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Subject: Three strikes out… Mac’s revenge! rss

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Seth
Netherlands
Eindhoven
Noord Brabant
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Note
To appreciate this Session Report the most you might want to read the following report:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/127940 before this one.

Throughout this Session Report this image is used to explain things:



Introduction
So… there I was, still buzzing on my last victory when I received an unexpected call from Mac with a threatening message: “YOU, me Axis & Allies: Pacific, this Saturday 09:30 hours; DON’T be late!” And that was that. He took up the gloves and I had to accept. Fortunately for me, I had a plan. We met yesterday; this is how it went down, enjoy!

Strategy: 1-2-3 strikes OUT!
I had a plan, that much is true. But it was not an original plan. I decided to go for the 22VP condition in advance of the game, and adjusted my game play accordingly. To take charge of the situation and to force Mac into submission, I knew I had to manipulate his moves to compliment mine; the way I did before. In order to do this I decided on a three strike attack that would give me 4VP’s each turn until the 4th turn at least; convincing him I had other goals.
Strike 1
This was the normal attack, nothing unusual there, apart from a small side manoeuvre with a sub to the US convoy centre up North. What was interesting however, was my decision to attack and take New Britain as part of a bigger plan to concentrate the Allied war effort as far away from Japan and my Economic Area (Malaya, Sumatra, Borneo, Java & the Philippines) as possible. That part of the strategy seemed to work fine since the Australians retreated back to New South Wales and the Americans Gathered their 1st fleet at Solomon Is. I figured my manipulation was working out well and anxiously awaited my next turn… But there was something cooking; Mac bought himself an Australian Carrier! Yes, a full life size Carrier to compliment his fleet. I tried to set up a Goose front to establish an Omni-sub strategy to keep distance between me and the Brits & US, but the Goose works different when applied by the Japs, and I hadn’t figured this out yet, much to my dismay.
Strike 2
I knew I had to manipulate Mac into thinking I wanted to take India or New South Wales instead of the VP’s, so I staged a show-of-force In the area surrounding Sumatra as a diversion, to cover-up my real goal. He fell for it, hook, line and sinker and used much of his resources to re-enforce India. Furthermore he pulled back all his advancing forces, and dared not use the armour he bought in the previous turn to venture out on French Indo China. This diversion was so successful; that I decided to block Indian troops by taking Burma as an extra push in the third round.
Strike 3
In the first turn the US gathered his 1st fleet in the area of the Solomon Islands, exactly what I wanted… I thought. But they were not alone. A unusual powerful Australian fleet (1 carrier, 2 destroyers, 3 transports and a sub) accompanied in dominating the area I wanted to attack as part of my 3 strike plan. I gathered the immense 6th fleet just above Darwin and proceeded with my amphibious landings on mainland Australia. It was a horrifying site, Japan had secretly mustered up 10 land pieces for a combined assault, brought together from no less then 4 directions. The Aussies never stood a chance. The extra infantry brought in from Hong Kong in the non-attack moves, added to the diversion and really gave the allied a scare they would loose Australia (I even went so far as to leave a few infantry aboard some of the transports, to confuse Mac more.) So, that’s that, on turn 4 I would pick everyone up again, place them across the board in defence and sit it out. Easy does it: I started to celebrate my all out, sure victory… little did I know my world would fall apart in on Mac’s third turn.

Clear the seas
In my last game, being the allied, I noticed I was heavily dependant on the British Fleet outside the coast of India to maintain some sort of threat in that part of the Ocean. I took notice and decided – being Japan – to take action accordingly. I committed myself to destroy every piece of the Royal Navy in India (firsty) and if possible the Australians as well. In my second turn I got my chance and went head on against the Brits mid-sea, as a bonus I would also get the convoy route. It worked out very well. The British Fleet collapsed and from that point on there would never be a threat from the West anymore.
The Australians were a different challenge though… Their strengthened fleet forced a hole in my defence so the US 1st fleet could push through and Annihilate my 6th fleet completely. I was appalled… a good 50% of my available land forces were now trapped in Australia! Furthermore I lost men trapped on the transports as part of the deception. What was I to do, to save the day?

The Goose Tactics: blunders of the Admiralty
Seeing my men defeated and trapped in Australia, I thought things could never get worse. Wrong again. The Omni-sub strategy really works for the Allies, there is no real force to counter all subs; if spread out sufficiently. And Mac did so. The problem with adapting the Omni-sub strategy to Japan, are the facts that 1) the British can clear a path for the US to get through and 2) when the US spread out to establish presence they are already in a POSITION to be able to TAKE the initiative to deploy subs rather then me having to bring my subs into position FIRST, before I would be able to use them to good effect (I know this sounds goofy the way I write this, but I can’t really explain this any other way, I guess it’s my lack of the English language that undermines any good explanation. But I do surely encourage anyone to try this tactic for themselves to see what I mean.) and 3) Being the defending party it’s difficult to encircle or separate the Brits & US AND close down ALL routes to the Economic Area at the same time. The Goose strategy (or Omni-subs) applied by the Jap’s (the way I did now) was not a good idea and cost me a lot of money, without really keeping the allied back –stalling their advance a few turns – as I hoped they would do. Finally Mac exploited the gap left by the destruction of the 6th fleet and the distance between the Australian fleet and the combined Yamato-Mushasi fleet to attack the Philippines on turn 4 or 5 (can’t remember).

Early advantage
At this point I was starting to panic. Although I got my 4VP a turn and on the 4th turn I still had a couple of ships that could get to Japan in time, there was still the problem of the 1st fleet of the Darwin coast to advance deep in the hart of my Economic Area. This problem had to be addressed. My solution greatly influenced my chances of turning the war, and win.
Although it cost him, Mac still had 2 Carriers and 4 fighters left at Darwin at the end of turn 3 but I could mould a fine force of 5 fighters and 1 bomber from Formosa and my remaining Carrier to try and stop the US fleet. I attacked, and unfortunately lost all my pieces, but Mac lost just enough forces to seriously dampen his chances. By now I was also beginning to enjoy my early advantages of my fast build up. I was able to secure 4VP’s in the first 3 turns, and although trapped on the (Australian) island my men did their Banzai-thing and kept on pushing for VP’s. Mac’s adaptation of the Omni-sub strategy combined with a formidable bomber force, enabled an early counter strike, but ultimately couldn’t keep me from gaining 4 VP’s a turn, since there was no British fleet in the west – nor any time for the US to get there – to stop me, and the Australians were pre-occupied with chasing the Jap’s in their homeland. He did not expect to arrive in time to stop me. So… as a final desperate move; he launched a bomber assault on the Chinese Factory, which I had conquered two turns earlier, to buy some time. Ironically the dice role was 9 IPC’s; one short of me loosing 1 VP. But in the end that would not have done him any good. After my counter strike on his 1st Fleet, momentum passed back to me and I was still strong enough to get 3 VP’s on the 6th turn which would have been enough for 22VP’s anyway.

Conclusion
Mac is getting more aggressive and impressive. He surprised me with his viable Australian fleet excellently combined with the US 1st fleet. I think I won’t be able to win next time unless I’m going to do something spectacular, but on the other hand; he still claims he has to adapt to: “the way this game is supposed to be played.” If he still doesn’t get it by now… will he ever?

Seth

Final p.s.
Thank you for reading this Session Report.
I’m trying to write reports that appeal to you: the Geek that knows this game (mechanics, strategies (a bit) & rules) and doesn’t really care about a precise move-by-move play but prefers a helicopter (strategic) view. Feel free to comment/rate my article so they will improve.

Thanks in advance!

Statistics:
2 players
Japan: Seth (me)
Allied: Mac
Victory: Japan (Japan 23VP’s on turn 6.)
VC’s per turn: 4,4,4,4,4,3
Net playing time: 6 hours
Japan to Allied Victory Ratio: 1 to 1
 
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Robert Hanawalt
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Once again, Seth, great map.

But one question: How, in the name of all that is holy, did the Japanese manage to conquer China, drive as far as Burma, take all the East Indies in Turn 1 and land in Western Australia (I'm mainly curious about how you conquered China)? This seems wildly improbable, given the odds against Japan and the difficulty in this game of sustaining an ongoing campaign with land units.

Sounds like Mac royally ****ed up with the US and Australian forces. The Japanese should not be able to land on Australia with a good screen of US and Australian forces. Protecting Australia should be the very first priority of the US, rather than just hanging back with the US Navy near the Solomons. He should have been more aggressive earlier in the game.
 
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Seth
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Re: Three strikes out… Mac’s revenge!
The Tick wrote:
Once again, Seth, great map.

But one question: How, in the name of all that is holy, did the Japanese manage to conquer China, drive as far as Burma, take all the East Indies in Turn 1 and land in Western Australia (I'm mainly curious about how you conquered China)? This seems wildly improbable, given the odds against Japan and the difficulty in this game of sustaining an ongoing campaign with land units.


Nice action huh!

Thanks for the compliment on the map though, again. Referring to your question: Japan didn't: the caption at the bottom of the picture should read: Japan's (biggest) expansion Dec '41 - June '43 (turn 3) but it can be easily overlooked. With regard to your China question: I got lucky. In the first turn Mac gathered all his Chinese forces in the Anwhe province. Nine infantry. I attacked those with 5 or 6 infantry from Shantung and Manchuria + an Air force of 7 fighters and a bomber from Formosa. Because he left the other provinces north and south of Anwhe unprotected I blitzed through Suiyuan and was able to attack Sikiang from the rear in turn 2. Mac got scarred in turn 1 & 2 I would attack India so he used Chinese reserves from Yunan to travel to Burma, leaving his rear open to attack.

Getting the East Indies is actually not that difficult when you consider that we use the original set-up rules, since we never saw any necessity to change it. I have plans to write down a 'normal opening' series of moves for Japan. That should shave of an hour of the game.

Mac made the unusual and interesting decision (at least I think it's interesting) to build a carrier for Australia. It gave him an enormous edge with the Australian fleet. They were much more of a threat then the American fleet. But it did leave a gap in the defence of Australia, though. But it was never really threatening. How do you protect Australia, Tick? Since we feel it's absolutely impossible to defend it in such a way that Japan can't attack it in turn 2.
 
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Robert Hanawalt
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That was one thing that really caught my eye. I've always thought that when Australia is building a carrier, that's a sure sign he's bored and that the game's over for Japan. But this added a new twist...

As far as guarding Australia is concerned, what I typically do is shift some of the Australian ground forces west to cover the western territories, while moving the forces in New South Wales up to Queensland in anticipation of a fight on New Guinea (ship them via transport to Papua in the following turn). The American naval forces off Samoa, meanwhile, join the Australian naval forces off New Caledonia/Fiji to reinforce that flank. Once the Americans are over there in force, an attack by Japan, while possible, would be costly for him (keep in mind that he cannot afford heavy naval losses). Australia is close enough to the U.S. that it shouldn't be that easy for Japan to land there. If Japanese forces do manage to land in Western Australia, there are sufficient Australian forces left over to hold them off, and they'll very soon be reinforced by U.S. ground forces (on the second turn).

Still amazed over the conquest of China. Sounds like Mac got impatient and was too hasty in trying to put a hurtin' on you with them. China should be used as a delaying tripwire against the Japanese, diverting enough of their forces so that they cannot reinforce a sustained offensive against Australia or India, while searching for opportunities to make local attacks. I've found that five or six Chinese infantry, backed by the Flying Tigers (the American fighter in Szechuan), can make such an attack a bit painful for Japan. But it requires careful planning so as not to leave your rear exposed.
 
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