Hey everyone, here’s my YouTube video explaining how I like to play Japan… hope you like it.
Good video, and generally speaking the 4 pillars are all key points that need consideration in the overall Japanese strategy in most games. However, I don’t see how a J1 attack on the US and Britain can be anything but an overall losing strategy for the Axis, unless the Allies play into your hand and hurt themselves.
The first point, is that when Japan’s turn starts, the Axis will generally have around 100-106 IPCs (depending on G1, but assuming that Germany has taken France) whereas the Allies will have 156 IPCs, for an income disparity of 50-56 IPCs. If Japan does an opening move along the lines of what you have done in this video, then Japan gets themselves an additional (approx.) 14 IPCs from new territories, but will gain no NOs, and will lose their 10 IPC NO from not being at war with the US or Britain, for a net gain of 4 IPCs (1 more than they would have had if they had not DoW and simply attacked China). Meanwhile, the US gains an additional 20 IPCs in cash for having all their NOs except Philippines, and additionally get their (inevitable) 60 IPC worth of converting their Minor Industrial Complexes to Major on their 1st turn instead of their 3rd or 4th. Additionally, although the UK will not get their NO in the Pacific because of Kwangtung, and therefore be down 7 IPCs (Kwangtung and Borneo), ANZAC will enter the war and gain their additional 10 IPCs income for NO at the end of their turn.
So it is basically a wash for Japan in terms of their IPC income for turn 1 for declaring war vs not, but for the Allies it is an income boon: +20 IPCs for the USA, +10 IPCs for Anzac for NOs, for the loss of 9 IPCs in territory (not counting the American NO of Philippines since they would not have had this income had Japan not declared war, and not counting the 2 IPCs for French Indo China since these are not earned assuming Germany took France on G1) and that totals out to a 21 IPC income gain for the turn. This takes the Allies total income disparity from 50-56 IPCs at the start of Japan’s J1 turn to around 71-77 after it. Compare this to a turn 3 attack from both European and Pacific Axis powers positioned to as many of their own and Allied NOs as possible, where the Axis can actually almost close the income gap completely, if not have a money advantage for a few turns.
Unit IPC value is a different story, as it is a clear win for Japan. Certainly the taking of the British battleship in sz37 for the loss of a cruiser is an 8 IPC differential, and the taking of the Philippines (-30 IPCs in units for the USA) for the loss of 2-3 infantry (- 9 IPCs for Japan) is a strong differential of 21 IPCs in Japan’s favor, for a total of about a 29 IPC unit differential in Japan’s favor is a positive thing. However that is a one time gain, and at the end of the turn Japan has given the Allies an additional 21 IPC income for the gain of 29 IPCs in units. An IPC victory for turn 1 only, and for ever turn thereafter a massive IPC gain for the Allies. Can this actually be worth it?
What I have outlined so far are the tactical outcomes of a J1 DoW as outlined in your video and I have shown how it is only a minor Japan tactical victory. Strategically, however, it is a massive win for the Allies as long as they take advantage of the gift Japan has provided in terms of the US now having Major Industrial Complexes and being able to go to war on their first turn. The implications of this gift is not immediately so important in the Pacific as they are in Europe for the following reasons, however, there are also big strategic advantages for the Allies in the Pacific which will be outlined after the European advantages which are described here:
J1 DoW allows Britain to be extremely aggressive with its airforce and Mediterranean fleet on it’s first turn. Britain can be willing to go into an even or losing Taranto raid, and kill the destroyer and transport in sz just to inflict as much damage as possible on Italy. Britain can also use its transport in the Mediterranean to attack Greece with 1 artillery, or even 1 inf 1 art. It can even recklessly attack Tobruk with everything but the infantry and artillery in Egypt, and not care about whether or not it loses the fight as long as it takes 2-3 infantry. The reason being, with the US now in the war, Gibraltar can now be easily defended with the help of the US (and possibly even Britain depending on whether or not they are threatened by Sea Lion) on turn 1. Without Gibraltor, with only 10 IPCs, and no capital ships to build a fleet around, Italy has no hope of controlling the Mediterranean (it is possible depending if/how much of the British fleet is left in the Adriatic, that Italy might not even be able to destroy the French Fleet in the Med). An Italy that cannot control the Med can also not pressure the British in Africa or the Middle East, and now becomes only land support for the Germans, while guaranteeing the British their full 29 IPCs per turn + their 5 IPC NO = 34 IPCs.
Britain’s only real concern with regards to becoming immediately aggressive on turn 1 in Europe is the threat of a Sea Lion on G2. So really, if you are Britain in Europe, just don’t lose London on G2, whatever that means in terms of unit purchases and sacrificing of fleet/air force via scrambles/etc. By G3 Britain will be untouchable and the US will be able in position to assault the Western Front.
With the European Axis a non-factor to non-existent by turn 2 - turn 3 in Africa, and with Britain in Europe getting a minimum of their full 34 IPCs per turn, and Italy/Germany getting almost none of their NOs, the South African factory can start to produce Navy to contest with the Japanese in the Indian Ocean. This will be dependent on how Germany positions itself (i.e. is it aggressive/defensive? did it G1 DoW on Russia?), but ultimately, with the US at DoW on its first turn, a Germany that has done a G1 DoW on Russia will have to appeal to the mightiest of Dice Gods for a victory. The likeliest (or at least most odds-on) scenario is that European Axis will immediately have to go into relative defense and do whatever they can to buy time for Japan to find their victory in the Pacific. However, at this point, with Britain, ANZAC and the US now into the war, Japan’s early tactical advantages should be able to be quickly wiped out and a victory in the Pacific made impossible. Continue reading:
Allied Strategic Gains in the Pacific from a J1 DoW:
Although in a J1 DoW, I generally think that the US should turn the majority of their resources to Europe, they can still impact and grind the Japanese in the Pacific to slow them down and at the very least make a few changes in their buying decision that will negatively impact Japan’s attempt to gain quick military and economic control of SW Asia. Also, from a more tactical perspective, I strongly question the ability of a Japan J1 DoW as shown in this video (with a focus on India, China and the “money islands”) being able to force the Americans into a “yo-yo” between the Hawaiian Islands and New South Wales. The reason being that, with only 3 transports at the start of J2, Japan cannot threaten ANZAC’s capital, regardless of help from the US or not (especially with the gift of an additional 10 IPCs that Japan has donated to ANZAC through their J1 DoW). So the US can ignore having to defend ANZAC and focus on stalling the Japanese push into SW Asia, whatever that means in the given game you are playing.
A J1 DoW in the Pacific provides Britain and ANZAC with options depending on how the rest of the game is unfolding. An immediate Japanese factory on the mainland, as well as the aggressive move west towards India should tell any respectable Britain player that India and China are the targets. Again, depending on the rest of the board, ANZAC and Britain should be able to figure out how to best spend their resources, given that it is unlikely a defence of India will be possible. For ANZAC, strategic options of J1 DoW include sending their transport east to take Brazil and do some work to ensure the fall of the European Axis more quickly while building a fleet with capital ships to become a nuisance for Japan in the Pacific, or working with Britain in the Pacific to slow down the capture of the ‘money islands’ by Japan, and still building their fleet up enough to become an issue for Japan. Alternatively, should Japan posture to take NSW, they may have to purchase some units in defence, but this is unlikely to be a possibility.
Let me wrap up by saying I’m surprised that the J1 DoW you have put together has led to victories for you by describing what my counter would be to any such move.
First, because through this J1 DoW, you would actually be massively widening the income disparity between Axis and Allies (in the favor of the Allies as described above) in exchange for limited tactical gains, I would realize that the Allies are in the position to maintain a large game-long income advantage, and that all that would need to be done to assure the Allied victory is prevent a sharp and fast victory from the Axis. Given the immediate entry of the US into the war and the support that they would bring form turn one, I would play extremely aggressively against the Axis in Europe, with the only defensive consideration being a G2 Sea Lion (if Germany has postured themselves to do this). I have outlined this above. Ultimately, any smart Allies player would ensure that Italy is removed from the Mediterranean and the European Axis are not a threat in Africa. With the US immediately in the war, I don’t see any way (apart from Godlike dice-rolling) that Italy could carve anything out in Africa.
Second, from a strategic perspective in the Pacific, with Britain, China, and Anzac I would only try to slow the advance and income gains of Japan, even if that meant sacrificing units or taking losing battles. Ultimately, I know that even if/once Japan takes India and China, the overall income differential will be strongly in the Allies favor. Also from a strategic perspective, Japan cannot take India and China with 2 factories on the mainland, while maintaining naval superiority in the Pacific. As such, it is difficult to see how Japan could get their 6 victory cities.
From a tactical perspective, with a focus on my overall strategy, I would do the following in response to the posted video for J1 DoW.
Send my destroyer from sz37 to kill the loan Japanese transport outside Borneo in sz39. Yes, the destroyer will die next turn, making this a 1 IPC victory in units for Japan, but what it will guarantee is that Japan can now not take all 4 of the money islands on J2 (with only 2 remaining transports). Additionally, I would strongly consider taking Java with a TT and two British Infantry from India, and reinforcing with 2 infantry (via their TT) and all 3 fighters from ANZAC. Ultimately, these units would be killed and Java taken, but it would take an otherwise easy Japanese venture for the money islands and bonus NO 5 IPCs, and turn it into a commitment of time, resources and space, all while slowing down the earliest point at which Japan can secure the money islands. Even if it comes as a net loss of 40 IPCs to Britain and ANZAC, the massive income differential in favor of the Allies and presence of the US in the war more than compensates for this. All the while, Japan might now take one additional turn before it can take India, or be out of position and unable to make the US ‘yo-yo’ if it needs to commit airplanes and navy in order to take the money islands. Again, this latter item I discussed would be a consideration depending on the entire board, but certainly if Europe was looking to be on lockdown for the Allies, I would do it.
Evaluate the situation and focus my 17 IPCs to start building a counterattack force, with no intention of strongly defending India (especially if Japan were to strategically bomb it into the ground…remember, capturing an industrial complex does not remove the damage done to it. If the Calcutta industrial complex had 20 damage as your video recommends, Japan would need to spend 11 IPCs before it can produce 1 unit after it has taken the complex). Likely, I would just stock up on infantry, and then provide air support with Britain’s airforce in the Med, or through production of British planes in South Africa. In any case, on J3 or J4 when Japan has positioned itself to capture India, I would retreat most of my defensive force, and all of my airforce, as there would be no way to stop India’s collapse, and play cat and mouse with my ground forces and airforce to grind Japan down (or at least make them use as many resources as possible to maintain India) as best as possible while minimizing British casualties in defensive positions.
Taranto Raid from Britain, with reckless abandon. It doesn’t matter if Britain roles poorly. Now that the US is in the war and the Allied income is up around 70+ compared to the Axis, Britain can afford to lose their Med navy and some planes at the expense of crippling Italy.
Use 1 inf and 1 art from Egypt to invade Greece in non-com. This puts 6 allied land units on the European mainland, forcing the Axis to attack in force, or ignore at the expense of having Britain back it up with some air units in subsequent turns. Again, it is irrelevant if the British transport is sunk for nothing (in fact, the 12 IPCs from the invasion of Greece would still leave them at a +5 overall after their transport is sunk).
Transport an infantry and artillery from Eastern United States, as well as fly a fighter, over to Gibraltor, making it a horrible fight for Italy and ensuring immediate access for the Allies to the Mediterranean.
Build an Aircraft Carrier in South Africa, and potentially other units, if Britain is free from Sea Lion on G2. Start building up a naval force to grind some losses from Japan as they sweep over SW Asia - force Japan to have to deal with an ANZAC, US and British fleet in the Pacific!
Really, I would love to see a J1 DoW as the Allies one day as (assuming Allies don’t play directly into Japan’s hand) it almost seems impossible with that immediate income disparity, assistance from the USA, and the now almost thoughtless turn 1 destruction of Italy’s Mediterranean forces, that the Axis can accomplish anything more than 4 victory cities in the Pacific. Italy needs at least 2 turns to shore up the Mediterranean before it can start to have an impact on the British economy, and for them to duly seal off the Mediterranean from an immediate Allied push. Bringing the US into the war or Turn 1 makes this impossible, and essentially frees Britain from having to use IPCs and unit resources to defend Africa.
What does your opponent do that allows your J1 DoW strategy to be successful? I can only imagine that they don’t sacrifice units and IPCs to slow down your takeover of the money islands to J3 or J4, and that they actually try to defend India when you finally attack, rather than backing out and leaving a couple infantry there and preparing for a counter-attack, or a cat and mouse game through the Middle East with their remaining units. I can also only guess that your opponent is using the majority of his US IPCs to building a Pacific fleet, rather than immediately crippling the European Axis Powers, and slowly, but decisively, grinding down the Japanese in the Pacific with the help of ANZAC.