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Japan Strategy for Axis & Allies 3rd Edition

Japan Turn One

If playing with heavy bombers, buy 2 tech rolls for heavy bombers and 2 transports, saving 4 IPCs.

If NOT playing with heavy bombers, Buy 3 transports and 2 infantry.

Japan is the 4th player to go, so some actions depend on what has already happened in the game.

If Russia defended Buryatia in force, donít do Pearl Harbor II and use everything to pound Buryatia and take it.

If Russia evacuated Buryatia, move one infantry from Manchuria into it and take it, and fight Pearl Harbor II, sending enough stuff that you should kill it all in the first round, which should include one battleship, carrier, destroyer, sub (if survived), bomber, two fighters.

Send your battleship and carrier against the UK destroyer in Kwangtung.

Send two Kwangtung and the other Manchurian infantry against China, along with three fighters.

Send one fighter against the UK sub (if survived).

Send one Kwangtung infantry into French IndoChina.

Land fighters primarily in French IndoChina, on carrier, or on island if need be.

If UK sub survived, and the Japanese fleet is all elsewhere, then build transports on inner sea zone, otherwise build transports on external sea zone.

Japan Overall Strategy

Keys to winning:

1. Get Heavy Bombers

2. Pressure Russia

3. Avoid Indian and Sinkiang stalemate

4. Maximize income

Heavy Bombers

If youíre not playing with Heavy Bombers, ignore this section. Get heavy bombers quickly, and spend most of your IPCs (not being spent on building a few infantry a turn for your preexisting transports) on more bombers. Then, you should strategic bomb Russia and use the Heavy Bombers in conventional attacks as well.

Pressure Russia

Japanís #1 goal is to pressure Russia. Russia must fall for the Axis to win, and much of the task falls on Japanís shoulders. There are three avenues into Asia, the northern route over Mongolia through Siberia, the central route through China and Sinkiang, and the southern route through India. No matter what the Western Allies do, particularly on the central and southern routes, Japan has to find a way to take Russian IPCs and force Russia to trade their own units, man for man, in back and forth battles.

The Western Allies will likely have factories in India and Sinkiang, pumping out infantry or tanks to slow your offense down. Backed up by additional Russian reinforcements, these territories can become thorny problems very quickly. While it can be tempting to try to throw everything at these two territories, donít lose focus. The northern route across Siberia is pure Russian. Any units you kill along that path will likely be Russian, and youíll be taking away hard to defend IPCs. Donít get sucked into 10 turn stalemates in India or Sinkiang that by the time you win the battle, youíve lost the game, because the Allies with their superior economic position have destroyed Germany and are now coming after Japan.

Japan has always been a fast track player, and while Allied strategies on the new map can slow them down a bit, Japan still needs to boast large IPC gains in order to win. Aside from thorny India and Sinkiang, there is China, Buryatia, Soviet Far East, Yakut, Evenki, Novosibirsk, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska, Madagascar, and even Africa, depending on what happens there. Japan must maximize their incoming IPCs, because the temporary stalemates in India or Sinkiang will prolong the game. The longer the game gets prolonged, the more the Allied economic advantage will weigh down the Axis. This means Japan has to start evening the odds by taking these peripheral territories. Once Japan has enough income to justify a factory in French IndoChina, they will likely have an extra unused transport or two (along with battleship bombards) that could ideally be used to scoop up some of these outlying territories. That factory will need to be build when Japan hits the limit of 8 units that can be built within Japan. Early on, they are building more expensive transports, which helps increase the average unit cost, but once the transport fleet is built and only infantry and artillery are being purchased, Japan needs more production space, forcing them to have to build a factory on the mainland.

If even another factory is warranted, or you know with specificity when a key battle will be fought in India or Sinkiang, then a second factory in Kwangtung allows you to produce tanks that can immediately move two spaces and fight in either of those two territories.

Pearl Harbor II is a great battle when you consider the mismatch you can create against the US Hawaiian fleet. But remember that this should only be your plan of attack if Russia backs off the coast. Otherwise, hammering Russia and Russian units takes precedence.

If the US player pulls out all their troops from the Western US, then Japan should strongly consider invading Alaska with a minimal force. The US will be forced to then build a much larger defensive force to ensure they donít lose California. Once the US has built those troops in the Western US, then you can either leave your troops there, or simply evacuate Alaska with the knowledge that you just tied down US troops for a couple of turns and likely disrupted the transport/infantry pipeline they probably have flowing into Europe.

Alternatively, if you have a big enough fleet, it may be possible to move a huge army to Alaska, and then take Western US on the next turn. With the 10 unit building limit in Western US, and the added territory of Central US to slow down cross country marches from Eastern US, itís quite possible that you could guarantee that you would have more units invading Western US than the US player could possibly defend on their next turn.

Try to use your battleships every chance you get. Japan has the nice position that there are some convenient targets in outlying territories such as Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and perhaps even Alaska that will typically have some infantry that could be easily killed.

Remember that one of the best ways to keep the Russians from reinforcing India or Sinkiang is by putting pressure on them elsewhere, such as via Yakut and into Novosibirsk and Evenki. This guarantees that they will have to slow the flow of units going into India and Sinkiang just to deal with the new threat along their northern border. Japan wants to become a Russian leach and start bleeding the Reds white by taking Russian territory each turn and forcing Russia to lose units taking their territories back.

Additionally, the Japanese player should have a heads up if the German Mediterranean fleet gets destroyed. This means that Africa will probably fall to the Allies, and Germany will be unable to reinforce with their transport or do anything about it. That said, Japan should recognize the situation and quickly come to Germanyís aid and help maintain Axis control over Africa.