@Brian-Cannon I’m a bit late getting to this but as @aardvarkpepper suggested, the battle calculator (hosted by this very site at http://calc.axisandallies.org/) is your friend here. Basically, before committing to your moves, take a look at what your opponent’s possible moves are going to be and run battle calculations on what would happen if your opponent played a certain way (IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember to set the “rounds of combat” setting to “all” and “10,000X” (more simulated battles = more accurate prediction) and to also set the “luck” setting to “1942” and “Pure Luck” to be accurate to AAO.
I’m not going to speak to your specific game example because that’s not what this thread was about, but I’ll give you the same advice other people gave when faced faced the “Dark Skies” strategy. Basically, a large intimidating air stack can only attack one large stack (be it a land stack of ~10 INF or greater or a naval stack of ~5 Destroyers or greater) in one round. Because of this, you need to be a bit greedy and push forward with all of your large stacks simultaneously, creating potentially-game-winning threats in multiple regions of the board. This puts the Allies in a bad spot because they’ll be forced to choose between solidly destroying one of your threats (and letting the other ones get off scott-free to accomplish its objective) and taking multiple risky fights trying to stop all of your threats (which will probably result in the air stack getting severely reduced/destroyed, making it your victory). I’ve been talking in abstracts here but I can give a rough-ish approximation based on your game. Don’t take this as a one-to-one guide on what you should’ve done in that game, I have no idea what the board looked like:
Scenario: USA is ferrying air stacks from W. USA -> Yakut -> Center Map (Moscow). USA is using said stack to wipe out anything that moves (i.e. Japanese navy, Germany trading attempts in Russia, etc.).
Threat #1 - Get Germany’s entire army (or at least a good chunk of it) in Caucasus, threatening Moscow and demanding that USA keep the air stack in or around Moscow.
Threat #2 - Move out with Japan’s fleet and either threaten taking Hawaii+India for the last VCs (you said you had Karelia earlier and I’m assuming with a strategy like this the Allies weren’t taking Philippines/Rome/Paris anytime soon) OR threaten challenging/destroying the US fleet off of Alaska. If taking the first option here you’d just need to spend a turn or two spamming land units on Japan proper to avoid a landing in Japan. Japan is really easy to defend because of it’s 8 production.
With a large-enough Japanese Navy threatening game-over in one part of the board (by either sinking the USN (thus shutting off the stream of air units into Russia) and the German Army threatening game-over in another (Moscow), the USA in this hypothetical scenario is forced to use their air stack to either sink the IJN or wipe out the German Army. If they sink the IJN the Nazis grab Moscow and win the game, and if they wipe out the Caucasus stack the IJN accomplishes its objective and you win the game. If the USA tries for both they’ll probably fail unless the AAO RNG screws you, in which case you do what the rest of us good folks do and make a thread/post complaining about it.
tl;dr Use the Battle Calculator. Make multiple threats so the Allies need to pick one to deal with and the other(s) can prevail without issue. Don’t fear the reaper, as the song goes.
Hope this helps at least somewhat.