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Alternate Japanese Strategy


  • 2015

    Half the fun of A&A is coming up with different ideas/strategies.  Something I’ve been thinking about with Japan seems intriguing and I wanted to get opinions.  In fact, I’m sure some variation of this already exists, so maybe somebody can report on how it goes.

    With Japan, the DEI is always an early goal because of the 20 IPC’s.  But I got thinking, Hawaii and Alaska represent a 19 point swing between territory value and bonuses.  I’m in the early stages but I was thinking of something along the lines of this:

    J1: 2 factories, place them in Shangtung and Shanghai.  Doing the usual China attacks, then I’m moving the whole fleet to SZ6 (with each CV staying loaded, rest of airforce in Kwangsi.

    J2: I think I’m waiting for J3 to declare war in this scenario, but I’d have to see what US did.  I’m thinking something like 4 inf, 2 art for the factories, 3 transports.  If America has a DD blocking the path to Hawaii, or can easily do so on their turn, maybe move a large chunk of the fleet to Caroline, or any spot where you feel you’d have access to Hawaii on J3.

    J3: Take Hawaii, Alaska, Philippines, Kwangtung, Indo-China.  Keep just enough ships/planes down by Philippines and DEI to keep Anzac and India fleets at bay, but focus on reinforcing Hawaii with a few ships a turn, making it impossible for the US to get past it.

    From here on out just keep buying out of those factories on the land, maybe build another in Kwangtung and use those to take out China and eventually India.  It’d be a longer play for Japan, but if they can hold America back they’d surely overwhlem AZ, India and China eventually.

    Needs work, no doubt, but I like the idea of something different.  How can we touch this up?


  • Customizer

    A very interesting idea. A good way to rob the US out of 2 of their NOs. I doubt you would keep Alaska very long because the US is sure to flood tanks/mechs up there through Canada. However, Hawaii might be a little trickier, especially if you manage to keep your fleet up there. I think the US would eventually take it back, but if you can do it right and still keep up the offensive in China, it may take them a while. Who knows, if UK Pacific screws something up, you may end up getting Calcutta while still occupying Honolulu and end up with a Japanese win.
    I like the move of a good size chunk of fleet to the Caroline Islands. That makes it look like you are going for Sydney. A lot of times, the Allied players view that location as an obvious attack on Australia and forget that you can get to Hawaii in one move from there. I’ve been guilty of that myself. Also, the Caroline Islands can get to Hawaii 2 or 3 different ways making it much harder to block, unlike SZ 6 which has just 1 path to Hawaii.
    Do you go after the DEI with the resources around the Philippines and Kwangtung? Or do you simply leave them alone to concentrate on Hawaii and China? I hate the idea of leaving all that money there unused, or even worse for the Allies, but the fleet assets in that area will be on the smaller side. UK and ANZAC are fairly weak in that area but Japan will be too so it becomes more of an even match. Then again, you might keep UK/ANZAC busy trading islands back and forth while creeping up on Calcutta.
    This will especially work if the US is gearing up to go into Europe the first couple of rounds. However, if the US decides to go after Japan first, this may not work. Or at least, not for long because the US will likely be bearing down on Japan with 100% of it’s income.
    Then again, this might be a good way to distract the US away from Germany/Italy for some time, perhaps giving them enough time to take Moscow and get a Europe Axis win.


  • 2015

    Alaska would be the tricky one.  I can’t figure out how to effectively hold that while doing everything else that needs to be done.

    Definitely cannot just ignore the DEI, but they’d take a little longer to get to.  However, if the US isn’t floating around down there you don’t need as much sea and air power down there, as Anzac and India by themselves can only do so much.

    I believe you’re right about misdirection: go to Caroline and present it as an assault on Sydney.  Not only that, but the US would have to have 3 DD’s to block Japan from getting men to Hawaii (assuming Japan has ships back in SZ6 as well)



  • It seems like an interesting idea!  The only flaw I see is in the IPC argument (20 for the DEI or 19 represented in stealing from America).  The 20 a turn from the DEI is sustainable longer than the 19 lost from USA.  The Alaska loss will be good for 1 turn of lost income.  I think the true bonus from this strategy will be relief for the Europe Axis to get the V!


  • 2015

    @drummerinheat:

    It seems like an interesting idea!  The only flaw I see is in the IPC argument (20 for the DEI or 19 represented in stealing from America).  The 20 a turn from the DEI is sustainable longer than the 19 lost from USA.  The Alaska loss will be good for 1 turn of lost income.  I think the true bonus from this strategy will be relief for the Europe Axis to get the V!

    This is what’s stumping me the most so far.  The upside is that it forces America to keep diverting forces up there.  Tough part is I can’t see anyplace where Japan could easily keep countering with planes other than Soviet Far East.



  • @drummerinheat:

    It seems like an interesting idea!  The only flaw I see is in the IPC argument (20 for the DEI or 19 represented in stealing from America).  The 20 a turn from the DEI is sustainable longer than the 19 lost from USA.  The Alaska loss will be good for 1 turn of lost income.  I think the true bonus from this strategy will be relief for the Europe Axis to get the V!

    Also it splits the allies and your little fleet near DEI can win the battles there.
    With a few transports at hawai you can swing down to queensland and take australia the turn after, and the US will not be in a position to help out untill after you got the capital.

    It is an interesting opening at least.

    But it asumes an atlantic focus with the US, how will you take hawai if there are 3 full carriers there + starting fleet. You will not have enough to take that and go down to philipines and the other areas without leaving yourself exposed.


  • 2015

    First off, I will say “swings” in IPCs is a very rough, and oftentimes inaccurate metric by which to measure progress in the game. That being said:

    The money islands represent a swing of 24 IPCs. +15 for Japan directly, +5 NO, and -4 from UK Pac.

    Hawaii represents a 12 IPC swing in of itself. (2+5: Japan, -2-5: US). If you add in the +2/-2 four point swing from Alaska, I’m only seeing 16 of your 19 IPC swing. What am I missing?

    An Alaska incursion, at that point, is possibly watering down your efforts, as it only represents a 4 IPC swing, unless your goal is to force the US to spend more money than you do on land units to retake it?

    America would try to build off of the west coast, which it can easily do if some of its initial fleet survives (initial meaning what it starts the game with and anything it has bought US 1 and 2). America is not going to let you sink its Hawaiian fleet without odds that are at least 50/50 in its favor. Seeing the IJN in SZ 6 on J2 is 100% telegraphing your intention to hit Alaska/Hawaii J3. There is absolutely no other reason for your fleet to be there. If they are doing a “normal” heavy investment in the Pacific, America is going to make anything you do on J3 bloody as hell, or punish you terribly on A3, or begin the buildup race with Japan on Hawaii and the US on Western U.S. There’s only two ways one of those three things wouldn’t happen: 1- fantastically good diceluck for Japan on a naval fight, 2- America doing heavy Atlantic play.

    I don’t think you could swing down and start to behead ANZAC on J4, as you have only four loaded transports. ANZAC has at least 3 art/inf and 3 fighters at this point. Your 6-7 dudes, and if you’re extremely lucky, 8, can’t stand up to their attack to push you back out of Queensland. Am I missing something and do you see this going differently?

    Moreover, if you don’t take the money islands, and put a few boats down there to dissuade ANZAC/UK Pac from getting them, you’re going to have more heat coming out of the southern and western pacific than a “normal” play.

    I very often went to Hawaii early when I first started playing Japan. I stopped doing that.



  • @teslas:

    First off, I will say “swings” in IPCs is a very rough, and oftentimes inaccurate metric by which to measure progress in the game. That being said:

    The money islands represent a swing of 24 IPCs. +15 for Japan directly, +5 NO, and -4 from UK Pac.

    Hawaii represents a 12 IPC swing in of itself. (2+5: Japan, -2-5: US). If you add in the +2/-2 four point swing from Alaska, I’m only seeing 16 of your 19 IPC swing. What am I missing?

    If the US does not take it back they will lose another NO. They dont always have forces available to take alaska back the same turn.

    An Alaska incursion, at that point, is possibly watering down your efforts, as it only represents a 4 IPC swing, unless your goal is to force the US to spend more money than you do on land units to retake it?

    America would try to build off of the west coast, which it can easily do if some of its initial fleet survives (initial meaning what it starts the game with and anything it has bought US 1 and 2). America is not going to let you sink its Hawaiian fleet without odds that are at least 50/50 in its favor. Seeing the IJN in SZ 6 on J2 is 100% telegraphing your intention to hit Alaska/Hawaii J3. There is absolutely no other reason for your fleet to be there. If they are doing a “normal” heavy investment in the Pacific, America is going to make anything you do on J3 bloody as hell, or punish you terribly on A3, or begin the buildup race with Japan on Hawaii and the US on Western U.S. There’s only two ways one of those three things wouldn’t happen: 1- fantastically good diceluck for Japan on a naval fight, 2- America doing heavy Atlantic play.

    Agree, this would only work if the US invested heavy in atlantic turn 1 and does not see it comming on turn 2. Putting your fleet at carolines might achieve this as carolines is a good spot to go DEI with.

    I don’t think you could swing down and start to behead ANZAC on J4, as you have only four loaded transports. ANZAC has at least 3 art/inf and 3 fighters at this point. Your 6-7 dudes, and if you’re extremely lucky, 8, can’t stand up to their attack to push you back out of Queensland. Am I missing something and do you see this going differently?

    Moreover, if you don’t take the money islands, and put a few boats down there to dissuade ANZAC/UK Pac from getting them, you’re going to have more heat coming out of the southern and western pacific than a “normal” play.

    I very often went to Hawaii early when I first started playing Japan. I stopped doing that.

    Anzac will not have everything at home, For instance i normaly go for the islands with some units so at least 2 inf are gone. Also you might want to build up with fleet.
    Lastly if those units are in queensland they can be hit by your forces with naval bombardment as well. Although you cannot use your air.


  • 2015

    Alaska and Hawaii are the same NO, right?

    I, too, as ANZAC, go for some islands, but only with one infantry like you said. You begin the game with 4 inf / 1 art on the continent as ANZAC. You gain 10 IPCs on ANZAC 1, and if we’re talking about a J3 DoW, then likely 14 on ANZAC 2 from the acquisition of Java.

    I usually buy inf/TT or 2x art on ANZAC 1, depending on where Japan has its transports/fleet. ANZAC 2, I almost always buy land units. tank/mechs if Japan is close enough to land already, or I balance out inf/art as best I can if they’re not.

    At any rate, having 3 inf/art in range of Queensland on Anzac 3 is trivial, even if you do send out two infantry for Java/Dutch New Guinea, and I’d argue any decent ANZAC player would do this. Not losing your capital is priority #1 for ANZAC.

    And no decent ANZAC player will ever put its ground units in range to be hit by Japanese transports if it can be avoided at all. They should be sitting in South Australia, ready to counter-attack to defend or in New South Wales because they were just built. The only exception is having one or two in Queensland because you’re going to have a transport leave there on the next round.



  • Why wait for J3?

    You can destroy the US fleet at Hawaii on J1 with a sub, couple dd’s and 4 air (he won’t scramble). Bulk of your heavy navy sits at Wake (carriers need to pick up aircraft), and you have a destroyer blocking out the US west coast fleet left in the sz26 battle (you could also take Wake if you want). You can have more ships with-in range of Hawaii plus the transports you bought J1 can take Hawaii on J2 unless he sacrifices another US ship to block you out depending on what the US bought, and where it is.

    You can still do the other J1 stuff as well. Hit the UK BB, take the Phil (and kill the mini fleet) and invade Kwangtung, FIC and China. The US loses 5 war ships, and a transport. You have them pinned at the west coast, and they really can’t counter you on the first turn. Depending on what the US builds you could be set-up to take Hawaii J2, or move to the Caroline’s to press the US and Anz, take money islands etc…

    In the least it will forces the US to build Pac for the first couple turns, when they really want to go Europe because they can now move off the Atlantic coast.



  • If you consider that ANZAC claims Java round 1 pretty much every game, the IPC swing in a Japanese attack on DEI is the biggest there is available.

    Sumatra 4IPC, Java 3 IPC, Borneo 4IPC - 11IPC in territory value alone, double that since Japan gets them and those are then denied to Allies.

    Add in Malaya which is really part of the same group of money territories even though it isn’t technically an island or part of the N.O., another 3IPC up for Axis and 3IPC down for Allies, PLUS taking Malaya denies an ANZAC N.O. so another minus-5 for Allies.

    Note we haven’t even addressed getting Celebes and the Japanese N.O. bonus, which would add another +8 a round for Axis.

    So the final tally for going for DEI+Malaya is Allies -14 in territory, -5 in N.O., and Axis +17 territory +5 N.O. for a total swing of 41IPC per turn.

    There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that DEI is a better strategy for Axis from a production standpoint. The question under consideration should be: does an alternate priority sacrificing DEI come with a strategic benefit that outweighs the benefits of the net production difference?


  • 2015

    Great points all around.  I’m starting to think Japan would have to attack turn 1 for this to work, like Wild Bill suggested.  Get it right off the bat.

    Maybe a better first round buy would be 1 factory and 2 transports?  I agree you still have to get men down to the DEI.  The good news: if you can keep America from heading down that way for a while you can take the islands with minimal sea power.



  • @Nippon-koku:

    Great points all around.  I’m starting to think Japan would have to attack turn 1 for this to work, like Wild Bill suggested.  Get it right off the bat.

    Maybe a better first round buy would be 1 factory and 2 transports?  I agree you still have to get men down to the DEI.  The good news: if you can keep America from heading down that way for a while you can take the islands with minimal sea power.

    Exactly, with US at port the other Pac allies are backing up.

    I like to save the IC purchase for J2 so I can place it on FIC, might buy 3 transports, or maybe 2 transports +dd to replace losses. J2 you can take Malaya, and start grabbing Money Islands etc….as you press Hawaii which could be ripe for the taking as well.



  • @WILD:

    @Nippon-koku:

    Great points all around.  I’m starting to think Japan would have to attack turn 1 for this to work, like Wild Bill suggested.  Get it right off the bat.

    Maybe a better first round buy would be 1 factory and 2 transports?  I agree you still have to get men down to the DEI.  The good news: if you can keep America from heading down that way for a while you can take the islands with minimal sea power.

    Exactly, with US at port the other Pac allies are backing up.

    I like to save the IC purchase for J2 so I can place it on FIC, might buy 3 transports, or maybe 2 transports +dd to replace losses. J2 you can take Malaya, and start grabbing Money Islands etc….as you press Hawaii which could be ripe for the taking as well.

    That is a verry risky assumption, if your forces down the DEI are weak i might just double team them with UK and Anzac and take them out. Im closer to DEI then you are and the more income those 2 countries have the worst it will be for japan.


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