FAQ (Bottom of page 2, top of 3) is pretty clear on this http://www.wizards.com/AvalonHill/rules/AAEurope1940_2ndEdition_FAQ.pdf
UK Strategy -"Middle Earth"
@GeneralHandGrenade yeah,my point is not to rescue the navy, but make it more costly for the axis powers. Replacing an air force is exactly what I want Germany spending its money on. I m literally saving Russian soldiers. The Italian navy would then own the Med.
The Italian navy is my choice for sacrificial lamb. But there goes the Med if you get unlucky and/when the Indian fleet moves in. I’ve also considered an air base in Egypt.
If you don’t hit SZ93 as Italy, you’re likely to be giving up 8IPCs. 5IPCs from the control the med objective and 3IPCs from convoy disruption on Southern France. Not game changing but also not great.
After watching the YouTube video, I think this variation is a very interesting series of traps for an unwary Axis player. The Axis can’t profitably attack Egypt on I1; you’re setting them up to trade the Italian fleet and the Italian expeditionary force for the expendable ANZAC infantry, and you can immediately and safely retake Egypt on UK2, so that’s all fine. Likewise, the Axis can’t profitably attack SZ 93 (Southern France) on I1 and/or G2. The Germans can’t afford to spend that much of their air power attacking Mediterranean boats that aren’t an immediate threat to any vital German interests, and the Italians are simply outclassed; if the Italians attack the combined UK / French fleet then, as Randy says, you essentially achieve the objectives of Taranto, but with the Allies rolling defensive 4’s instead of the Axis rolling defensive 4’s.
Instead, Italy should either (a) go for the New Roman Empire objective (one transport to Gibraltar, one transport to Greece), or (b) send both transports to Syria with the idea of getting into Iraq and making it unsafe for the British to build an early factory in Persia, or send one transport to Jordan and one transport to Alexandria, stacking Alexandria from Tobruk, with the idea of setting up for a strong I2 attack on Egypt, or (d) use both transports to pick up the land units from Tobruk and bring it north to the Balkans so that you will have a huge can-opening force available to pressure Russia. Any of these plans will likely work out moderately well for Italy and Italy is not going to be under any special pressure from the Allies compared to the pressure Italy would feel from a modestly successful Taranto raid. Italy’s not going to run away with the game, but they get to keep their air force, they get to keep a big part of their fleet, and they’ll remain relevant and dangerous well into the middlegame. In exchange, the Allies save the French Med fleet, save a couple of British fighters, and pick up a couple of bucks in the Middle East / East Africa a couple of turns earlier than they otherwise might. This seems like a basically neutral exchange – I don’t see that either the Axis or the Allies come out noticeably ahead in the European theater. It’s sort of like trading a bishop for a knight…they each have advantages and disadvantages, and you can make that trade if you feel like it; there’s nothing wrong with that trade.
The problem is that you’re severely weakening your Pacific theater as Britain to make this neutral exchange happen: you don’t pick up Java, you are no longer threatening to pick off Japanese transports in the money islands, you are no longer seriously threatening to hold Yunnan, and unless those planes in British Somaliland turn around immediately and head back east toward India on UK2 and UK3, you are allowing Japan to take India on J4 without forcing Japan to commit 100% of its resources. Japan could easily wind up sitting in India, the money islands, and central China at the end of J4 while still having a substantial air force.
As a result, I’m really skeptical that Randy’s overall strategy is actually stronger than orthodox play. The stuff you’re giving up in the Pacific just seems more important to me than the ambiguous gains you’re making in the Med and the Middle East. I should note that I still don’t understand what the point of building three destroyers near Britain on UK1 is or what it is that Randy hopes to achieve in the Atlantic; I could potentially be convinced that this strategy is worth playing if those extra destroyers turn out to accomplish something impressive. Otherwise, this looks like a fun gambit that would be worth trying once to shake things up and play mind games with your opponents, but it doesn’t appear to be strong enough for me to want to use it as my new go-to opening.
I’m still very grateful to Randy for sharing and carefully describing this interesting new opening. Even if I don’t think it’s literally the best option available, I still think it’s well-considered, creative, forceful, and conceptually elegant. I may be able to apply some of the concepts described (retreat from India and Egypt and set up for counter-attacks) in some of my games even if I don’t wind up following Randy’s exact script.
One additional thing from what Argothair said is that you can go for the Med objective AND the Roman Empire objective if the Brits use this gambit. Hitting the fleet doesn’t prevent the amphibious assaults. I’d be thinking of that but it does likely cost you a transport to take Gibraltar.
I still think this needs a bid unit to make sense. Not building infantry in London doesn’t seem smart but I’m not focusing on the UK buy part - it doesn’t seem central.
This is actually part of a larger plan. As I’ve emphasized above. Save London by bringing the US fleet into the Atlantic. Secure the Atlantic by building a British navy that is backed by the Americans. Thus insisting early on that Germany build an Atlantic wall. Save Moscow by preserving air power and positioning it to be in Russia t5, possibly including a fleet of American bombers that can either act as fodder or better blitz a column of straggling armour or mechs.
Note there is a play like progression. The axis attempt for London is normally t3. check. They do that by dominating the Atlantic. check. They turn toward Moscow. t5 or 6. check.
This stuff in the Med takes place because of initial set up. My hope is for parity. I am trying to scratch my way back to even and to not needing a bid by saving English units, making the Axis pay the higher price, stay wealthy and play for good position t5.
I think Italy will not be able to keep up with the production from South Africa and India and Persia. Having secured North Africa by t3 or 4, that material then turns East. The ground forces to fight the Japanese. The air to support the Russians.
These strategies are obviously a Germany first model. I do think, given the tip toward the Axis inherent in the game, the Americans have to go 100% the first four round in one theatre or the other.
If Moscow is defended, the planes there then become what I call super tanks. They will, can and must engage small forces or important enemy armies to slow the Japanese advance.
I read this all with growing confidence…!
Good job, guys, something new to refresh communities’ activity!
I believe that there is a larger plan here, and when you have more time, I look forward to hearing your explanation of how it’s supposed to work. I know you’re working at UPS during the holiday season, and looking after your family, and that’s fine and I don’t mean to pressure you to spend more time on A&A than you want to, but when you’re able to film it or type it up, I think your full plan will be very interesting and worthy of more discussion.
For now, I will just point out that if the USA and UK both evacuate the Pacific and go 100% in the Atlantic for the first four turns, then Japan will win quite easily. You’re calling for the starting US Pacific fleet to move into the Atlantic to prevent a Sea Lion – but, taken literally, that means that Japan can build a couple of loaded transports on J3, divert one carrier group, and have 99%+ odds to take Hawaii on J4. If Japan also takes India on J4, the game ends after ANZAC’s 4th turn – Japan wins with Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manila, Honolulu, and Calcutta.
Taken less literally, and assuming that the USA leaves enough material behind to secure Honolulu against casual attacks, you still have to worry about losing Sydney (and thus the game) on J5 or J6. Given that you’re proposing to move 6 units out of India on UK1 (infantry, artillery, transport, cruiser, fighter, tac) and then continue moving units out of India as they’re built to overpower Italy in North Africa, Japan can take and hold India with its starting units plus two turns of builds – everything built on J3 and later can be devoted 100% to taking Sydney. That means the J3 build can reach the Caroline Islands on J4 and Sydney by J5. If you wait until J6, many of the Japanese aircraft that survived the attack on India can also reach Sydney using airbases and/or carriers. Meanwhile, US forces built off San Francisco on US5 can make it to Honolulu on US6 and Queensland on US7 – far too late to stop a J6 attack on Sydney.
I do give you a lot of credit for looking for a way that the Allies can reliably win G40 without a bid, and I think you’re making great progress, but unless you can also explain how to stop Japan in the Pacific, then the strategy isn’t really a Global strategy.
My estimate is 2 ground units in Hawaii and four planes t1. I keep the transports in the Pac if possible and sneak some ground units out there when possible even if I lose the transport. So say I get 2 or 4 more out there. If Anzac only builds for defense for four or five turns it can’t defend against a Japanese assault?
Just men, three per turn will make the J player wait for the air from the Indian campaign. t5 Aus has 16 guys, 1 art, 3 planes. Give up Hawaii and send four fighters and two troops south and you’ve got a good fight.
If Japan has nothing else to do, it will eventually get Sydney. Taking WA and then landing its huge air force on it, well ANZAC can’t fight that. It should also be able to get Hawaii although its fleet may be out of position for that.
@randyshervandyke All right, I’m starting to get a sense of your overall plan, and it sounds promising. If I understand you correctly, the central idea of your opening is to contain the Axis within as wide of a perimeter as possible for the first few turns in order to conserve material, force the Axis to make unfavorable trades, and set up for a devastating Allied counter-attack in the middlegame. Instead of fighting over Java, Yunnan, and the central Mediterranean, you’re inviting the Axis to come fight you in Cairo, West India, and Queensland. Most openings advise the Allies to fight the Axis as far “forward” as possible to minimize the Axis income, but your advice is to fight the Axis as far “back” as possible to minimize Allied losses.
@simon33 I agree with you; if you leave Japan completely alone, then sooner or later Japan will take the 6th victory city, even if you turtle in Sydney and Honolulu. You have to offer Japan at least some resistance in order to keep the Pacific alive.
I like this idea, and I think it’s potentially revolutionary – this could be the equivalent of the ‘modern’ opening style in chess, which shifted emphasis from fighting directly for the center by advancing center pawns two spaces and placing pieces in or very near the center (classic) to fighting indirectly for the center by advancing flanking pawns one space and placing pieces on the flanks (modern).
That said, I think you’ve overestimated how far the Allies can afford to retreat without losing the game. For example, you can’t “give up Hawaii” to reinforce Sydney, because Japan will usually hold four victory cities quite easily: Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. From there, they only need two more victory cities to win. You and I agree that Japan will be taking India at least temporarily in this opening, so that means Japan only needs one more VC to win. If Japan takes Sydney OR Honolulu before losing India, and the Allies don’t immediately take it back, then the game ends and the Axis win.
Similarly, if you build nothing but infantry with ANZAC starting on turn 1, then that will certainly protect Sydney through turn 5, but it gives Japan a still yet easier time of capturing all of the money islands, all of China, etc, because after they sink the first Australian transport, Japan doesn’t have to worry about any further interference from the Aussies. I’m uneasy about the options this will create for Japan – Japan might be able to launch an attack in great force against Honolulu, or take all of China and start menacing the Russians from behind, or even allow the primary Japanese air/sea group to continue onward toward the west after taking India to successfully capture your Persian factory. By turn 5, Japan should be earning 80+ IPCs per turn and can afford to drop a fleet into the Pacific each turn that’s roughly the same size as what the Americans can build – even if you pivot to 100% Pacific with the US starting on turn 5, you may wind up never retaking any ground in the central/south Pacific, and Japan may continue eating into your possessions in Egypt, the Middle East, Kazakh, and Siberia. Even with a strong UK/US attack on Germany, that’s not really a position I want to be aiming for as the Allies.
Relatedly, I think routinely building 3 destroyers for the UK on turn 1 (let alone on turn 2) is overkill. Taking control of the Atlantic is a good idea, but Germany usually only has about 2 subs left in the Atlantic after attacking the UK home fleets on G1, and 1 or 2 British destroyers will usually survive in the Atlantic (Canada, Wales, etc.). The destroyers aren’t going to directly threaten Germany and it just doesn’t feel like the top priority purchase to me.
So, here’s how I would adapt and re-imagine your plan. I’m trying to be faithful to what I see as the core concepts (retreat deeply in the opening to save Allied resources; focus your first Allied counter-attack against Germany) while tweaking the details to yield better odds of Allied victory.
UK 1 Purchase:
2 infantry, 1 fighter, 1 destroyer for London
Save 4 IPCs in the bank in Europe
2 inf, 1 tac for India
Allied Strategy turn 1:
Stack up the combined fleets in SZ 93 as outlined by Randy
Do not attack Ethiopia at all – instead, use one transport to claim Persia and one transport to claim Sumatra
March the entire Egyptian army to Sudan so they can attack your choice of Ethiopia / Kenya / Egypt on UK2
March the South African troops to Rhodesia.
Put the entire US build in the Atlantic, but leave the entire US Pacific fleet in place to defend Hawaii / ANZAC.
Leave two planes (the Burma fighter and the newly purchased Indian tac) in India to harass the Japanese.
Fly two planes from India to Tanganyika (not Somaliland) where they can still hit east Africa and/or Egypt.
Take Java with one infantry and the ANZAC transport, and build a transport and an infantry in Sydney.
UK 2 Purchase:
Minor factory for Persia (assuming no Sea Lion)
1 Carrier, 1 transport for London
Infantry for India
Allied Strategy turn 2:
If the SZ 93 fleet survived, bring it to SZ 91, west of Gibraltar
Counter-attack Egypt if necessary; otherwise attack the largest group of Italian troops in East Africa
Consider returning the two planes from Tanganyika to West India if they are not immediately needed in Egypt
Leave all new Indian purchases in India (or Burma / Yunnan) to make life moderately challenging for Japan
Take Dutch New Guinea with one infantry and the remaining ANZAC transport.
Build only infantry and fighters in Sydney from now on until the Americans arrive to reinforce Australia.
UK 3 Purchase
2 inf, 1 art for Persia
Transports and Fighters for London, with 1 more destroyer if there are still Axis subs near the Atlantic
Infantry for India
Allied Strategy turn 3:
Unite the SZ 91 fleet with last turn’s carrier + transport purchase to begin assaulting Normandy / Norway / Denmark.
Use Red Sea transports to attack any remaining Italian troops in East Africa
Attack Cairo if necessary
Attack Iraq if resources allow
Turtle in India and Sydney and Honolulu
Continue building American Atlantic fleet, including transports, to set up for an early serious attack on West Germany
The overall idea here with this modified ‘rebound’ strategy (anyone have a catchier name?) is to abandon the Mediterranean Sea to Italy while still fighting hard for Gibraltar, Cairo, Ethiopia, and Iraq – Italy will have some income, but the UK will have even more income based on holding the Middle East and sweeping the Axis out of the Atlantic and launching very early, successful assaults on Axis territories on the Atlantic seaboard. Japan can take India early if it commits 100% to the endeavor, but will typically not wind up with enough spare resources after the India attack to make a serious attack on Sydney, Persia, or Honolulu…and if Japan waits to take India until later, then American can pivot to the Pacific and start giving Japan some real problems. If Germany ignores the Atlantic threat and blitzes straight for Moscow, then the large supply of British fighters (about 7 planes) can fly to Scotland on UK3, Archangel/Nenetsia on UK4, and Moscow on UK5, in time to stop a G6 attack on Moscow.
@Argothair I like the thrust of this strategy, as you described it. As for the naming rights…
The overall idea here with this modified ‘rebound’ strategy (anyone have a catchier name?)
How about: “The Allied Outer Perimeter Defense Plan”? Or, shortened to “Outer Perimeter Defense”? That way you can ask your opponent: “You down with OPD?”
I wonder if the op plays for total victory and not just axis victory on either map?
I’ll give a fuller reply soon, but how about Operation Ricochet?
I have a strike and fade approach with the Japanese air force. So I fight for India with a bunch of men and AA guns. They die. The fighters (hopefully less than at first) go home. In West India is the retake force, say an art and several men and a few planes that have flown back for the occasion.
And with the factories right there, there’s an endless chain of retake forces (six units per turn).
What I love is that Argothair, you are “possibility thinking” with me to make AnA great again. I appreciate that you understood the retreat to save assets aspect. A game designer I know said about my bloody chess strategy, “I always figure that I can use my pieces better than my opponent.” Ergo, save lives.
@simon33 yeah I’ve never been a big fan of the victory cities, but those are the current rules. Played out I think the Allies would win. I think I can tweak my strategy to avoid the 6 vc loss in the Pac.
@simon33 yes, one of the aspects that I’m trying to communicate is that there’s a choreography to the use of planes, mechs, tanks and ships. That they would be in the right place at the right time. The decisive moment. Could the same English airforce that started in India help retake Cairo and then be used to retake Calcutta and then subsequently defend Moscow. Yes.
The crucial thing with the first turn movements and buys is to declare London off limits and the Atlantic allied. If you find modifications to Operation Ricochet not accomplishing those objectives then you need to readjust your strategy to be closer to the blueprint.
@randyshervandyke Can you say a little more about that? What does it mean to “declare” London off limits? It sounds like you’re advocating for sending a chunk of the US Pacific fleet into the Atlantic in order to intimidate Germany and psychologically deter them from making any moves into the Atlantic and/or intimidate Germany into calling off Sea Lion.
If so, I’m not sure that’s the right way to think about it. I’m less interested in making it psychologically impossible for Germany to invade London, and more worried about making sure it’s not a winning strategy for Germany to invade London. If Germany invades London and takes a huge loss in so doing, that’s fine with me. Even if Germany captures London for a turn or two, that’s fine with me as long as Germany pays such a high price that the Allies wind up in a winning position.
The London Calling strategy all but guarantees that Germany will lose their entire navy and eventually London if they are foolish enough to go Sealion on G3 or G4. Combining it with Randy’s strategy would allow the Allies to make early landing in Europe on the western front. What concerns me though is leaving Italy to fester instead of putting them down early in the game. I’ve always been a Kill Italy First kind of player on the Europe side of the board. I have found from past experience that taking Rome out before Moscow falls gives me the best chance for victory when I’m playing the Allies. This is why I advocated earlier in this thread to take the UK out with the Germans. By leaving the Italians with a navy things will get out of hand quickly for the Brits. I like Simon’s suggestion of strafing the fleet with the Italians and then mopping them up with Germany. Depending on the rolls that might just work.
@Argothair that is exactly what I mean. I ve only played one game where London fell and it did go well for the allies, but I’d rather avoid it. You’re not shaken by the development?
On a strategic level: save London, Atlantic, Moscow, Egypt, India, China, Pac. Should these be thought of in terms of priority and/or chronology? I based my objectives on Churchill s memoirs and his strategies. I think Larry Harris made a game in which that strategy is effective.
@randyshervandyke Well, everybody has their own approach to the game, and if you get your kicks from emulating Churchill, I certainly won’t try to stop you! For my part, it’s not particularly easy to screw with my head, and I’m happy to trade apparently vital assets like London in exchange for winning the game – that’s part of why I like Operation Ricochet so much! You’re giving up territories (Egypt, India, etc.) that most people fight tooth-and-nail to hold on to because you think it improves your odds of a win. I feel much the same way about London – it can be scary to lose your capital and see Italy start gobbling up UK possessions while the UK is powerless to resist, but if Germany spends 50 IPCs on transports, loses 100 IPCs in planes, and loses another 50 IPCs in tanks and infantry, they just cannot recover. The 30 IPCs you loot from England and the 20 IPC/turn swing you get from conquering British territories simply can’t make up your losses in the 2 to 3 turns that you can hold England for. If you try to hold England for longer than 3 turns, Russia marches into Berlin from the east. It’s just not profitable to conquer a reasonably well-defended London, and so I’m not afraid to invite my opponent to lose his shirt taking my capital.
@GeneralHandGrenade Yup, I mostly agree with that – my usual preference is to Kill Italy First, for exactly the reasons you describe, but I’m enjoying Operation Ricochet as a promising alternative for shaking things up.
@Argothair I went to Grasshoppers Invitational last year and it was all the rage. Had it done to us. Recapturing it was the last roll of the 1st day of the tournament. I did it with one tank left and tied the game. Of course Russia was wreaking havoc in Eastern Europe, and I had loosed Russia armor and mechs upon the Japanese to punish them for Sealion. They ended up recapturing India for the Allies the very next turn.
General, from an Axis perspective that does seem like the easiest way to take out the Franco-English navy. A different tack would be an air base in Egypt 2nd turn and move the 2nd Franco-English navy through the Suez. In all of my scheming, I’m trying to secure North Africa as quickly as possible, the Med when possible. Keep this a secret, but Italy can still get up to 19 dollars per turn without any assets in Africa.
I’ve tried this strategy (the middle earth, not operation ricochet) against myself yesterday. I did make some mistakes, and left calcutta too vurnareble, with not enough strike force to take it back. But besides that, I had the japanese navy, or at least 2AC + some extra, sitting in SZ39 (outside of calcutta) in J3. This prevented me from being able to shuck to persia, and I had to go to egypt with the South African transports.
I imagine that even if I did not make the mistake and Calcutta did not fall J4, but is just “disabled” till more japanese land troops can arrive, the threat of the navy on SZ80 (persia) would prevent me from shucking troops there, and thus halving the troops that can reach calcutta due to only the persian factory being able to supply by land. How would I deal with this? You state threatening Japan with US/ANZAC. How, roughly speaking, would I go about that?
In this specific example, Japan had a naval base, air base, and factory in FIC, so pretty much the entire Asian coastline is in reach of most of the aircrafts, and several ships. With US focusing on the creation of the 4 lane highway, they do not have enough ships to resist a counterattack, and not enough transports to threaten a permanent beachhead.
So how then do I deal with a Japanese navy blockading Calcutta and threatening SZ80’s transport shuck?
1 answer. Sealion
@TrippleX Well, Japan is vulnerable in a few different places on its border with America. If the main US Pacific fleet is sitting in Hawaii (relatively safe; the airbase helps protect it and it’s one turn from San Francisco’s reinforcements), then it’s only one turn away from Tokyo, so Japan has to waste a destroyer every turn blocking that route, which the US can sink at a profit with fighters and subs. If you can safely advance the US fleet to Midway or Wake, then Japan has to dump 2 destroyers a turn to block the sea routes. If you can get as far as the Caroline Islands (not unreasonable by turn 4 or 5), now you are in range of any Japanese factories on the Chinese coast, plus the Philippines, plus the money islands, plus Tokyo. At that point Japan can’t realistically block you because you have too many targets, so they are forced to keep enough resources in range of your fleet that they can push you back out. This is very challenging for Japan to do early on without either retreating their fleet from the Indian Ocean or retreating their planes from central China. If they do pull resources over to threaten the US fleet, then you just retreat back to Wake, or Midway, or even to Hawaii, but the point is now Japan has moved backward, and probably spent some money on carriers instead of just building factories and mechs, so their push into mainland Asia is that much slower.
As far as the blockade and an attack on the transport shuck specifically, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. You can afford to lose a transport or two near Persia if they deliver their cargo first, and you can afford to lose India’s income if Japan wants to leave their fleet in the Indian Ocean; it’ll cost Japan more to build a second fleet to fight in the central Pacific then they’ll gain by denying India its mid-game 6 IPCs/turn.
The way to win as the Allies in Global 1940 is to set up more threats than the Axis can counter. The Japanese can nuke your West Indian shuck-shuck, or they can keep the US Pacific Fleet at bay, or they can conquer India, or they can conquer inland China and Siberia, but they can’t do all of those in the first 7 turns, and so whatever fronts survive will be a place where you can push back and fight for control. Don’t over-invest in any one of those threats, be willing to change your spending or your front lines as appropriate, and keep applying pressure where-ever you can afford to do so.
Same thing with the European theater, really – Germany can repeatedly nuke the British Atlantic fleet, or reinforce Norway so it’ll hold against an early US attack, or put enough pressure on Russia with mechs and tanks that they have to retreat to Moscow or even into the Urals, or capture Ukraine and Stalingrad, or help Italy take Egypt, but they can’t do all of that at once in the first 7 turns, so you’ll wind up with some active fronts where the Allies are making gains, and you exploit those for all they’re worth and let the others go at the appropriate time. At least, that’s my philosophy.
@Argothair In order for the Axis to even have a chance against Middle Earth U.K Japan needs to do a J1 attack. Not just any J1 attack but they need to do the 4 move check-mate as I call it. If you’re unaware of what that is it’s where the Japanese take their 2 carriers’ planes 2 destroyers and sub to do a Pearl Harbor attack. You will destroy the fleet scramble or no scramble. Next you need the U.S to size you up and destroy your blocker in the Hawaiian islands with their San Francisco fleet. And to top of the check-mate Japan brings in their 2 fighters and 2 tactical bombers from the island of Japan as well as the 4 planes on their carriers (Japan should have taken Wake Island to land the 4 extra planes). With that, The entirety of the U.S fleet has single highhandedly been destroyed by Japan as early as Round 2. And with no American navy that leaves you to send your navy into the Indian Ocean to disrupt GHG’s transport shuck of guys into the Middle East and thus pretty much throw the strategy.