kill Germany First, than it is to Kill Japan First. That said, the safe game is not necessarily the most entertaining game. You can still lose an ultra conservative KGF game and then maybe regret that you didn’t try something more insane in the Pacific after you’ve already sunk a dozen hours into the thing 😉

    My advice for either game, whether KJF and KGF, is to hold the center for as long as possible, and when you know it can’t hold anymore then start preparing for its final collapse. Trading capitals, overall income, and ships at sea, post center collapse (when the Axis control Moscow) are a way you can still win with Allies, (esp. because occupied formerly Russian territory can be taken directly rather than liberated per the rules, until the capital is recovered.) In this sort of endgame situation, I’d probably rather have my fleets and production concentrated on the Atlantic as Axis, which is why, as Allies I would hope to deny Axis this option, hence KGF at the outset.



  • Well, I can’t really disagree with any of that, MarineIguana. Subs + fighters are better than just one or the other, and I’m glad to see that you agree with my UK purchases. I do believe these purchases make the Allies relevant in Asia/Pacific much faster, possibly starting to take big islands as early as round 3 or 4. It certainly was the case in the game where I put it into action.


  • TripleA

    The board is not setup to do KJF well and to make matters worse USA and Japan income are relatively similar so unless you get some lucky dice early, it is pretty sad.


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