I like playing Japan. They are a very fun and dynamic power to control. These are my thoughts and insights on playing them. Do you have another take on this or strategies that you like? Let us know!
For every advantage, there seems to be an inherent disadvantage. A unique feature of Japan is that it only has 1 home area. Disadvantage: If you lose 1 area, you are out of the game! Advantage: You only have 1 area to defend. All in all, I like this trade. It still takes 4 ICBMs to take out Japan. I prefer the compact and ease of only having to worry about defending 1 area. I have to defend 1 space, yet I can attack and threaten many. Perfect.
If we are going to be an island power, we must have a powerful Navy. First question is: How many to start with? Armies are no good if they can’t get anywhere. Navies aren’t of much use if you can’t invade anybody. In general, I like to run an even mix in Armies to Navies; based on transport capacity. Each Navy can carry 3 Armies. I usually start off with 3 Navies and 6 Armies. I can invade with all 6 Armies, potentially, and still keep 1 extra Navy as an escort to absorb any losses. (or blockading/fire support)
Obviously, if we are getting really pounded, we many have to hunker down in Japan by building just Armies. What’s so cool about this, is that our Armies can still fire into the Sea of Japan! Think air and cruise missile attacks. If we survive and are able to clear out any ‘would-be’ invaders, we can start building up our Navy again.
Ok, we are all stoked up and ready to strike. Now the big question is where? I can’t help but look at China. I know, it’s been done. Rather cliché isn’t it? Still it’s a nice big juicy target sitting front and center. You can’t help but notice them. There are usually many companies to be had in China. It is close by. Very tempting. Especially if China is at war somewhere. If they are distracted and engaged with a neighbor, they are very vulnerable to our attack.
Sound easy? It’s not. If China is thinking straight, they should be building mostly Armies. They should have very few Navies. That means we should ‘always’ be out numbered. (all else being equal) Why? Because we have to build Navies and Armies to attack them. They have only to build Armies to defend. That means they should usually outnumber us on the continent.
Well that’s impossible then! How could we ever beat China? We have 2 things going for us. First we have mobility/surprise. Our Navy makes us extremely flexible. We can hit them wherever they are weak. Remember how I liked that we only had 1 area to defend? How many does China have to defend? 7 areas, and that’s just along the coast! They still have to cover the Russian front. (Hopefully. Tip: Don’t ever let China and Russia become good allies if possible.)
For invasions, we have the power of concentration. Let’s say the Chinese have 3 Armies in each coastal area. That is 7 x 3 = 21 total. If we have the same, we would have say: 16 Armies, 5 Navies. Our 16 Armies vs China’s 21 means we are outnumbered but they are dispersed. We could land say in Beijing with all 16 against their 3. China gets stomped. Ah yes, you say, but then what does China do? They reinforce all 21 – 3 = 18 Armies into Tsingtao against our 15 Armies in Beijing. (I’m assuming we lost 1 while invading) This is going to be bloody. Especially if they blitz us with 3 attacks at once.
If we have any survivors left, what can we do? Easy, we load up onto our ships and invade somewhere else, like Canton! If our invasion got obliterated, we build up and launch this new invasion next turn. Ok, so where does this get us? Won’t China just do the same thing again? Reinforce everybody down to Nanning and stomp our beach head in Canton. Yeah well, I didn’t say this was going to be easy. My point is, we can always strike and attack them somewhere. China will always be weak somewhere. There will always be an easy target to strike. This is going to take some time and attrition. Hopefully we are taking and holding a few Chinese companies per turn. This will disrupt their production and therefore slowly reduce the number of Armies they can field.
Ah! I know how we can accelerate this, you might be thinking. We can use our Navies to strike their Armies along the coast to weaken them more. True but this also might wake China up to the fact that they can use their Armies along the coast to destroy our fleet! Our Navy is much more powerful by blockading and transporting new troops to the continent. I’d rather not see them get chewed up the Chinese hoards.
When I invade China, I prefer to split my forces up and invade multiple targets at once. Let’s say 5 into Beijing, 5 into Shanghai, and 6 into Canton. If we win, we have potentially destroyed 9 Chinese Armies and seized 3 out of 4 cities. (a somewhat ambitious projection) This makes a Chinese response much more problematic. Does China have enough to counter attack all 3 cities? Which ones are more important? How many troops should they commit to each theater? I like forcing the enemy to make lots of tough decisions like this. Each decision is an opportunity for them to make a mistake. A mistake for us to exploit!
China is now 1 city away from being conquered. That should get their attention! True. The problem with this is that it also gets the attention of all the other players around the globe. They are not going to like you taking out China so quickly. You are liable to be facing a huge coalition of threats now.
This is a huge deal in Supremacy 2020. It is often best to build ‘hidden’ power. You don’t want to be conspicuous and overt. At least until it’s already too late for the enemy. Besides, in this case, China still has 12 Armies left. They will counter attack and take many of those cities back but you will still be on international pariah status! Not a good situation at all.
Landing on the mainland is ok. There are good companies to be had in Korea, Vietnam etc. Just be prepared for war with China if you do. They won’t like it, even if they say they are ok with it. China will always view those areas as ‘theirs’. A showdown is just a matter of time.
Island areas are a better target. Those are usually seen as ‘your turf’. You have a right to be there! I especially like Borneo and Sumatra. You are going to need lots of oil to run your fleet. Once you are ready for it, try to build up a strong Navy presence in the Java Sea. I would stack as many Armies as you dare in these areas also. From this base of operations, you can easily strike into the Middle East, -always a hot, strategic region. You can also strike into East Africa from here. Even if you don’t, it is always good to be able to threaten some place. It gives you negotiating clout.
From Japan, we can take New Delhi and Canberra with 1 well timed strike. Sounds good. The only problem now is, how do you get Great Britain and Quebec? You can’t finish them off and now you made an enemy. That’s the downside. On the plus side, how are they going to get back at you? It goes both ways doesn’t it?
You know, there is a really interesting wake to this. If you do take New Delhi and Canberra, you’re not on international pariah status. Why? Because you obviously can’t finish them off. That makes you: not a threat. That’s good. What else happens now? The sharks start circling. There is blood in the water. You can’t get to Great Britain or Quebec but who can? The EU and the US. That presents an irresistible target to both of them. Which one? Was the US a strong ally of the CW? Not anymore! Now the US see’s the CW as easy pickings. This should shatter any alliance between them. It should also instigate a war between the EU and US. Which one of them will take out the last city?
I love this effect. This frees you up to take down easy targets around Asia and profit by selling resources to the US and EU to destroy each other. You also don’t have to watch your back worrying about a US invasion. They will be more than occupied with bigger problems now. After you pick up some easy targets around Asia, it might be a good time take on China next! Excellent.
Seriously? Where are you going to go? Vladivostok, Siberia, Urals? What are you going to gain from those? Nothing likely. Then what? Now your deep Russian spearhead is easily cut off by China. Who could resist such a spoiling attack? It’s just too fun. Can you fight Russia and China at the same time? China is enough of a problem! Not to mention if Russia just lobs an ICBM into Vladivostok. Then what?
I don’t see any realistic options here unless we are late in the game, several players are out and you have massive assets. By then, you’ll know what to do.
Invasion is possible. You can hit California in 1 move. Don’t be deceived though. It does take a return move for your fleet to pick up more reinforcements so that still slows you down. This is a much more difficult campaign than nearby China. The US here is no ‘Sleeping Giant’. We all start off on equal economic footing. (depending on the fall of the opening cards).
The other big problem with taking on the US is cities. California is easy to come by. East Coast? Forget it. This campaign will be long, difficult and expensive. Your only possible hope for success is an ally. The CW or EU could do it.
A US invasion is best used as a threat. It’s too much trouble to actually do. A well timed threat here could have a huge global, strategic implication. Keep a close eye on California. If the US does end up in a big war and is invaded in the East, you are in a great position to snag the last city in California and therefore take all the spoils! Can you hang on to California long though? Not likely and now you just made new enemies. Maybe that’s not such a good idea after all. On second thought, just stay out of the US.