Strategic Bombing Raids in Revised…..completely pointless

  • It seems to me that in the newer versions of Axis & Allies that SBR’s are completely pointless. My reasoning for this statement is as follows. When you launch a SBR, you are risking a 15 IPC unit in the attempt to take away, at most, 6-12 IPC’s from your opponent depending on which version of the game one is playing. I submit to you that the only way to make an SBR worth its time is to re-implement the Heavy Bomber technology with three die. Then your bomber is capable of causing up to 18 IPC’s in damage, thus paying for itself in the process.

  • Official Q&A

    It’s true that SBRs are nearly a break-even proposition.  However, if they weren’t, they’d dominate the game.

    The whole point of SBRs is inflicting damage that the enemy can’t afford.  The US is the only country that can really afford an SBR campaign, simply because it can afford the losses, while Germany can’t.  The US sacrifices its own income to suppress Germany’s so that the UK and USSR can take advantage of its weakened state.  This is not really pointless.

    If SBRs were a money-making proposition, there’s no way that the Axis could survive, since they start off economically inferior to the Allies.  The Allies could simply build a few bombers to SBR with, then devote the rest of their income to defense.  Eventually, the combined toll of the bombings would render the Axis powers bankrupt, then the Allies could move in for the kill.  Doesn’t sound like a very fun game, does it?

  • I was looking through my A&A Europe rulebook but couln’t find Heavy Bombers anywhere ?
    So I figure the average SBR-loss pr bomber will be 3 IPC, right ?

    But since this is Europe, the bombers have fighter escorts, and the defender have both AA-fire and fighter interceptors. And both the escort, AA-fire and interceptors roll dice simultanesly, so the AA-guns cant exploit any opening fire. Or am I at thin ice here ? So the trade is, that both defender and attacker have an opportunity to kill a lot of 12 IPC fighters in this battle, right ? Making the 3 IPC SBR average loss less important.

  • Official Q&A

    Adlertag, I assumed that the OP was talking about Revised and was just posting in the wrong forum, since his exaxmple uses Heavy Bombers.  But, to answer your question, according to the FAQ AA fire is resolved before dogfighting begins, so fighters hit by AA don’t get to fire.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    You know, on paper SBRs are not so good.  However, I can tell you from experience, when you are Russia or Germany and are on the receiving side of those SBRs, it is HORRIBLY over powered. smile

    Let’s say this, if England and America go heavy SBR, and they can do it and keep Africa in most games, then Germany could have a very serious problem.  -32 IPC a round maximum, probably averaging -16 IPC a round (which is 50%, a good guess in my opinion.)  Now, if you set it up correctly, Russia should have taken E. Europe territories (Ukraine, W. Russia, Belorussia, E. Europe, Balkans and Norway) so they can mass troops against Germany and consolidating power there.

    On the other side, if Japan and Germany go heavy SBR, and they can do it without too much effort, that could be a maximum of -24 IPC from Russia a round (their entire pay chit!) or at least an average of 12 IPC a round, still a MAJOR hit to the pocket book.

    On the other side, what do you lose?  Maybe a bomber.  However, I’ve seen plenty of games where SBR campaigns were waged and won without a single bomber shot down. (I won two of them in league this year alone.)

  • I used to feel the way you do, but as I have run more SBR campaigns my feelings have changed. SBRs are just fine as they are. While statistically they should be about a break even proposition I find they are not. For example on paper, an Axis SBR campaign using 3 bombers per turn should do 15 IPCs damage per turn to Russia. While the Axis powers each loose a bomber every other turn, resulting in an equalization. I find that the Axis powers can afford the IPCs spent to procure the bombers. However; a Russia with little or no income is all but dead and praying the dice can hit the bombers or the Allies can get units to Moscow in a hurry.

    People should keep this point in mind. It is not how much you spend versus how much damage you do, within reason. It is where the damage to your opponent is done. And I feel that applies to much more than just strategic bombing.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    That is an interesting point.  If you weaken the enemy’s economy to the point they cannot afford to trade land, you save money on units you did not lose taking or defending the land and thus, you offset the loss of the bombers.

    Perhaps that has always been a factor not included in our analysis of SBR campaigns.

  • Moderator

    Timing is everything.
    Risking an SBR early when Germany is still earning 44, 45 ipc probably not a good idea, but later in the game when they are at 35 and you pull off the UK/US double (say 3 ipc each) knocking them down to 29 can really thin out their lines and reduce their options.
    Likewise when Russia is earning 22,23 and really counting on every ipc and you do a Ger/Jap 1-2 and knock them down to 16-17 it is defintiely worth the risk.  Especially since at that point the Germans are more concerned with defense so the bom becomes somewhat expendable and Japan can also spare the bom or even buy a second or 3rd pending the overall Axis strat.

    I will also look at times when Ger or Rus is right at a multiple of 3 for cash, knowing that even if I only do 1 ipc damage I knocked them down 1 unit in their purchases.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    A German strike on England Round 1 hitting for 3+ (preferably 6) can be quite devastating too.  But I agree, SBR is usually an end game tactic to turn the tide in your favor.  Generally used by the allies once they catch up in manpower to the axis to allow them to pull ahead earlier in the game.

  • Fellas,

    There are a couple other instances where SBRs are the correct move.  Here’s from Caspian Sub article #08:

    The Exceptions (when you SHOULD SBR)
    We have established that the base economics of the SBR are not worth it, but there some possible exceptions where an SBR is desirable.  Those circumstances are when there is a sunk cost, an opportunity for dollar transfer, or the unStrategy.

    Sunk cost refers to the fact that everyone except Russia starts with a bomber already on the board.  You’re not building your starting bomber, so it may not be worth 15 IPCs to you.  If you are in a defensive position, it is a lousy defensive piece.  In that case the economics and some opportunity costs don’t apply you.  Bomb away.

    Dollar transfer refers to the concept that although an SBR may be a bad economic move in and of itself, you may not care because other investments may be less effective.  The US, for example, is far away from the Axis powers.  That player may decide that the fastest way to get in the game is to build the long-flying bombers just to get active quickly.  That is likely sub-optimal (see Policy Paper #02 on US transports), but it is one reason why some people like the strategy.  For instance, is it worth $4 American dollars to kill $3 German dollars?  In some instances it is.

    And lastly there is Sweet Mother Luck (the unStrategy).  Some guys like to take their chances.  If the AA guns are cold, you can rock a paycheck pretty badly.  But this isn’t exactly a ‘strategy’; it is more of a prayer.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    I don’t know if I’ll buy into all those points.

    However, it is a somewhat decent tactic for America to go heavy SBR.  In two rounds you can easily have 5 bombers on the board which should, notice I said should, not WILL, do about 16 IPC in damage to Germany for a loss of maybe 15 IPC to America.  Early in the game (and Round 3 and 4 is early) that can really hurt Germany.  Much more so than, let’s say, spending those two rounds putting aircraft carriers and transports in the water and almost identical cost for America. (Not to mention, later, those bombers can be used for other events like D-Day or the Italian invasion.)

  • I must admit though that I’m of the mindset that it is better to use your bombers to take out actual units as opposed to possible units. For example, I would use my bombers to take out enemy tranports before doing an SBR no matter the circumstances. Because it doesn’t matter how much cash he has if he has to keep rebuilding units I’m destroying.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Sometimes it’s less feasible to take out enemy units with your bomber than to SBR.  Like if everything is too well defended or the only unit in range is the bomber.

  • That is true & must be taken into account when deciding where to deploy your bombers.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    My basic rule of thumb on the issue is this:

    1)  If I need my bomber as an offensive unit (or even as an extra hit to defend my capitol) then I do not SBR.
    2)  If I have any attack that would benefit from using my bomber, then I do not SBR.
    3)  If 1) or 2) do not hold, and a complex is in range to SBR, I SBR.

  • I think one has to look at SBR not as what it gains you but what it hurts your opponent. Under this thinking I love to SBR russia.

    Thinking that if you are agressive against Russia they are probably around 24 max. So this gives them the ability have some interesting builds say 8 inf, 1 tank 5 inf and 1 art or something like that. Keeping in mind that they probably need around 4-5 inf later on in the game just for trading and dead zones. More if the Japs are playing their cards right.

    With this understanding then by attacking strategically and SBRing you can REALLY happer the attack strength of the russians. Over time this will allow you to gain ground faster and approach with less caution. There is a lot of difference from and average of 23 IPC and say 17 considering you need to spend so much just trading. This is why I think you need to SBR Russia a few turns before you make your advance in a close game.

    Keeping in mind what Jen said for reasons not to SBR.

  • I agree about the dead zones.  If Ger and Jap.  SBR Russia, it can cripple them near the end, because they can not produce enough pcs to trade dead zones.

    If the USSR has 19 IPC, they might lose 9.  Usually after two-3 rounds of SBR, they can not take all of the dead zones back without getting behind the Inf count against the Germans.  especially if the Jap. player creates more dead zones in Asia.  …then the USSR is collecting 15 and still has SBR after that.
    This usually requries Japan to buy a bomber or two along the way.  If they have been ignored along the way, they can afford the bomber and it can get into combat quickly.  As everyone knows it may take several turns for the Jap. player to be in position to threaten Russia directly, but she sure can bleed her dry with dead zones and SBR in the mean time.

    When SBR stops the USSR from taking territories near the end of a game, it is worth a lot more than SBR at the begining of the game when calculating the cost of bomber loses.    :evil:

  • Very good points Jeff.

    Think that if you do not dectate the game to russia then you will surely lose as the axis. If you exploit there mistakes or force them to do things they are not capable to do it is ever better.  That is what I love to push at the russians to get then arone 22 or less as fast as possible. Then make them trade back and for keeping them week. This will insure that most of their money is in inf and then less of a threat. Once they are trading more then they can afford then the allies will have to take the pressure off and go to russia add. At this point the axis should focus on inf build and economic victory.

    I guess this is why I like to never do battles that are questionable victories. Use the dice to your advantage and not a hinderence.

  • Yes, 2-3 bombers can be effective either against Russia, or Germany.
    But I think it’s most effective if this is done by ONE power only - the one that isn’t sending the main land force. That main land force is much better served within same expense of 15 IPC by extra 5 inf, later 1inf 3art, later 3tnk, then 1ftr 1tnk and last 1bmb - as builds converge and march to the moment of final assault.

    I’ve seen Russia being threatened more by Germany - then Japan must bomb more. Or by Japan - then Germans support by bombing (if their own survival isn’t more important). Similarly, US can bring the main troops against Germany with UK to bomb and swap flanks, or the reverse.
    Just sending the starting bomber of the ‘land mass power’ to bomb until downed by AA - no problem with that - IF naval threat or land swap functions aren’t needed more. Its damage done until lost (17.5 IPC ~ 6 inf less to enemy) are much less than its effects in the final assault, and just waiting until them.

  • I actually am a fan of SBR.

    In my opinion, it would be a game opening strategy to use your bombers to raid. It is simply that when it will be time to go for the homerun, you will need your bombers dices.
    You also have to consider that usuall, rich factions that would consider bombing first (USA,GER) usually don’t have a target on 1 turn sbr (except for London…).
    This means you will start carpet bombing at least on turn 2.

    I also am somehow convinced that you must not throw in too many bombers in such an operation…
    when you have a whole lot of bombers you always seem too loose more thant if you had sent only 1-2…

    but bombing a poor faction is the best way to set the way, going in for the kill.

  • SBRs are a great strategy.  It is true that the evaluations done are too narrow and miss the overall effect on the game. You cant just look at the cost/benefit for the individual bomber.  You MUST look at the big picture.  Especially when the cost is affordable to the attacker, and not to the defender.  On top of that, you have the secondary and more powerful effect -this is why you do this attack, of reducing enemy troop numbers in the future.  Less defense means less of your valuable troops at risk.  And your troops are the ones that usually have to be shuttled half way across the board before they die, so this is REALLY valuable for you (usually US or Japan).

    As Allies, I go full out with the UK to bomb the crap out of Germany.  And no, I do not wait until the end game either, this starts from turn one.  If playing with tech, I will take the risks to get rockets, UK can afford it.  Usually two or three dice a turn till I get them.  Then you get a free attack.  Build an extra AA and dump it into Norway soon as you can, and now you have two free attacks. This is generally better than going for heavy bombers unless you are really going to go overboard with the number of planes.  Otherwise I build my bombers up to two or three and nail Germany each and every round.  For the rest of UKs money, I build up a fleet of three or four trannies depending on economics and start shuttling men into Norway.

    I have found this to be a very effective use of the UKs funds, and it is now up to the US to mass troop pressure on W.Eur and keep Africa clean.  But with all the thumping (you can easily reduce Germany to around 20 bucks a turn by R3) from UK as well as Russia hammering their front, the US can usually crack into those sweet 6 ipc territories fairly early.  Germany is simply forced to turtle, which is the absolute must have point in any KGF strategy.  The US can send a bomber or two as well and really add to the pain, provided they arent using them elsewhere and are buying the necessary land troops first.

    For Axis playing, I will slowly build up a bomber force with Japan and begin bleeding Russia dry as soon as those bombers arent needed elsewhere…usually by J3.  Russia really, really cannot afford this and it counters the UK bombing as now UK will need to insure enough troops to defend Moscow.  I dont go for tech here, the axis simply cannot afford the cash unless the allies play really poorly, in which case Rockets are sweet for the germans, but lets face it, most games you just cant waste those precious ICs like that.

    At any rate, we played both classic and now revised for years in my gaming circle, and for years nobody really focused on bombing too much.  It just felt too painful to lose that bomber…  But now I have seen the light and I must say, an effective bombing campaign is absolutely game changing.  The effect is just so profound after a few turns.  The key point tho, to any SBR campaign, is to do it overwhelmingly.  You cannot halfass here, you MUST bomb the living bejeezus out of the other country, or the risk is simply not worth it.

  • Ok so just checked out the tourney rules with limited SBR and we decided to invoke them in our games, as yeah, otherwise it is too overwhelming a strategy.

    Still, having just borne the brunt of it as the Germans, I can say that its still a good option on top of everything else they are doing.  Really just hitting Berlin with two bombers a turn each country can take the puff right out of any german balloons.

    The worst part of it was, I never shot any of his SBR bombers down, whereas he nailed me three times.  Blood begins to boil.

  • 2007 AAR League

    Well to be honest using numerous Sbr´s are a desperate tactic at best.

    You use it when you really, really need to make it happend. Otherwise it´s just to risky. (imho)

  • to jeffdestoyer and daggaz –

    first off my comments assume Terr turn limits for SBRs. Yes Sbrs can be effective on Russia, but i feel only in the end game. They can be effective early too, but i think that for it to be, its dependent on good dice. I will make some of the points I have made in other threads on the topic of SBRing Russia. Daggaz, u said that if u are aggressive with russia, they will have 24 ipc production, and u can reduce that with an SBR campaign. But an SBR approach on Russia is NOT free of cost. There have been claims by other posters on this forum that bomber bought by Japan and Germany are absolutely free of cost. As if they could buy all they wanted with no repercussion. this of course is hog wash. When you buy a 15 ipc bomber with germnay or japan, you are sacrificing the opportunity cost that 15 ipc could buy you. So when you buy axis bombers, you pass on buying axis ground units that battle russia on the fronts. And you aren’t as aggressive as you may have been otherwise. Yes, the idea of a bomber purchase is that it will pay for itself by eliminating more Russian units in future turns. An investment you hope pays of in the future, (and doesn’t get shot down the very first SBR!!). However, you sacrifice some position and leverage early with ground troop strength, you get this bomber. And it isn’t always clear how much that costs you.

  • SBR arent really useless even though u can normally only hit for like 12 it doesnt matter because its a pretty low risk that youll get taken down 1/6 so for me the risk is worth it when doing to germany or russia

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