From: Millersburg, OH
Keeping the allied fighter pools low, depleting the British, Indian, Australian force pools, sinking U.S. naval assets in 1942 and 1943
In my Japan game, I've done all of these things, in addition to sinking significant USN assets in 1944. I've shot down 675+ P-47D25's. I've shot down almost all of the P-47D2's. I've emptied the Commonwealth replacement pools. I eliminated China, such that there are only 3 or 4 Corps on the map right now. I've given the Marines a bloody nose and forced a 3-month land campaign for Java, whittling his aircraft pools all the way, where his LCUs will need a long time to repair from being 2/3 disabled. On Mindanao, he's about 1/2 disabled and hasn't quite captured Davao yet (his landing location). The LCU VPs that I have earned are in excess of 26,000 - well higher than other examples.
I've sunk 20+ CVEs. I've sunk several fast USN BBs (3 or 4), over 30 modern cruisers, 5+ fleet CVs, 3+ Independences... I'm at work so I can't look at the full list, but it's significant in terms of combat power.
It still hasn't delayed him that significantly, and the VP cushion earned is just not enough as it stands right now, and the opportunities/ability of Japan to extract tithes only gets relatively worse and in 1945 that relative decline happens very quickly. I'm not trying to imply that he's played poorly - it may seem that way, from the losses I've listed, but he's trading assets for VPs of his own and territory and it's slowly working. I know the Allied OOB - he's not going to run out, and even if he runs out of cruisers the sheer volume of Fletchers, Bensons, and even modern RN DDs can overwhelm the IJN surface forces on their own.
It's just not going to matter because there's too much time left on the clock. If the game plays out as I think it will through all of 1945, I would say I'd have earned a minor victory - but the game is not going to say that is the case if the VPs end up how I think they will. It will be a draw or a minor victory for him, according to the game's VPs. I think an Allied minor victory is the most likely scenario (40-45%?), with a draw (35-40%?) and a Japanese minor victory (15-25%?) being less likely.
I meant to post images of my VPs last night to try to show this succinctly in maybe a single paragraph. Somebody remind me to do that tonight .
I have stopped posting on the forum due to fatigue with it as well as general distaste to re-litigate the same arguments over and over. My interests of late have somewhat moved away from AE, although I continue two PBEMs. Facing a big decimal birthday makes one realize that time is not infinite.
I have looked in on the forum as a Guest, reading in a far more limited manner than previously. Mostly at selected AARs I have followed for a long time. This thread, as well as the other ("Gamey") where Alfred presents such well-reasoned posts, have drawn my attention. This one, where my esteemed opponent Lokasenna has posted on our game is also pertinent. On the chance that he did so assuming I was not reading, I wanted to show him that I am. And while it is somewhat humiliating to have my many mistakes and shortcomings on display, nothing he says is false. Our game has been a monumental struggle from my POV, and I am very much a better player than when we began. Some mistakes, however, are baked into the cake. I wanted to offer a few thoughts and additions for CR and other readers. Not to dispute his analysis, but to add to it.
On opponents and equal matching . . . yes, of course. But it's difficult. My earliest archived email with L., where we discussed which save slot to use, is dated September 2013. I was largely at home, semi-retired and not volunteering, and he was in an apartment with cats and roommates. Both of those scenarios have radically altered since. In our fifth year, we are still in 1944, and turns have slowed markedly. At this rate we're looking at eight years or so?
In 2013 I was coming off my first PBEM game, the one I AARed. My opponent had resigned, and I counted that as a win. I was pretty cocky about my skills. I didn't know L. at all as I recall, didn't know he could play either side. Didn't know much at all except he was willing to play a no-HR game. I therefore offered a Scenario 2 game with non-historic R&D, stock PP budgets, no HRs (but internally reserving the idea there were some things I wouldn't do), and a lot of hope for success. Thus my point that opponent and set-up selections are important, and can be an 8-year millstone. If I had known how good he is, how analytical, how able to ignore emotion and focus on the math of a decision, I NEVER would have played Scenario 2, let alone offered non-historical R&D. That first decision on my part still resonates, and it's one many players have also faced. I'm not his equal as a player, I don't play Japan, and I threw gasoline on those factors out of hubris.
I then exacerbated those errors by trying to repeat my successful wholesale retreat of the Chinese army out of China. He used tanks to cut the railroads, and then sliced and diced me to ribbons in a matter of a few months. The resurrected corps in Chungking were huge, yes, and his take-down of the capital took the better part of a year and a lot of investment, but he did it. When he says three Chinese corps got out he's right. China was a game-changer. And on me and my poor play.
I made other errors. I misunderstood exactly how powerful the game makes jungle and how much supply can reach Japan even in dense jungle. In Burma, I tried to sledgehammer my way past a big stack on the road outside Ramree, and got gutted. I am still paying for that and will to the end through flat pools. He knows this. He plays the hexside game many moves (months) ahead, and I have been consistently outclassed there. I have tried to engage in anti-supply tactics by air, but as he notes this has cost me a lot of planes, although his fighter presence in Burma has been largely removed. I still have not taken Rangoon, and only try to do so for the VPs. At this point I doubt there will ever be operations south of there.
At sea, I screwed up over and over. He has detailed my defeats. I was a sailor and this part of the game is intensely personal for me; I don't play the math. I nearly quit at least twice over naval debacles. Yes, I continue to move forward. But I say a mantra before every replay ("This could be really bad".) Yes, really. Out loud. Sometimes it helps. I have many complaints about the naval war in the game models, particularly the submarine war. As above, I won't re-litigate. And yes, I'm better than I started out. But it's also true as he says that in late-1944 the IJN is decisive in constraining my movements. Every move forward he extracts blood and VPs. I have tried to remove his fuel, and been somewhat successful. But he says in this thread he has fuel for a year, and that's a Long Time at this point in the game. For those who say the USN subs can stop the POL game I refer you to L's PM address. He can tell you how to mount a MASSIVE LBA ASW effort and remove the subs from meaningful play.
So. Yeah. I've been outplayed. I begin every turn with a weight on my shoulders, slogging through mental mud. So I have to say it's surprising to read L's analysis of how he sees the game (he has said in email but without the buttressing facts he provides here.) I have been playing for a draw for about a game year. To me, that's my penance for the mistakes I made 4.5 years ago as outlined above. And reading L's analysis I have to again join him, and Alfred, and others in singing the praises of the VP system. I feel beaten. Yet I can still win the game. While playing L I also played a DBB game (again, with an unknown sharpshooter) wherein I was AVed on 1/1/43 and resigned, despite my opponent's pleas to continue. That experience is overlaid on my experience in the L. game. It is ENTIRLEY possible for the Allies to lose on the first day AV is possible.
As far as VP win versus "internal" win, Loka makes the point I can probably eke out a marginal win in 1946 due to the Soviets. He's probably right. You guys should listen to him, because he is a master player on both sides, an untold advantage in AE. But for me, winning due to the Soviets, if it happens, will not be satisfying. I'll take it, but thin gruel. On that measure I think he has a point about the VP system post-1944. It's a long, long haul to spring 1946. Strat bombing is probably over-powered in VP terms. Some bases might be adjusted to compensate, but strat bombing is always going to be how the Allies come back from a poor 1944. It's history. But maybe industry ought to be a bit less valuable. And possibly using the Soviets at all after 9/1/45 ought to make a draw the best outcome possible for the Allies.
For CR specifically, and others generally, try to get the best opponent you can. But understand you really don't know. Don't know if you're evenly matched. So be very careful what you agree to in the set-up. And be very careful you don't re-play your last game.
If you can, try to find somebody better than you; they will make you better too. Try to find somebody who isn't a jerk when you have a disaster turn, who doesn't insist on their brand of trash-talking when you say that isn't your flavor of sportsmanship. If you can stand to, learn to play Japan, even if just a little. It offers huge advantages. And, re my second PBEM game going, play a newbie sometimes. They have to learn, and it's a different sort of challenge to your pre-conceptions. "My" newbie is getting better by leaps and bounds, and yet he constantly makes me stay on guard as he does things no veteran player would ever think of doing. And often those things work.
Moose, your presence on the forum has been missed. Glad to see you back, if just for a moment.