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In Axis and Allies (original version), the basically maritime powers, the US and UK have a problem coming to grips with the land-based Axis. One solution is for them to buy industrial complexes in strategic locations to launch military units later in the game.

Typically, the UK might build a "factory" in India or South Africa, and the US in Sinkiang, west of China. The Sinkiang Factory has a few disadvantages.

  1. It can launch only two units per turn.
  2. It is directed against Japan (the lesser evil).
  3. It can be captured, making it an Axis asset.
  4. It's unrealistic, because Sinkiang is a landlocked territory that consists of Tibet and the Taklamakan desert, which is not exactly prime industrial property, even today. I'd solve this problem by allowing factory builds only in coastal areas (e.g. India, South Africa, Brazil).

An American factory in Brazil seems to have it all over Sinkiang.

  1. It can produce three units per turn
  2. It is directed against the Germans (in Africa)
  3. It won't be captured unless the U.S. player is extremely careless, not merely "unlucky."
  4. An American transport in African waters can go offshore Brazil, pick up two infantry, back to Africa and unload the infantry all in one turn. (It takes two turns for a round trip from Africa to the U.S.) That's an average savings of one infantry per turn, which will pay for a factory in five turns.

In real life, the U.S. built the beginnings of an industrial complex in Brazil, and failed to build one in interior China.

As a US player, do you build factories at all? And whether you answered yes or no, is Brazil a better bet than Sinkiang? Or am I missing something?

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You've asked some good A&A questions but you should really specify which A&A version you are referring to. The rules are different enough that advice for one version may be useless in another. –  juan2raid Jun 1 '11 at 18:52
    
@juan2raid: I'm using the "original" version. –  Tom Au Jun 1 '11 at 22:08
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I can't imagine an instance where a US factory in Brazil makes much sense. Let's look at the supposed advantages one by one:

  1. It can produce THREE units per turn - Yes, but the troops are not in a strategic position. The only territories to which you could move the units and not move your transports out the way is to: French West Africa; French Equatorial Africa; and Belgian Congo.

  2. It is directed against the GERMANs (in Africa) - Yes, but unless Germany has some lucky dice rolls, you should have them hemmed into mainland Europe by turn 3 to 5. If you let Germany hold Africa for any significant amount of time, the Allies are fighting an uphill battle.

  3. It won't be captured unless the U.S. player is extremely careless, not merely "unlucky." - True, that is a benefit over a factory in Sinkiang, whose sole purpose it seems is to help hold back Japan's march into Asia.

  4. An American transport in African waters can go offshore Brazil, pick up two infantry, back to Africa and unload the infantry all in one turn. - True again: it only requires one turn to shuck troops from Brazil to Africa. However, it's also only one turn to shuck troops from Eastern Canada to Algeria (see the "shuck-shuck" from Don Rae's excellent essays on Allied strategy). The East Canada transport basing has the benefit of being able to attack Africa on turn 2 or 3 (just like best-case Brazil), but it also leaves the transports in position to support Finland or Western Europe instead. This is especially important because it allows the Allies to obfuscate their intended point of attack and/or change it on a whim based on Axis play. Once the shuck is set up troops hit the Europe or Africa every turn.

It seems to me that the sole advantage of a factory in Brazil is to take Africa from Germany. But it's a slow and costly way to do it.

My Approach to Claiming Ally Control of Africa

Here's my strategy to quickly secure Africa from Germany's grip:

  1. On turn 1, the UK needs to sink as many German naval units as possible. If you're lucky, you'll have a sub, transport and/or battleship left that you can use to attack/as fodder, but even minus that you likely can use your Indian or UK fighters and UK bomber. The idea is to eliminate the German navy ASAP. This needs to be one of the Allies powers' early game goals.

  2. Cede India and go into Africa hard. Depending on the Med. naval situation and how many troops are on the ground in Africa, as UK I'll typically reinforce (or retake) Egypt using my troop in Iraq and two in India.

  3. Once the UK/USA navy has secured the Atlantic and are sitting in the UK sea zone, have UK move its transports into the Spain Sea zone and drop off at least four infantry. The US needs to follow suit on its turn to protect those transports from the German air force, dropping more troops into Algeria.

Everything hinges on eliminating that German navy sooner rather than later. If you let the German Med. navy sit around past the early game it can be difficult to combat Germany's growing industrial capabilities thanks to the extra 11 IPC they're getting per turn by holding Africa.

But What If the Allies Don't Take Africa Early?

But what if the Allies don't take Africa in the early game? What if the UK pulls her African corp to India? What then?

I still hold that a Brazilian factory is out of the way and not as logistically efficient as transports in the Spain Sea zone. For starters, you need to commit and move transports into the South Atlantic. This takes those transports out of the North Atlantic, where they can help protect the UK and USA navies that should be focusing on dumping wave after wave of infantry into Finland en route to Karelia.

US transports are ideally situated in the North Atlantic because it allows them the greatest range of options. From the UK sea zone the US can drop troops into:

  • Finland
  • Western Europe
  • UK

They can move to Spain Sea zone and still in one turn send troops to:

  • Western Europe
  • Spain
  • Algeria

The North Atlantic allows the most range of motion and allows the Allies to project their will into Europe and Africa. From Brazil, the Allies are limited to just Africa, albeit a with a wider choice of landing zones. But I argue it's best to keep the US/UK navies together in the Northern Atlantic so that they can project their will together and so that they present a less appealing target for the German air force.

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Your answer has merit if everything goes the way you say. But suppose UK abandons Africa in favor of a factory in India. Then a factory in faraway Brazil is of more value than one in nearby Sinkiang. And suppose the UK gets the worst of the early naval air battles so Germany dominates the Med until the U.S. battle fleet arrives from the Pacific. Then you want to get an early start on Africa (turns 2-3) rather than a late start in Europe (turns 4-5). Perhaps the best answer is which factory to build depends on what happens elsewhere. –  Tom Au Jun 1 '11 at 22:17
    
@Tom: I updated my answer to address some of your concerns. And building the factory in Brazil still chews up 15 IPC (or 5 troops) and requires two transports to shuttle troops over to Africa. I'd rather have those boats in the Northern Atlantic to help reinforce Russia and present a threat to a Western Europe landing. –  Scott Mitchell Jun 1 '11 at 22:25
    
@Scott: Maybe it's because I'm using the old game and map. It's a one way trip the first time. But then the transport starts offshore Africa, one sea zone to Brazil, picks up 2 Brazilian infantry, back to Africa and unloads, all in one turn. A transport can go from offshore east coast U.S. TWO sea zones and unload in Algeria, but requires a whole turn to get back. Strangely enough, offshore Brazil is only two sea zones away from Spain or Algeria, just like the east coast US, meaning that it is easy to switch gears after the Germans are "out of Africa." –  Tom Au Jun 1 '11 at 23:11
    
@Scott: +1 for the epic answer. I can't improve with my own answer so I'm just going to add a rebuttal to benefit #4 in your answer, which wasn't explicit in the original version of the question. I think that's an ideal place to mention Don Rae's famous shuck-shuck. I think this will segue nicely into your discussion of how you use shuck-shuck and land troops in Algeria at the end of your answer. –  Adam Wuerl Jun 1 '11 at 23:33
    
@adam: @scott: It was partly a bad question on my part. Scott made a GREAT case for not building a factory in either Sinkiang OR Brazil. As re-worded, the question is more like: "If you're the type of player who routinely builds a factory in Sinkiang, would you build it in Brazil instead?" (The Americans tried both in "real life.") Or, in present (distinguished) company, if you were giving a "handicap" (against your better judgment) of having to build a factory, would you build it in Sinkiang or BraziL? –  Tom Au Jun 2 '11 at 13:05
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I've been exploring a Brazilian-based U.S. strategy. En route to Africa (initally)

On turn 1, head the two fighters toward South Africa (if the UK builds a factory there), landing in--Brazil. (The fighter from the West Coast will need to pay a 3 IPC penalty for violating Colombian-Venezuelan airspace.) Send the bomber to the UK (for strategic bombing missions).

Build a new bomber on the U.S. east coast and factory in Brazil, plus one infantry. (The remaining 3 IPCs pay for violating neutrality.)

On turn two, send the fighters to protect South Africa, and fly the newly built bomber from the East Coast to Brazil. Build a "package" of one transport and two infantry using Brazil's "allowance" of 3.

On turn three, use the infantry and transport for an amphibious attack on an occupied African territory, supported by the bomber in Brazil. Build another "package" for a similar attack on a more northerly African territory in turn 4. U.S. and U.K should have regained most of Africa by turn 5, especially after the U.S. lands the bomber somewhere in Africa.

Producing 14 IPC "packages" in Brazil turns 2-4 leaves room for similar packages sent to aid Russia further north, or maybe for more aircraft or ship builds for an assault in Europe. Plus the fact that "spare" transports from Brazil can be moved north as well.

By turn 7, the game should be well in hand.

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