It's impossible for Japan to win in A&A Pacific

  • I would like to propose that a good player should never lose when playing the Allies in A&A Pacific. The game is too lopsided.

    Below is an sample scenario, there are obviously many variations off this single example, so just go with me.

    To set the stage, assume that Japan is successful in capturing 40 IPCs on its first turn by going after all of the usual suspects.

    During the Allies turn, Great Britian gives all 12 IPCs to India, which in turn buys infantry or some other defensive equipement. Australia buys some combination of armor and artillery while pulling everything off the northern coast into South Australia - along with the guys from New Zealand. The US buys 5 bombers, picks off as many Japanese ships as they can and re-enforces Australia with the carrier, planes, and infantry hanging out in the South Pacific.

    At the end of the first turn Japan has captured a great deal of territory, but that’s about it. At the start of the second turn, Japan has three options:

    1. Focus on India
    2. Focus on Australia
    3. Halt attacks and focus on defense (this is suicide)

    FOCUS ON INDIA: Too slow. By the time Japan gets all of their ships in line to make a move, India would have been able to spend at least 45 IPC on its defense - (15+12 from Great Britian) in round 1, (6+12) in round two. By the time Japan is remotely ready to attack in turn 3 India could have 21 infantry in its defense - and gaining six more per turn! Japan wouldn’t be able to gather enough firepower in just two turns to be able to win. In addition, depending on interpretation of the rules, you might be able to move Chinese forces into India to help defend as well (nice, but not needed).

    FOCUS ON AUSTRALIA: Too slow, and easy for US to help out. Let Japan land for free with as many units as it wants. Even with Australia stuck with 11 IPCs per turn, they will still have enough existing strength to kick the Japanese off the island. If the battle is too close for comfort, the US can fly a half dozen fighters down to Australia for defense in a single turn.

    Barring the above need to buy fighters, the US buys nothing but bombers on every turn. At the end of the first turn, the US will have at least six bombers - all of which have an incredible amount of range because of the airbase on Hawaii. With these planes the US can focus on taking out the Japanese fleet while India and Australia slowly take away islands and IPC/VP. If Japan is making a move on India, fly all of the US bombers to Western Australia in turn #2 - threatening to strike the Japanese navy. The US can replace any loses with the 4+ bombers it buys every turn. The Japanese navy won’t last very long.

    While all of that is happening, the remaining US and Australian fleet make themselves useful in a variety of different ways - mainly picking off the more distant, less risky islands of New Guinea, etc (and lowering Japan to <40 IPCs).

    Once the Japanese offensive has been neutralized or eliminated by US bombers the Allies can quickly regain enough territories or convoys to knock Japan down to <20 IPCs - extending the game to allow sufficient time for the US to turn its literally dozens of bombers towards Japan for strategic bombing raids. Since these raids remove VP from Japan, there is no way that Japan can win once the US can start bombing every turn.

    FOCUS ON DEFENSE: This is suicide. The minute the Allies don’t have to worry about being invaded they can turn to assisting in the US bombers campaign to wipe out the Japanese navy. Given the incredible production rate of US bombers (the US will have nearly a dozen bombers at the end of the 3rd turn, adding at least 4 per turn) and the inability of Japan to effectively re-enforce their navy, the Japanese will lose all of the convoy space quickly - knocking them below 20 IPC much too soon.

    So, unless you are a better man than I am - I have not found a way for the Japanese to win as long as the US can spend 72 IPCs per turn on bombers. Because of this, I am tinkering with a few rule changes.

    1. Eliminate Great Britian money.
    2. Eliminate the industrial complex on Hawaii
    3. Drop US IPCs from 75 to 30 (by dropping Western US from 55 to 10).

    Any thoughts?


  • That’s insane. Japan can keep all their original navy intact for at least the first two turns with extra airplanes to replenish their carriers plus combat air patrols. This makes the Japanese navy exremely difficult to kill even if the US has a dozen bombers. The US can’t give that much aid to Australia and the British navy is usually destroyed by turn 3 or 4. This makes taking Australia relitivly easy to take if they buy what you say they did. As for India, if the Japanese navy is neglected and offensive power is built up in southeast asia (this is of course if the Japanese were wise and didn’t bother with China) and some of the convoys were taken then India can be taken much more easily than you describe. As for getting 40 IPCs on the first turn, that’s just foolish; there is such a thing as spreading yourself too thin.

  • I totally disagree. I usually bid FOR JAPAN.

    Your looking at the first turn completely wrong. I see the first turn as not a way to capture IPCs, but to take out threats. I take out every British and American ship I can while not losing many of mine. Its nice seeing fighters defend at 1…

    And the way my games go is Japan gets 3/4/4/4/4/4 or the US takes Japan by turn 6.

    And your correct, taking Australia or India is very very hard, Vps is easier.

    Without a bid, I can win with Japan a good 80% of the time, average luck.

    [ This Message was edited by: Yanny on 2002-01-01 18:39 ]

  • what about winning by victory points.that’s not too hard.

  • Thanks for the responses! Although I’m still of the opinion that Japan can’t win.

    Don’t take my word for it - find out for yourself. Take your best Japan strategy and then come up with an Allied plan to beat it. The Allies simply have too much money and too much flexibility for a good player not to be able to thwart the plan. If you guys are good at this game, I’m confident you will find a way to beat your own strategy.

    That’s it for me. I’ll let you know if I find a way to prove myself wrong.


  • I like to attack only as much as I need to, then defend, trying to keep as many units as I can, winning with victory points.

  • Doug, I have to disagree with you again. The trick is to use CAPs to delay the US, make them move 1 space a turn. At this pace, it will take awhile to reach Japan, which has been built up to defend againt the US onslaught. Remember, 6 turns at 40 economy not only nets winning VPs, but thats a lot of money to spend.

  • Indeed Yanny. And, if you use your subs effectivly, you can keep the US around 65 IPCs per turn

  • Hey Guys!

    I’m not going to argue with you. Just do me a favor and play against yourself for a couple of games - with a few ideas.

    First, a good Allied player will drag the game out for much longer than 6 turns. No decent Allied player is going to sit around on his butt and let Japan gain 40 IPCs each turn - he is at least going to do something take away 1 IPC somewhere. That will extend the game to at least seven turns.

    Second, it’s pointless for the Allies to try and take Japan in the first 6 turns (or at all) as you guys have stressed - it’s a waste of units. At the beginning of the game the Allies sole goal is to use all of their resources to wipe out the Japanese fleet.

    Third, keep in mind that the Allies don’t have to retake islands to knock out Japanese IPCs. While the Allies may not get the points, it’s more important to prevent the Japanese from getting them.

    Fourth, buy bombers from the US and start positioning them at friendly airbases around the Pacific to attack Japanese naval units. If need be, fly them all down to Western Australia (Bombers can fly from Hawaii to W. Aus. in one move - defend with US fighters and Australian infantry). The Japanese navy will not last very long against these bombers and the remaining British ships. Also, from my understanding, CAPs only apply to naval units - so they won’t stop the bombers.

    Fifth, once the Japanese fleet has been neutralized, set up a strategic bombing base for the US. There maybe six islands that will work. Not only does it take away Japanese IPCs, it takes away their victory points as well - extending the game even further.

    We could go on like this for years - with both of us thinking that the other person is an absolutely moron. I could be wrong - I haven’t ruled that out - but my dad and I have studied this game from all angles and cannot find a way where Japan can win against a competent Allied player.

    I personally feel that the Pacific game is so lopsided towards the Allies that I’m almost surprised you guys are arguing with me. Assuming that all of us are competent players, there clearly has to be another reason (i.e. misunderstanding of the rules, etc.) for us to be so divergent in our thinking.

    I’ll keep investigating - but my opinion still stands!


  • Way to stand up for yourself Doug, but I have to say that I think there is a serious flaw somewhere in your thinking.
    By the way, a CAP can defend against air units if those units are attacking the sea zone the CAP is in.

  • Doug, I thought the same as you when we first got the game. How many games have you played so far? I think that as time passes and Japan works out all the myriad moves of first turn, you will find that the allies can easily blow the game by one false move, whereas Japan can choose its battles. Japan was winning so steadily in our group that we took up bidding VP’s to see who got to be Japan. 25 to 30 victory points is not unheard of.

  • Hey Bossk (and everyone else),

    Maybe the problem is my understanding of the CAP - I need your help to figure out if this is the case.

    I don’t have the rules in front of me, but I remember the CAP section only stating that it prevents ships from moving through a sea space - a way of slowing down Allied ships.

    How does a CAP work if it is in the same seas space as the ships I want to attack? Let me give you an example, tell me what you think.

    Japan has three carrier and six planes at Midway to start the game. After the first move, these ships are located somewhere (where is unimportant). Under my plan, the Allies build a bunch of bombers, and using the airbase on Hawaii or some other island, can attack this fleet.

    Now if I understand your take on the CAP rule, the Japanese can set up a CAP with a single fighter directly above its three carrier and remaining five fighters. Therefore, when I try to attack the carrier group with just bombers, they all get stopped by the single CAP fighter. The battle is obviously lopsided - 12 bombers against the single CAP fighter - but it costs the Allies a turn and prevents them from getting at the Japanese ships. Since the Japanese have a bunch of carriers and enough fighters, they can defend their fleet very effectively.

    If that is the case, then I will have to agree with you that it would extremely difficult to sink the Japanese navy - and for that matter, for the Allies to win.

    So how does it work? I’ve got 12 bombers attacking a Japanese fleet where they have a CAP in that sea zone.

    The way I understand it is that the CAP in the same space as Japanese ships defends normally - that there is no layering type effect where I have to defeat the CAP before I can attack the ships (a sort of oceanic “amphibious” assualt where I have to attack in two steps - forcing me to split, and weaken, my total attack).

    I’m pretty sure that aircraft can fly through a CAP when their aren’t ships, so why wouldn’t the same apply for when their are ships (therefore allowing me to fly through the CAP and attack the ships and planes - CAP units included - in a combined attack)?

    So what are your thoughts on this CAP scenario? I think this might be the culprit.


  • '19 Moderator

    I just reread the CAP rule, and I think the CAP defends along with any units in the same sea zone.

  • Aircraft can fly through CAPs to attack another sea zone, but what I’m saying is that a CAP can defend in the sea zone your attacking. Therefor the Japanese can have much more defensive power than just their navy and whatever fighters can fit on their carriers.

  • See the problem with your Strategy is eventually Japan will get the 22 Vps. I go right for Japan, but the first turn I agree building all bombers is the best choice. Why? Because you need to take out the Japaneese fleet first then bring your own into the fray. Second turn I build Destroyers, Third Turn I build transports and Infantry. Fourth turn, the british have already started to capture ports on the way to Japan. Build Transports + Marines + Artillery for awhile, Turn 6 or 7 or so I take Japan.

  • Hey Everyone:

    Thanks for the responses. I sent an email to Avalon Hill/Hasbro asking them to clarify if the game(s) had been designed to favor the Allies. Here is my question and their email response:

    My Question for game designers Larry Harris, Stephen Baker, or Rob Daviau (names found on the bottom of the Pacific box):

    Is Axis & Allies (Pacific) designed to be a fair game, or is the game lopsided in such a manner to ensure the Allies always win?

    My dad and I (age 61 and 29, respectively) have enjoyed playing all of the A&A games over the last several years. We have analyzed the game(s) extensively and have not been able to find a scenario where the Axis has a realistic chance of winning.

    Any input into ways to make the two sides more evenly matched would be greatly appreciated.



    Question Reference #011228-000082
    Suggested Answer
    At 01/04/2002 02:38 PM we wrote - Thank you for contacting us. The Axis and Allies board games are designed based on the wars that were fought in real life. These wars were won by the Allies and that is how the game is based. However, the Axis can win the game, it is just more difficult. We apologize for any confusion.

    From my end, this pretty much slams the door on the issue. If Hasbro/Avalon Hill admits that the game is designed to favor the Allies, that’s good enough for me. I sent this questions as part of the customer service section of the webpage. Feel free to send your own question and pass along any contradictory responses you receive from Hasbro/Avalon Hill.

    My suggestion to everyone on this web page: Before you go and make it harder for the Axis, Germany, or Japan to win in each of the respective games - take heed of Hasbros own opinion of the game and try to figure out what inefficiencies you have in your play for the Allies. I firmly believe - and the game creator appears to support - that a good player should not lose when playing the Allies. In the end I think you will find you need to make it easier for the Axis to win, not the other way around.


  • does anyone really care about pacific.let’s face it it’s a bad game. iused to like it but now i can’t stand it.

  • Unless the good allied player is playing an exceptional axis player, Doug.

  • Pacific and Europe are cheap imitations of original A&A. Play that its better

  • I still say both AAE and AAP are slanted toward the axis****(accidently put allies in original post). In AAE, its a race, and Germany can have a big advantage in that race. In AAP, its whether Japan can hold off the Americans long enough to get the needed Vps.

    “History is just a set of lies agreed upon”

    • Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte

    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference”

    • Robert Frost

    [ This Message was edited by: Yanny on 2002-02-13 11:43 ]

  • btownthug16, the original is not better than AAe or AAp it is more basic. it is dull, certainly if you have played it for years.

  • Where are all the conversations about AAP?

  • I would post some stratagies if I could ever find the time and people to play with; then perhaps I could actually make some up. I should have one ready by next week for your critical evaluation.

  • lol, tight AAP is fun, its like the peeps on this site dont enjoy it.

  • I don’t understand how anyone could not enjoy playing anything related to axis & allies.

Suggested Topics

  • 2
  • 2
  • 16
  • 1
  • 13
  • 9
  • 7
  • 4
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys