Critique this Russian first move…



  • I tried this play recently and it worked pretty well and I won the game.  But it may have been due to other factors and not what I did here with Russia.  So tell me what you think…

    Buy 8 inf.

    Combat move:

    • Everything from Russia, Arch, and Caucus into W.Rus.Â
    • 2 inf and fig from Karelia into W.Rus.

    This allows you to take W.Rus with 4 arm, 2 art, and about 8-10 inf.

    Non-Combat:

    • figs to Russia
    • all other infantry moves east towards Sink or Bury
    • AA from Caucus to W.Rus

    Unit Placement

    • 1 inf in Caucus
    • 7 inf in Russia

    So this is obviously a bit of a gambit in that you are giving up Caucus to Germany.  But the thing is, he can’t do much damage in terms of killing troops because there is no way for him to attack your big stack.  The most he can put into Caucus is 3 inf, 3 arm and 1 art which could easily be destroyed and would be an obvious mistake in my opinion.  So I think Germany probably just takes Caucus with 2inf + planes.  But then this takes planes away from other crucial G1 battles like Egypt or the UK battleship.  So mabye Germany takes it with 3inf? or 2 inf and 1 arm?  But the thing is, anything Germany puts into Caucus is destroyed next turn.

    If Germany does take Caucus with minimal troops, then you can easily take it back with your 7 inf from Russia, leaving your big stack to attack any juicy targets that may be available.  W.Rus can attack Karelia, Ukraine, or belo if there is a juicy target in any of these areas.  So it could prevent Germany from placing tanks or figs in any of these territories and create a nice buffer. And if not, then you can always just move everything to Caucus on turn 2 and have 4 arm, 2 art, and 15-18 inf to hold it with.

    Also, this strat sends plenty of troops east to block Japan for as long as possible.

    Anyways, what do think of this?  Where are the flaws?  What would you as Germany in response to this?  Also, I’m sure someone has thought of this before, so mabye there is a thread already dealing with it?


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    That is a fairly standard opening. I often invite the Axis into CAU only to kill 'em with a counter. If you only leave 1 INF in CAU they will see it coming. You need to make it tempting but not so obviously a trap. Also once you’ve seen it you don’t fall for it again.

    The WRU Stack is an important strategy for Russia. WRU and MOS are the only territories on the board that touch six others. Key real estate.

    You don’t want to trade CAU with the Germans more than that first turn and only if you can get G to commit the ARM.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Nah, I use that a lot.  Don’t like Germans blitzing into Kaz or Persia, so I’ll leave the 1 guy there.  Then I follow up with an SBR from England (cancel out their gains) and a massive pounce by Russia.



  • What is the best response from Germany to this move?



  • @Jennifer:

    Nah, I use that a lot.  Don’t like Germans blitzing into Kaz or Persia, so I’ll leave the 1 guy there.  Then I follow up with an SBR from England (cancel out their gains) and a massive pounce by Russia.

    Tanks cannot blitz through a territory if it is enemy controlled and has either an industrial complex or AA gun on it.  So if you just left Caucasus empty, Germany still couldn’t blitz it.

    (edit) The only way Germany COULD blitz through a USSR held Caucasus is if USSR took the Mobile Industry NA and moved the Caucasus industrial complex out of the Caucasus (/edit)



  • I would do Belorussia with THREE USSR infantry, not two.  Three is far safer.  If you lose two infantry and the Germans lose two (moderate possibility), you must retreat as the move stands.  With three USSR infantry, you could challenge Germany for that territory and possibly get the 2 IPC territory as well as killing the 3 IPC German infantry without endangering your 10 IPC fighter.

    Variations of your build - I often move the AA gun from Russia to Caucasus.  The German bomber can’t reach Moscow without leaving itself vulnerable to a counteratttack from West Russia.  Also, I’ll sometimes opt for two infantry two artillery two tanks, place infantry and artillery at Caucasus and place tanks at Moscow to threaten a Ukraine attack/counterattack next turn.

    You can use the open-Caucasus version later in the game too.  If Germany’s navies are destroyed, or too strong to attack, and you have plenty of fighters, the bombers will probably not be optimally used.  So you can leave Caucasus open, wait for the Germans to take it, strat bomb with UK and US bombers, retake lightly with UK/US/USSR, and repeat.  If Germany takes the Caucasus, they actually LOSE IPCs on the trade.  If they do not take the Caucasus, they will still have a harder time dealing with USSR because USSR didn’t have to mass at Caucasus (USSR masses only at W. Russia, which slows the German attack).

    BUT with that, you have to watch for two things.  First is if Germany takes Caucasus, and Japan flies fighters in for additional defense.  If the Allies counterattack Caucasus, Germany might be able to counter-counterattack from Ukraine, and things get dicey.  Second is that bombers are powerful units that are almost certainly better used to swing the balance of naval battles in the Allies favor.  So the open-Caucasus mid-game variation should probably NOT be used in most games.

    The usual German counter I use to Belorussia/W. Russia to attack Karelia in force; if USSR attacks heavily from W. Russia, they are overextended, and I’ll use German air plus ground to crush the mass of the USSR forces.  I also counterattack lightly in all the territories possible - usually Ukraine and/or Belorussia if applicable.  I use the German navy to wipe as much UK navy as possible.  If I had an African bid, I’ll unite the Med fleet and Atlantic sub so I can make for a better German Med fleet or unite the German navy on G2.  I always smash Anglo-Egypt under the given circumstances described.

    In your described variation, I would attack on the heavy side because of the noncom movement of USSR infantry east - I would probably look to see if a massive W. Russia crack w/ German air was possible (because Russia’s counterattack would be limited to infantry and fighters).  Of course, you take into account the fact that the Allies will consequently have a better naval position relative to Germany than otherwise . . . and that Anglo-Egypt might not be cracked, etc. etc.

    If USSR moved poorly (in any game), I may sometimes attack heavily into Caucasus, but that is VERY rare; if USSR placed fighters at Caucasus, I may build Baltic transports for a threat to Karelia and London, etc. etc.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    @JLord:

    What is the best response from Germany to this move?

    To the evac of Cauc?

    Don’t take it.  If you must take it, move 1 guy in.

    And I thought you could blitz an IC but not an AA and I like taking the AA with me.



  • Nope, both IC and AA stop a blitz, just like any other enemy unit.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    Ah.  TripleA won’t make you stop for an IC. 😛



  • Really, I thought TripleA did stop it.

    Current version, anyways.



  • TripleA does stop it.  I just tried.

    So you guys recommend leaving caucus alone even if it has one guy in it?



  • To be honest…

    As Germany, I’ll amphib it with 2 INF and a BB shot.  Gain the 4 IPC, limit Russia to 8 units, all of them in Russia, and perhaps kill a unit or 2 as Russia liberates it.

    I call that a good trade for Germany.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    @ncscswitch:

    To be honest…

    As Germany, I’ll amphib it with 2 INF and a BB shot.  Gain the 4 IPC, limit Russia to 8 units, all of them in Russia, and perhaps kill a unit or 2 as Russia liberates it.

    I call that a good trade for Germany.

    But you won’t gain 4 IPC because England’s going to SBR the naked IC on their turn.  Odds are you MIGHT get 1 IPC for it, but probably none. (result 4, 5 or 6 is no income for that land, means you have at least a 50% chance of not gaining anything for it.)  Meanwhile, most Russian players are not building more then 8 units on Russia 2, more likely is 6 or 7 units because they’ll want some artillery or armor to supplement their infantry.



  • Fine, I tied up the UK BOM over Caucuses, instead of it being used elsewhwere against my forces.  Again, good trade since I can lose no more than I already gained, and have a 50% chance of STILL being positive on the exchange.

    I STILL also get the benefit of limiting Russia to a maximum of 8 units, AND the benefit of them being built one move farther away from Germany.

    AND Russia STILL has to dedicate forces to countering Caucuses (they can NOT risk Germany building there) rather than drivign back against Japan’s forces in the East, or having a higher force level for counters in Belo or Ukraine or Karelia.

    Finally, it also removes the Russian reinforcement of Persia on R2, allowign Japan to surge forward past India (or to obliterate defenders in India on J2, with no Russians poised in Persia to block subsequent forward progress).

    Sorry, with 1 INF in Caucuses, and with a German Med Fleet intact… hell YES I am taking Caucuses, even if only for 1 turn…
    AND I’ll SBR it on the way in, since there is no AA there… so Germany DEFINITELY ends up ahead in the trade.

    1.  Russia has a build limit
    2.  Russia builds fartehr from the front
    3.  Russia loses an average of 4 IPC form SBR with no risk to Germany
    4.  Japan faces fewer forces in the Middle East
    5.  Russian Forces are diverted to re-taking Caucuses instead of attacking elswhere
    6.  Germany has a 50% chance of being net positive revenue from taking it
    7.  Germany has a good chance of killing AT LEAST 1 Russian INF in the re-take
    8.  Russia can;t land FIGs there, so Germany has an increased chance to take it AGAIN on their next turn.
    9.  Russia has to bleed off the West Russia Stack for both karelia and Ukraine counters (ending the WRS)
    10.  Germany is now fighting and trading adjacent to Moscow, instead of in Central Europe… the war is in now in allied territory, not axis territory (always a bad sign for the Allies).


  • Official Q&A 2007 AAR League

    You most certainly go into CAU if you can do it with a pair of INF and some FTRs. You do not if taking it means using all your ARM. If your goal is to draw in the Germans you can’t leave it with only 1 INF.


  • 2018 2017 '16 '11 Moderator

    @ncscswitch:

    1.  Russia has a build limit
    2.  Russia builds fartehr from the front
    3.  Russia loses an average of 4 IPC form SBR with no risk to Germany
    4.  Japan faces fewer forces in the Middle East
    5.  Russian Forces are diverted to re-taking Caucuses instead of attacking elswhere
    6.  Germany has a 50% chance of being net positive revenue from taking it
    7.  Germany has a good chance of killing AT LEAST 1 Russian INF in the re-take
    8.  Russia can;t land FIGs there, so Germany has an increased chance to take it AGAIN on their next turn.
    9.  Russia has to bleed off the West Russia Stack for both karelia and Ukraine counters (ending the WRS)
    10.  Germany is now fighting and trading adjacent to Moscow, instead of in Central Europe… the war is in now in allied territory, not axis territory (always a bad sign for the Allies).

    1.  Russia already had a build limit because they cannot afford more then 8 units anyway, not and get a good spread like they’ll need.  So this is a null point.
    2.  Russia builds 1 space farther from the front, not a significant change.  Not like if Germany suddenly went from building in Caucasus to having to build in Germany.
    3.  This is the only real draw back to this manuever.  Germany can tie up her own bomber hitting Caucasus instead of going with it to Egypt or the British fleet.
    4.  Are you not the one who constantly bickers that Russia’s going to die if she sends even 1 infantry towards teh middle east?  Now you’re saying it’s easier for Japan because she isnt?  Could you please stick to one line of reasoning instead of being so wishy-washy?  Yes.  There is nothing headed to India…there never is for me ANYWAY, but now there definately is not.
    5.  Russia diverts next to nothing retaking Cuacaus unless Germany over commits in which case now Russia has Caucasus, Belorussia, Karelia and Ukraine on Russia 2.
    6.  Yea, but you’ll definately not have more then 3 IPC for the land and you’re going to loose anything you put on it anyway, so odds are you’re out 3 or 4 IPC on the SBR and at least 3 IPC for the infantry used to take it.
    7.  Yup.  You’ll probably get 1 infantry, unless you only had 1 there to take it.  In which case, Russia has a good chance of getting 2 or 3 German infantry and maybe even a tank or two in retaking it.  net gain Russia
    8.  Yup, if Germany has anything to take it with.  Of course, there’s nothing saying that England can’t have 3 infantry moving in to retake Caucasus and then have Russia land fighters there.  Anyone who hits Borneo and New Guinea will have 3 infantry and an AA gun poised in Persia anyway, specifically to move into Caucasus or retake India if lightly invaded.
    9.  The WRS is a waste of resources anyway.  You want to have a couple of stacks in Archangel and Caucasus not in W. Russia.  That way Germany has to stack E. Europe not Belorussia or Ukraine cause Russia can just move around you then.
    10.  Germany is not trading adjacent to Moscow, unless you think the initial loss of W. Russia is also germany trading adjacent to moscow.  1 Turn of trading near Moscow does not mean the focus shifts there.

    Common Switch.  You’re smarter then this.  You know for a fact that there’s a zero percent chance of Germany taking Caucasus a second time and very good odds that Germany will be over extended in an effort to COST Russia for retaking it.  A Russian sack of German forces in Caucasus will cost Germany much more then Russia.  You loose all you gain for the land to SBR, you loose at least 1 infantry for 3 more.  So Germany’s down 4-7, Russia’s down 0-4.

    That’s a bonus for Russia anyway you slice the cake.  Especially if you’re stupid enough to try and take it in force.  (BTW, if you do take with one infantry, then England pays the 3 IPC and Russia doesn’t even loose a single infantryman in the retake.)

    And the frosting?  Russia’s WRS is even larger then normal since he probably only lost 1 or 2 infantry and had 12 inf, 2 art, 3 arm, 2 figs to start with.



  • Nice assumptions made here.

    Japan can take india turn 2 ?? Who said they can take it. If germany does not attack in afrika at all then Uk does not have to counter there and can even defend india making it a nice fortress.

    Or UK can move the india fleet to the med ( or even do both )  threathning your south side and turn 2 you will have US troops attacking you in western europe.
    Germany has a total of 4 inf that can hit caucasus on turn 2 7 if you leave those in the ukraine there, providing you did not attack belo on turn 1. Russia can easy strafe that stack and take back caucasus ( might even destroy your stack ), you then have 4 3 inf to counter his complete stack with a AA there and with the US knocking on the door at the other side and the UK taking afrika and holding it germany is screwed there.

    But i think it would be better if russia put 4 of his new inf on caucasus. It is closer to the front and if germany wants that country they will be cut off on R2 without a chance to counter.



  • If Russia puts 4 INF on Caucuses in R1, and amphib is out.

    What I wrote abvoe was for a single INF left in Caucuses.

    Also, that does NOT preclude an Egypt attack, expecially with ANY bid to Africa.  Skip the DD in SZ15 and jsut use Balkans FIG, 2 INF and 1 ARM from Libya.  Still a 70% clear and 60% win.  And if the Ukraine FIG is still alive for the battle it is an 89% win.


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