Then, the game design is flawed, even before knowing the true setup. China not allowed go out of China (and the whole minor popping inf status) is bugged. Minor popping inf status leads to some minor bugs involving conquered ICs and aa guns (but at least it will happen few times)
China not allowed attack Japaneses leads to avoid China strat. What if Chineses conquer both Manchuria and Kwantung? OK, it’s 11 IPCs less (6 for lovers of only-mandatory-stuff) , but you would need about the same amount to fight the chineses with uncertain result. Now you can focus in any IC UK could buy (Australia or mainly India) without caring about Chineses. Evacuate both territories J1 and aim for USA or Moscow (your choice, if allies try ignore Japan strat) or simply Moscow if allies go global war strat. What about VCs? Well, allies need more than 2 vcs to win and anyway you have India and Australia at your reach. Simply conquer Moscow or California and it’s game won for axis anyway, you don’t have to care of china in all the very game
Only Hong Kong could do anything, but it would need a IC :-o, a succesfull tech roll on improved industry and then start building ships there :-P. But many will not allow tech and still the deploy of this strat (another bug, by the way) would cost at the very least 20 ipcs and any costly ships you could buy (ships that can be destroyed easily by Japan’s navy unless they are beaten anyway)
The best and simpler is mod that buggy rule: change “China cannot go out China” for “China cannot enter allied territories but they can attack axis territories at pleasure”. Or, of course, make China a normal playable country with normal IC and such, as should.
I think at least some players will try avoid China, think how many players ignore Japan now (and Japan can go out Japan, opposite to China ). Modding is needed I fear.
I was one of the people who played this game at GenCon. I controlled Japan. I felt like I was under pressure everywhere, and therefore not in a position to deliver decisive pressure of my own.
J1: My starting income was only 17 IPCs, so I felt I had to expand quickly to have a chance to keep up with the Allies over the long term. The most obvious expansion opportunity was Pacific islands such as the Philippines and the East Indies. The need to take those places meant that early on, I was sending fewer troops to the mainland. Also on J1, I focused on taking Chinese territories, and on sinking as much of the Allied fleet as possible.
J2: By now there was a factory in India. Because I’d focused on increasing my income in my previous turn, my units were not in a position to threaten the factory. In any case, I decided China was a more urgent priority than India. My plan was to eliminate the Chinese problem first, the Indian problem second, and somewhere in there start putting pressure on the eastern Soviet Union. My ability to execute these plans was hampered by my low income, and by the fact that the U.S. player was pumping all his resources into the Pacific.
J3: I think this was the turn that Greg moved a large Soviet force right next to the Manchurian border. (Or maybe he waited until USSR4.) I destroyed this force, and I think I obtained a favorable exchange. I was left with a relatively small force at the end. Those few remaining units were able to slowly push westward. However, I wasn’t in a position to send very many additional units to that theater, because my strength was very badly needed elsewhere. China was proving to be a more lingering problem than I’d anticipated. Bad die rolls cost me some battles I should have won. This meant that China received more infantry than should have. There were times when China was able to use large infantry forces to retake weakly-held Japanese territories. (Some of this was my fault for not making those territories stronger, and some of it was dice.) I was becoming bogged down in China–and the Chinese player receiving too many infantry–at the very time when I most needed to be applying decisive, crushing pressure in that theater. I simply wasn’t in a position to send more strength there, because of the need to counter the U.S. naval threat, and because of the pressure Britain and the Soviets were applying.
J4: It was either by J4 or J5 that I began devoting a large portion of my production to naval units. I had to have a stronger fleet than the U.S. fleet, or else I would have started losing my income-producing islands. I was too weak economically already, and the loss of those islands would have been devastating for me. (Bear in mind that we were playing without the national advantages–a fact which probably unbalanced the game in favor of the Allies.) I’d made some progress in gaining income, both with islands and on the mainland. But the American income, alone, was higher than mine, and all of it was being thrown against me. Add to that the Chinese infantry that kept regrowing each turn, and the three units Britain kept pumping into India, and it was clear that the Allies were building up their strength in that area faster than I could build up mine.
Nor were things going well elsewhere. The Soviet Union had initially given some ground to the German advance. But the Germans reached a point where they could advance no further because there was too large a pile of Soviet infantry in the way. Then, the Soviets began grimly pushing the Germans back. This wasn’t so much a case of big battles being fought, as it was a case of the German player realizing that he was overextended and needed to withdraw westward a territory. Then a turn or two later he’d be forced to withdraw westward by another territory. It was clear that, eventually, the Soviet Amy would push all the way to Berlin.
The lone bright spot was that when the game ended, the Allied resistance to an Italian conquest of Africa had basically been eliminated. Africa would likely have gone over to the Italians, providing the Axis with much-needed income. But it wouldn’t have been enough.
The first point I’d like to make with all this is that you are suggesting a rules change that would benefit the Allies, and I’m firmly convinced that’s the absolute last thing this game needs. (To anyone who thinks the Flying Tigers shouldn’t be destroyed on J1, the same thing applies: the Allies have it too good already.)
I made mistakes early on, such as buying two research tokens when I should have been building units. I also built more transports than I needed. With the increased size of the gameboard, I had assumed I’d need the mobility that only transports can provide. And that was true to some degree, but what I really needed more of was brute force, especially in China. I also should have waited a turn before shifting my focus over to naval units. Together, these things might well have allowed me to eliminate China, thus eliminating one of the three sources of new Allied units to my theater (the other two being the India factory and the U.S. West Coast factory).
Suppose instead that I had taken your advice, and had evacuated from China. This would have lost me the China income, plus the income from Hong Kong, Manchuria, and Kwangtung. Under this strategy, my main short-term goal would obviously be to take India and the Pacific Islands. The long-term goal would be to have an income greater than, or equal to, that of the U.S., to prevent the long-term economic/naval domination by the American player. (If the American player can afford to spend X IPCs in the Pacific, the Japanese player had better be able to spend at least X, or else over the long term he is doomed.) To obtain that >U.S. income, I would need South Asia + Pacific islands + some Soviet territory. Without looking at the gameboard, I don’t know whether this would be enough.
Withdrawing from China does have one advantage: it allows you to simply ignore the 10 - 14 Soviet units (I don’t remember the exact number) that would otherwise be in a position to threaten Manchuria. You’d just let them sit there over the short term, while focusing on conquering British territory and Pacific islands. This accomplished, step 2 could be a massive invasion of the eastern Soviet Union. (Unless of course you chose to let that force continue sitting there while invading from the south. An Indian Ocean focus would also position you to go after Africa.)
I’m not yet sure what Japan’s best strategic move is. All I know is that in my one and only game of this, I simply didn’t have the strength to accomplish everything I set out to achieve. Instead of the “conquer everything at once” strategy of Revised, it may be necessary to focus on obtaining overwhelming local supremacy in one theater after another–especially if the U.S. is throwing everything it has into the Pacific. The Axis starts off at a severe economic disadvantage. I suspect that over the long term, it may need the China income if it is to overcome that disadvantage.
Some of the ideas I’ve read on this forum make sense. For example, Japan would be much better off conquering India on J2 than it would be in conquering the Philippines on J1. If Japan can prevent the U.K. from building a factory in India (or else immediately take the factory if built), it would solve a lot of the problems I encountered that game. With no new British units in that theater, and with the extra income from India, Japan would be in a strong position to deliver decisive force to China and that large eastern Soviet force. If the first domino (India) falls, China and the eastern Soviet Union are very likely to follow. But if the Allies can hold onto an India complex early game, and if they can bog down Japan’s advance into China, and if the U.S. devotes everything to the Pacific, things would look very grim for Japan.