I purchased this game yesterday, and have played two games with friends and one with myself.Â Here are my strategy observations.
The Allied fighter force is a very dynamic tool that can serve many different purposes in the game.
The method I am going to employ to explain fighter strategy is to describe several techniques a player can execute with fighters.Â
TECHNIQUE 1:Â Harrass reinforcements
This is one of the more obvious fighter techniques, place the fighters in Axis reinforcement zones so they get fired upon as they enter the game board.Â There are two surefire ways in which to get fighter shots off on Axis forces.Â One way is to place fighters in all 6 reinforcement zones.Â
The other way is to divide your fighters amongst the 4 reinforcement zones that one of the two Axis reinforcement pools can enter.Â
This second method, concentrating on one reinforcement pool, can be very useful.Â If a load of tanks are coming from a reinforcement pool, spread your fighters amongst those areas.Â If you really need to get rid of anti-aircraft, watch for German artillery being near the front of their reinforcement charts.Â
Once the game advances, harrassing reinforcements tends to get more dangerous for your fighters as German AA inhabits most reinforcement zones.Â Also, later in the game fighters are much more cost-effective by using them strategically to turn battles in your favor (the fighters may not be doing the killing necessarily, but if they allow you to win a battle with a 2:1 kill ratio then they are effectively killing MANY units).
TECHNIQUE 2:Â Â Place fighters in lines or clumps to either impede German movement or alter their movement.Â (Fighter lines)
Basically with this technique, you are not placing your fighters where German units are, but where they MIGHT go.Â The skill with fighter lines is determining how long and concentrated a line should be.Â The Allies start with 8 fighters, so you could have anywhere from a 8 territory long line of fighters (8 territories being patrolled, one fighter per territory).Â A long fighter line rarely heavily damages an attacking force, but because of how large it is, it can be near impossible for advancing German forces to avoid taking fighter fire.Â This may not turn the tide immediately, but the attrition of German forces can eventually hurt them.Â Â Depending on how squeamish the German player is about casualties, you could heavily influence where they move their units with a long line.
Alternatively, a fighter line could be 2 to 3 territories long and have 4 through 3 fighters per territory.Â This tactic rarely kills German units because the German player will not enter the spaces unless absolutely necessary.Â However, this can be a very effective delay tactic, for example you could use a short fighter line to refuse German reinforcements to a single battle in which you need to avoid being overwhelmed.
The short fighter line is typically not a useful long-term strategy (one spanning over two or more turns).Â It ties up many fighters while only influencing one combined area of the game board.Â The short fighter line can be extremely useful and worth using at times, but be wary.
TECHNIQUE 3:Â Pin down enemy force
This technique is pretty basic, place a powerful force of fighters in a single space where there is an Axis force that you do not want to move.Â Although useful at times, this is not a technique that should be used every turn, as it only influences a small fraction of German units.Â Typically this technique requires at least 2 to 3 fighters, as mostly any formidable Axis force worth slowing down will have AA (which may hit your fighters), and an Axis player can move through a 1 fighter screen without too much concern.
TECHNIQUE 4:Â Deter attack on Allied force
Basically this technique is defending with your fighters.Â If you have a relatively weak flank that can not be strengthened for a turn, and the Axis have a strong force of tanks nearby which could wipe them out, placing your fighters over your units can be a very useful short-term defense/deterrent.Â This technique is most useful when you are waiting for your units in the back to reach the front and you need a little more time, or if you are trying to hold an objective city which is under heavy attack.
TECHNIQUE 5:Â Deny reinforcements to an ongoing battle
This is, in my mind, the MOST useful fighter technique.Â What you do with this is place a strong fighter force over a territory where a large, multi-turn battle is occuring.Â Â With your fighters flying over the battle, you are free to bring your units in to compensate for losses while your opponent is not.Â Â And I cannot stress enough how useful it is to outnumber the opposing force in battle…
This strategy is EXTREMELY useful if the Axis forces are defending an objective city (probably their only remaining one) with a huge amount of units.Â Â
Imagine an objective city having 8 units inside the city, and 24 units (in 3 seperate territories)Â adjacent to the city.Â If they were able to bring more units into the city every turn, it could take up to 4 turns to take city, and most likely causing you to lose the game as the 10 turn limit is reached.Â Â Placing four fighters over the city effectively isolates the 8 axis units defending the city.Â Once you gain control over it and funnel 8 units into it with 4 fighters to assist, the city is basically in your hands and impenetrable.