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Subject: Playing Britain as a first timer rss

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Jim F
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Playing my first game ever of WiF. As we only have one player with previous, we are playing the base game only. We are currently in the Feb/March turn of 1940.

In a fit of patriotism I chose the British, (sorry CW), and wondered if any gnarly grognards of the system could bung some advice my way.

key questions

1. Building priorities - I have focused on bolstering my land units so far as my army looks tiny, but suspect that might have been a mistake
2. How much to naval to commit to Med as opposed to defence of home waters
3. How vital is Malta (I find this varies depending on the rules system from vital to almost irrelevant)
4. Is it ever worth declaring war on Italy as opposed to waiting for Italy to get the first blow in.

Any pointers gratefully received.
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Andrew Pleass
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Hi Jim, welcome to the WIF world

Am sure lots of good advice will be posted shortly but just a couple of comments from me in the meantime.

Firstly what is Germany building? any more surface ships (especially transports) Naval Air or Marines? this might give you a clue to his plan. If he isn't building these he'll be hard pushed to get an invasion force into the UK and keep it supplied. BTW if he is building marines make sure you station a unit in Dover to stop him walking across the straits, also watch out for a Paradrop.

This will help you decide how much to commit to the Med, unless an invasion is feared I am happy to commit heavily into the Med.

Malta is very important and I like to base my main fleet there as long as I have good FTR cover

Unless an invasion is a real threat I don't build many land units and prefer to focus on naval units with some naval air to ensure air superiority

Good luck and have fun


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Bruce Jurin
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Hi Jim!

Welcome to WiFFE, I hope you enjoy the game as much as we do.

Now to your specific question, you get the frustrating answer that of all of the major powers, the CW is probably the hardest; even grognards who have played the game for 20 years argue about this point, since the CW has enough production to be good at a lot of things, but not enough to be good at everything.

Part of the issue is the strategic direction of the war, and the CW has to react - so the sooner you can figure out what Germany is doing, the better. So if Germany is going for SeaLion (invading England), then of course you want land units, armor, fighters, bombers, etc. and Navs probably are best for controlling the sea zones.

If it is clear SeaLion isn't happening, you have to see if Germany is going for Gibraltar anyway, in which case you will clearly be fighting with some of the similar units. (It is a bad idea to give it up as inevitable, you need to fight for it. )

If Germany is going for a 1941 attack on the USSR (Barbarossa), then you have two new roles - giving lend lease to the USSR, and fighting as much as possible. One key option here is building the 4 engine bombers. Or you can go straight into the fight by (usually) going after Italy in the Med.

Oh, by the way, you are also supposed to help the US against Japan!

Finally, while all of this is going on, there is usually a convoy war for your production.

And with all of these goals and limited means, we see why even 20 year veterans of the game disagree, and it can largely depend on what Germany is doing. Indeed, grognards even argue about whether it is worth building the CW carriers in deluxe.

Now, there is a big difference between playing WiFFE classic (especially is using 5 and 10 denomination convoy points) and deluxe. With Classic, the force pool is much smaller and therefore it is easier to build out most of it, so it is somewhat more a matter of timing. In deluxe, with all of the extra units and kits (particularly Planes in Flames) even the US can't build all of their units. For the CW with Classic, one constant is to make sure you have a few spare convoys since knocking out a single one can destroy the chain.

So what do we do? Especially in deluxe, probably the most important strategy is the very first one that Harry Rowland mentions in the notes. In WiFFE, the key to victory is concentration, especially on offense. On defense, build enough to get the job done. On offense though you need to concentrate your power. If you want to strategic bomb, build lots of 4 engine bombers, just building a few will do little good. If attacking Italy, put everything into fighters, land bombers, land units, etc when you can and don't overextend offensive capabilities. In Classic however concentration is more difficult so you are forced to pretty much round out your builds.

On defense of course, this is a different story. If Germany goes for a Sealion, it is hold on for all you can.

In Classic, though, it is a little easier especially if you play without oil. Then you will have a lot of BP's to throw around. If Germany isn't aggressive about SeaLion, it is probably most efficient to build long term builds (big ships) early.


But regardless of which you play, the main part stays the same. For the first year or so, you are actually pretty strong while France is still around, your convoys are relatively safe, and it is important to do SOMETHING. Some people attack Portugal, some clear out the Middle East, and support France up to Foreign Troop Commitment limits. Once France falls, you will see (actually, probably a little before) if Germany is going full force after the USSR. At that point, it is concentration, you must fight back where you can - with strat bombing, in Italy, usually a Med campaign. If he is going after you, then you know what you have to do.


I'll finish with a few 'obvious' issues. Pretty much always build HQ's, they are very important. Have backup convoy points. Build out units in the repair pool. In deluxe avoid new Battleships but this isn't necessarily true in Classic. Be ready to lend lease to the USSR, and have the convoy points ready as needed. If the key to victory strategically is concentration, the key to victory tactically is air superiority. Build those fighters!

Unfortunately, there is no replacement for experience here. But that is the fun part! The USSR player has the easiest strategic choices (besides China) - his strategic choices are relatively easy, but tactically, he should be the best player as one mistake can cost the whole game.

The CW is in the opposite position. He has to assess the situation turns ahead of time, and has to do it between the Fall of France and when the new Allies are strong enough to carry the weight. This requires a combination of flexibility and decisiveness (concentration) which of course are seemingly contradictory. And if you like that puzzle, there will be nothing more fun than playing the CW, which is indeed my personal favorite!

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Jim F
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Many thanks to you both for taking the time to respond. Your reply was a marathon effort Bruce! I hope you didn't have anything (more) important to do today

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Bruce Jurin
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More important than WiFFe! Not possible .... :-)
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Greg Gray
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I enjoy playing the CW more than any other Major Power in WiFFE. It is the most challenging and the one that requires the furthest vision into the future.

My priorities have always been:
1) Avoid or defeat Sea-Lion (never faced one so doing good on that score)
2) Build lift capability (because units in Britain don't help in Egypt)
3) Build enough to get every resource possible to a factory (and I don't mean just the CW)
4) Build things that will keep the Axis, primarily Germany and Italy, occupied with defending against my nuisance attacks and distracted from their own plans
5) Build more lift capability (because units in America don't help in France)
6) Build a force that can help with reconquering Europe

To address your questions, here are some thoughts:
1. You will need an army, either to defend Britain, if the Germans are attempting to cross the North Sea, or to put into Egypt, India, etc., if they aren't threatening you. Always watch for Sea Lion, but even if it is coming, your army needs to contain it while your fleet defeats it. Once out of supply, panzers and other riffraff can be isolated, ground struck and mopped up by seemingly inferior forces, AS LONG AS they were contained on the beach heads and the German navy is incapable of supporting them. But building more army before more air is generally a mistake. NAV, FTR, 4-engine LND, all are higher on my list than building 'more' land units.
2. If there is no Sea Lion, then keep the sea lanes secure against subs (six cruisers, two each in the 0, 1, and 4 boxes of any sea zone that Axis subs can reach in strength is a minimum). Then detail enough heavy naval units to moderately exceed what the German can raid with. After that, decide how much you can afford to put into the Far East to keep Japan honest. This part is very subjective and depends on the Japanese objectives and the American building plan. Finally, put EVERYTHING ELSE against Italy, including NAV and FTR. I find that after France falls, you really are at war with Italy, and being stronger than them, you can kick their ass anywhere that their big brother, Germany, doesn't come to their rescue.
3. Defensively, you don't need it. Offensively, you absolutely do. You can cover convoys from Gibraltar or Alexandria, but if you are seeking to find and destroy the Italian fleet, this is your base, for air units primarily, but for naval units as well if it is secure against Axis air attacks. And when you are truly on the offensive, it is your base for striking into the Italian Coast. Otherwise, you have to conquer Sardinia or Greece.
4. Depends on your strategy and how effective your strike is, versus their strike against you.

Good luck.
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