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Some Russian players like to send armies east. That is, to reinforce Allied outposts in Sinkiang and India. Maybe attack Manchuria on the first turn, if allowed. The theory is that Russia is strong enough to contain "only." Germany, so the need is to prevent Japan from becoming a swing factor in the game.

Other Russian players will launch spoiling attacks west as soon as allowed. Particularly in Norway, to open a window for Allied reinforcements.

A third strategy is "hedgehog." Push all the infantry into Karelia and Caucasus (roughly 2 to 1 in favor of the former) pull all the planes and tanks into Moscow for counterattack, and a last ditch stand. Then build 8 infantry each turn for about five turns. Here, the big worry is Germany. Let the Allies take care of Japan.

Which strategy do you prefer? East? West? or "Hedgehog?" And why?

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Realistically, Russia can pursue all three options. Barring cataclysmic dice rolls, Russia can defend Karelia against a German offensive for the first three turns without having to reinforce it to the hilt.

When playing Russia my first few turns typically adhere pretty tightly to the following script. (This presumes Russia cannot attack on the opening move.)

  • Turn 1: Buy 8 infantry. Move the Russian fighter to Sinkiang to dissuade Japan from attacking Sinkiang on its opening turn and to give the USA player the option to build a factory (although I'm not a fan of that approach). Move all other possible units into Karelia save for a lone infantry in Caucasus. Place all 8 purchased infantry in Karelia. On the Eastern front, move the tank from Soviet Far East into Novo. Move one troop from Soviet Far East into Yakut. For the troops in Evenki, I either move them to Novo or Yakut. Usually I go to Novo, but if I know the Japanese player is aggressive on his opening move in Asia then I'll move them to Yakut.
  • Turn 2: Buy all infantry. Attack Finland. This is needed for two reasons - an opening for the Allies to start shuck-shucking, and the additional 2 IPCs per turn, which will help once Japan starts pushing into the Eastern Russian territories. Also, most German players will have retreated from Ukraine. If there are no troops there I'll blitz it with a tank from Karelia. If there is just one inf I'll use my Karelia fighter and two infs to take it back. Usually, I'll move the tank in Novo into Karelia on the non-combat phase and the fighter in Sinkiang, although again this depends on Japan's moves, whether UK has built a factory in India, and so on. As with Turn 1, dump all purchased infantry into Karelia.
  • Turn 3: Start operation "hedgehog." Buy all infantry again, move all surviving units from Finland back to Karelia. Take Ukraine back, start retreating troops from the Eastern front, if Japan is strong enough to threaten them.

With my Russian approach it is absolutely vital that the UK and US have, #1, secured Africa, and, #2, have started the troop pipeline into Finland by turn 5. Otherwise, Russia is going to be getting a lot of heat from Japan and will have to start to focus on fortifying Russia instead of Karelia.

All that being said, my main point is that it is possible for Russia to initially fortify in the East, attack Finland in the West, and fortify Karelia in the first few turns.

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I seem to have lost my Russian combat card. I know that their non-land units consist of two fighters, and transport, and a sub. How many 1) infantry and 2) tanks do they get, and where are they located (in the second edition)? –  Tom Au Jun 7 '11 at 20:03
    
@Tom, check out gamesbyemail.com/Games/WW2#Preview - you can see a complete preview of the Axis & Allies 2nd Edition board. (And if you like, you can play a game, too! :-) –  Scott Mitchell Jun 7 '11 at 21:58
    
thank you so much. –  Tom Au Jun 7 '11 at 22:22
    
Sweet. That's pretty much exactly my Russia strategy, although I disagree that US and UK need to have secured Africa any time soon (I couldn't tell when you think that needs to happen). However, I do think shuck better be set up before turn 5. Games where I win with the Axis are typically pretty much over by turn 5. The shuck should be dumping troops into Finland by turn 3 or 4 at the latest. –  Adam Wuerl Jun 8 '11 at 21:14
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You can have an Eastern front attack on Manchuria synchronized with the Allies to wipe out all of Japan/Asia on the third to fourth turn. Turn one, buy two anti-aircraft guns, three guys and a tank. Attack Belorussia with three guys and two fighters, Attack West Russia with four guys, a gun, two tanks. When successful, move anti-aircraft guns to West Russia and Novosibirsk, move two remaining infantry from Russia to Caucasus, move a tank to Kazakh, one tank and one gun to Novosibirsk, two guys from Kazakh and two guys from Novosibirsk to Sinkiang, one guy to Soviet Far East and three guys to Yakut. Land your fighters in Caucasus. Phew.... place two guys and a tank and an a.a. gun in Caucasus and a guy and your last a.a. in Moscow.

Your Allies should build a factory in India, land the US bomber in Yakut s.s.r. US fighters and transport to prepare for an attack on Northern Europe. Secure the easy North Atlantic by the end of the first turn (or at least the second).

Second turn--you now have troops in place to secure Asia by the third or fourth turn. Buy whatever you want from now on and focus on the typical German slug fest. You are defended at home, have comitted a big enough force to make the diference in Asia and it's only the second turn. So... attack China with two tanks and four guys, and two planes if need be. Move the a.a. gun and the force in Novosibirsk into Sinkiang, the force in East Russia to Buryatia and get ready to take Manchuria. You can either hit it the next turn or wait for the remaining force to arrive with the other a.a. gun. By now the US should be able to build two factories and have a force to hit Kwnagtung and UK should be able hit French Indochina. You can hit only one Japan land territory and mass, you can hit the zone with the factory, or you can take a weak sister and build a factory there. Use your Asia allies to help destroy those lonely transports, have one ally clear the way for the next to hit a weak factory (if there is one). Don't forget, from Yakut the US bomber can hit either Norway or anywhere in Asia on the second turn.

IMPORTANT - for ally assisted operation, you must go US - Russia - UK These all go before Japan gets another turn, you can use this formula to clean paths in mainland Asia, or even better, to hit and take out all three Japan land zones at once. But at the end of the first turn you've left Russia with a good army in West Russia, a strong force in Caucasus to defend and you've lost nothing in Asia. You've enabled at least one US factory, and with the added strength of two tanks and your fighters, on offense you should be able to take or assist in taking at least one if not all of the Japan land zones. You can also---on the third turn, before Germany even gets to go---have a factory in Karelia with British defense and US-occupied Norway. UK goes after Germany and can take Karelia, then the Russians move their force in and build a factory in liberated Karelia. These are a few neat moves for Russia to help in the battle for Asia. Any other ideas or great battle strategies I can use to whoop my friends (who are getting better each time)? Email me john_ready@hotmail.com.

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