About subs…



  • I’ve been learning AA50 by playing it and trying out different openings offline and watching other people play and what they do.  One thing I’ve noticed in watching other people play is that almost nobody, even the very best players, seems to understand the ramifications of how subs work within the new AA50 rules.  I’m an old man for a gamer and I’ve been playing games for over 30 years.  My favorite games have always been naval combat games, and AA50’s new sub rules are based on how subs work in certain other, more complex games.  So I already have a lot of experience with the concept, and a pretty good understanding of naval combat.  So I thought I would provide this little primer on subs and naval combat within AA50 in the hopes that Japanese players will stop sailing within range of my well composed US fleet thinking that they are safe just because they have 1 more carrier than I do… and then dying to the AA50 version of a carrier “air strike”.

    First, the main sub users in AA50 are USA and Japan.  England generally has little use for subs, other than maybe for a single attack on the Italian navy.  Italy might build some “fleet subs” as cannon fodder in their fleet, but without carriers have no real need for subs.  Japan also only has a need for “fleet subs” (which I will explain later), but has much more of a need for them than Italy does because they have carriers.  Once you truly understand how subs work in AA50, you’ll understand why they are such an essential part of any fleet.

    Subs are defensive units and they are “the infantry of the sea”.  The most important thing to keep in mind about subs is that, if a destroyer is present, they can’t safely move within range of enemy units.  One destroyer and as many planes that can reach will get to take one round of shots at your subs (more rounds if the destroyer survives the first round) and they will attack your subs, which only defend at a 1.  You can’t move within range of enemy destroyers or you will die.  But if your subs are supported by air units… the enemy fleet can’t move within range of your subs, either.  That last point is the crux of the issue.

    The point most seem to be missing is that subs are meant to die.  It doesn’t matter that they only attack at a 2, subs are “defensive attacking units”.  The best example are what I call “fleet subs” within AA50.  “Fleet subs” are subs that travel with a carrier fleet.  Their sole purpose is to die in an “air strike” on an enemy fleet.  In the real world carrier planes fly out great distances to hit enemy fleets, they don’t sail up and get into a close range fight with them.  This is actually how carriers work in AA, as well, except that the carrier planes need to be escorted by subs.  The subs are only there to die, and you would ideally have as many subs as hits you believe you will take in one round of combat with the enemy fleet (against the IJN, this means 4- 6 subs).  This has a huge impact on the stand-off between two fleets such as the US and Japanese fleets in the Pacific.  Let’s look at a typical stand-off between two typical carrier fleets and what happens to one of them if it allows an “air strike” supported by subs from the opposing fleet.

    Let’s say that the Japanese fleet is, as usual, more powerful than the US fleet.  The Japanese fleet is more powerful, so the Japanese player moves within 2 spaces range of the US fleet at Hawaii believing that he is safe.  The Japanese fleet consists of 3 carriers (with 6 fighters), 1 battleship, 1 cruiser, and 1 destroyer.  The US fleet consists of 2 carriers (with 4 fighters), 2 destroyers, and 4 subs.  The US fleet performs an “air strike” with 4 subs, 2 destroyers (using them because he didn’t have enough subs to send in this instance, and 4 fighters.  The carriers stay in Hawaii.  The battle calculator will tell you that we will lose this fight badly, but the battle calculator isn’t taking everything into account AND assumes that we will stay for multiple rounds of combat.  We won’t be.  We are the attacker and we can retreat whenever we want.  In this particular example they will almost certainly have to take one shot and leave because all the subs will die in round 1.

    So we shoot and get 4 hits (average), 1 sub and 3 other hits.  The Japanese player takes the free hit on the battleship from the sub, loses the destroyer… and then must chose between a plane, cruiser, carrier, or battleship for the other 2 hits.  He probably kills 2 planes.  The Japanese fleet shoots back and gets 6 hits (1 better than average)… the US kills the 4 subs and destroyers and then retreats all 4 of his planes from the battle (if a DD lived retreat it as a blocker).  The US fleet in Hawaii is 2 carriers with 4 fighters.  The remains of the Japanese fleet are 3 carriers, 4 fighters, 1 battleship, and 1 cruiser.  The US mostly lost only subs which contribute very little defensively too the fleet other than dying instead of better units, the Japanese lost fighters, the primary defense of the fleet.  They have to withdraw and rebuild expensive fighters.  The US just needs a couple more subs and destroyers… which if they are in a stand off with the Japanese navy are probably already arriving from the west coast at the end of this turn allowing the US fleet to remain in Hawaii.  We lost 2 more units (we “lost” 4-6) than the Japanese navy did, but due to the nature of the combination of subs and airplanes attacking, in the grand scheme of things, we clearly won the fight.  Had the Japanese player had subs and destroyers “protecting” his planes and larger ships all we would have done was whittle down each others sub/destroyer forces a little.  The US fleet in this instance had a superior composition with its combination of subs and fighters so the larger Japanese fleet comes out on the short end of the stick.  This is actually even worse for the IJN because the US would actually also have 2 heavy bombers attacking from Hawaii that I intentionally left out to show just the matchup between the fleets alone.

    The key factor is the effect that and “air strike” has in relation to the defensive strength of the fleet.  If you trade subs for fighters with an enemy fleet, when the battle is over your fleet is stronger defensively than the opposing fleet was before the fight.  You lost subs, they lost fighters.  There is a chance that the enemy fleet is too weak to withstand yours now, and if not the next “air strike” will probably achieve that.  As soon as the enemy fleet has been sufficiently weakened you can eventually forget the air strikes and move your whole fleet in for the final battle.  Every time you trade a sub for a plane, cruiser, or battleship you are altering the balance of power between the two fleets in your favor.  In an air strike, the more subs you have the more rounds of combat you can fight.  You usually only have enough subs for 1 round of combat, but later in the game it is possible that you have enough subs to protect your planes for multiple rounds of combat.  In these cases you can do serious damage to the enemy fleet without exposing your own to any real danger.  Subs are the “infantry of the sea”, there is little difference between 8 Infantry and 4 fighters in Moscow and 8 Sub and 4 Fighters in Hawaii.  The main difference is that the Infantry and fighters in Moscow will sit there and wait to be attacked, while the subs and fighters will attack the enemy as soon as he comes within range.  The combination of subs and airplanes are “defensive attackers”.

    You Japanese players need to trade some of those ground units for destroyers and subs to protect your fleet.  I can’t count the number of times I have watched the IJN sit there with the US player having the power to hurt it bad, sitting with within range, but not realizing that was the case.  The initial Japanese fleet will get hurt badly by the turn 3 US navy if it doesn’t add some protection on turn 2.  All those nice ships and planes need at least 2 destroyers and 2 subs for protection (Japan eventually wants at least 4 destroyers and at least a number of subs equal to the number of fighters on their carriers).  The starting Japanese navy is essentially naked, and most players just leave it that way.  This is why the IJN usually loses when they finally fight.  The US player built a lot of protective ships early on out of necessity, so when the fleets finally meet those 3 or 4 extra escorts make all the difference and the Japanese player is left insisting he must have rolled bad because he had an extra carrier.  The way the dice actually play out, once you’ve got 3 or 4 carriers involved then subs and destroyers actually become more useful in the big fleet battle than an extra carrier.  They keep the big numbers rolling longer where the less protected fleet begins losing the big numbers early.  Once you have enough protection, relative to the size of the enemy fleet and land-based air that is within range, then adding more carriers again becomes better than more escorts.

    Fleets are highly defensive in nature.  When two fleets are equal in size they cannot enter within range of each other.  If the fleets are well designed, the one who enters range first loses.  This means that fleets exert a strong “zone of control” within a 2 space radius of where they are, due to the strike range of their subs/destroyers and planes.  Another way of putting it is that a carrier fleet provides “coverage” of spaces within that range.  So, for example, with this US fleet in Hawaii facing the 3 carrier IJN fleet in the above example, the US could safely retake the Philippines (if it is empty) and probably hold it for a turn or 2 or maybe for the rest of the game.  All they need to do is sacrifice a transport to get 2 inf there.  To retake it the Japanese would have to sacrifice 2 transports, or have a bomber in range to help 1 transport, because any naval units they send there will die to the air strike we just covered.  In fact, attempting to re-take Philippines is usually what causes the air strike we went over above… they get it back, and lose their naval superiority for the rest of the game.

    Once a defensive position like this has been established the player with the coverage over the islands is free to re-take them with sacrificial transports.  If you have enough destroyers, you can cover the landings with 2 destroyers if the Japanese don’t have any subs to strike with their planes, hoping to kill planes with your destroyers, otherwise just sacrifice the transports to take any islands you want.  This effect can also be achieved with a combination of subs and bombers.  Once in place, it just isn’t safe to approach such a position without at least 4 subs and/or destroyers defending the fleet.  The Japanese don’t have this early on, so a US player going KGF can cause great difficulty for Japan early by placing 6 subs and 4 bombers in Hawaii.  You can get by in the Pacific with subs and bombers in Hawaii, and a few transports to re-take island that this force “covers”.  This relatively small force can seriously harass Japan for most of the game at relatively little cost.  This can’t be done if the Japanese destroyer is alive and in range at the end of turn 1, but it almost always dies to the battleship.  As long as the destroyer is not there, the 5 subs and 3 bombers the US can land in Hawaii on turn 2 will cause Japan problems all out of proportion to their cost to the US player.  A single transport can take Philippines as soon as they are in place, for example, and the Japanese will have a hard time taking it back any time soon without sacrificing at least 1 transport to do it (or by sacrificing a significant portion of his fleet).  This is a very cheap way of focusing almost all of your attention on Germany, if that is your plan, while still causing some serious problems for Japan during the early turns AND forcing them to buy at least 2 destroyers and 2 subs for the pacific fleet.  It takes several turns for Japan to build enough protective subs/destroyers to safely get within range to threaten your subs unless they are willing to not build a lot of things they would normally build during the early turns.  When he finally does move within range, suicide the subs into him and fly the bombers back to West US and on to Germany from there (assuming you are still going KGF).

    The effect of destroyers in a fleet battle deserves mention as well.  The important aspect of destroyers in a fleet battle is that the presence of an enemy destroyer means that his planes can hit your submarines.  In a fleet battle this actually works against the enemy fleet as it allows you to take subs as casualties from airplanes.  If no destroyer was present, all air hits would have to be taken on airplanes, but because an enemy destroyer is present all hits can be taken on the subs.  There is no way around this, fleets must have destroyers, it’s just they way it works and it works well, actually.  This is another advantage of the sub supported air strike… you have no destroyer present, so the enemy must take all of your air hits on his planes while you can take air hits on subs because his destroyers are in the fight.  Sometimes, though, such as the US have an opportinty to hit the Japanese fleet on turn 2, you have no choice and have to send your destroyers in too… but Japan probably doesn’t have any subs on turn 2 anyway so it doesn’t matter in that case.

    Do this experiment with the battle calculator.  Enter a typical US airstrike on the IJN.  The US has a “defensive position” of 6 subs and 4 bombers at Hawaii and the (still not completed with subs and destroyers) turn 3 IJN foolishly enters range.  We’d actually have a chance of winning this fight outright, which allows you to see something in the battle calculator that might surprise you.

    US 6 subs and 4 bomb v IJN 2 carrier, 4 fig, 1 batship, 1 cruis = US win 15%.
    US 6 subs and 4 bomb v IJN 2 carrier, 4 fig, 1 batship, 1 cruis, 1 destoyer = US win 35%.

    If you add a 1 destroyer to the Japanese fleet… Japan has a 20% greater chance of losing because that extra ship is there.  This is because with the destroyer present the US can now take hits from the defending fighters rolling a 4, on subs that roll a 2, instead of on bombers that roll a 4.  But this doesn’t mean you don’t want destroyers in your fleet, it just means that you want several of them.  Start adding DDs in the battle calc and watch the percentage drop back down.  More importantly, consider the trade on hits you will now make if you suffer an air strike.  At least 2 destroyers and 2 subs are required for the protection of any fleet… and this is very realistic.

    A Note About German U-Boats:  Unfortunately, Germany is not a sub user.  So close, and yet so far.  With a single small rule change subs would become a vital part of Germany’s arsenal in keeping the British navy away.  If Germany could keep 4-6 subs in SZ 5, which they can afford to do, they could cover SZs 3, 6, & 7 and keep the British navy out of those SZs.  It would be really cool, and make subs a vital weapon for Germany as they should be.  But the nature of subs is that they must be outside of range of enemy ships beforehand, so that enemy ships cannot enter within their range.  They cannot enter range of an enemy fleet to attack, the enemy fleet must come to them.  This almost works for Germany, they can get into position in SZ 5 with 3 subs and their air force on turn 1 and keep the British navy out of important sea zones (3, 6, and 7).  It all falls apart with the unrealistic ability of a single ship to “block” an infinite number of ships in AA50.  This means the British can simply place a single destroyer in SZ 6, blocking the German subs, and put their navy in attack range.  The subs can’t reach the navy, so they can’t attack.  And on the following turn the British navy enters SZ 5 and destroys all of the subs.  This means that it would be a huge waste of money for Germany to try and use subs because all England has to do is sacrifice a single destroyer to kill the entire German U-Boat fleet.

    This would be simple to fix with a simple rule from other naval combat games.  Instead of a single ship being able to block an infinite number of enemy ships, which is ridiculous, blocking ships should only be able to block an equal number of ships.  This rule works much better and would correct several different problems associated with “blocking” naval units within AA50.  With this rule if the British tried to block SZ 5 with a single destroyer the Germans would simple be required to leave a single sub behind to fight it (they could leave more if they wanted, but must leave a number of ships equal to enemy blockers as they pass through that SZ) while the rest of the subs continue on to attack the UK fleet.  The blocking rule is the only major problem remaining in A&A naval combat, and it alone prevents subs from being useful to Germany.  With the “picket force rule” in place, naval combat in A&A would work very, very well… and Germany would be buying subs every game.



  • Great article on the subs!

    Robert



  • I rarely build submarines.  I believe destroyers are better suited as the ‘infantry’ of the seas.  For 2 extra IPC you have a superior defensive unit.

    In your hypothetical ‘air strike’, the Japanese navy loses a destroyer and 2 planes.  The US navy loses 2 destroyers and 4 submarines in the air strike.  I would say the US comes out negatively in that battle.  The Japanese lose 28 IPC while the US loses 40 IPC.  The US hasn’t really strengthened their position.

    I agree that navies are defensive in nature.  However, I disagree with your statement that if two navies are the same size they cannot move within range of each other.  Navies can move as close as they want to each other if they are the same size.  They just can’t initiate an attack.

    Because navies are so defensive in nature, I feel that works against the strength of submarines.

    EDIT: I wanted to add that my responses are only meant in the context of the A&A game.  Many of the points you make may very well apply to real naval combat.



  • I also wanted to comment on your assertion that a navy may be in a better position after performing an ‘air strike’.

    In the scenario you outlined where the Japanese have 3 CV, 6 planes, BB, CA, DD against the US 2 CV, 4 planes, 2 DD, 4 SUB, you explain that defensively the US will be in a better position because they traded submarines for planes.

    Yet, in that example, the US has greatly weakened both their defensive position as well as their offensive position after the air strike.  If the US elects to forgo the air strike and let the IJN attack it, the IJN will have about a 67% chance of winning when both navies are at full strength.  However, if the US chooses to perform a preemptive air strike, the remaining IJN force of 3 CV, 4 planes, BB, CA against the US 2 CV, 4 planes will have about a 96% chance of victory.

    By performing such an air strike, you have squandered the fodder you desperately need to defend against the superior naval task force.


  • Customizer

    great article

    I would agree about the zone of control that Submarines (and equal navies) project.
    I also like your idea of making single surface warships be able to stop only a limited number of ships, rather than infinite ships.  I would argue that a rate of 1 to 2 would be better than 1 to 1 and that this hold for any kind of ship, that 1 destroyer for example could stop up to 2 subs or other ships from passing under it, or that 1 cruiser could stop up to 2 destroyers/warships from passing through it too, but that all other ships could continue past the single guy.  An interesting idea for sure.

    I will make one point regarding these navy conflicts though.  Because fleets are defensive in nature, the Japanese can sit back producing only half of their income on navy while the Americans can produce 100% of their income on navy, and in the end will still not accomplish anything beyond taking back a few islands.  Sure, the US can get the Philipines, Solomons, and perhaps a couple other islands.  But in the mean time, Japan has their army (even if it is small) taking India, a few Russian northern territories, and all of China.  After 2-3 turns, Japan is making more IPCs than America.  Meanwhile, Russia and Britain are left to face Italy and Germany all alone.  Without American help, Africa will fall by the 3rd or 4th turn.  Even without africa, Italy and Germany will out produce Russia and Britain as they both lose territory to Japan.  Unfortunately for those people who want to have fun in the pacific with Japan and America, the Pacific is merely a distraction where Japan and America can hold each other off for infinity, while Japan still makes gains in Asia.

    My friends and I came up with a cool idea we have yet to try (we have a lot of these).  A 5th National Objective for America: If america splits her spent income (within 5 IPCs), between producing in Western US and Eastern US, she gets an additional 10 IPCs during the collect income phase.  On top of this, if the US player decides to collect this additional income, any units built in Western US may not travel East of the Central US, and any units built in the Eastern US may not travel West of the Central US.



  • He did mention he left out any bomber support he would have stationed in Hawaii.  Adding two or three of those into the naval battle would cause one or two more casualties for the Japanese side.  Good article to read!



  • Fantastic article, Kavik Kang!  😄  Really nice to see a level of analysis that means something for the game. If we look at the ships actually built during the war, we see destroyers and submarines being extremely dominant, so AA50 really corresponds to reality.

    I myself have lamented the sub block rule, my idea was just to drop the DDs block sub move rule altogether. Your idea is more elegant, albeit slightly more complex. Something for the FAQ? I think most players would love Germany being a sub user, it would add another dimension to the game and make it much more difficult for the Allies to calculate the defence of an invasion navy.

    PS. Beerbelly, subs cost 3 IPCs per attack point and 6 IPCs per hit point, superior to any naval or air unit. Those cheap hit points mean subs are good to buy even on defence. DS.



  • @beerbelly:

    I also wanted to comment on your assertion that a navy may be in a better position after performing an ‘air strike’.

    In the scenario you outlined where the Japanese have 3 CV, 6 planes, BB, CA, DD against the US 2 CV, 4 planes, 2 DD, 4 SUB, you explain that defensively the US will be in a better position because they traded submarines for planes.

    Yet, in that example, the US has greatly weakened both their defensive position as well as their offensive position after the air strike.  If the US elects to forgo the air strike and let the IJN attack it, the IJN will have about a 67% chance of winning when both navies are at full strength.  However, if the US chooses to perform a preemptive air strike, the remaining IJN force of 3 CV, 4 planes, BB, CA against the US 2 CV, 4 planes will have about a 96% chance of victory.

    By performing such an air strike, you have squandered the fodder you desperately need to defend against the superior naval task force.

    But if the US player is trying to gain naval dominance of the Pacific then he has more destroyers and subs arriving at the end of the turn.  In this case, it was a turn 3 strike on the IJN based on what I would have at Hawaii at the end of my turn 2 if I were going all out to take over the Pacific (which the US can do).  What I would have arriving from turn 3 builds would actually be a 3rd CV and a destroyer.  So what the rememnants of the IJN would actually be facing on their turn would be 3 CVs, 6 fighters, and 1 DD.  They can’t attack that and must return to Japan to build navy.  To catch back up, which means they are not building ground units for India.  I also would actually attacked with 2 more bombers from Hawaii and probably hurt the IJN even more than in the example.  I was being as conservative as possible in estimations like that.  If the US is set up like this and uses a sacrificial transport to take Phillipines on turn 2, Japan can’t take it back that turn.  It might look like they can, but the air strike will lose them the pacific 2 or 3 turns down the road if they do.  The air strike is very powerful against an “unprotected” fleet.

    I agree with the poster who said that DDs are better defensive units than Subs.  The US focuses more on subs, while Japan should be more focused on destroyers… but Japan should match a sub to each plane, to theaten their own air strikes as well.  “Fleet subs” are simply a part of the carrier strike wing, at least that’s how you should think of them.  They are defensive during an airstrike, but almost useless cannon fodder when the full fleets meet in the same space.  You might actually think of “Fleet Subs” as your carrier’s torpedo bombers, and the fighters as the dive bombers.

    Finally, not just in navy but in ground combat as well, IPCs are not the whole story.  Position and situation are equally important to economics.  The US trading a sub for a fighter with Japan, for example, is worth a lot more to the US than the 4 IPC difference that trade represents.  The US can afford to build lots of subs, Japan cannot afford to build lots of planes.  The US has no pressing goal other than defeating the IJN, Japan needs to save Germany through India or their side will probably lose.  Japanese units are just more valuable that US units are, due to the situation.  Another example of this concept can be found in Germany.  Germany’s greatest difficulty in defeating Russia is a lack of Infantry on the front lines (this is why I consider Mech Inf the best tech Germany can get).  An infantry in East Poland is simply worth more than an infantry in Germany is.  I’d say as a rule-of-thumb guideline you might say that, too Germany, and infantry is worth +1 IPC for each space between it and Germany.

    The fleet is a lot more important to Japan than it’s actual IPC value, so anytime the US is killing Japanese naval units they are hurting Japan much more than the IPC value of the units destroyed.  This is not the case with the US, who’s only pressing goal is to gain naval dominance in the pacific and get the UK’s NO’s for them.  All they want to build is navy, Japan hopes to build as little navy as possible.  This makes trading naval and air units a good deal for the US, such a good deal for them that it is usually worth it to the US to lose 4 units if it means Japan will lose 2.



  • @beerbelly:

    I rarely build submarines.  I believe destroyers are better suited as the ‘infantry’ of the seas.  For 2 extra IPC you have a superior defensive unit.

    In your hypothetical ‘air strike’, the Japanese navy loses a destroyer and 2 planes.  The US navy loses 2 destroyers and 4 submarines in the air strike.  I would say the US comes out negatively in that battle.  The Japanese lose 28 IPC while the US loses 40 IPC.  The US hasn’t really strengthened their position.

    I agree that navies are defensive in nature.  However, I disagree with your statement that if two navies are the same size they cannot move within range of each other.  Navies can move as close as they want to each other if they are the same size.  They just can’t initiate an attack.

    Because navies are so defensive in nature, I feel that works against the strength of submarines.

    EDIT: I wanted to add that my responses are only meant in the context of the A&A game.  Many of the points you make may very well apply to real naval combat.

    The sub/fighter/bomber airstrike is what keeps them from moving within range, and especially Japan who can’t afford to lose ships and planes while the US loses submarines.  If the US fleet is comprised well it will take the lead in the race for naval supremacy if Japan allows it’s fleet to be hit by an “air strike”.  The IJN needs at least 4 “protecitve” units (destroyers or subs) to safely take an air strike.  Destroyers are better on defense, but the subs are really your “torpedo bombers” and are vaulable for that purpose.  Then, they can also die in a fight as long as the enemy has a destroyer present.

    The most effective airstrike does not send destroyers, only subs and planes, because then all air hits must be taken on ships or planes and the target fleet cannot choose subs as casualties while the attacker loses all subs.  This really works very well.  Part of my point was that, as most others, your impression is not correct.  Fighters defend at 4 and attack at 3, so on the surface it appears that equal fleets cannot attack each other.  But early on the fleets are not equal.  Japan has a lot of expensive naval units, but no protection for them.  Until they have at least 4 escorts a well comprised US fleet will wreck the IJN with an airstrike.  This means that during the early turns a well comprised US fleet can cover most sea zones in the pacific from Hawaii, which importantly reaches both Phillipines and Australia in one turn.  You can re-take all 3 NOs from Hawaii and only Aus can be re-taken by Japan without being exposed to the airstrike.  Until the IJN has some protection, a well composed US fleet will hurt it bad if it comes within range.

    The US can only be this strong so early, of course, by almost completely ignoring the Atlantic.  But if they can get Englands NO’s early like this, then they didn’t need to really be there anyway.  England can do more sooner than you would have done if you can get their 2 Pacific NOs early in the game, and the US can usually afford to start helping a couple turns later.



  • @Veqryn:

    great article

    I would agree about the zone of control that Submarines (and equal navies) project.
    I also like your idea of making single surface warships be able to stop only a limited number of ships, rather than infinite ships.  I would argue that a rate of 1 to 2 would be better than 1 to 1 and that this hold for any kind of ship, that 1 destroyer for example could stop up to 2 subs or other ships from passing under it, or that 1 cruiser could stop up to 2 destroyers/warships from passing through it too, but that all other ships could continue past the single guy.  An interesting idea for sure.

    I will make one point regarding these navy conflicts though.  Because fleets are defensive in nature, the Japanese can sit back producing only half of their income on navy while the Americans can produce 100% of their income on navy, and in the end will still not accomplish anything beyond taking back a few islands.  Sure, the US can get the Philipines, Solomons, and perhaps a couple other islands.  But in the mean time, Japan has their army (even if it is small) taking India, a few Russian northern territories, and all of China.  After 2-3 turns, Japan is making more IPCs than America.  Meanwhile, Russia and Britain are left to face Italy and Germany all alone.  Without American help, Africa will fall by the 3rd or 4th turn.  Even without africa, Italy and Germany will out produce Russia and Britain as they both lose territory to Japan.  Unfortunately for those people who want to have fun in the pacific with Japan and America, the Pacific is merely a distraction where Japan and America can hold each other off for infinity, while Japan still makes gains in Asia.

    My friends and I came up with a cool idea we have yet to try (we have a lot of these).  A 5th National Objective for America: If america splits her spent income (within 5 IPCs), between producing in Western US and Eastern US, she gets an additional 10 IPCs during the collect income phase.  On top of this, if the US player decides to collect this additional income, any units built in Western US may not travel East of the Central US, and any units built in the Eastern US may not travel West of the Central US.

    This is actually what led me to look at what the US can do to Japan to keep them from hitting Russia so fast.  As things currently stand, as I mentioned in another post, there is nothing that can prevent Japan attacking Caucusus on turn 5 with 25-30 units.  They can do it every game and there is nothing that can be done to even slow them down in any way.  So I looked to the pacific to see if I was missing something else that might prevent them from doing that.  There isn’t.  The initial setup is broken and Japan can hit Cauc too hard on turn 5 every time, they can even afford to just run and hide down near India and their air force if the US presses hard and still get that turn 5 attack on Cauc off before they absolutely need to turn to face the full-bord KJF USA.  While this is a broken setup, I still believe everything I wrote in the India post after working this out, I think I have found a way to cut off any follow up from Japan after they initially easily take Cauc on turn 5.

    England has to go for Africa and must build ICs in SAF and Eygpt.  They can’t afford to use their fleet to harrass Germany, they have to take Africa strong in a race to Persia.  They build SAF IC turn 2, and Egypt turn 3 (as the Royal Navy destroys the Italian Navy in the Med).  The British need to race Japan to Persia so they can cut it off and force the Japanese units in Cauc to attack back into Persia instead of holding Cauc for Germany.  Then the British and Japanese can fight in Persia to keep Japan out of Cauc.  But the British need to mess with Germany, too, so the US needs to force Japan to buy ships.  The US can force Japan into a naval arms race but trying to invade the island of Japan.  The US must do this.  They set up at Hawaii in a full bore KJF opening, but then move their base from Hawaii to Iwo Jima on turn 3.  The bombers relocate there to strategic bomb Japan and support the fleet in an attack.  The US builds all ships until gaining the upper hand navy wise, then switches to all transports to take the island.

    Japan has no choice but to abandon the fight for Persia to defend the home island after getting the initial Cauc attack off.  With the US threatening Tokyo, the British will easily win the fight for Persia and could finally, around turn 6 or 7, turn their attention to Germany.

    This is the only counter I have been able to come up with to the 30 unit slam into Cauc Japan is capable of having in place at the end of turn 4… and I think it would leave Germany so powerful they wouldn’t need Japan’s help.  Right now India really is broken, Japan can’t be allowed to roll over India as if the Allies aren’t even there as a part of their opening move.  Too many Japanese transports can reach India on turn 2.



  • If your scenario occurs on turn 3, then you must also account for any additional Japanese naval units that it would have been built in response to US Pacific builds.  It’s hard to say what the actual fleet would be composed of.  I was just commenting on the specific example you provided.  In that example, the battle cost the US more in IPC than Japan, and resulted in the US remnant fleet to be less capable of both offense and defense.  Sure if you brought additional reinforcements over after the battle then the fleet would be more difficult to defeat.  But that would still be the case even if you chose not to perform the air strike at all.  I would argue the US would have been in an even better position without the air strike.

    IMO, the US does not need naval dominance in the Pacific.  It need only to build a fleet that Japan cannot sink (or sink with almost total loss).  Once built, the US can move to liberate some of the Pacific Islands.

    Finally, much of the value of plane/sub attack depends on the opposing fleet to be ‘unprotected’.  Meaning that the opposing fleet will have an inadequate screen for their capital ships and carriers.  I just don’t think that relying on the opposing player to inadequately defend their fleet is reliable enough for me to invest in submarines.



  • A much easier counter is to have 30+ russians there.  Now I do agree though that subs are the key to the US in the pacific and I do like your ideas.  To add to this though, there should usually be atleast 1 UK aircraft in the pacific (bomber preferably) if the US is going to use alot of subs, as they can can opener a DD block.  The other thing that is easy for japan to use in defense of the ocean is the fighter buildup.  With 3 ACs turn 1, they can afford to have up to 12 figs that can be used in airstrikes if the US gets too close, very scary.  And as far as defense, i feel subs are extremely powerful in a skilled Japan player’s hands, even more so than DDs as the US must move within range of Japan in some sort to initiate a showdown in the pacific.

    I know I didn’t contribute much as I as well am debating a viable KJF.


  • Customizer

    It is a lot more complicated than the first glance.  I have been testing out different fleets fighting against each other, and it really seems like once fleets get big, destroyers are a major liability. 
    If the enemy has a good number of subs, along with some planes or high value ships, then the you would be better off without any destroyers. 
    So when is it good to have a destroyer?  If the enemy has few or no high value ships and few or no planes, then you will want the destroyer to negate the subs first strike ability. (or if the engagement is very small, like 1-4 units total, you may want it to make sure you are just outright killed).
    So in other words, avoid building destroyers until you see what your enemy is building for a couple turns.  And most likely you should never build them in the pacific.

    thx Kang,

    • veqryn

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