Factories: To Build or Not to Build
Objective: Maximize troops on the ground quickly
Easy enough to state, but what’s the best way to achieve this goal?
Two schools of thought are transports and factories.
Factories give you the advantage of building closer to the action,
and are equally adept at producing premium units such as tanks, as they
are infantry. However, this comes at a price of 15 IPCs, added
vulnerability to strategic bombing, and less flexibility.
Transports give you the advantage of greater flexibility, greater
infantry throughput, invulnerability to strategic bombing, and naval
cannon fodder. However, this comes at a price of being further from the
main action and exposure to conventional attack by enemy navies and
So what’s the best route? Does it depend on the player or the
situation? Well, like any strategy it is of course somewhat dependent
upon the situation, but not as much as you would think, since the
decision to build a factory is usually in the early stages of the game,
when the game has changed the least amount from the starting positions,
allowing pregame strategies to still be fairly intact and useful.
The real answer: transports.
Transports are better because the advantages outweigh the
disadvantages. Axis & Allies essentially boils down to an infantry
war, and transports allow you to get more infantry on the ground
Let’s look at two classic situations:
1. A Japanese factory on the mainland. For the same number of IPCs,
you could essentially have 2 transports. Those two transports can bring
over 4 infantry a turn to any spot along the Asian coast. The factory
only allows you to bring 3 infantry a turn and they always have to
arrive at the same location, with no flexibility. That alone is
sufficient reason not to build it, as stacks of infantry are going to be
what eventually bring about Russia’s defeat.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this: the US and UK are
very likely to have their bombers based in Russia. That means that you
are going to be forced to build or bring over an AA unit to defend the
factory, or the Allies will get free strategic bombing – not something
you want to allow. That AA unit is either 5 IPCs you shouldn’t have to
spend, or a wasted turn by one of your precious transports.
Furthermore, if Germany doesn’t have a good strategy for Africa,
then it falls to Japan to do something about all those African IPCs that
the Allies would otherwise have a lock on. A swarm of transports about
Japan offer a much greater projection of power potential to take Africa
than a Japanese factory.
2. An Allied factory in India or China.
This can be a bad idea for a number of reasons.
First is pure mathematics. Japan can pump every IPC into efficient
use in Asia. By efficient I mean self-sustaining infantry stacks, and
not expensive tanks that are economically wasteful. This means that
either the Allies are going to spend too many IPCs on inefficient,
expensive units to try to hold Asia (and as a result lose to Germany),
or Japan is going to take China and India.
So, if you know the factory is either going to get taken, or you’re
going to have to waste your IPCs on fighters and tanks, then why give
the Japanese a good factory that they can then use once they capture it.
Building a factory only temporarily prolongs the inevitable, and gives a
useful asset to the Japanese.
Another reason that some players try this strategy is they don’t
have a better alternative and want to do something to slow Japan down.
The solution is Russia. Get Allied units into Karelia quick to relieve
the Russian troops and free them up to deal with the Japanese. Russia is
much more suited to fighting in Asia and as long as the US and UK are
focused on containing Germany, Russia can start to put lots of pressure
on the Japanese.
The conclusion is that whenever you think a factory might be a good
investment, consider other ways to get units into the area, through
transports, reallocation of other troops, etc.