From: El Paso, TX
ORIGINAL: Professor Chaos
One of the frustrating things for a newbie is not being able to figure out what you're 'allowed' to do vs. the AI for a decent game. I'm at March 1, 1942 in updated Scenario 2 with about a hundred hours into a game so far, and am wondering if it's all pointless in the long term because I've staked a lot on reinforcing Burma. (The AI has taken Singapore and is about to crush Bataan).
Am I allowed to hold Port Moresby? Am I allowed to attack the unescorted shipping unloading at Buna? Am I allowed to expend the Dutch navy against landings in the DEI? Am I allowed to counter when the AI lands a regiment on Rossel Island? Etc., etc.
Of course none of this is a rant against you Kull... it's just depressing thinking I've wasted all this time by fighting back a little too hard.
There isn't a hard and fast rule, really. Holding Singapore, Java/Sumatra, Rabaul, or the Phillipines will "break" the AI for sure. Burma is less of an issue because the AI can get there overland, and it should be able to make it very painful for you to hold onto it. PM is dicey because it's too easy to atrit the incoming shipping. The AI can survive if you fight hard there, but it may keep it from doing other interesting things once PM is taken. The easiest thing is losing islands. Once the AI takes one, that closes off the script and you can look to take it back. That may interfere with a reinforcement subscript (base forces, etc), but too bad, AI (in general I try not to stop any initial invasions, but reinforcements are fair game).
But there isn't any such thing as "wasting your time". I've restarted countless campaigns several months in, for various reasons. All were fun, but usually there was some new approach I wanted to try. I'm pretty happy with the Scen 102 Tier 1 Ironman, and Andy's latest update to that is probably even better. The AI has a lot more stuff, but nothing crazy, so it's been a real battle. Huge air attrition battles over Burma and the Solomons, and lot of tough naval engagements, too.
Thing is, a new player shouldn't start with a scenario like this, but only go there when you have a good feeling for how everything works. Which is really what Scen 1 & 2 are all about. Of course you can also try the May '42 or May '43 campaigns, and those *should* work without having to pull any punches right from the start
Ultimately though, if it's too frustrating to impose limits on your actions (because that is needed for all December 41 campaigns, unless you go with the Tier 3 versions), PBEM might be your only choice.