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I haven't played Axis & Allies in a while, and I'm currently getting my butt handed to me in an online match (partly due to a failed Kwabang attack).

I've got what I feel is a solid grip on Russia and US strategies (build tons of infantry, and put pressure on Africa and the Pacific, respectively), but I'm rusty on my U.K. strategies.

Assuming that Germany has taken out the U.K. fleet, and still has a strong fleet/air force available, what are the best opening moves for the U.K.?

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Are you asking generally across all editions or one in particular? They are very different from each other –  quinestor Feb 14 '13 at 21:30
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8 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I think there are three basic strategies for the UK:

  • Focus on India - with this approach, the UK cedes Africa to Germany. On the first turn, the UK builds a factory in India and uses its transport to move its two troops in Egypt to India, as well as the Egyptian tank and Syrian infantry into Persia (to move into India next turn). The fighters that start in the UK are moved to Karelia and then to India. For this tactic to work, UK must build troops and tanks in India each turn and continually harass Japan in Burma.

  • Focus on Africa - here, UK cedes India to Japan and focuses on holding Africa. UK starts by moving her troops and fighter from India into Egypt. Sometimes people will build a factory in South Africa when going with this approach.

  • Ignore Africa and India in the Early Game - with this approach UK does not build any factories. Some players build a bomber the first turn to have two bombers to take out the German fleet in the Mediterranean. Others build nothing the first turn, saving it for a carrier and transports for turn two. The general strategy here is to bide your time, prepare for a joint invasion of Africa and/or France with the US, and then make your move. In this approach, Germany will usually take Africa early on (although they won't hold it presuming their navy has been sunk) and Japan will take India early (and will hold all of Asia for most of the game).

The Focus on India approach is designed to slow Japan down, to make her focus on building up forces and taking India rather than moving west toward Moscow. Against weaker players you may be able to force Japan off Asia from this factory (with reinforcement fighters from UK via Karelia), but against stronger players the factory is doomed.

The Focus on Africa approach is aimed at bottling Germany up in Europe. This works best if you still have your Med sub after turn one and if you were fortunate enough to take out a number of German fighters when they attacked the UK sea zone. With this approach you need to kill off the German Med navy ASAP and then reclaim Africa from within. This almost always works against weaker players, and usually works if Germany has poor roles at the beginning. If Germany had decent rolls and the player is good, you're going to lose your South African factory sooner than later.

Personally, I prefer and usually play the Ignore Africa and India in the Early Game, especially if I'm going against someone who is a strong player. With this approach you don't spend any additional money or time on India or Africa in the early game. Instead, you build transports, a carrier, and coordinate with the US to take Africa back later (after the German Med navy is destroyed) via landing at Algeria from Spain Sea Zone. With this tactic you are letting Japan have Asia without much effort, so you'll need to make sure Russia heavily fortifies her capital and ensure that the US/UK can get their troop pipeline into Karelia going sooner than later.

If you haven't yet read Don's Axis and Allies Strategic Essays, I heartily recommend them. They give a good overview of the Axis and Allies primary goals and tactics, and then delve into suggested opening moves and game-long plans for each power. (Don is a proponent of the Focus on India strategy for the UK.)

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Focus on India: I've had luck (in the right circumstances) with building an American factory in Sinkiang as well. As long as you're sure Japan can't take it that next turn, the two extra tanks per turn in Asia along with the Indian British, can work wonders. I've pushed Japan on mainland China before completely with this strategy. –  Adam Wuerl Jan 9 '11 at 4:20
    
Focus on Africa: As Germany, I not only counter this strategy but virtually guarantee holding Africa for a while by buying a 2nd Med transport on my first turn. The ability to dump 4 inf or 1 tank/4inf early can easily overwhelm the British units stationed there and can probably over-run a South African factory as well. The investment pays for itself with the extra African IPCs integrated over the 3 or 4 turns you can hold it. Even better, if American and the UK focus on taking back Africa from the Atlantic, that's less pressure on Europe and more time for the Axis ground game to mature. –  Adam Wuerl Jan 9 '11 at 4:23
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@Adam: I agree that the Focus on Africa approach is doomed if Germany has a strong Med naval presence. But if the UK battleship and/or sub in the Med survive, that plus a bomber can probably take out at least both transports. –  Scott Mitchell Jan 9 '11 at 21:36
    
@adam I agree with you that Germany is basically "renting" Africa (and its IPCs). This, of course, is for the purpose of getting enough of an edge on Russia. Then it becomes a race between whether Germany can take Moscow before the Allies get back Africa. Germany and Japan start with 57 IPCs (55 if you remove the two in Africa). The Axis overrun Russia, +24 IPCs and the Allies get Africa. 55+24=79 plus, presumably Sinkiang and China for 83. One more IPC (even Hawaii or New Zealand) gives the Axis EV84. –  Tom Au Jun 2 '11 at 17:23
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Britain is challenging to play because it has three basic strategies:

  1. Land-based: Build a factory in South Africa or India. It's hard to get U.K. ground units into the game except through that way.

  2. Air based: Use (and build) bombers for strategic bombing, and hope to cripple the German economy. The downside is that this might not matter if Germany gets enough extra IPCs by conquering Africa. That's unless you get heavy bombing, which means spending IPCs on research.

  3. Seabased: Build battleships to replace units lost in the early going, and sweep the seas of Axis shipping, to provide support for American land and air operations in the Mediterranean.

None of these strategies is totally compelling, meaning that fate depends largely on Russia and the U.S. UK is arguably the hardest country to play: Lots of IPCs to start, but hard to come to grips with the enemy.

And see my piece on the "Kwabang" attack. The British player will suffer even if it SUCCEEDS. In most cases, it's a "sucker" play.

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The more I play the less I like UK building factories. For the SA factory, a skilled German player will have their own troops running the factory within 3-5 turns. For an India factory, a skilled and patient Japanese player will have it in 4-8 turns, and to reinforce the Indian factory the UK must cede Africa to Germany for the early game. –  Scott Mitchell May 31 '11 at 22:48
    
@scott I think you're right on the money. Alert Axis players can capture both factories (rather than build their own), making them NEGATIVE contributors. That's why I mentioned the alternative land-based and sea-based strategies. –  Tom Au May 31 '11 at 23:31
    
Depending on the edition, but for 1941-1942 (the current 'standard') I'd say that factory in India only makes sense to relieve russia an doesnt make sense if US doesnt focus on japan AND russia had at least an acceptable round one. Factory in SA is in my view bad for every strategy: takes too long to do anything –  quinestor Feb 14 '13 at 21:36
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The best strategy for the Axis is to focus on Russia. If you take Russia you win. Germany must take out UK sea to defend against a back door attack, that way all the tanks and infantry can overwhelm Russia. Japan must buy Industrial Complexes on 2 of the 3 Asia lands, buy tanks there and use transports to bring in all infantry from the islands and also take out Pearl Harbor sea on the first turn.

The only way the Allies can beat this is if they focus on Germany. Russia builds a lot to slow them down assuming they can't attack first turn, and the Allies must get a foot hold on Germany that causes him to fight a two front war. Russia move sea to UK territory, and UK buys an aircraft carrier with 2 planes, then load up on the transports when you know you can defend against Germany's air. US build up transports and infantry so that once UK breaks Western Germany's line and gets a foot, US can add on with lots of infantry and fighters. If Germany is not harassed on the west boarder then Russia will be easy once Japan arrives.

The extra money from Africa is nice but don't put any extra resources in taking it for that will only take away your chance for taking Germany or hurt Germany's chance for taking Russia.

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The question is for UK strategies, not Axis strategies. –  LittleBobbyTables Feb 14 '13 at 16:38
    
Answers are answers. If you don't like the answer, downvote. –  Robert Harvey Feb 14 '13 at 22:12
    
@LittleBobbyTables - I've raised your flag dispute on meta here. –  ire_and_curses Feb 14 '13 at 22:19
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This answer hypothesizes Axis strategies, then explores UK strategies to beat them. That's "good enough" for an answer. –  Tom Au Feb 14 '13 at 22:31
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I like the method of just doing what you can in Africa and India without committing to a factory or additional resources. You will lose both soon but it is better to invest the money into a navy that can escort troops onto mainland Europe. Instead of dividing your forces and leaving small battles up to chance, concentrate your forces in one area such as a UK invasion of Western Europe, followed by a US occupation. Or use the UK to invade and hammer Easter Europe and let the Russians through unscathed and ready to hammer the capital. In my opinion the Allies have it so much better because they can coordinate and concentrate their military offensives and defense whereas the Axis really can't until they meet in Asia.

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Welcome to B&CG! –  Pat Ludwig Jun 12 '13 at 20:52
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I won a local A&A event with my German and Japanese blitz tactic.

Japan

  1. DO NOT Pearl Harbor. Consolidate your whole Navy at Japan. Buy infantry and transports until you are certain you can take India.
  2. Take India.
  3. Move the Japanese fleet with some infantry to Alaska to throw America off; they will freak out for a couple of turns.
  4. Buy nothing but tanks and 1 bomber every turn. Industrial Bomb Russia every turn. Suicide attack russia with tanks every turn over and over; they cannot afford the loss.

Germany

  1. Destroy the British Navy; you can do this without losing fighters.
  2. Try to take Africa with the transport in the Med. Sea. Don't spend too much energy; you cannot hold it very long but the temp. IPCs help.
  3. Consolidate all of your tanks, fighters, bomber and infantry on Eastern Europe, leaving about 5 infantry on Western Europe to prevent an easy take over. Begin buying all infantry every turn moving your Eastern Europe army one space a turn with 1 pile of infantry behind it. Do not worry about Karelia yet.
  4. When you reach Moscow, attack Karalia, then rotate between retaking Karelia or Ukraine over and over, never attacking Moscow directly. Once they quit trying to retake those two territories start attacking Moscow but retreat after the first attack never allowing your tanks and aircraft to get hit. NEVER split your force to hold both Karelia and Ukraine; the point is to sucker them in to losing the money and a few infantry every turn trying to retake it. Then reinforce the army with the infantry moving one space a turn from Germany. The combination of attacking once, retreating and reinforcing every turn is devastating to Russia. This allows Germany and Japan to starve Russia of money and they cant hold out very long. The long term game is in the Allied favor they have 3 turns to your 2 with more money.

The key to the strategy is an early taking of India by Japan by not doing the "Pearl Harbor" and using the Navy to take India. This allows Japan to expand quickly and to starve Russia and to Industrial Bomb Russia and attack with tanks. Usually 1 bomber 2 tanks from India every turn. If you can afford it make a factory and do the same in Burma.

Germany just acts like a battering ram of infantry; sooner or later they're going to get in and it's game over.

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Welcome to the site and thanks for the answer! It looks like the question's asking specifically about UK strategies though. You should feel free to edit and improve upon your answer if you want to better answer the question. –  Johno Jun 25 '13 at 8:21
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I disagree with Jhono about doing "Pearl Harbor." Losing the Japanese Navy is a gamble. Sure, it destroys the American fleet but then Japan has to take the land road to India or leave India all together. America can rebuild it's navy easily, while Japan cannot. India can be a deadly threat to Russia by landing fighters directly into Moscow. My friend does this; he flies fighters in from India to Moscow. Try taking Moscow with 30+ infantry defending at 2 and 10+ UK fighters defensing at 4. It's not GONNA HAPPEN. My opinion is India is the make or break for the Axis. Leaving it buys time for the Allies which will win them the game. India can be taken on turn 3 with the whole Japanese air force, navy and some infantry on transports. Once India is out of the way Japan cannot be stopped and Russia is dead before it even knows it.

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OH my bad just realized he wanted UK only. UK is the most under rated player in Axis. Impossible to take over great at support and can pull off some good surprise assaults. And can keep Japan at bay by itself. India is UK's ace up it's sleeve. My friend and i like to fly fighters in from India to Moscow until there is about 10. then switch to industrial bombing Germany and buying bombers and late game buying Navy and attack Germany.

  1. Destroy the German Navy.

  2. With America and UK help get Germany out of Africa Germany cannot hold it and beat Russia they will be force to buy navy to keep Africa and it buys the Russia too much time.

  3. use your transports in Australia to move the infantry from Australia to India then use the transport to move UK infantry from Africa to India.

  4. Once your certain you can hold India buy an industrial complex there.

  5. buy 2 fighters and 1 infantry every turn if money allows ( always buy as many fighters as you can in India and move them to Moscow every turn) this creates a brick wall in Russia that sets the game up for a long game in Allied favor.

  6. once Russia is safe with about 10 or so UK fighters there switch to Bombers and Industrial Bomb Germany every turn once you get about 4-6 bombers the effect is devastating. The anti aircraft can sometimes get lucky and shoot down 3 or so but still keep buying Bombers.

  7. I buy 1 bomber a turn with America to help UK industrial Bomb as well. Once Germany is feeling the pain of industrial bombing start buying Navy with America while still buying Bombers with UK and 1 Bomber with America. As Soon as America has a Navy at UK buy nothing but transports and infantry with UK and America and attack western Europe you can use the bombers to attack at 4 and use the infantry as cannon fodder. Its just a matter of time for the Allied 3 turn advantage to win. Germany cannot take Russia due to the industrial bombings and constant western Europe attacks with Bombers and Infantry from UK and America And Russia is sitting Pretty with 50 infantry and 10+ UK fighters. Once Germany is Getting Beat down UK can switch and use the fighters against Japan as well late game. But we usually Concede if either the Allies take Germany or the Axis Take Russia.

Really the Key is for UK to Use the transport at Australia and use the infantry in Australia and Africa (once Germany has been removed from Africa) to secure India. India is the Key for the Allies it stops Japan from focusing on Russia and keeps the Axis from getting Africa and can fortify Moscow with UK fighters without having to go through anti aircraft in Karelia.

that's how i play UK enjoy

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For Japan, I take a hybrid approach. I consolidate the Navy around Japan adding two transports. I send 8 infantry at a time with the 5 fighters and bomber to aid in devastating attack. My first goal (2nd round) is "Fortress Mongolia". This position allows attack to nearly anywhere in Asia. Its the Karelia of east asia. Works better to take sinkiang and India than going through China. Its also great defensively because the allies have to pay for the privilidge to attack it. The Russians are too broke to pay the nuetrality violation and I beg the US to pay the fine to attack my 8+ infantry and 5 fighters. About the 4th round, I buy an additional bomber and use both to industrial bomb russia. Same for germany 4th round. At that point russia doesn't have the IPCs to defend with against the japanese infantry/ fighter push. If Japan uses this plan, Germany destroys the allied Atlantic fleet, dedicating all of the luftwaffe for Atlantic defense, takes egypt, and buys med fleet 1st round. 2nd and third round it romps Africa abroad while in Europe It buys only troops and retreats, goading russia to go after it. By third round, germany has also taken Brazil (out of reach of allied bombers) and dominates the atlantic. 4th round transfers 2 fighters to it. The key for Germany is steal the southern IPCs from the allies, sink anything they put in the Atlantic, and hold off the Russians til Japan gets there. Its sort of the allied plan against germany, but in reverse.

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This is a good answer, but the question is about UK strategies, not Japan strategies. If you'd like to contribute to Japan strategies, look at questions like this one: boardgames.stackexchange.com/questions/4943/… –  Paul Marshall Sep 20 '13 at 18:24
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