As we seem to be the only two sitting by the log fire, sipping our cognacs, whilst discussing the concept of strategy, I think it is safe to continue. Of course, if we were leaning over the dinner table, moving the salt and pepper shakers to illustrate our discussion points, we would be discussing tactics not strategy.
You were quite correct to say in post #8 that on the AE forums, much which passes for discussion as strategy is really at best only tactcs only some of it being truly operational planning in nature. Eventually Nemo will discover this AAR and probably comment as strategic matters greatly interest him. If you ran an AE poll, I have no doubt that he would be voted overwhelmingly as the best AE game strategist. That would be a result I would not quibble with except for one point, albeit in my view very critical. Most of Nemo's writings deal with and his great game results demonstrate, his superior operational planning rather than strategic insights. As I said in post #12 operational planning is really tactics. It is however useful to assess his operational plans against others to ascertain why his level of success is not generally replicated by others.
Nemo's operational pre-planning is meticulous, but then so is other players' operational planning. It is very much mated to logistical considerations, an area which very few other players match to the same degree. His operational planning focusses on optimal objectives which are pursued ruthlessly. Too many other players direct their operational planning towards sub-optimal objectives and are diffident in their execution. Above all else, what distinguishes Nemo's operational planning and play from the maority of AE players is that it is always truly subordinated to and consistent with his grand strategy. At this point i would remind you again of what i said in post #12.
Strategy is the plan to bring victory. Tactics is the means adopted to implement the adopted strategy.
Nemo may very well dispute my assessment but I believe that he would agree that compared to the real world, the freedom to formulate and pursue various grand strategy options in AE is limited. At it's centre, the game is much more about operational planning. To me, his games have limited variation in strategy (a function of the game's limits) but considerable variety in operational play. His operational play is so closely tied to his grand strategy, that it is easy for others to mistake one for the other. To give just a single example of this, I draw your attention to my comment in his AAR v 1EyedJack that essentially his entire Pacific operation was a trap.
Now to come back to your observation made in post #8 that the generic comment made by some that they intend to build up the Aleutians with a view of striking the Kuriles. You are correct, that is not strategy, at best it is operational (aka tactical) play. Most would dispute what I have just said, so I need to justify my statement.
OK, let's take at face value that building Aleutians, striking Kuriles is strategy. Once accomplished, then what? Now that the so called strategy has been accomplished the player should be able to simply derive the benefit of his strategy by merely engaging in a sitzkrieg. I don't see any victory resulting and therefore the definition of what is strategy is not met. The Kuriles, like any piece of real estate, does not in itself have any value. The value of the real estate derives from how it is used to bring about victory. So how would the Kuriles be used. They could be used as sub bases to interdict the enemy's SLOCs. That could be furthering an overall strategy of interdicting industry inputs (mentioned in an earlier post) but if Japan's merchant fleet has already been sunk or no raw material production nearby remains available to Japan, the value of the Kuriles drops dramatically. Alternatively the Kuriles might be viewed as providing airfields close to the Home Islands, enabling destruction of Japanese industry. But if they have been captured on the 30th October, or the airfields are yet to be built, or the Allied player simply lacks the air units/airframes, or the Allied SLOCs cannot be maintained, all being factors which will prevent prosecution of an effective Allied bombing campaign, then the Allied player is no closer to victory than before.
I could go on but I think enough has been provided for further thought. Now if you would be so kind as to pass over the bottle of cognac...