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General principles

  • The Allies start the game with the economic advantage; theAxis start with the strategic advantage.
  • If the Axis total production count is lower than 65 at the end of turn 5 or 6, they have a problem. If it's over 70, the Allies have a problem.
  • If a capital is captured, the game is almost over. If the enemy secures it by building in it, it is over.
  • Purchasing is probably the most important aspect of the game.
  • An over-pessimistic attitude will make you lose time; an over-optimistic one will make you lose games.
  • Who lives by the dice shall perish by the dice.


Never look at the game with a ‘US strategy’ or ‘Japan strategy’ or whatever. There is only Axis strategy and Allied strategy; all your moves have to be considered in a global manner; in short, what you do as Germany depends on what you are doing as Japan, and vice-versa. It is even more important when you play the Allies, and this explains why most beginning players tend to think that the reputed slant towards the Allies is overrated. Well, it's not a myth: the game does favor the Allies, and any veteran player will tell you that without some sort of balancing rule, the Axis is doomed to lose about 90% of their games if not more; it's because seasoned players understand how to plan a coordinated attack for the Allies.

Take them out one by one

If you manage to take out one of the opposing countries, the other(s) will generally fold. So the best course of action is to select one and send everything against it. For the Allies, it means either Germany (building american and british convoys in the Atlantic) or Japan (with Allied factories in Asia and a US fleet in the Pacific). For the Axis, it means either USSR (Japan favors the north part of Asia, and Germany concentrates on the Eastern front) or UK (Germany actively tries to take Africa while Japan takes Australia and other isles: the idea is to achieve ‘Magic 84’). Once you pick one, try to stick with it. It does not mean that you should ignore the others, but you have to devote the bulk of your forces in overtaking one of them until it ceases to be a nuisance. Note that while this is not as important for the Axis, it is a crucial part of any Allied overall strategy.

Be adaptable

Strategies saying “send this many infantries” or “attack with that many armour there” are most of the time doomed to failure. An overall strategy is not something written in stone: it has to be adapted according to circumstances, and knowing how to apply a plan, how to adapt it, exactly how much units to send where and when is something that only comes with experience. In a nutshell, if you can't explain why a strategy works, you probably won't be able to use it effectively.

Nominal value versus real value

A battleship sitting idle near Alaska is worth much less than its nominal value. A transport ferrying japanese troops into Asia every turn is worth ten times its nominal value. Another example: a russian transport has been sitting with the rest of the Allied fleet in the UK sea for some turns; the fleet moves to West Spain sea and the player forgets to make the transport follow. Now as the german player you think you might seize the opportunity and attack it. But it is worth it? That transport has been doing nothing, it's not ferrying troops as russia needs all their infantry on the front, and conveying allied troops is not really practical; its actual worth is near zero. So why risk losing one of your immensely precious fighters to take out a useless transport? Come to think about it, you might wonder if the Allied player hasn't actually left it there on purpose as bait. In short, consider the strategic value as well as the economic one when you evaluate the forces; make sure you understand exactly what you stand to lose and what you can gain when planning your attacks.

Know your dead zones

Never move your amour and other expensive units in a territory next to overwhelming enemy forces. Always think of your opponent's potential counter-attacks whenever you plan your own attacks; always try to calculate your gain/loss ratio not only for your turn but your opponent's next turn, and your subsequent counter-attack and so on... This is what dead-zone management is about, and it is the basic principle behind every wargame as well as real-life warfare. This is where economics and logistics step in: attacking left and right will kill you in the long run if you fail to provide for reinforcements.

Never underestimate the power of Murphy's Law

Any attack that has a 80% probability of success is bound to fail 20% of the time. Consider this case: you send 3 inf and 3 ftr against 2 inf. Figuring it's a done deal, you decide to send your bomber to raid on your enemy's factory. But lo and behold, your opponent gets 2 hits on defense, and you only get one, so you got to go through another roll: you kill the infantry but it manages to roll yet another hit, so you fail to conquer the territory (unless you are willing to sacrifice one of your fighters). So where was that bomber? What if you had send it to the attack and it had scored a hit on the first roll? You would have gained the territory and the ipcs that go with it, you would have loss one less infantry, and let's just hope it wasn't gunned down by the anti-aircraft.

Let your hair down

Last but not least, remember to relax. This is just a game after all.


Here are some commonly used terms you'll find on message boards, sites and other places. Some refer to opening moves: those will be marked as (opening).

1-2 Punch: Two allied powers attacking in succession a heavily defended enemy territory (often the capital), before they have a chance to reply. Examples: german forces in Karelia softening Moscow defenses before Japan finishes off; UK and US making successives landings in Western Europe; or the same but in Berlin, followed by russian forces in Eastern Europe (in this case it becomes a 1-2-3 punch).
Autokill: In 2nd edition pbem games, relates to the situation of the german fleet in the Baltic. The act of taking advantage of the default order-of-loss rules by sending 1 fighter, 1 submarine on russia first turn and taking out the german transport as casualty. The russian player then either retreats his sub or takes it as a casualty if the german scored a hit, leaving the fighter to finish off the sub who can't shoot back and has nowhere to go, hence the term ‘autokill’. Usually despised as poor sportsmanship.
Bottom-feeders: Top-rated players that have a tendency to select beginning opponents in order to protect their ratings. Somewhat controversial.
Dead zone: A crucial concept in Axis and Allies or any other wargame: any territory in which an attacker will lose all his forces there from a subsequent counter-attack.
Fortress Europe: A situation where Germany has piled huge number of infantries in the european territories, turning the game into a war of attrition which can last for a very long time(15-20 turns sometimes).
Karelia Crusher: (opening) Or Karelia Killer: An all-out, double-or-nothing german attack on Karelia with everything they have.
Knight fork: When two large infantry forces are stationed in such a way that a pile of armour that is between the two can elect to support either one (example, infantry in Novosibirsk and Karelia, with armour in Russia).
Kwangtung Surprise: (opening) British landing in Kwangtung, using the troops and transport from India
Infantry push mechanics: The theory behind tactics based on shuck-shucks and steam-rollering; based on the idea that infantry gives more attack-defense value for the ipcs than any other unit.
Lunge: Or Magic 84 Lunge. A gambit move from the Axis intended to take as much territories as possible (without hope of holding them in the long run) so as to insure a victory by Magic 84.
Manchuria Strike: (opening) Russian attack on Manchuria
Pearl Harbour: Or just Pearl (opening); Japan's attack of the US fleet in Hawaii.
Picket: Leaving a single infantry in a territory to avoid tank blitzing.
Power Bid: Or Power Europe. An all-european bid for Germany, generally in Eastern Europe.
Shelfing: In pbem games, the act of slowing the rate of your turns from, say, daily to about once every three, four or even five days whenever the game is going badly for you, while keeping a fast pace in games you are winning; the idea is to insure that in the long run, wins will be recorded more often than losses, thus insuring a better record than you really deserve. Universally loathed as despicable behavior.
Sidestep: Or Backstep (opening) The soviets vacating Karelia, leaving only 1 infantry and piling their forces in Caucasus for a counter-attack, or alternatively in Russia.
Shuck-shuck: Also Pipeline. The process of convoying a sizeable number of infantries every turn across the sea into the battlefront; generally referring to Allied convoys in Europe, but can apply to japanese ferrying troops in Asia as well (and occasionally into Africa).
Spanish Harlem: An Allied landing and stockpiling in Spain, in the hope of eventually overtaking Western Europe.
Steam-rollering: The action of trying to overcome your opponent with sheer weight of numbers, with few surprise attacks and as little risk as possible.
Strafe: A special attack made on a heavily defended territory WITHOUT the intention of taking it; meant as an attrition tactic.
Syrian Gambit: (opening) German amphibious assault in Syria, accompanied with an attack in Egypt.


aa: anti-aircraft
ac: aircraft carrier
arm: armour, tank
ads: auto-dice server
bb: battleship
blz: blitz
bmb: bomber
bs: battleship
ftr: fighter
hb: heavy bombers
ic: industrial complex
inf: infantry
ipc: industrial production chart
it: industrial technology
jet: jet fighters
kgf: kill Germany first
kjf: kill Japan first
lra: long-range aircraft
roc: rockets
ool: order of loss
sbr: strategic bombing raid
sub: submarine
ss: super submarines
trn: transport
wd: withdraw

Erwin Rommel

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