Concerns and Balance Problems with 42.2

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    We’ve played this version about 10-15 times now, and while it is very fun, it is also very problematic.

    We play with a 10 bid and move the US cruiser with the destroyer and transports.  Still, Germany can kill that fleet.

    I’ve read Black Elk’s guide, and it definitely lays out all the options.  Unfortunately, many of the canned openers and ideas contained within seem to invite a devastating counterattack on Russia by German planes and on India by Japanese planes.

    I’ve used the opener moving everything to West Russia (13/3/4/2AAA).  Each time I do this, my opponent destroys this stack.  This would be a pretty even trade except after that stack is gone, Russia has about 10 men and not much else, and Karelia is cut off irretrievably.    Then, Germany grabs the available 8 income and begins to thrive, cutting Russia to pieces.

    Both Russian fighters have to be allocated;  one to protect Egypt (even with a bid infantry, it can be taken), and the other to protect the American fighter/men, or they all die J1.  After that fighter departed, and even with a british and us fighter on there, I still lost Egypt.

    The strongest counter to this is building 3 tanks/fighters with India, and attacking caucausus/reinforcing Moscow with UK planes and tanks.  However, any capable Japanese player can put pressure on India such that even with the best units you can purchase, you’ll need everything to stop them from taking it over and nothing can leave to help Russia.

    As a result, playing the allies in this edition feels like a series of spinning plates none of which can be dropped (Egypt, India, Caucausus, several fleets) or the Axis gain a massive advantage.  Losing even one strongpoint will lose you the game within just a few turns, and the Axis have little else to do but annihilate your middle (just as in 1985 first ed) and take all your income.

    One move that Black Elk did not favor was attacking the Japanese’s Fleet of 1BB 1 Carrier 2 fighters with everything that can come (1 carrier 2 fighters 1 sub 2 cruisers).  Getting the second fighter there also requires that Egypt stay alive.  But without this attack, the Japanese remain dramatically stronger than even a fully 100% KJF America because America’s income is so low in this version.    Black Elk recommends attacking the DD and transport instead, but the other UK ships not used in this attack end up stranded, isolated and vulnerable, so it seems that you might as well expend them to try and strike some balance between Japan/US.

    My opponent is a pretty strong player (gencon tournament winner) but so am I, and I feel like even with some of the suggested bids/tweaks (Cow and Black elk both suggest extra units), the allies have to make so many obligatory moves just to prevent them from being demolished in the first two turns, that they have few real choices.  Black Elk also suggests that even if Russia falls, that the remaining 2 allies could fight on, which is what I was trying to play out in our most recent game last night.  However, the KJFxUS game ended with Japan under pressure but very well turtled (21 infantry 4 fighters on J4) and the Axis owning the rest of the globe, even if I can shatter the Japanese income and empire, I’m not going to be taking the capitol and so Germany and Japan have 60 income each plus all the surviving stuff from the battle of Russia to wipe the US off Asia at least.

    This edition seems to have some glaring errors (wrong incomes printed), some incomprehensible set up choices (leaving the US to die G1J1), and an overall poor or very poor balance (hopeless Russia, helpless India…again)  that would require an even higher bid to remedy (because we move the cruiser, some other bid units would have to protect that fleet, leading to a bid of 25+).

    Any suggestions?

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    That’s a very thoughtful analysis, taamvan, and I’m really glad we’re having this discussion. I want to start out by saying that I agree with many of your points – the board is tilted heavily toward the Axis, there are too many Allied fleets that get put on the board only to be destroyed on the first turn, and the Allied bid and opening is largely an exercise in putting out fires, which can be frustrating even when the Allies are mostly successful. I’ve made an alternate setup for the 1942.2 map that I hope addresses some of these issues, and posted it under the House Rules forum. That said, I think the 1942.2 original setup is viable and entertaining for expert play with a 12 to 18 IPC bid, so I’ll try to respond to some of your specific concerns.

    I’ve used the opener moving everything to West Russia (13/3/4/2AAA).  Each time I do this, my opponent destroys this stack.  This would be a pretty even trade except after that stack is gone, Russia has about 10 men and not much else, and Karelia is cut off irretrievably.

    As you note, moving literally everything to West Russia deprives you of offensive punch. It might be worthwhile to hold back 1 artillery and 1 tank to help ensure West Russia is really a deadzone for Germany – the strategy is not just to inflict hits as Germany invades West Russia, but also to inflict unacceptable casualties when you counter-attack West Russia on R2. You also want to make sure you’re building some offensive units – 4 inf, 3 art is a much stronger R1 buy than 8 inf. If you have a counter-attacking force ready with something like 6 inf, 5 art, 1 tnk, 1 ftr, then I don’t see how Germany can both wipe out your stack in West Russia and survive the counter-attack on R2.

    Both Russian fighters have to be allocated;  one to protect Egypt (even with a bid infantry, it can be taken), and the other to protect the American fighter/men, or they all die J1.  After that fighter departed, and even with a british and us fighter on there, I still lost Egypt.

    Unless you have some specific plan in mind, like attacking the Japanese capital ships in SZ37 on B1, I wouldn’t bother to put both an infantry and a fighter in Egypt. The G1 attack on Egypt diverts the only German bomber to a secondary front so that it’s not putting as much pressure on Moscow, and it’s not at great odds for Germany – even if they win (which is not guaranteed), they will take heavy casualties. You don’t need to hold the line at Egypt; you can trade Egypt, or set up a defensive line in Persia or Sudan or even Rhodesia if you need to.

    The strongest counter to this is building 3 tanks/fighters with India, and attacking caucausus/reinforcing Moscow with UK planes and tanks.  However, any capable Japanese player can put pressure on India such that even with the best units you can purchase, you’ll need everything to stop them from taking it over and nothing can leave to help Russia.

    You have to put 2-3 units into India every turn, and some of them have to have some offensive punch. It’s mostly Japan’s choice what to do about that. If Japan aggressively comes after India, then it’s true that you won’t be able to reinforce the Caucasus from India, but you’re diverting a ton of Japanese spending power away from Moscow, which is good. If Japan only sends token forces toward India, then you can use (some of) your India builds to the Caucasus / Egypt front. I think building 3 tanks in India is a little extravagant…Britain rarely has enough income to do that and also build up a credible Atlantic force. I prefer to build something like 1 inf, 2 art on B1 in India and save the rest for an Atlantic British fleet.

    As a result, playing the allies in this edition feels like a series of spinning plates none of which can be dropped (Egypt, India, Caucausus, several fleets) or the Axis gain a massive advantage.  Losing even one strongpoint will lose you the game within just a few turns, and the Axis have little else to do but annihilate your middle (just as in 1985 first ed) and take all your income.

    I’m not sure about that. Suppose you lose Egypt but keep India, the Caucasus, and the American Atlantic fleet. You can immediately deliver 2 inf, 1 art, 1 tnk to either Morocco or British West Africa on A1. Add to that your starting 1 inf in South Africa, your starting 1 inf in Trans-Jordan, and let’s say you manage to send in 1 inf, 1 art from India and/or the Caucasus. Now you’re playing with Allied forces in Africa of 5 inf, 2 art, 1 tnk. Let’s say Germany survives the Egypt battle with 2 tanks (which is pretty damn good!) and also has 3 inf in North Africa, and sends over a fighter and a bomber as air support. So now you’re opposing his 3 inf, 2 tnk, 1 ftr, 1 bmr with a force of 5 inf, 2 art, 1 tnk – pretty even odds! You’ll be fighting over Africa for a while, but that’s a normal part of the game; it doesn’t spell instant death for the Allies to fight over Africa. It’s just income; it’s not like you lose the game immediately if Germany hits 48 IPCs per turn.

    the Japanese remain dramatically stronger than even a fully 100% KJF America because America’s income is so low in this version.

    In a USA vs. Japan solo match, sure. But the Japanese should also be facing British pressure in India, plus at least some Russian pressure in Kazakh and/or Siberia. If the Japanese spend 100% of their energy on opposing the USA, then the Japanese may be able to force the USA back to the coast of San Francisco and maybe even take 1-IPC Hawaii, but meanwhile the British should be able to take 3 IPCs in Burma and Thailand while the Russians trade 3 IPCs in Manchuria. 40 IPCs/turn from the USA plus 10 IPCs/turn from British India plus 5 IPCs/turn from Russia is 55 IPCs/turn of Allied investment against Japan, and Japan shouldn’t ever get up to anywhere near 55 IPCs/turn if you’re making a serious attempt to Kill Japan First.

    However, the KJFxUS game ended with Japan under pressure but very well turtled (21 infantry 4 fighters on J4) and the Axis owning the rest of the globe, even if I can shatter the Japanese income and empire, I’m not going to be taking the capitol and so Germany and Japan have 60 income each

    So if the Japanese turtle in the capital, then you take the money islands (Philippines, East Indies, Borneo) and then maybe some of the juicier southeast Asian territories (Thailand, Kwangtung) so that the Allies gain the economic upper hand. If Japan is anywhere near 60 IPCs/turn of income, then it’s crazy to try to attack the Japanese capital.

    that would require an even higher bid to remedy (because we move the cruiser, some other bid units would have to protect that fleet, leading to a bid of 25+).

    That doesn’t sound right. If the US Atlantic fleet starts out as 1 CA, 1 DD, 2 transports, then it has better than 50% odds to survive an attack by 2 German subs, plus the USA wins ties, because the transports survive on a tie. If the Germans send 2 subs to attack the US Atlantic fleet, then the Canadian destroyer + transport are pretty much guaranteed to survive, which makes it much easier/cheaper to rebuild the British Atlantic fleet on B1, and also brings the East Canada tank into play to attack, e.g., Norway on B1.

    In general I think you are trying to find ways to guarantee that every single Axis attack will fail on turn 1 and turn 2, which is contrary to the spirit of this map. If the Allies could guarantee that all Axis attacks would fail, then the Axis would have no chance to win, because the Allies start with more money. Instead, the idea is to either (Option A) reinforce some regions strongly enough that any Axis attacks there will fail, forcing the Axis attacks into other regions where you’re more willing to accept losses, or (Option B) to reinforce all the regions with moderate strength, so that any Axis attacks will be costly and uncertain. If you go with Option A, you get some control over where the Allies will start out stronger, and you can defend regions synergistically, i.e., if you defend the heck out of both Egypt and Szechuan, that gives you a strong starting position in the middle; if instead you defend the heck out of the US Atlantic fleet and the US British fleet, that gives you a strong starting position in the Atlantic. If you go with Option B, you kind of play a wait-and-see game – the Axis will either ignore a region or take heavy losses somewhere, and then you can try to capitalize on whatever areas the Axis leave weak.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    Thank you for your quick and thoughtful reply, I’ve come to expect it,

    If the WRUS stack isn’t as big as it can be, it gets supa-smacked.  Germany only has 1 land unit after this, so they lose very little to the counterattack, and I lose the Caucasus.    I could avoid this outcome for 1-2 turns by being EVEN MORE conservative, and not attacking at all with Russia but then Germany has also lost nothing, and can bring 6 planes to bear (though not everywhere at once, admittedly).  I think Black Elk’s suggestions are strong and comprehensive, but they also cause imbalanced attrition when the income G/RUS is 2:1

    Japan should always come aggressively against India, as I see it, in order to prevent UK from interfering with Germany’s game.  It can still take Burma, 2 US territories and do PearlHarbor Mk2.  We never really saw how many planes/ships Japan can bring but I believe its 2 fighters, 1 cruiser, 1 sub, 1 carrier and 1 bomber against 1 fighter 1 carrier 1 sub 1 DD, which is a blowout even when the US gets to counter on its turn…its trading bishop for bishop and knight for knight.  I have dissuaded Maphead from doing Pearl Mk2, but only by destroying that southern navy, so that he is more reluctant to engage in attrition without a starting advantage.

    I will def. consider your plan for Africa, the US under all circumstances seems too weak to cross on US1 without getting bombed, sometimes Germany even buys a carrier in the med to allow 2 additional planes come to that massacre.  Again this goes back to “splitting” US income 80/20, but were not talking 70 here, its 38 after US2.  That would seem to prefer a KJF, which is still subject (like global) to a horrible geometry of pacific sea zones favoring japan…

    In our games, Japan isn’t afraid of India, the other way around.  The vanilla attack is 5 transports to Burma to make a counterattack difficult on J2 and goodnight on J3.  Its not inevitable that it falls but no pieces can depart and all must move towards India just to survive until J4.

    I suppose the fact he sinks my US CA+DD fleet is luck.  But as we prepare for Gencon, we wont be permitted to move the cruiser, and so that force will either have to be protected by the bid or left to die.

    Based on your counsel, if I had a bid of 18, id be looking place 3 arty 2 infantry into select UK and Russia zones in order to beef potential counterattacks rather than block naval battles.  All else being equal then;  the US should be losing the PH units off Hawaii and their transports turn 1 which is devastating…

    I agree with you that I may be trying to invent a better mousetrap by blocking a bunch of superior Axis moves.  Ill have to accept some trade-offs and perhaps lose some key areas.  But that is the consistent problem with the OOB setups for virtually ALL AxA (G40, G42, 42.2, WW1, even 1985) is that the Axis initiative and setups (ridiculous and unrealistic air power, diplomacy that shields the Axis from the Allies but not vice versa) are dominatingly powerful in order to allow for some flexibility of Axis play,

    …so in the hands of an expert Axis player, this translates into a lazer focus of air power on whatever point is the most vulnerable, no matter what areas I try to shore up…

    which leads me to want to choose the Axis exclusively, which we did at Gencon G42 and won 3-1 (losing only when we played the Allies)…

    Thanks again argo

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    My pleasure! I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking about this stuff. There’s a great community here on

    I will def. consider your plan for Africa, the US under all circumstances seems too weak to cross on US1 without getting bombed

    If the American Atlantic fleet survives and the Germans are very strong in the med, I would just send the transports, unguarded, to deliver the 2 inf, 1 art, 1 tnk, and then follow up with a US fighter on A2. The American warships can cross the Panama canal and go fight the Japanese.

    If the Germans have modest strength in the Med (e.g. no carrier build, but their fighters are set up to attack the coast of Morocco), I would again sacrifice one or both of the American transports, and build a US Atlantic carrier so that an A2 crossing to Morocco will be safe.

    If the Germans have no strength in the Med, you can just cross the Atlantic with everything A1.

    The vanilla attack is 5 transports to Burma to make a counterattack difficult on J2 and goodnight on J3.

    Wow, 5 transports to Burma on J2! This can be strong, but it’s definitely a gambit – it consumes the entire J1 buy. The gambit means nothing is going to reinforce China, nothing is going to harass the Russians in Siberia, and nothing is going to bulk up the Japanese navy. Meanwhile, if the attack on India fails, Japan is left sitting on an empty ammo canister…with the entire Japanese fleet sitting in Burma and no additional infantry left in the South Pacific, all those transports just have to sail unloaded back to Tokyo on J3, meaning that no additional troops will reach the front lines on J3. Meanwhile, if the USA is building warships and trading knight for knight and bishop for bishop, as you say, then by J4 the USA should be in striking distance of the money islands. Now I have a better sense of why Japan was ‘turtling’ on J4!

    So relative to ‘orthodox’ play, you expect to see Japan losing income faster, peaking at 34-35 IPCs/turn around J4, and Germany making better than average progress against Trans-Jordan / Caucasus (because India can’t really afford to reinforce those fronts). Sometimes you can get away with sending one British tank from India to liberate an empty Caucasus (so Russia can build there immediately) and then return the British tank safely to India before the big battle.

    which leads me to want to choose the Axis exclusively, which we did at Gencon G42 and won 3-1 (losing only when we played the Allies)…

    That may well be wise, depending on what kinds of bids are available!

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    I’d suggest doubling the bid.

    It would be great if we could get a balanced game with less, but for two opponents of equal skill it’s hard to come out on top as Allies with just 10 ipcs. After a dozen or so games with the Allies returning no wins, it only makes sense to start bidding higher.

    5 artillery…
    A pair of subs, and 2 artillery…
    A bomber and 2 artillery…

    20 ipcs gives you some decent options.
    Even that might end up being too low, but at least it gets the ball rolling.

    I’d say this board is much closer to Classic with bids routinely at 20+ ipcs, rather than Revised which was reasonably well balanced with bids at 6-10 ipcs. Unfortunately the spread here just isn’t that narrow, and Allies need a good deal more to be competitive. On the plus side, a larger bid does open things up for more potential opening strats.

    Ps. I still prefer the red bomber myself, but that alone might not solve your problem. Might be best to find a set up change you like, and then bid on top of that, to determine who plays Allies.

    If you don’t like large bids, then you might consider a recurring income bonus for the Allies as an alternative. A flat 5 ipcs per round to each of the Allies works pretty well. The opening is still weighted pretty heavily in favor of the Axis, but after a few rounds the extra ipcs start to add up, and it plays to the whole “Allied economic advantage over time” angle.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    All outstanding suggestions, Mr. Elk and Argo.  The allies did win once or twice, but those were club games, not me vs Maphead, so the competition wasn’t as strong.

    The focus of all of this is to try and predict what’s going to happen at Gencon.  They did pull data last year on what bids were out there, I don’t know if Greg Smorley, Imperious or the Webmaster of this site collected that info for public consumption.

    But then I guess the question is;  how to use the bid and what to bid in a tourney.  Since they ain’t going to let us move the cruiser to protect the vulnerable US fleet, and a lone destroyer changes nothing about Pearl Harbor Mk2 or the slaying of the US transport fleet in the atlantic, its better just to let that stuff die and use the bid elsewhere…

    That means trying to predict for an allied game that begins with a demolished US (all ships dead 38 income) by beefing the UK middle and maybe Russian East/Center?

    Call 22+ or play Axis?

    I watched several of the 42.2 games out of the corner of my eye…some of them had massive stackfests going on after 3-4 hours…that’s not how any of our games play they are clearly decided by T5…

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    When the stakes are high it’s a tough call.

    If sz 16 is closed the Med is a little easier to manage, a sub in sz 14 can help seize the initiative from the Germans and force it off the canal. Or alternatively British subs can open up a viable attack on sz 37, though it’s debatable how much that will really slow Japan. In the TUV trade British subs offer the largest potential swings in the Allies favor, but it’s also hard to capitalize on those victories after the enemy ships go down to the bottom of the sea.

    More ground at the center seems to offer the best chance of halting the Axis from an early crush, but it doesn’t change the basic dynamics of how things play out around Moscow, just gives more breathing room. If you go all ground, a bid of 22 would give you 7 additional hitpoints at the center, which is pretty significant. That’s like a free extra round of purchasing for Russia. Or you could split the difference, 4 hp for Moscow support and 3 hp for India defense.

    I’m not sure what you could do to prevent pearl. Perhaps a British destroyer in sz 39 to attack the Japanese sub in 44?

    Just trying to think of other weird unorthodox stuff you might attempt with 22 ipcs.
    A British bomber in Burma and fighter in sz 35, would give you like a 65% shot to sink the Japanese fleet in sz 60. Fighters (if any survive) land on the carrier deck in sz 61, and the bomber goes to Yakut or Szech? Doesn’t change Pearl, but it would screw the Axis on J1 transports, and might make them think twice about launching an attack against the USN. With the UK bomber flown in range for UK2 strikes against IJN builds, might give Japan some real purchasing headaches if it worked.

    Blowing the whole wad vs Japan seems I’ll advised, but there’s something to be said for coming completely left field in a competitive game.

    I don’t know though, if you want to win long term it’s hard to think of a way that happens without a heavy focus on the Center and squeezing Europe. A second British bomber would pretty much guarantee a kill against the German battleship, and probably be useful setting up the second round and the long haul. I don’t see many people bidding for Bombers, probably too expensive, but they are definitely murder machines.

    Not sure how unorthodox you’d want to go in a tourney. Stacking infantry or artillery on the eastern front would be the most predictable way to go, if you’re trying to map out the contingencies.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I think a bid of 22 is generous for the Allies, and that the Allies should win most of their games with a bid that high. You may not be able to move the Panama cruiser, but with a bid of 22 IPCs, you can buy a new one to protect the American Atlantic transports! Even if the Germans send both subs against your DD + CA, you have 60.5% odds for the American transports to survive, plus you’re pretty much guaranteed that at least one British Atlantic fleet will survive. You have 10 IPCs left over to buy, e.g., an infantry for Egypt, an infantry in Szechuan to protect the Flying Tigers, and an artillery in the Caucasus to enable you to make an orthodox R1 attack on Ukraine + West Russia while still holding at least one tank in reserve.

    Another crazy idea that starts to make sense at the 22 IPC level is a Russian destroyer bid for the White Sea (north of Karelia, with the sub). Move the destroyer to the North Sea as a blocking unit, and the German subs and cruiser can’t get out of the Baltic on G1 to attack British ships, meaning that if the Germans want to take out your British battleship, they’ll have to pay for it with fighter casualties. For maximum effect, pair with a British destroyer bid to help protect the British battleship. You still have 6 IPCs left over to buy a couple of infantry for Egypt, Szechuan, or the Caucasus.

    A third option is bidding a fighter for Karelia – this lets you sink the German Baltic cruiser and transport at very little risk, and will also usually give the Russians a third fighter, which always comes in handy. If you want to go crazy with the Russian air force, you can spend the whole bid to put a fighter in the Caucasus and a bomber in Moscow and attack the German Med fleet on R1 – you have an 82% chance to sink the German Battleship, which nicely protects Egypt and makes it very expensive (air casualties) for Germany to sink the British boats in the Med.

    More conservatively, if you just bid 1 inf in Egypt, 1 inf in Szechuan, 1 art in India (giving you 88% odds to take 4-IPC Borneo on B1 even without a cruiser bombard), 1 inf in Karelia, 1 inf in Caucasus, 1 inf in Moscow, and 1 inf in Archangel, you should be in good shape to win a conventional war. You can, e.g., put everything into West Russia on R1 and be very certain that the stack will survive any possible German counter, which will slow down the German economy, and taking Borneo on B1 plus sinking one of the Japanese starting transports has a tendency to seriously slow down the Japanese economy. The bids in Egypt and Szechuan give you very good odds of keeping an extra couple of fighters around, which can be used to help destroy Axis boats and then help defend chokepoints or capitals. True, you’ll lose the American transports, but that’s a survivable loss – sometime in the first two turns, those German subs will die without putting up much of a fight, and so you’re ultimately trading 1 DD + 2 transports (worth 22 IPCs) for 2 German subs (worth 12 IPCs). You will also “lose” the battle of Pearl Harbor Mark II, but with the counter-attack and counter-counter-attack, and counter-counter-counter-attack, that all comes out mostly even. It’s not even clear to me why you’d want to stop the Japanese from pouring 60%+ of their economy into trading on even terms with the Americans in the central Pacific, where the Japanese can’t possibly gain any income. The Axis start out with an income of 71 IPCs vs. the Allies’ 96 IPCs…so if the Axis trade on even terms and gain no territories, they lose.

    Of course, if you insist, you can always bid an British bomber in Burma and British fighter off the coast of India, as Black_Elk suggests…but instead of sending them to kill the second Japanese transport, send the entire Pacific RAF against the Japanese carrier in the Caroline islands! With British 2 ftr, 1 bmr against Japanese 1 CV, 1 ftr, 1 CA, you have 87% odds to sink both the cruiser and the carrier, which absolutely cripples the Pearl Harbor attack – all the Japanese can bring is 1 bomber and 1 sub, which is laughable against your American CV, ftr, DD, sub. The catch is that all you have left to attack the Japanese transport is 1 CA, so the transport has a 50% chance to survive – but with no Pearl Harbor and a bunch of dead Japanese boats, the American Pacific fleet should be able to put enough pressure on Japan to make a blitz against India suicidal for the Japanese.

    I don’t much enjoy the massive stackfests, but they are pretty common in tournament play – nobody wants to lose the game by risking everything on a 60%-40% battle. My games usually end around turn 10, somewhere between the orthodox games and the reckless games. I’ll take a risk if I see a good opportunity, but I don’t believe in just throwing every unit you have onto the front lines every turn.

    Finally, as a note on overall strategy / perspective…I wouldn’t call the US crippled after a standard turn 1. The Japanese cannot take all 4 Chinese territories on turn 1, and if you put a Russian infantry or bid infantry in Szechuan, then it’s unwise for the Japanese to take more than 2 Chinese territories on turn 1. So the USA will start the game with 42 IPCs, and will likely collect 40 IPCs on turn 1. Meanwhile, the USA has a core of 35 IPCs that are pretty frigging untouchably safe, plus the Panama cruiser and a BB, DD, and transport in San Francisco bay, plus a bomber and 4 fighters. The USA is usually out of position to make any amazing attacks on turn 1, but you start with about 100 IPCs of heavy equipment, plus you get to drop another 82 IPCs of heavy equipment onto the board in turns 1 and 2, almost none of which is really needed for defense of US territories, so you’ve got a $182 punch to throw on turn 3 or turn 4. That’s not irrelevant, so don’t write the US off as a factor in the defense of the center.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    I would try pretty much all those options before doing the nutso suggestion I made with regard to sz60 hehe. Was just trying to think of things I hadn’t seen before that might disrupt Pearl. The carrier attack into carolines seems like a better approach for that too.

    I’ll admit to a certain fondness for air bids though, even if I recognize that you’re usually better off going ground, there’s just something novel about the round 1 attacks that an air bid can open up. If the aircraft survive the opening, they usually do more to expand your strategic options in the long term, than an extra hitpoint of ground here or there on some key tiles would provide.

    Another quick thought on subs
    … it’s possible to run an attack on sz 37 with just subs. If you spend 12 ipcs from the bid for 1 sub with the India fleet and 1 for the Australia fleet, that gives you 3 subs to make a run on 37 all by themselves. It’s basically just shy of 50/50 to kill the battleship, but a good chance you sink the carrier without having to face the Japanese fighters. Not sure if it’s the best use of 12 ipcs, but allows you to use your other units for other things, like an attack on sz61, or peeling away towards the canal/Atlantic while still putting a dent in the IJN. At 22 you’d still have 10 left over for another fighter, or 2 inf and an Artillery unit to shore up the eastern front.

    22 seems pretty solid. You could probably get the job done with 18 on the bid for Allies, if the dice gods are with you, but I’d hesitate to go lower.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Also probably worth mentioning, any game where the Allies have a realistic shot is probably going to last like 10 rounds or more. Axis victories you might be tallying up much sooner, but the US is so slow out the gate, that it’s hard for me to see how they come out clean much earlier. In a tournament with time constraints I’d definitely double check what they’re proposing for victory conditions. My guess is they’d cap the rounds, or go by VCs or TUV within a certain round limit, which might change things, especially if you’re used to playing until concession.

    In a long game, I like the 1 bomber (minimum) per round plan for the Allies, since that ensures that at least the Brits or Americans, or maybe both, will have a solid fleet killing air armada for the endgame to pin down the IJN. These can be really useful for a clutch raid or to airblitz an Axis capital if you catch the other guy off guard. But if there’s a cap on the gamelength you might have to accelerate your bomber builds at some point to pull that off. It can be hard to deal the deathblow on this map if you don’t have enough bombers at the ready.

  • As I am new to this forum I have a few questions about some
    Of the symbols? Can you explain 13/3/4/2AAA and Pearl Harbor Mk2?
    Much appreciated, I have spring 42 and am purchasing 42 .2.
    Have learned much reading here. Thx!

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    The first one just refers to unit totals, they are listed by position in the roster…
    13 infantry
    3 artillery
    4 tanks
    2 anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) guns

    The second is a bit more cryptic, but because the game is set in 1942 and the historical attack on pearl harbor is supposed to have already taken place, this opening move by the Japanese is interpreted as like the sequel.

    ps. there are actually only 12 Russian infantry in the OOB set up that can participate in the West Russia opener, so the 13th dude likely came from an Allied bid. Or at least that was how I read it.

    Welcome to the boards and hope you have fun with 1942 second edition. Catch you around man!

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    Wow boys these are just some awesome suggestions to get me over the hump.  Tons of “outside the box” suggestions.  I’ll put some of those up against Dave tonight.

    Adding stuff to the Russians that can kill or block German Navy before they act is brilliant, because a loss that early in the game has cascade effects on what your opponent will do for the rest of the game.  That’s the intent of Black Elks focus on the Japan DD+TR kill off, every game, if possible.

    To answer re the tournament, we played G42 with a flexible time limit.  There is an Axis VC to gain X total income, and if they fail, the game goes to the Allies.  Of course, luck, blowouts, and facing diminishing chances of victory cause many people to capitulate before VCs or time limits.

    G42 goes all day for 4 days.  42.2 starts closer to 10-12 in the morning and ends in the early evening/afternoon with just 1-2 teams still fighting it out.  Considering the standards of fast play no delays and decisive strategy, most of those games appeared to last 3-4 hours but I could be wrong…I was concentrating on J7 of a 9 hour game at that point!!!

    The tournament director is well aware that the game dynamics for all versions and makes everyone aware of the VCs he has imposed, time limits and that he has final say on what is the last turn.  I heard literally 1-2 discussions about the bona fide rules and nothing that rose to the level of quibbling over correct interpretations.  There were a few players under 21+ or so, tons of grizzled veterans of armchair warfare…

    We are in final discussions with the girlfriends/wives over going this August.  Last year was my first and 40 years was too long to wait.  There are always lots of reasons not to go to Gencon but there is only one reason to go—to see the ecstasy of victory prevail over the agony of defeat!  See you in Indy.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    For sure, especially if your opponent is predisposed to hitting your W. Russia stack. Using a Russian bid destroyer to block like Arg mentioned will likely put any W. Rus attack on ice. Even without any ground bid at the center, and assuming normal hits put up on the initial German defense, you should still get into W. Russia with 10 inf. That’s pretty hard to clear unless he’s bringing like the entire luftwaffe. And if he does that it means either the British battleship gets a pass, or he’s peeling uboats off the Atlantic to sink it, in which case you get to keep your American transports. At the very least it will force him to play a longer game with G, instead of going straight for the jugular.

    Sinking the Germans outright can be fun too,  but lower risk if you wait for the RAF to handle them rather than using the Soviet airforce to do it on the opening turn. Seems like what you need is just a way to disrupt his usual play book, to force the first round Axis openers into a less predictable direction, and buy yourself a few more rounds to build up as the Allies. I’d just be careful of that Japanese shuck shuck from sz61 to Japan and back, to drop ground into Yunnan. Once the Japanese transports are in position at sz61 it doest take long at all for them to start driving.

    Hopefully you can come at the next game with a few more tricks in the bag haha. Let us know how it goes! August is still a ways off, so still plenty of time to iron out the kinks.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    One more quick suggestion, it may be helpful to use tripleA to play out some test openers. Solos are not particularly thrilling, but if you have a good sense of your opponent, it can be a cool way to tease out possible strats.

    The hard AI is reasonably competent, but nowhere near the level of expert play at this point. Even still, it can provide an enjoyable challenge during the downtime if you give it enough to work with.

    Playing as Allies, giving AI Japan and Germany 12 ipcs each on the bid or 10 percent income bonus is pretty fun.  Playing as Axis, I like giving each of the AI Allies a bid of 20 or a 15 percent income bonus.  I’ve beat the AI Allies giving them each 30, (total bid of 90) though it took a while. I’ve lost to the AI Axis under OOB conditions, though that usually involved some bad rolls on my part or a serious goof. Just to give a sense of the disparity between sides hehe.

    If you enjoy playing as Axis another fun option is to give Russia a bid of 100, or do things like that to break a sweat against the machine.

    Of course if a bid still proves too easy, you can try giving the AI both a large bid and an income bonus, which can be pretty tough. The AI doesn’t play the way a human typically would, with fleets it is more conservative than most humans, with ground stacks/trading it is rather less conservative than most humans, but it does adopt some interesting long term strategies that can be illuminating. For example, in showing how bomber stacks can add up to be pretty effective during the endgame. It also never throws in the towel, so you often get to see deep endgame situations, Man in The High Castle style, whereas a human would likely already have conceded hehe.

    But whether you like to play vs the AI or not, triplea is a still nice tool for solo planning. You don’t have to reset the board every time, and it has a built in battle calculator so you can map out the likely odds on a given battle to see the expected results. Going solitaire it’s not going to do a whole lot for you beyond the first couple rounds, but for planning openers it can be useful.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    I am open minded, but I do not like TrippleA or low luck.  While I respect the community that made the app, and I understand that the majority of players do not have a regular group of people to play with live, I am really only interested in head to head play.    We have a lot of people here in KC who will take the effort to drive from the outer burbs to play live and Gencon has 40+ people who want to play all day, every day…

    I play plenty of PC games but AxA is only interesting to me live, there are so many better games and better PC games (Total War, Crusader Kings, Twilight Imperium, etc…) that playing a 1990 interface era wargame based on a boardgame is only interesting if there were no other way to play…

    We played Game 118 on Friday night (me: Rus/UK), and it was another Axis blowout (+12 bid, club game).  I sent 3 subs 2 cruisers 1 carrier 1 plane to kill 1 BB 1 Carrier 2 fighters and I got demolished.  Still, there is some promise of keeping a UK fleet alive down there and then India has a navy…just bad luck I suppose.

    America went 100% KJF but with anything less than 100% commit of the US in the atlantic, its very tough to do anything with UK over there.  With Britain, I saved about 1/2 my money each turn, until I had about 65 and was ready to put a fleet in the water.  By this point, Germany had some money so it chose to go 5 strat bombers, plus the rest of the planes that could make it (all;  the territories are massive), and to make it worse, his med navy of 1 bb 1 dd 1 sub came out to play, so that I couldn’t even put a navy in the water without it getting schmaked.

    With all that money, it made me think that putting a huge drop off india (2 BB + whatever else I could afford) has some promise as a surprise.  Because without American fleet beef, UK alone in the Atlantic is probably pointless anyways.

    I tried to apply a lot of the things we discussed here.  The greatest point of weakness at game start seems to be attacking Japan assets until they no longer have 2 Grand Fleets, then they have to be wary of making more attacks.    Still, he bought 2-3 extra strat bombers;  these were even better than ships at blowing up any strongpoints that remained in Asia.

    Guess I’m hoping that I have better luck AND better ideas next time.

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Right on, face to face is definitely the way to play if you have a good group.

    I spend a lot of time playing total war too, and a few other classics like MOO2 or battlefront hehe. But I keep late nights, and sometimes it’s fun to just bomb on the machine in tripleA if I have a couple hours to kill. The AI is pretty formidable now in Classic and Revised. For the more recent maps like AA50, Global, or 1942.2 it’s not as strong yet, but redrum does make improvements to it over time.

    In v5 (which is 1942.2) I like going 20/20. 20 ipcs on the bid, and 20% income for the AI.
    Which gives a pretty tough game. Not as engaging as a live enemy, but it’s always eager to fight, even when my friends pull a no show haha.

    Sorry to hear of tough times in the Pacific. Always burns when that carrier fleet claps back!

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Very interesting. Sorry it didn’t work out! What happened on Germany’s first turn? Did you lose the American ships? British ships? Egypt? West Russia? What, if anything, did the UK do to help contain Germany? Did Germany get huge? Was Japan feeling any pressure by the endgame?

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    I hit Baltic states and West Russia, didn’t get baltic.  German player is fairly conservative so he didn’t demolish Russia, that was the big difference from other games is that Russia survived and held in the middle.  India lost a bunch of men at the beginning of the game losing india was just poor play.  India is key.

    American ships dead
    Uk ships all dead…no prospect of atlantic navy so saved up tons of money
    Shoulda used it to buy fighters later on bc…
    US 100% KJF, eventually killed off japan naval assets but india fell

    lessons learned
    bring 3 subs 2 fighters 1 carrier 2 cruisers every time don’t amphib
    turtle india better

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Yeah the Indian defense is crazy narrow, and they really need everything in range to get the job done. Japan can quickly set up against India, bringing 8 units every round, even more if they expand production, plus all their starting troops/air, against only 3 units per round for India defense. Maybe a few more if you’re flying in fighters each round, but that presents logistical challenges that need to be accounted for well in advance. Russia is usually hard pressed, so any hitpoints you’re bringing after the first round (beyond the 3 you can drop directly at the factory) are likely being flown over.

    If you bounce on Egypt and let the Americans deal with the canal, you can have 10 hitpoints on India at the close of UK1 (with a transport sacrifice.) If things go really well you can potentially fly in another 6 hitpoints the following round. That’s 4 British fighters, 1 British Bomber, and the American fighter from Szech. Add to that the 3 hitpoints you can build on the India complex, the Egyptian tank, the Trans-Jordan dude who has since moved to Persia, and you’re looking at a max of like 20-21 hitpoints on India at the end of UK2. Maybe a little more if the Russians send something, but Stalin isn’t very reliable. He has his own problems. The US can fly in the bomber (if it went to Arch on the first turn), but fighter support takes longer. This all assumes that the Germans aren’t immediately beating down the gates and driving against W. Russia, which is the real kink in the India defense plan, since chances are you’re going to need fighters there as well.

    It typically takes Japan only 2-3 rounds to set up a consistent shuck-shuck out of sz61, and once that happens they’re bringing more hitpoints into Asia every round than its possible for UK to match. You need a gang fighters in the pipeline, ready to go, to overcome the disparity, and even then Japan can just push towards the middle if they want, leaving you kind of stuck. It’s a definite bind. I like the starting factory, but Larry didn’t give the Brits enough cash or starting units to make it viable. I’d suggest using at least 3 ipcs or more of the bid, to help shore it up, and turtle tactics to string things along. But keeping the Japanese out of Burma is rough no matter how you slice it, and once they can stack, it’s really tough to defend against a combined push from both land and sea.

    I guess that’s where a Pacific presence from the Americans would really come in handy, though I still favor KGF for this map, given how cash strapped they are, and Germany being such a beast.

    What are your thoughts on Strategic Bombing? It’s tough if you’re risk averse, but I get the impression that this one was designed with an Allied bombing campaign in mind. It’s really hard to take Berlin or Tokyo without a preliminary bombing campaign.

    Hopefully the next game pans out a little better for the Allies. Let us know how it goes

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    Here’s a kind of scenario you might like. Instead of open bidding you can make a chart of openers that your group creates, and then roll to determine which one is played. For example, say you settle on 18 ipcs as a decent number for Allied bid units, you might do something like the following…
    (These examples might not be the strongest possible use of a bid, but intended rather to provide an interesting challenge. A way to put the emphasis on just one of the three Allies per game, providing some randomization, but without too much distortion.)

    Flip a coin or Roll 1d6
    Odd/Heads = player takes Axis
    Even/Tails = player takes Allies

    Allied player rolls 1d6 to determine their advantage for that game.

    1. Russian bomber in Caucasus, and tank in Volodga.
    2. Russian fighter in Archangel, artillery in Caucasus, artillery in Karelia.
    3. British sub in sz 35, tank in India, artillery in Burma.
    4. British destroyer in sz 10, fighter in Egypt.
    5. American destroyer in sz 11, fighter in Szech.
    6. American Bomber in Greenland, inf in Szech, inf in Sinkiang.

    Or you could do it in a more open way with a Roll 1d6 simply to determine which nation gets the bid pile. (More potent)
    1-2 Russia
    3-4 Britain
    5-6 America

    Then go from there, with a set amount. Or if you want a more controlled thing, you could roll 1d6 a with six possible starts for each Nation using some pre-sets. Basically making it a bit like a tech chart process, but where the game’s bid set up itself is subject to initial rolls. Others have proposed specific set up tweaks, so there are definitely multiple ways it could be approached.

    The idea is that, instead using an “anything goes” model for Bid placement, you instead work with a series of agreed upon set up changes. The rolling is mainly for variety, to keep some dynamism in the process.

    Things like that can help to bring some flavor, and suspense to the start, beyond just balance by sides. There is less flexibility in structure like that than open bidding would allow, but it also gives you a way to control for really one sided or overpowered bids at a given amount. So you can go a bit higher on the total amount than you might otherwise, while still trying to keep things fair for the Axis.

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    Again, another great, creative idea guys.    Really appreciate it, we seem to have worked out that the bid can and must be used in some abusive ways (which have yet to be fully fleshed out by myself in this version) in order to gain the Allied advantage.  That gets pretty boring to play against (just like playing against the Axis over and over but some of us love to play the “black” team).

    Your idea makes it more creative and fun, so that there isn’t an element of “how do I use this to exploit it to the maximum” its more a here are 6 ways to open the game.

    Game 119 Friday (Club game, 42.2)
    Game 120 MLK Monday (G41, Champions Club)

    Plenty more coming up on my schedule for us to discuss and will def. give battle reports for us to consider.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    That does sound interesting, Black Elk. I’m envious of anyone who plays often enough to playtest all six variant bids! Another (wacky) option would be to put various small bids on little index cards, and then bid a number of index cards drawn at random. E.g., I’ll play the Allies if you give me 3 index cards. Then you don’t know what each card will give you – maybe it’s a couple of infantry in the Middle East, maybe it’s a destroyer, maybe it’s a fighter, etc. You find out after you win the bidding auction! Or, for a (slightly) more strategic version, deal out 6 index cards or so, and then bid how many cards you’d need to play the Allies – if you win the bidding auction with 2 cards, you get to pick out your 2 favorite cards from the 6 on display.

    Taamvan, it sounds like you had some bad luck mixed with a couple of minor mistakes near India, and that you’ve learned your lesson on the Indian front. You probably had a fighter in Egypt, right? If Germany hit Egypt on G1, I don’t see how Germany could have sunk all British ships and all American ships in the Atlantic and still had enough of an airforce left to pressure your fleet.

    On the theme of German airforce pressuring the British Atlantic fleet, I do not recommend saving 50% of your budget toward a fleet, because of exactly what happened to you – Germany can afford to build bombers to keep up with your budget, and whenever you do plop the fleet in the water, Germany can sink it at a profit. Instead, I would recommend either saving 70%+ of your budget for a fleet, or saving 0% of your budget for a fleet. On B1, you can build, e.g., 2 artillery in India and save the rest. If Germany wants to buy 3+ bombers on G2, that’s fine – that’s so inefficient that Russia will probably be able to gain ground in eastern Europe. If Germany buys less than 3 bombers, then you can probably safely buy a fleet on B2 with your savings. You can put it to the northwest of Britain if you need to, and you don’t necessarily need to build more than one transport at first – that will protect the fleet from most German fighters, and still give you a chance to put at least some early pressure on Norway / NW Europe / France.

    On the other hand, if you feel that you can’t build a useful, safe fleet with 70% of B1 income + 70% of B2 income, the alternative is to build a second factory and then build nothing but air force. For example, a factory in South Africa (or Egypt, if you’ve held it) will give you 5 build slots in the British colonies. If you’ve maintained your starting income of $31, then starting on B3 you can buy something like 2 inf, 1 art for India and 1 inf, 1 tnk for your African factory, and then also buy 1 bomber in London. That neatly spends your $31 each turn without going overboard on planes. The bomber can be sent to Africa or Rome to help with combat, and it can even bomb Berlin along the way.

    Finally, if you feel tempted to drop 2 BB off the coast of India, consider going for a quick walk around the block, instead. When I get that urge, it’s a sign that I’m feeling angry and frustrated!

  • 2021 '20 '18 '17

    Yeah I had a concept recently like this for a game version of “Draft Global”, where the teams start out with a skeletal setup of men and basic ships, and then pre-game you go through a series of draws (pick 1 of 2 or 3 cards visible then opponent does same then reverse) that award your team(s) a mix of IPCs, free bases or factories (built anywhere!), prebuilt stacks/fleets, techs to certain powers, or even units styled as leaders (eg gain Rommel/Patton hes a mech infantry with a star, place 3 mech infantry with him, adds +1 to up to 4 other mechs on attack etc etc)

    That way, the game would start with certain values and if all the cards were somehow roughly even, the players would have a different set up and arrangement at the beginning of each game.  Cards chosen would be played down immediately so the setup would evolve until you had made say 10 choices from the draft deck per team (each team choosing first 5 times), allowing you to react to the other teams choices.  Each card could be assigned to 1 or more powers on your team.  If Germany chooses the rockets draft card, then USA or Russia might get 25 IPCs to place on any two territories (similar to the cards in El Grande or Fortress America).  Or the Allies might get to place 4 destroyers together in any empty SZ etc etc.

    Anyways, Argo, no he didn’t go for Egypt this game at all.  I goofed my UK start, but still putting a US fleet in the water wasn’t going to happen.  I don’t think a second factory is ever that great in 42.2 (max prod, 2, cost +3), but I gotta do something with that money

    I held the cash back; Germany didn’t really deal with Russia he was kinda just getting big and mean–-he wasn’t going to win or lose that game and his potential attack on the fleet never shrank

    You point out some good ideas for making more hay with the UK, but 31 is chump change.  It might change the game over in India…Sea Lion is harder to pull off or even make a convincing threat of, so turtling the UK isn’t necessary either.  Without Canadian or SAfrica factories, the choice is…India.

    What I was suggesting about the BBs was that they are the biggest 1 unit deploy.  I’ve used this in a G42 game; I built 3 BBs at Hong Kong on the second to last turn, which was the only way to put that much power that close to the action with just 3 placements.

    If I can keep just 1 UK fighter and the carrier (losing 1 fighter, 2 cruisers, 3 subs (some bid), then I can put a DD in the water on UK2 or 3, or could save up so that the remaining UK south seas fleet can end its turn off india and then I add my whole buy with 3 turns of partial savings (this last time it was 63$).  If I had the carrier, 2BB and whatever else lives, then Japan has to deal with me and he cant walk over my fleet without committing the air he would need to wipe out the ground forces also.

    That’s the plan.

    Of course, someone though it would be a good idea to switch teams on Friday, so I’ll probably get stuck with BEING Japan, and as usual, all these new ideas will get used against me!

  • 2022 2021 '19 '15 '14

    I find that the biggest challenge is just getting a group to accept set up changes. The bid process is so commonplace that many players see it as the only ‘official’ way to tweak the start. But it’s important to remember that bidding is mentioned nowhere in the rulebook. In that respect, it would be nice if one of the major regional tournament venues tried adopting some alternative methods to help popularize them.

    The main problem I find with pre-placement bidding, is that it always favors hitpoints for round 1 battle breakers (i.e. as many of the cheapest available units on land or sea, placed at the most sensitive tiles that your bid rules allow, in order to return a large TUV trade in the first round.) That’s why no serious Allied player would bid for something like a bomber or a factory, even if it might provide a more enjoyably balanced game for both sides.

    Just as an example, a free factory in E. Canada would really help the British to develop an Atlantic fleet, with no distortion in the opening round combats, but nobody is going to use a 15 ipc bid that way left to their own devices.

    Or similarly, a free British fighter in Eastern Canada, would likewise really help for early carrier purchases to jumpstart an Allied fleet (either in the Atlantic or the Pacific), but nobody is going to put a fighter there.

    Both of those bids have more historical justifications and less distortion, than an extra sub in the Pacific to create a naval battle off East Indies that never occurred in 1942. But the later is more popular, because it’s cheaper and more potent and the results are more immediate.

    You could probably balance the map, just by focusing on China all by itself. A few more infantry, a couple artillery pieces, another flying tiger, maybe a 1 ipc factory in Szech. This would be more historical than most standard bids, but in raw numbers that’s 5 times as expensive, as just giving the Russians or British a couple units to ice a key round 1 battle and swing it in favor of the Allies.

    I think it probably falls to the tournament community to provide alternatives, or to the creators to provide an addendum to the manual that gives some options for set up tweaks, because players are kind of set in their ways absent some outside authority lending alternative approaches some weight.

    It would be cool to see some kind of “historical bid” at a higher total value, but with more restrictions on unit type, total bid unit numbers, or location for placement. You could advance a different historical theme for each.

    Maybe you have one called Torch, that helps the Allies to lead the fight on sand and sea in Africa and the Med. One called Tankograd, that bolsters the Soviets at the center. Maybe a Pacific themed set up, that helps the Chinese, US or Anzac forces to wage a more effective war on that side of the board etc. If desired, each might be accompanied by a slight tweak to the Axis start as well, so that the other side also gets to try out something different from time to time.

    One idea that is less rigid, but also might work, is to give both sides a bid. Axis get some smaller portion of a larger total. Then do a secret bid, where both sides reveal simultaneously. Although this runs a bit counter to the game’s appeal as one that “always has the same basic set up” it would probably increase the shelf life, and the novelty factor. But again, it’s hard to convince people to try things like this, when they’re used to bidding in the familiar way.

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