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Japan Opening Moves - Pearl?



  • Hi,

    I haven’t played this game for a while and will be playing vs a couple of friends tomorrow. I will handle the axis on my own as I am the most experienced player and we are only 4 players. I hope this speeds up the game and lets us finish under 6 hours. I am pretty sure I know how to handle Germany. I will either invest in building a small fleet in the med and use that to pressure africa/cauc or just build 1 bomber +inf/art each turn and pressure Russia by ground.

    Japan however, I am bit more unsure about. I am pretty set on trying to take China in the first turn and press with ground towards Russia through it. This will require 2-3 new trannies (based on what UK attacks) and a constant stream of ground units. I am usually planning on ignoring India if that is continuously reinforced with fighters/inf by the UK player. Should I try to attack Pearl in round 1 to weaken the US fleet going into the Atlantic, possibly delaying US help by a turn or two? Or should I directly unify the Jap fleet and push towards the med with it?
    This is all under the assumption that US ignores the pacific, of course.

    Thanks for your input guys!

    Michael


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    Don’t attack Pearl. Let the weaker Americans come at you.
    You need to attack in Asia (as you said) and await the opportunity to strike, when you can win without repercussions. If an African adventure beckons, go. But wait until pressure from the Germans warrants it.
    You can’t lose the Philippines and should not lose Borneo or Sumatra. Keep your navy placed so as  to threaten an enemy incursion  from either West or East.



  • A move that most A&A players aren’t aware of is attacking pearl with 1 sub, 1 cruiser, 2 fig, and 1 bomber. Japan can guaranteed sink pearl profitably in Low Luck settings. With dice, it’s a 14.92 expected value battle. Take the fighter as a loss, so that Japan doesn’t need to move a carrier to sz53.

    Expected losses for US are 1 sub, 1 dest, 1 car, 1 fig
    Expected losses for japan are 1 sub, 1 fig, and something like a 70% of cruiser

    The important point is the Japan attacks with 2 japan fighters, 1 of which can’t land without a carrier during non-combat. Take that 1 fighter as a loss in the battle. Most casual players aren’t aware fighters need a declared landing point during combat move, but that landing point (carrier) doesn’t need to move there if the fighter is lost.

    Japan trades naval with US at an advantage. Japan trades 1 figher for 1 fighter. Japan essentially makes any US play in the Pacific super unrewarding, limiting US options to just committing to the Atlantic.

    ––
    Caveat: This kind of move is expected among experienced players with 500+ games experience. It’s simply the obvious move for expert players; by comparison, it’s as obvious as a beginner knowing that Russia should attack Wrussia in Round 1. In a casual game, pulling a move like this where people need to refer to the rules book can lead to upset experiences.



  • Thanks for the tips, and good point in the expert move. Will likely stay away from it, since it might be off-putting to my less experienced friends.



  • Thanks again for the feedback, the game sadly lasted only 3 rounds after which the allies conceded defeat, as their Atlantic Assault was stifled by a heavy loss (60IPC) of fleet (underestimated 4 bombers+4 fighters+1sub, they won’t to that again!) and Moscow was already under heavy threat. The game generally went well, but I have to reconsider how to play with beginners without telling them what to do every time a heavy mistake is considered…

    Anyway, one rule question actually arose: can a tank blitz after landing in an empty enemy territory?


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 '13 Moderator

    No. Once you amphibiously land, your turn is over.
    Good luck with your second game.

    It is hard playing as te Allies. Perhaps as the most experienced,  you should be them. Otherwise, give the Allies an extra 3 or 4 units.


  • '14

    The move Marine Iguana mentioned is often referred to as hitting Pearl “Light.”

    The ideal scenario is to wipe the US fleet in sz53 taking a casualty on 1 of your fighters in the first round of combat, with the Cruiser surviving to block the USN from getting all crazy and counter attacking your landing spot like a nut job. If successful, your second carrier sails away to somewhere more useful, like sz61 or sz60 or sz36. Most players will go to Wake with their bomber and the 1 surviving fighter. Solomons is an option, but somewhat less secure (depending on how the UK moved their Aussie transport) and in my view a bit less flexible for J2 options.

    The way I see it the main reason to make this Pearl attack is not to destroy the US Carrier per se, but rather (in destroying the Carrier) to force that carrier based Fighter out of it’s hover spot in sz53.

    If that fighter is allowed to begin US1 still hovering in sz53, it can be on India at the end of US2! And that’s just bad for business.

    The only time I wouldn’t suggest trying this Pearl “Light” attack, is if the Allies did not properly defend Szechwan during the first round.

    If you have a shot on the Flying Tiger and a Spitfire, it is more advantageous to use your bomber to destroy these fighters in Szech than to use it against the sz53 fighter. If you can destroy the Flying tiger on J1 then you can prevent it from going to India/Egypt/Arch/W. Russia at the end of US1, giving you a stronger immediate benefit, with better Bomber positioning for J2. But a strong Allied player will usually prevent this as a possibility (by sending in support to Szech on R1) in which case the sz53 hit is like the next best thing for screwing with Allied fighter transits.
    😄

    I suppose there is also perhaps one other reason that a strong Japanese player might forego an attempt on Pearl Light for strategic reasons, and that is if they are hoping to draw down a Pacific purchase from their US opponent. Here the rationale is that you would rather play a defensive KJF endgame, than a defensive KGF endgame as the Axis side. The problem with this approach, is that you cannot count on your opponent taking the bait! The US player could just as easily not build in the Pacific but simply use the TUV they saved in other ways (e.g. sending that sz53 fighter to India! And using their Carrier for fighter launches on US2.) In which case you basically just shot yourself in the foot as Japan, by not doing anything to stop them! 😉



  • Yes, I think the strategy behind that is fine. I have noticed that the game ‘lives’ a lot from little tricks and traps players can abuse, especially in the opening turn. This puts inexperienced players at a severe disadvantage if they are not aware of these little gems, even if the other player is not really experienced, but knows about the tricks. Is there maybe a list that compiles a few of these standard tricks are particularly valuable in the first round? Examples:

    R1: Use one FTR to save Egypt, send one INF to Szech (mb even a tank/ftr)
    G1: Take Gibraltar to avoid bombing runs on your Battleship, everything else seems straight forward…
    UK1: Start an FTR transit to India, MB send one FTR to Szech, MB sink transport in SZ 61…
    J1: Light Pearl, attack unprotected Szech to kill FTR
    USA1: is there really anything? MB start FTR transit to India from Pacific?

    Edit: I just saw your enormous collection of knowledge in the Opening - Russia thread, which basically mentions all of these :). So never mind.


  • '14

    I agree, once you’ve seen a successful trick it’s hard to forget it! I remember the first time I heard what a “shuck” was in Classic and it blew my mind haha. I think these days you have to get even trickier with the tricks to stay ahead of the curve.

    I think the main one for me with respect to Japan, beyond the stuff mentioned already, is to park my fleet in sz61 and funnel troops to Yunnan endlessly. Here you have the option to make a Burma push and pressure India overland, or push Szech to threaten Russia, or do the dead drop on India itself via amphibious.

    I’m partial to 2 transports 2 destroyers for the J1 buy to set this up, with at least 1 of these pairs placed in sz60 (to snap up the Philippines units on J2), but I almost always have these ships converge in sz61 on J2 for shucks out of Tokyo. This play is powerful enough, that its often better to just stay put and shuck from sz61, than it is to jump around with your transports or splitting your fleet, trying to take advantage of drops in sz 36 or sz 62 say. For Japan, the logistical payoff of transport launches (alternating your unloads from Tokyo over 2 rounds into 2 different sz/territories) is rarely as strong as the simple Shuck Shuck (1 move every round) since the latter keeps the fleet and transport group consolidated and puts ground units on the center without missing a beat. Shucking every round into Yunnan at your max capacity, 8 units from Japan, throughout, this is usually the best contribution Japan can make to cracking the center. Sure it might not give you Suez and Africa or the income boost from outlying territories,  but trying to do that stuff before India and the center are handled is problematic anyway. So I dig sz61 until you have enough ground in Asia to force the issue.

    Another build along these lines with the sz61 shuck focus, might be 1 destroyer 1 transport and then 1 factory (placed in Kwangtung.) Allows you to build transports in sz61 later on, which can be very helpful. The IJN occasionally can be vulnerable to sneaky Allied bomber movements backed up fighters, and that’s when it’s particularly useful to be able to operate out of sz61, since it’s harder for the Brits or Americans to bring fighters in range than sz36, but it’s closer to the action for Japan than sz62. So kind of a comprise on fleet defense, with the shuck as a bonus haha.

    Yet another trick for Japan is to build a factory in East Indies in early rounds, as a way to lock the Allies off of it. You often don’t even need to use the factory right away, or place units there for it to be an effective play. Simply having the option to drop 4 ground, or 4 ships at a moment’s notice, can be enough to keep the Allies from getting any bright ideas about the south Pacific.

    The first nation to place a factory on the money islands can often holds them for the duration, so as Japan it can be a useful trick to just buy one outright, since you start the game with the islands under your control already.
    😄



  • I’m sorry if this is off topic what does TUV and MB mean?



  • TUV means Total Unit Value, which is the total cost of a set of units in question.

    I assume MB means maybe?



  • @Frederick:

    I’m sorry if this is off topic what does TUV and MB mean?

    MB means maybe, sorry sometimes I am a bit lazy while typing.



  • @Black_Elk:

    The move Marine Iguana mentioned is often referred to as hitting Pearl “Light.”

    Actually, there’s no “Pearl Heavy” version in this map. The hawaii sz ends up as a deadzone for Japan, even if with maximum forces are projected R1. One option is to trade efficiently, leaving minimal forces in the deadzone. The other realistic option is to not attack at all. attack retreat or trading with a different composition that what I stated earlier are possible, but clearly suboptimal.

    Black Elk echoes the point that Japan destroying the US Pearl Harbor limits the United States possible options. More than the raw TUV gain, limiting your opponent’s range of moves makes the opponent’s set of moves more consistent and predictable. Predictable opponent moves are the key to winning consistently. With consistency, you will build experience with the situation. With experience, you’ll be able to visualize outcomes 1 round, 2 rounds, 10 rounds ahead of when they happen.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Is there a guaranteed safe landing spot for your bomber in a Pearl Light? If you land on Wake, the Americans can get you from San Francisco via Wake Island can be reached from San Francisco via SZ57 (Midway) even if you block Hawaii with your cruiser, and if you land in the Solomons, then the Australian fleet has a 60% chance to kill the bomber.

    This means the Australian fleet has to load infantry and move to SZ41, but they probably want to do that anyway; it’s a very plausible move for the British. The only Japanese assets that can attack SZ41 on round 1 are the ones slated to go to Pearl Harbor, and the Caroline Island fighters – but attacking the Aussies with 2 fighters (and then having to move the carrier if either of them survives) just doesn’t seem profitable for Japan. If you use 4 fighters and 1 bomber in sea battles on round 1, you won’t make enough progress on land to start building momentum, no matter how many US boats you sink.

    Are people blocking SZ57 with a Japanese destroyer? Or are they just taking the risk of losing the bomber? Or do the Allies usually not bother attacking the bomber?


  • '14

    Yeah I can’t see any advantage to going heavy in 42.2. I suppose if you’re just trying to tie down american aircraft in 53 instead of somewhere else, but it seems far better to leave the carrier deck out of it altogether if you can.

    At Solomons with the fighter and the bomber, if the Japanese cruiser survived to block, you’d have to worry about the British fleet. At Wake you have to worry about the American fleet. So if either one comes at you, then the best you can hope for is a decent defense roll to keep the bomber alive, and another TUV exchange the following round, to knock off whatever ships they bring into the fight. More Japanese air ready to snap back into action at purchase could be one way to go. But nothing is 100% for the bomber’s landing if you take it to Pearl. Probably best to think of it like a write off, and buy another one to back it up. If the Americans send their battleship to bombard, at least its 12 risked at Wake for a shot on 20 in the TUV trade, should the US bring the big guns to blow it up.


  • 2019 2017 2016

    @Argothair:

    Is there a guaranteed safe landing spot for your bomber in a Pearl Light? If you land on Wake, the Americans can get you from San Francisco via Wake Island can be reached from San Francisco via SZ57 (Midway) even if you block Hawaii with your cruiser, and if you land in the Solomons, then the Australian fleet has a 60% chance to kill the bomber.

    I think they’re suggesting that the fighter also land on the island. That makes the bomber likely to survive because you can take the inf as the first casualty. Not sure I’ve ever done it like this though.


  • 2018 2017 2016 2015

    I remember there is a safe spot (island) for the bomber to land so that Allies cannot do counter attack or they would lose more.

    I personally find the potential risk light Pearl might have is when you have super lucky dice roll that you lose nothing….in this case you have to move the carrier there  😄 which is not desired.  That unlikely event happened to me once…


  • Moderator

    There usually is a fairly safe spot to land the bomber.

    Assuming the US gets one hit and you lose your 4 move ftr you can end up with a sub/cru left there, and the cru blocks some moves, but even if US wants to go after your bomber that exposes their battleship.  It’s not usually a trade they’ll want to make that early, especially if they were planning on bringing the BB to the Atlantic to help with a KGF.  The surviving cru also becomes the “easier” 12 ipc target to hit with potentially less risk of a counter depending on where the J ACs are.

    I’ll typically plan on landing my surviving J ftr with the bom so I have the freedom to move my two carriers where ever I want, then I gauge the results of Pearl and figure out if I really need the ftr with the bomber or do I need it elsewhere.


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