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Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X War - Jim (Allied) vs. Computer (Japan)

 
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Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X War ... - 1/18/2015 9:49:42 AM   
jimh009

 

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Not sure if anyone will be interested in this AAR (since it involves playing the Japanese computer AI), but I thought I'd post it and see if anyone is interested in following it. Other than this post - which lays everything out - the rest of the posts in this AAR will be basically about tactics and strategy, with lots of maps. I'm not a big fan of posting combat summaries, so don't look for them!

My History Playing the AI
When AE first came out (god, long ago), I put up a long AAR about playing against the AI. Since then, I've played many games against the AI and have seen its weaknesses - sort of making it a boring game Indeed, I haven't played in over a year. Latest I ever played into a game was into early 1944, by which time the Japanese AI essentially had no ships, Bangkok was in Allied hands, and all that remained was an invasion of the homeland.

Yet, I'm in the mood to push around a navy, so thought it time to play again. And after catching up on the forums, seems there's some new scenarios and AI scripts to try.

Scenario and Updates Being Used

So, to try to make it a more interesting, I updated to the latest AndyMac updates for Scenario 1. I also installed the Extended Map/Art for Dbabes and installed scenario 30 (DaIronBabes).

Reason for choosing Scenario 30? Simple....to slow the game down, or as Aaron Rodgers would say : R-E-L-A-X. In all my past games, the Allies simply have "too much" and are able to hop onto the offensive too early. Since Scenario 30 limits the cargo capacity of all ships by 30%, shipping difficulties for both sides should better mimic what was encountered in the real war - hopefully slowing the game down to more realistic levels after the initial "Japanese Rush" is over.

The change in stacking limits should also slow the game down, as both players will be required to spread their forces across more territory instead of heavily concentrating them (something I'm generally guilty of). Hopefully gone are the days when you can pile everything into one hex, sort of creating a land-based death star.

Rolling Over for the AI - The "Red Line" Strategy to Help the AI

I tend to be a "Sir Robin" person when playing the Allies, preferring to conserve ships and resources for battles that aren't of the one-sided type found early in the game. Thus, even against playing the AI in the past, I've always done a pretty fine retreat that would make even the French in World War II proud.

However, with hindsight, despite my "retreat" and not attempting to fight for Singapore, the DEI or Rabaul (or for that matter, in China), I've still ended up clashing with the AI in selected spots that the AI always seems to have its heart set on capturing (mainly, Port Moresby, Akyab/Cox's Barzaar) and Luganville and, sometimes, Noumea. All too often, these battles are horrifically one-sided, with the AI losing hundreds of supply ships in vain attempts to either supply weak forces it landed or, more in vain, sending an endless stream of unguarded troop convoys in hopes of conquering an island.

The result has been just a huge loss of ships that basically kill any mobility the AI might have in 1943 and beyond.

So...to avoid this problem, I'm going to commit to a strategy to help out the AI in 1942. This strategy will involve the following.

- No attempt will be made to protect, reinforce or fight for Port Moresby, Luganville, Noumea, Akyab/Cox's Bazaar.
- No Transport Hunting
- No Allied Raids in 1942
- Ignore all "raids" by Japanese ships in 1942 unless those raids take it beyond the "Red Line." (see map)
- In the likely event the Japanese AI sends its carriers into weird places beyond the red line during the first 9-10 months of 1942, the Allied Navy will ignore them and simply "retreat." Air/land forces will fight back defensively. For all intents and purposes, my CV's will stay in port and only be used to prevent the AI from going beyond the Red Line. And failing that, CV's will be used to re-take anything the AI takes that goes beyond the Red Line (such as Suva, Canton Island and Midway). I'm hoping this should avoid the frequent sinking of Japanese CV's that often happens near Brisbane, Sydney and Noumea - which is a favorite "raid" by the Japanese AI that always ends in disaster for it.
- Complete roll over in Burma in 1942 and at least through mid 1943. Complete retreat to Chittagong/Imphal. No attempt will be made to stop AI from taking or reinforcing or supplying forces it might have in Akywb/Cox's Bazaar (which in the past has been catastrophic to the AI's shipping).
- In China, I'll attempt to hold the main line. But I'll launch no offensives. And I'll make no attempts to do much of anything beyond defend/retreat throughout 1942 and 1943. In short, no tricky encirclements or taking advantage of blunders the AI makes on the land.
- No trickery in the DEI. I'll fight hard on land and in the air to slow down the Japanese, but no Allied Naval forces will fight there. PT boats also won't go hunting around for unguarded targets, either, although they will defend.

So...in Summary

For all intents and purposes, the first 9 months or so of this AAR will be wickedly boring. The AI will attack, I'll defend on land and retreat on sea, while establishing a "defensive line" on the Red Line shown on the map below (which runs from Oz - NZ - Suva - Pago Pago - Canton Island - Johnson Island - Midway - Dutch Harbor). Since I've always held Noumea/Luganville in my past games, I'm sort of looking forward to seeing how the game progresses when Japan controls these bases (I'm sure the Japanese AI will attempt to take them. And unlike in the past, I'll do nothing to stop them!).

My hope is that by using the new files, and doing "nothing" to stand in the way of the AI for most of 1942 - the AI should be in decent shape by late 1942, with a solid defensive perimeter and most of its navy intact - thus allowing for an interesting game from 1943 and beyond. Of course, if a Japanese CV happens to stumble into an Allied submarine launched torpedo (which miraculously explodes), well...that is too bad for them!

Anyways, let me know if this game sounds interesting and you want me to continue the AAR. I thought beginners and intermediate players might find this AAR useful due to the anticipated talk of strategy/tactics and lots of graphics (and without endless combat summaries).







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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 10:31:07 AM   
Yaab


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Interesting AAR premise.


Since I play against the AI too, here are my thoughts on helping the Japanese AI:

- difficulty is set to HARD

- Allied ships using off-map movement can only use Cruise speed – slows the tempo of operations

- no transport of fuel as cargo in xAKs; fuel can only be transported by TK/AO/YO ships --- slower pace of operations, more escort assets tied, slower game play.

- only AP/AK, APA/AKA vessels may conduct amphibious invasions - slower game tempo

- Allied TFs (such as AMs, ASW TFs etc.) in port with CAP are disbanded when they reach 10/10 or 9/9 detection, and are reformed giving them detection of 1 or 2. This is to avoid unescorted Nell and Betty air strikes getting slaughtered by CAP --- Japs have very good naval pilots in the beginning, it is worth to keep them longer in play.


< Message edited by Yaab -- 1/18/2015 11:35:54 AM >

(in reply to jimh009)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 11:49:19 AM   
jimh009

 

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Hi Yaab,

I've set the difficulty to "very hard." Gotta give the Japanese AI every edge, I guess.

I use very little "off map" movement. Other than a big transfer of transports out of the Indian Ocean to the Pacific theatre during the first two months of the war, there will be very few ships moving between the USA and India after that. Unlike a lot of players, I don't move US ground forces to India beyond the occasional Seabee unit and a few wildcat squadrons if I have a few surplus lying around in 1943. Still, it is a good idea for "long transports" and I'll be sure to do that.

Other game settings include unreliable US torpedoes, allied damage control and basically other "historical settings."

Reinforcements are set to +/- 15 days, to give a bit of variation to when reinforcements arrive.

I imagine the first 6 months of the war are going to go quite quickly. Once the first moves of the game are done, much of the remaining 6-9 months will be basically "housekeeping" and moving stuff back and forth to bases and what not.

So hopefully this AAR might go fairly quickly, at least compared to some other AAR's that stretch for years!

I never use APD's for amphib assaults and only very rarely use xAP's, as they are simply too slow to unload. By and large, I'll use AP/APA's almost exclusively for amphib assaults, but on rare occasion a few xAP's might sneak into use. That said, about the only time I've used xAP's for assaults is early in the game. Since I'm "laying low" early in the game, the odds of using xAP's for assaults is probably lower than in my past games.

(in reply to Yaab)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 1:00:19 PM   
Mike McCreery


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Jimh,

I have found the computer to be very lacking as a suitable opponent. I played it 3 times and the last time won in early 1943 after conquering most of Japan by land.

Personally, I think you might find it much more gratifying to find another like minded newer player to engage in a smaller scenario.

Either way, welcome back to the forums and I am sure some people will follow your AAR.

_____________________________


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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 2:10:33 PM   
jimh009

 

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Wargmr,

Oh, I know the AI is quite lacking. However, I think the big problem is that good, aggressive and experienced allied players present to the AI is that players do stuff that is "unexpected." The AI is programmed to do certain things at the beginning of the war. Good players can quite easily throw a monkey wrench into what the AI wants to do, leaving it confused, disjointed and often times simply a mess. Throw in strange algorithms that periodically send shipping into areas where it can be zapped and bizaare raids and you have a recipe for a one-sided game, for sure.

But that's why I'm going to try this. Basically, I'll be standing "out of the way" of the AI during the first year or so of the war, letting the AI basically do whatever it wants. It's my hope that by not throwing any wrenches into its plans (programming) that the AI will have time to establish some sort of defensive perimeter, making the middle and later parts of the game more interesting.

If you found yourself standing in Tokyo in 1943, you must have REALLY thrown off the AI and done some unhistorical moves that the AI simply was in no way programmed to deal with.

I remember AndyMac once said that the AI will give a decent game if the war more or less follows historical patterns. And in essence, that is what I'm going to try to do. I'll stay out of the way of the AI for the first year or so, and then slowly work my way across the Pacific in a way that more closely resembles what the Allies did in the real war.

The changes provided in Scenario 30 should really help in that regards, too. The changes in stacking levels and reduced shipping amounts really change the Allied strategy, or at least the strategy I've generally followed when playing against the AI. Gone are the days of stacking 100,000 AV at Noumea, turning it into a death star, and using it as a springboard for the South Pacific.

(in reply to Mike McCreery)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 2:15:16 PM   
Thayne

 

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I play the AI and I am having a good game.

I am playing Ironman, hard mode.

I do not oppose the Japanese during their advance. If you do, Japan will continually throw small amounts of resources into the battle that can be defeated in detail. If Japan wants something, Japan gets it, until it is done growing. (Note: I do not use the Sir Robin defense. I fight the Japanese with available, unreinforced units in that area, while I use reinforcements to establish a perimeter outside of the Japanese advance.)

And, I agree, I leave the Japanese shipping to Akyab alone except from subs.

I advance along historic lines. The AI does not know how to shift resources to cover an Aleutians or Indonesia campaign. I am in 1943 and slowly crawling into Java and up the Solomon Islands. Japan controls the air in the former and, when its carriers show up, dominate the air in the latter location as well.

< Message edited by Thayne -- 1/18/2015 3:29:56 PM >

(in reply to Mike McCreery)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 3:52:34 PM   
Yaab


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Someone should write the AI AAR, so we can post there and help the AI deal with the likes of Aleutian-Indonesia gambit. Go AI!

(in reply to Thayne)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 6:15:38 PM   
jimh009

 

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Seems like you're playing the way I'll play this game.

I'll be curious to see how this all works out.

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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 6:17:00 PM   
jimh009

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Yaab

Someone should write the AI AAR, so we can post there and help the AI deal with the likes of Aleutian-Indonesia gambit. Go AI!



You've just been volunteered.

(in reply to Yaab)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 6:25:29 PM   
jimh009

 

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First Two Days

I guess the AI was very happy to hear that I won't be challenging it during the first year or so. It was so happy that apparently it gave the Japanese strike force pilots a bit too much sake, leading to probably the worst outcome I've ever seen for the PH strike force. Total ships sunk in the PH raid is.....

ZERO

All BB's have float damage, but only one is above 80. Rest are mainly in the 40's to 60's. All but one should be back in business by end of 1942, I guess.

The AI didn't fare much better against the Brits. In yet another first, the Prince of Wales escaped the air attack against it without a scratch. The Repulse took two torpedoes but only has 40 float damage. So both should live to see another day and are now off to Colombo.

Otherwise....nothing really new. Guess the AI decided to pout about its PH attack and go home. I thought for sure it would stick around for a 2nd day pounding - especially after the initial poor showing - but it tucked tail and left.

A handful of escaping ships from the PI got zapped, but that's no surprise. Just a bummer the AI sunk the tankers and left the xAKL's alone. :(

I'll put up another post later about the general "first weeks" strategy I typically follow, and likely will follow in this game as well. While the strategy is nothing special, beginner/intermediate players might find some tidbits of useful info.

But for now...off to watch some football. Hopefully the Seahawks have just as much success against Green Bay today as the Japanese Death Star had against Pearl Harbor!

(in reply to jimh009)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 7:38:11 PM   
Yaab


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Remember, the AI may now react with its Betties/Emilies into Singapore and Manila. If you have any AM TFs and CAP there, disband the AM TFs, and recreate them every time the detection on them is in 9/9 or 10/10 range. The high detection guarantees a Jap bomber visit, very often flying into your CAP without proper Zero escort. Result: a mass slaughter of very experienced Japanese pilots for no gain for Jap AI.

If they attack unescorted, then switch to the AI side and replace manually some Jap leaders in air HQs in Takao. Some of them have air skill in 30-40 range. Yuck!

< Message edited by Yaab -- 1/18/2015 8:38:32 PM >

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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 8:23:26 PM   
jimh009

 

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Manila is empty now. I never keep any TF's there after the first turn! When it comes to defending the Philippines, my Navy always runs like hell while all LCU's follow McCarthur' script and converge at Bataan.

As for Singapore, I also never have any "active" TF's there unless they are loading something. Too easy of a target. I never thought about Japanese air losses before, but what you say makes sense. Thankfully, it shouldn't be an issue, since my ships will always be disbanded in Singapore unless they are loading fuel or troops.

(in reply to Yaab)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/18/2015 8:37:11 PM   
Yaab


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At start, the Japanese naval aviation has an initial pool of very experienced bomber and fighter pilots. They fly Zeros and Emilies/Betties. If you whack them early, especially bombers, you hurt the long-term playability of the game. That is why, I make sure the Jap AI doesn't foolishly react into my CAP, chasing some AM or AMc.

On the other hand, Japanese army pilot get no special treatment. They are standard, run-of -the-mill pilots with average expierence, so you will not hurt the AI badly by shooting them.

(in reply to jimh009)
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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/20/2015 6:37:29 AM   
jimh009

 

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Dec. 22nd

Just a few things I've noticed about Scenario 30 and how it dramatically changes the way the game is played by both players. I'll post more on my specific game later.

For those who have never played this scenario, Scenario 30 is simply awesome. A big thank you to whoever came up with it.

Having now played this scenario, I'll never go back to "stock."

OK...with Kudos out of the way, a few things that players who dive in to Scenario 30 might want to know.

1. The Stacking Limits - The stacking limits in Scen 30 are a total game change and I totally love it. The stacking limits change how offense and defense is done in the Pacific. Areas where players used to stack huge amounts of LCU's (think Rabaul, Truk,Saipan/Guam, Noumea, Luganville, to some extent PH, and many more hexes) and use those places as "spring boards" for their offensives is no longer available. This scenario really forces both sides to play much more historically. Allied offensives will initiate from PH, NZ and OZ initially. Later in the game, it is likely offensives will come from "all over" - much as it was during the real war. Gone are the days of using "one base" and one base only for offensives in the Pacific Theatre.

In short, the stacking limits really are a cold and much-needed dose of history on the game and I totally dig it.

With stacking limits of 35,000 at Saipan, Guam and Tinian - the Allies will no longer be able to use those bases as offensive springboards for further action in the Philippines, Okinawa and the Home Islands. Because of that, the Philippines become much more important for players who want to invade Japan, since the Marianas will no longer be able to "host" all the LCU's that are required for a successful invasion. In Stock, the PI were always kind of an after thought to me. In this game, the PI becomes vital.

The change in stacking limits (not to mention reduction in cargo capacity) also pretty much takes off the table a Japanese invasion of Hawaii, too.

2. Reduction in Cargo Capacity - The reduction in cargo capacity definitely has an effect on the Allied player, and probably more so on the Japanese player. There's no doubt that the Allies will "strain shipping" early in the game. Right now it is far more challenging to get decent amounts of supply to existing Allied bases. Under stock, supply to Allied bases was pretty simple once you got through the first 2-3 months and by April 1942 was a total non-factor. I can tell now that the Allies will be struggling with supplying all their bases well into 1942. This is especially so due to the strategy change that is forced on the player because of stacking limits (see next item).

3. Strategy Changes - The stacking limits really change strategy for both players. Both players will in this scenario end up having many more bases than in stock games. All those bases, obviously, need supply - further straining shipping. Due to the stacking limits, I'm having to "explore" bases in hexes I never once looked at in traditional stock games.

In short, the stacking limits really force both players to spread their forces around. Instead of building a few "death star" land bases, players will now have a network of bases with much smaller LCU forces spread all over the map.

4. The stacking limits also most definitely slow the game down, another huge positive for me.

5. Strategic Considerations With Scenario 30 - With the stacking limits, I'm having difficulty seeing how the Allied player can now launch a sustained "Aleutian Offensive" or some of the other "odd ball" strategies that players sometimes use. From what I've seen, all Aleutian Islands have a max stacking limit of 35,000 or less. With such limits, using Adak as a springboard to the Japanese Islands seems improbable at best and stupid at worst. The stacking limits and lack of supply are also likely to somewhat limit, but not necessarily stop, any sort of Allied offensive in the DEI in 1942 and 1943.

Of course, the Allied player isn't the only one affected. The Japanese player has, in my opinion, much less reason to "blitz" deep down in the Pacific now. The reduction in cargo capacity, combined with the need to spread forces off the Marianas/Rabaul/Truk, will greatly strain Japanese shipping. If the Japanese player adds in more far flung bases deep down in the South Pacific or the Aleutians to its base network the strain on Japanese shipping could prove enormous. The Japanese player seems like they'll be much better served by essentially doing what they did in the real war in terms of where they locate their bases.

Long Story Short


If you're looking to play a more realistic game of AE (whether against a human or the AI), a game with stacking limits and a reduction in cargo capacity is the way to go!

< Message edited by jimh009 -- 1/20/2015 7:40:50 AM >

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China in 1942 - 1/20/2015 7:03:34 AM   
jimh009

 

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Dec. 22nd, 1942

Below is a map of China. As I'm "rolling over" for the AI, I'm not getting in its way. While I won't willingly evacuate someplace, I won't try to trick the AI either.

About the only surprise I've received in China so far is that the AI voluntarily abandoned Ichang, allowing me to move in. I wasn't going to try to surround the AI there (the one weakness in Japanese forces in China), but it was a nice surprise that they abandoned it.

The red line in the map below will be my first initial defensive line. Against a human Japanese player, this line would be quickly "shattered," especially once the Burma Road is cut and Chinese forces become basically useless.

I have no idea what the AI will do in China, truthfully. This isn't a quiet China scenario. And since I'm making no attempt to throw a wrench in its plans, the AI will do whatever it has been programmed to do, I guess. Will it be content with the "red line" below? Or will it try to make an advance futher inland? I do know it will make a push towards Sian from the North, and indeed it is doing that now - with a push on Yenan (off-map).






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Rest of the War on Dec. 22nd, 1942 - 1/20/2015 8:03:37 AM   
jimh009

 

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Dec. 22nd

As for the rest of the war so far, no big surprises, although there has been a few small tactical ones done by the AI.

Burma

As usual, I'm retreating faster than the AI can possibly advance. Beyond a little air war that lasted a few days erupting over Rangoon, nothing much is happening. Brits/Indians are pulling out towards Imphal far faster than the Japanese can advance.

Singapore

One of the riskier strategies I try in Signapore is to evacuate as much as possible. In particular, I try to evacuate the 9th and 11th Indian Divisions, along with the two Australian Brigades. In past games with the AI, it has worked pretty well (with some Allied losses) so I was curious to see how it would work in this game with the improved AI script.

The reason I thought I could still get away with it is because the Jap CV's are busy with other things in December, meaning that the evacuation can only really be stopped by land based air, since Japanese surface forces are also busy guarding convoys and such. Historically, this is pretty accurate too, I guess. The difference is that unlike in history, I'm willing to abandon Signapore quickly since I have the benefit of hindsight in knowing what happened!

Anyways, so far the evacuation has gone better than usual. Mainly this is because evacuating convoys have gotten very lucky in avoiding Japanese subs. There's plenty of Jap subs prowling the waters off Singapore, but so far these convoys (many of which have no escorts) have managed to sneak through them somehow. Right now, all elements of the 9th and 11th Indian Division have been pulled out. Some are well on their way to Colombo while other just left the dock. Additionally, one of the OZ Brigades is on its way to Perth. I'm waiting to get enough PP's to evacuate the last OZ Brigade, which should happen in 4 days or so.

Australia

In past games, I've used the two evacuated OZ Brigades to defend Port Moresby and/or Milne Bay. Since I won't fight the AI for PM or Milne Bay in this game, I'm instead sending both units to Perth. From there, one will be stationed at Kalgoorie as second line defense of Western Oz. The other brigade will Rail over to Townsville. While I know the AI isn't going to invade OZ in any strength, and certainly won't invade Perth, I do try to play the AI the way I would play against the human. And against a human player, it is always a good idea to strengthen Western Oz defenses. So taht's why I'm leaving one of the Oz brigades over in Western Oz, despite not really being needed.

For the same reason, I rebuild the 4th Australian Division (which begins in/around Adelaide) and send it over to Perth, too. While the AI won't be showing up in Perth, against a human player the Japanese certainly might. As other Oz forces come available, I'll likely ship more over to Western Australia too - at least during 1942.

Other than that, pretty standard stuff. Just gather up the various fragments and rebuild the parent Infantry Divisions. So have two ID's in Sydney, one in Brisbane and one in Melbourne. About 110 AV is in Townsville at the moment. But the rest of Australia is rather empty, as it always is this point in the game. Since I won't stop the AI from taking PM or the Horn Islands, I fully expect the forces in Darwin to essentially "starve" later in the game since sea-based supply will be impossible. I won't reinforce Darwin, but I won't evacuate the place either - forces there now will remain there.

India

One of the main reasons I attempt the risky evacuation of the Indian Division from Singapore is to get some LCU's on Colombo. The "emptiness" of Colombo at the beginning of the game is too big of a temptation of Japan to ignore (human or AI). By re-routing Singapore reinforcements to Colombo and then putting in evacuated Singapore troops, Colombo gains strength very quickly. And the arrival of later Brit reinforcements in March/April further enhance it. While Colombo isn't "impregnable" by any means, it does mean that the Japanese will need to attack Colombo "in mass." An easy and simple invasion it will not be. Since the earliest the Japanese could really hope to launch a large, sustained offensive on Colombo is no earlier than April, taking Colombo will not be an easy task at all.

Call me strange, but I've always felt that the lynchpin of defending India is Colombo. If the Brits can hang on to Colombo in 1942, it makes any sort of deep penetration by the Japanese into India difficult if not impossible. Moreover, by hanging onto Colombo, bases at Bombay and Karachi are secured, too.

Unlike in past games, where I've based most of the Brit Navy at Colombo, I'll be more conservative this game and will base most UK naval forces at Bombay initially.

On Indian's mainland itself, forces are moving towards Calcutta and Chittagong. Once the Brit forces from Burma straggle into India, those forces will be used to buttress other key areas.

By and large, I've always felt the best Japanese strategy with India was to basically "do nothing." Take Akyab, maybe Cox Bazaar, and fortify the heck of out everything in Burma - then basically forget about the region. Despite the changes in Scen 30, I see no reason to change that strategy if I'm a Japanese player. Whether or not the AI agrees with me, however, is soon to be discovered!

The long term plan for the Brits/Indians is to build up a line from Chittagong - Imphal - Kohima - Imphal. Due to stacking limits, however, forces will end up more widely dispersed than in my previous games, which isn't a bad thing and also more realistic. Imphal and Kohima now has a stack limit of just 35,000 - a rather dramatic drop from the stock game - making "defense in depth" a requirement in India during this game.

South Pacific

The Allied line I hope to establish runs from Oz - NZ - Suva - Pago Pago - Canton Island - Johnson Island - Midway Island.

Marine Regiment, CD regiment and something else (I forget) on its way to Pago. A 2nd Marine Regiment on its way to Suva. A Parachute Battalion and artillery on its way to Canton Island. Doing these reinforcements ate up all my available shipping, so won't be doing much more for the next month or so.

Stacking limits dramatically change South Pacific strategy. Lots of hexes I've totally ignored in past games will, as forces come available, be turned into bases that are actually used (such as Penrhyn Island, various islands in Samoa/Tonga Island chain), and other islands such as Norfolk Island. Bases "in depth" is the new rule in the South Pacific now, it seems.

Fuel is en-route to NZ and Oz. I lack enough cargo ships to supply NZ right now, so am dropping in small amounts of supply from Oz. Since Oz won't be used to "fight the AI" for PM/Lunga, stealing a bit of supply from Oz to keep NZ in supply shouldn't be an issue, as Oz won't need as much supply initially as it has in the past.

Pago Pago

Other than New Zealand, it seems to me the new "most important base" for the Allies (in a game where Luganville and Noumea will ultimately be controlled by Japan) is Pago Pago. It is midway between the USA and Australia/Oz and is where most shipping will pass by. Being far away from Luganville/Nouma and other major Japanese bases, it isn't easily attacked in force, either. And being a one hex island, it can only be taken by amphib assault. With a stacking limit of 35,000, the Allied player can put a lot there - forcing any Japanese assault to take it be sizable. One good Jap division won't be enough to knock the Allies off Pago Pago once the island has been built up and reinforced - they'll need much more. And the stacking limits will cause all sorts of disruption/supply issues to any invading force that comes in a large enough size to contest the Allies for control of Pago Pago.

Because of this, I'll be reinforcing Pago Pago with my best units as Pago Pago seems to have the best chance of holding out against a determined Jap attack and making any Japanese attack very, very costly.

By contrast, not sure what to make of Suva in a game where Noumea/Luganville are controlled by Japan. Being a larger island, defending it against Amphib Assault early in the game is pretty much impossible - as Japan can find a place to struggle ashore. Moreover, it will be in range of land based air from bases that Japan will build up in Luganville/Efate. I'll put up a good fight for Suva and will definitely attempt to prevent Japan from taking it, but....if Japan really wants it, it is obvious that they'll be able to get it. Moreover, strategically it makes sense to take it for Japan in a game where they also have Noumea and Luganville.

The one Marine regiment sent to Suva isn't enough to reinforce it. As more Allied forces come available, they'll be sent to Suva. However, the 45,000 stacking limits in Nadi and Suva limit how much can be brought here.

Ultimately, I'm going to view Suva/Nadi as disposable. I'll fight tooth and nail for it and will do my best to reinforce it. However, I will not build up Suva with my best forces or, at least early in the game, turn Suva into a base that hosts the best Allied planes or LCU's. I also won't risk my CV's to fight for it, either.

Since I'll be viewing Suva as disposable, I'll be building up a secondary line of bases south and east of Suva, in the Tonga Islands. Tahiti and vicinity will also see bases built, with some of them becoming strong too.

Aleutian Islands

Nothing exciting happening up here at all. Just reinforcing Dutch Harbor and everything else. Due to stacking limits, any sustained Allied offensive against Japan that begins in the Aleutians seems impossible. As such, my long range plan is to simply defend some of the key Aleutian Bases, but nothing more. Key bases to initially defend include Dutch Harbor, Umnak Island and Adak Island. When more forces come available, I'll try to defend Kiska and Attu. But it wouldn't shock me if the Japs grab those islands, although doing so seems a bit of a waste.

In Scen 30, one thing to keep in mind is that Nome is "empty" at the beginning of the game. I'm still debating whether to take something up there. And if I do, what to take. As it stands now, I have no forces available to defend Nome, so for the foreseeable future it will remain "empty."

< Message edited by jimh009 -- 1/20/2015 9:12:18 AM >

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Post #: 16
RE: China in 1942 - 1/20/2015 8:14:13 AM   
Yaab


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They one thing I don't like about the AI emptying Ichang, is that the Chinese occupy the city with its undamaged level 3 fortifications. I wish the AI reinforced this place with a tank regiment, replaced the leaders of the units there and put up a fight. As it is now, you can sit in Ichang and start building level 4 forts. Wish someone recoded this stupid AI move.

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AI in China - 1/20/2015 8:23:27 AM   
jimh009

 

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quote:

They one thing I don't like about the AI emptying Ichang, is that the Chinese occupy the city with its undamaged level 3 fortifications. I wish the AI reinforced this place with a tank regiment, replaced the leaders of the units there and put up a fight. As it is now, you can sit in Ichang and start building level 4 forts. Wish someone recoded this stupid AI move.


I was definitely surprised. For the Allied player, it was certainly a bonus. Get level 3 forts, sitting behind a river. Definitely makes life harder for the AI if it wants to push further inland. As it stands, since I have Ichang, it makes it much simpler to move forces from one side of the country to the other.

That said, I think it sort of makes sense to do it. It was too easy to trap and eventually eliminate the AI forces there. Unless the game designers wanted to reinforce Ichange and the general area with non-historical units, not sure what can really be done. A good Allied player can quickly encircle Ichang, probably more quickly than the Japanese can reinforce the place. Pulling back saves the Japanese forces, which can then be used for advances elsewhere (likely towards Changsha is my guess).

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RE: AI in China - 1/20/2015 8:39:47 AM   
Yaab


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Human player can pull supply to Ichang from Hankow by upping supplies required levels in Ichang, bottle up in Ichang sitting on the supply pile. Chinese surround the place, but Jap bombers can bomb them. Since it is Clear terrain, the Chinese would suffer. This is my idea of ruthless AI.

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Post #: 19
Other Tidbits - 1/20/2015 8:40:24 AM   
jimh009

 

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Just a post on a few other things I've noticed under Scenario 30

Ship Conversions

Typically, I convert as many cargo ships to xAP's as possible, and do it quickly. With the reduction in cargo capacities and the need to supply more bases, I'm hesitant to convert too many ships too soon. While I've converted a decent pile of ships so far, it is way down from past games. I suspect I won't be converting many more in the months ahead.

AKE's


The one ship conversion I'm still going full speed on is converting all available ships to AKE's. While I don't really need to do it 'now', I know for a fact I'll need every AKE I can get my hands on later in 1942. This is especially true since all BB's survived the PH attack - meaning I'm going to have a lot of very hungry BB's in a year or so.

Moreover, the loss of Noumea means I'll need AKE's in many ports to keep surface ships armed. Pago Pago, Suva, Christmas Island and probably a few other bases will play host to multiple AKE's as the game goes on.

APD's and DE's


Since APD's have no cargo capacity in this game, I don't convert any old DD's to APD's. Instead, I hold out until April and convert every single old DD's into DE's, since the DE's have better ASW.

A hint for new players. If you want to convert the old DD's to DE's, be sure to turn off all upgrades to the old DD's. If the old DD's go through their upgrade cycle in February or March of 1942, you lose the ability to turn the old DD's into DE's in April. Since old DD's are scattered all over the map, finding these old DD's is kind of tedious. However, one trick is to find the old DD's based on their endurance level. DD's with an endurance level of 4650nm or less generally can be converted to DE's. At the beginning of the game, just sort through all Allied DD's with this endurance level, click on the individual ship, and turn off all future upgrades. Then come April, find all DD's with low endurance levels and make the DE conversion.

New Units

Scenario 30 introduces quite a few new units. I'm still trying to assess how they all "fit together." But so far I like what's been done.

Moving Ships

One of the major problems the Allied player always faces is that when the war starts, most cargo and tankers are essentially in the wrong spot. There's huge numbers of ships in Australia, the DEI, the PI and India. Meanwhile, the West Coast and Hawaii and devoid of them. As such, one of the bigger challenges is always figuring out which ships to move. I think that task probably occupies about "half" my time when doing the first few moves.

While there's endless ways to choose which ships to move to the West Coast, one good strategy to follow when deciding which ships to move is to "move the fastest" and "move the longest range" ships. That is, any ship that travels fast (14 knots or above) or has a very long range (10,000 nm or above) should go to the West Coast. The vast distances in the South Pacific require a ship with long ranges. And extra speed makes moving supply and forces around so much quicker. Basically, I move all ships with a speed greater than 14 knots to the US West Coast. For ships with a speed of fourteen knots, any ship with a long range also goes to the West Coast. Ships in the 13 knots or less - ships with a long range all get moved to the West Coast. The remainder get split up equally, roughly, between being moved to the West Coast and staying in the Australian/Indian theatres.

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RE: Other Tidbits - 1/20/2015 11:14:37 AM   
Galahad78

 

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Very interesting jimh009, in fact I bought this game after following your AAR against the IA (that was...2009 time flies!! )

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RE: Other Tidbits - 1/20/2015 3:08:39 PM   
jimh009

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Galahad78

Very interesting jimh009, in fact I bought this game after following your AAR against the IA (that was...2009 time flies!! )


No kidding how time flies! I remember you following my old AAR, too. So hopefully you find this one interesting, too.

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Post #: 22
Jan. 22nd 1942 Update - 1/21/2015 11:17:32 AM   
jimh009

 

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Jan. 22nd, 1942

Figure it was time for an update.

AI Maneuvers

Pretty much what I suspected so far. To give the AI credit, it has played well in the DEI. Gone are the days of a SCTF or PT boats being able to ambush countless Japanese TF's. I've always thought I had until January 1st to get all naval forces out of the DEI, and that proved true this time. Around Jan. 2nd, the AI moved in with most of its carriers. Since my ships were gone, it found nothing. But if I hadn't moved out the ships, it would have been a slaughter.

The AI has been quite methodical in Borneo, the Celebes and the Salomons. Rabual hasn't fallen yet, but soon will. AI has Tulagi, Lae and a bunch of other hexes in the area. Still hasn't made "the lunge" down to Luganville or Noumea, but I'm expecting that sometime in the next few weeks.

China

I've pretty much built up the "red line" in China. Still have a few more units to move around, but by and large it is done. Now it is just a matter of waiting to see what the AI is going to do.

Unfortunately, I might have inadvertently thrown a wrench into the AI's plans. Without thinking about it, I moved two units into Wenchow during the great retreat from China. I always do it and did it this game without thinking - it has become "second nature" in a way. The result is that there are three ID's and two good HQ's in Wenchow now. Since Wenchow has its own manpower and supply, it is a tough nut to crack despite being pounded by air every turn.

Wenchow has become more of a tough nut in this game due to stacking limits. With 45,000 stacking limits, Japan can only put so much into the hex before supply and disruption issues happen. China has 42,000 troops in Wenchow, so it is just below the stacking limit. The AI has made many shock and deliberate attacks, all with pretty severe losses. I guess Wenchow might be the "one wrench" i threw into AI's plans this game. Thankfully, in the grand scheme of things it isn't a big issue - just a bit more infantry losses then it otherwise might have.

Philippines

The stacking limits and new map change how I've always done a defense in the Philippines. In stock, i simply moved everything back to Bataan and "waited." This game, Battan has a SL of 45,000. Clark Field has 45,000 too. So I ended up moving about 40,000 to Bataan, another 40,000 in Clark and about 10,000 in Manila - which I guess is a more historical defense. AI took manila without issues, but beats its head against the Clark for a few weeks before finally capturing it.

Unfortunately, the SL now begins to hurt Bataan badly. Before the units i had in Clark Field retreated to Bataan, Bataan had nearly 40,000 supply. But with the retreating units, the number of troops in Bataan sky rocketed from 40,000 to 75,000 - which is far above the SL. The result is that in just four turns supply in Bataan dropped from 40,000 to Zero!!! With 0 supply so early in the game, I have little hopes of holding Bataan for more than a few more weeks, I suspect.

Next time I play I'll have to look at a different defense of the PI, to prevent retreating units that end up in Bataan from destroying the supply situation there. Perhaps a more vigorous defense of Manila and Subic Bay??

Burma and India

First of the retreating Burms units have reached India and will soon begin railing into Calcutta. The "mass retreat" is a strategy I've always done, and saw no reason to change it in this game. The quick retreat prevents needless losses and, more importantly, provides time for the Burma units to regroup, train and recombine. The 1st Burma Division should be able to be recombined in a few weeks, as the last of the stragglers reach Calcutta.

Otherwise, Colombo is safe and sound. Every single unit I attempted to evacuate from Singapore made it - without one single ship loss, a first. I wasn't able to get everything out, but got the entire 11th Indian Division, both Oz Briges, an Air HQ and 80% of the 9th Indian Division. Combine all that with the 18th British and the newly arrived Tank Units, and Colombo is brimming with firepower (both Oz brigades went to Australia). Some of this will eventually end up in India, but for now, Colombo is a fine place to rest and regroup and to sit back and wait to see Japanese intentions.

With the first Hurricanes dribbling in, Colombo will finally have some airpower.

The AVG

I moved one AVG unit to Calcutta. The second is in Chungking. And the third I withdrew after it got mauled defending Burma, with little to show for it.

DEI

I'm done evacuating all naval forces. Thinking the AI might be sneaky, I evacuated almost all naval forces via Perth instead of sending it past Horn Island and PM. I didn't want all the naval forces to get caught in a vice. But alas, it wasn't needed. While evacuating via Perth takes a heck of a lot longer, the route also greatly reduces losses to subs. Usually, I lose a ship or two a turn in/around PM/Horn Islands/Cairns/Townsville during the evacuation. But with few ships passing through, ship losses have been minimal.

Other than that, land forces in Java are now where they are supposed to be, digging in and waiting for the inevitable assault in a month or two.

Singapore is occupied and probably will fall in a few days. The AI so far only has one ID across the river, and despite the greatly reduced defenders because of all the units that were evacuated, the AI still hasn't been able to take it. But more forces are on the way. I give it a week.

Allied Subs

Despite unreliable torpedoes, I've always had good luck going after Japanese shipping. I place them in typical spots - the choke points around the PI and a few hexes off shore from Japan itself. Currently, I'm sinking or several damaging 1-2 ships per turn.

To give the AI a bit of a helping hand, I'm thinking of changing my sub strategy this game. Instead of sending ALL my longer range subs off to blockade duty, I think I'll split it up this time. Half will attempt to intercept shipping in/around Japan while the other half will be used for "fleet support" around my various bases and when the Allies go on the offensive. I guess this strategy is more realistic, too. Hopefully, this strategy will somewhat reduce the usually grievous shipping losses to subs that befalls Japan in middle to late 1942 and beyond.

South Pacific


Other than an AMC raid, no Japanese forces have ventured South. Canton Island and Pago Page and Xmas Island have all been reinforced. Bit reinforcement convoy arrives in Suva in a few days. First tankers TF's have also reached Australia and Auckland, too.

The line I want to develop in the South Pacific is coming along nicely and should be lightly to well defended in a month or so. Since Pago Pago is the "key island" I need to defend, it is first in getting reinforcements.

Maybe it is just me, but it seems this scenario has more allied tankers than under stock?? In past games, the Allies and the US in particular are always starved for tankers. But this game, seems more of them running around. I'm struggling more to find escorts for the tankers than anything right now.

North Pacific

Dead. Just resupplying and that's about it.

Australia


Nothing unusual here. Looking forward to getting the 7th and 6th Oz ID's. Unlike most players, I move those units to Australia (not keeping them in India). It is more historical that way. And also in games were I'm not "rolling over" during the first year it gives the Allies some striking power. Since I won't be using these two ID's for offensive operations, I'll just base one in Brisbane and the other maybe in Suva or Auckland.

The Americal Division will soon become available. Unlike in stock, 2 of its brigades in this game originate in Melbourne, I discovered. Those two brigades, along with the one currently on the US West Coast, are all tasked to Suva - where they'll recombine. The Americal will be the first strong reinforcement for Suva - so hopefully the AI holds off attacking Suva for a few more months.

Side Notes

The Dutch ARD's are kind of cool! Took freaking forever to evacuate them down to Perth, but they'll definitely be handy to have around. I kept one ARD with a ship lift capacity of 3000 tons in Perth - and am moving the remaining three towards the South Pacific. I'll put the 8000 lift capacity unit in Pago Pago, as that base is well out of range of land based air and Pago Pago should have a decent air defense system up and going by the time the ARD arrives. Since I anticipate some engagements in this part of the South Pacific, havintg an 8000 ton ARD should make it easier to repair and return damaged ships back to Pearl and the US West Coast.

Not sure what I'll do with the second 3000 ton ARD and the one 20,000 ton ARD. For now, I'll keep them at Hobart until I figure out where to put them. Putting them in Sydney or Brisbane won't really do anything worthwhile, since both those bases have a ship yard. Ditto for Auckland.

< Message edited by jimh009 -- 1/21/2015 1:04:40 PM >

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Post #: 23
RE: Jan. 22nd 1942 Update - 1/21/2015 11:25:44 AM   
jimh009

 

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Map of China in this game on Jan. 22nd, 1942

The line I'm building up should be fairly obvious. Strong points on the line are the Changsha/Chengteh/Ichang/Nanyang area. Weak points are north and down by Liuchow/Kweilin, although I'm moving reinforcements down in this direction.






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< Message edited by jimh009 -- 1/21/2015 12:40:10 PM >

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RE: China in 1942 - 1/21/2015 11:27:38 AM   
Mike McCreery


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Yaab

They one thing I don't like about the AI emptying Ichang, is that the Chinese occupy the city with its undamaged level 3 fortifications. I wish the AI reinforced this place with a tank regiment, replaced the leaders of the units there and put up a fight. As it is now, you can sit in Ichang and start building level 4 forts. Wish someone recoded this stupid AI move.


There is a huge Chinese army just north of Ichang in addition to the fact that those troops can get surrounded very easily. And I dont think it is a strong unit so 60% of almost nothing will get you nowhere.

In fact, most human players immediately pull out of that hex as well. The base simply is not a priority. It can be cut off easily strategically and has no significant value other than being a base.

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RE: Jan. 22nd 1942 Update - 1/21/2015 11:32:07 AM   
jimh009

 

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Map of India

The line of fleeing British and Indians is clear to see!

The red line shows the defensive line I want to establish later. Probably be a minimum of six months before even parts of that line - other than Chittagong - begin to form.

Due to stacking limit changes, the British will be spread out more than in past games. It will also keep busy the engineering units, as I'll need to create new bases on most or all of the "dot" hexes in the area around Imphal/Dacca/etc...

Of course, the SL's will make it more difficult to Japan to launch a big offensive, too. As I discovered in the Philippines, being much over the SL for a hex is a wonderful way to watch supply drop to zero in a matter of days!

Because of that, the key will be to defend the bases up to near the SL limit - with other units spread around to act as scouts and speed bumps to any Japanese advance.






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RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/21/2015 12:13:35 PM   
karmannkc


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This is an interesting AAR, I have the same issues with the AI, so I will be curious how this develops.

I'm also curious are you using your any of you transports & tankers in the DEI to pull oil and fuel into Perth and Darwin? I always do that so as not to leave any for the IJN while also giving me a workable Naval Base at Sydney for my CVs to operate in the South Pacific at least until a better base can be developed (Noumea, Suva, Pago).

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Post #: 27
RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/21/2015 1:21:56 PM   
jimh009

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: karmannkc

This is an interesting AAR, I have the same issues with the AI, so I will be curious how this develops.

I'm also curious are you using your any of you transports & tankers in the DEI to pull oil and fuel into Perth and Darwin? I always do that so as not to leave any for the IJN while also giving me a workable Naval Base at Sydney for my CVs to operate in the South Pacific at least until a better base can be developed (Noumea, Suva, Pago).


Yeah, I've pulled out all the tankers and xAk's, loaded with fuel and supply, and taken most to Australia. Those supplies/fuel help get Oz thought the initial months. It is even more important in this scenario, where cargo capacities of ships is cut by 30%. Most fuel/supply goes to Perth - where it is re-distributed around Australia as needed. Some ships drop off Supply at Darwin too, to put off the day forces up there "starve." And my forces in Darwin will indeed starve this game. Since I'll be letting the AI take Port Moresby, sea supply of Darwin will not be possible.

Since I'm "rolling over" for the AI in the beginning, I won't be building anything at Noumea or Luganville. I'll be letting the AI take it. Hence, there will be no Allied base there until 1943 at the earliest. And in any event, with the 35,000 stacking limit in Noumea - the base is no longer "what it was" in some ways. While still an excellent port and airbase, gone is the ability to station "everything" out of Noumea like I (and many players) do. Instead, Auckland/Sydney will be main bases for offensives in the South Pacific, with Pearl being the major base for initial drives in the Central Pacific.

Thus, major naval ports for the Allies will be Sydney/Auckland/Pago Pago/Pearl Harbor - with smaller ones at Xmas Island, Canton Island, Suva and another island or two that is yet to be determined.

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Post #: 28
RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/22/2015 12:31:09 AM   
stretch


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jimh009

Scenario and Updates Being Used

So, to try to make it a more interesting, I updated to the latest AndyMac updates for Scenario 1. I also installed the Extended Map/Art for Dbabes and installed scenario 30 (DaIronBabes).



Sorry to jump in late here but I asked about this in the tech support forum and it was not really made clear...

Is it safe to use the extended map with Andy's Scenario #1 update or does it trash the AI? Or does it only hurt the AI in non full map scenarios? AI seems to be doing just fine in this AAR so far.

I have a BabesLite game I abandoned on Dec 9 because of this uncertainty.


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Post #: 29
RE: Rolling Over for the AI (Scen. 30) - The R-E-L-A-X ... - 1/22/2015 8:56:34 PM   
jimh009

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stretch


quote:

ORIGINAL: jimh009

Scenario and Updates Being Used

So, to try to make it a more interesting, I updated to the latest AndyMac updates for Scenario 1. I also installed the Extended Map/Art for Dbabes and installed scenario 30 (DaIronBabes).



Sorry to jump in late here but I asked about this in the tech support forum and it was not really made clear...

Is it safe to use the extended map with Andy's Scenario #1 update or does it trash the AI? Or does it only hurt the AI in non full map scenarios? AI seems to be doing just fine in this AAR so far.

I have a BabesLite game I abandoned on Dec 9 because of this uncertainty.




I really don't know, truthfully.

I'm playing Scenario 30, which requires the extended map. I suspect that Scen #1 still uses the normal map, since a different scenario (one in the 20's) is a Grand Campaign game that uses the Extended Map.

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