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Just picked this up and was trying out both the Axis and Allied sides from 1939.

Little woozy on what does what. Like I have no clue how certain combat outcomes work. How does my strength 10 90% readiness french fighter come out to 6-1 casualties against a German fighter/?

Beyond that, I'm noticing some overall strategies and want to confirm them against veterans.

-Airpower not worth it

Just not worth the cost. The only point to air fleets is finishing off a weakened ground unit you can't reach with any of your ground units, but then you'll likely be intercepted by an enemy air fleet so air units just end up sitting around in a stalemate not being used. Strategic bombers are also way too expensive. You will never inflict enough MPP damage on the enemy to recoup the cost of the bomber.

-Carriers not worth it

This falls under airpower since carriers are treated exactly as an airfleet but with naval unit movement rules. They can be intercepted by enemy air fleets which sinks the carriers! Since they're almost twice the cost of air fleets, it's a horrible exchange.

-Research not worth it

I just don't see it paying off before the game is decided. If this was a long game between two symmetrical sides, then I could see research being worth it. But as the Axis, you're blitzing the Allies hoping to get enough plunder and crush them with your superior starting army before the US and USSR declare war. As Allies, you're desperately throwing up every wall you can to delay the Germans until the US and USSR enter the war. Neither side can afford to divert points to research.

-Allied strategy

It seems like France's very first priority is to save up and by an HQ as fast as it can.

Same for England, but a decent opening strategy for them I've found is to send that HQ and your starting infantry on transports to Egypt so you can declare war on Iraq and capture the oil fields.
Okay, played a couple campaign games. Absolutely stomped the computer on normal first try as the allies. Germans never made it past the defensive line in France. I ground him up to the point where I was just starting to break him on that front and pour into Germany with French and British units when the USSR declared war which just led to major overkill. Could have won the game with France and Britain alone.

Tech is still useless. I thought industrial tech might be worth it, but the numbers that the manual gives are wrong. It says 10% cost reduction per level, but that's wrong. It's much much less than that. At level 4, my armies went from a cost of 250 to 200, with no other tech levels to increase the army cost. According to the manual, it should have been a 40% discount to bring cost down to 150. No way the tiny, actual discount is worth the research cost. Any air power research is pointless because air power isn't worth the cost. The only tech for infantry units is increased air defense (pointless because air power is pointless) and anti-armor. Armor is kind of pointless because it's really not any better than infantry. It's only stronger in direct combat against other armor units (which is pointless if armor isn't stronger against infantry) and faster, which is only useful as a breakthrough unit which is pointless because in this game if you've achieved a breakthrough than the other side is close to collapse anyway.

So there's no real point to spending points on anything but armies, HQs, and corps for garrison and grabbing undefended objectives. Navies are pointless because they're only used for the Mediterranean theater, but the entire Mediterranean area is pointless because the point value of the objectives is way too low to justify pouring resources into capturing.

I thought rockets might be awesome after some research but even at level 4 they were still weak and not worth the cost.

So the only viable strategy seems to be pouring HQs and infantry into the battle for France and the whole game rests upon Germany knocking France out before USSR enters the fight (which still isn't a guarantee). The only non-France moves I see is the allies declaring war on Iraq and capturing the two oil fields with their Turkey garrison.

I dunno. I'm sure it changes if you play another human, but right now I'm disappointed how limited the viable options seem.
Been trying trying the Axis, which should just be called "Hitler was an idiot" because following his lead is awful.


The only neutral country worth attacking is Denmark just for how easy it is. Norway appears easy but holding the western port city against the British is going to turn into a resource sink that isn't worth it.

No, forget gobbling up any neutral countries and go straight for France. I'd have to experiment some more, but I'd almost say that you shouldn't even bother with Poland first! Barrel straight into France before they can even get one HQ unit up.
No one's reading this, but I continue to post for posterity.

More playing as Axis:

Maybe a point or two into anti-tank weapons early on. You want this because it increases the max strength of infantry, and infantry + HQs are the only units really worth buying for most of the game. Maybe when you can afford it, chuck a point or two into industrial tech.

It is not worth declaring war on any neutral country, at least not before the US and USSR declare war. Declaring war on neutral countries delays your attack on France and Britain, plus it hastens US/USSR declaring war on you.

If you rush France immediately after taking Poland, then immediately gear up to invade Britain (rush transports to land, toughing out any loses from the British navy), you have a chance at Britain surrendering before USSR declares war. Leave a couple corps and maybe an army to defend Britain from the inevitable US invasion.

If USSR declares war before you're done in the west, pull everything back to the rivers by Berlin and Romania. Stall them there. Units have an attack and defense penalty while in rivers. Force them to stay in rivers and attack them every chance you get. Romania will probably fall. Do not waste points reinforcing minor nation units like Romania. They can never receive HQ bonuses and thus will be cut down by the Russians. Your only aim is to build a defensive line and stall them at rivers.

After Britain falls (remember you have to take London then Manchester), send almost everything back to the Eastern front. What you can do, depending on how you're holding off the Russians, is spare 3 armies and an HQ to start taking Scandinavia: Norway, then Sweden. You'll get some nice plunder and income from those countries, it won't affect your war ratings since everyone has already declared on you, and you cannot send units via operate overseas so the Allies cannot pour units into there (as opposed to European neutrals like Turkey, making it a bad idea to invade any neutral on the main continent).

Grind up the Russians on the Oder river, and only advance once you've wiped them out there. You want to push and retake Konigsberg to form another defensive line on the Niemen river. Once you do that, send everything else south to retake all the minor axis nation lost to the reds. It's going to be a long grind. Form a line along the Transylvanian Alps to chew up any Russian units trying to cross the Prut river. Use Italian units to stall the Russians from entering South Germany from Yugoslavia. Once you retake Romania, maintain a defense on the Prut and push the rest west to wipe out all allied presence in south east Europe.

After that, send everything into a push to take Kiev and Odessa. You want to pounce on any enemy units caught in rivers or marshes. Keep pushing past Kiev and Odessa and eventually you'll be able to afford another force to start pushing against Minsk. I've never found it worth it to bother with Riga or Leningrad. Just bypass them and keep a unit or two to guard Konigsberg.

After that it should just be a matter of time. Keep enough HQ units to supply your infantry and provide them bonuses, don't outrun your supply, and always pounce on enemies in rivers. One trick is to exploit the computer never guarding mines or oil. Send two cheap corps on a suicide run to destroy the mines (assuming you have scorched earth enabled) around Rostov, then keep going to do the same to the Caucuses oil fields.

As far as units and research, eventually industry, rockets, and jets will be worth it, but only after you've maxed anti-tank. Everything else is secondary to getting strength 15 infantry. Rockets are mostly better than jets since they don't suffer attrition. The only thing keeping jets from becoming totally obsolete is their ability to relocate and advance faster.

I have never seen it as being worth it to buy new air units. Just keep reinforcing the ones you start out with. Navies and bombers are worthless. Never buy them, never spend points reinforcing them.

The big annoying part about playing Axis though is you'll probably never see the victory screen. You'll have the game wrapped up long before all the allies surrender. To beat the Russians you have to take Moscow AND the Urals AND Stalingrad. After that, you have to invade America which is impossible because it will be completely filled up with units at this point. MAYBE if you built a massive armada of a dozen battleships, a dozen carriers, and tons of transported units backed up by tons of air units from captured Canada (another grind), but why bother?
Post edited March 19, 2014 by fahbs
I've been reading your posts just so you know. :)

Been interesting to ponder what you say while thinking about how I played it years ago.
Not much to comment on except that me having been a WW2 nut I played it the "Traditional" way. Poland, France, some minor countries and blitzing Russia while having a drawn out minor battle in Africa during most of the war.
Built and researched my forces for mixed arms combat. Again because of having been a WW2 nut.

Can't remember me having too much of a problem winning as Germany as long as I exploited my favourable starting situation by conquering as much as fast as possible so I was ready for the big battle in Russia.

The Allies I had even less of a problem with. Wasn't that hard to draw out the battle in Poland a little longer than historically so I had time to blunt Germany's attack on France. After that Germany had an uphill battle against me and after a while Russia.

That's basically what I remember.
Post edited March 19, 2014 by Tarm
You're right about one thing - Hitler was an idiot! To take on the Russians before finishing off the British was sheer stupidity.
Replies!

Never saw Africa as worth bothering over. There's maybe 20-30 points of production there you would stand to lose or gain? You need bare minimum 2 armies and an HQ to capture any cities there. Those units are desperately needed in Europe to stall the Germans or hasten the fall of France+Britain. Even if you take Africa, then what? If Hitler was an idiot when it came to...well, everything, then Churchill was an idiot when it came to thinking southern Europe was a soft under belly. He did it with Gallipoli and he did it again with Italy.

Only action there I saw as worth it was as the Allies. Wait until USA+Russia have declared war, then declare war on Iraq and use your nearby garrison corps to capture the 2 oil fields there. Don't bother taking the capital, the AI will never bother retaking the oil. That's a free +30 MPPs a turn.
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fahbs: Replies!

Never saw Africa as worth bothering over. There's maybe 20-30 points of production there you would stand to lose or gain? You need bare minimum 2 armies and an HQ to capture any cities there. Those units are desperately needed in Europe to stall the Germans or hasten the fall of France+Britain. Even if you take Africa, then what? If Hitler was an idiot when it came to...well, everything, then Churchill was an idiot when it came to thinking southern Europe was a soft under belly. He did it with Gallipoli and he did it again with Italy.

Only action there I saw as worth it was as the Allies. Wait until USA+Russia have declared war, then declare war on Iraq and use your nearby garrison corps to capture the 2 oil fields there. Don't bother taking the capital, the AI will never bother retaking the oil. That's a free +30 MPPs a turn.
Me neither. That's why it always was a drawn out battle that didn't move much. I didn't spend much resources or attention on it. Though I'll be damned if I let the opposition get Africa for free without a fight. ;)
Here's a tip for a much easier Mediterranean theatre. It's possible to take out the British navy there if you act VERY quickly. In one or two turns. After that you can take the rest when and if you bother too.

Churchill was fixated on the Mediterranean just like Hitler got fixated with for example Stalingrad.
Though Churchill had a point historically. The German troops tied up in Italy made the Allied campaign into main Germany much easier.

Please remind me of one thing.
Is it randomised which territories you get in Africa? Or is it in another old game?
I'm asking because I think the roll of the dice can make it very easy, hard or even in Africa. At least it's so in one of the old wargames I have played. :)
It's been the same setup in Africa every time I've played.
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fahbs: It's been the same setup in Africa every time I've played.
Must have been another game then. Thanks for answering. :)
I have been playing this game recently with my dad PBEM (Play by email). We played it a lot hotseat when I was growing up. My dad plays it a lot against AI, but I only play it against humans opponents. Dad says a human opponent is much more enjoyable/challenging than AI- because the AI is stupid basically.

I enjoyed reading your strategies/comments and there is so much I want to say in reply so we will see how far I get:
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fahbs: -Research not worth it

I just don't see it paying off before the game is decided. If this was a long game between two symmetrical sides, then I could see research being worth it. But as the Axis, you're blitzing the Allies hoping to get enough plunder and crush them with your superior starting army before the US and USSR declare war. As Allies, you're desperately throwing up every wall you can to delay the Germans until the US and USSR enter the war. Neither side can afford to divert points to research.
Firstly your comment about research. You do go on later to say that some research is worth it and some isn't. This is my conclusion too. If the game is a long one then research is always worth it. I almost always play as the allied player. So I can only speak from that perspective. I tend not to spend money on research for France, because France surrenders before it is of any use

The research I find of most use.

Anti tank
Jet aircraft
Long range aircraft
Industrial tech
Rockets

there are too many of these to get them all. So I specialise as the allied player.
Everyone gets Industrial tech (cheaper repairs and purchases - this does pay off)
Russia and America get Anti Tank
Russia gets rockets
Britain gets long range aircraft and jet aircraft.

The other comments about research: It can be extremely frustrating as it is based on chance and so it is possible to never have it pay off.
Also once you have completed all the research in a category (say industrial tech) you can reclaim the MPPs you have spent (at 50% value)
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fahbs: -Airpower not worth it

Just not worth the cost. The only point to air fleets is finishing off a weakened ground unit you can't reach with any of your ground units, but then you'll likely be intercepted by an enemy air fleet so air units just end up sitting around in a stalemate not being used. Strategic bombers are also way too expensive. You will never inflict enough MPP damage on the enemy to recoup the cost of the bomber.

-Carriers not worth it

This falls under airpower since carriers are treated exactly as an airfleet but with naval unit movement rules. They can be intercepted by enemy air fleets which sinks the carriers! Since they're almost twice the cost of air fleets, it's a horrible exchange.
Air power is a tricky subject. I agree Strategic bombers are useless and expensive. I always disband the bombers that Britain starts with (you get a fair bit of $ for it).
However you don't seem to be using the other planes correctly. The point of air power is to target a single unit so that it can be killed in the one turn. (if a unit is not killed it can be repaired to full - this is done at half the price of purchasing a brand new unit) if you can only attack a unit with 2 land units you are unlikely to kill it, but if you have 3 planes to assist it greatly increases your chances of destroying it.

You want to get your planes experienced, this increases their effectiveness and decreases their chance of taking damage (reducing cost). So make sure they get the kill as much as possible (bonus experience) and avoid intercepting enemy planes.

Finally the allied aircraft carries are weak early, but become incredibly powerful in the later game. So I tend to get them experienced by flying missions against garrison infantry. When you get long range aircraft this increases their strength as well as their range so very important for the british. Keep them away from enemy planes until they have more strength and experience.

Hope this helps and I'll come back another time and write some more
What's the point of carriers over fighters though?
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fahbs: What's the point of carriers over fighters though?
The huge advantage of carriers is that they can move AND attack (at range) in the same turn. No other unit has this combination
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DarrenMcLachlan: You're right about one thing - Hitler was an idiot! To take on the Russians before finishing off the British was sheer stupidity.
I've been reading a bunch of stuff on Operation Sealion recently.

Basically, the conclusion was that there was no way it would had ever worked. It was a big "if" the Germans could crippled the RAF. Even if they did, they still had to go through the Royal Navy and the German navy was nowhere close to matching it. The classic argument goes that crippling the RAF and gaining air superiority would have let them deal with the RN, but even with control of the skies the Luftwaffe of 1940 still was unlikely to do much damage to the RN given that it couldn't even stop the Dover evacuation.

EVEN IF the RN was crippled, the Germans just didn't have the combat landing craft capability to launch an effective invasion: not the technology and certainly not the numbers. By the end of the Battle of Britain, they had a grand total of TWO landing craft that could carry a company between them. The rest of the planned transports were converted civilian river barges.

Just look at how tough D-Day was even with the total air and sea control the allies had, the armada of landing craft, the more difficulty to defend coastline the Germans had to cover with more than half their army off in Russia, and the blunderings of Hitler's orders.