Japan Basic Strategies, Concepts and Ideas

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Jennifer’s Basic Japan Strategy Guide for 1941:



    When you are first looking at the board with Japan, things look bleak.  First off, you have a piddly little 17 IPC to spend, you cannot even afford a new Battleship!  But a closer look reveals a lot more.

    For Japan there are a few ways you can go, but I think the optimal solution is a bit more clearly defined.  As far as I can tell, there are 5 major goals that Japan has to accomplish during the game.

    1)  China has to be eliminated.  This is mostly done in Round 1 and the attacks include an attack on Suiyuan, Hupeh and Yunnan. (Note, I used to also hit Fukien, but have altered and used those forces instead on Kwangtung, I’ll explain why later.)  The most important of these three attacks is Yunnan because that fighter has to be destroyed.  Honestly, I see no reason that the fighter should ever survive until China gets a turn outside of really whacky dice.

    2)  SE Asia and India.  India is nice to get eventually, just don’t go crazy.  It does not take away England’s national objective, which is hilarious, and while it gives you one, you can also get it easier in other parts of the world.  I do like to hit Kwangtung on round 1 because it is one of the territories needed for our second National Objective. (I also hit Philippines, Borneo and Sumatra finishing off the second NO, more on that later.)

    3)  South Pacific:  Philippines must fall first round.  You cannot afford an America with 3 National Objectives.  It’s also part of our National Objective.  Borneo and Sumatra are empty and if you send a pair of fighters to SZ 35, you can put your transports down there without protection safely.

    1. After the first round you may want to consider hitting Solomons and either Midway or Wake, just to remove another National Objective from America. (Hawaii is good too, gives you a National Objective, but honestly, now’s probably a good time to take out Australia which removes a British National Objective and gives you one.)

    5)  From here you can worry about Northern Russia and maybe fortifying yourself in China/India.  Honestly, step five is the catch all phase.  America’s probably making boats to threaten you, but if you sank his transport in Round 1 (and you did, didn’t you?  And the battleship!) then he’s going to have to buy a transport to really do anything to Japan.  Most players have forgotten to do that, instead they buy warships which you can ignore!  If he did, no reason you can’t throw out some submarines.  Sure, he can drive past them on his turn, but if you scatter them around, he’s going to eventually get attacked with them!

    Also, as with Germany, I do recommend technologies.  It’s one of the reasons I race to get all the NOs as soon as possible.  With 2 or 3 dice a round going in, you’ll get something.  And when you do, I recommend Chart 2 for Japan.  Chart 1 can help you on land, but honestly, Russia’s gunna be busy with Germany and you’re going to need those naval and air power technologies to send at America.


    Key Territories for Japan:

    Chinghai:  This territory locks up China preventing Russia from coming in.
    Evenki: This territory locks up the Siberian territories preventing Russia from coming in.
    Burma/India:  Again, locks your south up.  Good choke point.
    Philippines, Hawaii, Australia and Wake, Solomons or Midway: These take away America’s and England’s national objective income streams
    Kwangtung, Philippines, Sumatra, Borneo, New Guinea, Hawaii, Australia, Solomons, Manchuria: These keep your National Objective income streams running (note, some NO territories not listed since you normally don’t need to worry about losing them.)

    Most useful units:  Destroyers, Submarines, Bombers, Fighters Carriers


  • nice write-up. most of that’s pretty stock standard (from my point of view anyway)

    i’m interested to hear what your first builds are for Japan though?


  • Yep, thats almost word for word what I do with Japan. About the only difference is that I usually dont kill the Flying Tiger on J1. If you kill off enough of the infantry, its not really much of a threat anyways and I feel like I’m spread thin enough on the ground initially that I dont want to go with a lesser odds attack (2 inf and a plane, maybe 3 inf and a plane if you stretch vs 1 inf and a plane).

    As far as a first turn build, I’ve started going with a DD and a TR. That way I pre-empt any US attempt to interfere with me with subs and I also maintain my TR capacity for shuttling troops to Asia, taking islands gain/deny bonuses, and/or threatening to invade Alaska if the US withdraws from the Pacific.

    Its actually somewhat worrisome that there seems to be such an ‘ideal’ first turn for Japan. For Germany I can think of a handful of variations to try in opening moves, but this seems to be about the ‘best’ Japanese plan I can see at this point. Some of it will depends on US and UK response (and sort of on Russian), but I dont see a way to ‘start’ better.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    The Flying Tiger can be killed off with 3 Infantry, 2 Fighters resulting in Japan usually having 2 infantry 2 fighters left.  Just my perspective.  That plane can cause all sorts of headaches for you if you have Russian infantry assisting in defense and it makes it easier for China to liberate.

    My personal first builds with Japan are, currently, Transport, 2 Armor (since you have plenty of Infantry.)


  • If you are committing 2 planes to kill the Flying Tiger, you are going to be making low odds attack somewhere else (or else not destroying the Brit DD/TR combo off India which I think should be required). You have 9 planes to start. Four are going to Pearl and San Fran. Two are going to sea off India. One is in Japan and cant make it. One is in Formosa and I dont believe it can make it. So, unless you pull one off of the Brits, I dont see where the 2nd comes from. Even assuming one can make it from elsewhere, that means little or no decent odds attacks against China elsewhere (since all you have are Inf). Also, 3 Inf means emptying Indo-china, meaning the Brits can walk in and collect their money (unless you land planes there alone and risk their loss to a low odds attack, I suppose).

    As far builds, I believe you must build a DD on J1. If you do not, then your sole starting DD cannot commit to Pearl (meaning more chance of loss of a Fighter). If you dont preserve that DD or build one, then you risk the US building 4-6 Subs on US1 and practically guaranteeing you cant do anything at sea until J3 (J4 in the SoPac without risk).


  • One is in Japan and cant make it. One is in Formosa and I dont believe it can make it.

    Japan fighter is allocated to attack other Chinese targets in Fukien, Formosa can reach the flying tigers, the other plane can do same.

    up to 2 or 3 infantry hit Yunnan with 2 fighters… vs 1 plane 1 inf…done deal.

    both land in FIC. Say good bye to the tigers.


  • Yeah, Formosa was the one I couldnt remember if it could reach or not off the top of my head. But as I said, I still dont believe its the best play because it means you can really only launch one other effective attack in China (the one where the remaining plane goes). That doesnt leave much for Kwangtung (pretty much a ‘must take’ on J1 IMO).

    Dont get me wrong. I would LOVE to kill the P40 on J1, but I think the price to pay in opportunity attacks is actually higher.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    I’ll let my Japan cat out of the bag, CURRENTLY (until I learn better) this is what I am allocating and where:

    Hupeh: 3 Infantry from Kaisang vs 1 Defender - 90%
    Suiyuan: 3 Infantry from Manchuria vs 1 Defender - 90%
    Yunnan: 3 Infantry from FIC, 1 Fighter from Manchuria, 1 Fighter from Formosa vs 1 Infantry, 1 Fighter defending - 99%
    Kwangtung: Infantry, Artillery from SZ 61, Fighter from Japan vs 1 Defender - 99%
    Philippines: Infantry, Armor from Japan, 2 Infantry from SZ 61 vs 2 Defenders - 95%
    SZ 50: Battleship, Cruiser from SZ 61 vs Destroyer - 99%
    SZ 56: 2 Fighters from SZ 57 vs Destroyer - 96%
    SZ 35: 2 Fighters from SZ 61 vs Destroyer - 96%
    SZ 53: 2 Fighters from SZ 57, Destroyer from SZ 51 vs Battleship - 89%
    Borneo: Infantry from Carolines - 100%
    Sumatra (E. Indies): 2 Infantry from Carolines - 100%

    Please note, not a single one of those combats is even at risk of being a failure on paper!  In fact there is only one that is below a 90% odds of success and even there, it’s worth the loss. (28 IPC in units for 20 IPC if everyone is wiped out.)


    I disagree that Japan needs to buy a destroyer on Round 1.

    1)  America has no submarines anywhere on the board.
    2)  If America buys submarines, you can buy a destroyer.
    3)  If America buys submarines and you don’t buy a destroyer, you have two turns before those submarines can come to Japan


  • Thanks for detailing the force allocation.

    3 Inf vs 1 Defending Inf is a 90% battle? That doesnt sound right IMO but my statistics could be a little off. :)

    If that is truly correct, then that doesnt sound too bad. Not sure I like 3 Inf from Manchuria though, particularly if Russia has stacked up just north of you. You have to leave at least 1 behind then or else they take Manchuria for free and you MUST take it back, which is turning troops and resources the wrong way IMO.

    Beyond that it all looks pretty much what I do. The only real difference is that I only allocate 1 Fighter to San Fran and I send 3 to Pearl. Your worst odds attack is against a high priority target (granted just barely worse, but a 4 defense with 2 hits has the most pontential for luck screw IMO).

    I guess until you see the US mess with Japan with subs you dont understand the threat. :) If you build a DD on J2, then it cant move till J3. By that time the subs can be almost anywhere they need to be. And that really limits the mobility of your CVs since the thing you do NOT want is to see a Sub vs CV/Fighters being a battle in the Sub’s favor! That is just too ugly to contemplate IMO and it means your CVs are stuck at home(ish) on J2. Also building it J2 means you have to leave at least a CV home to guard it on J2 anyways. You cant even realistically threaten the US fleet at San Fran or any of their islands (for their NO) until you have the DD present with the CVs. That gives the US way too much breathing room IMO since he KNOWS you cant commit (without suicide, I guess). What it comes down to is since Japan moves before the US, failing to build the DD on J1 means you are ceding the initiative back to the US.

    The Pacific is REALLY well done in this edition. There are a lot of nuances that it took a few games for our group to catch. But now that we have, its an ugly, ugly (but fun!) fight all across the Pacific.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Average outcome of 10,000 battles
    Attacker: 3 Inf. v. Defender: 1 Inf.

    Average battle duration: 2.5 rounds of combat
      avg. # units left IPC value Punch
    Attacker: 2.20.8 6.52.5 2.20.8
    Defender: 0.10.9 0.22.8 0.21.8

    Surviving Attackers

    Surviving Defenders #Casualties

    Overall %*: A. survives: 90% D. survives: 8.1% No one survives: 1.9%

    • percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. The average results from above are highlighted in charts below, while the median result (equal odds of getting a worse or better result) is written in red.
      Attacker results:
      Probability % # units / losses
        45.77% 3: 3 Inf. no units. : 0 IPCs
        34.94% 2: 2 Inf. 1 Inf. : 3 IPCs
        9.31% 1: 1 Inf. 2 Inf. : 6 IPCs
        9.98% 0: no units. 3 Inf. : 9 IPCs
      Defender results:
      Probability % # units / losses
        8.09% 1: 1 Inf. no units. : 0 IPCs
        91.91% 0: no units. 1 Inf. : 3 IPCs

    If Russia stacked in Buryatia it’s no big deal.  So they invade Manchuria.  They cannot take it, they have to liberate it.  China won’t get a chance to count it for their infantry builds because you go before they do.  You have plenty of firepower to obliterate the Russians in Manchuria.

    Worst case scenario, they put one infantry in, you get cocky and don’t send overwhelming force in and they manage to survive.  That means you don’t get the NO and China might get an extra dude.  But you can survive that.


  • Interesting stats page. Where is that from, if you dont mind? That looks to be pretty handy. :)

    As for Manchuria, If they put 3-4 Inf in there, you have to take it back. Its not only a loss of your NO, but its an NO for the Brits. I suppose if you are building your TR and Inf on J1, its not as big of a problem because then you have a little more ground firepower available to take it out. But again, that means no DD and that means a passive game in the Pacific for the first few rounds.

    I’ll have to experiment a bit with pounding Russia and the coastline first rather than trying to remove the US NOs and/or taking Australia/India/Hawaii for the 3rd Japanese NO. Without the DD, I’d be really careful sending stuff to Australia as it can become trapped (or else has to flee very far out of position).

    My default Japanese strat has been to plan on taking Australia and/or India on J2. If the US goes with a semi-weak naval build, I can take Hawaii or 2 of the 4 islands needed to remove their NO. If the US makes a major commitment, I match it and continue to pound the Brit holding and push into China until the US comes out to play. Okinawa becomes a pivotal place to have a few light elements in that case so I tend to have more DDs and SS’s on tap in that position. After that it really comes down to how the US has built and if we’ve fought any skirmishes to that point. Since I build a DD on J1, I can freely have my CVs in the Mid or South Pacific without too much worry. Without the DD, I’d have to change up and play a bit more passively.

    Well at the very least I think we’ve proven that there is at least SOME potential for variety in J1. ;)

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    frood.net is where I get most of my stats from.

    If Russia liberates Manchuria it is NOT a National Objective for England.  You have to take an orange territory for England to get that National Objective.

    Also, Russia’s not getting anything for Manchuria, China’s not going to have Manchuria when it’s their turn.  The only thing losing Manchuria does is give you a chance to kill some Russians, IMHO.

    Finally, don’t forget that Submarines are almost completely worthless in Anniversary.  They cannot stop ships from moving through sea zones.  They cannot defend for squat and they subtract IPC you could be spending on real naval units.  The only thing submarines are good for is slipping through enemy lines to hit transports if the enemy doesn’t put a destroyer in the way.  I wouldn’t worry about getting “trapped” down in Australia.  You can just drive right on past those submarines, no questions asked! (BTW, they don’t stop transport from loading or unloading, they don’t stop ships from bombarding.  In other words, they may as well not even exist as far as the game is concerned.)


  • Finally, don't forget that Submarines are almost completely worthless in Anniversary.  They cannot stop ships from moving through sea zones.  They cannot defend for squat and they subtract IPC you could be spending on real naval units.  The only thing submarines are good for is slipping through enemy lines to hit transports if the enemy doesn't put a destroyer in the way.  I wouldn't worry about getting "trapped" down in Australia.  You can just drive right on past those submarines, no questions asked! (BTW, they don't stop transport from loading or unloading, they don't stop ships from bombarding.  In other words, they may as well not even exist as far as the game is concerned.)
    

    Submarines are IMHO the best naval attack vessel in the game and not so bad in defence too. Every fleet should have its share of them, even if its just to soak up enemy hits. The only exception is if you do not ever expect to attack - in this case the destroyer should take the role of cannon foder.

    If it weren’t for defending transport units, i would even recommend building only subs.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Submarines cannot defend transports.

    Submarines cannot defend squat, really.  They are somewhat okay attack units, but destroyers are much better for that role too.  All in all, why build a submarine when you can have a destroyer?


  • Wow, submarines can be FAR FAR more effective in the Pacific than DDs for the simple facts that planes cannot hit them (without a DD present) and more importantly, that sub hits cannot be applied to planes at all (regardless of DD presence). This makes them CV killer in the extreme. If you havent witnessed that, its no surprise you dont advocate a J1 DD build. :)

    Also, DDs are vulnerable to enemy CVs which are 3 spaces away. Subs are immune to anything that doesnt have a DD within 2 spaces. This gives them greater freedom to operate.

    Keep in the mind the combat sequence. The Defender has to select casualties before rolling their defense. This means that if you have subs present, he might take a higher value casualty to keep a DD alive to prevent first strikes in a following round (or to allow aircraft to hit in later rounds). For example if you have a BB, CA and DD (and a few TRs present) and a bomber and 3 subs attack. If the attacker hits twice, what do you pick? Obviously the BB soaks up 1, but then what? If you pick the DD, then on round 2, any sub hits are going kill without allowing a strike back (meaning potential loss of all the TRs). Rather than risk that, you might lose the CA instead of the DD. As another example, take a CV w/ 2 Fighters, a CA, and a DD. If the enemy attacks with 3-4 subs on round 1 and hits only once, what do you take? Its got to be the CA. What if he hits twice? Again, the CA and the DD, but if you fail to wipe him out with return fire, you are left with a single 2 to defend against a 2 that first strikes. Not a pretty sight for a TF that costs 54 vs one that costs 18 to 24…

    Finally, SSs are cheaper hits in naval combat and they attack just as well as DDs (better if there is no DD present because First Strike can be extremely powerful). Subs are EXTREMELY effective combatants if used correctly. And if you dont have proper DDs for support you could lose a LOT of money in CVs/Fighters from lowly 6 ipc units… Either that, or you have to spend a lot of time running and that is a waste of time that is often critical.

    Dont get me wrong, DDs are great units too. But they are certainly not ‘better’ than subs in any way, shape, or form in the Pacific. They are different and both have important roles to play.


  • @Cmdr:

    frood.net is where I get most of my stats from.

    Thanks! I’ll check it out

    If Russia liberates Manchuria it is NOT a National Objective for England.  You have to take an orange territory for England to get that National Objective.

    I dont see why. Is that in the FAQ or some obscure ruling? The Brit NO simply says 'Gain 5 IPCs if Allied powers control any territory originally under Japan’s control. Manchuria starts under Japan’s control so why would it not count for the Brit NO?

    Finally, don’t forget that Submarines are almost completely worthless in Anniversary.  They cannot stop ships from moving through sea zones.  They cannot defend for squat and they subtract IPC you could be spending on real naval units.  The only thing submarines are good for is slipping through enemy lines to hit transports if the enemy doesn’t put a destroyer in the way.  I wouldn’t worry about getting “trapped” down in Australia.  You can just drive right on past those submarines, no questions asked! (BTW, they don’t stop transport from loading or unloading, they don’t stop ships from bombarding.  In other words, they may as well not even exist as far as the game is concerned.)

    See above post on Subs. :) I find that they are hardly worthless in AA50 and in fact, they are quite powerful if used correctly. You cant really ‘drive right on past them’ if that leaves them in attack position and you have no DDs. Pound for pound, they will tend to shred most other naval mixes.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Okay, but this is not Pacific, it’s Anniversary.

    Just like in Pacific, Submarines cannot hit planes, they cannot be attacked without destroyers and they can slip under enemy units if no destroyers are present, BUT!

    Submarines cannot stop surface ship movement.  I can glide past any submarines on the board I want too.

    They cannot stop me from loading a transport or unloading a transport (in other words, they do not make a sea zone hostile by themselves.)

    They defend at a 1 and can be attacked by a destroyer and 40 fighters if you want to attack them as such.

    Basically, they are completely and utterly useless units to build.  They cannot hit battleships and carriers since you can elect not to receive submarine hits on those units (according to the rulebook in the box, it might be different in the FAQs now.)

    To put them in a nutshell:

    Submarines can shoot Submarines, Transports, Destroyers and Cruisers.  
    Submarines do not make a sea zone hostile, they can be completely ignored.
    Submarines cannot pass through destroyer patrolled sea zones (all others they can)

    But hey, they cost less than transports and barely more than tanks now! (BTW, I do bring them, having one or two in your fleet can be useful just for the fact they force the enemy to put a destroyer in the water.)


    The ruling, last I heard, was that to get the National Objective the allies had to control any orange territory.  That would limit you to:

    Carolines
    Formosa
    French Indo-China
    Iwo Jima
    Okinawa
    Japan

    Territories that start as conquered territories do not count since you are not taking a Japanese territory, you are liberating someone’s territory.


  • They cannot hit battleships and carriers since you can elect not to receive submarine hits on those units

    I’m 99% sure this is incorrect. I cant see anything the rules that even remotely implies this. If that were to be the case, then yes, subs woulld be quite useless. But I seriously doubt that is correct and that means that subs are quite effective. :)

    The ruling, last I heard, was that to get the National Objective the allies had to control any orange territory.

    That would limit you to:

    Carolines
    Formosa
    French Indo-China
    Iwo Jima
    Okinawa
    Japan

    Territories that start as conquered territories do not count since you are not taking a Japanese territory, you are liberating someone’s territory. would indeed be pretty useless.

    Interesting. Again, I cant see why this would be case. The NO doesnt require taking Japanese territory, but simply occupying territory Japan originally controlled. And by the definition of ‘control’, they certainly ‘control’ Manchuria at the start of the game. Do you know where that ruling is from?

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    China controls Manchuria, Japan is occupying Manchuria


  • Jenn is incorrect on Subs, they can hit CVs and BBs. That probably is from one of the other flavors of A&A she plays.

    Jenn is correct about the Chinese territories and the NO. That has been answered if not in the FAQ then I think by Krieghund some where around here.

    And even if subs can hit capitol ships they are still a junk unit. I am sorry it is hard for me to get stoked up about a unit that attacks at 2 and defends at 1.

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