22 Feb 2012

Axis and Allies turn One: a Date which will Live in Infamy

The Year is 1942 and the World is at war.

The Nazis have conquered France along with large tracts of Eastern Europe. Leningrad and Moscow are within striking distance as the Red Army digs in for a titanic clash on the Eastern Front.
From their island fortress, the British stare across the Channel to an occupied Europe but the Empire and its Commonwealth still stand; preparing to strike back.
In Asia the Japanese, having unleashed a devastating series of attacks on the European colonies, are close to reaching India whilst maintaining the ability to attack China.
Meanwhile, across the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the United States begins to mobilise its vast economic and military might to avenge Pearl Harbour. 

The fate of the world now lies in the hands of four young commanders as they embark upon the greatest conflict the world has ever witnessed.

So began our Tuesday gaming session of Axis and Allies. Playing as the Allies were myself, controlling the U.S.S.R and the U.S.A, and David playing as Britain. The Axis commanders were Joe, playing as Germany, and Nick in command of the Japanese.
I must stress now that David and Nick were rookies to the game whilst Joe had only played once before.

The war is won by controlling Victory Cities. At the start of the game, each side begins with six Victory Cities; Washington D.C., Los Angeles, London, Calcutta, Moscow and Leningrad for the Allies. Berlin, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Shanghai and Manilla for the Axis.
A minor victory condition is achieved when one side controls eight Victory Cities. This is the objective we set ourselves.  

A turn in Axis and Allies consists of seven phases.

1. Develop Weapons - Try to make a technological breakthrough.
2. Purchase Units - Spend IPC's (Industrial Production Certificates) on new materiel of war.
3. Combat Movement - Declare all attacks.
4. Conduct Combat - Throw the Dice.
5. Non-combat Movement - Move any units not involved in the fighting.
6. Mobilize New Units - Place your purchased units in a territory with an Industrial Complex.
7. Collect Income- Gather IPC's dependent on your territorial conquests.

The order of the game sees the Soviet Union having the first turn. Russia begins the game as the weakest nation economically on 24 IPC's. However, it does have a strong starting position and can make early gains against Germany. Russia's war is primarily a land war and focuses on trading units and territory with the Nazis.
With this in mind, I chose not to develop any weapons (something that most players chose to ignore) and instead purchased eight infantry units for 24 IPC's. I then made two separate attacks; one into West Russia the other in Belorussia which were both conquered. I then began moving Soviet infantry towards India to help reinforce the British. Four fresh infantry were then placed in the Caucasus with the other four being placed in Russia. 

The Great Patriotic War Begins: Soviet Forces take West Russia and Belorussia
Germany goes second and Joe was after revenge. The Third Reich starts the game with a strong economy on 40 IPC's and has a lot of units positioned throughout the European theatre. The problem, however, is that it is surrounded by Russia to the East, Britain to the North and America to the West. Germany, therefore, should aim to strike quickly before the Allies can bring their combined might to bear on it.
Joe opted to build four infantry units and four tanks for a total of 38 IPC's. He then counter-attacked Belorussia and bought it back under Hitler's control. Joe then manoeuvred forces from Germany and Southern Europe to reinforce the East whilst placing his new units in the aforementioned areas.  

"Kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will collapse": Germany counter-attacks in Belorussia

The next turn was David's and he instantly got the British producing an Industrial Complex, 1 fighter and 1 tank for 30 IPC's. Britain holds the most territory but its forces are spread out. The British do, however, control a flexible force of land, air and sea units and, therefore, have a lot of options. They must defend themselves in the Far East against further Japanese attacks whilst supporting Russia and defending Great Britain from German attacks.
Dave set the Royal Navy to work in the Mediterranean moving a destroyer and battleship to engage and sink a German transport and battleship in Sea Zone 14. Whilst the navy was engaged at sea, British forces invaded Libya from Anglo-Egypt; destroying an infantry and tank regiment at the cost of one British infantry unit. The Royal Air Force also conducted a sortie over Norway with two fighter squadrons and a bomber wing clearing out a Nazi fighter and three infantry units. Although aircraft cannot take territory, the path was clear for Russia to invade on their next turn.
Dave then placed his Industrial Complex in India and his other two units in the U.K.    

England expects every man to do his duty: the Royal Navy is victorious in the Med

The Japanese follow the British and Nick spent his nation's 30 IPC's on two fighters and three infantry divisions. Japan begins with possession of most of the Pacific territories with a lot of infantry which are spread out amongst its island conquests but the Japanese navy and air force are in strong positions to strike all three Allies.
Nick moved his submarine to engage the British sub in Sea Zone 41 and, after a protracted battle, was victorious. He also got the Imperial Japanese Navy, consisting of a battleship and three fighters, to engage the British fleet, comprised of a transport vessel, destroyer and an aircraft carrier with a fighter squadron on-board, off of India in Sea Zone 35. Both fleets were annihilated.
On land, the Japanese army struck into China and inflicted a defeat on the American sponsored Chinese forces there. Nick then placed his newly purchased units in Japan.

The lands of the Rising Sun: Japanese possessions in the Pacific Theatre
Last, but by no means least, was my turn to control the Americans. The United States enters the war as the strongest nation economically with 42 IPC's. It's problem is that all of its forces are concentrated too far away from most of the action. America must decide whether to go for a kill Germany first or kill Japan first strategy whilst supporting its allies in its chosen secondary theatre.
With a vast amount of income available, I opted to purchase two research dice with the hope of learning the long-range aircraft breakthrough. Fighters can normally move four spaces whilst bombers can move six. The tech roll would have increased their respective movements by two but I failed the roll and would have to wait until the next turn to try again. With my remaining 32 IPC's I bought a destroyer, a bomber and three infantry.
Being out of range of most combat zones, I sent the United States Army Air Force (U.S.A.A.F.) to sink a German U-boat in Sea Zone 8 on their route to Britain. My non-combat move consisted of sending transports through the Panama Canal into the Pacific Ocean. I placed my destroyer in Sea Zone 55 and my bomber in the Eastern U.S. ready to fly to the U.K. on the next turn.

Avenge Pearl Harbor!: American troops ship out for the Pacific
That was the end of turn one and the world now enters 1943.

Stay tuned for more Allied field reports and Axis propaganda at a Gambit Games UK blog near you.   

John, Supreme Allied Commander

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