North American Axis Strategy - Kill US First - Legal Or Not?


  • 2017

    Recently a guy sacked Washington DC against me when playing Global 40 on triplea. I never saw it coming…I reacted wrong of course…who would try to go after DC first? As Japanese fleets were approaching I thought I could defend the US west coast while he faked a Sea Lion build which in turn forced me to stack a lot of stuff on London. By the time I realized Washington was the target (German ships at Gibraltar G2) and Japanese ships and transports approaching on the other side, it was too late for me to buy enough ground. Washington got sacked by Japan who came through Panama after sinking the US pacific fleet and landing on Western US. He was able to easily get western US because most mechs and planes had to move to Washington. He did a double landing, Germany, then Japan who got it the first time. Italy landed on Mexico on I3, to create a landing spot for German planes. Washington was liberated by Canadian forces…but as US major I factories were being turned into minors…and the US wasn’t collecting much money…it was only a matter of time before the US was finally sacked by Germany the 2nd time. Russia was close to capturing Berlin…but not in time…so Germany would have gotten to build just in time after getting Washington and fill up both factories with 10 tanks each. When this happened to me…I was surprised. Yes I was beaten and I thought, well, this is definitely a one trick pony. Something just seemed wrong. How could Japan get that close to the US and the US not have a “gamism” rule where if the felt threatened once Japanese fleets were within a certain distance, the US could declare war. Heck an actual Japanese sub was sunk trying to sneak into Pearl Harbor before the US and Japan were technically at war (Japan was, but the US wasn’t) in real life. But there is a rule…

    He moved all Japanese warships within range on the J1 turn 2 spaces away from the US mainland and Alaska. According to a guy credited with being a game tester of this actual game, that’s not legal.

    “When not yet at war with the United States, in addition to the normal restrictions (see “Powers Not at War with One Another,” page 15), Japan may not end the movement of its sea units within 2 sea zones of the United States’ mainland territories (Western United States and Alaska).” Page 37 in the Global section of the Pacific Rule book and of course also page 15.

    One of his fleets was in sea zone 15, another was in sea zone 26 (Hawaii) and another was in sea zone 29 (Line Islands). Sea zones 15 and 26 were within 2 spaces of US mainland and or Alaska.

    This means Japan cannot park a Navy in the same sea zone as Hawaii when not at war. I read people saying that Japan can park a Navy in sea zone 26 all time here on the forum. It’s a wrong interpretation.

    Anyone out there disagree with me?



  • Looking at my map, sz 26 appears to be within three sea zones of USA, but not within two sea zones.  Boats in sz 26 (and 15) leave a two sea zone buffer between themselves and the USA; two sea zones which they are by no means ‘within’.

    The operative word here is within.  If there is no smoking within two meters of a government building, that defines two meters that can’t be smoked in.  If you are outside those two meters, smoke away.

    If you can’t swim within two hours of eating, that defines a two hour period of no swimming.  Anything beyond those two hours is safe.

    According to the English language, the rulebook defines a two sea zone safety margin for the USA.  This margin does not include sea zones 15 or 26.
    If LH’s rules crew intended something different, that should be addressed in the FAQ.


  • 2018 2017

    We just talked all this out last year, and there is no rules-lawyer way you can make the Hawaii SZ off limits.  It is a “pass-at-peace” zone.    The west coast seazone (10) is the count of “1”.  14, 13, they’re fair game for lurking.

    Then, we developed exactly this strategy and brought the Japanese through the canal.    Cant say for 100% certain, but it seems legit.

    the USA can pretty easily hold off these moves if it sees whats’ about to go down, Kill USA Firsts are hardly optimal strategies for winning, mostly for fun and to see what can be done.



  • @taamvan:

    the USA can pretty easily hold off these moves if it sees whats’ about to go down, Kill USA Firsts are hardly optimal strategies for winning, mostly for fun and to see what can be done.

    Playing 1st edition a few years ago, my ultimate goal was to stifle the allies by forcing them to pro-actively defend.  A J1 naval congregation threatens KAF without committing to it.  A G1 poise in Gibralter threatens Sea Lion or KAF, but is also noncommittal.  My idea was to gain momentum in a standard strategy by forcing the Allies to defend against an attack I’d never actually launch.

    That said, it would be cool if KAF could be a legitimate strategy that is neither under=powered or over-powered.  That’s certainly not the case in 1st edition.  I can’t opine regarding second edition, as I haven’t played it yet.  Maybe it will help that I will be using the 1st edition game board with a split Western Canada (BC and Yukon)?  I’m not overly optimistic, though.



  • @Ichabod:

    Look again. Sea Zone 26 is 2 spaces from mainland US meaning that ships could go there without a Naval Base. That is within two spaces. The rule book doesn’t mean 1 space away otherwise it would have said Japanese ships can’t be 1 space away from the US mainland or Alaska.

    A fighter in SZ 26 would need to move 3 spaces to reach any US mainland territory. I believe you are interpreting the sea zones adjacent to the US mainland as the US mainland, rather than the mainland itself.



  • @Ichabod:

    Look again. Sea Zone 26 is 2 spaces from mainland US meaning that ships could go there without a Naval Base.

    No it is not.  They are 2 spaces from another sea zone which is adjacent to the US.

    @Ichabod:

    The rule book doesn’t mean 1 space away otherwise it would have said Japanese ships can’t be 1 space away from the US mainland or Alaska.

    The rules don’t use the terms “away” or “from”.  That’s what’s causing confusion.  They define an area within which Japan may not park its navy.



  • @Ichabod:

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but I read 2 spaces within to literally mean 1 and 2 spaces…as in if ships are within 2 spaces because they can travel 2 movement points.

    So if Japanese ships are in SZ 26, they can travel to SZ 12 = 1 movement, then travel from SZ 12 to SZ 10 = 1 movement. So that’s within 2 spaces. Whether there are 2 sea zones or just 1, they are both “within” the limits of 2 spaces.

    But SZ 10 isn’t the US mainland. It’s 1 movement away from the US mainland.


  • 2018 2017

    We can go down this same rabbit hole, but the rule says what it says;  2 spaces of the land.

    I was on the other side of this argument at first, because I just couldn’t internalize that SZ 26 is fair game.

    However, Simon I believe argued for the plain text interpretation, and it says what it says

    It could say, “within two spaces of the Sea Zones ADJACENT to the CONUS”, but that’s not what it says.



  • @Ichabod:

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but I read 2 spaces within to literally mean 1 and 2 spaces…as in if ships are within 2 spaces because they can travel 2 movement points.

    Ships can never actually travel to the US mainland!  The rules don’t mention “travel”.  They define an off-bounds area.

    If you can’t see the difference between:

    within 2 sea zones of Western USA

    and

    within 2 sea zones of SZ 10

    I would question your objectivity.  Most people can tell the difference.  You seem to want to interpret those as meaning the exact same thing!



  • @Ichabod:

    Having said that, if there was ever to be a rule book change, or update, I would wish there could be an addendum changing the rules here! No way the US shouldn’t get the option to DOW on Japan if their warships can travel 2 spaces and be the in any sea zone adjacent to mainland US or Alaska. That’s ridiculous to me. Like I said in my initial post, in real life a Japanese sub was sunk trying to sneak into Pearl Harbor. Even for gamism purposes, I think it ridiculous that Japanese ships can park in Hawaii when not at war.

    To be fair, sz 26 is represents a lot of space.  in A&A, boats in sz 26 are not necessarily parked in the harbour!  They could be going somewhere else

    In the real war USA did not declare war when ships were in the vicinity - they declared war when they were attacked.  There was strong public opposition to the war before that.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    The rule should be no Axis naval pieces can stop next to any US mainland, Island territory and Convoy boxes while US is neutral. If they do it’s an act of war !


  • 2018 2017

    One of the last islands in the Hawaii chain is French Frigate Shoals, and the Japanese in real life lurked right there with ships subs and seaplanes, right before and right after PH.

    Realism isn’t our guide here.  Even the intent of the designer doesn’t over rule what the rules literally say.  It is “what is the clearest meaning of the plain language as written”

    If somehow the “plain language” rule broke the game, and this was the best possible be-all end all way to beat the allies, and it made the game imbalanced, then we might have some small argument that perhaps what the rule says in text is not exactly what was intended by LH because it causes such havoc and damage to the game.

    But here that isn’t the case.  it leads to a few novel strategies that are hardly game winning.  Japan is very limited when it does this because it won’t own Hawaii or its naval or air base until after turn 4.  The Axis spend 4 turns prepping for America invasion, losing their initiative across the world, Russia is a monster.    America can fairly easily survive this clench as long as they buy wisely, though they may be paralyzed it is at the cost of all 3 Axis’ attention for the first 6 turns of the game.

    There are mistakes in the rulebooks, this leads to errata.  Errata is how they game designers can communicate with us and tweak things that are unclear or simply broken after the printer has started running.    The fact that they errata something indicates that they have become aware of an ambiguity and are trying to address it.  Otherwise, all we have is the printed rules.


  • 2018 2017

    Think of the Japanese arriving as a peace delegation, demonstrating their new DEFENSIVE technology of strike aircraft.  Last time they arrived on a packet steamer, but this time, they brought 3 carrier groups so that all their brave sailors can admire the American might!

    Americans and Japanese happily tour bases together, taking snapshots for their vacation albums and reviewing blueprints and base layouts solely to gaze at the majesty of the ordered rows of aircraft sitting in the open, what a sight to behold!

    It seems less than realistic, but in the years just pre war, Germany officers were invited to Fort Riley, Kansas to see the primitive state of US armor doctrine development…. German and Russian officers exercised together under a non-aggression pact, the Japanese were allies so they were given quite a bit of leeway and a Japanese spy was place in an apartment right across from Ford Island, HI, with a telescope and a wireless set…in WW1 German spies blew up a New Jersey harbor but they had free reign because they were just neutral citizens, right?  Germany was quite angry that the “neutral”! US was sending arms to its co-belligerents, the agents were fairly careful to destroy only pending arms shipments and not civilians…

    You can tell any story to explain it that you want, but the real life truth is that until the shooting begins, everyone is supposed to be friends and many erstwhile allies (France?  Italy?  Japan?) are happy to flip sides between wars or bow out (UK/Cz/Poland alliance??) when it is in their national interest.



  • @Ichabod:

    If Admiral Kimmel, US Naval Commander at Pearl Harbor knew how close the approaching Japanese Fleet was, then the majority of the US Naval warships would not have remained nicely parked at battleship row and US Sailors wouldn’t have been taking Sunday leisurely strolls.

    There is widely believed hypothesis that US officials were aware of the impending assault on PH, but chose to let it happen.  The story goes that the White House felt they needed to actually be attacked in order to garnish popular support.  As you pointed out, Japan tried to sneak a sub into PH yet still no DOW.

    These things are never proven.  But it’s well established that FDR wanted to bring USA into WWII well before he had the popular support to follow through.  Hence the lend-lease act.

    I think it’s good that the USA political rules should reflect the the fact that the the will of the populous was the lynch pin in the US declaration of war.


  • 2018 2017 2016

    This is all a bunch of B.S.

    Players exploiting this rule because of a grammatical error should hang their heads in shame. You know damn well what the intention of the rule is but you exploit it like a despicable lawyer getting his guilty client off on a technicality.

    The notion that you are 2 spaces away from sz 10 and not from Western US is false from and amphibious assault point of view. You don’t sail your ships into Nebraska and drop of your ground units, you sail them into sz 10 and drop them off (you despicable lawyers can speculate whether or not they’re dropping them off into the ocean and they’re swimming into San Francisco with all of their gear and artillery from there). That makes loaded transports indisputably 2 spaces away from Western US. Indisputably!!

    I know you pretend lawyers will hate this post and jump all over me for what I’m saying but I don’t care whatsoever. Play the game with some honour instead of your sneaky little tricks, and fix the stupid computer that allows you to exploit grammatical errors.


  • 2017 2016

    If the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit!


  • 2018 2017

    pretend lawyer, ouch.

    I guess I can keep practicing regardless of your opinions.

    It says within 2 sea zones.  SZ 10 is #1.  The ones next to that are #2.  The ones after that are fair game

    That is about counting, not law.

    I was also on the wrong side of this argument for a while, if I find that im wrong again, I’ll admit it, apologize if necessary, tell other people the correct answer, and realize that sometimes, im simply wrong.


  • 2018 2017 2016

    Your tanks must be good swimmers. Hopefully you drop them off in the ocean on a calm day. I can count too. Loaded transports can attack Western US from sz 26. Grammatical error.


  • 2018 2017

    I like to argue too!

    The rule doesn’t refer to some threat or danger to the US.  If they sense that while the Japanese are sitting next to them at PH (at any time and regardless of the state of war, they need to move everything to SZ 10 and WUS, which is how most players respond to this J4 during simulations.

    You are inserting that consideration into what the rule says.

    The game designers via krieghund are free to change this via errata or reinterpretation at any time, they lurk these forums and have not given the oracles’ wisdom on any subject save in re; Sierra Leone in the past 2 years.  Which is also to say they think the rules are pretty clear on this one, after 2 eds.


  • 2018 2017 2016

    I can agree with you on that point. They should weigh in and give an interpretation of the rule. They should also explain to us how heavy Japanese equipment is able to swim and a Japanese navy can park itself in Pearl Harbour without the Americans considering that as an act of war.

    In other words, if this is not a grammatical error than it is even more ridiculous than Japan being able to march a mechanized army across Siberia, through the Ural Mountains, and attack Moscow.



  • Placing the Japanese fleet next to Hawaii puts them out of position until J4.  I would immediately do an unprovoked UK1 DoW.  You know that they will not be able to respond for the next couple of rounds anyway.  Yunnan should quickly return to Allied control and Japan will be hurting economically for the rest of the game.  The economies of India and ANZAC will be doing so well with control of the Money Islands for a few turns, plus the added objective incomes.

    I almost fell for that fake Sea Lion plan once and I will never never allow that to succeed again.



  • I don’t feel any obligation to do the designer’s job. I also think that it’s fair that my opponents (who don’t read these boards or HGD) should be able to reference the rules of play using the documents provided. In my gaming circles, it is common for less experienced players to look through the rules to see if their strategy is legal. They don’t want to ask, because that gives away their plans.

    If designers want us to play a certain way, it’s their job to reflect that in the rulebook or errata/FAQ. It’s not our job to guess their intentions and have a debate. Sometimes what a person says is more important that what they mean - especially with regards to a formal document.

    Personally I would never assume the rules are meant the way you think they are meant. That would buffer would encompass almost half the Pacific Ocean. By your (generous) interpretation, Japan parking a transport in sea zone 7 would be an act of war! Really?

    This would be ridiculously ahistoric, completely unnecessary from a balance perspective, and totally unsupported by the rulebook and FAQ.

    @GeneralHandGrenade:

    This is all a bunch of B.S.

    Players exploiting this rule because of a grammatical error should hang their heads in shame. You know damn well what the intention of the rule is but you exploit it like a despicable lawyer getting his guilty client off on a technicality.

    Maybe you are joking?

    To compare my desire to play by written rules to a serious moral lapse, I guess you can’t really be serious.

    Worth noting I intend to play by the rules when I am assigned the Allies too. This ought to shoot a big hole into the notion that I am somehow exploiting something.


  • 2018 2017

    your gut may want it to say “within two territory’s REACH” of WUS because you believe that the designer intended to put a cordon sanitaire around the USA during peace

    If that were his intent, he could have said it clearly that way but chose not to.

    this is probably not a case of an error, a mistake, or any kind of grammatical problem.  it is that you interpret the word “within” in light of how a transports move and want it to say “within reach of” with transports but that’s not what it says.

    ABH;

    Yes, you’re so right, the continent immediately collapses, Russia grows into a giant beast while the axis scare the crap out of the USA.

    But only 1 round of Japanese ships can pass through, further waves stay back to protect the homeland.  Trying to pass 2 waves of ships risks a deep block



  • @taamvan:

    .  
    this is probably not a case of an error, a mistake, or any kind of grammatical problem.   it is that you interpret the word “within” in light of how a transports move and want it to say “within reach of” with transports but that’s not what it says.

    This.  So much this.
    It’s very presumptuous.

    I for one have a little more faith in Avalon Hill and LH’s team to represent the desired game system.  And they’ve had ~5 to catch this supposed mistake.



  • There is a reason why you don’t ever see Kill US-first plaid among the better League matches: it doesn’t work well against experienced players.  Sure you can have fun against relatively novice players and sometimes grab a funny victory, but it is not something to try against someone who has much skill.  The United States can easily build fighters that can defend the Mainland, threaten attack against the Japanese fleet, and be redeployed to another sector of the world in just a round or two.

    As Ichabod mentions, it is a one-time-use-only sort of strategy.


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