Best Strategy Games - Axis & Allies Strategy

Join the mailing list for free Axis & Allies, Risk, and general board game strategies:

Your Name: Your E-mail Address:
Privacy Policy: We hate spam too, and we will never share your information with any unauthorized third party.
Germany Strategy for Axis & Allies 3rd Edition

Germany Turn One

If playing with rockets & heavy bombers, buy 5 tech rolls (3 for rockets, 2 for heavy bombers), 1 bomber

If playing with rockets & NO heavy bombers, buy 3 tech rolls, 1 carrier, and 3 infantry

If playing without technology, buy 1 carrier, and 8 infantry

If rockets succeed, rocket attack Caucuses and UK.

Move Southern Europe AA into Balkans to be within range of Russia the next turn.

Send sub and 3 fighters against British battleship.

Send 1 fighter, battleship, and transport (carrying 1 artillery and 1 infantry) against Egypt destroyer

Send bomber, 1 fighter, Libyan infantry and tank, transport infantry and artillery against Egypt

Take as much Russian territory as possible, using remaining unused fighter and infantry to make any fortuitous attacks, blitzing in and out of empty territory if possible

Move 3 infantry from Finland/Norway into Karelia

Land as many planes as can reach in Western Europe or on newly built carrier (this new carrier deployment rule comes in handy)

Land bomber and fighter in Egypt attack in Libya

Move Algerian infantry and artillery into Libya

Consolidate tanks into Eastern Europe

Move Germanyís land units to Eastern Europe

Build a couple of infantry and an artillery (if purchased) in Southern Europe, everything else in Germany.

Germany Overall Strategy

Keys to winning:

1. Get rockets

2. Get heavy bombers

2. Never lose Western Europe

3. Keep your Med fleet alive

4. Take Africa

5. Donít lose your planes needlessly

6. Take Russian territory every turn

7. Pressure Russia if you donít get respect

Rockets Ė Thatís Right, Rockets

Rockets are literally the first thing you can try to do with Germany, and the tech is significantly improved from former rules. Iíd recommend buying three tech rolls. This gives you a pretty good chance of getting it, with minimal risk of having wasted IPCs by rolling rockets with 2 dice (overkill). With your Southern Europe rocket positioned safely in Balkans, you can then hit both Russian factories and the UK every turn. The rockets canít be shot down, and as long as you donít lose them, theyíll continue to drain the Allied economies every turn. If you donít get rockets on turn one, continue to spend 10-15 IPCs on the tech rolls until you do get them.

Heavy Bombers

Hopefully, this section will be irrelevant, because you wonít be playing with Heavy Bombers, because they are so unbalancing to the nature of the game. They are the single biggest flaw in the game. I say they are a flaw because they completely unbalance the game. They are so dominant because once you get to the point that you have enough heavy bombers, you canít be beat, unless the other side also has a stack of heavy bombers. Get heavy bombers quickly, and spend every IPC (not being spent on the minimum for defense) on more bombers. Then, you should strategic bomb UK and Russia to smithereens. The guiding principle is that playing conventionally might guarantee you 15 additional incoming IPCs per turn, but going after heavy bombers will allow you to deny your opponents more than 15 IPCs. So you take an economic loss in order to impose a much greater economic loss on your opponents.

Hold Western Europe

France should stay locked down. You always know with exact certainty the most that the Western Allies will be able to bring against you (and since they canít make coordinated attacks, your job is that much easier), so always try to have just enough to dissuade them from taking the chance. The reason is that you donít want them scooping up 6 IPCs from you, and then forcing you to commit troops to take it back, and you also donít want to give them the chance to make troop trades with you. The UK and US would both love to trade one of their infantry for one of yours and giving them an opening in Western Europe allows them to do just that. Force them to send their troops the longer route through Russia, where it takes more time for them to get on the front and then you can deal with them there on your own terms. While infantry are the conventional defense unit, in those early rounds you want to maximize the number of newly built infantry that you can send east, so tanks and planes make an excellent mobile defense. The planes can still fight from there, and the tanks usually arenít being used for anything on the Eastern front. If something critical develops, the tanks can race east in time for most opportunities. Try to maintain the infantry pipeline going 100% east or south (to Africa) as long as possible.

However, if Western Europe is at risk of falling due to the Allies gaining an upper hand on the game as a whole, then make sure youíve got enough tanks in Eastern Europe to use in a counterattack, if the US & UK land a lot of troops in Western Europe.

Africa Ė Gateway to Economic Parity

The Mediterranean fleet is often the most unappreciated asset the German player has and is typically lost early on. Destroying the fleet becomes more difficult with the new rules since battleships take two hits to destroy. This fleet is critical because it allows the Germans to maintain a presence in Africa (short of buying a factory in Egypt once they take it).

Africa itself is of paramount importance. Its eleven IPCs are enough to make the difference between winning and losing (even more so for the Axis, since they start out with the inferior economic position). With the Sahara division, stretched Atlantic, and stronger Mediterranean fleet, Germany is better positioned to take Africa and the Western Allies less equipped to take it back. Egypt should fall on turn one which hopefully will open the door to the rest of the continent. Depending on the Alliesí reaction, no further troops may need to be sent down there, and if so, keep them in Europe. However, if the Allies do contest Africa, then Germany has to maintain the pipeline via the Med transport of troops to maintain their authority in Africa. Itís much harder for the Allies to reinforce any invasion they make into Africa and so Germany will likely be able to gain the upper hand. If the UK does make the investment of a factory in South Africa, then that means they are committed to building two units a turn. This must be matched by the Germans via their transport, which will likely turn the Congoís killing fields into a hotly contested battlezone.

Luftwaffe Ė German Aerial Supremacy

The Luftwaffe is arguably two fighters stronger than in the first version. You begin the game with one more, and the Russians are less well positioned to kill one on their first turn. Furthermore, since Germany has fewer naval attack options on their turn one, the Luftwaffe is likely to remain around in strength for some time. This is hugely important. Aside from greatly aiding your ability to retake Russian/German territories each turn on the Eastern Front, the Luftwaffe also makes a great addition to Western Europe defense and can keep the Allied fleet ďhonestĒ, by forcing them to stay in a giant convoy with plenty of defensive firepower. That said, donít waste your planes in poor trades, but only send them into a naval battle or against AA fire if it is an attack that is overwhelmingly in your favor. Also, remember that you can always roll to get long-range air, if that extra mobility would allow you to do an important attack.

Back and Forth with Russia

It can become tiresome and draining to continually retake Russian territories

or your own territories that Russia took on their turn. Remember though that it is

draining for Russia as well. The main thing involved is the economics. You have to keep funds flowing to the treasury by taking those territories. A big advantage that you have in these back and forth battles is your air force. You can usually send a couple of planes in with a couple of infantry and take out one or two defending infantry with minimal casualties. Itís much harder for the Russians (with only two planes) to retake the same territories on their turn. If you forfeit the chance to take those territories back, your economic forecast will be bleak indeed.

Demand Respect

Russia would prefer to not have to worry too much about a real German threat. As long as your main German army stays in Eastern Europe, Russia is guaranteed a couple of turns of warning before they truly have to worry about putting up a serious defense. Meanwhile, they can focus on Japan and try to hold them off. If Russia doesnít respect Germanyís power, and sends the bulk of their army to India or China, youíve got to force them to return to the Motherland by moving your main German army up. You canít allow Russia a free hand to deal with Japan and feel like youíre sitting comfortably. Youíre in this together with Japan and have to make sure that Russia keeps the bulk of their army in Caucuses and Russia itself.

Gran Zeppelin Ė A German Aircraft Carrier?!

If heavy bombers arenít in the game, an aircraft carrier purchase on turn one (along with the new carrier deployment rules that allow you to immediately place preexisting fighters onboard a newly purchased carrier) allows you to defend the Baltic fleet and save it from certain destruction. This also make the Allies think long and hard about when and how they are going to invade either Western Europe or Finland/Norway, because you would have a large navy as well as your air force opposing them in a counterattack. Your carrier also allows your transport to survive, which means that the UK canít be left undefended or you could actually invade England! If the UK player doesnít consider this usually impossible risk, they could be in for a big surprise.

Germanyís Newfound Flexibility

In the former game, every IPC was direly needed immediately in order to hold Eastern Europe and properly threaten Karelia. With the added distance between Germany and Russia due to the new territories, the pressure is greatly reduced. There are many more degrees of freedom and you can almost get lulled into a false sense of security with the greater buffer space between you and the Allies. But donít be fooled. This only makes decisions more difficult because there are more of them. In the previous edition your actions were far more mechanical and expected, while now you may have to put serious thought into each move, as more options now exist.

In order to take Russia quickly, you would need significantly more IPCs than you have, but to keep from losing Germany, you need significantly less IPCs than you have. That differential of discretionary money can be used to purchase tech or invest into other fronts (such as Africa), but make no mistake- youíre still fighting the uphill battle as the Axis and you canít afford for the income disparity with which you start the game to continue for very long. In other words, donít waste your discretionary money, but spend it wisely on fundamental things like infantry, or in special situations, such as going for long range air if it would allow you to maul a huge undefended transport fleet or make the difference in taking a capital.

Donít Forget Roadblocks

Remember that since you now have a larger fleet, there may be opportunities where you can use them as roadblocks, should they survive a couple of rounds. A well placed transport or sub can stop an entire Allied task force dead in the water! If the Japanese navy comes around through the Med, it could serve the same function. Also, if youíve got Baltic naval units and the Allied fleet moves to unload transports in Karelia, then on your turn you could place a single naval unit between the Karelian sea zone and the UK sea zone and essentially trap the Allied fleet by cutting them off with a roadblock.

What to Do With Your Battleship

Battleships were good before (as long as you werenít thinking about buying one), but now theyíre even better. They have the ability to absorb the first hit for free in any naval battle (they are turned on their side) and if you win they just get righted and no harm is done. Along with their battleship bombard, this means you should use your Mediterranean battleship every chance you get. On turn one it can attack the British destroyer. From then on it can be used to bombard Russians advancing into Ukraine, or even dart through the Suez Canal to assist in Persia or South Africa. Try to use it every chance you get. If itís bombard is aimed at an enemy infantry unit, thatís killing (4/6*3 IPCs) = 2 IPCs per turn, a nice pickup, especially if that allows you to take a territory without suffering enemy fire.

Tit-for-Tat with Russia Ė How to Raise the Cost of Doing Business

Another strategy to consider is how you should retake contested territory on the Eastern Front. You can take it back by the minimum (which is definitely how you should take it back on the previous map), or you can take it back with a little more occupying force. For instance, letís say Russia has 1 infantry in Karelia, Belorussia, and Ukraine. Your main army is in Eastern Europe and you want to take all three of these territories. Youíve got 2 planes that can support in each battle (6 planes total), and are wondering how many infantry you should move in with the planes to guarantee youíll take the territory. Assuming you donít want to lose the planes (a safe assumption), then moving a single infantry into each of the three territories, along with the two supporting planes, will mean that Russia will likely hit with one of their infantry and deny you that territory. So to guarantee youíll take all three, you really feel as though you need to send two infantry into each territory, which would likely result in you taking each territory, killing all three Russian infantry and only losing a single German infantry.

However, instead of moving two infantry into each territory, consider moving three. The net result of the battles will likely be the same, but youíll end the turn with likely eight infantry spread among three territories. Now itís Russiaís turn and youíve just raised the bar. Unlike you, Russia only has two planes that it can use in these back and forth battles, which is a huge offensive handicap for these draining engagements. If Russia chooses to focus on only one or two of the battle, then youíve just denied them what would have otherwise been easy income. If they try to take back all three Russian territories, they are going to have to commit a lot of troops (perhaps even premium artillery and tanks). Youíve just turned up the dial a notch and forced Russia to match you. Instead of a slow dripping that will bleed Russia white, youíve now opened up an artery. On your next turn when you counterattack again, youíll be killing premium units and leaving well defended territories again. Meanwhile Russia will be forced to send newly built units directly into battle to retake those territories rather than sending them east against the Japanese.

What to Do With Your Eastern Front Army Ė Hold or Advance?

A key go/nogo decision is what are the US & UK doing. If the Western Allies are concentrating on putting troops on the ground in continental Europe, then youíre probably not going to have the opportunity to move your main army up to threaten Caucuses, and your best chance of winning is for Japan to crawl up Asia and threaten Russia from behind. Since your army isnít going to move up to threaten Caucuses, you might as well use them to bleed Russia each turn. If the US & UK are focused on holding off Japan though, then you should concentrate on minimizing your losses, so that you can move your main army up against Caucuses and force the Russians to stay home and play defense against you.

It may sound counterintuitive, but if youíre not getting pressure by the Western Allies, youíve got to charge against Russia. If you are getting pressure by the Western Allies, then you should sit back and just bleed Russia, while Japan charges ahead.

Here are the fundamentals underlying this strategy:

1. Early on between you and Russia, youíve got more IPCs and can force them to match you virtually one for one. In that situation, you want to up the bar as quickly as possible before the Western Allies can get as involved.

2. It forces Russia to leave Japan somewhat alone.

3. Youíve got more planes, which are key to this type of fighting.

4. If youíre going to have one territory open to counterattack and your enemy only has a few units they want to use to counterattack with, then you might as well have lots of territories open to counterattack and make them divide their forces, or give up an opportunity. (?????)

One of your most important decisions will be whether or not, or when to move your main army up against the main Russian army, which will likely be in Caucuses. This move up does a number of things:

1. Keeps more Russians at home

2. Takes a territory like Ukraine in force (usually 1 or 2 Russians there and they get killed at minimal German loss)

3. Prevents the Russians from retaking Ukraine (denies them the income)

4. Forces Allies to make suboptimal buying decisions (Russia may buy 4 tanks to place in Caucuses in order to make sure they hold it) and suboptimal moves (Britain or US may fly their fighters there from India or Western Europe theater, in many cases giving up the chance to fight in another out of the way battle).

5. Puts Germany in the drivers seat

The risks are:

1. Puts German tanks out of reach of counterattack into Western Europe if needed

2. Usually Germany has precious few infantry to move up and is at risk of getting crushed on Russia's turn

3. Enables Russia to take a slot pull and see if they can get lucky against a stack of few infantry and a lot of tanks

The Meta-Strategy: Opportunism and Cooperation

Obviously, every game is different and you must evaluate your situation in its own unique light. While there are overriding optimal strategies, understand that some strategies are situational strategies. If the US is focused on a strategic bombing campaign, and the UK is focused on Africa or India, then the German player has to recognize that the Allied weakness is then going to be the

Eastern Front against Russia and take full advantage of it. While the Axis usually work completely independently, and envy the Allies their ability to cooperate so closely, remember that there are instances where a coordinated Axis move can be a huge assist.

For instance, if Germany moves their main army up and takes the Ukraine in force, but is worried about a counterattack that might just barely succeed, Japan can reduce those risks by having put a carrier or two in the Red Sea on their prior turn along with 2-4 fighters. Those fighters can then land in the Ukraine on Japan's turn, fortifying the German position and making the odds much worse for the Russians should they consider attacking.