Scripted General Plans - What and Why
There are a few things to keep in mind for a workable KJF, or for that matter, KGF (Kill Germany First) plan, and for their counters.
1. Scripted General Plan. A scripted plan for the first four or five turns should be used, which means a pre-planned set of combat and noncombat moves, and unit purchases. The turns after that are not closely scripted, but the general tone of the game has been set by that time.
A scripted general plan is not worth using if it does not branch to account for possible opponent moves and unusual dice outcomes.
It is not 100% proof against dice results, nor is it meant to be. Attempting to make something 100% safe is like dressing up in full hockey protective gear and carrying a submachine gun and rocket propelled grenade launcher when you go out your front door to check your mail. Sure you might be protected against zombies or alien attack for the moment, but continuing that sort of behavior will get you locked up in a lunatic asylum, just see if it doesn’t.
A good plan is superior to improvisation. With a plan, there is a direct and specific line of play being followed, with each unit being used at maximum efficiency. Improvised play tends to just be one player shoving units at another. Failure to plan is a plan for failure &c.
A bad plan is crap. If you think you’ve got a good plan, and you’re continuously surprised by an opponent’s moves in a bad way, or if things just seem to be falling apart over time, surprise! You don’t have a good plan - you have a bad one, or maybe you don’t even have a plan.
2. Which Scripted General Plan To Use. A player must use the scripted general plan that is appropriate for the situation. Suppose at the end of Russia’s first turn, the Allies planned to go Kill Germany First with UK’s portion of the plan being building 2 destroyers 1 carrier on UK’s first turn and taking Norway or Western Europe, segueing into repeated trades of territory between UK and Germany to take pressure off Russia. Now suppose on Germany’s turn, Germany builds two bombers, destroys UK’s battleship, cruiser, and destroyer in the Atlantic/Mediterranean, parks 3 fighters each on Western Europe and Norway, has a bomber on Norway, and has three subs in the sea zones around London. That means wherever UK builds navy, it can be hit by 3 subs 3 fighters 3 bombers. (UK can cut the number of subs Germany can attack with by using a destroyer block, but that will also cut the number of defenders UK can put down.)
The biggest fleet the Allies can put down in a UK sea zone is 2 destroyers 1 carrier 2 fighters 1 cruiser (US) 1 sub (Russian), which can be destroyed by Germany very cheaply. So in that case, UK knows the plan is out the window. UK could insist on carrying through with the plan, but it has changed from a projected low to medium risk plan to a high risk plan.
If UK wants to maintain low to medium risk, it would do better to do switch to a different scripted general plan. What is appropriate depends on the board position.
3. Scripted General Plans Can (And SHOULD!) Transpose.
Even if you start with one scripted general plan, you can and often should switch to a different scripted general plan as the game develops along unlikely paths. For example, suppose Russia starts with a very lucky West Russia/Ukraine attack open. Suppose Germany takes a big chance and counters both heavily, and further suppose Germany gets very lucky on both counterattacks.
At the end of Russia’s first turn, the Allies’ scripted general plan would have been for a Europe game in which Russia was unusually strong relative to Germany. But at the end of Germany’s first turn, clearly the situation is reversed - Germany is now extremely strong relative to Russia.
Since the game situation has changed so much, the Allies had best switch to a different scripted general plan.
4. Know when to switch scripted general plans.
Some players get an idea that they want to use a particular scripted general plan, and stick to it in spite of unfavorable conditions.
A lot of players quickly learn to watch for unfavorable naval conditions. For example, if UK is dropping to Europe with transports and escort fleet, UK typically watches Germany and Japan’s air. If Germany or Japan have enough airpower, they can blow up UK’s entire navy, and UK has to restart from nothing.
But players often do not watch for more subtle, but equally important conditions. For example, if Russia starts with a West Russia/Ukraine attack, a difference of three or four survivors at West Russia (often easily the case) means the difference between Germany being able to pursue an extremely aggressive strategy (hitting West Russia and pressuring Russia hard and fast) and Germany having to stand off for a gradual build of pressure.
Similarly, units that are not anywhere near combat make a big difference. If Russia consolidated 6 infantry to Buryatia and 4 infantry to Sinkiang at the end of Russia’s first turn, that will leave the door far more open for Germany to press hard and fast, than if those units had moved west towards Moscow / Caucasus. In fact, Germany almost has to pressure Europe harder in that case, to compensate to some degree for the anticipated slowdown Japan will experience in Asia.
Players of some experience will keep an eye on things like the above listed conditions; it’s all there to see when a player starts his or her turn.
But players with more experience will keep an eye on things as they develop, and will perform actions in a specific order so more information is available for later steps.
For example, in a Russian West Russia/Ukraine open, Russia should always do the West Russia combat first. West Russia’s results can greatly affect whether Russia should decide to press in Ukraine or not.
A player needs to adjust not just after each combat, but actually at each possible decision making step in combat. For example, suppose Russia hits Ukraine, loses 2 infantry, and kills all of Germany’s ground forces. At that point, Russia may choose to retreat to set up a stronger attack against a possible German strongpoint in Karelia; with so many German attackers lost and so many Russians surviving, Germany will have an expensive time pressing an attack on Caucasus. On the other hand, if Russia hits Ukraine, kills 3 German infantry, and loses 3 Russian infantry, Russia may choose to continue the attack.
For example, think of this -
Suppose Japan’s turn starts. UK’s London fighters landed in West Russia, UK’s sub is at East Indies, UK’s bomber is on Novosibirsk, UK’s cruiser is at Kwangtung sea zone, and UK’s India fighter is on Persia. Russia has left 1 infantry on Buryatia. UK has built 2 destroyers and a carrier and has landed in an empty Norway. UK has sent its Australia sub to New Guinea, and UK’s Australia transport has picked up infantry and is heading east towards Africa. UK has left India empty, used its India transport and a couple infantry to retake Anglo-Egypt.
Let’s suppose Japan plans the following attacks - Japan transport takes infantry from Okinawa and artillery from Japan, drops to Buryatia, along with battleship support shot. Sub/cruiser/fighter/bomber to hit Hawaiian Islands fleet (fighter can land on Wake). 1 infantry from French Indochina into India. The remainder of Jap’s forces hit China. The East Indies battleship/carrier may attack UK cruiser at Kwangtung or hit the transport off Anglo-Egypt.
With a battleship, carrier, and fighter at the sea zone east of Japan, Japan should probably be safe from attack unless the Hawaiian Islands sea zone attack fails.
So Japan builds 1 destroyer 3 transports. The plan is on Japan’s second turn, it can take the infantry from Wake, 5 ground from Japan, and 2 from Phillipines to offload 8 ground into Buryatia and French Indochina. The destroyer provides additional safety from attack and chases Allied subs away, freeing Japan’s transports and escorts to move with more freedom. Japan should keep an eye on Germany’s development; if Germany purchased 5+ tanks, for example, it may be able to push into Ukraine on Germany’s next turn. If Japan lands fighters on French Indochina, those can fortify Germany’s position. Five fighters make a HUGE difference; what would typically be completely idiotic for Germany’s second move (retaking Ukraine from Russia heavily) could become a strong pressuring move with Japan’s help.
How is Japan set for subsequent turns?
Japan’s moves and purchases on the second turn set up Japan’s third turn. If Japan unloads to French Indochina at all on Japan’s second turn, it can pick up and drop off two infantry from East Indies on Japan’s third turn. That means Japan need only build six ground units on Japan’s second turn to fill the remaining three transports for Japan’s third turn movement. Alternatively, Japan could build four or even two ground units, using its transports at French Indochina to hit Africa on Japan’s third turn, or perhaps building early subs or fighters, or an industrial complex on French Indochina.
What Japan does on its second turn must lead into its third turn, but what it does will depend heavily on US’s purchase and placement (Pacific or Atlantic?) and Germany’s second turn (push or stay?) If US stays out of Pacific, Japan can either push infantry into Asia and build more transports to harass Alaska/Hawaii/Australia/New Zealand/Africa if Germany is keeping back in Europe, or it can go for a faster tank push to pressure Russia if Germany is pressuring Russia. If US goes Pacific, Japan can push infantry into Asia while keeping navy/air near the coast to keep US off.
One example of how to look ahead properly - suppose US drops an Atlantic fleet, and suppose Japan purchases 2 subs on J2. The Japan subs on J2 threaten the US2 move to Solomons. But even so, there is a decent chance that US can move to Solomons without Japan being able to press. In that case, Japan can move its J2 built subs to French Indochina on J3 to hit the sea zones around Borneo and East Indies on J4. It is not “proper” to look at the immediate situation that results from a unit build. It is normal to look at LEAST two turns ahead, and often MORE, thinking not only of one particular opponent’s moves, but also possible moves by allies that will need support or that can lend support, or other opponent moves besides one’s main adversary that could bolster their lines.
But now, the Bunnies’ twist! (like the dance step, but with bunny ears)
A player may think that I’ve been thinking about Japan’s development all this time. What does JAPAN build? What is JAPAN’s plan? What is the speed of JAPAN’s development? Where does JAPAN move its fighters? What is JAPAN’s move on the second turn, third turn, fourth turn?
But NO! What I’ve REALLY been thinking about this ENTIRE time has been - Germany’s development in Europe! (surprise!) I mean yeah, you look back, and there’s just the one weeee reference to Jap fighters going to Ukraine on J2. But really, Japan’s ENTIRE PLAN should NOT be based just on the Asian coast and Pacific, and say “oh, here is what I am going to do here, here is where I can be countered, blah blah blah”. That is how you FAIL TO PLAN! DONKEY! (been watching Hell’s Kitchen . . . :wink:) You must think about the ENTIRE picture!
For example -
Suppose Russia has completely awful luck on some sort of triple attack, and tries to reinforce Caucasus, placing a build of 1 artillery 3 tanks there, plus its fighters, and its fourth tank at Moscow. Also suppose Russia moved 6 infantry to Buryatia and both Novosibirsk and Kazakh infantry to Sinkiang. (I mean, really bad play by Moscow, trying a risky triple attack and making bad noncombat move decisions. But say that’s the case.) Now suppose Germany built 8 tanks, took West Russia and Caucasus, and that UK didn’t destroy Japan’s East Indies fleet or recapture Caucasus. What you are looking at is no longer a “normal” game. Germany has broken Russia’s back. All that remains is for Germany to seal the deal.
If Japan hems and haws and doesn’t push hard and fast, that gives Russia time to recover. What Japan SHOULD do is build 2 industrial complexes to push tanks towards Moscow at super speed, break Buryatia and China, and push, push, push! If Japan says “Oh, Germany is doing “well”, so I can screw around and attack Hawaii and Alaska and Australia and Africa”, Japan is completely missing the f*ing point! Ram tanks down Russia’s throat and finish the game!
Or suppose Germany has built nothing but infantry and artillery, and has consolidated at Eastern Europe. Now Germany’s playing a very passive game in Europe, which will NOT pressure Russia. If Japan builds 2 ICs and pushes tanks like mad now, it’s just flinging expensive tanks away to trade for cheap infantry! In this case, Japan would do far better to go 3 transports/destroyer to start pushing infantry in on Europe, and should go additional transports if Allies do not go KJF, to hit Australia/Hawaii/Alaska/Africa for income, while Germany develops its slow push in Europe!
Japan’s development depends NOT only on the situation in Asia, but ALSO the position in Europe! How big is the Allied fleet? Where is Germany threatened? How fast is Germany developing? Where will Germany need to pull back? What will the pace of the game be, and how should Japan best play?
This is in particular one of my favorite Axis plans, even though it is very risky. It’s the “G2 Ukraine hardpoint / G3-4 Caucasus capture plan”, which I think is fairly descriptive and to the point. I could call it something pretentious like “Bunniepanzerzero”, or “Padawan-cuts-grass-with-purple-lightsaber” but eh.
Germany plans to push to Ukraine on Germany’s second turn, anticipates that Russia can reinforce Caucasus, so plans to push into West Russia on Germany’s third turn, backed by Japanese fighters. This forces Russia to retreat to Moscow, allowing Germany to capture Caucasus on Germany’s fourth turn. At that point, though, Germany has to anticipate a huge possible Russian counterattack to Caucasus. On the other hand, a J2 move of three transports to French Indochina could be followed by a J3 move to Persia, allowing Japan to heavily reinforce a German-held Caucasus on J4, preventing the R5 recapture.
In the meantime, though, US could be pressing Japan in the Pacific. If Japan has used its fighters to help Germany in Europe, US can press that much harder and faster, particularly threatening Borneo/East Indies/Japan quite seriously on US4. Also, UK can be reinforcing Europe via Karelia/Archangel, plus the Allies will be outproducing the Axis. If America has pushed KGF, then Germany may be facing serious serious pressure in the west.
The balance here is that Germany must be careful to look at the relative balance of power between Germany and Russia at the beginning of Germany’s turn. A couple infantry one way or another means the difference between this plan either working decently or failing utterly.
In particular, the last picture (Bunniespanzerzero) :roll: illustrates the importance of a coordinated plan that combines forces of different powers, and how such a plan can and (in this case MUST) often extend five or more turns from the point that it’s started at, with the purchases and movement for each of the following five turns largely set ahead of time.