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I’m usually opposed to saying things don’t work. When it’s said something doesn’t work, players get the idea “oh hey, someone said it doesn’t work, now we don’t need to think about it”.
And usually, I think there’s something to be said for the legitimacy of different lines of play. You get players with different risk preferences, starting off different dice outcomes and player actions, trying to play lines an opponent doesn’t know so the opponent won’t play as accurately, etc. So it’s usually less that something doesn’t work, as you just need to find the right situation.
But for Sealion, I feel there’s just a little too much to fight against, just a little too much of the uphill battle for too long, not enough good options. It’s like R1 2 fighter buy, like you see there’s some good things that come out of it, but you start adding up the conditions you need to make it work, figure out the probable downsides, it’s like “whoa”.
So anyways Board Game Nation recently put out a nice video on Youtube, and in the comments I was like mmm, I dunno, Sealion, it’s gonna bite you in the ***, and they were like hey we’ll make a video about it and I was like OMG rly I’m SUPER interested (because I am) and they’re like hey, they think Sealion’s cool, and I’m like hey yeah? Because I don’t think it works, not really. But won’t that be interesting if Board Game Nation does put out a KJF video; maybe then I’ll see something that changes my mind about how things work, and that’s always very interesting and fun, at least I think it is.
Instead of waiting to watch the video then writing a text wall, I figured why not just start in? Because the reasons I think Sealion doesn’t work aren’t about disagreeing with anyone in particular, it’s just mathematics and mechanics and even though I don’t have a full analysis, I think I can give enough that others will see my point.
First off, a disclaimer, this is just my OPINIONS about mathematics and stuff that’s just there in the game. And yeah, I say “opinions” but you read through, you’ll see what I mean, there’s something to what I’m saying. Anyways, I’m not trying to claim I’m some big original thinker even if I’ve never seen anyone write stuff remotely like what I’m writing; as far as I’m concerned others just couldn’t be bothered to write it up, and who can blame them. Certainly I know some specific people that can’t be bothered but I won’t get into IRL stuff here.
Another important thing, I’m talking about competent players. Often I’ll watch videos by some players that say “okay, here’s what’s going to happen!” (not picking on anyone in particular, lot of different content creators) and it happens, and I’m like yeah okay we all just saw it happen but it should NOT have happened because the opponent obviously screwed up here and here and there, and this is exactly how and why it went wrong and if the things that ought to have happened didn’t happen, then you can’t count on this setup happening, so how can you assume that the same standard should apply to all players? If cascade failures are so normal, why doesn’t the content creator seem to run into those same issues manifesting in similar ways when they play the other side? I’m not saying exactly the same, I’m saying even accounting for aberrant dice and reasonable player action, the games look nothing similar, why do you really think that is?
Anyways to the topic. I say Sealion doesn’t work (probably). Why?
Okay, first some general observations. Germany has 15 production capacity between Germany, Italy, and Karelia, and all those territories and Germany’s target are contiguous on the same continent. Germany has the largest stack size in Europe/Asia out of the Axis, Russia has the largest stack size in Europe/Asia out of the Allies. Axis air serves a dual purpose against KGF (Kill Germany First - I wrote elsewhere why KJF (Kill Japan First) is just so bad in 1942 Online), anyways Axis air both threatens Atlantic shipping and ground targets.
More, Japan has 8 production capacity, if Japan buys ICs that’s 15 IPCs down the drain, then Japan has to defend that territory as well, plus Japan’s forte is mobility with dropping units via transport to any number of coastal territories and being able to reposition air. That’s not to say Japan can’t challenge Russia’s stacks in the right situation, but it’s a long time for that to happen if the Allies are at all competent, the more Japan spends on ICs the less flexibility and mobility Japan has, there’s just this kind of ugly place where if you’re already winning with Axis then you can leverage Japan into slowly crushing Russia, but if you’re not winning with Axis then shoving poor mobility stacks at Russia works against you.
What I’m getting at is - Japan has limited income (though it goes up later), limited production capacity, small starting stacks, and for all those reasons it just takes a while for it to legitimately challenge Russia. This is not me saying “this is how I play the game, therefore this is what is mathematically right”. I’m just saying you think about the game mechanics and the starting position, this is literally what is there.
What does that have to do with Sealion? I’m getting there.
A little more background though. So let’s say you have an Allied combined defensive stack with USSR ground units, UK fighters, and US fighters. How are you going to beat that stack down? Are you going to make a lot of attacks with small stacks, that kill your small stacks in one round of defender fire, while your small stacks inflict only minor casualties on the massed defenders? Let’s consider a very simple example.
Let’s say 4 tanks attack 8 tanks, and that both attackers and defenders get hits on half their dice. Correctly predicting the outcome statistically that isn’t REALLY what we should expect but for simplicity and brevity I’m not going to dig into two-peaked discrete probability distributions here, this is just an oversimplified example for illustrative purposes.
Anyways in one round of fire the 4 attacking tanks destroy 2 defending tanks. The 8 defending tanks destroy 4 attacking tanks. Combat ends, attackers lost 4 units, defenders lost 2 units.
That’s just how it works. Again, this is not about me and my claims about how I think things work (in fact, I want to be VERY clear this is NOT how it REALLY works once you start properly considering multi-peak discrete probability distributions which is how you’d correctly understand mathematically model outcomes in Axis and Allies). But for illustrative purposes, you understand, you have small stacks attacking big stacks, that’s not going to be a good thing on an ongoing basis okay?
But? Oh okay, let’s look at some other stuff. If you have naval bombardment then you can reduce even huge enemy stacks at reasonable attacker costs. It’s still bad; you need a fleet that can bombard which isn’t the best naval composition by far (I’ll leave off THAT explanation too, just take my word for it or not, feel free to ask about it if you want though), the attacker still needs to invest more IPCs than the defender, and it’s just not great at all, but if you do have that infrastructure then it does at least beat sending small stacks to attack huge stacks on a repeating ongoing basis.
Or if you do industrial bombing that doesn’t weaken the enemy stack directly, but if the bombing keeps up and the bombers don’t get shot down, that production has to be paid for at some point. (Which is ANOTHER whole discussion, but golly, let’s just not for now okay).
But what I’m getting at is - for Germany, you don’t have a big bombardment fleet, I say you don’t want to build one. (If anyone wants to dispute, I’m fine with picking up on that, just say the word). Even if Germany did have a big naval bombard fleet, you can’t hit West Russia with naval bombards, so that’s out.
Since you don’t have those various ways of dealing with the Allied combined defensive stack (and you COULD use Japan to industrial bomb, though that’s another whole topic I won’t get into), but anyways think about the German strengths. Big starting stacks. High production. High income. Territories contiguous to the target, ideal for producing then blitzing tanks that can quickly catch up to the front. You want to break the Allied combined defensive stack with an even bigger German stack, and if you do early German infantry builds, later German tank builds, then switch to German bombers for the push into USSR, well - if Allies are going KGF they’re going to try to put on the pressure to prevent exactly that, but that is what you try for.
And if you can’t break the Allied defensive stack with Germany, then you try to bleed out USSR from the rear with Japan with trades and/or industrial bombing, Japan also cuts into UK income in Asia and Africa, and if the Allies don’t get the Allied defense to where it needs to be on the right time, then the Axis can just out-income the Allies, bleed out the various territories, wait for Japan to grow into a monster, then Japan crushes USSR while Germany fends UK and US off from cost-effective ground reinforcement. Something like that.
But whatever openings the Allies leave and however the Axis play, the one fundamental thing is Germany should play to its strengths. Build on its stack sizes and try to hit a timing to either break the Allied combined defense or push it back; if the Allies are pushed back then the Axis get more income, the Allies are under more pressure to break the Axis position, the Allies send more units to that position, the Allies have less to send to Africa, the Allies send less to Africa the Axis can get income out of Africa, the Allies can get some counterplay if UK gets France income but . . . leaving off yet another topic, let’s just say no matter what Germany does, it’s going to want to have really good-sized stacks at forward positions against USSR.
So now let’s think about what happens with a G1 carrier. What is kinda the axiomatic Axis game plan? You push German stack and strengthen the timing, such that either the Allies player take a bad-odds stand on W Russia right around G4 (more on this later), if you’re lucky then you try to get Germany to simultaneously threaten West Russia and Caucasus on G4, USSR chooses to abandon West Russia (because the Germans may be able to take and hold Caucasus with Japanese fighter reinforcements, then the Germans have 4 production on Russia’s doorstep a turn early) so Germany pushes West Russia on G4 (since USSR chooses to defend Caucasus), then USSR needs to choose between defending Russia and Caucasus, USSR defends Russia, Germany moves into Caucasus, and cuts off any UK stack from India.
And you can definitely mess with the timings a little, like maybe Germany pushes Ukraine on G5 instead of G4 to build that simultaneous threat to West Russia and Caucasus, maybe the Allies build up heavy on Finland and Germany shifts to West Russia on G5 then the Allies press in on Karelia and Germany reverses to crush the Allied stack at Karelia on G6 instead of pressing towards Moscow, then the Axis consolidate their position and trade USSR’s stacks on Russia down. Whatever.
But the core idea is, you want a G1 infantry/artillery build, just sheer unit count, then your G2 Berlin infantry maybe join up with some of those G1 infantry later to push into Poland G3, then maybe a take and hold of Ukraine on G4 while also Germany holds Karelia. Okay?
And why don’t you just do G1 tanks? Because if UK decides to send even a little help from India, then you end up in a situation where you don’t have cheap German infantry to trade at the front, USSR whittled down your stacks, and you just don’t have the units to take and hold even with Japanese fighter reinforcement. It depends on the situation; with dice outcomes and player decisions maybe you can get some early German tanks, but the heavier Germany pushes on tanks the less numbers it has to defend its push later on, and believe me, USSR has some pretty brutal threat power especially if Germany wants to simultaneously hold Ukraine and Karelia, I mean, woo! scary.
So what’s sealion do? Your G1 “meta” build is 11 inf 2 artillery (I said this a long time ago, some players said I was wrong, guess they came around though). You drop a carrier, and boop! There go four ground units. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t get blown up, if they were never born versus they got blown up, small difference - and the carrier isn’t THAT great for reasons I’ll get to.
But there’s compensations? Sure. But I’m saying you look at those compensations, you think about the risks, and it starts looking real weird.
Okay, so let’s start with one assumption - that you can somehow make up the lack of numbers in the KGF because you have a protected Baltic transport. But not really. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that the Baltic transport lets you move additional units into Karelia. But so what? There’s no guarantee Germany can hold on G1 depending on dice outcomes and player actions, but sprinkle in some G1 tank buy, and you have additional dice that can defend Karelia on G2. If USSR wants to double down by building tanks, sure, let’s have USSR bleed out its stacks trading with Japan and Germany over time, with German income, production, and unit count marching to the fore. I’ll save you some time, you can pull a lot of fun tricks with USSR tanks, but there’s a limit to the chances you can take, and if the Axis decide to play ball, so to speak, USSR can find it bit off a little too much a little too quickly.
Anyways what I’m getting at is - you ALREADY had a situation in which Germany doesn’t NEED a G1 Baltic carrier to secure G2 Karelia, and once Germany holds Karelia for a turn, boop, German fighters land. Maybe that’s not ideal for Germany because UK can build a safe fleet, but Germany can’t stop a UK3 fleet drop into US3 reinforcement anyways, and you already had German air deterring up to any UK2 build, and if US3 to Finland/Norway then G2 fighters on Karelia will blow that up anyways, and if UK2 build into UK3 transport to Finland/Norway with US reinforcement to Finland/Norway sea zone then Germany already had its shot at blowing up the UK2 build and if it didn’t take it then it deserves what it gets. See? What does Germany really lose by having no carrier at all?
What I’m getting at is the Baltic carrier protecting the Baltic transport really isn’t such a big deal. It’s not like the you need the Baltic carrier for G2 Karelia take and hold (it’s 14 IPCs!), it’s not like you need so much at Karelia anyways, it’s Ukraine that’s the problem, it’s not like the carrier is some great offensive threat against any UK/US fleet push (it’s just one more dice, and it helps with fighter placement and threat zones, but still, a combined UK/US fleet is a combined fleet, and if Germany didn’t blow up a UK2 build then Germany isn’t going to be in great position for UK3 into US3 at Finland Norway OR for UK3 fleet drop into US3 reinforcement northwest of London anyways. Germany has its shots at UK/US Atlantic fleet regardless of the carrier. So you look at the things Germany supposedly gets, and there just really isn’t anything.
But there’s an invasion of London? No. But I’ll get to that later.
But there’s compensation? Sure. Let’s not sneeze at the Axis hugely improved logistics against any Allied incursions into Finland and Norway; a single German transport’s worth of units might not seem like a lot but it really shuts down the Allies building up any sort of early cheap beachhead. Then too, the Axis navy sort of threatens invasion of London. But it’s kinda not the greatest thing. Finland/Norway is lovely, it really is, but there’s this 14 IPC price tag, plus the risks, which I"ll get into in a moment.
What of the G1 naval opening? You start piling on all these awkward questions, and I mean awkward. If you assume the opponent sucks, then they’re going to overextend, eat your attacks, die, overextend again, eat more attacks, die more, do wildly inappropriate and stupid builds, die some more, then eventually lose.
But if you assume the opponent is competent? Then how do you push your G4 stack to Ukraine? How do you deal with the Allies cutting Germany’s north Atlantic fleet off from safety? How do you prevent the Allies from building an air counter to the stranded German Baltic fleet, all while fending off USSR pressure? And yes, you can have answers to all those questions if you assume Germany is lucky, but what if Germany is NOT lucky? What are the risks Germany takes, really, with the G1 opening, what are the tradeoffs? You can expect to get lucky here and there, but where will it break down? Because there are really a lot of points where it can break down.
And this is a point I cannot over emphasize - this is NOT just some sort of doom and gloom “oh no, what if the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow” nonsense. There are real risks and real costs that Germany has to deal with, it’s a matter of mathematics, and I don’t mean the sort of fake “mathematics” argument I sometimes read like “oh, I TEACH STATISTICS” (unsubstantiated) I’m very important, you should Pay Attention To Me!" sort of argument that doesn’t actually involve numbers, well, what is that really? If it’s a mathematical argument, there need to be numbers, you know? Which is really not seen a lot in Axis and Allies discussions for whatever reason.
MATHEMATICS WITH NUMBERS! I know, it’s a revolutionary concept, no wait, that was the Mesopatamians over five thousand years ago? You don’t say.
What’s the G1 naval open? What’s the consequence of different G1 choices?
First off, let’s say you’re doing G1 Baltic, we know you’re going to be 4 units down on pushing to Ukraine. If it were a Med carrier, you might be able to catch up on the timing later, but Baltic no way no how. And mathematically, you rob the Ukraine push of 4 units, that’s not going to be nice.
But there’s compensations? Where, exactly? You didn’t need those 4 units at Ukraine? You kind of did. Your defense of the Atlantic will be better so you can bleed out Karelia south towards Belorussia into Ukraine? So USSR gets an odds-on attack into Karelia, UK/US follow up to break Karelia, that’s not a great scenario either. But wait, you say, if the Allies need to deal with a Baltic navy, then Berlin doesn’t need to be as heavily defended, so Germany can underdefend Berlin compared to another KGF game, and send tanks on a G3 build to do the G4 push into Ukraine?
Ah, now we’re talking. OR ARE WE?
If you’re a critical thinker then you’ll already have identified the flaw in the “reasoning”. We assume the German Baltic fleet helps defend Berlin in a real and serious way on G3, but what if that’s not true?
We’ll get there. But to get there we need to look at the G1 moves, think about the consequences. (continued)
Recap - I’m saying the supposed benefits of a Baltic carrier aren’t real benefits that add up to the carrier’s 14 IPC price tag. I’m saying the G4 push to Ukraine is fatally weakened (alluded to briefly but yet to be substantiated mathematically), that the German threat against London is not a real inconvenience (yet to be established), that there’s issues with the G1 opening (specifically buy, moves, and risks to arrive at a reasonable Axis position), and I mentioned I’d get into some aspects of Germany in the Atlantic.
To get to even that point, I mentioned some concepts of Axis and Allies play that are pretty fundamental. I left out a lot of explanation, and oversimplified some of what explanation I did provide, but it should have been enough to be getting on with.
I left off saying we’re going to look at the G1 opening and consider G1’s Atlantic position, think through the consequences of various options. From there I’m going to address Germany’s threat against London isn’t a real issue for the Allies, how the Allies shut down G2 options, how I say the German position degrades with strictly inferior positions compared to other G1 opening options (other than the G1 Baltic carrier buy and Sealion), and hence the “proof” of why I say Sealion doesn’t work.
In this I will not use heavy use of mathematical projection because I just don’t think that may really be necessary once you look at all the little problems that add up.
Okay, so let’s say G1 opening. Say Germany opens with G1 Baltic carrier. Then what?
Let’s say the G1 “meta” open is 2 subs 1 cruiser 2 fighters against UK battleship, destroyer, USSR submarine. Some players say to use 3 subs, 1 cruiser, 2 fighters.
What happens if you send the cruiser? Well let’s just say the cruiser is really important. You don’t send the cruiser, then you cut the odds on the UK battleship fight. If you say that’s okay because you bring three subs, that’s just not how it works. You have to give up even the potentiality of the gains that third sub could have gotten, and it’s very likely the UK East Canada destroyer and UK air can blow up any German submarines that survived the UK battleship fight, then there are other issues elsewhere I’ll get into.
This is what I mean by mathematics with numbers. You can’t just wave it off and say oh, it’s all going to magically work out. You have to decide where to make the cut, and no matter where you cut, you’re going to give something up somewhere. Sorry, but that’s just how it is.
But it’s okay, let’s magically make things work out by buying a G1 destroyer? Sorry again. You gave up four units on the G4 push to Ukraine already, and the destroyer costs you another three units. Now you’re seven units down on the G4 push to Ukraine. ONE unit is enough more than 10% win/loss swings in even large battles of near a hundred units. You think you can get away with even four? That’s already going way beyond pushing it, but then you want to try to get away with seven? Sorry, that’s just not how it works. And the destroyer really does cost three ground units; G1 41 IPCs buys 11 infantry 2 artillery, or 9 infantry 1 carrier, or 5 infantry 1 artillery 1 carrier 1 destroyer. That’s just how it works, you can’t take off two artillery that you already took off to pay for the carrier, you have 41 IPCs and how are you going to get 7 ground units, a destroyer, and a carrier? You won’t. It’s just game mechanics and mathematics.
When you drop four units off the G4 push to Ukraine if you get some really lucky dice maybe you can still sustain some sort of push. But you drop seven, and you’re looking at a USSR actually pushing Germany back. Maybe not from Karelia, but USSR could be making grabs for Poland and Bulgaria-Romania income from a secure USSR position on Ukraine, and that’s just a totally different game to Germany trying to choke off and restrict USSR income by denying it Ukraine, Poland, and Bulgaria-Romania completely. You can say dice outcomes differ here or there, but you start talking a seven unit drain, and what, you’re going to land in Normandy with the power of positive thinking and a couple of kittens or what is it?
But then okay let’s just not build a destroyer? Let’s send the cruiser to the UK battleship fight? Well then, UK1 has two fighters and a bomber that can hit the German carrier and fighters. That’s 334 versus 244, and if the German carrier dies first then UK can just retreat and leave UK to finish off the German Baltic fleet with a fighter from Archangel.
But there is no USSR fighter on Archangel because meta players always park 2 fighters on Caucasus? But why would they? If USSR captures Ukraine, sends both AA guns to West Russia, and sends its Kazakh infantry into Szechwan to support the US infantry/fighter, you can still get a 5-unit USSR defense of Caucasus with one USSR fighter and build placement, and does Germany really want to go 1 infantry 1 tank 3 fighters 1 battleship bombard against that with 35% failure, knowing failure means UK gets a cheap attack of destroyer, fighter, and bomber with the UK bomber very possibly surviving to UK2, unlike the UK1 counter to the German battleship pushing to Africa projection? If USSR can afford to keep back its Kazakh infantry or an AA gun, then the odds of attacker failure shoot up way past 35%.
And remember, Germany’s air losses are irrecoverable. You cut the German air force, you get no credible German/Japanese air threat later that locks Allied fleets and threatens huge Allied transport losses. It’s not that Germany needs a huge air force, five fighters is enough for some pretty credible threats, but you have two fighters, well, it’s just not the same at all.
But you can rebuild Germany’s air? Again, you can get what you want in one place, but you lose out in others. You build German air, you don’t have as many German infantry and tanks, you don’t have the sheer stack sizes you want to break the Allied combined stack, how do you get out of that? You can’t, it’s just mechanics and mathematics. You build a bigger Japanese air force? Still can’t do anything about the turn order, if US goes and splits off from the UK navy in the Atlantic, then Germany’s weak air can’t credibly threaten either the UK or US fleets, then UK moves to join the US fleet, then Japan never has a chance to pick off the separated UK or US fleets, Japan can only face the combined UK and US fleet, and the fact that Germany didn’t have a credible threat made it possible for UK and US to have a lot more freedom.
Well, we don’t really know how the R1 dice will turn out, and we could say that Sealion is conditional on certain R1 dice outcomes. Maybe R1 opening doesn’t do so hot against West Russia so USSR wants to move both AA guns in, maybe R1 dice open leaves USSR wanting to park 2 fighters on Caucasus and not split one off to Archangel. But even then, there’s nothing the Axis can do about USSR’s submarine in the Atlantic.
Even if you say German Sealion is conditional on R1 dice, you just don’t know USSR’s settings. There’s good reason to have the USSR submarine fight, but there’s also some reason for the USSR submarine submerge (and if it were the board game you’d have discretion you simply don’t have in 1942 Online but I digress).
So what happens if the German cruiser isn’t alongside the German carrier? Then you potentially have a lone USSR submarine facing a lone German cruiser, which favors the USSR submarine 60/40. Germany drops four units on its G4 push to Ukraine to take a 60% loss of a 14 IPC unit? You can see how that could be bad.
So how much does the Axis player bet that the USSR player doesn’t submerge? Does the Axis player keep the cruiser back? Does the Axis player build a destroyer? NONE of these are really great or safe for the Axis.
That’s just the really basic G1 Atlantic issues, but there’s more to it. There’s also the question of UK’s East Canada destroyer and transport, US’s East US destroyer and transports, UK’s cruiser off Gibraltar, then there’s the question of G1’s decisions in the Mediterranean and Africa. There’s even a question of Germany’s position in France versus Northwestern Europe, and even all that leaves a lot out, and all of those factors including the ones not mentioned is all connected, and again any decision Germany makes anywhere is going to cost it somewhere else, and again I’ll say competent players will put the squeeze on.
Suppose UK1 moves destroyer and transport to French West Africa, and US1 follows with destroyer and two transports. The German fighter on Morocco doesn’t have odds against two destroyers. Then UK2 has 1 infantry 1 tank to counter any G2 push into Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, and US3 has a followup.
Or suppose UK1 uses destroyer to hit Germany’s submarines that survived the UK battleship fight, if UK wins then UK and US park a transport each at East Canada, US sends a destroyer and transport to French West Africa, if Germany wants to take a 50% shot on the destroyer (a mutual wipe is a “win” for US as the US transport escapes and a valuable German fighter dies) then fine, even if Germany takes the shot and survives, that means G2 landing a fighter on Morocco, which can be killed by the US1 build into a US2 landing, which Germany can prevent by fortifying Morocco which allows UK to sit on all its Egypt and Africa income plus messes with Germany’s Africa units ever joining up in with Germany’s push into Caucasus on any sort of reasonable timeline. Meanwhile UK1 can build destroyer and carrier northwest of London, where the German fighter from Morocco can’t hit, if Germany has four fighters in range and has favorable odds, it’s still likely even if Germany accepts the battle that Germany loses valuable air that can’t be used later to develop turn order threats alongside Japanese air against Allied Atlantic fleet buildup, and there’s no free transport prizes, and if Germany doesn’t hit then UK2 into Norway, US2 into Finland, and if Germany didn’t secure Karelia on G1 then it can’t land fighters on Karelia G2 then if Germany wants to threaten a weak-escort early Allied push into Finland/Norway that means landing German fighters on NW Europe which means France is probably open unless Germany is holding two infantry stacks back from the eastern front, and didn’t we already mention Germany is irrecoverably four units down on the G4 push, and if Germany’s trying to push multiple infantry stacks (even if it’s just tiny wee stacks) west, then you can just imagine how that’s going to affect timings in the east.
Right, I know, take a breath, but even if I don’t outline all the Allied options you get the idea. No matter what Germany does, there’s always going to be Allied responses, and if Germany covers its bets in one way, it’s going to leave stuff uncovered in another way.
And it’s just not accurate to say Germany’s advantages with mobility from a Baltic transport offset its brute power losses in Ukraine. The Baltic is not adjacent to Ukraine, there’s no direct offset. Nor does Germany has some advantage to its defense of France or Karelia; if anything needing to commit two fighters to a naval zone means there’s less German defense to go around in the land territories. If UK loses a transport every turn to trade France it’s not fantastic to be bleeding out the income, but 6 IPCs almost pays for a 7 IPC transport, and when you add Germany’s positional weakness at Ukraine that USSR may leverage into additional income and Germany bleeding out its stacks with early repeated trades with UK as well as trying to maintain its eastern position against USSR, well, you start to see the issues. It’s not that the Allies have this huge obvious counter, it’s not that the Axis have zero options, it’s more that the Allies have a lot of little things that start to add up, and the Axis have options but just not a lot of good ones that matter in the places they need to matter.
So hopefully that’s illustrative of some of the Allied options in the Atlantic, how Germany’s options can be limited. I’m not trying to say Germany Sealion is absolutely totally stupid and pointless, I’m saying you just look at where the weaknesses are, how you can exploit them and pick Germany’s position apart, not through crazy dice outcomes, not through some stroke of genius, you just look at the map and think about it, instead of being over-apprehensive about taking risks, think about the risks and rewards and how the positions naturally develop over time, and how even IPC-negative outcomes (like if Germany can send 4 fighters to attack a UK carrier and fighters) can still pose real risks to the Axis by having the Axis roll dice and whittling down their numbers so eventually likely resulting in limiting Axis options.
But what of the supposed threat to London? (continued)
The problem is G2 Sealion just isn’t a great threat, there isn’t a great Axis transition (that I can think of anyways) out of the Allied counters, including a G3 Sealion buildup. UK doesn’t even need to sacrifice its placement in India under some lines, there’s just so many problems.
Say G1 Baltic carrier, battleship and transport take Gibraltar. You want to pressure UK, maybe get it to do things it doesn’t like to do, that’s the general idea right?
But then all the problems I referenced earlier come back to bite Germany, and more besides.
What is the position of the German battleship in the Mediterranean? Southwest or southeast of Gibraltar? If southeast, then UK has something like a 75% to kill the German battleship with destroyer/bomber, which let’s be real, it’s not a great battle for UK, it’s a low dice count high risk battle, but if the German battleship is cleared then it’s going to really screw with Germany’s fleet survivability in the Atlantic (which I’ll get to later). At 75%, there’s a real chance the Allies decide to just go with the attack, and even if the Allies lose, as significant as the bomber may have been to the UK defense it may not be that much of an issue, which I’ll get to later.
What’s the position of German air? If the German battleship is southeast, then at the end of the turn there’s a 33% chance of a German fighter on Morocco, or a 67% chance the German fighter died against the UK cruiser. Because if UK has destroyer/cruiser/bomber against German battleship, well, that’s just going to suck.
But no, you say? If you want to threaten Sealion then you want to preserve Germany’s airforce, which you would reasonably want to do anyways regardless of whether the Allies may go KGF or KJF, which you wouldn’t know for sure about on G1 anyways? So it is NOT a 33% of German fighter on Morocco and 67% German fighter died, because you split a German submarine off to accompany the Berlin fighter?
Very well. And really, if you have a 75% of just destroyer/bomber clearing the German battleship, you don’t want the 1/3 chance of a lone German fighter utterly failing against the lone German cruiser, which brings the expectation of Germany’s battleship being lost before G2 (assuming UK attacks) to 82%. So splitting off a submarine does make sense. But then you’re down to two submarines, cruiser, and two fighters at the UK battleship fight, which increases your risk there. And we know the UK East Canada destroyer and transport survived, and we know the US East US destroyer and transports survived.
Since we know the German cruiser left the Baltic, now the Baltic fleet is vulnerable to the USSR submarine which has 60% win against a lone carrier, or a UK air attack with a USSR fighter followup from Archangel.
But no? The Baltic fleet is safe because G1 built a destroyer? Very well. Then the G2 push on Ukraine is seven units down.
You see what I’m getting at? Every time Germany tries to squeeze out, the net closes elsewhere. There just isn’t one superior option that says “look, you win with Sealion, this is what the mathematics says”.
Back to the German battleship positioning. If southeast of Gibraltar it can be blocked by a destroyer. Germany only has one discretionary submarine in the Atlantic without sacrificing its odds on the UK battleship and even if that submarine wasn’t sent to the UK cruiser there’s still both the UK and US destroyers in range to block and Japan can’t clear either.
And if Germany’s battleship is southwest? Then UK has destroyer, two fighters, and bomber to destroy the battleship outright.
So what’s Germany’s invasion force? Since Germany’s Med fleet won’t factor in, Germany’s Sealion is then 1 infantry, 1 tank, 5 fighters. That’s it.
Against that UK has 1 antiaircraft gun, 2 infantry, 1 artillery, 1 tank, 2 fighters, 1 bomber. Setting order of loss to AA, infantry, artillery, tank, bomber, fighter (not even a serious defense)
Less than 11% attacker wins, and UK literally builds nothing on London, we’re not worried about USSR flying in a fighter from Archangel. Germany doesn’t even get a cheap shot on the bomber because the odds of a successful invasion are so low the Allies can take that chance, and as to why there’s only 1 bomber on London, well, that assumes the UK bomber blew up trying to hit the German battleship and failed. but US flew in a bomber.
But that’s all? That’s all there is to “sealion doesn’t work”? No.
You start looking at these different lines and transpositions and timings and counters and think about what reasonably might happen. So let’s do that. Without digging too deep into the mathematics and each of the branches, let’s just think about the different ways sealion can be opened, how it can play out, how the game develops.
Africa. If Germany tries to blow up East Canada and/or East US fleets, that’s going to have an impact. If Germany tries to control access to French West Africa that’s going to make a difference, and not just for UK/US in Africa, but for USSR’s options in Europe too. The problem Germany just doesn’t have a load of great options to begin with, you drop 14 IPC on a carrier and Germany has even fewer options, you drop 8 more IPC on a destroyer and the options are even worse, and you drop 12 IPCs on a bomber for Africa (and for other purposes), then you might as well just set Germany on fire and get some marshmallows.
Going heavy into London. Say Germany builds a carrier and three transports, now Germany’s invasion fleet even after the block is 4 infantry 4 tanks 5 fighters, how about that ha ha! But okay, you cut 12 units off the G4 Ukraine push, if you don’t think that’s going to be an issue, well, it will be. The German fleet has lousy survivability, you have to keep back the cruiser, you’re going to risk precious German air in the UK battleship fight, you have almost a 12% chance of the German Med battleship dying to the lone UK cruiser, but let’s not be party poopers and let’s just have a fun pretend game where Germany actually has this thing whatever.
Okay so then what? You have no fodder against the UK cruiser, now the Berlin fighter has to take its chances, but if Germany stays southeast of Gibraltar it’s easily blocked anyways. So let’s say Germany goes southwest of Gibraltar which also helps with the German fighter. Then UK can hit with destroyer, two fighters, and bomber, that’s the German battleship dead and the transport too. So again, there’s no great options for Germany’s Med fleet, you can say you could potentially remove a bomber off defending London or you get some positional pressure, but it’s not great, and you’re not going above 4 infantry 4 tanks 5 fighters in any event.
UK builds 2 infantry 1 artillery for India (not giving up anything there), drops 7 infantry on London, US bomber flies in. Again the Allies go with order of loss AA, infantry, artillery, tank, bomber, fighter. No cheap shots for Germany to take advantage of defensive profile settings.
Now again, we know if Germany’s battleship is southeast of Gibraltar then it can be blocked. UK’s air is not at risk. If Germany’s battleship is southwest of Gibraltar then UK has massive odds and might lose a bomber.
So just off that, say the defenders are 1 AA gun, 9 infantry 1 artillery 1 tank, 2 bombers (1 UK, 1 US), two fighters. That’s the order of loss, I want to emphasize the Allies are not even taking the invasion threat terribly seriously at that point, as it only has a 15.4% anyways.
But if the Allies do take it seriously? One less infantry on India, one more on UK. Attacker odds drop to 8%. UK transports the East Canada tank in. Attacker odds drop to 3.1%. USSR flies in a fighter from Archangel. Attacker odds drop to 0.6%.
And if Germany follows up with 5 transports? No no, let’s say 6, no, 7 transports! If Germany goes G1 carrier/3 transports that’s 6 IPCS left, it then only needs 43 IPCs for the 49 it needs for 7 transports. That’s definitely got to do it, right?
But no. UK drops 8 more units on London, US drops 8 more units (US1 2 fighters to East Canada, 2 transports to East Canada, builds carrier and fighters, US2 lands 4 fighters 4 land units on London).
It’s not all peaches and cream for the Allies, the Axis are going to be able to pick some targets off. But how can Germany spend 70 IPCs on units with no combat characteristics and not expect to pay for it somewhere down the line? When does Germany move out of the Baltic? US already has 4 fighters and a bomber, and if UK is trapped on London then it doesn’t really need a lot more ground, not just because US is sending in reinforcements, but simply because Germany is running out of units it can transport over from Europe. If Germany goes into carriers, UK can drop cheap subs, if Germany builds a destroyer, UK can drop subs in multiple zones and air and say “come and get some”, with USSR running all over Europe it’s not great.
But there’s compensations? Sure. It’s not like Germany was going to be able to develop its push on USSR too well until G4 anyways even if Germany had stuck to G1/G2 infantry/artillery buys. Germany has a load of mobility and can dump to Karelia at will, also Germany has assured income in Finland, Norway, and maybe even Africa, though that’s maybe asking for a bit much, who knows, it’s not like I’m saying UK was adding its India/Africa fighters to London’s defense. (Again, I’m saying the Allies just have so much they can put on London, maybe it’s not even necessary). Maybe you get the collapse of India, maybe you have a glut of UK units on London, but then what happens?
Well, you have UK stranded and getting its income choked off at Africa, let’s say this is reasonable to claim and nice for the Axis. But then what? Once the Allies blow up the Baltic fleet, which is not long in coming, then UK can use transports to drop all those London units into Europe. There will be some inefficiencies, but with UK’s income being cut from Africa anyways, UK was never going to meet maximum output on London anyways. By UK overbuilding transports to 5 or 6, all that happens is London empties out relatively quickly, Germany certainly doesn’t have the land units in Europe to contest, and the game quickly develops to where UK/US secure Karelia and join the rampaging USSR against the also-rampaging Japan, Germany gets rolled up, Africa contested, and that’s that.
How does that not happen? Especially in 1942 Online.
Germany builds carriers then Japan lands fighters? Not an option in 1942 Online. It wasn’t an early option anyways as Japan’s fighters want to be in range of India, and Baltic is just too far, but with 1942 Online you remove the mid/late game transition, and it’s just too bad.
Germany builds navy and withstands the Allied air assaults? The moment Germany stops heaping on the transports, UK drops air. UK knows it wants air to blow up Germany’s navy, the air helps defend London, after the Atlantic is controlled by Allies UK fighters still help with trading, UK air (esp. bombers) can support in Africa. The only reason UK doesn’t drop air is if UK is dropping transports, and that’s even worse for Germany as UK starts eating up European income.
Germany fights back USSR in Europe and UK/US in Atlantic? With what army? G2-G3 might not be so bad, but eventually a lack of German ground units will take its toll; if G1 had massive naval investment that’s going to be an ugly G4, if G2 had a followup massive naval investment and even G3, then USSR just starts flexing all over Europe. It’s not even normal USSR development, when USSR sees the G1 buy they start thinking about R2 tank builds, if that doesn’t happen, then certainly you start seeing R3 tank builds if USSR can push and hold in Europe against Germany. If USSR manages to collapse Karelia, then you’re looking at possible USSR income in Norway and Finland, and that’s just a nightmare for the Axis with USSR already fat from income from West Russia, Baltic States, Belorussia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria-Romania, wherever.
We’re saying Germany’s Baltic fleet is carrier, two fighters, then either a cruiser or a destroyer, right? UK’s starting air force on London is 2 fighters 1 bomber, UK can build 2 fighters on UK1 yet still build 3 ground units on India.
So UK can have 4 fighters 1 bomber to challenge Germany’s defensive fleet of 1 destroyer or cruiser, 1 carrier, 2 fighters. UK has superior unit count, superior attack versus defense, and unlike Germany, UK may not hesitate to take on good-odds naval battle.
Germany hesitate to take good-odds naval battles? But why? At the opening of this thread I mentioned Germany’s logistics and starting position. I wrote even if Germany has a good-odds attack on UK/US fleet in Atlantic it may still be best for Germany to decline any such battles, as Germany needs to worry about USSR stacks; if Germany is trading with UK and US and losing German air then that not only weakens Axis options against UK/US in Atlantic later, that also reduces Germany’s ability to challenge the combined Allied Europe land stack. Even if Germany has superior odds, Germany has to roll the dice and risk a lot of air if UK builds a reasonable-sized fleet, and dealing with opening Allied fleet in the Atlantic can mean Germany has merely excellent instead of overwhelming odds.
What that means is if Germany has 4 fighters against UK destroyer, carrier, and two fighters, it may not be a great battle even if Germany accepts a little risk, for strategic reasons. But if UK has 4 fighters and bomber against a German destroyer or cruiser, carrier, and two fighters, yes, UK really can’t afford to replace its air, yes UK ideally wants to get away without building more air so it can load up on faster transports and naval escorts, but on the balance, it’s not strategically wrong for UK to take a good odds battle that will reduce Axis options against Atlantic later and also weaken Axis options against the combined Allied European land stack.
It’s not about IPCs in abstract context, it’s not even about probability distributions, I’m talking about general strategy.
So if UK already has a major threat lined up against a German Baltic fleet and no real reason not to take it, then what? Remember too, even if you switch up scenarios on the fly and say UK air isn’t that strong because UK took casualties in a projected battle against the German battleship, that probably means the German battleship is dead, and since we know US1 built carrier/2 fighters against the possibility of Germany doing G2 7 transport build, we know the US has its own followup of 4 fighters 1 bomber - and that assumes the US China fighter is irrelevant (probably true) and the Hawaiian Islands fighter out of the picture (who knows).
Even if you say Germany immediately tries to unite its Baltic and Mediterranean fleets northwest of France on G2, that’s very possibly German forces of 1 destroyer or cruiser, carrier, two fighters, battleship, against UK 4 fighters 1 bomber on UK2 then US 4 fighters 1 bomber on US2.
But it’s a shifting goalposts argument? It can’t be that UK is building 7 ground on London and 2 fighters? If USSR is moving fighters to London, then those USSR fighters are out of position in Europe and maybe the Allied combined defense can’t stand? Just as the Axis need to make choices, so do the Allies, and the Allies need to defend multiple threats, which is exactly the theoretical strength of Sealion?
That’s why when describing German threats and Allied London defenses I emphasized the actual numbers and how much safety margin the Allies need to play with. When you get panicky new players that realize London might be invaded (oh no!) they use the East Canada transport to move a tank into London, they don’t have any USSR air in range to reinforce London, they build a US battleship or something, they build 6 infantry 2 tanks on London and don’t build in India - just knee-jerk costly overreaction that costs them, and the Axis clean up.
But when you get cold-eyed competent Allied players, everything looks different. Go ahead, Germany, take the 80% chance of London invasion failure, lose your whole air force, I dare you. Go ahead, take your four fighters and hit my destroyer, carrier, and fighters, I’ll replace the fleet which will be costly, but you’ll lose air that Germany can’t really afford to replace that will cost Axis tactical options later. Go right ahead, let’s roll these dice on French West Africa, kill a US destroyer and transport with a German fighter, if you fail you die, if you win the German fighter probably dies to the Allied counter, if the German fighter escapes and Germany fortifies northeast Africa and UK retains its Egypt income, those are all acceptable outcomes. Go right ahead and roll those dice, Germany.
And since the Allies have so much safety margin, they can afford to do things like leave some UK/US fighters on West Russia. You notice how in my projections I didn’t account for the US Szechwan fighter or UK Indian Ocean / Egypt fighters? Because they’re just doing whatever they usually are up to in Asia and/or Europe. The Allies are not panicking, they’re taking the bull by the horns, and if UK/US fighters end up on West Russia on UK2/US2, that’s reasonable and gives the Allies even more options for defense against Sealion.
And to wrap up the “shifting goalposts” counter, I know I’ve thrown a lot at the reader (still horribly oversimplified and leaving a lot out, but oh well). But when I talk about shifting goalposts, in the context of a reasoned argument, I’m not using the sort of shifting goalposts reasoning I’ve seen others try, that after the fact of their committing to build and moves, and an opponent committing to a counter, that they go back in time and change what they had built and moved to begin with. That’s really “shifting goalposts”!, it’s not even a reasoned argument, it’s just silly phantom armies popping out of nowhere (with time travel!)
But when I say it looks like shifting goalposts here - it’s not really. It’s just I’ve thrown so much at the reader it’s hard to keep track of. I mentioned UK can build 7 infantry or 2 fighters on London, it clearly can’t be both, wouldn’t it be magical thinking to say UK can choose? But there’s no magic or time travel involved. Think about the turn order. If G1 builds three transports then UK1 builds 7 infantry after the G1 build. If G1 does not build three transports then UK1 builds 2 fighters after the G1 build. UK simply responds after the fact to the German action.
Just as Germany has reserve options I didn’t dig into, so too do the Allies. I’m not saying the Allies ever have 100% safety at all key locations, that’s exactly the mistake that newer players make that end up costing them in the end. But I am saying the Allies can ramp up the risks to the Axis with reasonable lines, then probably the Axis don’t come off that great.
So you can see already, even if Germany adds its Mediterranean battleship to the Baltic fleet on G2 northeast of France, the German combined fleet can still be destroyed. This is a reasonable projection that Germany needs to anticipate.
So now we say, what if Germany goes heavy in Baltic? Destroyers, submarines, whatever? What I’ve tried to establish so far is Germany’s G2 options may not necessarily be that great if Germany tries to escape the Baltic. But what if Germany doesn’t try to escape?
Let’s say Germany builds a couple destroyers on G2. That’s less ground in Europe. It’s not some horrible situation unless Germany decided to go G1 destroyer and bomber build as well; if Germany went 9 infantry 1 carrier it can get reasonable positions early on.
But then what? Germany hasn’t increased its invasion options against London, UK doesn’t need to build more ground on London. Yes, UK doesn’t want to build air, UK wants to ideally build transports and escorts. But the German Baltic fleet has to be dealt with. So right about then is when the UK India/Egypt fighters start to swing up to West Russia for sure - if India has to be abandoned not great but whatever. So instead of UK2 having 4 fighters 1 bomber, UK3 has perhaps 8 fighters 1 bomber. You can imagine how that might be a problem since the German Med battleship won’t be able to defend the Baltic on G3.
No, the German Med battleship can reach? How? If G2 united with the Baltic fleet northwest of France, you already saw how UK and US probably destroyed the whole fleet. If G2 retreated the Mediterranean battleship back to the Mediterranean and bulked up at Baltic, then maybe you have German destroyer/cruiser, 2 German destroyers, German carrier, 2 German fighters against UK 4 fighters 1 bomber, but if Germany doesn’t do anything more on G3 to defend, the UK3 threat is 8 fighters 1 bomber; superior attack, superior attacker count, no strategic reason not to take the battle.
Just how does Germany get its Mediterranean battleship to join the defense? It just doesn’t happen except in bad theorycrafting because UK and US can blow it up before it gets in range. Or if Germany is assumed to have massive naval buildup maybe then, but that’s just bad theorycrafting in another way, somehow Germany is dropping all these IPCs on navy and what exactly is happening with USSR making grabs for European income? It’s not the worst situation for Germany, there’s some nice options, but it’s not going to be a picnic as the game goes on.
So let’s say by G3 Germany built . . . a carrier! And let’s even say that for argument’s sake we’ll say Germany did a G2 build of 2 destroyers 1 carrier in the Baltic (!) (Remember this is going to mean exactly how many German land units lost to the Europe push down the line?) and somehow Germany didn’t pay through the nose in Africa though Germany kept its battleship in range of the sea zone northwest of France (!) (how this happens I don’t know, but if we’re going to start with some magical assumptions then sure whatever let’s make a few for argument’s sake) and maybe you get G3 combined fleet of two destroyers, destroyer or cruiser, two carriers, four fighters, and battleship northeast of France. I mean, that’s GOT to be good, right? UK3 threat of 8 fighters 1 bomber against superior defender count (UK West Russia fighters reach with a UK carrier build), then there’s a US followup, okay maybe it’s not looking so great after all, but maybe it’s still reasonable.
So there Germany is, all proud of its great accomplishment, and let’s acknowledge the Allied response is going to cost the Allies somewhere. But while we’re admiring Germany’s huge fleet northwest of France, let’s also admire how the Germans spent 44 IPCs on navy leaving far less for USSR to deal with in Europe eventually, and moved 4 fighters to a position that’s totally irrelevant to most of Europe or Africa. Yes, the German positions on G1-G2 may not suffer overmuch, yes Germany still put out ground and is going to get some sort of reasonable position for a while, but all this German expenditure is going to be an issue eventually. And what has Germany really gotten out of this horribly expensive fleet? Long-term income in Africa? Improved logistics to Karelia? Compared to the massive costs, the benefits really aren’t there. Germany looks great in the Atlantic for the moment, but this is Germany’s shining moment then the sun starts to set.
By this time, the Allied position in Europe is so strong and UK/US have so much air, weird new options start opening up.
There are three sea zones around UK. What if UK drops a submarine at each of those sea zones? Germany can hunt isolated submarines down with destroyers at expected net IPC gain in terms of units destroyed/committed? But again, Germany is 44 IPCs down plus fighters out of position against Europe. The Allies have some room to play. And we’re talking about Germany maintaining its G3 fleet off London. How does that happen if builds 3 submarines 1 fighter, Germany splits a destroyer off, then Germany is left with destroyer, two carriers, four fighters, one battleship against UK 1 submarine, 9 fighters, 1 bomber?
But Germany doesn’t maintain its fleet northwest of France? All right, choose. Germany does maintain its fleet northwest of France, improving Germany’s defense timings with a France IC. Do I really need to get into Germany committing 59 IPCs that aren’t in range of Eastern Europe and taking four plus German fighters out of circulation against Europe for the long term? Just take it that Germany gets some compensations, sure, but the costs are huge and the Allies are catching up.
Germany retreats to the Baltic and builds even more navy? All right, so Germany has this massive navy, which was the whole discussion under this 3) point of Germany building up its navy. But then what? The Allies aren’t sweating an invasion of London, the German Baltic navy isn’t fighting in Europe, the Axis aren’t forcing any position Germany can’t do anything about Allied drops to French West Africa so Japan’s going to have some trouble securing income, it’s not super great for the Allies at all. But it’s also not great for the Axis. By this time, USSR is starting to make an income bulge, and there’s just no way that the Axis can prevent the Allies suddenly repositioning all their UK/US fighters into Europe to help defend. You could say there’s something of an Axis game, Japan takes India and Africa and gradually builds up a threat, Germany doesn’t have to worry about defending Berlin so much, Germany has secured Finland and Norway income and denied France to the Allies. But you see the issue here. Germany can’t just keep building carriers, it’s already using 4 of its 5 surviving fighters; if Germany wants to build more naval defense it’s going to be expensive, and mostly is going to turn to tactically inflexible destroyers for cost, or cruisers which can bombard but the Allies already have so much potential defense on London it’s practically useless, so where exactly does Germany go with this huge Baltic fleet while UK and US start dropping subs and saying “come here Germany, let’s start trading!” and if Germany declines then the Allies push for a position where US moves in a destroyer blocker (after Japan, but before Germany so it can’t be stopped), UK built a load of submarines, then you have UK trading a load of cheap submarines and a few air for Germany’s super expensive air force, and when that happens it’s just UK/US bleeding out Germany’s stacks all over again, which would be bad enough in all the previous scenarios, only then we were talking about UK baiting trades that Germany can’t sustain, and now we’re talking about UK just massively outright destroying Germany’s navy on the cheap, which is even worse.
And yes, the Axis most certainly have counterplay and it’s not quite that simple, but you see where Germany holing up in the Baltic isn’t this fantastic solution either. Especially in 1942 Online, it’s not like you can park Japanese fighters on German carriers. Which let’s face it, that change also screwed with Allies KJF options, but the Allies can just choose to go KGF again, and if we’re thinking about the merits of Sealion, then why go Sealion if Germany’s options are not that great? That’s the point of this whole thread.
Or let’s say the Axis retreat into the Mediterranean? All right, if we play the game of what-ifs then you can reasonably say that maybe the Axis do manage to get a big German fleet into the Mediterranean. But then, why didn’t Germany just build a carrier in the Mediterranean in the first place? What did all this expenditure and dancing around in the Baltic really accomplish? You can maybe preserve the Baltic transport, that’s not a bad prize. But if you’re talking about a real risk that you can’t do G2 northwest of France into G3 escape to Mediterranean, then if you’re talking about 44 IPCs of German Baltic navy into G3 northwest of France then G4 escape, then how many turns of drops were missed in Africa and Europe during that time? Was preserving the Baltic transport really worth the cost? It wasn’t. So you get this strictly inferior transposition for Germany’s midgame that plays out similar to if Germany had built a Mediterranean carrier, only it’s just worse all over the place so why do it?
So having addressed all the German navy buildup options you see where it’s not fantastic for Axis either. Yes, you can maybe get some Axis lines that are not too awful. Maybe you drop a load of late transports, then the Allies have to decide between defending West Russia and London, maybe you drop some bombers for Africa, there’s a bunch of Axis options. But the core problems are no good Axis compensation at Africa, USSR gets income at Europe, Allies can reposition fighters to defend Europe, Germany’s Baltic fleet may not well survive, and US can block the German main fleet with a destroyer which it’s easily going to have without even making assumptions; it’s quite late in the game, US knows it wants a destroyer exactly to block Germany from being able to destroy UK subs, Japan’s air threat has to be massive to threaten off a US destroyer/carrier fleet, we know US built a US1 carrier so it could put 2 fighters on against the possibility of Germany doing a G2 7-transport buy . . . we’ve been over it. I know I’m not exploring all the options, but there should be enough that the reader should understand, no matter what Germany’s options, at best you maybe get something reasonable, it’s not really superior.
Maybe you get some sort of GOOD position if an opponent plays inaccurately. That possibility of opponents playing inaccurately if Germany builds up its fighting navy and/or airforce is why there is a “maybe” in the title of this thread. But if an opponent plays accurately, even if the Axis get some nice lines that entertain a jaded player, they’re probably not really mathematically superior. Not with accurate opponent play and reasonable dice.
Germany goes into East Canada. It just doesn’t work against accurate Allied play, it’s too easy for the Allies to threaten to destroy the overextended German fleet while also having a counter to any German invasion of East Canada. Against an unprepared opponent maybe Germany captures Central United States, maybe some nice things happen, but if it was hard enough for Germany to defend northwest of France, defending off East Canada is way harder, and Germany has the added issue that if it sets carriers to be destroyed first, the Allies can retreat after destroying German carriers and German fighters splash into the water.
Germany goes to Africa. See ending of 3); why didn’t the Germans just build a Mediterranean carrier to begin with?
Germany just sits on Baltic 1 carrier 1 transport. UK gets a credible threat, either Germany loses fighters to a bad-odds battle, or is left with a 14 IPC naval unit that defends like a destroyer but doesn’t have its special abilities. You could say Germany can salvage the position, that Germany took a reasonable risk trying to test the Allies to see if they’d play accurately, but it’s really not great for Germany, and it cost 14 IPC for Germany to test those reactions. It’s really expensive.
I wrote at the beginning I didn’t intend to write out detailed projections with numbers and that I fully intended to leave a lot unaddressed.
By now you can perhaps see why this is my usual practice; I try to at least give enough that newer players will understand there is real reasoning behind claims I make, yet not so much that they’re swamped with branches, contingencies, statistical breakdowns, and the like. More experienced players get a few key details to consider for their own projections, but a lack of detailed projections shouldn’t be an issue as they should be running their own projections anyways. It’s really only players that want some sort of flowchart that will be disappointed, but oh well.
The real question now is will Board Game Nation release a Sealion video, and what will be in it?
I predict some mixture of Baltic defensive navy (perhaps a destroyer) and transports, and Mediterranean fleet captures Gibraltar. Transports are how Germany tries to push UK into building ground instead of air, which means less UK options against a potential German unified fleet (or even against the Baltic fleet if Germany’s Med fleet retreats to Med). I think US1 build of carrier/fighters and flying 2 fighters to East Canada will be correctly predicted. I think USSR1 fighter on Archangel may not be predicted. That last is only a guess, but I did feel Mr. Blevins was optimistic about Sealion’s mathematical projections based on informal comments, and though under some dice outcomes it’s very reasonable to argue USSR should leave a fighter on Archangel, there’s also reasonable argument that under other dice outcomes USSR shouldn’t leave a fighter on Archangel.
And though there’s a really lengthy argument against Sealion that involves complications (remember this thread is not the “lengthy argument”, this is sort of like 40% of the Cliff Notes version) I don’t think Mr. Blevins will get into that, not because of any shortcoming, but you can see by watching some videos that he respects the viewers’ time.
So will he decide to do a narrow focus on one particular version of Sealion, which will be relatively short, entertaining, and give viewers things to consider?
Or will he try to actually address everything starting from the ground up, and end up with something that, well, let’s just say it would be complicated.
I have a lot of respect for Mr. Blevins and the quality of his work, but I have to wonder. 23 years after Don Rae’s essays, is this really the moment when someone finally advances the common discourse with proper mathematically supported analysis of Axis and Allies lines of play for common discussion? Is this when we finally take the first big step beyond Don’s Essays? Seems a lot to hope for, and I don’t mean because Don Rae is an iconic unknowable legend or whatever mysticism. I mean you read Don Rae’s essays once you have some understanding of the mathematics and principles, you see how much he left unsaid that he obviously understood. For 23 years and counting nobody including Don decided to go beyond that point.
Exciting, isn’t it? But let’s not try to pile too much on with the expectations.
I predict the video will have Japan sending airforce to Europe. Not just because I think that’s what Japan should always do against KGF, but there’s a lot of stuff I left unsaid about how the Axis best pursue their options. But I think though the Axis actions may be reasonably predicted, I am not so sure about the Allies. Like the point I made about US blocking a German fleet holed up in the Baltic, just dig up any talk about Sealion in 1942 Second Edition or 1942 Online and where do you see talk of the specific timing and costs of Germany’s Baltic fleet, the timing of a US destroyer blocker, the timing and placement of Japan’s air, how it strains Japan to deny US the destroyer block which requires Japanese air far in the west of Europe, how exactly Japan’s attack on India plays out - I mean, the details are not there in common discussions.
Again, not that I’m an original thinker, as far as I’m concerned other players figured it all out years ago but just never bothered to write it down. But it wasn’t written down anywhere I know of. So?
My final prediction is what projections are run will be limited to the first 7 rounds-ish. Again, it’s just a guess, but if you have an optimistic opinion of Sealion, round 4 is right about when Germany looks really fantastic with loads of what seem to be good options. It’s only after the early Allied purchases and strategy start to catch up and Axis starts getting choked out and countered that things start to go downhill, but with accurate play by both sides the resolution can get pushed back, By about round 7, the Axis position shouldn’t be picked apart by any means, but there should definitely be some areas of concern that the Axis need to worry about, and the longer you run reasonable projections, the more you see UK/US building up transports, dropping units into Finland/Norway, breaking into and holding Karelia (especially with USSR’s help), then reinforcing Russia with cost-effective ground units. And Germany’s Baltic fleet gets stranded, it can’t reasonably be reinforced as Germany’s already weakened its stacks horribly and Germany can’t even drop carriers for Japanese fighters, it just starts getting very questionable the longer it goes. (Again, if talking about a transposition pushing the German Baltic fleet into Mediterranean, trying that line of play would have been better to build a G1 Med carrier in the first place. If it was about a German Med carrier it would be about a German Med carrier, but it’s about Sealion, which is Baltic, so why even talk about the inferior transposition if the emphasis is elsewhere? If you’re thinking about the possibility of testing an opponent for accurate play and reasonable Axis outcomes then your game looks great at round 4, reasonable at round 7, that’s where I predict the emphasis will be as I think it’ll be an optimistic view of Sealion outcomes. After round 7 is about when various Allied options can really start to build up pressure, maybe even a real squeeze, so that’s why I think the emphasis of the video won’t be there. But who knows? Maybe I missed something.
(Provided the Allies undertake reasonable lines of play btw.)
Well, we’ll just have to see won’t we.
Board Game Nation hype!
@aardvarkpepper - Wow! I appreciate your interest and respect for our work.
Here is a link to the video you referenced regarding a Turn 2 Axis victory using a Sea Lion attack. [https://youtu.be/fh7OZV3x4l4](link url)
This game was against the Beamdog AI, which clearly didn’t make the best moves, but my goal with the video was to make some strategic points and show some “what not to do” moments. To that end, I feel like the video has been successful.
The amount of thought and research that has gone into your comment is truly impressive. At some point in the future, Board Game Nation will be making a full KUKF strategy video that will include the math and my rationale for why I think a Sea Lion attack does work. To be clear upfront, for me, “working” doesn’t necessarily mean taking London. It means focusing pressure in such a way that it forces the Allies to make purchases and position units in a way that isn’t strategically advantageous to them in the short or long term.
In the end, I might be wrong, but I think there is value in giving players strategic choices that will allow them to play the way that best suits them. After all, the goal is to enjoy trying to solve the puzzle.
I’ll certainly be looking forward to Board Game Nation’s upcoming series.
For this next part of the thread, I’ll start with the assumption we know Sealion works, we just have to figure out why.
There’s a lot of assumptions in this part.
Say we assume Sealion isn’t just a noob strainer. Say also Sealion is a conditional line of play dependent on R1 dice results, buys, and moves. Most lines of play work on some level given that much.
Let’s say R1 buy 4 infantry 2 tanks, 12 units to West Russia, 9 units to Ukraine, USSR destroys the German bomber on Ukraine but not the fighter then retreats to Caucasus, USSR does well at West Russia, USSR lands two fighters on Caucasus.
What’s the Allied strength in that position? We’re basically saying USSR has a chunk more land units than normal, a strong R2 attack/retreat option into Karelia (or any territory next to West Russia).
With a G1 11 inf 2 art open we want to choke out USSR income by holding Karelia as soon as possible, then Ukraine perhaps G4. But that means holding two different territories against USSR’s main stack on West Russia, that is disadvantaged under this scenario. USSR having so many tanks also means they’ll be able to threaten both Germany and Japan simultaneously when they get close to Russia.
Why are USSR’s fighters parked on Caucasus? I mentioned earlier USSR may want to park a fighter on Archangel. But depending on surviving units at Ukraine, Germany may be able to hit Caucasus with a lot. USSR’s AA guns may be needed at West Russia, and USSR fighters can’t land on West Russia.
Suppose you’re looking for a Germany opening that will play against the Allied position. If R1 had horrible dice for Allies, Axis could do a good-odds tank dash, then that might be an option, but we’re saying the opposite happened. Ideally Germany wants to choke off USSR income at Ukraine around G4, but that isn’t favored in this setup. Besides. suppose you also think your opponent plays accurately against G1 11 inf 2 art open. What do you do in this setup?
Instead of Germany trying to build up and move units to break a combined Allied stack near Russia, Germany tries only to prevent a USSR main stack advance. Germany goes immediately after USSR so can counter any major stack shift before Allied fighters can reinforce. Holding at Karelia prevents cheap UK/US land units from joining up with USSR, and prevents USSR’s main stack from moving closer to Germany than Ukraine. (If USSR’s main stack advances to Poland, say, assuming Berlin is well defended, Germany’s Karelia stack can advance to West Russia, threatening Russia, and USSR Poland’s stack can’t return to defend Russia in time).
Instead of Germany trying to choke off USSR’s income at Ukraine, Germany accepts USSR is going to get more income there. To balance that, Germany tries to secure its Norway/Finland income until later in the game, and does what it can in Africa.
UK’s India stack will be a problem. If Germany can reliably press forward into USSR, then eventually Germany claims Caucasus, cutting off UK’s India stack. But here, UK’s India stack is never threatened by Germany; UK can hold as long as possible at India, increasing UK’s India stack by 3 every turn. When that UK stack shifts into Europe, that’ll mean more UK income and pressure on Karelia.
What will Axis have to do? Hold Karelia, push for fast Axis income, play the long game. Try to simultaneously credibly threaten London and West Russia, control Baltic with sea/air enough that Germany doesn’t have to deal too much with Allied landings in Europe.
What will Allies have to do? Push a UK stack into West Russia to lock Germany/Japan to Karelia. (If Germany moves its main stack off, then UK can wipe out Japan air before it can move. If Japan moves its air off, perhaps USSR can smash Germany before Germany moves.)
I’ll try a few turns in TripleA, using 1942 Online’s changes. (So though you can use allied transports/carriers in TripleA normally I won’t do it.)
Note: I decided not to reroll things, just play through.
R1 buy: 4 inf 2 art. Cmove 12 to WRus, 9 Ukr. Retreated from Ukr to Cauc. Took low casualties at W Rus, lost no tanks at Ukr, left German tank and fighter alive on Ukr. Move only one AA to W Rus.
G1 buy: 1 destr 2 trn 1 car 1 inf. USSR has 19 dice into Karelia. Cmove Baltic States inf to Karelia, Italy inf via trn to Gibraltar, sub and fighter to UK cruiser.
Bit of weirdness here, not sure if it’s “correct”, but playing fast and loose anyways. Thought about sending sub after US East fleet, but instead of Germany’s fleet being disposable here I’m trying to preserve it.
Submerged USSR sub first round; normally better to leave unsubmerged first round but I’m restricting options by 1942 Online’s changes to the game.
Notice the German sub/fighter got wiped against UK cruiser. This was not likely to happen (6.6% chance of this result or worse happening), but players need to be prepared for variations from dice outcomes and opponent decisions.
Here, Germany doesn’t need to fortify Morocco to preserve the German fighter (as it’s destroyed already), freeing its units in Africa to be at Libya. This moves Germany’s development at Africa up a turn. Germany would much rather have the fighter, but oh well.
For UK turn, we look at destroying the Baltic fleet and the battleship.
AACalc gives 30% to clear the defenders then USSR sub can finish off. That would be a massive loss to Germany. Under normal rules, UK could purchase a carrier and destroyer, place east of London, then USSR would have a followup of sub and 2 fighters, giving an excellent followup. But in 1942 Online you can’t do that. The only followup is a sub, which will win against a lone destroyer 1/3 of time (both destroyed 1/3 but that would leave German transports alive). Still, it’s about 30% for Allies to wipe Germany’s Baltic fleet, 19% for German destroyer and transports to survive, then 1/3 of that 19% for the German fleet to be wiped with USSR’s followthrough. So about 36% for a winning position.
UK has about 75% to clear the battleship with destroyer/bomber. It’s a low dice count high unit value battle, and there are no followthroughs.
Which does UK take? If the Allies player feels they’re losing, they might want to take the 36%. 75% looks pretty good, but it’s not certain that the German battleship is really a threat, so think things out.
What about hitting the Baltic fleet? Germany has 3 inf 3 tnk 5 fig into London. Hitting the fleet kills German fighters first, reducing the German threat against London. But also, removing Germany fighters will restrict Germany’s options later on in a big way. Tactically, hitting the fleet is perhaps questionable, but strategically it’s not the worst.
How do we know German fighters die first? If destroyer dies first, USSR followup beats a carrier 60/40, and it’s a big payout. Germany probably doesn’t want that to happen. If carrier dies first, Germany retreats after having destroyed an expensive carrier and perhaps some air, Germany lands fighters, then USSR followup has 33% shot at destroying the entire fleet, plus Germany is out a carrier (and Germany is really pressed for income with this setup, like all right it can buy more if it must, but Germany doesn’t want to). Ideally the defender would see how many hits were rolled and could make appropriate decisions, but 1942 Online doesn’t let you do that.
What about hitting the battleship? Tactically it looks better with better odds, but strategically it’s not such a great thing for Germany. When UK and US combine fleets, Germany’s battleship won’t be of too much use; it’ll certainly be useful, but it won’t be flexible like Germany’s fighters.
So the decision is made, hit Germany’s Baltic fleet. Note that regardless of the actual result in this game, Germany probably loses about 36% of the time if UK decides to go with this attack. (I mean, maybe Germany can come back from the position after the Baltic fleet is destroyed, but I wouldn’t give it good chances).
What should UK buy? 9 infantry 1 artillery is the “safe” buy, 7 infantry 1 fighter the “greed” buy. (A fighter helps UK threaten the German navy). Assume we take 3 units off for India.
If the Baltic attack fails badly, Germany will have perhaps 3 inf 3 tnk 4 fighter to hit London with, against greed defense of 1 AA 1 bmb (US) 6 inf 1 art 1 tnk 1 fig.
This is only about 1/3 successful for the German attackers, and if they lose, they lose, Germany’s air will be decimated and there’s no followthrough.
But we can’t just leave it at that. We need to think about the possibility G2 goes 7 trn. UK will be completely unable to attack the Baltic fleet at that point (no odds). But US can reinforce with 4 fighters from E Can/E US, UK can build 8 land units, and we can expect perhaps another 3 fighters from West Russia by the time Germany can follow through. 14 attackers against 15 defenders, with high fighter count for favorable skew for defender, I’m not going to bother to calculate that (though really I should).
But let’s think through the UK greed buy. Okay, maybe UK can get away with it, but suppose the Baltic attack fails. How useful will another UK fighter be, strategically? Well, we know it can threaten the German Atlantic fleet with reinforcements from the India/Egypt region, it can be used to trade territory if the Allies ever land in Europe, fighters can be stuck on Allied carriers, and though maybe UK doesn’t need a third fighter for that, leaving a fighter free for Africa/India gives UK much better options. Though a UK bomber would be better, whatever.
What else could we do with those IPCs? Well, London needs ground for defense if Germany builds transports. Otherwise, fighters can threaten navy and defend London (ideal). Otherwise, submarines if US blocks Germany’s fleet, so UK can get a cheap shot at Germany’s navy. But we’re really not at the point that we need to be thinking about UK submarines yet, Germany doesn’t even have that much of a war fleet at Baltic and US isn’t position etc. etc.
Anyways, UK goes greed build of 7 inf 1 fig.
The UK Australia fleet heads east; it won’t arrive until late but UK will need all it can get in the Atlantic soonest.
UK destroyer in Med goes off Caucasus. Germany’s battleship surviving means Germany can press for income in Africa, which will be quite a problem. Since the German battleship won’t go to Caucasus (probably?), the UK destroyer may be safe there, which will allow UK to build a threat against Germany’s Med battleship.
But it’s not really a threat because the German battleship will escort the German transport to bridge to Libya, then UK fighters will have nowhere to land? True. The UK destroyer might be able to do something later.
Why not land UK fighters at Caucasus to pressure the Med early? I think about it, but 1) UK needs to pressure the Baltic, 2) with no German fighter on Morocco, US can land units at French West Africa, 3) UK can retreat its Egypt units to the south to defend.
Usually UK retreating Egypt units to south is pretty solid against German incursions into Africa. If Germany pushes infantry deep into Africa they’ll be stranded, and Germany wants all the units it can get near Ukraine to support a G4 Ukraine push. Even if Germany units push up through Persia and are cut off by the UK stack on India, there’s at least some possibility they’ll be relevant if they just push east.
But here, UK retreating Egypt units south is not so great. Germany’s given up on a G4 Ukraine push, so has nothing better to do than push Africa. Still, opposing German income in Africa will be needed, so that’s what Allies will do.
I notice I should have placed the Germany infantry at Italy instead of Berlin. Edit function’d it.
J1 buy 3 trn 1 inf 1 tnk. Between northeast Asia, repositioning in Asia, and pushing quickly in Africa, Japan just has a lot of nice use for tanks. Note Japan’s tanks are not like German tanks in use; German tanks are very brute force and repositioning with Germany’s massive starting stack sizes and huge tank forces, Japan’s tanks are more about opportunistically exploiting any small openings that the Allies inevitably have to leave someplace and small ability to redirect pressure. Japanese air lands at Wake.
Usually I’ll push 1 infantry to Burma, setting up UK to start draining its UK India stack with trades (or if not, Japan gets income). But here I use all land units to hit Yunnan, trying to get enough units to deter a US counter from Szechwan, and keep 2 infantry idle at Manchuria planning to move them to Kwangtung and land fighters to deny Allied income. The Japanese transport hits Soviet Far East to start draining USSR income immediately. Pearl light (US submerges, Japan loses sub, cruiser, fighter).
I don’t like Pearl light with a G1 11 inf 2 art open in 1942 Online. KJF is so crippled with 1942 Online’s rule changes I just don’t even think it’s necessary. Also with G1 11 inf 2 art I prefer to start trading out in Asia, get Allies to commit their forces. But here the Allies won’t be challenged by Germany nearly as much as if having used a G1 11 inf 2 art open, so I’m playing Japan more conservatively, trying to preserve Japan’s artillery in southeast Asia, etc. As to Pearl light, it’ll be a long time before the US could have gotten that fleet over to Atlantic, but every bit of power UK, US, and USSR can bring to bear on Germany accelerates Germany’s collapse in Europe, and with Japan having to go solo against India (with possible USSR reinforcement), that could mean Allies break Germany’s position in Europe while Japan is stalled at India.
If choosing between US possibly hitting Wake or Solomons to try to get a shot on Japan’s air, I’d rather they hit Wake. Solomons is too close to southeast Asia - not that I anticipate US will try KJF (besides playing both sides, just generally a big G1 transport buy I’d guess Allies would push KGF), but still.
US’s first decision is whether to go after Wake.
About 8.2% for US to win or wipe all Japanese defenders out, assuming Japan loses bomber first about another 25% to destroy the bomber. Japanese air is really great for the Axis, bombers even more so. On the minus side, a battleship and transport would be very delayed from pushing towards Atlantic, becoming relevant around US6 instead of US4. That’s a lot of lost time.
Intuitively it seems US should not hit Wake. We know by round 4, Allies should be starting to break apart the Axis positions in Europe and Atlantic, having an extra battleship and transport in the area will certainly be helpful.
But I think about the specific expected timing for this game. In a G1 11 inf 2 art open with normal-ish dice, Germany threatens to cut off UK’s India stack so UK is forced to withdraw pretty quickly anyways, then Japan has a guarantee to smash India early. But not in this game; besides Germany not building land units to push on Russia, the Allies rolled very well, Allies are very strong in Europe to the point USSR may even help defend India without losing too much position in Europe. Perhaps Japan will be delayed at India and won’t be able to shift its air to Europe for quite some time, meaning an Allied delay may not be as much an issue.
US buys 2 infantry, carrier, 2 fighters, attacks Wake, destroys infantry and bomber.
For USSR’s turn, the first thing I look at is USSR and Germany’s ability to hit and hold Karelia.
USSR can likely trade Karelia with no issue, but holding is another matter. Germany can hit with 14 inf 10 tnk 3 fighter, USSR can perhaps get 20 units there if lucky. Plainly USSR doesn’t have near enough to try to capture and hold Karelia this round, but if USSR moves all available units to reinforce West Russia and builds all tanks, it can get 31 units there next turn. By that time, though, Germany can easily get 35 units there. No matter what USSR builds, Germany can counter-build in Berlin to be able to hit Karelia with more units. This is not as deadly to Germany as it may seem; Germany’s Baltic fleet is defending the Atlantic, reducing pressure on Germany’s ground. However, the situation may become deadly for Germany, as Germany’s already lost three fighters and its bomber between R1 to Ukraine, G1 to UK’s cruiser, and UK1 to the Baltic fleet.
Against a G1 11 inf 2 art build I’d sit back with USSR, build up at West Russia. If Germany tries to capture and hold both Karelia and Ukraine to deny USSR income, USSR can pull a deadly attack/retreat or follow through depending on the position.
But here, even though just about all of USSR’s infantry may die next turn, I think I may want to go all tanks. I want to challenge Germany’s ability to hold Karelia on G2, so I want to counter the 24 dice Germany can sit on Karelia with. After using 2 USSR infantry to capture Karelia this turn, I’ll be able to bring 25 units to challenge the Axis 26-stack (considering Japan can reinforce with 2 fighters), which considering all the German tanks and Japanese fighters for high skew won’t be nearly enough, even though USSR has a load of high attack dice in those 25 units. If USSR wants to pose a serious challenge, it needs all tanks.
(BTW this is why I don’t like a R1 4 infantry 2 tank open. It’s just so easy for Axis to bulk up on Karelia on G2/J2 then USSR’s short on defense. I’d rather usually go R1 4 inf 3 art then build R2 tanks if Karelia can be challenged. But to be fair, if USSR doesn’t build tanks, and if USSR doesn’t want to retreat from Ukraine (German air is a high priority target), then USSR may not be able to prevent a G1 take and hold of Karelia, then Axis fighters land G2, then that gets ugly too.)
I send the USSR sub to hit the German Baltic fleet. This is about as good as it’s ever going to get for whittling down the Axis fleet.
If destroyer dies first 12.5% attacker wins, 35.34% carrier and transports only live. That translates to 12.5% horrible loss, 35.34% not great but tolerable (everything else is Axis win).
If carrier dies first, 9.1% attacker wins, 4.2% transports only live, 35.16% destroyer and transports live. Cumulatively that translates to 9.1% horrible loss for Axis, 39.36% really bad (valuable Axis carrier lost), everything else Axis win.
So here what does Germany do? Losing destroyer first gives 12.5% of “horrible loss” and 35.34% really not hot but maybe tolerable. Losing carrier first gives only 9.1% of “horrible loss” then 39.36% “really bad”. The problem is, destroyers are 8, carriers are 14, carriers are just so expensive.
I decided to play greedy with Germany and lose destroyer first. USSR wiped out the destroyer immediately, then after some rounds of rolling, eventually Germany potted the USSR submarine.
Comments on the game so far:
I don’t like how the Mediterranean is playing out for Germany. That was always going to be the case; the Allies just have too many options with UK and US in the Atlantic, and Germany just doesn’t have any real way to pressure, but even so. I think it might be better to try to push Germany’s Med fleet to Trans-Jordan early on. Very possibly not though.
Germany lost two fighters at the Baltic and another against the UK cruiser. It’s best not to judge actions by results after the fact; the UK cruiser was a reasonable risk. But I don’t think the Baltic defense was necessarily a good idea. Without trying to judge things after the fact, Germany just didn’t have any safety margin there for losing defenders. I think it might be better to push 3 subs 2 fighters and keep the cruiser at home, and still build the destroyer so Germany ends up with a pretty healthy naval defense.
US has the anticipated threat of 4 fighters 1 bomber against Germany’s fleet. So let’s think, suppose everything played out exactly the same way, only UK didn’t hit the German fleet. Germany could unite northwest of France with destroyer, carrier, cruiser, two fighters, battleship. UK would have 5 fighters 1 bomber, US 4 fighters 1 bomber, and USSR 1 sub. (Might be a little more for Allies really; changing the Germany move would leave UK with another cruiser). So I have to really think about whether unification northwest of France is any sort of real issue for the Allies. I don’t know that it is; the boost to Germany’s navy walks right into the fist of US’s logistics of US fighters newly produced on a carrier on US East’s sea zone.
USSR really did get lucky at West Russia, but that was a precondition of the game start. (If I had rolled poorly I would have edited in units). USSR also got somewhat lucky at Ukraine, inflicting decent casualties and losing some units but keeping all its precious tanks, and most importantly not taking Ukraine by accident leaving USSR’s tanks vulnerable to a counter.
US1 lucked out at Wake Island, blowing up Japan’s precious bomber. Again, not trying to judge the position after the fact, but did Japan really need to leave its units so there was no counter to US’s hitting Wake? Did Japan have to leave its navy south of Persia? For south of Persia there wasn’t any other way to get Japanese fighters in range to reinforce a G2 push on Karelia. Did Japan have to hit the UK cruiser off Kwangtung? Perhaps, but I didn’t have to do things the way I did.
With a G1 11 inf 2 art opening with more regular dice, I’d expect Germany to be able to capture and hold Karelia on its own a lot of the time. If Japan didn’t hit Pearl in that setup, I’d leave Japanese units in range of Iwo Jima to prevent US pressuring Japan’s sea zones. With Japan’s fleets and air really having no commitments there would be plenty of power for that.
But for this game, I wanted to put two Japanese fighters in range to reinforce a G2 push to Karelia in the face of an unusually powerful USSR. That sapped part of Japan’s naval power. Then, I used Japan’s navy to hit UK’s cruiser off Kwangtung. Along with losing Japan’s submarine and cruiser at Pearl, that left no cheap naval fodder in range to counter any US push to Wake, and actually there wasn’t any Japanese navy or air at all able to punish the push.
So I think I misplayed. If I wanted to have a Japanese counter to Wake, I would want at least a battleship east of Japan. That could also protect newly placed Japanese transports. But I couldn’t just ignore the UK cruiser; leaving the Japanese battleship west of Japan to protect Japan’s remaining transport offloading to Asia would leave Japan’s battleship out of range of wake, and sending the Japanese transport to Soviet Far East as I did would leave it in range of the UK cruiser. I could have hit the UK cruiser with destroyer and two fighters, and probably should have done.
Of course, US could also have lined up a W US sub build to counter any Japan counter to Wake. But considering the situation in Europe, that would have taken pressure off Germany. So I think that would have been acceptable.
Between Axis misplays and aberrant dice, this game isn’t really a fair representation of Sealion. But Sealion games do have to have a plan in case of bad dice, and the Allies were always going to be making a run on Germany’s Baltic fleet and reducing its air. I think the game certainly isn’t going well for the Axis, but I don’t think the Axis mistakes were so unreasonably bad that the game unfairly represents the possibilities of a Sealion with some important dice favorable to Allies, so I’ll play it out some more.
On looking at the board again during Germany’s turn, the condition of the Baltic fleet is a real issue. So maybe the game DOES unfairly represent Sealion because the Germany turn was botched.
The Allies can target down Germany in the Baltic, and Japan can do nothing to help. Well, that’s what happens with 1942 Online’s changes. Too bad.
What are Germany’s options at Baltic now?
Mass transport buy. UK responds with 3 fighters vs German carrier / 2 fighters, then US has a followup of 1 fighter 1 bomber, then USSR has a followup of 2 fighters. So, no.
Abandon Baltic and just produce land/air. If this is done there wasn’t any point to Sealion in the first place. So, no.
Build 2 destroyers to defend / hunt subs. UK builds 3 subs, either US blocks or UK splits placement. Germany’s Baltic fleet is then 2 destroyers 1 carrier 2 fighters. UK threatens with 3 submarines 3 fighters, US with 5 fighters 1 bomber, USSR 2 fighters. Germany’s Baltic fleet is dead by US3 unless Germany does a major fleet buy on G3.
So what have we gained with the Axis by Sealion? Germany held Norway and Finland income, not bad. UK spent on air and ground instead of transports and escorts, not bad, but not nearly good. It’s not that UK had to build a glut of useless ground on London, Germany’s air is dead, Japan can’t move into place anytime soon in Europe, the Allies have a lot of freedom in the Atlantic. Just a bit too much. And soon, UK will drop a load of transports and escorts. So by round 5, in exchange for loads and loads of naval expenditure, Germany bled out against UK/US instead of USSR, USSR will be surging in Europe, and Japan won’t be doing particularly well - not badly, but considering how quickly Germany’s position will be degrading in Europe, perhaps not fast enough.
A lot of it comes down to Germany losing that sixth fighter and losing a chunk of defense on UK1. If those had been different, the whole game would be changed.
But really, the fact that Japanese fighters can’t land on German carriers cripples Sealion’s options. It’s sad. Well, even though there’s things to be learned from playing out this game (like Japan could press in Africa and stuff), I’ll start again switching up Axis moves.
Last game USSR had super rolls, and each of the Allies had lucky chip damage on Axis, made worse by inaccurate Axis play. This time I’ll switch up the Axis moves a bit. At end of Germany’s turn
USSR got lucky again at both West Russia and Ukraine though it was less “luck” and more a precondition for Sealion in this thread. (I actually rolled a couple bad USSR opening games that I discarded).
Germany got lucky at the UK battleship fight, leaving a chunk of Germany submarine survivors, though that probably won’t make a big difference as UK’s East Canada destroyer can hunt Germany’s submarines.
Otherwise, Germany played differently in the Mediterranean and Europe. Units are placed on NW Europe; UK can capture France easily but that’s an unfortunate byproduct of Germany wanting to stack NW Europe, from where units can be transported easily to Karelia (as opposed to stacking France, which doesn’t allow that option).
Germany hit Trans-Jordan, left a tank at Italy and mobilized its infantry at Italy to threaten Africa via transport. UK can either hit Libya or the German battleship. Units at Italy could be inaccurate; UK has such incentive to destroy Germany’s battleship to prevent German income in Africa leaving units at Italy’s almost bound to be useless.
After looking at the map, I think I have to reconsider entirely my assumption about preconditions for Sealion, and the entire implementation of Sealion I’ve been using.
If Germany can’t capture and hold Karelia on G1 to threaten a big hit on West Russia G2 and accelerate its G3 threat with G2 Karelia production, then Allies have a lot of freedom in Africa, which is a problem as Germany’s Africa is weaker than normal with Germany keeping all its units so close to London.
But there’s compensations for Axis because of delayed pressure on the Baltic fleet? In 1942 Online Japan can’t land fighters on German carriers, so Germany is stuck with few naval options. Even if UK delays its air a turn from W Rus to deal with Germany’s battleship, it can reposition its air to hit Germany a turn late, with the added bonus that by that time US can position a destroyer blocker and UK safely produce cheap subs.
The kicker is even with cruiser bombard and 6 fighters, London is still not in much danger; UK can afford to build 7 infantry 1 fighter, remove its bomber from defense, and still have 28%+ to defend London. If Germany even attempts to hit London, it chances losing a chunk of irreplaceable German air and Allies have too many followup options even in case of German success.
Next game, instead of trying to build Sealion to threaten London on G2 (useless), I’ll send German air to Africa to push UK out early, then perhaps reposition for a G3 threat against London.
Is it enough that Germany position fighters in Africa to push UK out of Africa early and get Africa income? Must USSR also be weak in Europe for a Sealion projection to have decent Axis outcomes?
If Germany can’t capture and hold Karelia on G1, so be it. It’s not great for Germany, but perhaps not too awful. But if Germany can’t capture and hold Karelia on G2? For a G1 11 inf 2 art open, that’s pretty bad; Germany really needs Karelia to get more local production going. 2 units might seem like a small difference but it’s not.
But Sealion allows Germany to move units from Berlin to Karelia in one move. This seems to be a big advantage, but again, it’s not so much. Remember again the huge costs of the Baltic navy what with transports and escorts, its vulnerability to attack, turn order allowing US blocking into UK sub/air attack.
For a while Germany benefits by being able to drop 14 IPC per carrier then land already-existing fighters; though carriers are expensive, the fighters are “free” (not really! but after a fashion). But this is offset by the fact Germany has no good flexibility with its Baltic fleet; moving the Baltic fleet northwest of France puts it in range of US air, staying at Baltic lets Germany reinforce but then UK can build mass subs and US send in a blocking destroyer. Eventually Germany runs out of fighters to put on carriers - granted, not for a long time, but with such massive investment on navy and fewer ground units in Europe, USSR is a problem.
There are some advantages for Axis. A large Baltic fleet preserves Germany’s income at Norway and Finland, leaves Allied landings at France unsafe, and means Berlin and Baltic States don’t need defending.
What about Germany’s improved logistics to Karelia? What about Japan?
The problem I think at Karelia is Germany’s on the defensive rather than the offensive. Mass transport to Karelia sounds good on paper, but what do you really do with it? With so much ongoing investment in navy, do you end up sending cheap infantry/artillery to Karelia from Berlin around G3 (after a G2 build) to boost Germany’s timing threat against Karelia? But think on the timing; G1 10 land units on Berlin, G2 to Baltic States, G3 Karelia. Or G1 Baltic fleet, G2 transport perhaps 4-6 units to Karelia, G3 6 units? Germany’s not appreciably ahead and Ukraine is soft; on later turns Germany needs to keep investing in fleet.
Then what about Japan? Germany doesn’t threaten to cut off UK’s India stack, USSR has some room to mess about in Europe, possibly freeing USSR land or Allied air to go to India. It’s not going to be great for the Allies to do that (multnational forces are good for defense but lousy on attack) but there’s compensation for the Allied inefficiency; every turn of delay at India means another 3 units on UK’s India stack and 3 less for Japan.
Still, we can perhaps assume India eventually falls to Japan’s 8 units from Tokyo a turn. But then what? The multinational Allied force retreats into Europe, which was already unstable for the Axis, and the Allies will have been building pressure on the Baltic fleet the entire time. Once Germany’s Baltic fleet is broken, the Allies start landing almost immediately. Again, this is not doom and gloom projections, it’s simply what’s expected; US wants to have a carrier to accelerate its timings on US fighter reinforcements to London, the Allies have a load of airpower they used to break the German Baltic fleet in the first place, an Allied destroyer and carrier suffice to get transports in the water.
What I’m getting at is - perhaps I’m missing the timing on Sealion or a key concept somewhere. But where, exactly?
Even if Germany changes to a G3 threat to London instead of G2 and breaks into Africa income, the exposed Baltic is still vulnerable to the Allies, Germany still can’t get any Japanese reinforcements to its navy under 1942 Online’s rule changes, the Axis will be soft against Ukraine and India, the Allies have loads of fighters it can move in for emergency defense, while the Axis simply cannot unite Germany and Japan at all effectively. Oh, Japan can still move its air to Europe, no question, but there was also the question of the India / Ukraine / West Russia / Caucasus region which is now gone.
A problem with so-called “analysis” absent comprehensive actual numbers is, the prejudices of the writer come out. Because a writer doesn’t see how a plan can work, they assume it cannot work, even if it does actually work.
But though I’m keenly aware of that problem, I still have to think. All right, I’m used to infantry push attrition stack building / stack bleeding. Sure. And I learned variations of multiple threat mechanics, which plays out quite differently. And I think neither are enough to get Sealion working.
So what is this, a third way to think about Axis and Allies? But how? If you look at the concept of multiple threat mechanics, you could say theoretically Sealion pressures bad Allied responses because it simultaneously pressures London and West Russia (once Karelia is established). But you look at the vulnerability of the Baltic sea zone, you look at Allied options, you look at the fact Japan can’t reinforce at all with 1942 Online’s changed mechanics. What are you left with? Really, what are you left with? Is it something other than attrition or multiple threat? Or is it really multiple threat and I’m missing something? How?
For example, if someone said “oh look, aardvark, you’re missing THIS IMPORTANT BIT where Japan captures and holds Karelia!” I’d be like “oh, fantastic, that changes everything”. Because you have a Karelia Japan IC, then Japan can start popping out ICs locally and land existing fighters, and Baltic defense can go into overtime. But you’d need to have something big like that, I think, and if you think it’s easy for Japan to secure Karelia, well, it’s not.
I can play it out some more, but I expect things to go the way they have been. Germany can’t seriously invade London against a competent player. Not only that, but I believe Allied responses to Sealion don’t even require significant Allied sacrifices. I mean, yes, the Allied timeline does change, but it’s more of a “this is a different game” than “the Allies needed to make a sacrifice that set them back”. Germany holds Norway/Finland for quite a while longer, UK/US landings in Europe are certainly delayed. There’s a whole bit with German Baltic submarines in later turns I haven’t even gotten into with these projections yet. But even though the Allies definitely are set back, so too are the Axis. I think the balance given competent Allied play is in favor of the Allies.
Again, it could just be I’m just missing something important.
I think I’ll run through at least one more with TripleA, see what happens with G1 fighters to Africa. Perhaps have R1 capture Ukraine too, and precondition a game in which G1 captures and holds Karelia. It really is such an issue that Germany has no credible threat to West Russia on G2; it gives the Allies so much freedom to simultaneous develop threats on the Baltic flee while also defending London.
OK, so this game I’m presupposing G1 has a take and hold of Karelia. What needs to happen? R2’s threat to Karelia is West Russia survivors (probably including 2 artillery 1 tank), probably 2 USSR fighters, and any R1 tank build.
We’ll assume USSR went 9 units to Ukraine (not that I’m recommending that but I’ve heard it’s the meta so whatever, plus it plays into our presupposition) and captured Ukraine (which I’ve also heard is the meta). It’ll be a little weird landing two USSR fighters on Caucasus as they’re not strictly needed but we’ll attribute that to Allied player’s risk profile.
G1 to Karelia (with Ukraine and W Russia lost) is 7 infantry 4 tanks plus one transport’s worth of units (whether inf/AA, inf/tank, or two inf). What sort of USSR attack can that fend off?
Let’s say R2 to Karelia is 2 fighters, 1 tank, 2 artillery, 7 infantry, plus whatever R1 tank build. AACalc gives about 31.47% for USSR to have that or worse. (So probably USSR will be better, but again, this is a precondition for Sealion, so if USSR has better than Germany just does something else).
Let’s take R1 2 tank and G1 transport inf/AA first. AA means USSR has to risk fighters to even attempt the attack. Attacker has 56.2% to win, but can of course withdraw earlier to safety to preserve USSR’s valuable tanks then move up infantry reinforcements. So that is not really nice for Germany.
Switching to G1 transport inf/tank reduces attacker to 55% (note David Skelly’s calculator doesn’t run that many iterations so there is variance in reported results). But though it seems safer for the defender, it’s not really that great, as there’s no deterrent against USSR air. USSR knows its valuable units will be safe with no AA gun, so is more inclined to carry out the attack.
If R1 builds 1 tank, attacker odds fall to 33-35%, if 0 tanks around 15%.
There’s a lot of weird things going on behind the scene, mathematically speaking. I mentioned Axis and Allies results often manifest in a multi-peaked curve (usually about two).
With 16 attacking tanks against 16 defending tanks, the results don’t come out to mutual wipeout, or even 1 tank on one of the sides surviving. No, if you look at the chart, it’s something like 3-5 tanks usually surviving on a single side with the other wiped out. Sometimes more.
What I’m getting at is with perfectly evenly matched forces, you see the end result usually favors one side or the other by a good margin. It’s not that both sides evenly wipe one another out right down the light; differences in initial dice outcomes get magnified over subsequent rounds until, well, you see what happens.
So when USSR has a fair-odds attack that can perhaps wipe out a chunk of Germany’s irreplaceable tanks (you can build more, but gone is gone), what does USSR think? If USSR gets lucky on opening rolls and Germany unlucky, it can inflict a chunk of casualties on Germany’s valuable forward infantry (it takes time for Germany to march all those units to the front, and that time has value and opportunity cost), and maybe take a shot at some tanks as well. If USSR doesn’t get so lucky? Well, not fantastic, but USSR can retreat to West Russia and move infantry in to reinforce. So long as the dice outcomes aren’t an absolute disaster for USSR, the position will be all right. So USSR does attack. Even if the odds look not to be fantastic, USSR really doesn’t have a lot to lose, and has a lot to gain, so it does it.
But if the odds look really bad for USSR, then it’s a little different. All right, destroy Germany’s forward infantry, that’s very nice, but how much of USSR’s units are lost? Eventually Germany may establish a forward position then try to push USSR off West Russia, if USSR took a chunk of casualties and Germany didn’t, the balance of power is shifted towards Germany.
Even at 33-35%, it’s not categorically wrong for Russia to hit Karelia. Remember those were about the odds for US getting good results in the first game for attacking Wake, and US lost two infantry but destroyed an infantry and a bomber in exchange. In that game, Japan wasn’t in position to punish US pushing to Wake, similarly Germany may not be in a position to punish USSR for attempting a hit on Karelia then retreating to West Russia. Yes, if the dice are an absolute disaster for Allies there’s a possibility of an immediate German counter, but it’s unlikely if the Allies played competently. (I mean, literally unlikely in the probabilistic sense, it can certainly still happen).
But you can see here the sort of thing that happens once you start looking at the numbers and specifics. It’s not “just one or two units here or there”, R1 2 tank build literally makes all the difference between a viable R2 Karelia hit or not. R1 retreating from Ukraine to preserve USSR tanks starts to make more sense. It’s understanding the numbers that separates accurate play from inaccurate play.
It’s not absolutely necessary that a player analyze games mathematically; a decent player will get some idea of what outcomes will be based on intuition shaped from years of experience.
But I do want to point out I’ve always been very critical of players that push dogmatic lines of play absent detailed analysis, because new players that lack experience are going to make loads of inaccurate plays everywhere which will add up to their losing. The more actual board conditions are ignored in favor of “simple advice”, the less it applies against actual board conditions, the more players that follow inflexible advice end up losing as they didn’t understand the basic principles underlying.
I’m not saying it’s right to just hit new players with text walls either. But there should maybe be a series of videos and/or articles that take Axis and Allies from fundamentals to mathematical concepts to concrete applications.
Like here, I’m saying Sealion turns out not to just be about brute force invasion of London, it seems to turn out to be about securing early German Africa income, freeing Germany from having to defend much of Europe with ground units (using naval units to do so), and coordinating Japan’s timing with Germany’s development to get effective Axis defenses in Europe against the KGF. There’s a lot of specific actions that turn out to be problematic, like pushing J1 fleet south of Persia, from where Japanese fighters can reinforce G2 push to Karelia; it seems like that might be a good idea, but it restricts Japan’s options with transports depending on UK’s results against Japan’s destroyer/transport off Kwangtung (assuming that attack is carried off). Appreciation for these details is what differentiates levels of play.
It’s not that I’m trying to claim to be on some other level. I’m just saying, there really is a difference between players that apply mathematics and projections and those that don’t, there is a difference between conversations that show mathematics and projections and those that don’t. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing without mathematics; players ought to do what they enjoy. But you can see where advice that doesn’t have mathematics at its core just isn’t going to see much progress.
Imagine trying to explain, without concrete mathematics and screenshot projections, why it’s important that Japan consider moving battleship, carrier, and fighters south of Persia on J1. What does that have to do with Sealion at all? But it DOES have something to do with Sealion.
Imagine trying to explain why USSR retreating from Ukraine and/or purchasing R1 tanks makes a difference to Sealion. Isn’t Sealion about invasion of London? So what does USSR have to do with anything? But it IS related.
So for this upcoming game I’ll use R1 4 inf 3 art open and R1 pushes Ukraine until capture or USSR fighters endangered. Japan won’t push its J1 fleet south of Persia but will instead consolidate, then try to rush Axis income in Africa. Germany will push Africa early then reposition fighters to Europe (joined later by Japanese fighters), Japan will reposition to try to hit India.
The slow Axis buildup might be dismantled by UK/US picking off Germany’s Baltic fleet, after which Germany will scarcely have the land units to hold off any sort of Allied pressure. USSR will bulge out at Ukraine and have a healthy income. UK’s India stack will build over time, and eventually will likely play a role in pressuring Germany off Karelia.
If Axis lose control of Karelia, then Axis lose soon after (provided the Allies didn’t sacrifice Russia to make it happen). That is my prediction. Probably I’ll play it out later a bit on TripleA, post screenshots.
The next commented game has the most mathematics and explanations of the series. But three cautions. First, this is not intended to be any sort of full address or even a real case study. It’s really just an opinion piece with some illustrative examples, nothing more. Second, though the focus is on mathematics remember opponents will not play accurately, you will not play accurately, and even the following text probably isn’t a sample of accurate play. It might look that way, but if there was something I missed? (Shrug).
Third, what I write following is not even Operation Sea Lion in the proper sense. I don’t think London can be successfully invaded. At best, I think it’s fairly described as trying to use a German Baltic fleet to secure Germany’s Norway/Finland income, reduce or eliminate any need for Germany to defend most of Europe with land units, instead substituting Germany’s navy to fend off the Allied navy. There are a lot of problems with the plan, Germany’s Baltic navy is exposed with nowhere to hide and is easily cut off, I believe there is no way for Japan to meaningfully reinforce Germany’s fleet with 1942 Online’s abysmal rule changes, and USSR and UK end up with a lot of freedom in the area between Ukraine and India, which leads to problems.
Because the following is so demonstrably NOT any sort of serious threat on London, it is hereafter referenced as “the G Baltic fleet” or such.
The preconditions for the G Baltic fleet for this game were USSR performs poorly at R1 West Russia, does not retreat its tanks from Ukraine, and does not purchase 2 tanks. This allows G1 capture of Karelia in force with the expectation that Germany not only holds, but will perform so well against any USSR attack/retreat action that even attempting attack/retreat is expected to generate bad outcomes for USSR. Securing Karelia on G1 allows local production of units, to which may be added units produced on Berlin moved in via transport.
Unlike land-based strategies, with a G Baltic fleet Karelia cannot count on fighter support for defense. Germany’s fighters are locked to carriers, Japan’s fighters are busy near India. The compensation that UK/US cannot easily establish a beachhead at Finland/Norway is balanced out by Germany’s lack of ground forces as it buys Baltic navy, and a stronger USSR pushing for income near Ukraine.
The German open is not mass transports and a carrier, rather it builds a destroyer, a transport, a carrier, and ground units.
A G Baltic fleet of lone carrier and 2 fighters is vulnerable to UK 2 fighters 1 bomber, then a possible followup of USSR 1 submarine. 1942 Online’s defensive profiles do not allow proper use of the USSR sub, but a player may still reason that an opponent will attack with overwhelming force, and decide to submerge the submarine. If the German carrier is lost first, it is still almost 41% that UK destroys the entire German fleet, I consider that a near-loss condition for the Axis. Even if UK fails completely, if the carrier is gone USSR has a 100% followup with a submarine; even if the carrier is not gone the USSR submarine has 60% to win against a carrier (and winning destroys the entire German Baltic fleet).
A G Baltic fleet of cruiser, carrier, and 2 fighters is vulnerable to attack by UK air with USSR followup. If Germany loses air units first, there’s less of an invasion threat against London and fewer German units that can contest a USSR stack push. Germany cannot simply replace fighters as that will cost ground units in Europe. But if Germany loses naval units first then a USSR submarine followup has better chances. No matter what Germany loses, it is problematic for the Axis, and too much depends on the opponent’s decision regarding the USSR submarine.
A German fleet of cruiser, destroyer, and carrier only leaves budget for 2 transports. Even with 6 fighters, Germany cannot pose a credible threat to London of a level that pressures UK to make a buy that is strategically inflexible. A UK1 buy of 7 inf 1 fighter allows 3 infantry to be placed on India, 4 infantry and a fighter on London, defending London and threatening Germany’s Baltic fleet.
As London cannot be credibly threatened on G2, this G Baltic game attempts to bolster Germany’s logistics to Karelia, with the Baltic fleet providing cover for a possible German mass transport build that may threaten London and trying to cut off UK/US from reinforcing Europe with cost-effective land units (nothing can be done about Allied fighters from London to West Russia except breaking West Russia).
The Axis need to strike a balance between choking off UK’s income and racing to try to take down Russia before Germany’s Baltic fleet can be broken.
R1: 4 inf 3 art, W Rus 9 inf 2 art 1 tnk vs 3 inf 1 art 1 tnk. Attacker survivors: 4 inf 2 art 1 tnk, i14.78th percentile). Ukr 3 inf 1 art 3 tnk 2 fig vs 1 bmb 3 inf 1 art 1 tnk 1 fig, German bomber died first, USSR captures with 1 tank 2 fighter surviving (37.07th percentile).
As USSR performed poorly at West Russia, both AA guns were placed in West Russia. That left few defenders on Caucasus. Considering the Kazakh infantry to Szechwan frees up UK’s fighter to hit Germany’s battleship, instead of moving the Kazakh infantry to Szechwan, or leaving 1 inf 3 artillery to defend Caucasus, or even adding just 1 fighter to Caucasus, USSR landed 2 fighters on Caucasus and placed 1 inf 3 art, defending against German 1 inf 1 tank 2 fighter battleship bombard which would have been an expensive gamble for Germany but potentially very profitable, especially considering USSR’s weak open.
G1: 4 inf 1 trn 1 car 1 dstr, Ukr 2 inf 2 fig vs 1 tnk (no losses, 45.89% chance), sz 7 3 sub 2 fig vs 1 sub 1 destr 1 btl (sub not submerge) lost one sub (33.11% chance that or better), sz 17 1 btl vs 1 destr (no loss, 93.98% chance), Trans-Jordan 1 inf 1 art vs 1 inf no losses (52.2% chance)
This game is really a bad example of a G Baltic fleet game. Even presupposing bad dice on a R1 open, the R1 open dice were really bad, then G1 had almost all optimal dice results (not just decent or good, but optimal.)
Proper play does not consist of canned “strategy” with everything “evening out in the end”; everything does NOT even out in the end. G1 noncombat moves in this game illustrate this point.
Germany had two submarines survive at sea zone 7, very unlikely but it happened. Its battleship survived in the Mediterranean, which was expected, but even so. We know UK will be choked for income in this game, why? Because as Axis we deliberately plan to choke it out to reduce UK’s options against the G Baltic fleet and at India. As Allies, we know this because we know the Axis player is the sort of player that thinks that way.
So how can we prevent UK from taking France cheaply, perhaps preserve Germany’s submarines, and Germany’s battleship, not only with a minimum of risk, but a minimum of investment? Frankly we can’t, which is a failing of some guides that say you can “force” your opponent to do one thing or another or “trick” them or whatever nonsense. There is no hidden information in Axis and Allies, and almost no “forcing” of moves (there are victory cities but it’s less about focusing on and fighting for control of victory cities in some sort of “clever” play, and more about simply having strong fundamental play that wins on its merits with victory cities being taken in passing).
But though in Axis and Allies there’s not really “force” or “trickery”, sometimes an opponent can be presented with possibilities to make inaccurate plays if they don’t correctly apply strategy or tactics. Or plays that are “wrong” in some situations can be “right” in others.
Consider Germany’s defense of France in this game. There are a lot of conflicting things going on.
Consider what happens if UK captures France. Income, which is badly needed to challenge Germany’s Baltic navy. Germany will want to commit units to recapture France, which will detract from Germany pushing east. UK loses an infantry or leaves its tank stranded in East Canada (considering 1942 Online doesn’t let you use allied transports it’s rather more of an issue). UK will lose its transport on Germany’s counter, but a 7 IPC transport that wouldn’t be much use for a long time (Germany’s Baltic navy would destroy any early fleet escorts) and a 3 IPC infantry for a 6 IPC territory and positional pressure? Might not seem like the worst.
Now suppose instead of Germany simply lining up an obvious counter, Germany actually puts a bad defense on France. Suddenly, France becomes more tempting, not less. The income is less certain, but now factor in Germany loses land units from an area already low in land units, increasing positional pressure. With the loss of German units, the net expected IPC gain/loss may be even better than before, even considering the possibility France is not captured.
But why would Germany put a bad defense on France? Which it does in this game. Because using a single AA gun as part of an understrength defense may offer a shot at UK air, which would be dangerous to Germany’s high-value Baltic fleet when built up later. It’s unlikely UK will lose air to the AA gun, but the more risks UK takes, the more chance something will turn sour. Also, if enough units are used that UK air are required for favorable odds on France, in this game that might mean the two German submarines survive. Those German submarines will be a pain for the Allies to deal with once they move back to safety at Baltic, then they can be used as cheap fodder. But “cheap” at 12 IPCs for the pair, is not really that cheap.
The fewer fighters UK sends to France, the less its chances there. The more fighters UK sends to France, the less its chances against the submarines. If UK sends its bomber to France instead of the Mediterranean, Germany can build up in Africa, which might seem like a bad idea as Germany’s already drained in Europe trying to feed the Baltic fleet. But persistent German income in Africa over time is a real problem for the Allies.
So here, defending France with 1 AA 3 infantry is not a “good” defense of France. But if UK really tries to capitalize, then it’ll leave openings elsewhere. If UK doesn’t try to capitalize, then Germany at least committed fewer forces to protecting France, leaving more units to head east against USSR.
But this entire line of play simply doesn’t come under consideration if there were no German submarines, if German air were in a different position, if there were no German carrier to provide eligible landing zones in case of a UK fleet build (which I didn’t mention but is the case). A “canned strategy” does not allow best adaptation to the situation; it’s easier for beginning players to follow, but not thinking is a bad habit to get into.
Another bit that might look odd is leaving Belorussia and Poland open. What if USSR captures Belorussia? Blitzes a tank to Poland? The answer is, USSR would be able to capture Belorussia regardless, and trading a 2 IPC Poland for a 6 IPC USSR tank, even allowing for the possibility of lost German infantry, is not too bad of a trade for Germany. USSR tanks seem pretty useful in the early game, but USSR tanks in the early game are nothing compared to USSR tanks in the late game handled by a competent player. They’re a real problem to deal with, so if USSR wants to lose one, fantastic.
Sometimes players assume something will work out, without really calculating in advance. We know G1 will hold Karelia, but what about G2? If R2 builds 4 tanks, it’ll have 12 inf 5 art 5 tank 2 fig; 24 units with 48 attack. Compare to Germany’s projected defense if nothing is added: 1 AA 8 inf 4 tank, only 13 units with 28 defense. We add in what may be expected; 2 Finland infantry, 2 German infantry built on Karelia, and 5 tanks from elsewhere, for 22 units with 51 defense. This seems better, but remember Germany has a logistics issue so USSR may hit just to reduce Germany’s numbers, then there’s the two-peak model; if USSR hits and gets lucky Germany’s irreplaceable tanks may get wiped out and it’ll functionally be game over. It might seem there’s plenty of margin for error with up to 4 units coming via Germany’s transports and 2 fighters, but remember those are conditional on there being 4 units for Germany to transport (which may not be the case if Germany wants to counter UK and USSR which may mean recapturing France and Poland) and fighters may be needed to defend the Baltic fleet (since UK can build air and/or sea units and bring over its Asia fighters to threaten the Baltic fleet with a pretty big hit) or even for other targets.
How do we know Germany’s fighters might be needed at Baltic? There’s no obvious indicator, players should always consider what their opponents might buy that could change the situation. What can UK2 build to hit Baltic with? Say 2 fig build (leaving enough for 3 ground on India) and the bomber need not hit the German battleship at Africa, for up to 6 fighter 1 bomber vs carrier, destroyer, cruiser, 2 fighter. UK is happy to reduce Germany’s air force and navy, leaving less for USSR to deal with, throw in a couple transports for a payout and favorable odds and that’s what Germany can expect UK to do. There will also be followup threats from US then USSR from West Russia so even more German navy may be needed.
Germany is very close to the edge on a lot of planned future defenses, and the entire turn was very different to what it would have been if R1 had different dice rolls, or even different actions (such as retreating from Ukraine). If the Axis had been following a canned strategy, Germany simply would not have played accurately to the actual board position, and that would have been costly.
Particularly at Karelia, the importance of understanding the G Baltic fleet’s issues was important. For a player used to a G1 11 inf 2 art opening it might be thought sufficient that Germany be able to withstand R2’s counter; a player used to that opening would be used to being able to land German fighters to secure the defense. But with a G Baltic fleet, Germany’s fighters are needed to protect the Baltic.
Without German fighters available to help defend Karelia, it could have fallen to a R3 counter if Germany didn’t set up its land units at the end of G1 to reinforce Karelia sufficiently on G2.
On UK’s turn, I go back to consider opportunity costs and might-have-beens.
Looking at the board it’s easy to dismiss Germany’s moves as mistakes. Germany could have 9 inf 9 tanks 5 fighters threatening W Rus, and 3 inf 3 tanks 5 fighters threatening London. Surely the pressure of both simultaneous threats could force some sort of breakdown somewhere out of the Allies, even if only to prevent destruction of Germany’s battleship at Mediterranean. Germany could even threaten with 4 inf 4 tanks 5 fighters if buying another transport instead of destroyer.
But it’s a bit more involved than that. Instead of thinking vaguely and reasoning with such force surely something must be possible, the details should be worked out. Even things that may seem like weaknesses may not be.
First, what of raw force? Consider London. If Germany bought another transport so less a destroyer, even keeping the cruiser back leave the G Baltic fleet at high risk against a UK air attack and a USSR submarine followup. Against a player known to use their USSR submarine to fight it might be considered, but it’s very possibly the entire game right there. Even if both German carrier and cruiser survive, reducing USSR’s submarine’s odds, USSR might still attack, there’s nothing else for the USSR sub to do and the payout is massive.
If Germany accepts those risks and doesn’t lose its navy before G2 (a real possibility) to threaten 4 infantry 4 tank 5 fighters to London, UK buying 7 infantry and keeping 1 fighter back defends London about 58% if the AA gun then the US bomber are removed first, leaving 3 UK fighters, 1 US fighter, and 2 USSR fighters to land on West Russia. UK could add another tank from East Canada (but would lose the transport) or keep back its second fighter, but 42% is not the best odds for Germany even absent those reinforcements.
If Germany builds a destroyer for safety its invasion of 3 inf 3 tnk 5 fig is down to about 36% after a UK placement of 7 infantry on London even if UK has no fighters there.
What about W Rus? 19 defenders 39 def against 23 attackers 51 att, assuming USSR attack of 1 inf 1 art 2 fig vs 2 inf at least destroys the opposing inf (decent chance). This is not at all safe; even if USSR outnumbered the attackers, most of the defending dice are 2 and attackers 3, more importantly initial rounds of combat would remove Germany attackers at 1 and USSR defenders at 2. A lot more defense is needed. Where can it come from?
But we saw even with Germany threatening London with 4 inf 4 tnk 5 fig, there are still 4 UK/US fighters available to add to West Russia. It’s still not the greatest defense and there are some opportunity costs, but even trying the attack risks German air to UK’s AA gun. True, Japan might prevent the US fighter from being available by hitting Szechwan, but that would risk Japanese air, and considering all the factors outside Axis control, many of which don’t even come down to just bad dice but also opponent blunders, it’s just too much to expect. Even if the US fighter is not available, Axis odds of breaking West Russia are still less than 43%.
Imagine, first USSR has to have set its submarine to fight so it dies without being able to threaten Germany’s fleet, UK has to attack the German Baltic fleet but fail (losing UK’s fighters in the process), 1942 Online automatically lands fighters if their carrier is destroyed and will probably land them someplace they shouldn’t be then Germany ends up with 2 less fighters on the attack, after failing the attack UK would place 7 units on London instead of 8 and not move the East Canada tank in as an emergency measure. If any part of that process fails, Germany’s odds go down.
The Allies can keep both Germany’s chances of capturing London and its chances of breaking the Allies on West Russia to less than 50%.
So does Germany really have so much flexibility and raw power that a bad position is forced out of the Allies? No.
Some things are not as obvious as they may seem, like the defense of France mentioned in the previous post, or Germany’s need to use its fighters to defend Baltic so Karelia’s defense after a G1 hold being far weaker. The use of the German Mediterranean fleet in a G Baltic game is one of these things.
Consider the use of the German Med fleet in a G1 11 inf 2 art game. Germany holds Karelia by G2 with Japanese fighter reinforcement from a J1 fleet sent south of Persia, and G1 tank builds to balance any threat R1 dice outcomes and buys posed. Germany then lands fighters to secure Karelia, and pushes surplus ground towards Ukraine, With German fighters defending Karelia and German infantry/tanks pushing to Ukraine, Ukraine can reasonably be held about G4, after G1/G2 infantry and G3 tank builds are joined by Japanese fighters (which are still in position to hit India). In such a game, the German Med fleet is deadly as it allows fine control of Germany’s forces in Africa. If Germany gets income from Africa, that slows UK’s actions but also increases Germany’s income, add that to Germany’s large starting stacks and high production that’s all on the same continent as Russia, and Germany can use that income to ramp up aggression quickly. The Ukraine stack incoming can also be reinforced by the German battleship and transport; two units may seem like a small difference but as examples through this thread have shown even one unit makes a big statistical difference even in large battles, add two a turn for a couple turns and it really does add up. So with a G1 11 inf 2 art opening, the German Med fleet is a high priority target.
But with a G Baltic open, the German Med fleet is NOT a high priority target. German fighters are locked to the Baltic so cannot defend land, so more German land is locked to Karelia. German income is siphoned into navy; it’s true Germany also needs less land to defend Berlin, Baltic States, and other spots (as its massive navy can wipe out any light UK/US escorts and transports), but combine the two and the net expectation is Germany simply cannot afford to build a stack for Ukraine to deny USSR income. So the German Med fleet can never add to a stack that doesn’t exist, so isn’t near as deadly.
But German income in Africa is still deadly? Certainly. Absolutely. But considering the current board position has 6 ground 3 fighters challenging Egypt and Germany’s battleship and transport at the moment, what does UK do? If UK hits the battleship it’ll lose its bomber in the battle (or lose it when Germany hits Egypt), then after Japan destroys UK’s Indian Ocean transport there’s no way for UK to prevent Germany from grabbing Africa income. Or UK could try a chancy battle against Libya, leave Germany’s battleship alive, then get wiped out by Germany’s counter.
But the German battleship threatens UK/US fleet? It doesn’t. If the German battleship moves west of Gibraltar it walks into the face of UK and US’s massed logistics and is destroyed, whether it unites with the Baltic fleet northwest of France or no.
So all the German battleship and transport really do here is give Germany some fine control in the Africa/Europe region, which will certainly help the Axis, but is not a critical point. The Allies simply don’t need to use resources to hit it, and should instead focus on the Baltic fleet.
Considering the probability distribution of a UK1 attack on Libya, I edit the map to put 3 German fighters on Libya (instead of 1 on Algeria). This weakens any German counter to a UK destroyer/carrier build northwest of France, but I figure if UK is building a carrier then perhaps Germany can do all right out of the position anyways, but losing air at Libya would be a real problem. Changing Libya from 2 to 3 fighters makes a tactically chancy but strategically reasonable UK attack into a tactically extremely risky attack (and if failing, UK fails its strategic objective of destroying German air while preserving UK air).
The above may all sound pretty convincing, like the G1 Baltic plan I used is a good idea. But I’ll point out, perhaps my entire perspective is wrong from start to finish but I just don’t know it. Second, this is not a “normal” game, so far USSR has very bad rolls and Germany very good ones. Third, even if the Allies can’t blow a huge gaping hole in Axis defenses so far, it’s only round one.
Looking at UK’s position, there’s three major issues that leap out. First, Germany threatens West Russia with 8 inf 9 tnk 2 fig. Second, Germany threatens London with 2 inf 2 tnk 2 fig. Third, Germany has its fleet at the Mediterranean and a lot of units lined up to hit Egypt.
London may not appear to be in danger this round, but a less obvious threat is the possibility of Germany buying 6 transports on its turn. If the Allies don’t plan for that possibility, dumping 8 units on London just may not be enough.
Complicating the matter is India, UK’s India fleet, Japan’s destroyer and transport at Kwangtung, and Japan’s upcoming attack into India. If possible, it would be nice to preserve UK’s carrier, sending it around Africa to become relevant in the Atlantic around UK5.
First, London. Germany’s 2 inf 2 tnk 2 fig isn’t a real invasion threat, but 7 transport buy and G3 is 9 inf 9 tank 5 fighter.
What about trying to clear some of Germany’s navy? Probably UK would lose, but could UK at least clear a German fighter or carrier? WIth UK 2 fig 1 bom vs 1 dstr 1 cru 2 fig 1 car (with German carrier taken last in order of loss)
There’s a 64.25% Germany keeps 2 fighters 1 carrier or better, Allies have no followup, and Germany can build on its turn to pad against future attacks. So no, UK won’t hit the Baltic fleet this turn.
Suppose UK tries a greed build; 2 fighters for London, 3 land for India, threatening UK2 6 fig 1 bom vs Ger 1 car 1 destr 1 cru 2 fig, with followup US2 1 bom 1 fig (if fig survives Szechwan) R3 2 fig. As there are followups, Germany can’t just dump its carrier early; that would leave no fighters defending the sea zone, especially as 1942 Online’s rules changes mean Japanese fighters can’t reinforce. Even if Germany buys a carrier and lands two fighters, with 1942 Online’s inflexible defensive profile there’s about 31% the UK2 attack clears the German fleet, and another 21.6% Germany is reduced to 1-2 carriers, which US/USSR followups have a chance of clearing. Even if the Allies don’t clear the German fleet, there’s a good chance Germany loses a chunk of irreplaceable air, weakening its ability to challenge USSR, and the Baltic fleet gets destroyed on followup rounds.
But suppose Germany takes that chance. It does need a carrier, that reduces its G2 buy to carrier / 4 trn, reducing the invasion threat to 6 inf 6 tnk 3 fig (assuming at least 2 figs are lost at Baltic, which is very likely).
UK’s air force will be gone, but after US1 carrier/2 fighters and 2 fighters to East Canada, US reinforces with 4 fighters. If the UK attack did not go well, US and USSR may reinforce London instead of attacking the Baltic fleet, for possibly another 1 US fighter, 2 USSR fighters.
So Ger 6 inf 6 tnk 3 fig vs AA, bomber, 2 inf, art, tnk, 6 fighter. Attacker wins 61.4%.
That seems all right, but UK2/US2 can also reinforce London with UK 1 inf 1 tnk from East Canada, 3 inf 1 tnk from East US. It is not a question of whether the Allies can defend London, it is a question of how many transports the Allies lose to secure the defense. Just 1 US transport reduces attacker chances to 29.3%.
So you can see there’s a real question whether Germany only builds 1 carrier at all. Just 1 carrier leaves Germany possibly losing its entire Baltic fleet, and the Allies have good chances to defend London even if UK’s attack on the Baltic fails. More, US will have a US3 attack of 4 fighters 1 bomber against the Baltic fleet, and that could be an issue for a severely depleted fleet.
The unspoken assumption on London defense so far is UK hits and destroys the 2 German submarines northwest of London successfully. I won’t compute the odds here, but 1 destroyer 1 cruiser 2 fighters do have really good odds to clear. So I assume it’s probably safe, and the backup is splitting Allied transports between East Canada’s two sea zones; the odds of both German submarines surviving is super low and if just one survives it can’t hit both.
Second, West Russia. Germany threatens West Russia with 8 inf 9 tnk 2 fig. If USSR tries to defend it alone, Germany has similar numbers but better attack dice than the defenders have defense dice, and the attackers lose attackers at 1 initially where defenders lose defenders at 2. Without even calculating it, those add up to a winning Germany attack. UK can land fighters, and perhaps US (if it survives Szechwan). So you see here how 1 USSR infantry at Szechwan can preserve the US fighter against Japan’s attack, and frees a UK fighter to not land on Szechwan; potentially two fighters for the cost of one infantry is a good price. (Though Japan may still risk the attack). This is why even with bad USSR1 dice it’s still often nice to put a USSR infantry on Szechwan.
Germany has the invasion threat on London but it really is a weak threat. Just the new fighters on UK could help defend, leaving UK London fighters free to land on West Russia. But UK cannot use its London fighters to hit Germany’s subs and still land in West Russia, it’s one or the other. And the German submarines need to be destroyed before they can escape to the Baltic.
Considering the situation, I switch out a Baltic States infantry for the AA gun on Karelia. Originally I wanted to use the AA gun to buffer against USSR attacks, but assuming the G Baltic is about simultaneously building pressure on West Russia and London, a more forceful move could be “correct” if it can’t really be punished, which I forget if it can be or not but I’ll look at it again later.
So now the threat on W Rus is 9 inf 9 tnk 2 fig (if 2 USSR uses inf art 2 fig and eliminates Germany’s infantry on Ukraine). UK fighters land on, it leaves Germany with a 22.6% to win. This does not account for the US fighter. It’s not great; Germany wants to keep its forwards infantry and its tanks and its fighters, and really doesn’t have the numbers to push more reinforcements. If Germany had a good lot of ground units following up, Germany could try attacking then retreating to cut down on USSR’s stack and try to get lucky, but the Baltic fleet hasn’t had a chance to really help Germany’s position at Karelia yet.
So W Rus can be defended, if UK doesn’t hit Africa. Since in this game I think the German battleship is sort of a sideshow anyways, that’s what Allies will do.
Assuming defending subs “chicken” (submerge if possible), leaving 1 UK fighter and 1 bomber 1 dstr 1 cru to hit Germany’s 2 subs
Third, Egypt. Nothing UK can really do about that; hitting Germany’s Med fleet means W Rus can’t be defended, Germany already has a huge counter into Egypt. Hitting Libya, after the edit, 3 German fighters just leaves too much dead UK air and too much live German air in the possible outcomes.
So at this point, UK’s buy is figured (2 fig 3 inf, normally an art would be nice but UK really wants to pinch pennies). It’s just a question of figuring UK’s attacks - probably carrier/cruiser to Kwangtung’s destroyer/transport (if left alive it’s another 4 units in Asia by end of J2 which would accelerate Japan’s timetable on India).
The question is what to do about Germany’s position on Trans-Jordan, what to do with UK’s units at Egypt, and what to do with UK at India.
The “Africa Defense” plan would move Egypt units south, Union of South Africa infantry north, and perhaps 2 India infantry via transport to Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. I don’t like it, but as the Allies don’t plan to challenge the battleship for a while, Germany can get a lot into Africa, and UK will need a good chunk of units if it wants to pose a reasonable challenge (even with US support).
UK1: 3 inf 2 fig, inf/art/fig vs inf/art at Trans-Jordan (attacking inf/art destroyed, surviving fighter retreat, 2.4% worst case), car/cru vs dstr/trn off Kwangtung (trn survive, 14.69% this or worse), dstr/cru/fig/bom vs 2 sub northwest of London (64.81% best result, no losses)
With the Kwangtung battle lost, Japan will have accelerated development in Asia, and with losses at Trans-Jordan, Germany has enough to perhaps start pressuring India and certainly secure north Africa. I cancel the planned move from India to Africa; if Germany could be stopped in Africa it might be different but there’s really just no way with Trans-Jordan going so badly.
I split defense between India (1 AA 5 inf, can be hit by inf, art, 3 fig, btl) and Persia (4 inf, can be hit by 1 inf 1 art 3 fig). Japan and Germany would both have to risk air to attack, and at least one attack would likely fail. If India fell but Trans-Jordan survived, Trans-Jordan could reclaim India (then lose it to the counter next turn). If UK did lose control of India it wouldn’t be able to produce, and that would mean quick loss of India, but with Japan’s timetable accelerated that’s probably going to happen very soon anyways, and USSR doesn’t quite have enough room to send reinforcements to India just yet.
It bears mentioning this is exactly what the Axis want, but it’s really not that the “Axis plan worked”. At best it could be said after horrible R1 Allied dice, Germany risked a G Baltic fleet open, then further horrible R1 Allied dice left the Axis with a decent position.
The UK bomber lands at Kazakh, where it can pressure Africa, Baltic, and a lot of Asia.
J1: 3 inf 3 trn, 4 inf 1 fig vs 2 inf at Anhwei, 2 inf 1 art 1 fig vs 2 inf at Yunnan
US1: 1 dstr 1 car 2 fig; Yunnan 2 inf 1 fig vs 1 inf 1 art (won, lost 1 inf, 59% this result or better), Hawaii sea zone 1 sub 1 dstr 1 fig 1 bom vs 1 sub 1 cru (lost 1 sub 1 dstr, 19.06% this result or worse)
(Note: Old picture; US destroyer should be at Greenland)
R2 4 inf 4 art, 2 inf 2 fig vs 2 inf at Ukr (74% capture vs 79% with 1 inf 1 art 2 fig, lost 2 inf, 26% this result or worse)
Since USSR can’t get a good challenge on Karelia, I build inf/art; tanks are a last-moment build for pressure. Place 3 inf 1 art at Caucasus; Germany could try hitting with 1 inf 1 tnk 3 fighter 1 btl but that would use fighters Germany needs to defend its Baltic fleet and any fighters/tanks left on Ukraine would be subject to a major hit by USSR. (Even if West Russia collapses because USSR’s stack shifted, Axis trying for Caucasus would leave a load of Axis high-value tanks and fighters vulnerable. The position just can’t be safely fortified especially against a USSR attack/retreat.)
By round 2 Germany’s turn I think it’s clear G Baltic fleet does not work - I don’t think just in this game, but I mean in general. I just don’t see how it can work out well.
I am not saying the Axis lost this game, there’s still plenty of options, I’m just saying I think the G Baltic plays didn’t do as well as other lines would have. Like all right, the Baltic carrier got UK to not hit the Med fleet, great. But a Med carrier can do that too, and that doesn’t get blown up nearly as easily. Of course, I might think G Baltic is not good simply because I played it completely wrong, but read through the material and decide for yourself. I tried a lot of options, you saw the probability distributions.
Germany couldn’t use its fighters to defend land territory. The Baltic fleet is vulnerable to attack and cannot be shielded. In 1942 Online Japan cannot reinforce the Baltic navy. USSR outmasses Germany’s land to a degree that they’ll actually be able to push Germany back in Europe so gain income. Germany cannot cut off UK’s India stack so UK never has to retreat on account of Germany; UK can hold on until Japan gets its push together.
In the current position, if Germany builds mass transports, UK simply blows up the lot, even if Germany blocks UK’s navy with a destroyer. If Germany builds a carrier and destroyers, London comes under no more pressure and in fact receives 4 US fighters anyways at the end of this round so won’t remotely be in danger. UK is free to build air or transports this round, which could have played out differently in the short term if Japan had not hit the Hawaiian fleet (with a Japanese bomber in range, a UK2 fleet build could be targeted), but regardless of what happens, there is no way Axis could stop US1 fleet into US2 move, then UK3 navy build / US3 reinforcement. Japan simply wouldn’t have the airpower to stop it without a J1 mass bomber build (even then, questionable) which would normally cripple Japan’s development in Asia anyways.
Anyways UK builds even more air, then what does Germany do? Build more navy? Germany is out of fighters to land on carriers and a G2 build of 4 inf 1 carrier 2 destroyers following G1 purchase of 4 inf 1 trn 1 carrier 1 destroyer leaves Germany super soft against USSR.
Are there compensations? Sure. The Allies were pressured into a slightly dicey defense at India (which if the Axis attempt the Axis will probably fail and if fail be set back). Germany can transpose to an Africa game. But even if Germany changes course right now and abandons the G Baltic fleet to preserve fighters, G1 still spent 29 IPC on navy that will die to a bad-odds mass attack, then UK air repositions to Africa (especially as UK retained its bomber) to challenge Germany’s income there while US also pushes. Germany is down almost 10 land units in Europe; sure it did delay the Allies, but good use of Allied existing forces and planning, I think, really neutered G Baltic.
Though actually it really comes down to 1942 Online’s rules changes. Can’t land fighters on ally carriers, you know?
And I’ll remind readers - Allied rolled garbage all game. If G Baltic did not work in this game, I don’t know that it would work well in other games.
But? In fairness, all right, I’m rusty, but you saw how many small changes I did (though to both sides). So if I’m not performing optimal plays, then of course someone that’s even less familiar with a G Baltic fleet is probably going to play even less accurately. Though I know that’s rather self-flattering of me to say, I’d think it’s true.
So IS G Baltic / Sealion worthless? I’d say no; even though I think proper play might cut it apart. At the least, players should be familiar with different lines, whether they plan on using it, or plan on defeating it. And if an opponent is known to be strong against some lines, a player looking for a win can try a different line to see if that opponent plays accurately against it.
(Edit - in closing, 1) it won’t matter if Sealion isn’t mathematically sound if an opponent doesn’t apply the mathematics (and I’d say there’s every reason to think they won’t), 2) I think Sealion is disadvantaged in particular under 1942 Online, 3) yes, I could have missed something (but as ever I say where, specifically?) 4) Board Game Nation put out the first in their Axis and Allies Strategy Session videos so I’m watching that now.)
The ranking are competitive and the high ranked player win far more they lose to get there. And these players overwhelmingly do not build naval units in the Baltic round 1. This should give anyone interested in winning pause about whether it is a good line of play. Maybe someone can innovate in a way that shows a large body of evidence wrong, but strong claims require strong evidence.
The Baltic round 1 buy is problematic because Germany has extremely strong and reliable lines with a standard 11 inf 2 art buy that reliably can take Russia by round 9. By investing in the Baltic, Germany gives up this valuable opportunity.
Second, UK has simple strong counter play to prevent a decisive win. This is an 10 infantry buy with 7 or 8 placed in the UK. This ensures over 99% safety of UK round 2. With USA navy buy round 1, it is nearly guaranteed that allies have a navy around UK by round 3.
By going Baltic round 1, Germany does an all-in where it must capture UK quickly to have a good chance of winning. This goal is easily frustrated by a reliable response that does not depend on luck.
It does the community a disservice to claim not thinking is thinking.
Second, UK has simple strong counter play to prevent a decisive win. This is an 10 infantry buy with 7 or 8 placed in the UK.
As ever, I remind readers “simple” answers for a weak meta do not survive a strong meta.
Thinking about strats that get easily and consistently refuted is a waste of time, unless you like arguing for the sake of arguing. There has to be some baseline of viability, or you end up discussing full sub G, full bomber G, full cruiser G etc which isnt productive. G2 Sealion is mainly for cheesing inexperienced players. Even then for stomping newbies a J3 india timing into a round 4 VC win is a lot more consistent and less risky(though less flashy).
Thinking about strats that get easily and consistently refuted is a waste of time
Readers will decide for themselves whether thinking things through is a waste of time or not.
Just because you’re not personally planning on reading a book doesn’t give you the right to burn all the copies.
Germany making uk’s navy creation difficult through some combination of killing UK cruiser with the battleship, bomber buy and/or even a sub buy could be interesting. UK right now transitions so cleanly from round 1 carrier buy into Europe landings. Denying or delaying Nordic countries is worth 6 income a turn net.
Germany attempting to directly strike at uk’s capital is really an uninteresting line to discuss. UK has a guaranteed way to ensure that the capital does not fall with higher than 99% chance with an 8 infantry placement. Germany has minimal alternative follow ups since the entire Baltic region is already controlled by Germany. From Germany’s perspective, Sealion is a big investment at huge opportunity cost thst requires allies to absolutely blunder to gain a major advantage.
I’m not going to dig deep into it because I’m sure neither Quintin or BostonNWO/MarineIguana wants a numbers-based discussion. Look through their posts anywhere, look through mine anywhere, that’s how it is.
But a couple basics:
It’s exactly the Allies pushing for “extreme safe” lines of play that can make the German Baltic navy viable.
Oversimplify the “advice” and the Allied player plays right into Axis hands.
As to Baltic navy bomber / subs, apply the same stuff I wrote in this thread and adjust it for reasonable Allied action. When you look at the numbers, should be pretty clear it isn’t any more “interesting” than Sealion.
Which is not to say it isn’t interesting.
Thought about it, decided to add this part on after all.
As ever, I imagine some are going to pick on pieces of what I wrote and completely ignore the actual point. So I’m going to lay it on a little thick now.
Suppose you have a new player that gets the advice “you can’t let either of USA’s victory cities be captured, if that happens game over”.
So what does this new player do?
Why, the SMART thing of course. They know, from other “advice” that infantry are a good defensive buy.
So for the first three turns as US, that player does nothing but buy infantry for East and West US.
They are doing their job as an Allied player! There is NO WAY the Axis are going to capture US any time soon!
BEST ALLIED PLAYER EVER AM I RIGHT
(In case it isn’t clear just from context, that’s really bad US play.)
. . . so now you have a UK player that sees a possible threat on London, and they dump a load of infantry on.
Luckily for allies UK doesnt need to get any inf until after G commits and flushes his G1 buy down the toilet. You reactively get the inf. Same as in your example where the US player would reactively defend W-USA, only buying stuff after J sends troops in range.
At that point its fine if UK doesnt get a navy until UK2/UK3 since G isnt progressing with the actual axis wincondition: pressure on Russia.
The posts would be a lot more convincing if you had tried and won with this against plat rated opponents.
If anyone is curious there is a match on youtube where aardvark tries this. Not exactly a fair example since he failed SZ7, but its the only documented case of what he’s advocating against a decent opponent.
If you read this thread, you would know how silly you were being.
Also saying I “tried” anything is a complete mischaracterization. Go ask TTG if I was playing seriously. Ask Tahweh about the 35-page writeup I did for less than two rounds of play, and for the record I wasn’t taking that game terribly seriously either.
Maybe you feel you have a bone to pick because I flesh out my arguments with details and you never ever have any good response. Going on two years now, that’s how it’s been. So maybe you want to flex on me, assert your authority or whatever.
Hey, I get it. That’s the world we live in. You want to misrepresent me as “advocating” literally the opposite of what I believe, sure, whatever, you do you. No hard feelings.
But here we are again, I’m saying “think”, you’re saying “don’t think”, I’m saying “look at the numbers, the real numbers”, you’re creating straw men. Is that the legacy you want to build for yourself?
You can’t take thirty minutes to read and another thirty minutes to write? Okay. But then you say anyone that wants to be taken seriously should spend whatever hours a week, for how many weeks, playing a busted game, to achieve whatever rank before their opinions are worth considering. Come on now.
You reactively get the inf. Same as in your example where the US player would reactively defend W-USA, only buying stuff after J sends troops in range.
It’s not that I have high expectations of you, but we’ve been here before and you should know better. How have these things ever played out?
You make some vague claim that I disagree with. I explain why I disagree; I lay out the mathematics and the projections. You reply you’re top platinum, I say the meta is weak, and the undercurrent is you’re saying you’re a champion, I’m saying the field’s so weak the title’s meaningless. I try not to make a big thing of it, but it’s there.
You never reply with any details, just saying that it “works”, I say “but it shouldn’t work”, and in so doing I write a lot of details, a lot of numbers. You never engage. You never reply. You just set up straw men and bad examples and claim absent any real projections or preconditions that what you say comes to pass. You engage in wishful thinking, not serious discussion.
But then, was it you that had what I said was an optimistic opinion about Allies advancing in KJF? Whatever it was, Philippines or Borneo on round 5 or 6 or whatever? I said that didn’t happen. And of course “top platinum” says it does happen (no details, just it happens). So I took my time, I wrote a LOT of documentation showing this is the German timing, this is the Japan timing, this is how the pieces connect, here is the reasonable range of Allied responses, here is what happens when the Allies do this, here is what happens when the Allies do that. And I don’t say I’m right about everything. That isn’t how I operate. But I say if I am wrong, where am I wrong? What unreasonable assumption have I made? What is it that does not logically follow, at any point? And no response. And that wasn’t the first time.
But for that PARTICULAR back and forth about anti-KJF on Steam forums, what happened? I explained how others used “shifting goalpost” arguments trying to claim after the position had developed to a certain point, that supposedly the conditions leading to that position changed, to such a degree that a player would actually have to go back in time and change what they did on previous turns for their line to play out the way that those others were claiming they played out. And I explained how my arguments were not the same, as it’s simply that I hadn’t taken the time to detail every last branch and contingency, but reasonable play by both sides had the board position developing roughly on the time I said it would, with the consequences I’d said would happen, right along. And if I didn’t spell out every little detail in the first place? Haven’t I always said that I’m just trying to cover the basics, that I’m not even trying to fill in the details? I have other things to do, I give others the basics but let them work out the details for themselves if they’re interested, they don’t need to be spoon-fed all the way and even if they wanted spoon-feeding, that’s not my job. But back to KJF and anti-KJF, I explained how turn order led to exactly the scenarios I specified, how J1 didn’t typically need pre-emptive subs (and I mentioned the East Indies attack scenarios as a branch and broke down the risks and projections), how J2 built two subs a turn - no more, no less, and only AFTER a US1 Pacific fleet drop, and how even despite this Japan simultaneously developed pressure in Asia - and how no matter how you sliced it, if the Allies did one thing, the Axis simply responded after the fact, and all the scenarios simply looked bad for the Allies. I showed the Allies CAN pressure Japan, but pressuring Japan and getting the results others were claiming simply meant high likelihood of sacrificing Russia early, and I showed how that in turn ended up with Axis winning, I showed how various transpositions and variations of various branches all played out with Japan not needing to commit to more than 2 submarines a turn until quite late in the game, and how different variations all played out. I explained how and why Japan transitioning to bombers was only natural and expected, how trying to say Japan sticks to ONLY two subs, EVER, is NOT a reasonable understanding of the points I had made, how exactly the German and Japanese timings interacted with one another, how the Axis recovered from Allied pressure in the Pacific, and all sorts of scenarios, ranging from Allied transports from Alaska relieving in Asia (too slow) to Allies pushing southeast Pacific (too slow), how Japanese ICs on the mainland locked Japan down so shouldn’t be built, how Japan used its economy, units, and developed its position to pressure Russia then reverse to Allied pressure - I didn’t get into EVERY detail, but I put a lot out there. You can see just from my recollecting a few of the salient points, there was a lot. Yes, ol’ aardvark do put in that time and the details. And what was the response? That I was wrong. Then I gave even more details, showing how I wasn’t wrong. And then? Ghosted.
And of course, again, I wasn’t thanked for laying out the details. I wasn’t credited. I was attacked, hounded, etc. Sure, okay, whatever. And of course, there was never EVER any response. Just the opposition suddenly didn’t have any response, oops, everyone takes the day off, nobody says “why aardvark, you laid it out so well, I have to agree with you.” Nope, just woops, nobody’s in, can’t accept your call. Heh. If it happens once, sure, a few times why not. But every time, everyone just suddenly left for lunch. You can imagine I’m skeptical by now. My, they were all so spirited just a little while ago, so fierce about “aardvark is wrong!” I wonder what ever could have happened, dear me, didn’t even leave a forwarding address.
But I imagine the points I made did register somewhere, and the points I made rankled. Someone maybe remembered that I demonstrated that reasonably, you take the turn order and take reasonable projections and still arrive at a certain line . . . and now, someone is trying to explain the same process, to me, who pointed out the importance of properly considering turn order in the first place? Really?
I mean really. This just happens again and again and again. I say there’s such thing as a “timing”, I’m roundly attacked for it, then some kid that was shouting timings don’t exist I’m not a top player whoever heard of such stupid nonsense, same kid has the nerve months later to try to explain, TO ME, what a timing is! And now you’re trying to explain turn order to the same person that explained the importance of turn order. Then there’s players trying to explain the timing of Japanese development against India and Africa, TO ME. Explaining how Japanese subs work, TO ME. Explaining Karelia pressure TO ME. Again and again, kids pulling out half-assed versions of stuff I’ve explained, not even to others, but to them, personally, months back, they distort it, reverse it, ignore most of it, then throw it in my face and say they have some new ground-breaking line of play and have I, aardvark, ever thought about this? I mean, honestly! The absolute cheek!
I’m like, you were there months ago when I made these points, you told me I was an idiot again and again for saying exactly these things you’re so proud about “discovering” now, and now you’re beginning to come around only you’re still ignoring more than half of what I wrote because you didn’t understand it, and now you’re trying to explain to me how it all works? What about X and Y and Z and A and B and C for that matter? What about them? No answer? “Waste of time” or “I’m overthinking it”? Hey okay, let’s see what the next “breaking meta” is in six months, again I’ll see people doing a half-assed version of stuff I wrote a year ago and saying it’s groundbreaking. Sorry if I can’t be too excited about that process.
It’s not that I’m claiming to be some big original thinker. I don’t think anything I’ve been saying the past couple years about Axis and Allies is new. If I’m just applying the same concepts Don wrote about to new editions, what’s the big deal? Don kept his stuff simple and didn’t get into the details, read between the lines and you see Don probably didn’t want to overcomplicate it, never mind writing about versions of Axis and Allies that didn’t even exist at the time. And yet, as simple as Don kept things, you can see obviously some people had a big problem with him too. Oh no, someone actually being methodical, better have a witch-burning! “Numbers”, “thinking”, what is this sorcery?!
BUT FIRST…HERE ARE SOME CONCEPTS TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH:
I will first ask you to not to negatively challenge the statements mentioned forthcoming, which I naturally accept as verbatim for all of my upcoming described strategical play. I’m also going to be asking you to suspend any skepticism or any immediate disbelief for now"
Don had to put up with so much nonsense he wrote out an address in his first essay, I get it, it’s not personal, Don had to deal with it, I deal with it, whatever.
But that doesn’t make it right.
I’m going to try to make this as plain as I can. Yes, I’m going to repeat myself, but as there’s no engagement or sign of understanding, that’s how it is.
I don’t mean you DISAGREE with what I’m saying. I’m okay with people DISAGREEING. I mean fundamentally no response to what I’m saying, arguing with straw men. So here we go again.
Except you can’t, except I’m setting up straw men? There’s a difference between a straw man and an analogy. Saying I’m claiming Germany should build Baltic fleet is just . . . literally you haven’t read the thread. Saying bad play is bad is, well, it’s bad, what more do you want?
UK1 all-infantry buy plays right into German Baltic fleet. Oh, it’s not like Germany has some big obvious stupid counter to it, which is the level of thinking that you and some others are applying. If you can’t drive a houseboat through a strategy, it must be solid, that’s what I’m getting from you and some others. Not just on this topic.
The problem is, UK1 all-infantry and turtling London is passive on other parts of the board. New players turtle London, they give up in other areas. Yes, you can transpose out of too many ground units on London with excess transports, but you simply can’t apply pressure to Germany, you can’t restrict its options like you can if you cut it tighter and go for some UK air, which I did explain in this thread. You don’t counter-pressure Germany early, you leave Germany open to options like uniting its Med and Baltic fleets. Explain how just infantry on London deter German freedom in the Atlantic, except you can’t because it doesn’t.
You’re used to playing against weak players, and if they’re platinum so what? Again and again you get away with overbuilding to 99% or 99.9999% margins of safety because the opponents wreck themselves by overextending. So you get away with sloppy play, you don’t need to look for wins in the margins. In fact, in a weak meta you shouldn’t take risks assuming players will play optimally because if they never do, then you just risk eating a counter; better for you to wait for an opponent to screw up, does this sound familiar? Because it’s exactly what you and others keep saying, except you also claim players shouldn’t think and that the meta is strong, you can see how you could go with one or the other but saying it’s all true at once, I’m saying that’s not just hard to swallow but actually contradictory.
When I write, I’m talking about solid play. I’m always talking about solid play. Why? It’s fun to talk about R1 and R2 battleship buys, but why would I seriously waste my time on that? Now I should explain why players should calculate the percentages and look for wins in the margins instead of trying to go 99.99999% on everything? Seriously?
So I wrote that then I thought about it. Okay, so some kid yelling at me on Discord about how “timings” don’t exist. Same kid trying to explain “timings”. They don’t understand the importance of allocation. So when have I ever explained why you take the percentages, when have I dug into “best chance”, when have I talked about projections? All right, ALL THE TIME, but when have I talked about it in detail, and ONLY about that?
Obviously it’s incredibly arrogant for me to think “well, if I haven’t explained it then for other players it might as well not exist”. But perhaps I can be forgiven, considering all the bloody precedent with everything else!
So sure, anyone that wants me to dig into it, just pop me a message. I’ll create a whole new thread about it on the 1942 Second Edition boards.
Not that I expect anyone to REALLY message me but (shrug), if they do, hey, why not.
And AGAIN, I emphasize, new players that are looking for simple advice are not going to know what to weight correctly. They are going to be sloppy, they are going to mis-allocate, and vague advice is not going to fix that. You need a 99% on London? New player thinks let’s just be safe, let’s just make it 99.999%. Never mind that probably Axis take Africa, Axis have plenty of time to develop in Europe and Asia, USSR gets cut off, Russia falls, then the Axis have an expected easy win off position and attrition. And why? Because newer players don’t understand they can’t just play it “safe” all the time. It’s exactly players that should know better giving them bad advice that makes things worse.
To make it REALLY simple, I’m saying, plainly, I think UK1 pure infantry response is wrong. And let’s be clear, when I say “I think”, there is an actual thought process. That’s no empty boast, look through the thread, you see the math, you see where I outline contingencies, is that thought or not? It’s a lot more than “I’m a top player so this is right”.
Sure, you could say SOMETIMES UK1 pure infantry is necessary. Depending on the dice, depending on the moves made to that point, it MAY be the appropriate move, but you do not WANT to do it, it is not your go-to answer, it is something you want to try to AVOID if at all possible. And as I detailed through this thread, it is often possible with accurate play to avoid UK1 all-infantry. And as I also detailed, there is good reason to avoid it if you can.
Do you really not understand that a passive UK1 response of all infantry does not necessarily threaten Germany’s Baltic fleet? Do you not understand how that passive response restricts UK’s development options on later turns? Do you not understand the importance of single units even in battles of near a hundred units or more? Because that’s what I’m getting from you. That you don’t understand.
But I do understand. So just as I wrote about KJF, just how I wrote about KGF, just how I wrote about Karelia, just how I wrote about timings, just how I wrote about turn order, here’s another thing I’m saying. Maybe if I was right all the other times, I’m right this time too? You think?
But this time maybe instead of disagreeing with me now, then six months later quoting back at me a half-assed version of what I wrote in the first place - maybe this time we can just skip all that and we can agree all-UK infantry is not usually the best response to German Baltic navy.
Why? Because aardvark said so? You would think maybe on account of all the times I said things and was right, maybe you could take my word on it. I mean, REALLY.
But I’m NOT just saying take my word on it. The basic numbers, contingencies, and branches are all in this thread. If you do all UK infantry, then you just don’t have the numbers to restrict various German options AND YOU CAN CONFIRM IT YOURSELF, AND WOULD ALREADY KNOW THIS, IF YOU HAD LOOKED AT THE NUMBERS IN THIS THREAD. NOT JUST ONCE. MULTIPLE SCENARIOS. IF YOU UNDERSTOOD AT ALL, YOU WOULD NOT MISS IT. BUT YOU MISSED IT.
Except you weren’t looking for the possibility there was something you hadn’t considered. Do you ever?
Could I miss something myself? Sure. But as I ever say, show me where I missed something. Point out the scenario, pull out the numbers. Show how a UK1 all-infantry response is superior. Explain how the line transposes. Every time I say go on, show me the details, show me WHERE I am wrong, every single time, every time I ask to be shown the work, no response. You think I didn’t notice?
And don’t try to say that I didn’t explain myself. I used the exact example, I used the simplification, I even built out an analogy. No response to anything, just refusal to engage and straw men. I am saying it is not that simple, you just keep repeating that it’s simple, I’m saying show where it’s simple, show how the lines transpose, give me an example, give me numbers, give me a projection, ANYTHING. But nothing.
I expect you won’t even go as far as acknowledging that an all-UK infantry build is useful under certain contingencies. Me, I have no problem acknowledging validity of points I disagree with, so long as there is some validity.
No? You think not? Just read through the thread. I never have to dig far for an example, I always use fact-based methodology, so an example is always ready at hand. Even in this thread, I say Board Game Nation may be coming out with a German Baltic navy video, I’m saying I don’t think German Baltic navy is good against solid play, but what? Do I say German Baltic navy is garbage? That Gary’s an idiot? No, I say if the Allies play sharply, I think Germany’s disadvantaged, but if the Allies do NOT play sharply, there are possibilities. I try to acknowledge what validity there is in others’ arguments. And why not? I think it’s true.
And exactly what those possibilities are, I already went into. If you simply read through the thread, reading about the branches I discount with accurate Allied play, then you should understand what happens if the Allies DON’T play accurately. Then of course the branches aren’t discounted. Then the Axis have all sorts of nice options. Must that be spelled out? Really?
So here we are, think or don’t think? I say think. You say don’t think. I say if you don’t think problems. You say if you don’t think no problem. I don’t have to chase after that argument because it isn’t going anywhere.
For Quintin, I suppose acknowledging “contingencies” would go against him and other supposed “top” players repeating that it’s simple and players don’t need to think. Acknowledging “contingencies” would go exactly with what I’ve been saying going on two years, that Axis and Allies is MOSTLY simple, but players do still need to think and know what they’re doing.
I could say ulterior motives, maybe some players are trying to sabotage the community and anyone trying to build out resources for players seriously looking to improve themselves. There are a lot of ways to get top rank, you draw out your games and maybe your opponent misses a checkin, lie to other players about what strategies work, whatever.
But whether there’s whatever silliness going on or one-upmanship games, so what? Bottom line, someone says think, someone else says don’t think, someone lays out the details all the time, someone else doesn’t. You think people don’t notice? They notice.
The posts would be a lot more convincing if you had tried and won with this against plat rated opponents.
Son, I don’t need to convince anyone of anything. I can sit right here and in six months to a year or whatever the meta will have some new “groundbreaking” nonsense and I’ll just point to an old thread of mine that already covered the whole line, as well as possibilities the “pioneers” never considered but should have. Then I’ll point to various articles, textbooks on mathematics, Don Rae’s essays, and explain how everything I ever wrote was just natural development. Nothing special, nothing exciting, just applied mathematics, and not much of it at that.
Y’all kids can run around and have a good time, rediscovering the wheel. Me, I’m just gonna bake some cookies and have a nap. By the way, that thing that goes round and round, maybe you should poke a hole in it and make an axle . . . don’t look at me that way. I know all the “top stone rollers” never heard of such a thing, but I think it could work . . .