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Strategiclayabout

An idea to balance early game in China

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Hi everyone :) ,

- Was thinking a bit about the usual Japs rampage in China when I saw US mobilization rise after Nanning fell (ongoing ladder game). Then I considered using a similar mechanism for all chinese cities (not towns). Something like a random 0-4% increase for each captured city would lead to a more interesting early game for both sides.

- I think it would simulate pretty well US pressure and political infighting:

0% = isolationists block further measures to help China or anger Japan

1% = isolationists dominate political debate but humanitarian help is allowed

2% = political draw as no action is taken but hostility towards the Yellow Peril keeps growing

3% = war advocates make the most of jap advances to push open military aid

4% = war advocates obtain to issue an official warning to Japan

*

- There are 15 chinese cities under China's control at start:

2 in the center (Chengchow, Sian)

6 in the south (Ichang, Changsha, Nanning, Chungking, Kweiyang, Kunming)

7 in the north (Paotow, Yenan, Lanchow, 3 in the desert and Kashgar)

- Of those 15 around half have a good chance to fall before USA war entry in most games:

1-2 in the center (Chengchow possibly Sian)

4-5 in the south (Kunming being a little harder to reach)

1-2 in the north (Paotow and Yenan being near the front)

*

- At worst USA mobilization would gain 36% (9 x 4%) at best 0% (9 x 0%) with average being 18% (9 x 2%). That would force Japs to balance their agression level depending on US reactions to their advances in China. It would also make the anti-USA diplomacy move more logical and give some help to China while making a full naval strategy a bit more tempting.

- If Japs are lucky USA will more or less ignore them and they'll be able to grab most of chinese ressources. However each new conquest will increase the risk to awaken the sleeping giant. If they're unlucky they'd still have several choices to keep going in China but will have to change their plans accordingly.

*

- In both cases anti-USA diplomacy can be used but it won't have such a massive effect as before. It will mostly keep US mobilization % where it is or limit its increase. That is unless Japs decide to play quiet in China and go for full naval strategy while teching up and producing as many units as they can.

- Of course Japs can still keep China's head low by attacking around cities without taking them. However Japs would still have to roll the diplomatic dice as some of them (Chengchow, Nanning and Changsha). It also makes strategic bombing a more interesting option to reduce chinese capacities while avoiding US wrath.

Would like to know what other players think ?

Thanks for reading !

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Quite a thoughtful post. Why in fact didn't Japan succeed more in China historically? I do like that if the anti-USA diplomacy strategy is tried by Germans/Japanese it forces Japanese to be less aggressive.

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Good ideas, Strategiclayabout. But what ist your intention?

Is it to counter the "anti-USA diplomacy strategy" or is it to balance Japan vs. China?

If it's the first case, it's the wrong way I think. Because for me the "anti-USA diplomacy strategy" is gamey and should be deactivated. No major nation should be able to influence another major nation by diplomacy - regardless whether allied or hostile. The (Axis-) players can "control" the US-mobilization by their aggressiveness. And nothing else.

If it's the second case, there is no need to rise american mibilization in response to japanese success in China. Because when Japan decides to conquer China, it will do so but it costs them a lot MPP which they need for their navy.

If you believe that Japans way in China is too easy, lets discuss about it (I don't think so) and manage the things between Japan and China directly.

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Thanks for your answer Duke of York :) ,

- It's more the second case I think though having anti-USA diplomacy toned down at the same time was a nice perk too.

- I agree that with things as they are Japs will conquer China if they want to. The problem is in 95% of the games I played or followed Axis destroys China early then it's USSR-Siberia turn.

- I see no reason not to go heavy on land as Japan. It costs MPPs yes but in the long run having China out or badly crippled is a net gain. Japs also get big experience increases for HQs and units plus higher NM.

- Actually some players don't even bother to build up IJN early, they just go for IJAF instead to speed up chinese collapse (including ground attack/heavy bomber techs and even motorization for land units).

*

- So in a way yes I find it too easy for Japs to roll over China (though the Kunming change next patch should help). But I also understand it's good for unexperienced Axis players to have big guns at start.

(Actually I tried once with 8 or 9 less jap armies at start, keeping elite ones, and it was pretty ok with a slower pace though I admit doing that was quite extreme)

- What made me think is that there are many US diplomacy penalties in the West (Germany going for Belgium, Egypt, Gibraltar, UK...). Japan has some too (Nanning-Indochina-Thailand) but can mostly ignore them by concentrating on China.

(the oil embargo event hit on jap income is good but not related to jap advances so it can also be "ignored")

- On the other hand, US mobilization rise mechanism already exists at/for Nanning. That's why I was thinking of extending it instead of using more heavy measures like eliminating units, diplomacy vs major or reducing jap income. Only my opinion as always so discussion is wide open ;) .

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Hi Strategiclay,

my focus in historical strategy games is always on the question: would/could this really happen?

From this point of view I think: yes - the Japs would really have overrun the Chinese when they had tried it seriously. And if they had made it so, the US would never enter war to save chinese lives. They were strictly pacifistic until Pearl Harbor.

What they really did and what maybe could be tuned is to embargo the japanese income of MPP when the Japs are too aggressive. This would be more historical accurate for me than swinging into the war.

Maybe we can define some cities in China and Southeast Asia that will cause a MPP drain every turn when Japan holds them and the US is not at war? And this could be increased annually.

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I am not sure that I would agree with the assessment that Japan could have overrun all of China in 1939. It seems to me that they were in a catch 22 no win scenario.

1. They invade indochina to stop supplies from reaching China. That railway deal! The Allies then hammer them with oil sanctions.

2. You cannot overrun China without the oil and other strategic materials logistically needed to equip and launch major operations in China.

3. The Chinese Nationalist army numbered 4.7 million men, that isn't counting the communist Chinese army and guerilla's. Numbers aren't that important sometimes but the shear numbers on this make conquering the country very unlikely.

4. After the rape of Nanking, the Japanese basically assured themselves of heavy resistance wherever they went.

5. Just to hold onto the areas that Japan did conquer they had to coax around 900,000 Chinese collaborators to help with security. Even if they overran the country, it would have been impossible to maintain security. Just look at the security messes in Iraq an Afghanistan. Over a billion people in China in 1939.

6. Despite having superior mobility and technology, the Japanese had terrible tanks and light infantry weapons. Even these were not available in the numbers necessary to take over the whole of China.

7. Basically by 1939 the Japanese and Chinese were at a stalemate. Neither side could muster the combat power or logistics necessary to advance.

8. Strategically the Japanese always had protecting the homeland as a number one priority. That made them be focused more on naval power before the army. It was only after the US entered the war that the Japanese army expanded rapidly.

The problem with the game though is that if that Japanese just conquer the port cities and just move inland some, China ends up being a super power by 1942-43. This is and was less likely than Japan taking over the whole of the country! The Chinese spent a fair amount of time fighting each other and lacked the logistical capability to launch significant offensive actions throughout the entire war. So what to do? Japanese have decision point at the beginning of the game. Go big Army or go big Navy.

If they go big Navy.

1. I think there should be some type of stalemate line that the Japanese could push the Chinese back to from which neither side could advance over. Essentially what really happened. The Japanese and US navy force pools could be adjusted based on this decision.

(Jap navy had 22 carriers, 12 battleships, and 44 cruisers). Probably too many for force pool.

2. Japanese focus on the Pacific, India, and Australia. Maybe adjust some MPPs for conquered areas like India and Singapore. Maybe increase some of the allied defenses in the pacific due to Japanese focus there.

If done right maybe there is a chance for Japan to invade the US.

Go big Army.

1. Pretty much like the game is now. Japan is going to focus on China first, do the minimal expansion in the pacific and then attack the USSR. There Probably needs to be something placed into the game that increases US mobilization to counteract the US diplomacy strategy of the axis.

2. I think making Kunming a supply center is a must in this scenario.

3. Allied defenses in the pacific stay like they are.

Any way, maybe too long and radical of a post, but playing games where the Japanese army is larger than the Russian, US, and German armies strikes me as something that really would have never happened in world war 2.

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I am not sure that I would agree with the assessment that Japan could have overrun all of China in 1939.

I didn't talk about "overrun in 1939". It would take a few years, no doubt.

I said, they would do so if they had really focussed on it. What means that they had to invest in their landbased fighting abilities instead of their naval abilities. Exactly the same way the player has to do when he wants a "Land-Japan".

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Hi Strategiclay,

my focus in historical strategy games is always on the question: would/could this really happen?

From this point of view I think: yes - the Japs would really have overrun the Chinese when they had tried it seriously. And if they had made it so, the US would never enter war to save chinese lives. They were strictly pacifistic until Pearl Harbor.

What they really did and what maybe could be tuned is to embargo the japanese income of MPP when the Japs are too aggressive. This would be more historical accurate for me than swinging into the war.

Maybe we can define some cities in China and Southeast Asia that will cause a MPP drain every turn when Japan holds them and the US is not at war? And this could be increased annually.

Oh that gave some interesting options :) ,

- What about making those cities have an effect on DEI mobilization % instead ? It starts at 25% axis and already has an event where it falls when Japs DOW on Indochina. It it reaches 0% or below (Allies leaning) ressource convoy stops (maybe it can even start working for UK).

- 4th Bn 66th Reg also has a good idea with land/naval choice. Maybe an event forcing jap player to make that decision at some point (more or less after the fall of France, when they get a pop window about weakened Indochina) ?

- It would give less MPPs but increase unit pool/numbers for land OR navy to what they are now from reduced starting ones. Another option would be to tie free jap pop units coming in the Pacific (all those SF/ships) to that event. You'd get free land units/HQs OR free ships/planes for xx MPPs per turn. Of course the naval option would be ùmore interesting because of costs and production delays for ships/planes :D .

- A more radical approach would be to get rid of armies for China and Japan. Transfer the names to corps pool and increase their number to match. That would reduce offensive power on both sides and better reflect actual number involved in China. Still we could retain a few elite armies at start or by event but once they're lost it's forever (no pool to rebuild). That would also make those experienced units as precious as they truly were.

Nice discussion :cool: .

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The problem with DEI is - it is conquerable. It can be manipulated.

At a certain point of playing progress the Japs player will conquer it. When he does it smart, the US stay out of war but he benefits from the DEI income and eliminates the embargo effect.

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