Russia First: Strategy & Related Questions

  • Tomorrow I will be giving the Russia first strategy a try.  I would like this thread to be a place for discussion of different strategy ideas, and a place to discuss issues with rules that would otherwise not come up in the historical route.  First of all I am going to bring up a few rule issues which my opponent and I will have to settle tomorrow before we play, but I wanted to have your opinions as well.  Second I will post my moves turn by turn and hopefully include pictures so keep updated to see how this plays out.

    1. In the rules it specifically states that both Germany and Russia can attack strict neutrals.  I think it is quite silly to assume that Japan and Italy could not do so as well.  As members of the axis powers they are seeking to establish “empires” and the restriction to only being able to attack allied powers seams silly.  Although I do agree that the allies, save Russia, should not be able to attack strict neutrals.

    2. my second concern is with neutral France and England.  Given that these two powers will both be neutral until Germany decides to attack them, I believe they should have a couple of restrictions on them.  The main one is that, so long as they are not at war with an axis power, they can not activate pro-allied nations.  I have two specific examples that will come up in my game tomorrow.  First, Greece.  Since it starts the game pro-allied and generally Britain has been at war with Germany on the first turn, Greece gets activated by Britain.  But since Britain will not be an active member of the allied powers I don’t think it would make sense for them to be able to activate a power, and collect their income, when they themselves are not at war.  My second example is a country which gains pro-allied status as a result of an invasion.  Specifically Turkey.  Turkey is key to my southern Italian invasion of Russia, because of the Turkish straights.  When Italy invades Turkey, the entire country will not be conquered, and so the remaining territories will become pro-allied.  Like, Greece, I don’t think neutral allied powers, like Britain, should be able to activate or receive these countries navies.  In both examples I think that only Russia, as the only active allied power, should be able to activate these types of territories.

    3. Finally, I come to Industrial Complexes.  I know that the notion that conquered minors ICs get destroyed has been floating around, but I have not been able to find this in the written rules anywhere, an truthfully find it to be a silly rule.  I know that ICs can only be built in original territories or conquered.  However, I think an exception should be made for strict neutrals.  Strict neutrals are not given industrial complexes, despite the fact that they would surely have industrial capabilities.  It would be hugely advantageous for Italy to be able to produce troops in Istanbul, mainly naval units, and yet this is an impossibility.  I think that strict neutrals should either A be exempted from the original territory rule or B have an inherent production capability like the Minor axis powers.

    These are the only three issues I could think of right now.  I hope to see some discussion on the questions I posed, and on the strategies that everyone would pursue in a Russia first game.  Stay tuned for my game updates with pics.

  • This sounds like an interesting stratergy.  The end result will be a US that is helped toward getting it’s war time level but still, getting the Soviets out of the way early does have its advantages.  As for your questions, I am by no means a scholar of the rules but I have read it over and over again; use common sence.

    (1) I would say yes to the Japanese and the Italians being able to attack strick nuetrals.  Historically, they did.  It only makes sence that they could do so again.

    (2)Again, as long as the axis powers do not attack a pro-allied nuetral, then there is no reason for the allies to activate them until the allies are at war.  That being said, it is a standard move in A&A for Calcutta to march or transport forces over to Persia and activate those pro-allied nations in the middle east of coarse this is done because Greta Britian is at war and the commonwealth is apart of that effort.  If Great Britian is not at war, than Calcutta is not obligated to “save” Persia.  I’m trying to work this out in my head.  America is played in all of the previous versions as not being able to activate pro-allied territories because they are nuetral until drawn into the war.  If Great Britian (the Commonwealth), France, or Poland are not attacked and drawn into the war, then they should be respecting the sovregnty of the independent pro-allied nations. If the axis does attack a strict nuetral, if the capitol remains, then the remaining territories should go pro-alled and the allies should be able to come to their rescue.  The ships will then be rolled on as the rules state.  If the capitol is taken first, the ships will be rolled on as stated in the rules and the allied converted ships will go to the nearest allied fleet which would be Great Britian’s fleet at Cairo.  The remaining nuetral territories would still have to be battled for as the nuetrals would normally defend but they would be on their own.  No allied interference.  My thinking is that if the capitol remains, there is an effective government to request allied support.  If the capitol falls, the remaining armies in the out side territories would be fighting independently within their own territory.

    (3) We have house ruled that the minor IC’s remain.  The turn after their capture, the capturing force can use the facility.


  • First turn report:

    Germany has declared war on Russia.  First turn build: 3 transports, 1 tank, 2 tac bombers.

    First impulse: Combat, all troops in Elbing attack the Baltic states, 4/6 infantry from west germany attacked denmark with support of second bomber.  4 subs eliminate danish navy.

    Non Combat, move 4/5 of Germany’s starting tacs and fighters to Helsinki in addition to 1/2 bombers with 1 airborne.  activate Romania and Hungary, use transport to move 1 infantry and 1 tank from stettin to helsinki.  move all infantry, mech, and artillery within range to austria for attack on yugoslavia during second impulse.

    Second Impulse:  Combat, 4 infantry 4 tanks, 4 tac bombers with support of 1 cruiser and 1 battleship attack leningrad.  troops in baltic states invade pskov.  3 inf and 1 art attack karelia from vipurii with support of 5 fighters.  Romanian troops invade western ukraine and bessarabia.  3 inf in turin invade murmansk.  8 inf, 5 mech, 1 art, 1 tac, and 1 fighter invade yugo.  1 airborne is paradropped into western russia to secure my flank.  all attacks are successes.

    Non Combat, all planes in army group north land in helsinki, all planes in army group south land in romania, 6 infantry in berlin move to stettin to prepare to move to the front.

    BUTTERS - WIN_20141223_152544.JPG
    BUTTERS - WIN_20141223_152520.JPG

  • Wouldn’t invading Yugoslavia, a pro-allied nation, provoke the European allies into action?

  • I can’t tell which units are which, control markers would be nice for Germany.
    Just FYI, Minors Axis units can’t move until the turn following activation.  (Germany activates them turn 1, they cant move until turn 2)  Even with the 2nd impulse.

  • To allow this strategy to be viable we agreed on some interpretations of the rules.

    1. all pro allied nations function in the same regard as finland.  the allies and axis can fight within them without declaring war.

    2. Minor axis can attack during the second impulse.

    also the rules only state that england, is diplomatically tied to france, holland, and poland.

    This strategy is not viable if the minor axis can’t attack during the second impulse.

  • So, basically, this strategy works when you house rule in conditions that allow it to work?  What is the point then?

  • Russia first is possible. But you need to read the rules about 6 times to figure out how to do it. House rules make a game pointless in my opinion. You can’t tell if a game is balanced with house rules. BTW - after Japan attacks the UK then France or the UK can attack Germany. Somewhere around turn 4 at the earliest this can happen. Turn 3 the UK attacks Japan. Turn 4 Japan retaliates. Turn 4 UK/France attack Germany.

    Its fun actually. House rules not needed.

  • You have to wait a few turns to go to war with Russia. Invading Sweden helps.

  • 3 points

    1. we did mess up with regards to the minor axis, I assumed that the only reason the didn’t benefit from the second impulse is because they weren’t going to be at war with anyone.  So as a result you would have to wait until at least the second turn to invade Russia otherwise you can’t get enough men into Russia.

    2. if on turn three the UK declares war on Japan and Japan retaliates on turn four that would not cause France and the UK to declare war on Germany. Only an unprovoked Japanese attack would effect German uk/french relations.

    3. this strategy is hard mainly because the rules never considered france surviving past the second turn.  For example France can’t research.  Also pro allied status is hard because does an invasion of a pro allied nation cause war with the UK.  Not according to the rules.  Also can a non active allied player claim a pro allied nation.

    The bottom line is if you aren’t willing to use house rules the strategy can’t work.  The designers never considered this strategy and as a result the rules are just too unclear in too many places for it to work without house rules.  The strategy is a bust.  I would like to see a consideration of this strategy in the next version of the rules.  But I don’t expect it.

    Also sorry I haven’t provided pictures of the game.  We are on Italy turn three.  My friend and I smoked weed and I completely forgot to take pictures.  I will resume picture taking when we play again.  Ahaha.  Russia and the allies are looking very strong though.  Germany has more money than Russia but just can’t get enough troops to the front line with transports and the minor in karelia. They need to be able to build in enemy lands.

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