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Strategy Guide



  • We’ve been playing this game a bit and I decided to put my strategy thoughts down in words, mostly for me but I thought I would share it. Let me know your thoughts. I have a download link for a nicer pdf but the forum wouldn’t let me post a link.

    Axis and Allies 1914 Strategy Guide
    December 16, 2017

    1 Introduction
    Just some ideas that I consider fundamental to playing and winning Axis and Allies 1914.
    These ideas may all exist elsewhere, but I want to write them up. This is not anything about
    the rules but ideas of how to use those rules.

    A caveat: I am no expert. These are just my thoughts after having played a few times.

    2 Goals
    It is important to keep in mind that the goal of the game is to capture capitals and prevent
    your capitals from capture. It is easy to get distracted and try to take an easy country or
    take an easy piece. If it doesn’t help achieve the goal, then you shouldn’t do it.

    3 The Central Powers
    The Central Powers must capture two capitals one of which must be London or Paris. You
    aren’t going to capture London or America. Moscow is difficult (more on this below). This
    means that the easiest route to victory is to capture Rome and Paris.

    3.1 Germany

    Play offensive.
    Time is limited so you must play to attack. This means don’t buy just infantry but a
    nice mix of infantry and artillery.

    Destroy Britain’s navy in round 1.
    See below, but don’t get carried away with a navy. Just do the best you can with what
    you start with.

    Push into Russia.
    At worst, this will tie up Russia. At best, Germany should take Moscow. Most
    realistically, Germany should force the Russian revolution and then pull all remaining
    troops back to fight France.

    Push into France.
    Depending on how hard you push into Russia, this might mean to just hold that front
    until you can gather strength to really push.

    3.2 Austria

    Push into Italy.
    If you push really hard you should be able to take Italy. France can help Italy so
    Germany will have to keep France busy so France can’t help too much.

    Push into Russia.
    This will, obviously, have to be balanced with the push into Italy. A strong push into
    Russia will weaken the push into Italy and vice versa. Decide your priorities and go
    for that.

    3.3 Ottoman Empire

    Push into Russia.
    How strong the Ottomans push depends on how hard Germany and Austria are pushing
    but the Ottomans will probably push at least some in to Russia.

    Hold Britain in India, push into Egypt.
    This will depend strongly on many resources Britain devotes to India. The more
    resources Britain devotes to India the more the Ottomans will struggle. But this just
    means that Germany will have it slightly easier.

    4 The Allies

    The Allies must capture two capitals, one of which is Berlin. The Ottomans are weak so the
    easiest victory is probably Berlin and Constantinople.

    4.1 Russia

    Hold off the revolution as long as possible.
    Play very defensive (this means buy infantry!). More than likely Russia will either fall
    (not good) or have a revolution (very likely). Just prolong this as long as possible.

    Wear down Germany and Austria.
    Do whatever you can to wear them down. German will likely come at Russia hard, so
    its Russia’s job to wear down Germany as much and for as long as possible.

    4.2 France

    Hold the Western Front and push into Germany.
    Pushing into Germany might be too much to ask, but they need to hold the western
    front as strongly as possible.

    Support Italy.
    Italy is likely to fall without French support. If France is unable to help Italy that
    probably means that Germany and Austria are both pushing hard into France and
    Italy, but neglecting Russia. Thus, Russia should have some freedom.

    4.3 Britain

    Eliminate the German navy.
    This probably needs to be done right away. (But I can imagine an Ottoman-only
    strategy that might work.) This means Britain will probably need to buy some ships
    right away.

    Push the Ottomans from India.
    One goal is to eventually take Persia and start a steady stream of men from India
    pushing west. Don’t take Persia until you are ready and instead use the two transports
    until you have enough of a force to make it worth fighting in Persia.

    Support France.
    When possible, send some troops to northern France to support the French and help
    hold the western front.

    4.4 Italy

    Stay Alive!
    Italy is very weak. Just do your best to stay alive.

    4.5 America

    Provide support.
    I think it is good to just bank America’s money until round 3 and then buy what is
    necessary (either fighting ships or transports). Then, deliver the support to whoever
    needs it.

    If nothing else, land in Serbia, Egypt or Greece to threaten the Ottoman capital.

    5 Land Units

    Infantry
    These are your fodder, fighters and defenders. You will need lots of these and this is
    what you should buy with most of your money.

    Artillery
    These are your fighters. As fights go on, you will have more artillery and less infantry.
    So, buy more artillery at the beginning of the game to get them to the front. Shuttle
    more infantry to replace the killed infantry but hopefully you won’t have to replace
    your artillery.

    In addition, artillery are very important at your vulnerable sea landing areas. If your
    opponent is threatening to land and invade, keep a couple infantry and artillery so that
    your artillery gets a free shot at the incoming invaders.

    Planes
    This is a luxury item. Don’t buy any of these at the beginning of the game. I believe
    planes are only useful in two instances.

    • You have gathered a large stack of artillery so it is with the cost of a plane to
      have them attack at 4.
    • Your opponent has gathered a large stack of artillery so it is worth the cost of a
      plane to stop the attack at 4.

    Tanks
    Tanks aren’t available until round 4 and are really only useful on attack. They
    are worthless on defense. Thus, I believe these are a luxury item only useful when you
    are already winning the game and you have money to spend to finish off your opponent
    a bit quicker.

    6 Sea Units

    It is important to remember that sea units do not ever achieve any victory goals. Rather,
    they only serve two purposes:
    1. Deliver troops to fight.
    2. Stop your opponent from delivering troops.

    Thus, if you buy sea units, keep these purposes in mind.

    Transports
    As mentioned above, this is one of the main purposes of having a navy. So, protect
    your transports!

    Battleships
    These are your main fighting tool in the sea. To the extent possible, keep your battle-
    ships near a friendly port so that they can repair if damaged.

    Submarines
    These can be very useful to strike undefended transports, but only if your opponent
    makes some mistakes with his transports. More usually, these are good fodder for a
    sea battle.

    Cruisers
    These have no use. Don’t buy them. If you have some, don’t forget that they can
    travel 3 spaces. Your opponent might forget this and you can score an easy piece or
    two.

    7 Battle

    One skill you will need is to analyze potential battles and determine the expected outcome.
    There are three tools you can use to make these analyses.

    1. Battle Calculator. You can find one of these on line (I’d post a link, but no links allowed. Just google it.)
    There are also a few smart phone apps that work nicely. I loved these at first but find
    less useful once I figured out the other principles below.

    2. Hit Points. Basically add up how many hits you can take and how many hits your
    opponent can take.
    This is really important in a sea battle since that battle can go on until total annihi-
    lation. But, its also important on a land battle because you only want your opponent
    to kill your infantry and not your higher cost units.

    3. Attack Strength and Expected Hits. Just add up the attack strength of each of
    your units to get total attack strength. Thus, 3 infantry and 2 artillery have total
    strength of 14.

    The expected number of hits is the total attack strength divided by 6. Of course,
    fluctuations happen, but you should know what the most likely outcome is.

    7.1 Land Battle

    As noted above, we are basically talking about only infantry and artillery. The keys here
    are pretty obvious:
    1. Use infantry to defend. Stack these up so you get to roll a bunch of 3’s while your
    opponent rolls 2’s.
    2. Use a combination of infantry and artillery to attack. Have a good ratio of
    artillery to infantry and be ready to replace killed infantry.
    The implication of these keys are the following (and “stack” can mean anything from 1 unit
    to infinity):

    • Have a stack of infantry to defend key places.
    • Have a stack of artillery to attack with infantry. Don’t risk your artillery without
      infantry to defend it–withdraw your artillery if they are protected.
    • Attack your opponent anywhere they have a small force of infantry defending artillery.
      This will force your opponent to take artillery as losses making his next attack weaker
      (as well as costing more money to replace).

    7.2 Sea Battle

    While similar to the land battles with different units, it is actually quite different because of
    the following:
    1. Sea Battles are Optional. Unless I read the rules wrong, this means that a sea force
    can enter a region and not fight. And, if the opponent doesn’t want to fight, the force
    can move through on the next turn!
    What this means is that a multi-national sea force can defend together, but only if
    attacked! If the totality of the multi-national force is strong but no one nation is
    strong, then an opposing navy can just go through!

    2. Sea Battle can go to total annihilation. Sea battles go until the attacker wants
    to withdraw. If the attacker is winning, they aren’t going to stop the battle. If the
    attacker is losing, the other side can resume the battle on the next turn so the attacker
    will probably want to continue the fight and just do as much damage as possible.

    3. Transports can’t fight. They just get destroyed so they need severe protection,
    especially since they are ultimately the point of every sea battle.

    8 What to Buy
    Because the goal of every game is capture capitals on land, the units to buy should be
    prioritized in the following way.

    1. Infantry. These are what will actually capture a capital and should be most of all
    purchases.
    Exception: US and Britain can buy ships when necessary.

    2. Artillery. To attack well, infantry need to be paired with artillery. Buy artillery at
    the beginning and keep them safe. Then you just need a steady stream of infantry to
    replace your killed infantry.

    3. Transports. These are used to deliver infantry if you are unable to deliver infantry
    by land. Transports can also help deliver infantry faster. But, using transports to
    deliver infantry faster is probably not worth the cost of transports and not worth the
    risk (they are quite vulnerable).

    4. Battleships. These are purchased to keep your transports safe or to threaten your
    opponents transports.

    5. Submarines. These are bought to threaten your opponents transports.
    Everything else is a luxury item.

    9 A Navy?

    It is my thesis that sea units are a critical investment for the Allies and worse than a waste
    of money for the Central Powers. Here is my reasoning:

    1. The game starts with Germany able to destroy most of the British fleet and dominate
    the northern seas. A navy is crucial to the allied plan because America and Britain
    both need a navy to do anything in Europe.
    2. For the Central Powers, any money spent on a navy takes away money to spend on
    land units. All objectives needed by the Central Powers are obtained only by land
    units.

    3. The only use of a sea units for the Central Powers is to stop Britain and America
    from landing troops. Both Britain and America are many turns away from landing
    any troops (Italy, France and Russia are already in the middle of the fight so don’t
    need a navy).

    Thus, even if the Central Powers decides to build a navy, they can delay these builds
    until deemed absolutely necessary (for example, after America enters the war).

    4. Time is extremely important for the Central Powers–they have to cut into the Allies
    income (by taking territories in Russia, Italy, France and maybe Africa). Any money
    spent on a navy delays all of this while the Allies build forces.

    10 Mistakes and Annoyances

    Both you and your opponent will make mistakes (if not, then you shouldn’t be reading this!).
    Be ready to capitalize on your opponent’s mistakes and minimize yours!

    In addition, there will likely be many annoying things that you do to your opponent or
    vice versa. For example, as the Central Powers, I find the British transports off Africa very
    annoying. I also find submarines going after my transports very annoying.

    Remember the goals–capture capitals. For example, in order for your opponent to go after
    your transports with submarines, they had to spend money on those submarines instead of
    spending them on land units.

    11 Africa

    I find Africa a bit annoying. The Allies should eventually capture most of Africa and get
    that income. I can’t think of any reasonable strategy for the Central Powers to divert troops
    to try to capture anything of substance in Africa.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    You have obviously grasped some of the key challenges mosuper.

    I have probably played around 10 games of 1914 against a variety of opponents (some far more experienced that I) so I am no expert either, but my thankfully selective memory likes to forget any losses I have suffered, leaving me confident in my abilities! 😄

    My biggest point of disagreement is the suggestion that Paris is easier than Moscow. Although R has a lot of units that present a significant barrier if consolidated, I do not remember ever failing to take Moscow when playing G. (We do not play the Russian Revolution, which presumably makes this more difficult.)

    The UK (and later US) find it harder to support Moscow than Paris. Also, the capture of Paris leaves G fighting a two front war, whereas Moscow allows G to more effectively concentrate its forces on its remaining enemies.



  • I agree! Russia is much easier than France. But I mean Rome+Paris is easier than Russia+Paris.

    Rethinking some of my ideas too, but I found it helpful putting my thoughts down in writing.



  • I’m not an expert either, but I disagree that fighters are a luxury. I think they’re absolutely essential, unless you just want to throw infantry into the meat grinder. I agree with most of the rest though.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Thanks for getting the discussion started!

    I like your insight that you should build a lot of artillery up front, and then switch to a stream of infantry over time to replace casualties. I think I disagree with your suggestion that the Americans should be routinely landing troops in Greece or Egypt to march on Istanbul – there are times when a small landing in Serbia can cheaply liberate some very valuable territory in the Balkans, but I think Istanbul is just too far from New York for an attack on Istanbul to pay off. I usually find that I need to deliver troops to Normandy or Rome in order to save France or Italy from collapsing.

    I don’t think I understand what you mean by “just try to stay alive.” What does that mean, in practical or concrete terms? What should you buy? Should you make any attacks? Should you stack up in your capital, or on the front lines? Etc.

    I’m also a little more bullish on planes than you are – even if you only have 3 artillery in a stack, that’s usually enough to justify buying a plane if your opponent doesn’t have one. The plane attacks at 2, and it boosts your artillery by +1 each, so you’ve got a fast mover that essentially attacks at 5 instead of attacking at 2. Think of it like buying the occasional 6 IPC tank in Global or 1942.2…it’s not efficient, exactly, but in small quantities it’s a worthwhile addition to your infantry stack for its offensive punch and mobility.



  • I’ll have to double think planes. I’m pretty sure that I would use them if my opponent did, but then it turns into some sort of arms race.

    My reading of the rules is that planes do not attack at 2. They only boost all the artillery to 4. But, I think your math is right–having three artillery attacking with a plane gives you a boost of 3. Do this twice and you’ve made up the cost of the plane.

    America… yes, help out wherever they are going to help tip the scales.

    Italy… I’m not sure but the country is so small there aren’t many options. Hold the border to the north as well as you can, kick out any austrians who come over via boat. Does anyone else have a good plan for the italians that isn’t equivalent to “do whatever you have to to stay alive”???


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    Surviving planes do attack at 2 mosuper.

    In my games the ability of planes to enhance artillery power does lead to a constant attempt by all to achieve aerial supremacy. However the need to invest in so much else - infantry cannon fodder and artillery itself, let alone navy where relevant - might typically lead to a one plane per round purchase.



  • Wow! I missed that. I just looked it up and It seems like every game I play we learn something we were playing wrong. Thanks for that. That makes the planes more valuable for sure. Okay, they are off the luxury list and getting closer to the necessary list for me. Thanks!



  • @mosuper:

    Wow! I missed that. I just looked it up and It seems like every game I play we learn something we were playing wrong. Thanks for that. That makes the planes more valuable for sure. Okay, they are off the luxury list and getting closer to the necessary list for me. Thanks!

    round 1 destroy British navy you say, does this involve 2 attacks? 2 subs vs the fleet near Canada and the rest the main fleet?


  • 2016

    Tanks are crucial.  A force with just 3 tanks can survive all the attacks against 6 defenders for the long push to the enemy’s capital.  Otherwise attrition will make you too weak for the final conflict.



  • @Mukremin:

    round 1 destroy British navy you say, does this involve 2 attacks? 2 subs vs the fleet near Canada and the rest the main fleet?

    Its been a while since I played 1914. I think you should just set it up and experiment what is best, but getting rid of that fleet is important. I know we played one game where the axis attacked my fleet, 90% chance of destroying me but I held tight. It really made it difficult for the axis.



  • @Carolina:

    Tanks are crucial.  A force with just 3 tanks can survive all the attacks against 6 defenders for the long push to the enemy’s capital.  Otherwise attrition will make you too weak for the final conflict.

    My point was that by the time tanks can make it to the front line, momentum is already set. Sure, buy a few tanks, I think you are probably right, buying 2-3 can make a difference in the push.



  • @mosuper:

    @Mukremin:

    round 1 destroy British navy you say, does this involve 2 attacks? 2 subs vs the fleet near Canada and the rest the main fleet?

    Its been a while since I played 1914. I think you should just set it up and experiment what is best, but getting rid of that fleet is important. I know we played one game where the axis attacked my fleet, 90% chance of destroying me but I held tight. It really made it difficult for the axis.

    i tried in my scenario attacking both fleets, i succeeded in destroying the UK fleet near Canada while losing 1 sub. Main UK fleet off England i destroyed also with me left with 1 cruiser and half damaged battleship. It sure stops British landings in France.



  • Going full Russia in my experience is a standard play by the Cp. All of them are bordering Russia, and it becomes a meatgrinder in our games in which Russia has two or three battles (one for each power), or one or two battles with a combination of Austria and Germany. Ive even had battles with all 3 cps in there. Its not too difficult to defeat Russia especially with the tourney rules i always play with. France is fun for me cause you gotta think outside the box.



  • @drsnidely:

    I’m not an expert either, but I disagree that fighters are a luxury. I think they’re absolutely essential, unless you just want to throw infantry into the meat grinder. I agree with most of the rest though.

    Fighters are not a luxury. You defiantly need fighters.

    @DessertFox599:

    Going full Russia in my experience is a standard play by the Cp. All of them are bordering Russia, and it becomes a meatgrinder in our games in which Russia has two or three battles (one for each power), or one or two battles with a combination of Austria and Germany. Ive even had battles with all 3 cps in there. Its not too difficult to defeat Russia especially with the tourney rules i always play with. France is fun for me cause you gotta think outside the box.

    I usually set “Traps” as Russia. It draws as many units as possible into the Eastern Front long enough for America to land in force in France.


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