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Subject: Strange Days - Axis Try a New Approach! rss

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Leo Zappa
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Axis & Allies 1940 Global – Campaign II

I preface this report with an appropriate video, conveying the sense of the unreal, as you will read of some very interesting strategies that our Axis player has employed to date in this, the first session of our second full campaign of AA1940 Global...


Having finished our first AA1940 Global campaign in December, our group immediately dove back into the fire in January, starting a new Global campaign, but with all players switching countries. For Campaign II, Dan chose to take on the command of all Axis forces. Rick picked up the USSR and France, while his son Jeremy got the USA and China. I took on the role of Mr. Churchill, running the UK and ANZAC.

As before, we chose to play using the Alpha +2 ruleset that had been developed by Larry Harris and others as an improvement upon the rules out of the box. Alpha +2 has since been superseded by Alpha +3 (which I believe is meant to be the final “Alpha” before the official 2nd edition rules are issued by Hasbro), but in order to maintain consistency among our campaigns, and due to the fact that we like Alpha +2, we chose to stick with this version of the rules.

Based on the results of Campaign I, we established the following victory conditions and game length rules for Campaign II. First, the game will go no longer than Turn 11, the end of which represents December 1945. We decided this so that both campaigns can be measured on the victory city status over the same time frame. Of course, the game can end sooner if one side achieves its victory conditions per the rules, or one side concedes. As for what constitutes victory, we have three criteria in our group for this series of campaigns. The first criterion is the victory situation per the rules at the end of Turn 11. In our first campaign, the Allies technically won the game as at the end of Turn 11, the Axis held 7 of 11 victory cities, one short of Axis victory, and in the Pacific, the Axis held only one of 8 victory cities, five short of Axis victory. The second criterion is how the situation compares to the historical situation. In our first campaign, the Axis player held a total of 8 victory cities, while by comparison, at the end of the real war, the Axis technically held three cities (Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, all to be surrendered to the Allies upon the Japanese acceptance of the surrender terms). Therefore, the Axis player in the first campaign scored +5 victory cities against history. Finally, the last criterion is the relative performance of the Axis players. Again, in the first campaign, the Axis player set the bar at 8 victories cities held at the end of Turn 11 (although not enough to win the game outright). If Dan can better that mark in this game, he will have bested me, as I was that Axis player in the first campaign.


The board is set, the pieces soon to be in motion...

Turn 1 (May 1940 – December 1940):

Germany overran France, including the Normandy region. Italy overran southern France, completing the Axis conquest of France. German U-boats scored some economic points against the UK. The Germans did little in the East other than occupy Romania. The Italian Fleet managed to land troops in North Africa, but that fleet fought a battle of mutual annihilation against the British Med fleet. Britain attempted an unsuccessful invasion of German-held Norway.

Japan wasted no time spilling blood, declaring war on both the USSR and the USA immediately, though oddly not doing the same versus the UK and ANZAC. Japan also eschewed an attack against Pearl Harbor, opting instead for an invasion of the Philippines. Japan also overran several Chinese and the Soviet Far Eastern provinces. The Japanese also established a major logistical base (i.e. major factory) in Shanghai to support future operations in China.

The Americans did little other than launch more warships and begin to congregate their Pacific fleet in Hawaii.




Turn 2 (January 1941 – June 1941):

Germany declared war on both the USA and the USSR. Interestingly, the only offensive action taken by the Germans against the Russians at this time was a naval battle in the Baltic Sea, won by the Kriegsmarine. The Russians immediately began to have their main forces fall back from their front with the Germans, leaving only token forces to hold the frontier while the other units were consolidated. The UK once again attempted an invasion of Norway, which this time succeeded. German U-boats were relentlessly hunted down by the combined efforts of the UK and the Americans, and most were destroyed during this time. The Italians advanced against Commonwealth forces in North Africa, closing in on Cairo.

Japan now declared war on the UK and ANZAC, and immediately moved to invade Borneo, Java, and the Celebes. The IJN also sank the British Far Eastern squadron at this time. Japan also made more progress in China. The UK forces in Asia, and ANZAC, worked to build their defenses, with the UK moving forces into China to bolster the defenses of that nation. The USA split its fleet, sending a task force into the North Pacific while other units remained in Pearl.




Turn 3 (July 1941 – December 1941):

Germany reclaimed Norway from the British, while making only slow progress on the Eastern Front. Italy was somewhat more successful, taking Cairo from the UK. The Russians continued to fall back slowly against the Germans whilst further consolidating and reinforcing their army. The Russians also continued to hold their ground in the Far East, where the Japanese effort appeared to halt, as Japanese efforts were being focused to the south, in China. American forces accepted the help of the Brazilians, and brought a contingent of Brazilian forces to Gibraltar to reinforce that fortress.

In the Pacific, the Japanese fleet and air force defeated the American task force which had entered the North Pacific, with few losses. However, the Americans continued to build more warships and aircraft to contest the Japanese war effort.

Turn 4 (January 1942 – June 1942):

Germany made little progress in the East, as they found themselves stalemated by what had become a huge Russian army which now blocked the path to Moscow. The Russians then launched a series of minor counteroffensives, retaking the Baltic States, Eastern Poland, and Bessarabia, effectively surrounding the German army in the East (although the Germans could easily breakout if they choose to). In a stunning development in Northern Europe, the British were able to launch a major raid into Western Germany with six corps, as the Germans had badly neglected their coastal defenses. The UK forces wrecked factories and antiaircraft installations and even though the Germans should be able to muster enough forces to push the British back into the sea, this raid will have serious consequences for the Nazi war effort. In North Africa, Commonwealth forces, supported by the Free French, liberated Cairo from the Italians, while the Italians continued to rebuild their fleet.

Japan continued its efforts to conquer China, pouring in more units from Japan and the logistics base in Shanghai. Meanwhile, the IJN split its forces between Japan and the Philippines and awaited the next move by the Americans. The US continued its now massive naval and air build up in the Pacific. The UK and ANZAC forces in the Asia/Pacific Theater continued to build up their defenses while looking for ways to slow down the Japanese juggernaut.





So, that how things stand after our first session. Dan, our Axis player, has certainly been aggressive and unorthodox, which is his modus operandi, and while his efforts in Europe appear to be struggling mightily, his Japanese forces look very strong and it will take a considerable combined Allied effort to prevent him from closing in on an outright victory in the Pacific. Axis & Allies 1940 Global continues to provide our group with great entertainment, and we look forward to our next session.

As for statistics:

Turn 1 Income:
Axis: Germany 66 + Japan 31 + Italy14 = 111
Allies: USSR 42 + USA 70 + China 16 + UKE 32 + UKP 25 + ANZAC 20 = 205

Turn 2 Income:
Axis: Germany 42 + Japan 49 + Italy 18 = 109
Allies: USSR 41 + USA 72 + China 16 + UKE 31 + UKP 13 + ANZAC 20 = 193

Turn 3 Income:
Axis: Germany 43 + Japan 52 + Italy 20 = 115
Allies: USSR 38 + USA 72 + China 16 + UKE 34 + UKP 12 + ANZAC 20 = 192

Turn 4 Income:
Axis: Germany 45 + Japan 53 + Italy 19 = 117
Allies: USSR 36 + USA 72 + China 15 + UKE 39 + UKP 12 + ANZAC 20 = 194

Victory Cities at the end of Turn 4:
Axis in Europe: 4 of 11 (need 8 to win)
Axis in Asia: 4 of 8 (need 6 to win)
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Leo Zappa
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Well, a full report will be following before long, but I did want to report that we played three more turns of this campaign yesterday. The eastern front in Europe has settled into a classic stalemate with two enormous armies staring at each other. The British are preparing for the invasion of Italy while also maintaining a toehold in Normandy. The Japanese fleet defeated the US Navy in a major sea battle in the Sea of Japan, but it was a pyrrhic victory, as the IJN lost nearly all of its surface assets, including four carrier groups. The ANZAC now have a major submarine force at sea, looking to choke off the Japanese convoys from the Dutch East Indies. In China, the Japanese have succeeded in conquering most of that nation, but British and Russian forces are looking to stem the tide in that region. All in all, another great session.
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Michigan
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How in the hell did Germany allow for both of UK's Battleships to survive past turn 1? What did Germany do with it's airforce & navy? Germany really needs to sink UK's fleet on turn 1.
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Leo Zappa
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DocHolliday909 wrote:
How in the hell did Germany allow for both of UK's Battleships to survive past turn 1? What did Germany do with it's airforce & navy? Germany really needs to sink UK's fleet on turn 1.


While I don't think sinking the Royal Navy on turn 1 is a slam dunk, I do agree that such a plan should at least be attempted by the Germans. Considering that the Germans did nothing else on the first turn other than conquer France, it would have seemed that they could have made the attempt. However, the current Axis player is known to go for overkill in his attacks when he makes them, and I believe he used the entire Luftwaffe to support the invasion of France and Normandy.
 
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Michigan
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Those Battleships are juicy expensive targets, Germany should send subs and planes to both. Germany needs to do it on turn 1 before UK can group them up. It's just like how UK needs to destroy Italy's Battleship on Turn 1, before Italy can group up it's navy.

I usually use only ground units to invade France and devote Germany's airforce to attacking UK's fleet (and I land 2 planes in Italy to defend it's fleet from the UK). If your German player is worried about excessive losses invading France, then he could just conquer Normandy on Turn 2. I'd much rather destroy both UK battleships and the French/UK cruisers with my navy/airforce than take Normandy on Turn 1.
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Jan Ozimek
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DocHolliday909 wrote:
Those Battleships are juicy expensive targets, Germany should send subs and planes to both. Germany needs to do it on turn 1 before UK can group them up. It's just like how UK needs to destroy Italy's Battleship on Turn 1, before Italy can group up it's navy.

I usually use only ground units to invade France and devote Germany's airforce to attacking UK's fleet (and I land 2 planes in Italy to defend it's fleet from the UK). If your German player is worried about excessive losses invading France, then he could just conquer Normandy on Turn 2. I'd much rather destroy both UK battleships and the French/UK cruisers with my navy/airforce than take Normandy on Turn 1.

If you check out the more competitive forums like a&a.org, you will see that that is more or less standard procedure.
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ozimek wrote:

If you check out the more competitive forums like a&a.org, you will see that that is more or less standard procedure.
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That's what I thought too. That's why I was confused when Leo Zappa said he didn't think sinking the Royal navy on Turn 1 was a "slam dunk" lol
 
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DocHolliday909 wrote:
ozimek wrote:

If you check out the more competitive forums like a&a.org, you will see that that is more or less standard procedure.
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That's what I thought too. That's why I was confused when Leo Zappa said he didn't think sinking the Royal navy on Turn 1 was a "slam dunk" lol


I guess I'm just not that impressed with the value of those British ships versus the imperative to concentrate forces against Russia ASAP. When I've had success as Germany, I'm invading the USSR on turn 2, and those Luftwaffe planes come in awfully handy on the Eastern Front right from the start, so I don't want them out of position because I was chasing UK ships on the first turn. Additionally, I just don't know if I want to waste any potential aircraft losses sinking some British ships.

Of course, if your German strategy includes a Sea Lion play, then it's a different story.
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The thing is for my usual opponent as that as the British player he's looking to invade Nw Europe or frace by turn 2.

The only two options (as I see it) to prevent this happening is to sink his transport fleet or to heavily reinforce those two areas which weakens the push on Russia.

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Damjon wrote:
The thing is for my usual opponent as that as the British player he's looking to invade Nw Europe or frace by turn 2.

The only two options (as I see it) to prevent this happening is to sink his transport fleet or to heavily reinforce those two areas which weakens the push on Russia.



I think you bring up a very important point here. Styles of play within groups heavily impact the strategies and responses within that group. In your group, you have a particular player who has certain tendencies with which you must cope if you are to be successful. In your case, when a particular opponent plays the UK, you have come to expect a series of annoying invasions (early on, more akin to Dieppe-style raids than full-blown Normandy invasions), and because of this, you've developed an approach to deal with this threat.

I can say that our group includes players like myself who have been playing one form of A&A or another since 1990 when Milton Bradley released the Gamemasters edition. Through each new iteration, we would develop new strategies, but the basis was what had worked in the past, until it became obvious that changes in the new edition had obsoleted some of those strategies. Our approach to the game has therefore been shaped in part by our history with the game.

At the end of the day, I'm not sure there is an optimal approach to the play of any of these sides. I feel more strongly in that regard with the 1940 edition than with any of the others, as the increase in numbers of territories, sea areas, units, and playable nations has only increased the number of potential moves and countermoves. I think it's too early to tell what strategies will prove to be the best, and again, I think that the dynamics of a given group's play styles will heavily influence which strategies come to dominate in that group - they won't necessarily be the same from one group to the next.
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desertfox2004 wrote:

I think it's too early to tell what strategies will prove to be the best, and again, I think that the dynamics of a given group's play styles will heavily influence which strategies come to dominate in that group - they won't necessarily be the same from one group to the next.


I think Alpha +2 rules have been out for long enough for most competitive A&A Europe 1940 players to realize that sinking the British Navy is something the German player needs to do to stop UK from easily crushing all of the Axis' navy in the first few turns. Just like Ozimek said, hitting the UK's fleet is pretty much a standard move at this point for Alpha +2.

I can tell you without a doubt that if I were UK, and Germany left my entire fleet alive on Turn 1, I'd be totally free to crush Italy. UK just needs to mass mech inf. & tanks in South Africa, and bring UK's navy to the Mediterannean. Italy absolutely cannot match UK's starting fleet and will be stranded in Europe waiting for the Allies to land wherever they choose. UK + USA can mass fleets off the coast of Gibralter in SZ 91, allowing them to strike anywhere from Norway to Southern Italy (8 possible mainland European Axis-held territories).

The point is, nothing good can come from letting UK's navy go unscathed after Turn 1. It's the Axis' only chance to take the initiative and greatly damage the initial Allied fleet, thus prolonging landings on Europe from the West.

I've tried invading Russia on turn 2, but I think it's too early (maybe coz I lost that game lol), especially if it means allowing the allied fleet to survive as you propose. I'd much rather crush the Allied fleet on Turns 1 & 2, and invade Russia on Turn 3, instead of invading Russia on Turn 2 with less units mobilized on the border, and with the Allied fleet completely unscathed.
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Next installment of the campaign is now up:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/780397/strange-days-ii-a...
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desertfox2004 wrote:

I guess I'm just not that impressed with the value of those British ships versus the imperative to concentrate forces against Russia ASAP. When I've had success as Germany, I'm invading the USSR on turn 2, and those Luftwaffe planes come in awfully handy on the Eastern Front right from the start, so I don't want them out of position because I was chasing UK ships on the first turn.
...

I normally attack the RN on G1 and invade Russian on G2. If the Russian player does what he should, and makes a deep defense as opposed to putting units on the border, the planes aren't needed on turn one, as you will be invading empty or 1-inf territories. At the end of G2 you won't be able to land the planes in those territories anyway. I think I remember from one of your earlier session reports that the Russians made a huge mistake and positioned lots of easy pickings along the border. I don't suppose this is still happening?
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ozimek wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:

I guess I'm just not that impressed with the value of those British ships versus the imperative to concentrate forces against Russia ASAP. When I've had success as Germany, I'm invading the USSR on turn 2, and those Luftwaffe planes come in awfully handy on the Eastern Front right from the start, so I don't want them out of position because I was chasing UK ships on the first turn.
...

I normally attack the RN on G1 and invade Russian on G2. If the Russian player does what he should, and makes a deep defense as opposed to putting units on the border, the planes aren't needed on turn one, as you will be invading empty or 1-inf territories. At the end of G2 you won't be able to land the planes in those territories anyway. I think I remember from one of your earlier session reports that the Russians made a huge mistake and positioned lots of easy pickings along the border. I don't suppose this is still happening?


No - our current Russian properly moved his forces back from the border starting on Turn 1, leaving a single infantry in each of the border territories and consolidating his main army into that huge blob that we now see camped in Belarus. He has over 70 units in that force! The German player has not been willing to tackle that stack, so he too has built up quite an army - it currently sits in Western Poland with over 50 units. The Eastern Front in our current game has turned into a major standoff, with each player sending secondary forces to seize bordering territories and goad the other into a major attack. So far, though, neither has taken the bait, and it's been a relatively bloodless East Front through seven turns. I suspect our German player is going to make a final stab at Moscow, but I don't give him much of a chance.
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Jan Ozimek
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Time is against the Axis, mainly due to the huuuge US income, which will decide the game if it goes long enough without the Axis grabbing most of Euraisa. Does your Axis player realize this?

It sounds like your game is already decided in favour of the Allies.
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ozimek wrote:
Time is against the Axis, mainly due to the huuuge US income, which will decide the game if it goes long enough without the Axis grabbing most of Euraisa. Does your Axis player realize this?

It sounds like your game is already decided in favour of the Allies.


Yeah, I think he realizes that he was too passive in Europe, which means there's no way he will be able to capture 8 of 11 victory cities there for an outright victory, and in Asia, he wasted too much time trying to completely conquer China, meaning Calcutta and Sydney are now out of reach, so no 6 of 8 victory cities in the Pacific either. Since we are also keeping track of how each of us does as the Axis, he still has incentive to at least be holding onto 8 or more victory cities total, since that's what I accomplished as the Axis in my outting. I on the other hand want to make sure he has no more than 7 at the end of turn 11 (which is when the game will end), so that I can continue to claim to have performed the best as the Axis within our group. Then it will be my buddy Rick's turn 'in the octagon' as the Axis!
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Jan Ozimek
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Ah of course. I forgot about your Axis-hot-seat gauntlet If not for that it seems like he might as well concede.
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For anyone subscribed to these reports, the final AAR of this campaign is now up:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/797000/strange-days-iii-...
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