From: Glasgow, Scotland
I’m in a late-war PBEM (Mar 1945 as Allied) that has been in progress since 2010. At this point there is little question as to the projected outcome of this campaign – what’s at stake is mainly the margin of victory (or defeat). From my view, VP in this campaign is largely irrelevant (46K to 34K, Japanese favor), I’m playing the game now with the intent of creating the best possible Allied strategic position with the “cards” I still have left to play before calling it a day. .
Overall, play balance in AE is pretty good on many levels and I think the game works pretty well. My discussion is addressing one area in the game that heavily tilts play balance to a point where no amount of historical Allied late-war superiority can counter Japanese advantage(s) this creates. Tweaking VP does not alter this imbalance.
The Japanese Player is already handed a solution to the historical stalemate in China which prompted the whole war in the first place: attack and the Chinese will fold up by mid 1943 or so.
What happens (or doesn’t) in China has a huge effect on play balance in AE. The issue here isn’t whether or not China is too easy to completely eliminate. A well planned and executed Japanese strategy in China with a significant level of effort should be able to bring on the fall of China. What’s key here is the overall situation AE represents in China should require the Japanese player to commit a significant level of effort, if necessary at the expense of other theatres (which does not appear to be true).
Well, I don't buy that the Japanese could have conquered all of China in the war in any situation. I've read a bit on it and the real issue with defending China wasn't just supply, but getting local 'warlords' to comply with Chaing's orders. If the Japanese started to take them on directly, they'd have a lot more incentive to fight back and use their resources to fend off the Japanese either directly or in a behind the lines guerrilla war.
The IJA would have a problem holding all of the conquered territory once it was taken, but more importantly China didn't have the necessary resources and oil the Japanese so badly needed. The areas they did hold could supply a lot of what China had to offer, so there wasn't much need early on to o farther forward. Later, when US forces were there, it was more important to try to the away airfields and Allied positions.
In game players have actually taken all of China and still had time to go forward, most famously in rader vs GreyJoy, where rader took all of china and then most of India.
What happens after the fall of China in AE is my major issue. This event in AE triggers a huge opportunity for large parts of the IJ Army to transfer to other theatres, notably the Pacific. The end result as experienced in my campaign is a carpet of heavily garrisoned, maximum fortified Japanese strongholds that historical Allied ground forces in AE are insufficient (in numbers) to overcome. In my campaign I’m now rebuilding half the Allied combat ground force in the Pacific after eliminating 30+ Japanese LCU’s at Buna in 12/44 (Verdun in the Pacific). Now looking at a 50+ LCU Japanese garrison in Rabaul. You can’t island hop around everything. US late-war air and naval superiority doesn’t even touch this. Strategic bombing of anything in my campaign is currently a fantasy.
No matter how “friendly” warlords in China are with Japan after a complete Japanese conquest of China, there are hundreds of millions of peasants with pitchforks to keep in line not to mention the urban population. This would appear (at least in RL) to require the IJ Army to maintain a considerable garrison in China instead of allowing a virtually unrestricted transfer of Japanese divisions from China. Nothing gamey or cheating on the part of my opponent, he simply made best and most effective use of his opportunity inside the game.
Although I do have some specific thoughts on how to remedy this inside of AE, my intent here is not to suggest or promote any particular solution. This can be handled by a separate discussion. On one hand, I risk a head-on collision with a JFB firestorm. On the other hand, I break my silence.
Kull has the right of it, so I'll leave that aspect as dealt with.
Regarding Japanese moves in to China, the Allies have a suitable strategic response in the form of funneling supplies and material in to China to prolong the resistance and fighting for Burma to keep supplies flowing down the Burma Road. With enough investment, the Allies can seriously bulk up Chinese strength and tie down a great deal of Japanese fighting power. Skimping on this dooms the Chinese in-game, as it would have in real life.