Allied Playbook Draft v1.0
Welcome to the Allied Playbook v1.0
This article is a compilation of the best Allied strategies, as proposed by Crockett36. These ideas are gambits and strategems that the community developed for the original ruleset, though most of them are useful for modified games. I present the moves and buys and an overall plan. Then, I briefly lay out the problems with that plan.
These are not “how to win the game/beat the axis” plans—that would be too complex and conditional. When plans were developed by others, I’ve tried to give credit, and most of the plans have been fleshed out by the Axa.org community. My version of another contributor’s plan may depart from theirs, for the sake of simplicity.
Russia Armored Mobility
Buy/Moves: R1 Buy 6 armor. R2 Buy more armor, and mechs. Move everything to Bryansk/Belarus so that it threatens any German Stacks.
Plan: Instead of building a bastion of infantry, this plan uses mobility troops to threaten the Germans as they approach. If Germany declares war early, the Russians force them to stack up in East Poland and stick together, slowing the offensive down. If Germany doesn’t declare war on G1-2 and doesnt move everything east, these units can stack up on the border along with everything else the Russians have and force Germany into a risky early battle. Infantry and artillery produce too little threat and so this plan gives Russia more options.
Problems; Without a giant mass of infantry to protect them, the tanks and factories are vulnerable. Germany has so many infantry, armor, and air units that even if you put everything Russia has in the West onto one territory, they can still destroy it.
Russia NO Gambit;
Moves; Keep the 1 Armor and 1 Mech from Stalingrad in Caucasus. When Russia enters the war, liberate NW Persia. Build 1-3 more mechs and 1 armor. R 3-5 Liberate Persia and Iraq. R 6+ Liberate Ethiopia and Somalia. R 8+ Liberate Sicily and Sardina using friendly allied transports.
Plan: Russia exploits its special NO for taking Axis and Pro Axis territory, gaining more income.
Problems; This diverts crucial Russian mobility pieces away from the defense of the homeland. UK can’t take out the Italians in Ethiopia if Russia wants it. Russia can’t afford IC and units in Iraq and Persia and so the opportunity to build there with the richer Allies is lost. This plan is complex and takes a long time to execute so Russia may die in the meantime.
Moves; US 1-4 plenty of transports and fighters. UK same.
Plan; Violate Spanish neutrality to establish a beachhead early in the game. Build a factory in Spain, then use Gibraltar port to move back and forth from the US East coast in a shuck-shuck. This is the best way to attack Axis-held France directly on land.
Problems; Germany can take advantage of neutrality breach to get a boost in troops and income, especially if UK doesn’t demolish Turkey the same turn US takes Spain. Germany can also build at the French factories to block you, and if they see your plan, potentially overwhelm the Allies before they can build in force and take the factory away from you.
Allied Dark Skies
Buys/Moves; US 1-5 build primarily strategic bombers.
Plan; Strategic bombers are the only US unit with enough mobility to get over to the center of the map before the Axis own most of that territory. Fly the bombers to UK, then onto Moscow. Use the massive threat of the bombers to demolish any German fleet hiding in the Baltic or Med. Use their mobility to zap whichever land or sea units that are exposed. Fly the bombers to Moscow to act as casualties or alpha-strike Axis blockers and exposed units.
Problems; The US cant build much else when it is spending its money on bombers, and planes cannot take or hold territory. Many of the potential attacks will be made without other US units, so only high-value bombers can be taken as casualties. Germany has access to so many factories (2 major, 5 minor by G4) it is difficult to suppress them all. Allied units in Russia ruin a Russian NO.
Moves; R1 Move 20 Russian units to Sahka. R 2-4 Move 20 Russian Units to Amur. US 1-3 Buy 4-5 Strategic bombers. US 4-6 more bombers and fleet.
Plan; The US can threaten SZ 6 with newly built strategic bombers and land in Amur. Along with a threatening US fleet, SZ 6 isn’t safe and Japan must protect it or lose its ability to place new units. The Japanese will often attack Russian units left on the coast, but as they move south to take the money territories, the Russians step up and the US has a safe landing zone. Once the Bombers are safe in Amur, they can Stratbomb Japan proper.
Problems; The Russian troops can’t help in the defense of Moscow. Since Russia goes before Japan, the Allies would have to guess about when Japan intends to declare war and step up to the coast. The Strategic bombers don’t add defense and Amur is too far away for US fighters to help.
Moves; UK1 Transport with 2 units + 3 planes land on Java. Z1 Transport with 2 units + 3 planes land on Java.
Plan: Block the spice islands bonus for as long as possible, and fly away to safety if Japan comes at this node in force. This is a way to get the planes to India without the threat of destruction. With 3 sacrificial allied ships, this node can be screened out (37, 43, 44) even when Japan has control of a port.
Problems: You cant use the planes and ships to do other useful things, and the UK cant take Sumatra and/or Persia.
Northlock and Southlock can be used as a combined strategy.
US “Over the Top”
Moves; US 1-4 Build transports and a fleet with at least 14 hits. US 4-6 Liberate Norway. US 5-8 Liberate Finland and build Industrial complexes in both Norway and Finland. Liberate Leningrad. Uk builds fighters.
Plan; Once the US enters the war, the US takes Norway. It can attack from SZ 91, though that leaves it in the more vulnerable SZ 112. It can approach from above, landing in SZ 125. This ruins a German Bonus. Once the Germany Baltic fleet is dead, there isn’t anything they can do to recover the lost income or stop these factories pouring out aid to Russia.
Problems; The US fleet and ground forces are vulnerable to interdiction as long as the German navy is hiding in the Baltic and the German Luftwaffe is on West Germany. This plan takes a long time to come to fruition. UK and Russia can’t liberate either territory and still have the USA build factories there.
Moves; R1 Declare war on Japan. Move 1 Fig and 1 TB from Moscow to Yunnan, and 1 Armor and 1 Mech to Sikang. Use Russian pieces to keep China alive.
Plan; Make it harder for Japan to cut the Burma Road bonus and smash China.
Problems: This diverts crucial Russian mobility pieces away from the defense of the homeland. Without extra China bid infantry, the Japanese can still easily crush Yunnan. The stack is difficult to move forward because Russia goes before Japan and the other Allies, after Japan. This plan does cause Japan some headaches, but doesn’t help Russia survive.
The Berlin Bank Job
Moves: US takes Denmark. UK transits Danish Straits to capture Germany.
Plan: The Allies take advantage of a German player who leaves Denmark and Germany lightly (or un-) defended. In a one-two punch, the US captures Denmark, opening the door for the UK to sail into the Baltic and amphibious assault into Germany, capturing Berlin and stealing Germany’s money. Executed at the right time, this move can save Moscow by preventing Germany from purchasing new units for at least one turn. Also, the UK gets a huge one-time income boost.
Problems: In order to keep the German player from becoming alarmed and reinforcing Denmark and Germany, the Allies can’t have a huge troop buildup in advance of the operation. This means that minimal force must be used, which means that those units committed to Denmark and Germany are essentially on a suicide mission. This includes any British naval units which enter the Baltic, as they’ll be trapped there until Denmark is again liberated or they’re killed by the Luftwaffe, whichever comes first. This plan forces the Germans to try and defend 3 separate territories (Denmark, W. Germany, Germany) which can leave them vulnerable.
Moves; UK 1 SB 2-3 Fig 1 TB 1 CV 1 CA 1 DD attack the Italian 1 BB 1 CA 1 TT (3 Fig) SZ 97.
Plan; Destroy most of Italy’s transports before they rage. Italy is obligated to counterattack the survivors, leaving Italy with virtually nothing left on I2. Helps ensure the survival of Egypt and keeps Italy away from the Oil money.
Problems; The UK fleet is lost and the Med is ripe to be cleared. If the CA in SZ 91 is dead, a ship has to be diverted to kill the Italian 1 DD 1 TT in SZ 95.
Moves; Use the UK units in Alexandria and the UK Transport to smash the 6 Italian units in Tobruk.
Plan: Eliminate the land threat to Egypt
Problems; The Italian units are stuck there and can be whittled down with less risk over time. May divert forces from Taranto, which destroys more TUV and Italy’s best units.
Taranto and Tobruk Raids can be combined in to one strategy, though the risk increases since every UK unit in the region has a job to do and is on the line.
Moves; UK 1 buy an airbase for Gibraltar. Move 3 fighters to Gibraltar. UK destroys the Italian blockers in SZ 95, then moves everything it can into SZ 92 1 CV 2 Fig (1 TB, +2 Fig) 2 CA 1-2 DD etc.
Plan; Keep a powerful UK fleet alive, that can form the nucleus of a new Home Fleet even when SZ 110/111 were annihilated. Block the Italian clear med bonus. Keep Gibraltar safe all game. Fly fighters direct to Egypt.
Problems; This is an alternative to Taranto and you can’t do both. The Italians can attack SZ 92 with everything they have if Southern France was taken by Germany, and potentially destroy the fleet. Spending on the airbase and moving the fighters to Gibraltar means UK Home Islands are vulnerable to a Sea Lion.
Moves: UK1 Liberate Persia. UK2 Build IC in Persia and Liberate Iraq UK3 Build IC in Iraq
Plan; This is the most powerful way to bring UK Atl’s resources to aid UK Pac and Russia. Persia is the only space where you can fly newly built fighters direct to Moscow. Mechanized units can help UK Pac survive.
Problems; UK can’t take Sumatra and UK Pac has less income. UK Atl has to be careful that it doesnt overspend in the ME and leave the Home Islands vulnerable. Best paired with Taranto to ensure Italy doesnt threaten the factories before they can produce enough units to defend themselves. Entering Russia with Allied units ruins one of their national objectives.
The Sneaky Karl
Moves; UK 2-3 move a DD among the Japanese fleet at peace in SZ 36, then declare war on Japan with ANZAC.
Plan; Japan can’t load their transports in a hostile SZ. They will often set up for DoW by placing a big pile of ships and men on Kwangsi. This prevents them from taking the spice islands and ruins their war plans.
Problems; Can’t be used during J1 DoW. Decouples the US declaration of war from the other Allies, so the US sits out with minimum income for the maximum time. Japan can prevent the entire plan by leaving its ground units on the transports during the interturn.
UK/ANZAC Pre-emtive Declaration of War
Moves: Z1 take Dutch New Guinea, UK 1 take Sumatra. UK 2-3 declare war with UK/ANZAC before Japan does.
Plan; Get the NO for Hong Kong, and both NO for ANZAC, giving them maximum early income.
Problems; Can’t be used during J1 DoW. Decouples the US declaration of war from the other Allies, so the US sits out with minimum income for the maximum time.
ANZAC on Deck
Moves: Z 1-2 build 1 fighter. Z 3-5 build more fighters, and/or subs.
Plan: The US will use its might to provide 2-3 extra empty CV at SZ 26 to accomodate up to 6 extra fighters from ANZAC. This increases the sea defense of the US fleet so that the US concentrates on subs or airplanes that increase striking power. Because US and Z both go after Japan, the US can initiate a strike and then ANZAC can use its fighters and subs to finish off any survivors.
Problems; The ANZAC fighters cant help India or Moscow. The Fighters are stuck on allied carriers in some situations and take up space that could be used to get US fighters/TB in position.
Overall Concept: Crockett36
Northlock, Southlock, ANZAC on Deck: Taamvan and Maphead
Spanish Beachead: Young Grasshopper
Russian Mobility: Gargantua/Weddingsinger
Middle Earth: General Hand Grenade
Allied Dark Skies: Cow
Sneaky Karl; Karl
One more Allied gambit comes to mind. No idea who had the original idea, but I’m calling it…
The Berlin Bank Job
Moves: US takes Denmark. UK transits Danish Straits to capture Germany.
Plan: The Allies take advantage of a German player who leaves Denmark and Germany lightly (or un-) defended. In a one-two punch, the US captures Denmark, opening the door for the UK to sail into the Baltic and amphibious assault into Germany, capturing Berlin and stealing Germany’s money. Executed at the right time, this move can almost single-handedly save Moscow by preventing Germany from purchasing new units for at least one turn. Also, the UK gets a huge one-time income boost.
Problems: In order to keep the German player from becoming alarmed and reinforcing Denmark and Germany, the Allies can’t have a huge troop buildup in advance of the operation. This means that minimal force must be used, which means that those units committed to Denmark and Germany are essentially on a suicide mission. This includes any British naval units which enter the Baltic, as they’ll be trapped there until Denmark is again liberated or they’re killed by the Luftwaffe, whichever comes first.
@The-Pripet-Martian love it—usa “kicks open the door” and uk steps thru!
@taamvan Small suggestion: A little bit of formatting would be helpful. Maybe subheadings for the different strategies. It’s a little confusing where one starts and the other ends.
Nice compilation though!
@koala got it will make some cleanup changes to the text once people have some more chance to comment
Great job. Excellent, exhaustive. Tremendous accomplishment. Succinct! May I read this on my YouTube channel? This should be a sticky thing.
Now, on to advancing the football. The next step might be to make up a book that could be sold at HBG or a kindle edition or self publish. I’m not kidding. This has been a goal of mine, but I haven’t been able to get to it. In my experience there are many one hit wonders. People who played once and said, “This game is not for me.” Some of it is probably because of imbalance. Some of it is because of being overwhelmed. I was recently overwhelmed by the rules to 7 Wonders. It reminded me of my first time playing AnA. If we could hand them a book like this one, preferably with illustrations, they will see the panoply of options and execute one, have fun in getting it done (even if they lose) and say to themselves, “I want to come back and try that Berlin Bank job out.”
Taamvan, if you can do this, that would be great. Say it here. Claim the “rights”. If you can’t, can someone out there with lot of time on their hands, get this done. I was going to set up a Patreon account and ask for a 5 or 10 or 20 dollar donation. Even more if you produce something special.
In talking with Tristan, Larry and Tom and Levi, I’ve concluded that the audience for such materials or my videos or even posts on this site are not the pros. It’s for the people who are being beat by the pros. It’s for the beginners and the middle tier that could benefit and be encouraged to not shelve this game, but try something new.
I would include in such a book an explanation of bidding and handicapping. I have a video where I discuss this (Ivans or Jerries, depending on which side needs handicapping) This is a very practical suggestion and should not be ignored.
Perhaps you could also address the difference between a one day tabletop event and an online play it out to the end game. The tabletop discussion should include some house ruled victory conditions. What think you? Here’s to playing Axis and Allies for the next 50 years!
@crockett36 @taamvan I second crockett36’s thoughts re: a book/booklet. I’ve written one, myself, and hope to sell it through HBG (I’m currently in the process of editing). My booklet addresses overall strategic concepts - not specific strategies - so a “playbook,” when read in tandem with my project, would benefit beginner and intermediate players greatly.
Also, while I don’t address bids or handicapping, I’ve included a set of house rules I’ve developed and playtested over the past couple of years. This rule set adds depth and historical flavor/accuracy while opening up new strategic options and may even eliminate the need for bids…and manages most of the above through additions, rather than changes, to OOB rules.
@The-Pripet-Martian sounds really interesting. It’s Like Thanksgiving, you can add, but never subtract
new addition: the Bryansk kill box! check out my game against Trulpin.
Warning, destructive feedback incoming.
But frankly, this is entirely useless. It lists some “strategies” that either don’t work at all or heavily depend on the context of what the Axis do.
This does not tackle the basic strategic considerations for the Allies AT ALL and is rather harmful than useful for players.
When I find some time I will write down some things that I would call “elements of an Allied playbook”.
@JDOW we will be waiting.
To be more specific: There is no such thing as long term plans with detailed explanations what to do. There are abstract objectives that one should try to achieve.
Most of those objectives are situation-based, I go into more detail later.
So an Allied playbook could start like:
As Allies there are a couple of “all-time” objectives
- Do not lose Moscow (cheaply)
- Do not lose Egypt (cheaply)
- Do not lose India (cheaply)
- Keep an economic lead
So before anybody starts like “but I lose Egypt/Moscow/India often and still win” the answer is “you won DESPITE you lost it”. The key word is the “cheaply” at the end. Allies usually cannot do anything about it if one power wants to take one of these cities no matter the costs. So the question is not “Did they get it” but “At what price”? If the price is too high, those achievements are pyrrhus victories
Ok, so “how to not lose Moscow”?
Again, it does not make any sense to determine a strategy before you saw the G1. The G1 HEAVILY influences the way Russia is to play, so as Allies, lean back wait for the German turn 1 to complete and then ask the following questions:
- What did Germans buy? Naval or ground or air?
- How many planes did the Germans lose?
- Did any fast mover die on French soil?
- How many inf did the Germans lose at Yugo?
Based on the answers, the overall strategy can be determined as:
- If the Germans played all against Russia (ground buy, no planes lost, good dice Yugo and France) --> Turtle with Russia!
Against well-played Anti-Russian Germans the Russians CANNOT go offensive. They won’t be able to stop the Germans if supported by Italian can openers.
Thus, buy 11 inf 1 art and turtle.
By the way, I could write pages full of considerations on “How to turtle correctly”, playing Russia correctly is some kind of art to me which is underestimated by many players (my personal opinion) but let’s keep it simple for now.
IF the Germans lost a lot of planes/fast movers/inf at Yugo and IF they went Naval G1 -> Then Russians can create more attacking power. I would still advise against 6 armor and rather buy like 7 art, 3 inf, or 4 art and 7 inf.
What about the Siberians? I do not have a clear answer on that but I usually keep 12-15 dudes close to the Japanese. I do not like keeping all 18 there because it has value to have a few dudes that can back up the Chinese in the Eastern China.
Also I do not like to move all 18 guys home. This leaves Japan too much freedom to focus on India and to achieve a major Axis objective: Get India cheaply!
Also, I am not a fan of sending lots of Russians into China. I wouldn’t way it cannot be good but this imo exploits players that play too slowly against Russia.
Well played Axis keep the pressure on Russia early and I believe they need their full force to face this. But this is certainly up for discussion.
So this is how I would teach someone to play the Allies and it is just 1 out of maybe 30-50 lessons I am afraid.
Example of a situation-based objective.
When I played a play-off game vs ME1945 he made a naval buy G1 and a J1 DOW.
Under these circumstances, any plan I might have had would become useless and I had to focus on a situation-based objective.
The situation-based objective was the Germans threatening to take Gibraltar and to place their fleet there and have a lot of options from there the Allies don’t like.
So in the given situation, the objective was: Do NOT allow the Germans to take Gib and to place their fleet there.
As a consequence of that, I bought like 6 subs and placed them in 101. Something I never did before but something which I considered necessary.
This example should illustrate again the uselessness of plans on how to play the US before a game started.
For US the same applies as for Russia. Do not bother about planning but wait for the J1 to be complete and THEN determine what your objectives are and act according to it.
And this goes on and on. After J2 a lot of variables have changed and you need an understanding on how to react on these variables and definitely not and big plans on how to play turns 1-5 with the US before the game even started.
@JDOW Achtung! Constructive Non-Rebuttal Incoming!
If you’ll recall, I was previously in the camp of “there cannot be any non-conditional Allied Strategy that does not react to what the Axis do” and therefore, any attempt to lay out a strategy would be, as your response shows, hopelessly conditional, situational, narrative, anecdotal, and complex. If you read what I posted more carefully, I did not call this a “Strategy Guide”, and explained that these are “stratagems”–TRICKS, not full-game strategies. Upon contemplating the word playbook, I thought of an American football playbook, which contains a huge variety of different “plays” that can be used whenever the situation and opponent warrant that.
Overall, I agree that many of these are bad ideas–I would never violate neutrality with the allies, move key soviet pieces out of Russia…but I also didnt come up with many of these ideas and wanted to compile all the novel plans that the group came up with. The reason is that the Allies are at a major disadvantage in the core game and can’t take elemental risks, in many cases they have to play exceptionally conservatively and in the very rote way you lay out (protect UK, protect Russia), which is effective, but boring.
If I were making an Axis Playbook/Strategy Guide, I could offer up at least 5 versions of Sea Lion; best G1 prep for it as a firm plan, best way to surprise your enemy with it on turns 2 and 3, best way to keep your options open and force UK to keep reacting, best way to accomplish it when you do it with Italy’s help, best way to do it later in the game…none produce great odds as long as UK buys 6 infantry and 1 fighter and protects UK all game. If I wrote the playbook that way, I could save alot of text by just saying “Don’t bother with Sea Lion unless your opponent fails to protect the UK”
Your opinions are worthy of more than a response, but deference, as you are one of the best players and have laid out great plans, which I have imitated. I am accustomed to criticism both in life and on social media, and in many cases, my arguments and approach are simply off base and I concede when I’m wrong. If these ideas are genuinely “useless”, then I can edit the post to state “Allied Strategy Guide 101; Watch what the Axis do and respond to that,” though we’ve already said that for years and it isn’t inspiring. This only took me part of one morning to write up, i’m not that married to it, and if the best thing that comes from it is that it prompted you to spill out 10-20 pages of detailed ideas of what to do in every situation and based on whether 1,2,3, or 4 men survive in Yugoslavia, then it was worth my time, because I’ll read it. post edited to conform the sloppy use of the word strategy vs plan
@JDOW Achtung! Constructive Non-Rebuttal Incoming!
Thanks man, much appreciated! Sorry for my aggressive tone. I admit, I am kind of annoyed (although I know it is absurd because there is no rational reason to care) about the fact that basically every strategy thread is based on these one-dimensional ideas that are useless to me. And then I say another try of a player creating some kind of playbook and then I saw “oh dear, one dimensional deterministic stuff again” and I reacted very impatiently.
I would say you explained it nicely in your response. Your guide is a list of ideas that provides inspiration for possible plans and objectives one could have. I think it would benefit from adding a disclaimer that clearly states that it is always a bad idea to stubbornly follow the plan and always check whether the opponent’s play makes you change your objectives and your play.
I am heavily considering giving the community something back and for now, I would say that my playbook would all be about 2 things:
- Objectives: All-time objectives and situational objectives
- Execution: A&A is a game of details. 2 Players can have the exact same strategic ideas, one succeeds, the other fails miserably because of poor technique.
But I would guess videos explainings moves using the tripleA client would be the better medium than writing wall of texts in the forum.
Maybe I’ll start a series one day, let’s see.
If I wrote the playbook that way, I could save alot of text by just saying “Dont bother with Sea Lion unless your opponent fails to protect the UK”
Yep, exactly. this is how I would tackle sealion in my strategy guide
If this is a list of potential allied gambits rather than what I would call a playbook, one thing is missing.
USA lands on Korea from Midway, Hawaii or the Carolines. USSR uses its Amur stack to reinforce said landing and keeps Mongolia alive. Next turn, USA can land planes and build an IC and also start attacking Manchuria. This can be aided by a naval base on Midway, which requires 3 DDs to block.
The good part here is that a large force is needed to stay north to stop this move. The bad part is that you aren’t threatening the money islands.
One playbook I will write. If there is a G1 DOW, build IC on Persia UK2, fighters UK3, move to Moscow UK4. Next step: win.