Defensive Navy purchases to protect transports



  • Hi all,

    When you try to stage an amphibious assault on an opponent what do you normally buy to protect your transports? My playgroup has had some success using a combination of submarines and aircraft to preemptively strike invasion fleets before they can arrive while at the same time outnumbering aircraft that can scramble from land.

    If I’m trying to go on the offensive with my transports but need to protect from both subs and aircraft how should I, based on your experience, make my purchases between destroyers and loaded carriers?

    Thanks in advance


  • 2017 '16

    @KGrimB:

    If I’m trying to go on the offensive with my transports but need to protect from both subs and aircraft how should I, based on your experience, make my purchases between destroyers and loaded carriers?

    I’m of the opinion you answered your own question… how to protect against enemy subs and aircraft attacking your fleet? Buy destroyers and loaded carriers… it’s a self-answered question.

    How many of each depends on so many variables of income, predisposition, size of your fleet, size of potential enemy strike force, its impossible to accurately give exact numbers without any variable situation setup.


  • 2018 2017 '16

    As Wolf said it depends on the variables. If you have a good income it’s tough to beat having a Battleship in your task force because it gives you a landing shot with your amphibious assault and it can soak up a hit without taking a loss. You definitely need at least one Destroyer in order to fight Submarines. It’s good to have more than one because they are also low cost units that you can choose as a casualty. If your opponent is using more than planes against you then Submarines are an even cheaper unit that you can use as fodder. Carriers are great to have because they are the best defensive weapon on the seas plus you can use the planes in the amphibious assault if they are not needed to clear out the landing sz. I like to have a combination of all unit types in my task forces so that I can meet all different types of challenges. Unless you have tweaked the rules, Cruisers are not very cost effective to purchase but you may already have some and they will do just fine as long as you have a Destroyer to see the Subs.

    If you have a small income then you need to select the unit types which will be effective against what your opponent possesses. If he has Subs then you need Destroyers and some aircraft to wipe them out. If he has Carriers then buy Subs because the planes can’t see you without Destroyers. If he has a Klingon Battlecruiser then I recommend a Borg Cube. The Battlecruiser can only remodulate it’s photon torpedoes and shield frequency so many times until the Cube is able to adapt.


  • 2018 2017

    TL;DR;  Buy a carrier, or three, then buy a heap destroyers to flesh the thing out, and as time goes on, focus on bombers.

    You will need about 1 hit point per hit point that the enemy can bring, to deter an attack.  The problem is, that in a 50/50 (or worse) battle, the enemy may still attack you because he knows that losing all your TTs is devastating and can cripple the USA/UK/Japan especially.  Even if the enemy suffers massive losses, he killed your only fleet that it took multiple turns to develop, so he only needs to kill your last defender to “win”, no matter the cost to his forces.

    Carriers: Best Choice.  Flexible on fleet defense and on the attack.  Downside is that these take the highest investment of IPCs for the lowest attack/defense power, because you get both.  A fleet of primarily high cost units  (carriers+planes) is surprisingly weak (since carriers add nothing to attack power)  You also get a bunch of free air to start that can just land on new carriers, so that makes the expense a bit lower in the Global game especially.

    DDs:  Too costly, but indispensable.  Once you have a BB and a CV in a certain fleet, adding 3-6 destroyers (and then more, ad nausea) gives you the most extra hit points for the lowest cost, which keeps your high attack power units (bombers and fighters) alive longer, which is the key to winning a stack battle.

    Cruisers;  Not worth it.  Don’t buy these.
    BB;  too expensive, but the soak hits make these the depth of your fleet.  1 is probably enough, per fleet, more is gravy.
    Subs;  Most efficient attack, but totally inadequate on defense (even as cannon fodder–all your opponent needs to is attack with air without a DD and these do nothing).  Buying a few is a great power booster and deterrent, but these cannot be relied upon.
    Transports;  since these do nothing in battle, overbuying these is your most common undoing.  If you cannot maintain the 1:1 hit point parity, favor warships over TTs.
    Tactical;  Because they are dependent on another unit, and you have a bunch of these to start, fighters and strat bombers remain more focused choices.  Don’t buy these so much as preserve the ratio 1:1 of fighters to bombers that you start with.
    Strat bombers;  fastest way to get into the action, most flexible overall unit in the game.  Downside is that these add nothing to the defense of your fleets, and create new liabilities if they all land together.

    buy surface units in earlier turns, and bombers in later ones, they can all attack together.
    If you are uncertain you will win on the defense, don’t bring all your transports to 1 place (don’t put all eggs in 1 basket)

    First; get a grand fleet together (DD CV BB TT).  Cruisers are fine, just extra.
    Then, buy more carriers up to how many planes you have at your disposal (with the US, its 3, Japan 2-4, Germany, 1)
    Then, buy more DDs as cannon fodder (4-8 is plenty)
    Then, buy Stratbombers as a follow-on force (USA) (4-8 is your lightsaber)
    Buy the other stuff sparingly, and in deference to the above priority
    then, cross and blow up your opponent

    Strat bombers with airbases can fly vast distances, and the enemy can build bases as a surprise.    If you sense that you are too weak to sally/cross, it is often because you are building too many nonwarships too early and units that crowd up at your capital and wait aren’t accomplishing anything.

    EDIT; If your team can buy Borg Cubes, do that instead, they’re virtually indestructible.



  • Loaded carriers (with fighters, preferably) and destroyers, like the previous posts say, are probably the best for defending an invasion force.  You also might want some subs, which are good as cannon fodder and also at taking out blocker ships.

    One way you can maximize defense is have one power (like America) build empty carriers, and have one of their allies (like Britain or ANZAC) provide fighters to land on the carriers.  This sacrifices much of the fleet’s offensive capability, but it gives you better defense because the carrier builder doesn’t have to waste money on planes to fill them, and instead can crank out more destroyers or landing forces.



  • Assuming you are talking about the allies, I agree that a fleet comprised from 2-3 powers is very effective for defense. A typical allied landing fleet would probably include a BB, cruiser, 2 loaded carriers and 3-4 dd’s. After that I would add carriers and/or destroyers as needed (mostly dd’s). I won’t generally buy cruisers, but will have the US buy a BB to back bone the fleet (in Europe). Of course it all depends on what the other side has that can hit you and where his planes are.

    In this game (as in the war) the carrier is defiantly the king of the sea because of the attack/def of the planes. Plus your planes can be used in the ground attack if not needed in the sea battle. Once you take and hold the territory for a turn you may also be able to drop those carrier planes on land to defend and retreat the fleet to safety (or reload the carriers with new planes).



  • Dont underestimate the psychological value of BB carriers in a fleet.

    If your attacking with air your first X hits will be soaked while you are losing fighters.
    This gets the mindset of, if i hit 3 times i did 0 damage while he already killed 3 planes.

    Against a airbased attack carriers and a few DDs are the best, asuming you can land the planes and have a naval base at hand.
    3 bombers costs the same as a full carrier. Both sides are expected to get 2 hits in round 1 and 1 in round 2 so the defender has the carrier left and the attacker is whiped out.


  • 2017 '16

    This answer was given in another topic and context but the analysis seems still valid.
    So forget the part about modifying unit, and read the first part.
    @MrRoboto:

    Okay I will give a complete view on the current Sea balance.

    Current roles of ships:

    Submarine: By far the strongest in Attack. Even the strongest in Defense, when paired with full carriers (5 subs for each full carrier) due to being cheap cannon fodder. Strong convoy. Requires opponent to have enough destroyers to kill all subs if you decide to spread them for maximum convoy. At the moment the strongest ship and actually too powerful.

    Destroyers: Counter submarine abilities. Cannon-fodder for air-only attacks. Blocker unit.

    Carrier (with planes): Provides a longer attack range, giving you high versatility. Planes are not prone to being blocked. Supports Amphibious Assaults. Planes can be used on land, when they are not needed on the sea anymore. Soaks a hit per carrier.

    Cruisers: Bombardment.

    Battleships: Bombardment. Soak a hit per BB

    Now with a little math, that don’t need to be shown here once more, it is obvious that Battleships are inferior to destroyers if you only look at damage in offense and defense and hp. Since the destroyers additionally have other uses (blocking, countering subs, cannon fodder for your carriers), battleships are simply too weak, period.

    Cruisers are even far weaker than battleships and don’t provide more abilities than battleships. If the battleship is already too weak so that it’s rarely purchased, that means cruisers are just a joke.

    Now first of all bombardment needs some work. Carriers give you far more power in amphibious assaults alone, and that’s not even counting the numerous other advantages carriers have compared to bombardment.

    No matter how bombardment is changed: I am convinced that the cruiser < - > battleship balance will never be solved, if they share the same ability (even if the bombardment differs slightly).

    As in every balanced strategy game (doesn’t matter if it is something like chess, or something like StarCraft), every unit needs its specific niche role.

    Whenever, in ANY strategy game, two units share the same abilities, math will always find the better one. If they are both equally good, the more expensive one is obsolete.

    Therefore I’m not in favor of cruisers and battleships sharing bombardment (and additionally bombardment in its current state is too weak to justify buying either of those two ships).

    A possible solution

    Reduce the cruiser cost to 10 and let them bombard every round. This would lead to cruisers being equally good to destroyers. While destroyers have their uses described above, cruisers would be the best unit for amphibious assaults. They can’t be shot down by AAA like planes, so cruisers would finally become viable.

    Reduce the battleship cost to 18 and remove the bombardment ability. Instead give them something different. A possibility would be a rocket-like attack (like the technology rockets). It kinda makes sense, that huge battleships have the skill to damage facilities. One non-blockable 1d6 attack on a coastal harbor, airfield or factory per bb and territory.
    This would bring the battleship in line with the 10IPC cruisers IPC-wise. They are slightly stronger than destroyers. I don’t think that’s a big problem, since at the moment destroyers are having a lot of uses already. You’d still buy destroyers and they fill in the role of cannon fodder even more (besides, you can’t always spend 18 IPC for one ship anyway). Battleships on the other hand would be the go-to unit for besieging, in addition to convoying subs.

    Increase the cost of submarines to 8 and increase attack from 2 to 3. This will lead to submarines no longer being used as cannon fodder. Submarines would be more like bombers - attack-units only. And it makes way more sense historically.



  • The analysis isnt complete though, if you look at pure numbers the cruiser and BB are obsolete.
    But the bombard option as well as the soak for the BB makes them usefull. Except you hardly get to attack next to a SZ because the enemy will just deadzone it.

    Maby give a BB the AA ability as well to give it some extra power but even so BB are pretty usefull to have just 2 expensive to buy ( like all ships )


  • 2017 '16

    @ShadowHAwk:

    The analysis isnt complete though, if you look at pure numbers the cruiser and BB are obsolete.
    But the bombard option as well as the soak for the BB makes them usefull. Except you hardly get to attack next to a SZ because the enemy will just deadzone it.

    Maby give a BB the AA ability as well to give it some extra power but even so BB are pretty usefull to have just 2 expensive to buy ( like all ships )

    There is at least two ways to render Shorebombardment a weak ability:
    a) 1 DD blocker in SZ or 1 Fg or TcB scramble make for a naval battle so you cannot walk and chew gum in a six months period for Cruiser or Battleship. No bombardment allowed.
    b) the amphibious TT is so weakly defended that ShoreB hits are overkills and lost.
    Following b, you waiting in rearzone ready to crush the invader, with just enough forces to take it with few units, hoping that you repeat b again next round.

    Is there a third way?
    Of course, a dedicated plane can roll multiple rounds, more than a single shot from SB.


  • 2018 2017

    bombardment is too uncertain and conditional to consider it much of an advantage, and since you cant rely on it, there isn’t much of a reason to focus on it.



  • So do you guys normally buy navy then? I’m getting an impression that most just have a few things to protect transports. I’m a newer player and enjoy using navies in large sea zone battles in the Pacific. Is that not something that happens very often late game with experienced players?



  • @KGrimB:

    So do you guys normally buy navy then? I’m getting an impression that most just have a few things to protect transports. I’m a newer player and enjoy using navies in large sea zone battles in the Pacific. Is that not something that happens very often late game with experienced players?

    It sometimes happens but only when 1 side has a clear advantage over the other, because navy is so expensive you cannot afford to lose it cheap.
    Losing 5 inf is not a big deal, losing a loaded carrier and a few transports is. So players tend to block the other if they feel he might have an advantage and will only attack when they are almost sure they get a favorable engagement.

    But mostly yes your navy is there to protect the transports so they can go to the other side. In the pacific for the US it might be slightly different and they just use it to kill the japan navy.



  • @ShadowHAwk:

    The analysis isnt complete though, if you look at pure numbers the cruiser and BB are obsolete.
    But the bombard option as well as the soak for the BB makes them usefull. Except you hardly get to attack next to a SZ because the enemy will just deadzone it.

    Maby give a BB the AA ability as well to give it some extra power but even so BB are pretty usefull to have just 2 expensive to buy ( like all ships )

    that’s another flaw in the game. the increase of number of spaces on the board (and therefore reduction in IPC value of coastal territory Normandy worth only 2 for example) and the silly effectiveness of the Air Force that attack but cannot land means that it’s not worth defending coastal territories in this game. Better to prepare for a counter attack where you won’t have to deal with fighters in the battle and coastal bombardments. So no defending the atlantic wall in this version of the game.



  • @Genghis:

    @ShadowHAwk:

    The analysis isnt complete though, if you look at pure numbers the cruiser and BB are obsolete.
    But the bombard option as well as the soak for the BB makes them usefull. Except you hardly get to attack next to a SZ because the enemy will just deadzone it.

    Maby give a BB the AA ability as well to give it some extra power but even so BB are pretty usefull to have just 2 expensive to buy ( like all ships )

    that’s another flaw in the game. the increase of number of spaces on the board (and therefore reduction in IPC value of coastal territory Normandy worth only 2 for example) and the silly effectiveness of the Air Force that attack but cannot land means that it’s not worth defending coastal territories in this game. Better to prepare for a counter attack where you won’t have to deal with fighters in the battle and coastal bombardments. So no defending the atlantic wall in this version of the game.

    It really depends on the board, on the pacific side bombardment is normaly enough to take the islands.
    On the europe side bombardment is not that effective because you can protect multiple areas by stacking in paris/western germany.

    But making bombardment better makes it kinda silly, sure a battleship can shoot what 10 miles inland, thats nice but what about the rest of the area. Even the netherlands ( a small country by every standard ) is mostly safe from coastal bombardment ( WW2 style cruise missles dont count )



  • I don’t understand your reply to my post shadowhawk. My point I was trying to make was that it is not worth defending coastal territories in this game unless you have no choice (don’t want to lose your capital for example).

    Example: In anniversary edition if the allies take France, they receive 6 IPCs for invading it. In this version, they take normandy and get 2 or southern france and get 3, but get destroyed on the counter attack. So it’s not worth defending a territory worth so little money PLUS you have to defend against the AIR FORCE and BOMBARDMENTS. When you counter attack you can bring in your own planes and don’t have to suffer hits from bombardments.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    Going off topic but it is a good point that the usa only needs to kill the ijn, it doesn’t really need transports as much on the Pacific side.

    I probably should concentrate more on sub and bomber buys there and not worry so much about cvs.


  • '16 '15 '10

    Better to prepare for a counter attack where you won’t have to deal with fighters in the battle and coastal bombardments. So no defending the atlantic wall in this version of the game.

    I think this take is mostly accurate but sometimes Allies have so many transports and (UK) fighters that they might be able to hold Normandy (especially in cases when the bulk of the Luftwaffe is far away).  In cases like that, it might behoove Germany/Italy (let’s say they are defending Germany, West Germany, and France from a big Allied fleet) to move the France stack to Normandy.  If the USA force is relatively small and the UK force is not enough to take Normandy, a 1-2 attack would be costly and risky.  Landing in Holland instead is not always an option, since it’s adjacent to Normandy and W Germany and within tank/mech range of Germany).

    In circumstances like that I’ve had success stacking Normandy with a combined German/Italian stack.



  • @Genghis:

    I don’t understand your reply to my post shadowhawk. My point I was trying to make was that it is not worth defending coastal territories in this game unless you have no choice (don’t want to lose your capital for example).

    Example: In anniversary edition if the allies take France, they receive 6 IPCs for invading it. In this version, they take normandy and get 2 or southern france and get 3, but get destroyed on the counter attack. So it’s not worth defending a territory worth so little money PLUS you have to defend against the AIR FORCE and BOMBARDMENTS. When you counter attack you can bring in your own planes and don’t have to suffer hits from bombardments.

    My point was that it really depends on what part of the board you are playing, in europe it is hardly worth defending costal zones because you can counter.
    In the pacific there are a lot of valuable islands that can be taken and countering means attacking from sea, so in that side of the board, defending coastal areas is important and then the bombardments do help a lot.

    All of the important zones on the pacific side are on the coast, only china isnt and that is worth only 1 so lets not call them important.


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