For China or Japan to be victorious there are a few guildlines that i keep in my mind, while setting up and playing.
1. Japanese land units overall are more mobile than the majority of Chinese units. Japan also works with interior lines. This means Japan can change its focus faster and more often during the game. China has to plan ahead and keep a situational awareness well in advance of Japan.
2. HQ's are the key to victory. No HQ, no victory. Always know where they are and where they can go.
Japan has the most mobile HQ in the game (Yamashita), and if placed in China, will give headaches to the Chinese player. China has the very versatile (Stilwell), which can bring into play US units on mainland China. For Japan, (Yamashita), is probably the 1 HQ i will advance build as early as possible. Even if its not a China 1st strategy, there is none better for the Japanese. As China, i want to know where it is at all times.
One of the most important elements of the game is knowing what weather zone you are in, what weather zone your enemy is in, and using that knowledge to leverage a battle to your favor. The "borders" of weather zones are a prime axis for attacking. Defending these axis are critcal.
In China the "North Monsoon/Temperate", in Southern China will make or break any offensive, Japanese or Chinese.
If the player is not timing his moves with the weather changes, you will see stagnation and retreat. Sometimes the weather will just shutdown entire offensives. Its just the luck of the game you are currently playing, deal with it and make the hard decsions.
4. Partisans. Japan cannot ignore these pesky units. China has a clear advantage here. Partisans can be the deathknell to a Japan that does'nt plan for them. Don't leave air units flipped and without at least a ZOC. Don't have Naval units in port flipped and alone. Secure that supply line or see your offensive grind to a halt. Be ready to deal with partisans. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
5. Maneuver is your best means for gaining ground in China. Flipped units can be moved around and mopped up. Always seek to surround then attack. Flipping units is desired, but not always in the dice roll.
6. Airpower, Japan has the clear advantage, but not with quality only quantity. It will not last forever. Eventually Japan will strip down the Air power in China. For China, fighters are the air unit of choice, later bombers can be addded. Oil will make the use of air power a hard choice for both sides.
7. Which brings us to the whole Japan vs China question.
China has basically a single minded approach. Defend, Build up, Attack.
Defend until its apparent Japan has exhausted its forward motion in China. There will be a transistion where parity in land forces has been achieved. This is the build up phase. Don't be hasty and push the parity into offensive action. Build up a little excess, airpower & oil are the prime concerns. Then push the attack. Broad front and unrelenting. China liberation is primary. Indochina, Manchuria, Korea, Burma secondary.
Japan has many options.
Going for the Knockout blow 100% china or bust.
Limited offensive to secure lines of supply, cities, resources.
Attacking Communist Chinese forces to eliminate them from the field while strategically bombing Factories.
The radical but not unheard of defend/backhand blow with the goal of a large navy/airforce to combat the Allies. So many options.
These are just some of my opinons of the China/Japan situation.
Feel free to comment, oppose, revise, make fun, of any of the above.
“We never felt like we were losing until we were actually dead.”