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If Sun Tzu played Axis and Allies….


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Sun Tzu was a famous Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who lived in the Spring and Autumn Period (500 BC) of ancient China. A lot of his great quotes can be applied to Axis and Allies—I’ve collected a few here:

    Quotes from Sun Tzu’s Art of War:

    · All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

    · According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one’s plans.

    · Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

    · If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.

    · Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose.

    · It is the rule in war, if our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two. If equally matched, we can offer battle; if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy; if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him.

    · He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

    · He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces.

    · He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.

    · If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

    · Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.

    · To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

    · What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.

    · Rapidity is the essence of war: take advantage of the enemy’s unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes, and attack unguarded spots.

    · By altering his arrangements and changing his plans, he keeps the enemy without definite knowledge. By shifting his camp and taking circuitous routes, he prevents the enemy from anticipating his purpose.

    · If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.

    · Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.

    · If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

    · The skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy.

    · In war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    · The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy’s will to be imposed on him.

    · You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.

    · That general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.

    · The spot where we intend to fight must not be made known; for then the enemy will have to prepare against a possible attack at several different points; and his forces being thus distributed in many directions, the numbers we shall have to face at any given point will be proportionately few.

    · For should the enemy strengthen his (front), he will weaken his rear; should he strengthen his rear, he will weaken his (front); should he strengthen his left, he will weaken his right; should he strengthen his right, he will weaken his left. If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.

    · Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is superabundant and where it is deficient.

    · Do not repeat the tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.

    · In war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

    · He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Great collection of quotes from a great military theorist.  As far as A&A goes, however, one of the problems with the OOB gaming system is that it makes it virtually impossible to apply Sun Tzu’s most fundamantal axiom – all warfare is based on deception, and hence the achievement of surprise is crucially important – because A&A is an open gaming system in which every player is aware at all times of the composition and location of all the enemy’s forces.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    @CWO:

    Great collection of quotes from a great military theorist.  As far as A&A goes, however, one of the problems with the OOB gaming system is that it makes it virtually impossible to apply Sun Tzu’s most fundamantal axiom – all warfare is based on deception, and hence the achievement of surprise is crucially important – because A&A is an open gaming system in which every player is aware at all times of the composition and location of all the enemy’s forces.

    You can build up to a point such that you convince your opponent that you will attack one place when in fact you you plan to attack another.

    However, this technique would be of limited application and most experienced players will be able to think through all possible moves and particularly the most important ones. I have certainly done this before, but it is more a strategic level feint than any tactical surprise. Since all pieces are visible a tactical surprise is next to impossible.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @CWO:

    As far as A&A goes, however, one of the problems with the OOB gaming system is that it makes it virtually impossible to apply Sun Tzu’s most fundamantal axiom – all warfare is based on deception

    True. But there are still a few tricks you can use:

    • Face all of your pieces the opposite direction of where they are actually going. You’d be surprised how many people just assume you are threatening a certain area because all of your tanks are pointing that way.

    • Act like you are buying all your units ahead of time and put them out on your logo. Then when it’s actually your turn, take them off and buy something else.

    • Use the old Marshaling Circles and Cards that come with the Axis and Allies revised edition. These were given in order to save room on the map. But you can put out a small numbered circle on a land zone and then put all your pieces on the corresponding numbered card somewhere else near your play area. Often other players forget you have all that stuff there because its on your card and not actually in the zone itself.

    • Keep looking at a certain area of the map or whisper to your ally about it a lot, then attack somewhere else.

    • Pretend like you are against what your ally is doing even though you actually approve.

    • Ask a really stupid question or do something profoundly dumb to make people think you don’t know what you are doing.

    • Keep tucking away 5 IPCs every turn under your reference card - then buy a boatload of units all at once.

    Fun times!


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    @Der:

    • Act like you are buying all your units ahead of time and put them out on your logo. Then when it’s actually your turn, take them off and buy something else.

    I have done similar things before, in particularly tight games. Either put different units on my money for a purchase or wherever I usually prep them or I just hide what I am buying outright. Not sure how effective this is though.

    @Der:

    • Keep tucking away 5 IPCs every turn under your reference card - then buy a boatload of units all at once.

    This is kinda shady and something that would be frowned upon and scrutinized in my group. Generally, incomes and expenditures are public knowledge and hiding money away is kinda shifty if you ask me. Even if you can prove how it got there.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @LHoffman:

    @Der:

    • Keep tucking away 5 IPCs every turn under your reference card - then buy a boatload of units all at once.

    This is kinda shady and something that would be frowned upon and scrutinized in my group. Generally, incomes and expenditures are public knowledge and hiding money away is kinda shifty if you ask me. Even if you can prove how it got there.

    One way to solve the problem would be to create a new unit type: the Swiss Bank.  Players could keep IPCs hidden in secret numbered accounts in this bank, then whip them out and spend them all at once at a critical moment of the game.  This would also have the advantage of bringing more action to the neglected Switzerland territory on the map, if we create a house rule which says that any player who invades Switzerland can capture all the player IPCs stored in the Swiss Bank unit.  Players contemplating this move would have to decide whether the potential financial gain would be sufficient to offset the effect of having all the true neutrals join the opposing side.

    Yes, I’m kidding, just to make that clear.  😄


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    I thought you were quite serious.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    The deception comes in the mastery of threat potential and power

    Having your opponent fear what you “could” do, as opposed to what you actually choose to do.

    To clearly understand the concept, throw 4 German or Japanese bombers on the board, and see how that limits the allies options instantly.  And then see how many times you calculate for those bombers in different locations on the same turn.

    You cant hold Yunnan because he could attack with ground troops and 4 bombers.

    Your fleet can’t make a stand at Okinawa because he could attack with everything, but the 4 bombers swing it in his favour.

    You can’t stay at Hawaii for the same reason.  etc.

    It’s not that he has 12 bombers that can do all these things, but the deception is that you are calculating for those bombers at the same time. Â

    The effective response is what we call dog piling, or flooding, or as some prefer “Dog Flooding”  where you just do all of the above, and force your opponent to choose, because either way you make progress on 2 of the 3 fronts.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @LHoffman:

    I thought you were quite serious.

    Ah.  Well them, to carry the joke one step forward, here’s a little marker I’ve just devised.  I’m sure it would look good translated into acrylic by the good folks at HBG.  🙂

    Swiss Bank Marker.jpg


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    @Gargantua:

    It’s not that he has 12 bombers that can do all these things, but the deception is that you are calculating for those bombers at the same time. �

    The effective response is what we call dog piling, or flooding, or as some prefer “Dog Flooding” � where you just do all of the above, and force your opponent to choose, because either way you make progress on 2 of the 3 fronts.

    In the face of a no-win scenario, just reprogram the computer.


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @Gargantua:

    Having your opponent fear what you “could” do, as opposed to what you actually choose to do.

    To clearly understand the concept, throw 4 German or Japanese bombers on the board, and see how that limits the allies options instantly. Â And then see how many times you calculate for those bombers in different locations on the same turn.

    You cant hold Yunnan because he could attack with ground troops and 4 bombers.

    Your fleet can’t make a stand at Okinawa because he could attack with everything, but the 4 bombers swing it in his favour.

    You can’t stay at Hawaii for the same reason. Â etc.

    Could be filed under here: “That general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend”


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    @LHoffman:

    This is kinda shady and something that would be frowned upon and scrutinized in my group.

    Well we always check the math openly on our purchases, so if you are paying attention you’ll know the guy isn’t spending it all.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015 Customizer

    @Der:

    @LHoffman:

    This is kinda shady and something that would be frowned upon and scrutinized in my group.

    Well we always check the math openly on our purchases, so if you are paying attention you’ll know the guy isn’t spending it all.

    We tend to do the same. Saving up is one thing, but deliberately hiding it I don’t really like. However, as you said, people can do the math. In a high stakes game I tend to be pretty diligent about that anyway.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    The audiobook version of Art of War is a perfect companion in the car driving. The British guys voice is amazing and gets you going….to war!


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    Seems like it should be a guy with a Chinese accent though…but I haven’t found a version like that yet.


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    It’s better with British, not unlike listening to blokes in the Death Star on Star Wars.

    here is the one you want, trust me. David Warrilow has the best voice for this type of thing.

    http://www.amazon.com/Art-War-Sun-Tzu/dp/1590305477/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1418086181&sr=1-1&keywords=audio+book+the+art+of+war


  • 2016 2015 '14 Customizer

    OK will check it out!



  • General Tzu would build

    1  a sufficient amphibious navy from the UK sea zones, and
    2  bombers.

    Such a force enables rapid vectors for attack against many Germans targets. More than they can effectively defend.


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