During my first game of axis and allies I made a lot of mistakes, which ended up costing the allies victory. So this strategy article will hopefully save others from making those same mistakes.
My 2 session reports about the game can be found here
I played with Russia and the United States. So I will be mainly talking about those 2, but if it comes up Ill talk about the others.
My very first turn of this game was a pretty poor one.
My purchase decision was not a very good one in hindsight, it could have been worse, but it was bad.
I purchase 4 tanks. Now tanks are powerful, dont get me wrong. But for what I needed to do in the early rounds, they were a very poor investment. As was discussed in the first session report, infantry were the way to go. Instead of having a defensive force of 4 I could of had an army of 9 defensive infantry, this was a critical mistake.
Why? Because the bigger the defence forces the better the chance of winning.
The second mistake was attacking manchuria. The choice itself was stupid, but the way I carried it out was, I attacked with all my forces in East Asia. I fought the battle like I was fighting to the death, now this was stupid, Japan defended, didnt get any casualties and I was left with 1 infantry and a tank.
My mistake was not in attacking manchuria, but it was not retreating after early losses. I could have regrouped and defended. But I went in too full on and it later costed me the game.
Why? Because leaving Japan with a free path to Moscow is a bloody stupid thing to do.
My first turn with the US was a little better, but it still had some stupid moves in it.
First stupid thing was to waste 15IC on research. Sure I got rockets, but they have no use to the US at this time. I was hoping to get long range aircraft or heavy bombers but that wasnt to be.
Why was this stupid? Well, with that 15IC I could have bought 1 bomber, 3 tanks, a submarine, a transport, 5 infantry or a combination of units. Its a bit stupid to research when you are under heavy attack. I could have used the extra units to great affect and retake hawaii, but I squandered it on hope, hope that didnt pay off.
The second stupid thing to do was not to attack, just to pass my turn on.
Why? To let the Japanese keep its fleet after the attack on hawaii was a very stupid move. I could have used my aircraft and do some damage and maybe take out a costly battleship. But this was another costly mistake.
Both of my first moves were very below par and both would end up costing me the match. But I didnt learn from these first 2 blunders, I dug a deeper grave as the game progressed.
My poor buying decisions continued.
For Russia, I kept buying tanks. The US I bought bombers, which I thought could be used in Europe.
These are probably good buys when you are on the attack, but when you are in need of defence its just plain stupidity.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Why? I kept thinking I could use the tanks to counter attack germany, and use the bombers to bomb germany. As the game progressed it was working, but I didnt take into account 2 things.
1. Germany getting a swing of luck.
I think the first factor can be forgiven, I never expected germany to obliterate everything on the UK territory.
But leaving Japan to quietly build up slowly was madness.
First turn he bought 5 tanks, not a very good idea when you dont own transports to move them off Japan. That is why I thought Japan was harmless at the time, what I didnt take notice of was the fact he was building transports and bombers.
The fact Russia didnt re-enforce Eastern Russia with units just left the door open for Japan to walk in and trash the place.
America Concentrating on bombing Germany just let Japan keep strong and have a ready invasion fleet to attack North America.
It turned out that my first turn move costed me the game. If I had concentrated on defending Russia I wouldnt have let Japan walk straight in without a fight.
Not attacking Japan with America probably the biggest mistake of the whole game. Letting Japan continually chug along with no speed bumps just allowed him to waltz right into Moscow and win the game.
When I play again, I hope not to repeat these same mistakes and put in a better show against the axis.
Hopefully this little strategy article will help other newbies to this great game, not make stupid mistakes like I did.
At least you are "learning from your mistakes" while I still like to see this through the "eyes" of the 'noobz'!
Nice of you to share your experience, but actually some of what you identify as mistakes aren't. You are spot on that you should buy 9 infantry for Russia, but you are absolutely wrong to suggest not attacking with them.
Russia should be doing loads of attacks on turn 1. It definitely should hit the Japanese (yes it leaves you open but the loss of 1 territory buys you so much time and you can plug the gap with a few infantry from Moscow). You should also hit the Baltic fleet if possible (to save the Brits), and take the easternmost German territory for certain. So devestating is the opening move (a 6pt IP gain for Russia and losses 6IP a turn for the Axis) that I always believe Russia should be banned from first turn attacks (things are bad enough for the Axis as it is).
Not retaliating against the Japanese is a difficult choice. The American fleet is a lot of use on the East coast if it can get away. The reason is that Americas job is not to engage the Japanese at all but to invade Africa and then Western Europe.
And don't feel too bad:
"I think the first factor can be forgiven, I never expected germany to obliterate everything on the UK territory."
You didn't lose the game for the Allies, the Brits did.
Russia should be doing loads of attacks on turn 1. It definitely should Robert
I thought Russia couldn't attack on it's first turn.
No one else commented on the line "sure I got rockets, but I wanted..." Um, this indicates that you are doing something profoundly wrong at the research resolution step.
You announce the advance you are trying to get before you roll the dice. Only if one of the dice matches the result you "called" beforehand do you get that advance. There is no way you can do research and get "stuck" with rockets without having wanted them.
The right way to resolve the research you spent (15) is to announce long range aircraft, and roll 3 dice - if any of the 3 is a "4", you get long range aircraft, otherwise you get nothing.
The most economical way to research, incidentally, is to spend the minimum 5 each turn and pick the best advance you don't yet have. This puts the "variance" (of sometimes rolling your first match long before the average expected time) to work in your favor, and minimizes "lost" resources from "double hits" or hitting with an earlier die and the remaining ones being effectively wasted. If you spend more than that, you are getting somewhat diminishing returns.
Heavy bombers are a better US advance, incidentally. The 2 dice on economic attacks is the biggie there. A normal heavy bomber attack into flak has an expected IPC gain of only 1 per turn, on a 15 IPC heavy bomber investment (3.5 expected damage, minus the 15/6 = 2.5 expected IPC loss from the chance of losing the bomber). With heavies, that becomes plus 4.5 (7 expected damage, same expected loss). There really is little point in hitting flak-defended industry with bombers before you have the advance.
The advance itself does cost something of course, but once you have it you can ramp bombing until the Axis loses full production from their industrial regions. The bombers are also excellent unit-killers in normal attacks, as long as you have ground units present to soak off the return fire.
Dist of Columbia
I think the earlier iteration of the A&A rules (at least the ones I grew up with as a kid) had the following rule for new tech: before buying any other things, spend 5 IPCs per die roll. Roll a die for every 5 IPC you spent on tech development. If you get a six, roll one die and you get that development. Which did, unfortunately, lead to the U.S. getting rockets and the Russians with super subs...
Well, the revised edition's a bit better...