From: Frankfurt, Germany
Okay, so let´s talk about the game...
It´s been a long time since I´ve played Japan, as for quite a while, playing Downfall on and off as the Allies was all the Witp-AE I did. But now the AE bug has bitten me again, and between the Beta patch and the awesome new capabilities of the Tracker, I am once more eager to get going. I´ve studied the map, the production system and the other information in the Tracker for the first turn, so I am ready for a more methodical approach than my last game as Japan when AE was pretty new and I didn´t really know what I was doing..
Plus, in the meantime I finished university, and my diploma thesis was on the effects of overconfidence - what better preparation for playing Japan could there be?
On the naval side, I intend to halt Yamato and Musashi on the second turn (can´t access ship, air group and ground unit arrival schedules on turn 1, probably due to variable arrival times), and use the Naval points freed up (plus a modest expansion to about 1500 total) to accelerate the Unryu class CVs. Shinano is a second Taiho class rather than a Yamato conversion in Scenario 2, so she´s useful enough to keep building for now; I might halt her later if that helps accelerate Taiho. Depending on how things go, I might switch the two or three later Unryus back to regular build speed after they hit the "durability*10" mark and accelerate some destroyers - Akítsukis in particular - instead. With this adjusted building schedule, I should get a batch of replacement carriers early enough for them to serve as something other than decoy targets.
I have expanded Merchant points to 900 (once the yards are repaired), and will probably halt and accelerate as needed to react to shortages.
Air production has seen the usual expansion of the carrier aircraft programs, plus a modest (at first) expansion of land-based airframes and engines; I do not want to deplete available supplies in Japan while I´m still expanding across the DEI and Pacific.
I will only expand Heavy Industry by a little at first, until I have captured the oil wells and refineries in the DEI and know in which shape they are - there´s no use in buying expensive HI expansions that suck your fuel stockpiles dry before 1942 is over...
Now for the military part:
First priority is to secure the DEI, with the vital oil and refinery facilities as intact as possible.
Second priority is to establish a perimeter that makes counterattack as difficult as possible, meaning that it will delay the inevitable successful Allied counterattack by as much as possible, giving me time to prepare the next lines of defense.
Third priority is to build multiple lines of defense between the perimeter and both the Home Islands themselves and the link between them and the DEI, to slow the Allied advance and give me the maximum amount of time during which I still receive fuel and resources from the DEI.
What this means in detail is, first of all I need to expand to roughly the historical extent of Japanese possessions in May ´42, plus the rest of New Guinea if feasible, possibly minus Burma. With the additional forces present in Scenario 2, taking Burma might be easier than historically, but I am not yet sure if it is worth committing as many forces, especially within comfortable 4E bomber range of India... and let´s not get me started on the idea of taking India as well.
I am also not sure if expanding in the Pacific beyond historical extent is useful; since it is now possible to supply Australia from the West, the sea link between Hawaii and Australia is not really crucial any more, and my opponent could decide to ignore a lot of those bases and let them wither on the vine. I think the best plan is to try and meet the USN carriers in battle in the second half of ´42 at the latest, while I still have some sort of edge over them; if that works, with the accelerated reinforcements in ´43 I might have enough carrier power left to challenge the USN again and produce some results (other than IJN carriers sunk, that is...). How to achieve that sort of engagement in ´42, on the other hand, is a different question.
I´m not really ambitious in China; I will create a defendable front line and secure a couple of supply producing bases near the starting front lines, but that is it; circumstances will decide if I try to take the area around Changsha, but once the original objectives are achieved I´d be content to let China rest unless my opponent (who is Chinese, and can thus probably be counted on to plan something there) tries something.
The opening moves are mostly historical. I´ve re-routed the Wake Island invasion force south, because a competent Allied player can mangle that force and escape, and I don´t need that kind of losses right away. I´ll go into more detail of Turn 1 once it is executed. (I am currently waiting for my opponent to send his turn).
In the meantime, I´d appreciate any comments on my plans.