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Unstoppable strategy: 1942 scenario



  • This was originally posted on boardgamegeek.com. I’ve looked for a discussion about it here but couldn’t find one. If this discussion exists, could a moderator combine the threads?

    This discussion was started by Michael Tan who believes this is an unstoppable Axis strategy. I’ve duplicated his results with triplea. Is there a consensus? Or is there a controversy?

    By Michael Tan
    _I hope somebody proves me wrong because I think I’ve discovered an unstoppable opening move for the Axis in the 1942 scenario. I spotted the potential strategy on our first time playing so it really makes me wonder if they actually playtested this game at all. It’s basically a variation of the Revised strategy of blitzing Russia with every German unit and using Japanese fighters to secure the forward position from a Russian counterattack. There are a few map and rule changes that seem to make this strategy overwhelmingly effective as compared to Revised:

    1. Japan moves first. What was Larry thinking!!! Allowing Japan go first allows one to pre-emptively position 6 Japanese fighters in Burma and 1 bomber in French Indo China so that they are ready to land in East Ukraine on turn 2. The only other objective for Japan is to wipe out the American and UK fighters that can help defend Moscow. Don’t waste any planes doing this though - use your fleet including carriers and battleship as entirely expendable fodder. Build 2 bombers and start bombing the crap out of Russia starting turn 2.

    2. Leningrad is a FREE factory for the Germans. It’s IMPOSSIBLE for the Russian player to defend all three ICs on turn one. There are just too many Germans units to worry about so he has to give up one of them. Leningrad is the least valuable and hardest to defend. Once the German player captures it, he can simultaneously build infantry in Leningrad and armor in Germany that can attack Moscow in sync. This is just a gift for the Germans.

    3. Moscow’s IPC value is reduced to 6. This means the Russian player can only place SIX units TOTAL if he loses Leningrad and Caucusus. Meanwhile the Germany player can produce a nasty combination like 2 infantry 2 artillery in Caucusus, and 2 armor in Leningrad, PLUS whatever he has left over from Germany to relentlessly pummel the poor Russian player.

    4. The reconfigured Eastern Front heavily favors a short game. Germany is now 4 spaces from Moscow instead of 3. If it’s a long game where the German player is marching infantry across the map, that might be meaningful. If he’s building only tanks, 4 spaces is no different that 3 spaces. BOTH are two turns away. Meanwhile, the front is now 4 spaces north to south instead of 3. That REALLY hurts Russia because now there is an EXTRA territory that is adjacent to Moscow that he constantly has to worry about controlling. This is disasterous if the Japanese and Italians coordinate efforts with Germany.

    5. Italy can be used as Germany’s b!tch. Who cares about Africa. Ship every Italian unit to Ukraine. You can get 1 infantry 1 artillery 1 armor and 1 fighter there on turn 1. Use the leftover Italian infantry to shore up the Western Front after you’ve gutted it of EVERY single German unit. Build 1 transport and 1 infantry. On turn 2 Italy can slam Caucusus with a suicide strike force of 5 infantry 1 artillery 3 tanks 1 fighter 1 battleship and 2 cruisers. Even if the Allies fly every single plane on the map, it’s doubtful they can stop a one-two punch from the Italians and Germans.

    Here’s the bottom line: Once the Axis players recognizes Eastern Ukraine is the most important territory in the game, it’s all over. No matter what the Russian player does turn 1, Germany can take it back and hold it. That’s because the 5 or 6 surviving German land units get reinforced with 7 Japanese and Italian fighters plus a 1 bomber. If the Russian player attacks the stack, the fighters unleash so much punishment on Russian units that there’s nothing left to stop the German onslaught on turn 3. If you don’t attack the stack, Caucusus and Moscow, which are both adjacent to Eastern Ukraine, are simultaneously threatened by a sizeable German force - typically 9 infantry 1 artillery 5 armor 5 fighters and 1 bomber. This forces the Russian player to give up Caucusus to hold Moscow. Once the German player takes Caucusus, the 10 Japanese planes (now 7 fighters and 3 bombers) ensure that it remains under Axis control for the rest of the game. Germany now has 6 production right next to Moscow. Meanwhile Japan is pounding Russia with bombers so they’ll be very lucky to place 6 infantry. GAME OVER by turn 4. Sure the Allies dominate both oceans and control Western Europe. It’s irrelevent if Russia is taken out so quickly.

    To make matters worse for the Russian player, he also has to take Belorussia and Ukraine turn 1 as well. If not, the German player can land all his fighters and bombers there in non combat. That means there are potentially 12 Axis fighters + 2 bombers right next door to Russia on turn 2. UGLY.     _



  • Wow… how do you top that?

    It sounds like an AAR game with 9 VC – it sounds like a fast and furious vicious challenge. Going to have to put some skullsweat to this one.



  • Hmmm…  I’ll have to put the thinking cap on for this one.

    Having not done any investigating at this point, what were to happen if the US picked up on this as they go later in the line up and went KJF?

    Could Tokyo feel the heat of the sleeping giant and have to shift fire?

    LT

    (edited for spelling)



  • If the US adopts a KJF strategy, the Japanese simply have to buy infantry and hold off the US for a round or two. How much material can the US bring to bear against Japan by turn 3 or 4?



  • @LT04:

    Having not done any investigating at this point, what were to happen if the US picked up on this as they go later in the line up and went KJF?

    Whoa whoa whoa, hold up… killing Japan (at all) in Anniversary Edition???  😄 😄

    I have to say, this is too bad, that this strategy was found already… it is a variant of the JTDTM, and if past Axis and Allies games taught us anything, if Japan invaded Moscow in WWII, it would have been an Axis blowout  😉  That is of course, if Japan had the capability to do so.

    I think a better question to ask is, were ANY Axis and Allies games playtested?

    Classic- Favors Allies, with bids going around 21 IPC

    Europe- Broken Axis strategy (1.  buy all tanks 2.  move east 3. ??? 4.  profit!), I would guess the Allied player would want a high bid here as well (UK needs more ships at the start, else by the time a two front war begins, Moscow has fallen… I would guess a bid around 12 IPC, and denying the German free cash at start, would fix this)

    Japan- Broken Axis strategy (1.  attack India  2.  attack India some more  3.  ??? 4.  profit!), I have heard that playing the game with a ~12 IPC Allied bid to India helps fix this.

    Revised- Horribly imbalanced for the Allies, if said Allies enjoy bombers.

    Larry Harris Tournament Rules- Major improvement, fixing what shouldn’t have been broken in the first place, bringing the revised bid down to ~8 IPC

    D-Day- Probably the most imbalanced one yet, as there is no single broken strategy… the German player can do whatever he feels like and still come out on top 9 times out of 10.

    Bulge-  Heard mixed things about this, I haven’t noticed any major imbalance.

    Guadalcanal-  A pretty balanced game, as long as you don’t play with the optional rules.  It is harder for the American player to win, but not to the point where a bid is necessary… besides, rolling a 1 randomly at a good time can net you a victory point, so luck plays quite a direct factor in victory anyway (often games are only a couple VPs apart, from my experience, and for those who don’t know, basically, if you roll a 1, a ship is destroyed, if you roll a 2, the ship is destroyed or damaged depending on the ship.  Capital Ships are worth VPs for destroying, only.  So if you roll a 2 against the ship, you damage it and it is removed from combat, if you roll a 1, it is destroyed and you get a victory point… purely random, but fortunately this doesn’t happen enough to spoil the game).


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    That strategy is nothing different than my 1942 strategy map graphic. I too advocate tanks for Germany and the same types of attacks.


  • 2007 AAR League

    Well, it would be helpful to see the Japanese opening in all it’s glory. Trying to take out allied Pacific units without using the Japanese aircraft sounds like Japan is going to lose it’s navy by turn 1 or turn 2 at the latest.

    And with few, if any, transports to land ground troops, Asia would collapse almost immediately.

    So if I read this right, basically Japan’s entire contribution to this strategy is about 2 bombers per turn to SBR Russia, correct?

    First off, since Japan moves first, there would be no way to disguise it. The Allies would instantly recognise it and not only be able to act to prevent it but the axis would also be committed to that strategy since Japan would be obviously in a weak position from the start.

    Second, I’m thinking that Germany would be lucky to get to threatening Russia before turn 4. Don’t forget that there is always a turn 2 lag in ground units because the starting reinforcements from Germany are kind of lean. Even if Germany is building all armor, the Russians can stack up a pretty solid defense rather quickly.

    Third, the UK is a huge help here. They can land in Europe to bleed off German units. They would gain immediate control of Africa so they could begin walking their African units to Caucasus. Fighters in UK can reach Russia in 1 turn and with the Axis providing little to no resistance everywhere else the UK should be earning a great deal of income quickly(40+). Plus, an IC in India can add 3 armor to Caucasus every turn.

    Fourth, like I said before, with Japan suiciding their navy and building only bombers, Asia would collapse under the weight of Russia, China and UK early. And without the coastal territories in Asia, Japanese bombers can’t reach German controlled territories anymore.

    Fifth, the new SBR rules change things. I recognised this bonus immediately. Russia should always pull out their AA guns before Germany takes Karelia or Caucasus. ALWAYS. The axis can’t SBR them before they take those territories because it would only hurt Germany. Plus, the Allies would then be able to SBR them for free on the turn Germany takes them and then on the following turn, not only would it cost Germany to repair the IC’s but they would also have to piss away another 6 IPC’s to build an AA to keep the Allies from constantly bombing them. Which also brings me to my last point.

    Lastly, if the Axis can do it, so can the Allies. The US begins the game with 3 bombers and can do the same as Japan by building nothing but bombers to SBR Germany and Italy and/or fighters to go first to UK and then Russia. And the UK should be earning more than enough to build ground units to land in Europe as well as aircraft to support Russia.

    If at any point the Axis spearhead is blunted, the game would be over because the Axis are committing themselves to a one shot mass strike on Moscow and, if it fails, they aren’t prepared for a long term war while the Allies would be.


  • 2007 AAR League

    For the record, if anyone want’s to try this strategy out I’m willing to take the Allies here. We can play best out of 3, best out of 5, Low luck to eliminate the wild dice swings, or whatever you think it would take to prove or disprove this strategy.



  • @U-505:

    For the record, if anyone want’s to try this strategy out I’m willing to take the Allies here. We can play best out of 3, best out of 5, Low luck to eliminate the wild dice swings, or whatever you think it would take to prove or disprove this strategy.

    On what program?


  • 2007 AAR League

    I prefer Abattlemap but I have been known to play with tripleA



  • @U-505:

    I prefer Abattlemap but I have been known to play with tripleA

    Is AA50 out for triple A?

    edit:  Yes, it is



  • If Germany is going so brutally after Moskow, can’t the UK threaten and take Berlin, grabbing all the precious German income?

    The UK would easily have a +40 income (+50 with NO) when they aren’t attacked for two or three turns. Their transports, battleships and troops all over the world would hand it to them really quickly.

    You’re saying France would fall to the UK, which seems correct. But if the axis don’t retake it for two turns, and they don’t even took out the UKfleet, these British troops would soon become dangerously numerous. I guess these groundforces, combined with the UKfleet, troops in England and maybe even the UKfighters defending Russia, might be capable to attack Berlin.



  • @U-505:

    For the record, if anyone want’s to try this strategy out I’m willing to take the Allies here. We can play best out of 3, best out of 5, Low luck to eliminate the wild dice swings, or whatever you think it would take to prove or disprove this strategy.

    Yeah, I think it is kind of a gimmick – at least it’ll be over quick. If the Allies see this one coming, and start pumping fighters into Russia I don’t think the Axis can pull it off.

    Once they blunt the attack the game is over for Japan and Germany will be reeling.

    One of the problems with the tactic/strategy is that Italy is wide open. Germany failed to retake France on G2 and UK drove a tank with airplanes into Italy. Stalls them right out.

    So, you just can’t ignore the Western Front.

    It bears some more analysis but I don’t think the Axis can pull it off if the Allies are wise to the possibility.

    Looks great on paper though.



  • This strategy does not use the national objectives. When testing this strategy, keep that in mind.



  • @Rakeman:

    @U-505:

    I prefer Abattlemap but I have been known to play with tripleA

    Is AA50 out for triple A?

    edit:  Yes, it is

    Not quite, or it must’ve happened yesterday.

    Tech and NO’s are not implemented yet, SBR isn’t either.
    The map is though, and it requires some editing to get China and the transport-losses right, but to say that that makes teh game playable as if it were the real game…no 😞

    But to stay on topic: As stated above, a strategy like this is exposed to the Allies in turn 1 immeditaly. There’s enough they can pull off to make it fail.
    As long as USSR stacks enough troops to delay the upcoming german tanks, the british and americans can do enough to make a threat to Berlin and/or Tokyo.



  • @halbower:

    2. Leningrad is a FREE factory for the Germans. It’s IMPOSSIBLE for the Russian player to defend all three ICs on turn one. There are just too many Germans units to worry about so he has to give up one of them. Leningrad is the least valuable and hardest to defend.

    this is far from true. the russian player can defend this if they move enough forces there, or they can just push outwards and create a buffer between this factory and germany (which i have done before, and it works quite well)

    i think this strategy is really relying on the dice too much. if germany gets some terrible rolls, then that’s it. and if germany leaves its defence spread too thin, then uk and usa walk right in


  • 2007 AAR League

    @halbower:

    This strategy does not use the national objectives. When testing this strategy, keep that in mind.

    Well, that’s even better because the Axis usually rely on the NO’s more than the Allies do. Without the extra $15 from NO’s for Germany an Allied SBR campaign would reduce them to roughly 5 or 6 inf or even fewer armor every turn.

    And don’t forget that because the Russian IC’s produce fewer units, when they are damaged, it also costs less to get them back to the point of producing units than the IC in Germany.



  • 1. Japan moves first. What was Larry thinking!!! Allowing Japan go first allows one to pre-emptively position 6 Japanese fighters in Burma and 1 bomber in French Indo China so that they are ready to land in East Ukraine on turn 2.

    Someone didn’t check if the moves are possible first: you can only land 5 fighters in Burma on J1. The fighter in Japan can’t reach Burma (5 moves required).

    EDIT: Nevermind, wasn’t counting with the fighter on the Carolines.


  • 2018

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as an unbeatable strategy.  Every strategy can be beaten.  That is one of the things I like most about this game, is trying to defeat unbeatable strategies.



  • @Hobbes:

    1. Japan moves first. What was Larry thinking!!! Allowing Japan go first allows one to pre-emptively position 6 Japanese fighters in Burma and 1 bomber in French Indo China so that they are ready to land in East Ukraine on turn 2.

    Someone didn’t check if the moves are possible first: you can only land 5 fighters in Burma on J1. The fighter in Japan can’t reach Burma (5 moves required).

    I used the exact same strategy last Saturday; admittedly taken right from the original thread.  I saw that post a couple of weeks ago on the BGG site.  We were starting our 2nd game at 2:00 am, so I figured “what the hell.”

    Japan can still make several opening attacks.  I still hit the Pearl fleet, but used the fighter from Japan.  The one on the Solomon fleet went to Burma.  I hit the UK fleet off of India (at work-no map and dont recall sea zones; sorry).  That attack didnt go too well.  I ended up having to lose the carrier and retreat both fighters to Burma.  Hit Buryatin too…used the bomber for support before landing FIC.



  • @Mach:

    @Hobbes:

    1. Japan moves first. What was Larry thinking!!! Allowing Japan go first allows one to pre-emptively position 6 Japanese fighters in Burma and 1 bomber in French Indo China so that they are ready to land in East Ukraine on turn 2.

    Someone didn’t check if the moves are possible first: you can only land 5 fighters in Burma on J1. The fighter in Japan can’t reach Burma (5 moves required).

    I used the exact same strategy last Saturday; admittedly taken right from the original thread.  I saw that post a couple of weeks ago on the BGG site.  We were starting our 2nd game at 2:00 am, so I figured “what the hell.”

    Japan can still make several opening attacks.  I still hit the Pearl fleet, but used the fighter from Japan.  The one on the Solomon fleet went to Burma.  I hit the UK fleet off of India (at work-no map and dont recall sea zones; sorry).  That attack didnt go too well.  I ended up having to lose the carrier and retreat both fighters to Burma.  Hit Buryatin too…used the bomber for support before landing FIC.

    What were the results? Was the opening move good, bad or…?



  • @cond1024:

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as an unbeatable strategy.  Every strategy can be beaten.  That is one of the things I like most about this game, is trying to defeat unbeatable strategies.

    I would have to agree.  For a long time building an IC in India was the way to go for the Allied “Asian wall strat.”  After a wile that method of play fell by the way-side as Japan seems to out produce the allies even with a second IC by the US.

    Give it time it to will fall.

    LT


  • 2017 2016 2015 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I don’t believe there is such a thing as an unbeatable strategy.  Every strategy can be beaten.  That is one of the things I like most about this game, is trying to defeat unbeatable strategies.

    I agree, i played Michael Tan three times 2 against him and 1 where he was Germany and i was Japan. I beat him twice and won the third time with him on my team. He has alot of bravado, but the results don’t demonstrate the reality of his claim. He latter posted his remarks on BGG, but he practical experience in playing this method is lacking. But he is a clever guy and i am sure his contention was the result of home study.

    He has used the same strategy in Revised and my many variants with mixed results. I don’t think the Buy just tanks thing works against every player and every game.



  • @halbower:

    @Mach:

    @Hobbes:

    1. Japan moves first. What was Larry thinking!!! Allowing Japan go first allows one to pre-emptively position 6 Japanese fighters in Burma and 1 bomber in French Indo China so that they are ready to land in East Ukraine on turn 2.

    Someone didn’t check if the moves are possible first: you can only land 5 fighters in Burma on J1. The fighter in Japan can’t reach Burma (5 moves required).

    I used the exact same strategy last Saturday; admittedly taken right from the original thread.  I saw that post a couple of weeks ago on the BGG site.  We were starting our 2nd game at 2:00 am, so I figured “what the hell.”

    Japan can still make several opening attacks.  I still hit the Pearl fleet, but used the fighter from Japan.  The one on the Solomon fleet went to Burma.  I hit the UK fleet off of India (at work-no map and dont recall sea zones; sorry).  That attack didnt go too well.  I ended up having to lose the carrier and retreat both fighters to Burma.  Hit Buryatin too…used the bomber for support before landing FIC.

    What were the results? Was the opening move good, bad or…?

    umm……I can tell you about the first two rounds.  This was our groups first time playing 42, so I’m sure there were things overlooked.  I sat out the first game (drew the short straw in a 7 player group)…watched ball games and drank vodka tonics for 4 hours.  When we started the 2nd game at 2am, there wasnt a whole lot of interest, so I went for it.  Kinda funny too, because we didnt bother with our usual pre-game strategy session.  My German partner had no idea.

    Anyway, I hit the Pacific with what I could and still be able to land Burma:  The Caroline fleet to Pearl along with the Japan fighter (the one that cant reach Burma)  Basically nothing left in the Pacific except the US sz56.  They countered of course on US1, landed the bomber in Hawaii.  I remember US2, they used the bomber and tansport to take back the Solomans which either took away a Japanese NO, or gave one to Allies…sorry, cant remember which).  The fighers used to take out UK India fleet, land Burma.  Built a couple of bombers in J1 to land FIC on J2.  J2 hit the Moscow factory with the one already in FIC.

    I’d heard the Allies were a bit better off in 42, but havent played enough yet to really weigh in.  I didnt see it in this game though.  Japan isnt quite as strong.  Russia turtled on R1.  If I remember, I think they prety much brought all units West and stacked Moscow.  Somehow Germany took both Karlelia AND Caucaus on G1!  Hit Caucus with a couple of fighters and everthing else that would reach.  Hit Karelia with Finland, transport, fighter, and bombardment as near as I can recall.  Hit sz2 with subs, bomber and fighter.  Maybe there was a blunder on R1, dont recall and not famiar enough with 42 to say, but I just remember thinking it amazing that Karelia and Caucaus were taken in G1.  East Ukraine was supported on noncombat with East Poland units and fighters.  I ended up landing the Burmese fighters in Caucaus instead of East Ukraine.

    After that, we had a couple players lose interest and abandon…it was late.  We blundered by hitting Russia too early.  Hit Moscow factory and then hit G2 with severl fighters, armor and infantry with the purpose of wearing them down and then retreat the armor and fighters.  Russia pulled 1’s and 2’s out of her @ss and we ended up losing some precious armor.  I lost interest and passed out shortly after that, but two players continued.  I believe the game would have been shorter if we had waited a turn or two.  Italy was landing in Caucuas every turn.

    Anway, the game lasted longer than it should have in my opinion.  I woke up on the couch every 30 minutes or so to the sound of:  “do you concede yet?  do you concede yet?  do you concede yet?”  Moscow finally fell, but US had a sizeable Pacific force by this time and UK had been landing Europe.

    Like I said, this was our groups first time at 42 and hadnt really looked at it until then.  So…dunno?



  • @Imperious:

    He has alot of bravado, but the results don’t demonstrate the reality of his claim. He latter posted his remarks on BGG, but he practical experience in playing this method is lacking. But he is a clever guy and i am sure his contention was the result of home study.

    He has used the same strategy in Revised and my many variants with mixed results. I don’t think the Buy just tanks thing works against every player and every game.

    Ah, I see. One of those strategies that depends on the opponent being intimidated by it, like the all tank buy for G. Of course, things start going the wrong way when the opponent isn’t intimidated at all  😄


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