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 Core Principles of Advanced A&A (Omaha)

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PostSubject: Core Principles of Advanced A&A (Omaha)   Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:13 pm

Please note, this advice is for Omaha, where Russia can attack round one.
Posted By: Robert Brink
Post Date: December 31, 2002
Core Principles of Advanced A&A
If you are new to competitive club play, once you finish this
article, you will increase your winning percentage significantly. There
are even a few tricks included that may surprise the old hands.
The allies must either contain and crush Germany or blast
Japan out of Asia. Crushing Japan is a complex task and currently,
among all of the A&A clubs, only DexDex of Spring has a consistently
effective anti-Japan strategy. Everyone occasionally pushes Japan off
the board but that's more as a result of Japan teching in an effort to
save Germany. Slowing Japan is a component of crushing Germany,
but actually setting out to eliminating Japan is a rare strategy style.
To keep things clear, I'll stick with the more direct approach
of going after Germany.
For the allies to win, they must eliminate or completely
contain Germany before Japan can acquire major techs and enough
units to make them effective. Because of infantry push mechanics,
that is to say, the superior defensive capacity of units in the game, it
is more effective to absorb territories than to take them by force.
The First Three Rounds Determines The Winner
In club play, the Axis and Allies is the exact opposite of Larry
Harris' vision. It is not the Axis the must make a move early but rather
the allies. Germany and Japan are weak early and that is when they
must be controlled. Between rounds 1 and 4 Germany doesn't have
the capacity to hold WE and EE while guarding Germany. Plus, they
have not had the benefit of several rounds of African IPC control. It is
during this time that the allies must make their move or face a strong
probability of defeat.
A. EE is the Game
Locking down EE is the key to defeating Germany. In addition
to the six IPC swing from losing EE and not being able to trade
Ukraine, eventually it will result in the trading of another six IPC in SE.
Lastly, it will allow the allies to eventually take SE and lastly WE. This
encirclement is necessary to complete the destruction of a skilled Axis
player. The allies can move into SE before they have enough to hold
for certain. They just need enough that Germany will be decimated in
the attack. This will allow the allies to lock down WE. In addition, the
allies get a much better trade rate than they would in an attack. They
may still be losing more IPC value but it's nothing like it would be if
those units had been present for the final defense of German. See IPC
recapture below.
B. North Sea is Critical for Axis
By using openings that force Germany to leave the North Sea
alive, UK2/R3 becomes the perfect opportunity. In cases where
Ukraine or a Ukraine counter did not go terribly wrong, Russia can
keep Germany from moving into EE by threatening with all units
available. Do not take Finland with USSR if you have the opportunity
to lock down EE! When you see the USSR sending 4 or more infantry
to Finland on R2, you can relax as axis. That simple act often means
victory for the Axis. Every single unit is key in making a Russian
threat on EE real. If Germany can move into EE on G2, on G3 the ftrs
can land. After than Germany just gets stronger while UK and USSR
get relatively weaker. If UK can move in 5 units on UK2 or 8 units on
UK 3 followed by the USSR units and two USA ftrs, a German counter
will leave only a few armor behind. Not only will the armor be
destroyed but also USA will lock down WE. Result: early death for the
Axis.
From the Axis perspective, you've got to figure out a way to
get the Russians to let you hit the North Sea with the Spain sub. Two
in EE generally ensures this. Unless you have an 18 bid, that means a
two ftr swing in Asia. Japan will lose a ftr in Manch and won't be able
to kill the USA ftr in China is the allies successfully run Manch/Kwang,
the "Kwang Surprise". Two rounds later the allies will have 8 trans,
6ftrs and two bombers threatening Germany. That means that EE is
going down. Next time you hear some A&A guru say, "Let them run
Kwang, I will kill all the Russian units. It's a trap I set as Axis," take a
look at that player's Axis record against opponents of his own rate.
Putting one in Kwang is generally needed to prevent or discourage the
dual attacks.
As for myself, I always put at least one unit in EE for the following
reasons:
1. Two inf or even one in EE will often force Russia to retreat if
the battle in Ukraine goes poorly. An extra ftr will allow Germany
to hold EE on G1, pure paradise for an Axis player.
2. It is generally not the best choice to go after the North Sea if
you don't have a sub to send. That extra transport just isn't
worth it. You may as well hit the Med BB instead which means
you can't land the ftrs in EE and must pull out for a round even if
things went will in Ukraine. Hence, the need to encourage
Russia to send the sub/trans to the Baltic.
3. As noted in 2., EE helps establish the North Sea attack.
a. The North Sea attack is important because; first it prevents
UK from clearing Finland and encourages Russia to do it - thus
removing enough forces to allow Germany to control EE from G2
on; and secondly because it will sometimes even allow Germany
to hold both WE and EE on G1 because the ftrs can land in EE.
b. It sets up a situation where UK will be tempted to trade BB
for BB forcing them to buy a CV. That slows down UK by a two
rounds of action. Why spend 8 on a blocker for the UK BB? If
you're Russia, you want Germany shipping guys to Africa. You'll
have EE from R3 on.
c. It allows Germany to threaten the USA trans. If the Russian
sub went Baltic, the USA must hold back a trans or risk getting
bitten. If possible, this should be used in conjunction with taking
Hawaii in Asia. It will often motivate USA not to buy any trans
USA 1. -Critical for not getting forced out of EE.
4. Germany must get off to a solid start. After G3-G5, German
defenses are set; in addition Japanese ftrs should have arrived.
Early, Germany is struggling to hang on. It's great to have Africa
but if you've lost WE or EE in the process the points you're
gaining in Africa will be more than offset.
C. Long Term Implications of Not Taking EE Early
If the allies do not take EE early, by round 7 Germany will
have enough units in Europe that the eventual capture of Germany will
require a minimum of six additional rounds just to ship in the
attackers. -And that's assuming no trading loses for allies! Often this
delay will result in Russia being traded for Germany. This is a good
deal except that Japan will have numerous units on the board and will
be able to tech heavily. To liquidate Germany early it is often good to
ignore all but the four western most African territories and drop every
other available unit into EE or Spain. The 12 IPC gained for trading
WE and SE will offset the IPC loss of eastern Africa: 8 IPCs. In
addition, it will bleed off some of Germany's units making the final
capture of Germany easier.
Spanking the baby: Germany is like a little infant that quickly
grows up to be a gnarled old man. Don't let Germany get away with
saving three IPC to mess around in Sweden or buying a sub to block
the UK BB on G1. The two extra units missing from Europe should be
enough to force Germany out of EE early if Ukraine went normally:
especially since UK didn't need to buy a capital ship! If Germany
wants to do anything other that play conservative, make sure you put
so much pressure on WE and EE that they'll be shipping units to
Europe from Africa, not the other way around.
When ever someone tells you, "I think it's great when the
allies put everything into Europe, Africa stays mine and Russia must
face Japan alone," look at their Axis record against players of their
own rate. It won't be good even if that person is highly skilled.
D. Resource Allocation and Misdirection
I. Africa
Per Russell's GOA corner, use trans to hold Africa and don't
give up Egypt to the Allies until very late. This is only partially for
IPCs.
It's primarily for timing and misallocation of resources. Africa
is a con game; don't fall for it as allies if you can lock down Europe
quickly. Otherwise as allies, you've got to get units into position
quickly and do an all armor buy timed with moving the AF in position
to hit Egypt EARLY.
Frequently, as Axis, you can bait the allies into sending as
many as 80 IPC worth of units to take back Egypt, sometimes much
more. This is only possible if they didn't position themselves to hit it
hard early. That is why being able to hit the North Sea is so critical.
I'm almost to the point of recommending an all German bid for this
reason. ie 2 EE, 3 Lybia, or 5 Lybia. For the time being, I still
recommend a 3/1/1 variation. 2 inf and armor in Africa, 1 EE, 1
Kwang. The reason for placing the armor in Africa is simple. It reduces
the odds of UK getting 3 hits by 3%; from 6% to 3%. If you don't
place it there, 1 in 20 games, UK will be able to easily counter Egypt.
Since I recommend using a BB trade opening, this means certain
defeat for Axis baring abnormally good tech rolls.
Kwang/Manch, the "Kwang Surprise" is brutal but if you can get
off to a good start as Germany, the Axis is still in a position to win.
The two fighter swing and severe IPC loss hurts but not as much as
having Germany surrounded by G5. Pick your poison, EE threat or
Kwang. Much of it depends on knowing how aggressive your opponent
is. Alternatively, learn to play allies well enough to ensure your
opponents give an 18 bid. If you follow the recommendations in this
article and go after Germany early, you'll get a good record no matter
how skilled your opponent is with Axis. Eventually, they'll start giving
up the big bids.
Back to misdirection. The Axis is much more mobile and can
control Africa more easily. I'm assuming that Japan has gone with a
trans strategy. IC's can be very useful using this method if they are
placed in FIC and then India. Still, this should only be done in games
you're clearly winning. You won't have the IPCs to place units, roll
tech, and defend your ICs as Japan. Plus it makes it much easier for
the allies to counter your tech. Late game, the allies can roll 12 dice
per turn to catch up. Southern ICs not only back Russia off but they
allow direct shipment of units to Egypt. Don't put an IC in Manch until
you're going for the kill. It is a total waste. The FIC IC is much more
critical for position control and going for the IPC. Don't place an India
IC until you've got a very strong position in Asia or you've got a shot
at IPC. India can hit Persia, which is key for the IPC. The allies will
come after it if Japan is week, so watch out. Again, the ICs also set the
axis up to have their tech countered so weigh the risks.
The southern IC's help prevent Persian Push type tactics.
With Germany controlling Africa with Japan's assistance, they can
maintain enough pressure on Karelia to prevent the massive UK
movement to Persia that is necessary for the Push to work. It's a
system that must tie together. i.e., Triangulation.

Japan helps
Germany stay in Africa and by doing so, Germany has the strength to
pressure Karelia enough that Japan can continue to do so.


Eventually the system breaks down as Karelia become
impregnable. By this time, Japan should be making about 43+ a turn,
Germany should be defensively set and Africa should be well
defended.
Much of the Egypt defense is in the form of ftrs that can
evacuate quickly and it leaves the allies with a 20 or more units that
are 4 rounds away from anywhere of major influence.

That is huge. If the allies have fallen for the bait, stay conventional as Axis and you
should be in position to take Russia. If not, the IPC situation and
stable German defense will allow for exorbitant tech rolling. If the
allies are going all out for Germany, you'll need to avoid taking risks
with Germany and may be forced to ball up. Even so, Japan will have
numerous rounds to tech and the allies won't be able to counter
because of the lack of Japanese ICs. To take Germany out, the allies
must sacrifice significant gains because of IPC recapture.


II. Spain
Running the Spain Gambit, or "Spanish Harlem" as it is
occasionally called, is really tricky and can be a bad trap for the allies
if done incorrectly. You must have one of two things working for you.
Either A, you took Africa early as allies, in which case Spain is a great
move; or B, you are pressuring Germany with Russian armor to keep
Germany from loading WE heavily. This will allows USA to move in
early. Combined with a move to SE on the previous turn, this is
devastating. USSR can move into WE to lock it down for USA. USA
puts in an IC and Germany will be done quickly.
On the other hand, if Japan has enough units in Novo that
Russia is paralyzed and UK must send reinforcements each round,
Spain is not a good idea. It may allow the allies to weakly hold EE but
frequently you'll see 120 IPC worth of USA units trapped there until
very late game. Eventually, those USA units will be useful but for
several rounds they are just sitting there. The axis will have Africa and
Japan will be pulling in almost 50 IPC a turn for several rounds. By the
time USA has the strength to force it's way into WE, Germany will
have 60+ units in defense. Japan will either be able to make a move
on Russia or will be able to tech for many rounds and still have a
powerful ground force in the form of the retreated Novo units.
E. IPC Recapture.
To clear out Germany, the allies must waste several rounds of
production. Unless overwhelming force can be used, the attacker loses
a tremendous amount of IPC in units.
Plus, ground units that have moved significant distance must
be wasted. If Germany is curled up late game with 70 units and 6 ftrs,
one nation will need to amass 1bmb, 2ftr, 22 armor and 58 infantry to
take her. That's 284 IPC worth of ground units. Since more than one
nation must make the attack, it actually far higher than that! Just
shipping them in takes long enough to ensure that Russia is
threatened and Japan has all techs.

Also, Germany is strong enough
that they can shift back and forth crushing units, sometimes at a three
to one ratio, recapturing even more IPCs. Losing 11 infantry in
exchange for 4 is the same as having Russia heavy bombed to zero for
a round. Generally however, power retreats are not good for Germany
unless they can kill at a very significant ratio. Those extra defenders
will make killing Germany very taxing.
When the allies take down Germany, they will be spent. The
same is generally not true of Japan because the size of the armies
involved is smaller and Japan has units in reserve that are slowly
moving to the front. Even so, Japan is losing units that have advanced
3 to 4 rounds worth of distance! When they are spent, it will be a while
before they will be able to move enough units into Europe to have any
meaning.
Late game, Germany will often have enough to safely hold
two territories using a weak or strong side defense. Clarification:
Placing all armor and enough infantry/ftrs to keep then safe on one
side with a stack of infantry in the middle, thus threatening allied units
on the other side. Shifting left to right will keep the allies out of
position for several rounds and also allow for tremendous IPC
recapture. It is more critical to hold WE than EE when doing this as
Germany. It forces the USA to land in Spain or go all the way around
to EE.
Here is a specific example: If the allies have left infantry
holding down SE and have sent the Russian armor to fight Japan, you
can shift into EE with a large force and leave a small one to defend
Germany. This places pressure on Karelia while at the same time
threatening WE. This threat prevents a major move into WE unless the
IC in SE is given up. Even if a few armor are in Karelia, it won't be
able to hit Germany so few troops can be left there and the bulk can
be put in EE. This defense requires an odds calc to run properly.


You shut down such defenses as allies by buying a few armor
with Russia when you make the move into EE. It prevents many of the
defensive counters, especially the center press defense. This is where
Germany gives up WE and moves all units into SE and Germany. If
Russia has not placed significant armor in Karelia, Germany can threat
EE and WE with every single unit without risking SE or Germany. Don't
allow the German player to do this.
As a final note on this subject, it is often better to simply
surround Germany then hit Japan with everything. Germany will only
be adding 3 units a turn assuming that USA isn't bombing them to 0.
By sending every available unit to hit Japan, it limits the tech that can
be rolled an also limits the effectiveness of any tech acquired. Japan
has fewer IPCs, fewer ground units, more targets to hit, more
positions to defend, inability to divert units to distract or threaten USA,
etc..
F. Planning One Round Ahead
You're not expected to be Yuri Geller; but you should
calculate your moves one round in advance. If Germany couldn't hit
the North Sea and you've made an early dump into Africa, following it
up with an all-armor buy may not be a bad idea. You'll be able to hit
Africa on UK 4 with 4/5/2/1 assuming a ftr was lost killing the German
trans. You may even want to buy a bomber on the round that the
armor lands in Algeria if two ftrs were lost. This will be followed by a
USA hit (if properly timed) of 6/4/2/1 on USA 4. The Axis cannot resist
those attacks that early in the game. That's another reason why North
Sea is so critical. Everything must tie together for a strategy to work
against a good player. Although it may seem like a stupid move,
allowing the German BB/trans to be destroyed by the second UK BB is
often worth it. It sets UK back by two rounds on the Africa move. This
is enough time for Japan to get into position to hold.


From the Allied perspective, calculate what German could
throw against Karelia a round in the future. If Germany has all of it's
armor, ftrs, and just a handful of infantry in WE when you're going
after Japan with Russia, don't underestimate what Germany could do
next round. Your opponent is setting up to hit Karelia. He's going to
buy all armor, give up WE and shift every available unit to EE. That is
a lot of firepower. Frequently when you move the armor/ftrs to WE as
Axis, the allied player will see that there is no pressure on Karelia and
send a significant force to Asia and Africa. To make matters worse,
they'll often set up a situation where the UK ftrs must support the
advanced USSR army. I see this all the time and it is the worst thing
possible. Don't be one of those guys crying dice when you see a stack
of German armor in Karelia because you weren't planning ahead in a
game that you were winning. If you are pushing Japan back, don't
screw it up by giving Germany a chance to put Axis back in the game.
Alternatively, if you're doing the march to Caucus, be sure you
purchased and positioned the Japanese armor properly in advance. -
Whether moving the armor to Caucus in support or simply to Novo,
you've got to have the timing set.
As either an Axis or Allied player, the keys to winning are timing
attacks in advance, working as a collective, and holding key locations.
Triangulate, absorb, and destroy.


RobertBrink
Periodic Spring GOA
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