From: Alexandria, VA
Byron, this one's for you. I'm going to list and comment on a couple of the Japanese player's possible avenues for war. If anyone wants to counter, cool, if not, this thread will die and we can keep the party line on Production going...
1. Traditional approach (Attack through the Phillipines into Dutch East Indies.
This is my favorite, as it secures the oil that Japan needs, kicks the snot out of a good chunk of US/British forces, and opens up several other avenues. The bases in the area are fairly easily secured, even Singapore, so losses are light. Once the Indies are taken, the player has an option of going after Australia through Timor, if the momentum is there. This is generally how I play (I know I'm vanilla, but it works.)
2. Semi-Traditional: Same as above, but instead of going for Australia, the Japanese wheel right into the Indian Ocean. I don't like this approach very much to be honest. The British/Indian forces don't pose much of a threat until 1943/44 so I don't like to tie up my assets (CVs, APs) in this theater - I feel it gives the US too much time to build up defenses in the islands and SW Pacific.
3. Attack through the Aleutians into Alaska: Bad Bad idea. There's nothing up there that really helps the Japanese. There's no resources, no big concentration of Allied Forces to eliminate, and no sea lanes to interdict. I'd give up alaska any day to the japanese as the allies. They want to waste forces there, by all means, take it.
4. Central Pacific Thrust: Risky, but potential huge payoff. I don't like the distances between bases such as Wake, Midway, Johnston. There's no way for the Japanese to take effectively support the attack with ground based air, and it takes too long to build up the bases with engineers. This one's on the flat-tops all the way, and that means they're awfully far from home and fuel is always an issue. Maybe an effective tactic right away, combined with a Pearl strike, but I tend to shy away from this approach.
5. Thrust to the SW Pacific: A less risky but still bold move. Capturing the main oil/resource centers in Indochina/DEI at the same time is still possible, but the Jap player must sacrifice some of those SE Asia early conquests in order to move into the SW. If the Japanese take this route, the key is New Caledonia and Espirutu. Espirutu is key for protecting N.C.'s flank from surprise US CV attacks, and needs to be built up as fast as possible. Caledonia should get a couple regiments of fighters, and then all the Betties you can cram in there. If successful, then Australia is not hard to cut off and (maybe) take later on. The main problem is taking these bases, then going back to finish off the oil centers, all the while the US is picking at the perimeter with the CV TFs...
I generally stick with the traditional approach, since thats the reason the war was fought (resources). (I agree with you on that completely Mr. Snake!) Anyways, thats my take, let me know what you think.
"The Paraguayan Air Force's request for spraying subsidies was not as Paraguayan as it were..."