Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Crushing the Allies

The greatest war games of all time are highly asymmetrical. I’m sure you’ve heard of Ogre with its giant cybertank taking on a large, diverse force of conventional units. In the classic Star Fleet Battles CA/D7 Duel, you have a flying bathtub (with heavy weapons that don’t fire very often and a small number of high quality phasers) going up against a lean and mean highly maneuverable killer (with weaker rapid fire heavy weapons and a larger number of inferior phasers.) The tactics in these games involve using whatever strengths you have to exploit the weaknesses the other guy has. Maybe that’s a truism, but that’s what you have to do. So let’s compare and contrast here.

The Allies:

  • Have more total production at the start
  • Have a harder time coordinating three separate players
  • Are not in position to deal a lot of damage at the start

The Axis:

  • Have less total production at the start
  • Don’t have to coordinate multi-player attacks so much
  • Germany has epic land forces read to roll and Japan has an epic navy– both ready to kick butt and take names on the very first moves of the game.

The Axis has this huge clock on their offensive. If the Allies can ever turn the game into a war of attrition, then they’ve won– their superior production rates will eventually win the day. Really, all the Allies have to do is engage the Axis wherever they can give battle. If they can trade units turn after turn, they will eventually come out on top. (You don’t have to be smart to win with the Allies– you just have to get in there and fight!) So the Axis player has to be extremely aggressive in order to have a chance. Obviously, you have to fight a lot of little battles where you kill more than you lose– that way you can offset your weak production while you work on increasing it. But the key to Axis tactics is making it hard for the Allies to get into position. If you can delay their mobilization efforts at all, you’ll have time to eliminate their advantage in production. If you can get ahead in production, then you’ve turned the tables on them and you get to be the one that wages a war of attrition! To that end:

  • Send German troops into Africa on turn one. If they can pick up enough production down there to pay for themselves, then they are well worth the effort. If the allies contest you here, remember… that’s less resources for them to dedicate with Europe and Asia. If your dudes can pull this off while paying for themselves, you’ve bought yourself more time.
  • If Africa is Germany’s breadbasket, then all those islands in the Pacific are Japan’s. If sending a detachment out to pick up some more production can pay for itself in a few turns, do it! You’ll be ahead of the game… and the Allies will have to work that much harder.
  • Japan and Germany are both in position to take and hold Europe and Asia. Focus on this and don’t get distracted– it’s the best use of the resources you have on the board. Total relative production in Europe and Asia is actually your key metric that you should worry about. If Russia falls, it’s game over for the Allies.
  • Great Britain and the USA have to have navies in order to get into the game. Kill their navies and they’re stuck building industrial complexes in Asia in order to play at all.
  • One thing you don’t want to see are “conga lines” where the USA can shuttle units to key places every single turn. They do this by having multiple fleets doing the WWII equivalent of the triangle trade. Don’t let them do this! Make them stay huddled together if they’re going to have a navy at all. Keep them honest by having a budget of cash set aside specifically for submarines.
  • Don’t squander your air power. I’d say that its prime use is in multiplying your sea power’s effectiveness. If there are no ships to kill, transfer them to the front where they can give you free kills versus tanks and infantry. But keep an eye on what kind of returns they’re giving you there. At some point, a bomber’s ability to damage industrial complexes will do more to improve your position.

That’s the gist of my Axis strategy. There’s a lot going on the board and it’s easy to get distracted. Just remember your long term goals… and make sure whatever you’re investing in (a) pays for itself income-wise, (b) slows down the mobilization of Allied forces, or (c) improves your relative production/power in Asia so that you can eventually take Russia out of the game. Do that turn after turn and you’ll be goosestepping in Washington D.C. in no time.

3 responses to “Crushing the Allies

  1. yacheritsi May 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    In the last few games that I’ve played, the Axis have always won with an economic victory, which in turn they’ve gotten by taking all of Asia before the US and England can intervene. The Japanese should take one China territory on their first turn, plus India if the English build an industrial complex there. They shouldn’t do a Pearl Harbor as they need to keep their navy intact to guard their Eastern flank while they sack Russia. The Germans should sink the entire British European fleet on their first turn with their air and naval assets, which slows them down sufficiently, even if the Germans can’t make much of a play for Africa on their first turn.

    Perhaps Russia has been played badly or the US isn’t aggressive enough?

    • jeffro May 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

      I couldn’t tell you right off if the game is inherently imbalanced. If the Axis was winning every time, I’d probably let the Allies have one or two of the optional rules from the 2004 edition in play. Or let one person assign the optional rules to use and have the other person/team choose the sides.

  2. Pingback: Pacific War: “Look at the size of that thing!” « Jeffro’s Car Wars Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: