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Subject: Evolution of an Allied Strategy rss

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Seth
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Eindhoven
Noord Brabant
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Introduction
It’s only been recent that we started to play A&A Revised, but I must say I’m getting pretty hooked. One of the reasons I’m so involved in playing A&A is the fact that the fun doesn’t limit itself to the game board only. As I’m writing this essay, it will probably be a few weeks before an actual new game will be played. That means I’ll put hours and hours into thinking and re-thinking various strategic options alone, without even touching a dice. To me; that’s part of the fun.

The upcoming game will be our fourth game of A&A Revised and although we are veteran A&A Classic players, we still have a lot to find out about this very different game. In the previous three games I have always played the Allies (we flip a coin who gets what side), my buddy Mac played the Axis and we play strictly by the original rules. The only thing we change is the victory condition: nine cities. Since I’ve only played as the Allies, there is a lot of progression in my strategic thinking for this faction. Progress which I’ll gladly share with my fellow Geeks.

With this essay I hope to give some insight into the thought development a typical player might have, and excite non-players of A&A Revised, to give it a go. If – on top of that – I can raise the level of appreciation on the dept of the game to a higher level, I’ll be a happy puppy indeed.

Okay… so nobody’s safe anymore (game 1)
Probably one of the greatest differences with Classic, is the fact that now no country is safe from invasion – in principle. In the 15 years ore so we played the old game, Germany & Russia have been overrun so many times it’s not even worth counting. America has been captured – oh I don’t know – 2 times, perhaps 3. England was captured once only, and Japan was never, never, never taken, period. Guess what happened in my very first play: I lost the Brits. Yup I was absolutely flabbergasted about the impact that doubling transport capacity had on the Invasion probability & capability. And that was only towards England alone!
As I started to study the map I noticed the ease with which America could now be reached by Japan (through Western Canada in one turn, brilliant!). Affirming these new opportunities was the limited production capacity each country now has. Again the impact via surprise invasion, became a significant increase in threat, ‘cause suddenly there was this production limit you had to consider.
Now, human nature states that new technology replacing old is used in old ways until – over time – new concepts are developed for this new technology (the TV was originally used kind of like a radio, internet originally was just text on a computer). So following that concept I built up a defensive force of infantry in Russia, not realizing that the newly acquired distance would actually make Russia more safe from an immediate threat of invasion and thus allow a more aggressive strategy.
Africa, has truly become a challenge although we seldom let the Nazi war machine roam in Africa in the Old game; in Revised it’s seemingly impossible to get a strong foothold in the early game.
And what happened to the Pacific theatre? The Japs always had a good dominance over this part of the board, especially if they could keep their battleships together, this new setup just added to the overwhelming task I had as the US to oppose them. I saw a necessity to respond to the Japs with a show of force and a bigger fistful of dollars, but failed to see the impact that Japan no longer was in desperate need of an early cash advantage since the first two conquests (China & India) where already in-the-pocket with Japan’s new – higher – income.
All in all it slowly dawned on me that I was in for a long, steep learning curve…

Old school tactics (game 2 & 3)
In Classic, I never bothered with the acclaimed KGF ore KJF strategies much appreciated and used here, concentrating all three powers more ore less to beat one of the two Axis, stalling the other. I never saw a necessity to do so. My strategy predominantly consisted with the Brits & Russia teaming up against Germany, using it’s 54 IPC income to outweigh the German 32. Allowing some tactical maneuvering on the Soviet far side of the board where a small stack of infantry – available from the beginning of the game – would slowly move towards Moscow. Al this would take place while the US with it’s full 36 IPC income slowed Japan down sufficiently enough until Germany was beaten by B & R. But by that time Mac often conceded, since it would have been pointless to continue the game.
Tactics usually followed something along the line of a suicide attack from the US in turn one against the Japs at Pearl, USSR claiming one – no more, no less – territory per turn and the Brits trying to squeeze Germany out of Africa, preferably on turn one, else on turn two.
It was this experience I carried, when I studied the game board that winter. I realized I would have to be more aggressive towards the Germans with Russia, and that buying stacks of infantry on the Caucasus (replacing Karelia as the primary factory) wouldn’t do it. So I adopted a small change and converted to 4 infantry and 3 artillery, allowing more aggression from the Soviet side. Furthermore I acknowledged the importance of West Russia (and to a lesser degree Belorussia) as a pivoting point for a Russian assault ore a German push. Because West Russia extends towards six surrounding countries it’s a highly tactical point – effectively replacing the old importance of Karelia.
The British – being stronger in Africa and the Indies – wouldn’t have any trouble doing away with the German threat in Africa in one turn, but had more difficulty with the Mediterranean fleet since battleships were harder to hit.
Because the US is further away from Europe (it takes two turns to travel from US-East -> France) and is an even lesser God compared to the Japs in the Pacific, I decided it was an absolute necessity (and no longer a choice, mind you!) that I would divert al US attention and income to Japan. It would take a Japanese invasion in the US and turn-by-turn defeat at sea to realize there are many more roads I need to travel…
In essence I copied my old ways to the new board, lucky for me Mac did the same. He retreated from Germany’s eastern front given 7 IPC’s as a gift to Russia, in favor of an adventure to Africa and an early Japanese advance into the Russian backland. It’s only after these two games that we’re slowly coming to understand that Germany can’t back away from the fight (at least that’s my view) with the Russian, and in contrast to the Classic game should push for an early decision in the East. Because one of the other factors complicating German tactics is the inability to reach the British fleet in the North Sea. This presents the Brits with early tactical maneuverability and can lead to possible landings on several strategic points. If they aren’t careful Germany may have to fight on two fronts (pitched at a steady 4 by 4 infantry–tank army, supported by; planes and a battleship) every turn as early as the second turn.
As for my lessons learned with the US: my old school tactics stubbornly lead to an ongoing useless buy of navy material. Only to see it fail against the Japs on the next turn at an alarmingly low cost (because their 2 battleships would soak up the first hits). After the X’th turn of US Banzai tactics even Mac said he’d “already abandon this fight long ago”. Once I got that, my one turn buy for the German front instantly thought me 2 lessons I will now use in our next game…

KGF ore “how a proven concept is finding it’s way into my heart”
For the first time since my long Axis & Allies game playing history, I’m considering converting to the Kill Germany First strategy. There are three main reasons for doing this:
1. Since game 3 the Japanese are becoming faster in enveloping their forces in ways that will force Russian attention to protecting their rear. Old school tactics of placing a small stack of infantry and gradually pulling them away towards Moscow, won’t last much longer. Mainly because a gradually developed improved Japanese buying strategy is now paying off. This will kill any attempts of holding a Buryatia-line type of defence.
2. The Japanese are superior in the Pacific. The sooner the allied get this, the better. A good Japanese player will last longer with his starting units, without having to buy even one additional naval unit… that means they have a full 30 IPC’s from the get go for the Russian front.
3. I’m suspecting that from now on the German Eastern front will be more heavily contested then in the previous games, where Germany was still adopting the ancient way of acquiring IPC’s through the conquest of Africa, while stabilizing the Eastern front. Our eyes (at least mine) are opening to the fact that Germany (like Japan) already has the ‘ total IPC value of Africa’ in their claws (minus South Africa) and should perhaps focus on maintaining them for the cause by repeated attacks on the Red Army. Untill the Japanese come barging in from the East.

So here is the Allied adaptation:

Russia
What I like about Russia is the distance the Axis have to travel to meet the enemy. This means that the Russians have time. In the previous games I used this time to trade my usual (meaning: standard in A&A Classic) 8 infantry buy for something a bit more feisty (3 artillery and 4 infantry instead). But I suspect next time Mac will go out of his way to get the Germans into the fight faster then he does now. In fact, I suspect he won’t even fall back to Eastern Europe, like he did so far. This coupled with a suspected fourth-fifth turn attack from the Japs on Russia ore the Caucasus factory, will kill my Russians faster than I can say Vodka! To meet this threat I’m planning on playing even more aggressive, concentrating all efforts to keep the Germans as far away from my capital as I can. On a tactical level that means pulling away from Siberia a.s.a.p. and centering my backdoor defense close to my factory. In the west it simply means: more tanks (2 tanks–2 inf.–2 art.)

UK
In essence this strategy will not change. Protecting Africa at all costs is still the first priority. Then I’ll use the steady flow of ‘4 Inf-4 Tanks-2 Fighters-1 Bomber –1Battleschip’ (see above) units to disrupt the Germans and finish them of whenever and wherever possible.

US
This strategy will shift a 180 degrees. In a prior game I was invaded by the Imperial Army via Canada and to my surprise that turned out to be a ‘good thing’. Not only was the attack not a surprise so I was able to react accordingly, but it deprived the Japanese from badly needed units on the Russian front. Of course one could argue that I would have to divert men and money to this front, keeping it away from the German front. But that’s not as bad as it sounds… It was in the game where I spent all my bucks on naval power, only to be bashed right after purchasing. This means that all this time not a dime had gone to Germany in the first place, but it was never missed. Conclusion: anything I send to the Western front will contribute greatly to the demise of Germany, but the US efforts will not be badly missed (as long as Japan is concentrating on the US that is) if they are not sent. By devoting all attention from the US to Germany I’m actually hoping that Japan will open up a front in Canada. Since I’m on the defensive, close to my factory and Japan can only cough up 8 units a turn; I should be safe for a long time to come, provided I keep my concentration. But this will keep the Japs away from Moscow, buying the others time to wipe out the Germans (who should be thin spread by turn 4–5 due to continues fighting anyway).

And there you have it; the evolution of an allied strategy. Hopefuly this new strategy will help me win the next war... Pray with me, would you...?
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Larry Harris
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Seth - Totally enjoyed your above comments. I found your observations fascinating. They are much like mine when I realized these points of difference between the two games. Keep playing, there are a lot more yet to be discovered.

Larry
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Justin S.
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Seth_Logan wrote:

Pray with me, would you...?


Hey, are you Christian?
 
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Jeremy S

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I hate this story. It's fricken depressing . Lol. I am 15, so have not seen the original, only the revised. And the story makes it seem like time passed by and the old ways are going, do you know what Im saying? Lol. Really good story though. Im voting for ya. God bless
 
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Jeremy S

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Oh P.s. Did you note that U.S. can get to africa in one turn if Germany doesnt block them? This makes it almost impossible for Germany to take Africa.
 
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Seth
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Noord Brabant
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Yes I noticed but that was possible in Classic as well.
 
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tekkyy tekkyy
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Seth_Logan wrote:

The only thing we change is the victory condition: nine cities.


Thats in LHTR (Larry Harris Tournament Rules) too. Because 8 cities is no game.

I think you should get straight to LHTR.
Its not a house rule or variant. It simply fixes unintended bugs.
I believe most people play LHTR.

Quote:
Guess what happened in my very first play: I lost the Brits. Yup I was absolutely flabbergasted about the impact that doubling transport capacity had on the Invasion probability & capability.


In fact with OOB (out-of-box) rules, if the Germany player wants to its >50% he/she can capture United Kingdom first turn. Get LRA and attack UK.

Quote:
As I started to study the map I noticed the ease with which America could now be reached by Japan (through Western Canada in one turn, brilliant!).


Yeah too bad Japan can't really threaten America though. You COULD land troops but they'll get destroyed next turn.

Quote:
So following that concept I built up a defensive force of infantry in Russia, not realizing that the newly acquired distance would actually make Russia more safe from an immediate threat of invasion and thus allow a more aggressive strategy.


With the introduce of artillery Russia is just waiting to pound when the opportunity comes.
 
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