# Economics of swapping dead zones

• I’d wish to discuss, prepare numbers and arguments for a more definitive article on swapping contested Dead Zones.

I’m assuming two large main forces that do not enter direct contact, each fearing counterattack from the enemy main mass. But the area(s) between them are attacked each turn. At stake there’s the income of that area (may be 3 IPC like Ukraine or 2 - many others on the Russian front or even 1 - Evenki, Persia) and mutual attrition trying to improve force ratio for a future main battle or advancing/retreating the main position relative to factories (Doppler effect: for a turn retreater gets double production flow, advancer nothing).

Measures which I would compare would be:

• Own forces committed (land)
• Average IPC losses for each side
• Probability for land survivors to gain area with income (May mean more, such as preventing tanks blitzing through)
• Probabilities of various levels of survivors - that may be similarly counterattacked on enemy turn.

A stopping threshold is necessary. For instance, 1ftr alone is not economical to continue against 1inf. But 1tnk usually yes.

I think of variants like:

Attack 1 inf with:
1inf 1ftr
1inf 1bmb -> I like that !
1inf 2ftr
1inf 1arty
1inf 1tank
2inf 1ftr
2inf 2ftr
2inf 1bmb
2inf 1arty
… etc

Attack 2inf with:
2inf 1ftr
2inf 2ftr
2inf 1bmb
2inf 1arty
2inf 1tnk

I’ve also read proposals like massing 3-4 inf in each area (especially by the side with more air: Germany, Japan) to accelerate side-attrition against Russia.
At what size will these forces be not ‘small’ enough and be subjects to the risks of one ‘large’ battle ?
I suppose the answer lies in the variability. A small force (3 units) cannot be strafed by a medium one (say 6) with economic advantage, and without enough risk to wipe it in the first round, so exposing more forces to counter-counterattack. A larger force (say 6) can be more safely strafed.

Low Luck makes impossible this last strategy, since a ‘strafe’ can be calculated to take out an exact number of enemies.
E.g. enemy has 4 inf -> attack with 3inf 1arty 4tnk. Punch 18. Eliminates always 18/6 = 3 units, no little and no less.

• I have had the thought that it is better to just let the Axis have the territory then try to swap with Russia.  But the random chance that your one defender takes out 3 attackers is too alluring for the gambler in me.

• I don’t honestly think you can quantify that into straight mathematics unless you are playing Low Luck.

Playing this game, at least for me, is not an exercise of math (although that is important), it is also an art form in itself.

Consider a basic dead zone early in a game:  Ukraine.  And lets view it just from the Axis side…

How many units do you attack with in order to leave what expected number of forces alive after the battle?  Figuring out what to send to get a given ending number of units is pretty straight math.  But determining that target number is ART.  What are your opponent’s inclinations?  Will he risk loss of the counter-attack in order to minimize his unit losses?  Will he go for the “definite win”?  What units are forced into the engagement that then cannot be used in other theaters or other attacks and counter-attacks?  Can you pull air or arm out of position by going heavy and thereby make an advance in another area more likely to see success?  Can you, by going thin and broad, force your opponent to try to counter all of them (perhaps because of a large tank force 1 territory back) so that you can in the next turn wipe out larger numbers of units?

There are too many variables just in play styles to try to break down such a discussion to straight math.  Add in the variable of dice…

For a single round, yes, you can just do the math.  For projecting 2 turns out, you can probably do the math to get broad patterns and likelihoods.  But beyond that, I don;t care how good the sim, it comes down to an art (and even a bit of precognition) as you try to outguess your opponent and force him into a position where you KNOW he will act in a given way, opening up the avenue of attack that you have determined is best for you…

Or just plain capitalizing on an error or good or bad dice.

• Still thinking, even after Switch’s points, that it might be fiscally better in the long run NOT to trade the land.

Why?

Most land is worth 2 IPC or less.

ALL Infantry is worth 3 IPC.

If you figure you’ll most likely lose one infnatry on the attack. (yea, it’s a 33% chance against a solitary infantry defender, but you and I both know that it’s really closer to like 80% when you are the aggressor and 10% when you are the defender, okay?) That’s -3 IPC for you and 1 less infnatry later.

Now figure you’ll lose the other one you brought, in case you won, and that’s -6 IPC.

2 IPC for the territory - 6 IPC in units is -4 IPC.  You would have been 4 IPC in units RICHER if you had not attacked the territory.

Just the way I am looking at it.

Of course, if you are earning 45+ IPC as Germany and Russia’s getting in the upper teens, go for it!  You can afford to lose money every round trading territories cause Russia can’t afford too.

• And Jen’s post illustrates that you can’t do single move math to decide.

What do you kill when you attack?  What do you kill when you are defending?  What on YOUR counter?  What offensive assets (like a FIG) are being used for that counter that are not being used to create overwhelming force elsewhere?  What are you stacking up 1 territory back for a lurch or major forward push?  What does the enemy have in their supply line?

Those are the questions that cannot be answered by a statistical analysis of this game.

• I whole heartedly agree.  I’ll attack 3 unprotected tanks with 4 infantry and a bomber every day of the week, even if I can’t afford the infantry right then.  15 IPC killed for 12 IPC jeaporidized.

Also, sometimes you have to attack Ukraine to prevent a blitz attack on Caucasus or your main stack.

Or maybe, you just want to over extend your opponent to force him to use his air power over many territories instead of concentrated for greater punch in one or two places.

• I agree with Switch about the “art” in gaming. For me math crunching is mainly the preparation to reach some quantitative then qualitative conclusions. After they were well ‘chewed’ and assimilated, one may just forget the numbers and go with the real art !

“Culture is what remains after people forgot all they learned”

Jen’s way of looking at losses is better expressed as:
-6 IPC (or whatever the cost of sent troops) is certain
+2 IPC income * probability to gain area (say 90%). If enemy doesn’t counterattack and win this becomes a permanent flow !

• enemy force losses as expected value (At most their value, often less because of partial defeats and attacker retreats.E.g. 1inf 1ftr takes 1 loss then ftr retreats)
• own land forces retreated expected value (E.g. You started with 2inf 1ftr vs 2inf and took a loss without effect. Would you continue with 1inf 1ftr vs 2inf ? If not, the 1inf was NOT lost)
• this cost from the opponent’s side should they want to counterattack. This is also an expected value
(probability to survive 1 inf * cost to clean 1 inf + prob to survive 2 inf * cost to clean 2 inf + …)

Another reason to gain an area (besides preventing deeper tank action): to prevent enemy use as a fighter base that may allow them to advance the main force there. Maybe without fighters they aren’t safe enough, with fighters they are.

• ttt… this post is relevant to the ‘UKRAINE BID’ thread

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