A defensive war is apt to betray us into too frequent detachment. Those generals who have had but little experience attempt to protect every point, while those who are better acquainted with their profession, having only the capital object in view, guard against a decisive blow, and acquiesce in small misfortunes to avoid greater.

Frederick the Great

The Most Important Territories and Sea Zones for AAPacific Victory

In any battle, there are only a few key points that must be protected or that must be attacked.  Likewise, in AAPacific, there are certain territories and sea zones that are the keys to victory or defeat.  This essay will discuss some, but not necessarily all, of the key sea zones and territories.

Key Territories

French Indo-China/Yunnan

With the possible exception of the capital territories (whose capture will result in the end of the game), FIC and Yunnan are the most important territories to both Japan and the Allies.  This is where the Allies and Japan will face each other toe to toe in the hopes of dislodging the other.  If Japan is able to take and hold Yunnan, it has effectively split the the Allied forces in two.  Chinese infantry mobilizing in Szechwan cannot hook up with Indian ground units moving forward through Burma while Japan is able to feed reinforcements into Yunnan through FIC or push its ground forces into Burma for an attack on India.  Fighters based in Yunnan will be able to reach India to support any attack.  Therefore, if Japan is able to take and hold Yunnan, the Allied position is greatly weakened.

Conversely, once the Allies are able to capture FIC, the Japanese position in Asia is often untenable, not to mention that it is likely no longer possible for Japan to collect 40 IPCs and the 4 VPs that go along with it.  US bombers based in FIC can reach sz36 to kill any newly launched Japanese surface vessels and are in position to join an attack on the main Japanese Fleet wherever it is situated in the Pacific.  If the Allies continue to push units forward and are able to bring US bombers to bear, Japan will eventually be dislodged from FIC.  The key for Japanese victory is to hold FIC until at least J4.  By doing so, Japan is well on its way to a VP victory.  If Japan can hold FIC until J5, victory is almost assured, whereas if Japan loses FIC after J3, a VP win will be a challenge.


The Philippines is undoubtedly the single most important island in AAPacific.  Japan must take it on J1 and must prevent its recapture by the Allies for as long as possible.  If Japan fails to take Philippines on J1, the US is able to build an IC there and the Philippines will then act either as an SBR base for attacking Japan (if it is not retaken by Japan on a subsequent turn) or it will be an SBR target from New Britain once that is captured by the Allies on Allies 3 or 4.  In either case, Japan will not be able to win a VP game if it does not take Philippines on J1.

Similarly, Philippines is key to success throughout the game.  Due to its central location in the Pacific, the Philippines harbor is not particularly important but its airbase is critical.  Fighters and bombers based in the Philippines can reach every sea zone that matters and can reach the key territories of Yunnan and FIC.  From the Philippines and sz38, Japan is able to hold the territories and sea zones it needs to ensure a steady flow of VPs until late in the game.  If the Allies are able to push Japan out of the Philippines, Japan had better hope that it is only 1 VP away from victory or the game is surely lost.

The East Pacific Ports

These are Caroline Islands, New Britain and Papua.  They are important because they are three sea zones from Hawaii and if they are held by the Allies, US naval reinforcements can move forward quickly and can usually be in position to hit the IJN one turn after they are built.  If Japan keep the Allies from using these ports any naval units built in Hawaii will take 2 turns to be in position to attack the IJN in sz38.  This one turn delay is often the key to victory.  The Allies will be best served to have captured at least one of the East Pacific Ports by no later than Allies 3.  Failure to do so will likely mean that US reinforcements will not be able to move forward fast enough to prevent a Japanese VP victory.  Likewise, Japan cannot afford to let those ports stay in Allied hands on A2.  If the Allied fleet is able to move that far forward on A2, Japan is in grave danger.

Papua is doubly significant for the Allies because land units there can move forward and take DNG with the likelihood that Japan will not be able to get to 4 VPs on the next Japanese turn.

The SBR bases

Often, the only way for the Allies to prevent a Japanese VP victory is to set up an SBR attack by no later then J6 or J7.  Each of Shantung, Manchuria, Korea, Bonin Is, Ryukyo Island, Philippines and Mariana Is are in range of Japan for the purpose of an SBR attack.  Many of these are unlikely to be captured until much later in the game but it is feasible to attempt a capture of Mariana Islands as early as Allies 3.  If the Allies are able to take and hold Marianas as early as that, a VP victory is almost out of the question for Japan unless the AA guns and SBR defenders are especially effective (in other words, you have to get lucky).  Therefore, Japan should do all it can to prevent the Allies from taking and holding Mariana Islands.  This means using available Kamikazes to kill Allied transports and placing units in such a position that Japan will be able to at least attempt to recapture Marianas the turn after it is taken by the Allies.

Key Sea Zones

Arguments can be made that there are many key sea zones.  Certainly, sz27, 43 and 47 are important sea zones if you are attempting an India Crush.  Sz36 is critical if the Allies are attempting an invasion of Japan.  And sea zones 32 and 14 can sometimes be the scene of large battles.  In my view, however, there are two sea zones that are more important than the rest, sz28 and sz38.

Sea Zone 28

For Japan to win a VP game, it will want to hold sz28 until at least J3 and to J4 if it can.  Sea Zone 28 is the key to preventing the Allies from moving past the IJN and beginning to take away convoy routes and islands thus depriving Japan of the IPCs and VPs it needs for victory.  From sz28, Japan can attack the Allies in sz14, sz27 or sz32.  With an overwhelming presence in sz28, Japan prevents a landing in Papua or DNG and can recapture New Britain if it is taken by the Allies.  This prevents the Allies from making use of two of the three Eastern Pacific Ports that were discussed above.  The Allies usually aren't in position to take Caroline Islands for at least one more turn, so holding sz28 delays the Allied advance into the Pacific.

Conversely, if the Allies can force an early retreat by Japan from sz28, Allied reinforcement will be able to move forward faster and Allied subs can retake convoy routes and pressure the Japanese to split up the fleet to deal with the subs.

Early in the game, sz28 is the most important sea zone.

Sea Zone 38

In the second half of the game, sz38 is key.  Japan must hold sz38 likely until J7 if it hopes to win the game.  On the other hand, if the Allies are able to destroy the IJN in sz38 or keep Japan from getting back to sz38 before J7, the game will likely go in favour of the Allies.  As discussed above regarding the Philippines, sz38 is centrally located, allowing the player who controls it to strike in any direction and control or threaten virtually all of the surrounding territories and sea zones.

These then are the key territories and sea zones you need to dominate if you are to win.  While other battles will be fought, the battles for control of these spots on the map will be the most important.

Saburo Sakai