Japan Naval Defense (WARNING: LONG)



  • INTRODUCTION
    This is a collection of thoughts about how Japan can defend against the US navy.  It’s long enough that it’s more like an article than a regular post; I hope that’s not too pretentious.

    The topic of this article is how to respond to a particular Allied strategy that I think is fundamentally flawed, but that I nevertheless come up against regularly in league play.  I suppose that by trying to convince people to stop using a flawed strategy against me, I’m not really doing myself any favors.  What can I say, I’m just that magnanimous.  😛  Ideas from this article could of course be applied to other situations, but a lot of the specifics will be different.

    The strategy I have in mind is one in which the UK and Russia go against Germany, and the USA goes after Japan.  Theoretically it might be possible for the US to do this with a Sinkiang complex plus navy, but without Russian help the complex is doomed, so play generally proceeds by getting into a naval arms race with Japan.  The primary objective is to out-build Japan’s navy enough to go island-hopping and secure a decisive income advantage.  Once that’s been done you can kill Japan’s navy, push them off the mainland, etc.  A secondary objective would be for Japan to spend all its money on boats in order to stay ahead, relieving any Japanese pressure against Russia and enabling them to put all their troops on the German front.

    It’s about time for some disclaimers:
    (1)This strategy can be OK in response to specific game events , by which I mean, if Japan eats crow in Pearl and allows you to wipe out two of their capital ships on USA1.  But if Japan comes out of J1 with its whole navy and air force intact and a strong Pearl and you take this approach anyway—which I’ve seen happen plenty of times!—you are trying to climb a very steep mountain.

    (2) I’m not trying to say that KJF is bad in general.  What I am trying to say is that if you want to go KJF, go all the way.  Use all three Allies and hold nothing back.  If you go half against Germany and half against Japan, it’s not enough, unless the dice are very kind to you.

    TWO KINDS OF DEFENSE, AND NAVAL BUILD STRATEGIES
    There are two kinds of defense in A&A.  The first, which I’ll call “survival”, is making sure your stack is powerful enough on defense to survive if attacked.  The second, which I’ll call “buffering”, is making sure your stack has enough offense that the enemies don’t dare move within range.  It’s usually preferable to play the second kind of defense when possible, and fall back to the first only when you must.  This keeps your income higher, and reduces the danger to your critical territories.

    Which kind of defense you’re playing affects your purchasing strategy.  If you want to play the more aggressive form of defense, the key statistic is the attack power of your units, not their defense power.  Conversely, your aggressor’s ability to advance on you is based on the defense power of his units, even though he’s the one going on the offensive.  So everything is kind of backwards.

    One specific way that this affects purchasing strategy in the water is how many fighters you buy per carrier.  If you’re going for survival-defense then you want two fighters per carrier.  However, if you’re going for buffering-defense then you want four fighters per carrier.  This is because an attacking carrier can usually support four fighters, provided there is land reasonably close by: Two fighters start on the carrier, attack the sea zone, and then land on a nearby island or continent, while two fighters do the reverse (start on land, attack the sea, and land on the carrier).

    BATTLE STATISTICS AND PURCHASING STRATEGIES
    Suppose you and your opponent are both given $10,000 to buy the most powerful navy you can.  What should you invest in?  Subs?  Carriers and fighters?  Battleships?  Some kind of mix?  What gives you the most bang for your buck?  Well, this is where it gets mathematical…if your eyes glaze over, just skip to the parts in all caps.  😉

    There are three statistics that measure how powerful a given army is: punch, count, and skew.  The punch is the sum of all the attack values of the attacking units, or defense values of the defending units.  (Your expected number of hits will then just be your punch divided by 6.  For example, 3 inf 3 tanks attacking have a punch of 12 and will get 2 hits in an average round.)  The count is simply how many units are in the army.  Skew is harder to quantify, but it has to do with how “spread out” your combat values are; if you have some high-power and some low-power units it’s generally better than a bunch of mid-range units.  (For example, 100 inf 100 tanks attacking 200 inf will almost always win, even though their punch and count are identical.  This is because the attackers can take some hits without losing power as fast as the defenders).

    So how does all that math affect purchasing strategy?  Well, one simple way to proceed is to calculate which purchases give you the most punch per IPC.  Unfortunately this won’t account for count and skew, but some hand-waving descriptive arguments can help figure out how those factor in.

    At first glance, here are the stats:

    Attacking Unit…Punch/IPC
    Fighter…0.3
    Sub…0.25
    Destroyer…0.25
    Bomber…0.25
    Battleship…0.167
    Carrier…0.063
    Transport…0

    Defending Unit…Punch/IPC
    Fighter…0.4
    Sub…0.25
    Destroyer…0.25
    Carrier…0.188
    Battleship…0.167
    Transport…0.125

    The moral of the story seems to be that both sides should just buy fighters.  Unfortunately, one quickly realizes that without carriers this doesn’t actually help your navy much!  A more relevant statistic would be to compute punch/IPC for a carrier group, meaning a carrier plus all the fighters it can support.  Recall that a defensive carrier group consists of a carrier with two fighters, whereas an offensive carrier group consists of a carrier with four fighters.  We then have the following revised table:

    Attacking Unit(s)…Punch/IPC
    Solo Fighter…0.3
    Sub…0.25
    Destroyer…0.25
    Bomber…0.25
    Carrier Group…0.232
    Battleship…0.167
    Carrier…0.063
    Transport…0

    Defending Unit(s)…Punch/IPC
    Solo Fighter…0.4
    Carrier Group…0.306
    Sub…0.25
    Destroyer…0.25
    Carrier…0.188
    Battleship…0.167
    Transport…0.125

    So, what to make of this?  If you’re looking to go on the offensive—or, if you’re looking to go on the defensive using the buffer method—then carriers and fighters are slightly less efficient ways of getting punch than subs, destroyers or bombers.  When you factor count into the equation—an offensive carrier groups costs $56 for 5 units, whereas you could get 7 subs for the same price—it becomes clear that subs are your best bet for adding to your offensive punch.  However, on defense the picture is not so clear.  Carrier groups give you significantly more defensive punch per IPC than subs do, but subs give you significantly more count (50% more, in fact).  Tough call.  Personally I would still go with subs as my mainstay, since their count advantage seems to be wider than the carrier group’s punch advantage.

    The other moral of the story is that, just as in the land war, defensive punch is cheaper than offensive punch.  This implies that if you and the Americans spend the same amount of money, given long enough they will eventually reach the point where they can safely advance within range of your navy.  Of course, with your initial head start that may take a while, by which point your income could be higher than theirs due to gains in Asia.  But it is good to know that the long-term situation favors their ability to push forward if all other things are equal.

    But wait, there’s more!  Why did I leave the solo fighters on the list?  Didn’t we decide they were just a fiction?  No, there are circumstances where their statistics are relevant.  Considering the following two applications:

    (1) MAX OUT YOUR EXISTING CARRIERS FIRST!  If you already have a carrier and you don’t have all the fighters for it, then buying more fighters to fill it up is effectively adding to your army at the solo fighter rate rather than the carrier-group rate.  The application to Japan is, BUY YOUR 8TH FIGHTER BEFORE GOING HEAVY ON THE SUBS.  With your two initial carriers you can bring 8 fighters to the battle.  Until you have those 8, more fighters are the fastest way to add to your offensive punch.

    (2)If you station air on an adjacent island, the fighters don’t need a carrier.  For instance, if you’re anticipating a big battle in SZ 45, then you can park your air on the Caroline Islands and it’ll be two spaces from SZ 45—so, no carrier needed!  You can buy as many fighters as you like.  So you really can add to your force at the solo-fighter rate.  This option is competitive with subs as the best overall offensive purchase; you get 20% more punch than with subs, but 20% less count.

    GEOGRAPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
    So far I’ve just been considering the effectiveness of different units and purchases in the abstract.  Time to look at the geography of how a US invasion might proceed, and how to fend it off.

    US INVASION STRATEGY
    It’s well known that the favorite US invasion point is the Solomon Islands and its corresponding sea zone, SZ 45.  This because (a) it’s only two moves from SZ 55, so US builds can get there in one turn, and (b) it’s within two moves, hence one turn, from all the key islands: East Indies, Borne, Philippines, and even Australia.  Thus, a massed American fleet off LA can move to the Solomons in one turn, and then go crazy all over the islands.

    As soon as it’s safe the Americans would like to build a factory in either Borneo or the East Indies.  This allows them to build ships right in the thick of the conflict.  Borneo is a more aggressive option, since its sea zone is only two moves from Japan; the Americans have to be doing pretty well to be able to put that factory up.  East Indies is three moves away and hence may be feasible at an earlier point, but of course the flip side is that it puts less pressure on the Japanese navy because of the extra space.

    In summary, the basic USA invasion proceeds as follows: move to SZ 45, start taking islands, put up a factory on one of the big islands, and start producing ships in Japan’s backyard.

    SIMPLISTIC JAPANESE COUNTERMEASURES AND HOW THEY FAIL
    Since the Solomons are the linchpin of US invasions, perhaps the way to counter is just to make sure enough firepower is within reach of SZ 45 to kill anything that moves there.  So with Japan you can just mass your fleet in SZ 60, and make sure SZ 45 is a deadzone, right?

    The reason this fails is because the US can buffer with a sacrificial lamb.  They move most of the fleet to SZ 45, but leave one cheap straggler in SZ 51.  All the glorious Japanese battleships are now prevented from attacking, as are the transports you might use for fodder.  If the Americans are smart enough to buffer with a destroyer then your subs can’t get there either.  Attacking with pure air against a fleet with lots of transports to absorb your hits gets real ugly real fast.

    Buffering like this allows the US to invade with an inferior fleet.  You can send your fleet down to chase them, but they can grab a few islands, continue to protect their main fleet with a buffer, and put up a factory before you manage to pin them down.  Few things are more frustrating than chasing an inferior fleet around the South Pacific while they take your valuable islands from you and continue to send reinforcements in from the east!

    BETTER JAPANESE COUNTERMEASURES
    In order to avoid this kind of scenario, it’s best to stay far enough ahead with your naval builds that the buffering strategy becomes impossible.  The key is to have your main fleet sitting next to SZ 45, not two spaces away, so that the US can’t protect itself with a buffer.

    If your fleet is a lot bigger than the Americans’, you could take the offensive and push your fleet up to Hawaii or Wake.  However, staying on the offensive in the Pacific will take a lot of your resources, and you’d rather be putting some ground troops in Asia to grow your economy and pressure Russia.  Hence, a more economically efficient option is to create a stalemate: you hang back and make them make the first move, but keep enough power to make that move costly.  Hence, you want your main fleet buildup to be in a spot that (a) is out of reach of SZ 55 (so you don’t have to worry about your survivability against an American attack—you can guarantee that you’re the one threatening to attack), and (b) is adjacent to SZ 45.  This means the Caroline Islands is the place to go.

    If you have ships farther west that are within reach of SZ 45—say, SZ 37, or either 38 or 46, or 48, etc—these are still OK because the US can’t reach far enough to buffer against them.  It’s really just the SZ 60 fleet that can be made ineffective by a Wake Island buffer.  So you can still send your boats to grab Australia, deal with an annoying British fleet in Borneo, or whatever, while still keeping an eye on the Solomons.

    However, your default buildup spot is the Carolines.  You should park your battleships there, and at least one carrier.  Once you’ve built up to your 8th fighter (see above) you will want to start getting some subs in the mix.  Build them in SZ 60 and then move them to SZ 50 on the subsequent turn.  Note that this requires you to stay a turn ahead of demand, because there’s a turn delay between when you build the subs and when they are (unblockably) threatening SZ 45.

    As mentioned above, you can buy beyond your 8th fighter if you plan to station some air on the Caroline Islands.  This gives you more punch but less count than subs, so it’s a judgment call.  However, this has the additional advantage that your purchases go into effect immediately: If you move an already existing fighter from the mainland to the Carolines (or from the mainland to your carrier and one from the carrier to the Carolines), then your new fighter purchased in Japan is threatening SZ 45 and will have the potential carrier spot opened up to it that was vacated by the fighter you moved to the Carolines. So if you need to up your threat to SZ 45 and can’t wait a turn for your sub purchases to move into position, a fighter purchase can do it more quickly.

    You will need to think about defending SZ 60 against air.  You’ll probably have a couple transports operating there, and your new sub builds.  This makes a juicy target for air in SZ 55; they can go on a raid and move a carrier up to SZ 57 to pick them up.  Since this would likely be suicidal for the carrier, it may not be worth their while, but you need to keep an eye out for that move and think about whether to leave some air defense in SZ 60.  If the air threat is small, a destroyer should do the trick; if you need more, you can leave one of your carriers there.

    Let’s talk about where to station the fighters.  Four of them will be on your carriers, able to hit SZ 45 and then land on an island or mainland.  The other four, then, can start anywhere within four spaces of SZ 45.  This means you can put them as far up as India and Yakut and still be able to make it in four spaces.  If you haven’t held India or Yakut yet, or just want to provide more complete coverage of the Pacific, try FIC and Buryatia.  Either way, you can keep using four fighters against Russia while still maintaining the threat to SZ 45.  A bomber stationed in Buryatia is great too; it can hit the key Pacific spots, can reach all the Russian territories east of Caucasus, and can SBR Moscow, all from the same place.

    FALLBACK OPTIONS*
    Sometimes things go wrong.  You make a blunder, or the dice get screwy, or whatever.  Ideally you’d like to prevent a move to SZ 45, but suppose it happens.  Then what?

    Well, my favorite fallback spot is FIC.  There are two reasons for this.  One, I always build a factory there J1 if the Russians and Brits didn’t go bananas with a crazy KJF starter.  (My favorite J1 purchase for a KGF game is 2 tran 1 IC after bidding $1.)  Second, it’s right next to your three big islands (East Indies, Borneo, and Philippines).  You can let the US get Okinawa and New Guinea, those are small potatoes, but you want to protect your big islands.

    If you’re forced to fall back, then, the basic maneuver looks like this:
    (a) Move fleet to SZ 36, and build up to 3 more ships there (subs most likely, maybe a destroyer)
    (b) Build more air in Japan if you have the money for it.

    The result is that you can deadzone the three valuable islands.  What’s more, because FIC is adjacent, there’s no way for them to use a buffer to sneak in either.  So even after they push to SZ 45, you may be able to keep them away from your big targets for a few more turns.

    If you do this, MAKE SURE THEY DON’T GRAB TOKYO!  Moving your fleet down from SZ 60 to join the others in SZ 36 leaves you open to invasion.  Station some air there, and buy a couple inf if you need to.

    SUMMARY: HOW TO REPEL AN ILL-ADVISED AMERICAN FLEET BUILDUP
    –First, make sure it really would be ill-advised.  That means not losing your initial fleet.  If you go heavy into Pearl on J1, which I still usually do (even though it’s becoming less fashionable these days), make sure you come out with your BB and CV and 2 ftr and one other ship if at all possible.  This means attacking with your DD and sub (if it survived) is a good idea, it may mean losing your bomber before a cheaper ship, and if things go wrong you may want to non-combat your transport from SZ 60 to help out.  Better to start a little slower on Asia than to lose your fleet.
    –Buy up to your 8th fighter soon.  Station 4 on your carriers, 4 on the mainland but still within reach of SZ 45.  This way you can use them against Russia throughout the naval standoff.  Bomber goes on Bry or possibly FIC.
    —For the first few turns, you shouldn’t need to buy more boats except some transports.  Focus on grabbing land in Asia, while always calculating to make sure you’re deadzoning SZ 45 adequately.
    —If the Americans continue to get serious about their naval builds, start getting some subs while continuing to make ground units.  Station your main fleet in SZ 50, move your sub builds there the turn after you make them, and keep your 8 ftr within range.
    —Consider adding more fighters, to be stationed on the Carolines (or New Guinea), in addition to your sub builds.  Also make sure you have one destroyer in SZ 50 to cancel out their sub’s special abilities.
    —If you have to fall back from a superior fleet, pull back to SZ 36, build more boats there, build more air on Japan, and make sure to adequately protect Tokyo.  This should buy you some more time before your key islands fall.


  • Moderator

    Bravo!!!

    I may move this to the Article Section if you don’t mind.  I wouldn’t want a post like this to get buried.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    Good stuff.  Agreed that statistically speaking, subs provide the best bang for your buck on offense…. nonetheless I prefer the mobility and flexibility of air units.  The only time I ever build subs as Japan is if my back is to the wall…that is, I’m not strong enough to attack the USA fleet (either at Solomons or already at E. Indies) so I need to buy subs for fodder and increased punch (typically at the FICO factory).

    Generally if the United States is coming at me I want to attack the fleet as soon as I can with my superior air force (if nothing else I get the transports and potentially slow the offense down).  But if the USA player is playing super conservative and isn’t giving me a chance to attack, it’s the right play to keep up the fleet as a deterrent to landing at the major islands AND take up the USA’s full attention while Germany is hopefully on the offensive.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I’d just like to note, I really only advocate going KJF if Japan really got hosed with the dice.  I know I am probably the biggest and most experienced campaigner in the effort to take out Japan before Moscow is lost.  I may not be the best, but I think it safe to say I have the most games doing it. (And I know I have the most games with Japan attacking America first and the most wins with that strategy.  Love it! But that’s a different thread.)

    If Japan gets nailed in SZ 52 (Hawaii Sea Zone) then it is in America’s best interest to go full bore into Japan.  There are plenty of strategies one can use to negate the Japanese.

    First off, if Japan went heavy and you have the fire power to do it, they’ll already be down a battleship and a carrier.  But if they are not down those two war machines, what is stopping America from having 4 carriers, 8 fighters, 2 battleships some destroyers a bunch of submarines and a transport? (note, you only need ONE TRANSPORT in the first two thirds of KJF!  Big mistake most players make is getting a bunch of transports.  Don’t need em!)

    Why don’t you need them?

    1 Transport and 1 Infantry is usually enough to take every island in the Pacific.  Even if your BBs miss their bombardments, and the enemy scores a hit (both happening is slim) you can always take a fighter as a loss.  Fighters from W. USA can get almost anywhere you would put your fleet anyway, and hell, 7 defending fighters is usually plenty to keep Japan away until you can fly the 8th out to meet you.


    Japan SZ 60 Turtle:

    If Japan’s turtling in SZ 60, you might want to consider not island hopping.  4 Carriers can support 16 Fighters in an attack on SZ 60.  That’s a bloody awful lot of fire power, especially if you add in bombers launched from Anchorage, Alaska!

    That seems to be the trick to naval warfare, that is, making your carriers pull double duty.



  • Pretty good article Uffish! It really makes a great combo with my last 2 articles about allied KJF, and you made a more detailed article than I  🙂

    The dd block is great. You did against me in one of our games and almost ruin my day. Karma +1 for a good job  🙂



  • Thanks for the comments everyone!

    DM: I forgot all about the articles section–I rarely even think to look there.  I agree, that’d probably be a better home for this.

    Zhukov: I’m getting to like air more and more as compared to subs, but the one thing that makes me wary about going entirely air-based is that if I have to switch to defense then I want some boats in the water…ideally you can stay on the offensive (or the buffer-method-defensive) but subs give you some flexibility in case you need defense in the water too.  But I always feel a little reluctant buying them, I’m always happier getting fighters.  I didn’t go into this in much depth in the article, but I also love how fighters are dual-use land/air units…at the right time you can suddenly move them all onto the mainland and have a huge threat to Moscow, or possibly even go rescue Berlin.

    Jen: It’s probably possible to go KJF without any help from the dice, but I’m not good enough to do it.  Like you, I only go KJF if I’ve gotten an invitation to do so in one way or another.  One extreme example was my game against Switch where Japan got murdered in J1 not only in Pearl, but also in Borneo where the British fleet was…he came out of that turn with 1 out of his 4 capital ships left, and I think only 2 or 3 planes too.  KJF was a no brainer at that point!


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    Uffish:

    Yea, it generally takes too long to do a KJF if your opponent knows what s/he is doing in naval warfare and you did not get lucky with the dice round 1 (or Japan did something exceptionally stupid.)

    However, Switch was always extremely bad at defending Japan with his navy.  And I mean he was REALLY bad.  Switch’s game was always playing the Axis against a Kill Germany First game.  He excelled there because he only practiced it.  His actions were very machine like.  First this, then that, then that.  He could recover from really bad dice because he had a list of steps to follow to do so.  What he could not handle was a unique method of playing the Allies, such as KJF.

    I don’t think Switch ever won a game against a KJF strategy.  Could be wrong, he played about half as many games as I did here, so it’s very hard to know 100% of all the game resolutions of his games.  But generally speaking, he always relied on his battleships and carriers and augmented them periodically with submarines.  He was very uninformed about how to use destroyers effectively to slow down the Americans and save cash buy needing less ships.  My personal assessment of his game play. (You’ll note, he absolutely refused to play with me anymore once I completely crippled his Japan and had Russians in E. Europe in our last game together.  Very sore looser, IMHO.)


  • 2016 2015 '10

    @Cmdr:

    Why don’t you need them?

    1 Transport and 1 Infantry is usually enough to take every island in the Pacific.  Even if your BBs miss their bombardments, and the enemy scores a hit (both happening is slim) you can always take a fighter as a loss.  Fighters from W. USA can get almost anywhere you would put your fleet anyway, and hell, 7 defending fighters is usually plenty to keep Japan away until you can fly the 8th out to meet you.

    I can see the logic but I would think that a 2nd tranny is useful as a way to grab another money island if Japan fails to block you.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I could abide a second transport.

    What I see, most of the time, is an America with 5 or 6 loaded transports and, to me, that seems like a lot of wasted resources.  1 transport would serve equally as effectively as 5 or 6 and would allow you to spend the other 40-48 IPC on warships and planes to sink the enemy fleet.

    There’s really no point in a bunch of transports as long as the enemy has a large fleet to fight you with.


  • SFO Founder TripleA Admin

    I scanned the article and I’d like to post it to the main site. From what I gather this article is referencing the A&A Revised game, yes?



  • I’d be honored!  And yes, this is about Revised.

    Let me know if you want me to edit or rewrite any sections before posting on the main site.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    @uffishbongo:

    (2) I’m not trying to say that KJF is bad in general.  What I am trying to say is that if you want to go KJF, go all the way.  Use all three Allies and hold nothing back.  If you go half against Germany and half against Japan, it’s not enough, unless the dice are very kind to you.

    I was thinking about this statement in the context of a few games I’ve had where either 1) Japan had bad dice or went with insufficient force to Pearl or 2) Japan skipped Pearl, prompting me to pursue a strategy where USA goes after Japan while Russia and UK go after Germany.

    In a friendly game, I enjoy this turn, as its a fun change of pace from the normal KGF game.  But more and more I’m questioning  whether this is a legitimate strategy in a tourney or league game against an elite opponent.  The problem is Germany tends to get strong, while Japan gets strong on Asia IPCs while holding off the USA with reasonable air and sub purchases.  Even if UK can succeed in 1) taking Africa 2)killing the German fleet and 3) assisting Russia in Europe, Germany tends to build so many infantry that unless the USA offensive succeeds, Axis will eventually have way more units on the ground in Eurasia.

    You say only go for Japan if you are going with all 3 allies…but how does this work against a strong German player?  Ok maybe if Germany gets diced bad on G1…but I find that even under the best circumstances if the Allies are concentrating on Japan then Russia will lose Cauc.  Once Cauc falls, the UK can no longer support Russia from India, and India itself is in serious trouble.  And if the Germans have the Africa ipcs then they will eventually overwelm Moscow as well.

    So what can we conclude?  Is Revised hopelessly biased towards the KGF tactic?



  • There are two kinds of KJF’s in the world: those that start that way, and those that switch to it.  I was referring to the first.  If you decide at the beginning of the game “hey, I want to go KJF this game,” then it’s very, very difficult to make it work unless you go all in.  This means things like stacking Buryatia with 6 inf on R1, moving 2 inf into Sinkiang, and basing fighters in Kazakh to up the threat to Manchuria; building an India complex UK1; consolidating UK fleet in SZ 30, or taking Borneo, on UK 1; and either building a Sinkiang IC and spending the rest of America’s paycheck in the Pacific, or skipping Sin and going full bore on the boats.  If you only do one or two of these, Japan can easily squash them, but with all together it can be too much for them to handle.

    I should add the disclaimer that I’ve never successfully won a game this way, nor has anyone beaten me with this tactic.  I know some players have been able to make it work, but it’s awfully difficult.  You can contain Japan’s Asia expansion, but sinking their navy tends to take a while (unless they defend poorly), and Russia just can’t hold out long enough against a good German player without American assistance (and with only half-hearted UK assistance if they build the India factory).

    The second kind of KJF is the only one I use myself.  Sometimes Japan gets hosed by the dice on J1; this often happens, for example, if they try to take on too many naval battles at once (e.g. retaking Borneo while still going after Pearl).  Sometimes they go Pearl heavy and don’t come out with a strong enough fleet to survive counterattack.  Etc.  When the dice or opponents’ mistakes give you an opening, you can go KJF to exploit it.

    In this aspect I think it’s similar (though in a less extreme way) to KAF.  I used to think KAF was completely impossible, but two of my league losses last year were to KAF strategies!  (Funcioneta and U-505 both beat me this way.)  The thing about KAF is that you can’t do it right away, but if you build up enough transports, have some ground troops in or near Bry, and the USA doesn’t have a lot of ground forces in North America, then you can suddenly switch to KAF and take them by surprise.

    In short, my opinion is that you pretty much do have to start every game KGF, and keep your eyes open for the possibility of switching.  This might seem like a bummer, but I think it’s actually kind of fun; learning to recognize what combinations of circumstances provide openings for things like KJF, KAF, or other “non-standard” tactics is an important part of advanced play.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    Well I certainly follow and agree with your reasoning, but as a gentle criticism, I wouldn’t recommend (or seem to recommend) a strategy that you would never use yourself :).

    But what I’m finding is that when I go KJF in response to a mistake or bad dice on J1, I often find I regret it as it sometimes makes the game harder for the Allies in general.  It always depends on circumstance…but I find that some players actually want you to come for Japan (eg they skip Pearl and hit Bury instead, hoping the USA will go 100% to Pacific and this will give Germany an opening).



  • Yeah, that may not have come out very clearly in the article; I wasn’t trying to recommend type 1 KJF; I was trying not to comment on it one way or the other (because I feel I have insufficient data).  A more complete breakdown of the different types of KJF I’ve seen would be as follows:
    (1) Go whole hog against Japan, from the start, with everybody.
    (2) Go against Japan from the start, but only with the US Navy.
    (3) Go against Japan (either US Navy only, or with other assistance) in response to dice and/or opponent mistakes.

    The purpose of the article was to make the case that (2) is a bad idea.  In my mind the jury is still out on (1); at best it’s very difficult, but it’s possible I just haven’t honed it enough.  I think (3) can be usable.  Although, as you say, I’ve been suckered into (3) when I shouldn’t have.  I wouldn’t do (3) just because Japan skipped Pearl; in that case they still have all 4 capital ships and all or most of their air, i.e. they’re still an absolute beast.  I might go for it if they went to Pearl and left the BB and CV open to counterattack, although even then I’d be reluctant if there weren’t other things going my way too.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    Ok I can pretty much agree with that.

    I’m playing a game on Facebook right now…where Japan lost

    1. 1 fig to India aa
    2. destroyer, sub, and 1 fig in Pearl light attk (all US units destroyed)

    Since it’s a non-tourney game, I decided to go after Japan with USA, against my better judgment perhaps.  On USA1, I had the opportunity to destroy a Japanese carrier plus a transport in SZ 60 with a fighter and bomber (which I lost in the fight and after landing in Japan’s next turn).  So now the Japs are down a destroyer, transport, sub, 2 figs, and a carrier, while I lost the Pearl fleet plus my bomber and fighter.

    The Japs had bought a factory and two transports, so they still have 2 trannies in sz 61.

    What do you think?  Would you go after Japan in this context?



  • @uffishbongo:

    The thing about KAF is that you can’t do it right away, but if you build up enough transports, have some ground troops in or near Bry, and the USA doesn’t have a lot of ground forces in North America, then you can suddenly switch to KAF and take them by surprise.

    Yea, true. It’s even better: the default building for Japan, based in buys like 3 tra, 2 inf J1 works well both for JTDTM and KAF, so you can start wanting to do KAF but switching to JTDTM if you think you must (usually round 2 or 3, while KJF must be decided USA1 as latter)

    The point here is that USA has no clues about if Japan goes against them or against soviets: bur stack, massing trannies and taking Australia, Hawaii and NZel -> all fit well both in KAF and JTDTM. You really have a option of shifting until you build ala IC or you ferry the 1st big stack of 8 guys to FIC

    I really like your in-dept analisys, Uffish  🙂


  • 2016 2015 '10

    Func I would love to see your Polar Express in action–though I understand it is a situational move.

    Lately I’ve been playing Revised on the GTO Facebook version.  No time commitments, and the interface is a piece of cake.  If you’re interested in playing sometime message me and we can set it up.  Same offer goes out to you Uffish.



  • Well, I cannot play until mid june, but you can check those links:

    My game against Jen, Polar Express fails to dice but still I manage win (that was a crazy game with crazy rolls, but you can get a idea of what can happen if Polar Express fails)

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=13392.new#new

    This one is against JWW. This game I had way better dice than against Jen. It’s interesting because I finally managed take Whashington

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=14269.new#new

    This one is against Uffish. He surrendered when he noticed I had economic advantage and it was no way of taking Berlin. I like this one because it was the first time I tried Polar Express, and Uffish is a great player to play against

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=12513.300

    So, you have 3 possible results: win after shifting KAF to KRF, win taking USA’s capital and win by economic superiority

    And now one when I lost. It’s a multi-player one. Jen had too many bombers and too few infs, and I made a really bad roll in Wcan

    http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=13099.0


  • Moderator

    I like to try and deter the potential of a KAF as early as possible.  I like to set up an immediate heavy shuck in Wus on US 1 if possible.  This obviously depends on the Atlantic and Europe situation but if I can have roughly 6 units in Wus at the end of US 1 I start to feel a little better.  Then build from there.  It may mean only 4 unts to Afr on US 2 (units that started the game in Eus) and maybe on 4 more on US 3 (required heavy inf buy on US 1) but helps me feel at ease b/c I’m covering my back.  I think by US 3 you can pretty much have 8 units from Wus to Wcan so now it is just a matter of dropping another trn in the Atlantic and filling out the 8-10 unit shuck.

    I’m just always worried about the direct drop into Wcan, it can be such a deadly move if the US is light on North American troops.



  • @uffishbongo:

    There are two kinds of KJF’s in the world: those that start that way, and those that switch to it.  I was referring to the first.  If you decide at the beginning of the game “hey, I want to go KJF this game,” then it’s very, very difficult to make it work unless you go all in.  This means things like stacking Buryatia with 6 inf on R1, moving 2 inf into Sinkiang, and basing fighters in Kazakh to up the threat to Manchuria; building an India complex UK1; consolidating UK fleet in SZ 30, or taking Borneo, on UK 1; and either building a Sinkiang IC and spending the rest of America’s paycheck in the Pacific, or skipping Sin and going full bore on the boats.  If you only do one or two of these, Japan can easily squash them, but with all together it can be too much for them to handle.

    I should add the disclaimer that I’ve never successfully won a game this way, nor has anyone beaten me with this tactic.  I know some players have been able to make it work, but it’s awfully difficult.  You can contain Japan’s Asia expansion, but sinking their navy tends to take a while (unless they defend poorly), and Russia just can’t hold out long enough against a good German player without American assistance (and with only half-hearted UK assistance if they build the India factory).

    Being that I won with KJF alot, I’ll comment.

    My version does indeed start with USSR invading manchuria. adding troops in India, and massing the UK/USA fleet at Solomons.

    It is difficult for the USA, by itself, to handle the Japanese fleet quickly enough. Which is why you move the UK fleet south, then towards NZ. The USA fleet moves to solomons USA2, followed by the UK fleet on UK3.

    The additional sub, transports DD, and carrier (which can be filled with 1 or 2 USA fighters) allows for the defensive power to defend against a J3 attack. (even if it didnt, a screen works).

    The dual fleets allow for faster taking of islands (and India protection).

    The UK must still send troops towards Norway (along with USA) so what you are giving up (for the forseeable future) is Africa. After Borneo/DEI is taken, and India preserved, the UK can go to africa while the USA continues to punish Japan.

    Is it exactly easy? No.

    But it does work.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    Squire,

    Do you take Norway immediately with UK, or would you try for a USA factory there?

    Agree with your contention UK’s priority (besides India) should be propping up Moscow as long as possible rather than taking Africa.  USA/UK can always go after Africa in force starting Turn 3.



  • @Zhukov44:

    Squire,

    Do you take Norway immediately with UK, or would you try for a USA factory there?

    Agree with your contention UK’s priority (besides India) should be propping up Moscow as long as possible rather than taking Africa.  USA/UK can always go after Africa in force starting Turn 3.

    That depends on how much pressure Germany is getting. Immediate pressure means that you land with UK. Preferrably I’d like Russia to take Norway.

    Since they are 1v1 vs Germany (mostly) I want them to have every dollar they can get. UK takes Karelia, and USSR drives a tank through and gets the 3 IPC.

    However, when you cant afford to wait, take it with whatever country can.


  • 2016 2015 '10

    We are drifting way off topic here, but I have another KJF related problem.  So lets say I built India and decided to combine the UK fleet at SZ 30….  I tried this the other day…and was surprised when my opponent brought 4 fighters there by moving the 2nd carrier to SZ 38.  In all liklihood the Japs will then destroy the UK fleet (unless u land the India fighter there, but that would mean omitting the Jap tranny at 59 and thus forsaking India or Bury!)

    So what do you do to prevent this?  Is this an acceptable sacrifice since it brings the Jap fleet so far off course?

    I’m a little fuzzy on the rules on a related question…if you attacked New Guinea with the Aussie tranny…would this block the carrier (and hence the 2 extra figs) or can the Japs snipe the fighter and then friendly move the carrier to 38?



  • @Zhukov44:

    We are drifting way off topic here, but I have another KJF related problem.  So lets say I built India and decided to combine the UK fleet at SZ 30….  I tried this the other day…and was surprised when my opponent brought 4 fighters there by moving the 2nd carrier to SZ 38.  In all liklihood the Japs will then destroy the UK fleet (unless u land the India fighter there, but that would mean omitting the Jap tranny at 59 and thus forsaking India or Bury!)

    So what do you do to prevent this?  Is this an acceptable sacrifice since it brings the Jap fleet so far off course?

    I’m a little fuzzy on the rules on a related question…if you attacked New Guinea with the Aussie tranny…would this block the carrier (and hence the 2 extra figs) or can the Japs snipe the fighter and then friendly move the carrier to 38?

    Attacking the fleet in SZ 30 will bring the Japanese way off course.
    Did they still attack China? Pearl?

    They should be pretty weak then. If they allow the USA fleet to live, you get a better head start.


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