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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
When possible, send some troops to northern France to support the French and help
hold the western front.
Italy is very weak. Just do your best to stay alive.
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
If nothing else, land in Serbia, Egypt or Greece to threaten the Ottoman capital.
5 Land Units
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.
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
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.
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 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.
As mentioned above, this is one of the main purposes of having a navy. So, protect
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.
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
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
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
- 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
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
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
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
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.
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.