Well… since this topic has been revived, here are my thoughts on the Grand Strategy of this idea.
First of all let me state that my official position is that this thread is a Big Fat Waste of Time!
I don’t think you can do it against a good Axis player. But as a logical exercise it would be fun to work on the problem. This will be a rambling, ‘think out loud’ process covering the basics from the Allies perspective, and will partially be no-brainers for the experienced players. I won’t get into any specific tactics or whether or not it can even be done (I doubt it can), just try to summarize what has to happen so that tactics can be developed.
With a Germany First strategy the question has always been, “Can Japan take Russia before the Allies take Germany?”
Under a Japan First strategy this question changes to “Can the USA take Japan before Germany takes Russia?” This basically implies that the Allies will have to be defensive in Western Europe, holding out against Germany as long as possible, while at the same time push on Japan as quickly as possible.
Can the USA even take Japan by itself? Probably not. In most games Japan will have an income equal to or higher than the USA by turn 3 and there is little the USA can do about it.
So the USA needs help. Before we can answer “Who?”, we need to decide “Where and how?” and factor in dealing with Germany.
The USA needs an ally to help reduce Japan’s income, which means either on the mainland or the islands, or both. I think the mainland is a much easier target than the islands for many reasons that I won’t get into, so let’s go with that.
Goal#1: We need Russia and/or the UK to help the USA kick Japan off the mainland.
Sounds like a simple, common sense statement so far… let’s look at Germany.
Can Russia stop Germany by itself? No, of course not. Why? Not enough income. Can they increase their income in our new scenario? Technically yes, by taking the 3 countries from the Japanese mainland for +9 income. Is that feasible? Who knows - probably not. Is that enough? Yes, if Germany doesn’t have Africa, no if they do have Africa. Can Russia stop Germany from taking Africa? No way. So in order to hold off Germany by itself, Russia has to divert enough troops away from the Eastern Front with Germany to take all 3 Japanese mainland countries and needs the UK to hold Africa - all of this against a Germany that has no pressure on the Eastern Front and no worries from the USA. I think I am definitely barking up the wrong tree here, so let’s stick with the idea that Russia has to get direct help from the UK against Germany. Where? That’s an easy one since there is only one answer - Karelia.
Goal#2: We need the UK’s direct support in holding Karelia.
Another easy, common sense goal. Not much progress in and of itself, but if we combine the two goals we suddenly hit on the real meat of the problem and the first big question:
Big Question: How can the UK and Russia hold Karelia against Germany, while at the same time one or both of them help the USA kick Japan off the mainland?
Can the UK and USSR even hold of Germany in Karelia without any help from the USA? Africa is the the key - yes if the UK holds Africa, no if Germany takes Africa. So now we have to revise our Big Question:
Revised Big Question: How can the UK and Russia hold Karelia against Germany, prevent Germany from taking Africa, and at the same time one or both of them help the USA kick Japan off the mainland?
Can Russia even help out in Africa? A little, by pushing troops through Persia, but not really - looks like the bulk of the job is up to the UK. Can the UK help defend Karelia and send troops to Africa? Probably. Can they help defend Karelia, send troops to Africa, and help the US kick Japan off the mainland? Probably not. So it also looks like the bulk of that job falls to Russia, so we at least need Russia’s help in kicking Japan off the mainland. Now we have a basic set of goals for everyone.
I think I’ll wrap up with some major and minor goals for each of the three Allied countries:
Russia Major Goals - Defend Karelia, help the USA kick Japan off the mainland.
Russia Minor Goal - Help the UK defend Africa.
UK Major Goals - Defend Karelia, keep Germany out of Africa.
UK Minor Goal - Help the USA kick Japan off the mainland.
USA Major Goals - Kick Japan off the mainland, take Japan.
USA Minor Goals - Take some islands from Japan, help out in Africa if needed.
Any specific tactics we come up with are going to need to fit into these goals.
This certainly isn’t the only possible approach, but I think its a good summary if the USA is going 90% + after Japan.
The other strategy (that some of you guys were kind of developing above) is what I would call a Half-A$$ed Japan Crush, where all three Allies go partially after Japan. The goal here would be for them to do just enough to keep Germany in stalemate, sending everything else that was not used for that purpose against Japan. But when you look at that idea compare to the goals above, all we are really talking about is shifting some Majors and Minors around, so they still present a good working frame.
Well if nothing else, you get a glimpse at how the hamsters run on the little wheel in my brain!