This topic has been moved to Other Axis & Allies Variants.
I have started two games of about 5 players each now in G40. There are some players who have some experience but most players, like me, have none. From this forum and YG’s videos, I feel like I have a pretty basic understanding of ‘the first moves’ countries are ‘supposed’ to make. But how did this come to be? Germany attacking UK navy, UK doing the Taranto raid, Japan hitting the money islands, etc.
Couldn’t there, theoretically, be better opening moves? The German Subs/Airforce, on bad rolls, could take a beating while attempting to destroy the British Navy. Does anyone even do Sea-Lion?
In the games I am playing right now, the UK player seems to like doing a naval invasion of Libya on Turn 1, with aid from Malta/Gibraltar fighters, while using their Med. Navy to attack the Italian Destroyer/Transport. I thought this was an interesting and powerful move - but Italy managed to destroy the landing force (allowing the French to move in on their turn).
However, the Italian player countered using its entire navy + airforce to destroy the British Navy in the Med with no loses (some great rolling by Italian player). The french fleet + british cruiser from Gibraltar are still in play, but the Brits are now without their Carrier. They attacked Egypt and brought it down to a Fighter, a Tank, and Inf. Italians were able to land 3 Inf + Arty to Tobruk on their NC Move phase, so with their airforce should be able to wipe out all forces in Egypt on T2. The UK Player is unaware of the Taranto Raid move (and scrambled fighters during G1 naval battles).
So - how did the ‘standard’ openings become standard? Or do you not use them at all and do your own thing, depending on which country you play as?
Most of the opening moves are based on the value proposition of them vs. alternatives.
For example, in G1, Germany pretty much has to use those subs to attack, as otherwise there are multiple UK DDs and air which can easily wipe them out, and there’s no good place for them to escape to because UK harbors allow the DDs to reach anyplace the subs could go. The attack on the UK navy is straightforward - let that navy consolidate and the UK can dominate the Atlantic immediately, kill it off and the UK can’t do it at all until the US steps in to help. What else could the German air force do in G1? Help in Yugoslavia or Paris, perhaps, but those fights are covered without it. In addition, the typical opening combats are good deals materially for Germany, if you had that setup on turn 10 you would consider them to be solid attacks, no difference on turn 1.
The UK often does the Taranto raid for a similar reason; leaving the BB and cruiser and transport allows Italy to dominate the Med early, while taking them out often leaves Italy without any naval game at all. While the immediate material trade is not as good for UK as the G1 moves are for Germany, it keeps Italy’s income low, and that prevents Italy from mounting any sort of naval threat throughout the game as well as making the later US approach all the easier to pull off.
Japan moves for the money islands for several reasons. Japan needs much more income in order to hold its own in the Pacific when the US comes into play, and those islands are 3 and 4 income each, which is a lot especially in comparison to the mostly 1s and occasional 2 in China and southeast Asia. Since Japan starts off with a dominant navy, capturing and holding islands is the easiest route. In addition, Japan gets a bonus for holding all four of those islands, making them extremely valuable. Taking the islands also sharply reduces UK-Pac income, making its land war in Asia easier. Finally, taking and holding the islands separates UK-Pac from ANZAC and makes it more difficult for the Allies to coordinate against them in that part of the map.
Many of these opening moves are designed into the game, others develop because they’ve proven superior to alternatives.
However, they are not gospel, and if you can come up with something that is reasonably effective that an opponent is less practiced in countering, you may find an advantage in doing something else. But objectively, the standard moves have developed because against strong opponents they are the strongest openings.
The optimal moves are discovered as part of a group process. This board is a good example–experienced players will tell you what does and does not work.
There are plenty of crazy things you can do in 1940
Invade America through Iceland or Gibraltar
Attack Britain with all 3 powers at once
Combine both UK navies in the south and go either direction
Go big navy with Germany
Buy things other than infantry with Russia (previous games didn’t give Russia very much $)
Have Japan invade the Soviet Union first
However, most games have a critical path. The attack on Taranto is a good example; I didn’t realize how good of an attack this was until my opponent showed me about 40-50 games ago. Now, every game proceeds with the assumption that most of the Italian Navy will already be dead before they even act. UK can actually attack both Tobruk and Taranto, if they like, neutring Italy at the beginning of the game.
Now, there are a ton of other choices you could possibly make, but this one is game changing and at the beginning. So, if you neglect to destroy the Italians, do not be surprised that they own most of Africa and all the oil regions and have a 50+ income.
You also could leave the UK fleets around Britain intact, which gives them a massive navy on UK1. However, Germany has an absolute ton of planes, and only 4-5 land territories to contest, so it seems natural that you would use all these resources to eliminate the UKs assets first thing. If you don’t do it, the UK will be in an exceptionally strong position–ready to invade you on turn 3 rather than the other way around.
Moreover, if you don’t do it, they will have a huge navy that can destroy anything that moves in the atlantic, and they will also be able to block the channel, making Sea Lion impossible. Then, they can spend their money however they like, rather than cowering in fear that you may or may not invade them.
The Axis sides especially require new players to puzzle out all of the necessary opening moves–but once the “optimal” moves have been laid out and playtested, there really isn’t going to a way to break that mold without altering the rules or the initial setup.
You can indeed modify the setup (both 1942 and 1941 versions of setup exist), which does alter which pieces move where. But it doesn’t modify the basic objectives of the game (take and hold a ton of $$, build stacks, move inexorably towards Moscow).
The fact that the goals and the layout are static is what creates the impression that there are few choices. Of course, there are many choices. But there are not many GOOD choices.
I can not add anything more to what’s already been said in the posts above… great work.
Great advice all around. OP, don’t be afraid to try new stuff of course. People on this board have played hundreds of games and we are all still coming up with new strategies. Half of the fun of the game is trying some new and wacky ideas.
Charles de Gaulle last edited by
There are three things that affect strategy. You and your opponents/teammates, the setup, and the dice.
Because there is no affect of dice G1 for instance, the only factors are you and the setup. This comes down to the fact that the setup offers some moves and you pick the best one.