Russian Defense… or attack, first turn and on

  • I have played Axis and Allies a long time, and only recently got back into it, I purchased the global set and have played like 6 or so games, I play the allies because my friend likes the axis and the thought of all those forces under German control.  I have lost each time but once, and that was a draw (because we had to end it to vacate the table for other players, game store).  Each time he attacks Russia in turn one or two, at the same time hitting France and sinking most of Britain’s naval forces.  Russia has no choice but to pull back as far as I am concerned, trying to built forces to counter the German Advances, Britain is forced to try to built on it’s home island and in Africa trying to get forces north to hit Italian forces.  I do sent British naval fleet to sink the Italian BB and it’s escorts, depending on dice rolls it works well, if all goes well I can push Italy out of Africa, but at this point he more or less pulls them out and hits in Europe helping the German onslaught into the Soviet Union.
      Now I consider myself a good strategy player and have tried different variations to try to slow the onslaught, he tells me that Russia is always suppose to fall, I disagree, but do find it very hard to find a good strategy to stem the German/Italian advance.  I have done some of the following in past games: First turn: (on occasion, about 98%, he does not invade Russia till turn 2, focusing his attacks on France to take Paris and get the money, sending all or most of his aircraft to sink the British shipping around the island with his subs, even sending a sub to Canada to sink the ships there.  In my first turn I purchase all infantry (Other games I have purchased all mech infantry or combination of both) I pull my forces back one space and defend each side of the Marshes using the two factories and the third in Moscow to built and ship to the two zones. Still he moves in and hits hard with armor and infantry, no fighters (he keeps his fighters in Germany/Berlin, all of them and hits with ground forces only, at the same time he passes Japan’s turn of no declaration of war to hit China till turn 2 then with massive fighter/bomber and one or two infantry each area wipes out most of China then hits Russia’s backdoor with massive waves of planes and ground forces, by turn three I have been pushed back to Moscow with all remaining forces/super stacks and hanging on by a mere thread.
      My question is how can Russia actually get into the game of offense or at least hit when possible, I am beginning to agree with him that Russia is not meant to survive a German invasion but I just can’t see that being so true.  Can some one give me some good advice to help change this losing streak with Russia

  • Hello Timelord, welcome to the forum!

    Against a seasoned/strong axis player, Russia cannot survive on its own. Period.
    They need massive aid from their so called ‘allies’ and they can give it in more than one way.

    The most obvious way is to channel some allied FTR into Russia (anywhere is possible, but most notably Moscow). By the time Germany can attack Moscow, the allies can have >10FTR there (so, on top of the 2 Russian ones).

    The other way the allies can help Russia is to (threaten to) open that 2nd front asap (US/UK5 at the latest), while also threatening to 1-2 Berlin (USA grabs Norway + Denmark, then the UK and/or France lands in Berlin). This may require some to a lot of practice but it is very dangerous for Germany so they cannot be ill-prepared here or the axis loose the game instantly.

    The allies must carefully balance their resources in 3 areas:
    1 Western Europe
    2 The center (Russia/Moscow)
    3 Against Japan in the Pacific
    Many allied players have a lot of difficulties with exactly this balancegame, which is the culprit for lots of lost allied games. If they allocate a little too much resources to one of the above areas, a seasoned axis player will more often than not exploit the resulting weak spot in (one of) the two other areas and create an axis victory.

    As a very simplistic rule of thumb, you can say that the more Germany focuses on Russia, the more FTR the allies need to send to Moscow, but not so much that their Western front will suffer.

  • Here is a general thought about the starting positioning/strategy of the axis.  No matter what, usually Germany will focus it’s efforts on either the UK or Russia.  A good axis player will keep you guessing up until the moment they strike.  Once that nation is the target, they are put on the defensive and it’s tough to turn the tables once you’re in that position.  A few quick thoughts.
    1.  Are you retreating your Eastern Units?  I believe they all arrive back at moscow by turn 6.
    2.  Are you sending a tiny force south through the Caucasus to snag Iraq and eventually some africa axis territories?  That’s bonus money!
    3.  If you do really want to get offensive, help the allied cause by invading Scandinavia.  That will get you bonus money and cut bonus money for Germany.

    All that being said, here are 2 excellent resources for ways to approach playing Russia:

    This awesome post from Gargantua giving all Russia offensive fans hope!

    Also check out this youtube video series from YoungGrasshopper regarding Russian Strategy!


  • I don’t think invading Scandinavia is ever an option, since there are usually a lot of Finnish infantry, and if Russia attacks them in force, they will become much weaker in Leningrad and Belarus.

  • Wow, never thought about sending fighters from Britain and from ANZAC as a option, and I was always told building all infantry was the key to defending Moscow, the Artillery and tanks and infantry combination seems good, and I always try to pull the infantry out of the far east with the AA batteries as well.  A final question though: If building artillery/infantry and the remainder tanks at Moscow, wouldn’t this weaken Russian’s defense in the beginning (if they attack first round) and the second question: pulling all to Lenigrand or near there always a sound decision?

    I will try this idea on my next game this Saturday and let all know how it went

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    Use this:

    1. Buy all inf, but also 1 ftr for the first 3 turns.  Gives you defense w/some offense

    2. Move 1 mech into Caucasus to drive down to take Somalia and Ethiopia for bonus income if UK can knock out Italian African forces but not occupy those terr.

    3. Move Cruiser in Baltic one space forward to block possible amphib by Germany.

    4. Keep 18 inf and 2 AA in far east there.  That is against conventional wisdom but you preserve the far east for income and threaten Japan enough to keep a significant Japanese forces tied up there.

    5. Build UK Minor factory in Persia to send fighters and mech inf into Russia for support.  This will only be possible if Egypt is held.

  • TripleA

    If Germany DOWS on russia round 1. Scramble uk. If he skips a fleet… say sz 111 or sz 110, do not retreat it, move it toward the medit sea, make him lose some air to sink it. Try to get Russia his NO +5 by clearing the seazone with a destroyer.

    G2 dow on russia. Now is he buying mech round 1 or infantry? If he is, scramble. You can afford to lose a few planes. Just keep 1 fighter from scotland to be able to sink italy with good odds (along with the bomber).

    Yes this is what you got to do. Turn on the aggression. If you really want to keep germany honest. Have usa make a few carriers atlantic, rest transports with tons of guys locked and loaded. You you can easily cut into some of germany’s income making the G5 / G6 / G7 takeover of russia more difficult by forcing him to make a few infantry to defend germany.

  • What has been your opponents  approach with Japan?  Has it been similar each game?  What turn is the U.S. Getting into the fray?  I assume that if Russia is your largest concern, your opponent is winning with the VC’s on the Europe map.  If that’s the case, after fortifying Moscow and snapping up Iraq and any African territory to net you bonus IPC for Russia, try to attack Germany in the west with USA and UK to open up a 2 front war ASAP.

    Hope everyone’s ideas have helped spark a new strategy! Reading everyone’s thoughts always helps me look at the game with new perspective.  Looking forward to hearing how the next game goes.

  • @drummerinheat:

    What has been your opponents  approach with Japan?  Has it been similar each game?  What turn is the U.S. Getting into the fray?  I assume that if Russia is your largest concern, your opponent is winning with the VC’s on the Europe map.  If that’s the case, after fortifying Moscow and snapping up Iraq and any African territory to net you bonus IPC for Russia, try to attack Germany in the west with USA and UK to open up a 2 front war ASAP.

    Hope everyone’s ideas have helped spark a new strategy! Reading everyone’s thoughts always helps me look at the game with new perspective.  Looking forward to hearing how the next game goes.

    My opponent’s approach with Japan is usually the same, on first turns he usually does the following: (note:each game a bit differently, will explain) First game: JT1: Attack Chinese territories with fighters and land forces already in China, heavy concentrations of fighters on each attack, this usually takes about 4 to 6 IPC’s from China hitting the Burma area and cutting off the Burma Road on first turn, then land majority of fighters inland then remainder near Russian Border, moving remaining fighters to Border and prepping transports for next turn invasion of Russian Far east, He always purchases additional fighters and a carrier, JT2 he launches a invasion of Russian Territories, I have tried on some occasions to either keep troops in Amur, by combining them to a 18 strength stack with the 2 AA, but he always launches a heavy concentration of fighters, TAC bombers, Strat Bombers (from Japan) Battleship bombardment and land invasion, (another time pulled the 18 stack and AA’s back one territory with the same results only with out the BB bombardment, but heavy concentration of Fighters, mech and infantry. This usually cost Russia all troops in this area.  Other times I simply pulled the 18 back leaving one Infantry on each territory as retreating back to Moscow, this become the only option in most cases, he then usually stops to concentrate on remaining Chinese and Mongolian resistance. 
    U.S. usually always gets in by turn 4, he does what he can to avoid any possible way of getting U.S. into the war, I have even had Britain declare war on Japan in the Pacific with ANZAC help, with the building of a fleet by ANZAC we slow down the japanese push, but then China more or less falls by turn 4 with the heavy carrier fleets now pushing into Dutch territories. this he does after the Chinese falls he then pulls the Japanese back letting the Italians finish with Germany as he gobbles up Dutch territories before U.S. enters on the next turn

  • TripleA

    He waits until round 4 to let USA in the war? That sounds super good for the allies. You can go full pacific if you want, carriers mass fighters. Move that to Japan waters, Fly through siberia and into Russia to defend it. Pretty simple.

    Like I said scramble UK in sz 110. You are going to hit some air. USA can go mega drop europe, balanced buy, or heavy pacific. As long as you are able to help Russia hold, you be fine.

    The pacific should be fine, he is starving his own income when he does not declare war and UK pacific gets rich, it is an ideal scenario.

  • '16 '15 '10

    Sounds like there are some weaknesses in your opponent’s game.  If your opponent declares on Russia and violates Mongolian neutrality, sometimes you can move the 18 inf 2 aa in Siberia into China which is usually enough to enable China to survive awhile.  Otherwise you can move the Siberians back to Moscow, though they won’t be there till Russia 7 and a good German player might be able to attack Moscow on G6 or G7.  If so, you’ll need Allied fighters to help defend Russia.  Think of the Allied fighters as equivalent to the Allied lend-lease aid that flowed through Persia, Archangel, and Siberia in the actual war and which helped prevent Soviet defeat.

    On the Europe side, it’s critical to gain the initiative in the Med with the RAF and eventually flood the Med with 3-6 subs convoying sz 97 (you’ll also need sufficient Allied air in range to destroy any destroyers Italy builds).  So fighters and bombers and subs are useful buys for UK in the early game (assuming you don’t have to worry about a German Sea Lion)  After that, concentrate on building up a UK/USA fleet in the North Atlantic and make landings in Norway and Normandy (preferably both).  Build USA factories in Norway and Finland asap.

    If your opponent is so heavily invested in taking Siberia with Japan, then you might be able to contest the strategically critical territory of Yunnan with a defensive combo composed of Chinese men, UK Pacific men, and Russian planes.  Then you potentially get the +6 and can build Chinese artillery.  Just something to think about if you get the opportunity.

  • '16 '15 '10

    As for Russia, there’s not much you can do against a good player.  Don’t spread yourself thin and don’t let your forces get divided and conquered.  For the most part buy inf plus art as needed.  In order to maximize Russia’s income (and especially if your opponent declares on G2), think about trying to capture as many +3 NOs (Iraq, Libya, Ethiopia, and there’s 2 more in Africa) as possible.  To achieve this, it’s a good idea to buy some additional mech/tanks on Russia 1 and take NW Persia on R2, Iraq on R3, and so on.

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