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!
The strict neutral strategy should not work against a good player because of all the extra infantry (18+) that the Allies get. But those infantry take a while to get into battle. The troops is South America take at least a few turns to get into the fight if there are no transports handy in the Atlantic. It may even be a turn or two before all the extra income comes on line for the Allies as well. And the Axis get to decide when to attack the neutrals, so they have initiative. I have never seen the Allies attack strict neutrals.
As far a turn 1 attack by Japan on the U.S. - Japan can defend Hawaii and the DEI for a least a few turns from the Western Allies and the Americans. Japan can build a Aircraft Carrier turn 1 with a Transport. Attack Midway turn 1 with Infantry and Artillery. Attack American Fleet around Hawaii with 3 Fighters, 3 Tactical Bombers, 2 Bombers, and 1 Destroyer and 1 Submarine on J1. Turn 2 attack Hawaii with 2 Infantry, 2 Artillery, 3 Fighters and 3 Tactical Bombers. If any Destroyer or Submarine survived the turn 1 Assault on the sea zone around Hawaii they can help defend the fleet from the scrambling aircraft at Hawaii, or defend any American Assault on U.S. 2. There should be 4 Aircraft Carriers with planes and 0-3 support craft (Destroyers and Submarines). This should be more than enough to hold off American attack for a few turns. If there are any losses on the aircraft on any of the battles fly new planes to land on the Aircraft Carriers in the non-combat movement phase. The rest of the Japanese fleet, 2 transports, 2 Battleships, 2 Cruisers, 1 Destroyer and 1 Submarine can take Philippines turn 1 and can take Malaya turn 2. It can move on to capture the islands on turn 3 and later. Once the Philippines are taken, planes can be flown from China to cover the fleet at an airbase. The Japanese have enough fleet to match the British, Anzac and the Americans for at least a few turns. Japan does not have enough resources to fight China too while this is happening. So the Chinese will start producing 18 + income a turn and dominate the mainland. But this is the strategic problem Japan has always had. It has the initiative and not enough resources. IF you have to choose which Ally gets more money, choose the Chinese, as they cant leave China (except for Hong Kong and Burma).
All I ever see the Japanese do is build for a few turn or two, attack China turn 1 and 2, and then fight a traditional war against the DEI and try to hold on…
France surviving the first round attack by Germany puts up a very interesting rest of the game. Various things can happen.
1. Italy takes France on their turn making Italy a very rich country. 30+ IPCS gives them a strong I2 purchase letting them destroy the British navy in the Mediterranean Sea, fulfil their NO’s, take over Africa and the Middle East and most importantly open a new front for Russia and survive whatever America can throw at them. This makes Italy more powerful than Germany so there should be Italian intervention going on in Russia and the French coast.
2. The French open a land campaign against Germany and Italy causing trouble. Creates an opening for British and eventually American troops to land and land fighters. More importantly it takes Germany’s attention off of Russia and Italy’s off of Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. This almost gaurentees that America will invest in Japan.
3. France can build a fleet with England to land troops early in the game. This can in turn put more heat on England as Germany may build a navy as well. Puts alot of heat west and off of Russia. The Navy can later help Germany and attack Russia in two places. This navy that France and England builds may make America fully invest in Japan as well.
The last 2 of these these seem to ask for a German capture of London as a German capture of Moscow doesn’t seem possible at that point. The first looks like America will invest in the Europe side. This begs for the capture of Moscow.
In conclusion I think that the French surviving the first attack doesn’t make the Axis lose but it limits their choices.
You could even do a house rule for that, such that 1-3 US destroyers would be able to cross ATL and join/protect UK/ally fleets during defensive combats on turns 1-4.
I am currently working on a house rule where one can do that with Lend-Lease that US can transfer equipment.
I am also trying to set up a different rule for declaration of war where you can declare war but if you don’t have just cause, then you take a penalty for attacking but if you have just cause, then of course you’re free to declare war.
I was going to changed the let up of all units, try to get it to reflect actual WWII in 1940, for example USSR will actually have a Pacific Fleet as an example.
I was going to something crazy like put in merchant ships for Lend-Lease that will make convoy zones more useful and for pain in the A$$ to disrupted. So I had an idea setting up fighter units closer to real numbers ( I am making this number up to make an example) Let’s say I put ten fighters on London, I was going to make one of them a US fighter to represent Eagle Squadron, US will be neutral however because Eagle Squadron is in London, this is a “just cause point” for Germany and Italy to go to war with US.
I actually put Japan markers (roundels) on the Chinese territories that Japan starts the game with. That way if those territories are liberated, we can remove the Japan marker and see the Chinese logo which indicates it is owned by China. Makes for an easy quick visual when counting IPC tally.
I do the same thing. I just think it is easier marking the enemy controlled territories. In this case, Japan just captured these territories before the game starts.