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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Hister

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I see, so you mean only one province mission then?

This game seriously needs scramble missions, ugh. Planes should took of their native airfield as soon as the enemy planes are spotted and in range.
 

Blecky

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I see, so you mean only one province mission then?

This game seriously needs scramble missions, ugh. Planes should took of their native airfield as soon as the enemy planes are spotted and in range.
Yes, if you target a province where Chinese INT are often spotted, you´re very likely to ground them for a while. BTW a scramble mission wouldn´t help in your case but would be invaluable for the Chinese.
 

Hister

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It's actually the other way around since they now have the upper hand in the air - I devoted no IC for building any additional planes besides from what I got at the beginning.
 

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Finally got around to playing this game/mod and finding Japan to be pretty interesting. Seems like it is rather well balanced.

Anyone have any more up to date ideas on playing as Japan?
 

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So, on the off chance anyone is still playing this, and to put down my experiences so far . . . I do not presume to have an exquisite understanding of the mechanics in AoD much less C.O.R.E., but as they say about "good design," if a player familiar with the genre and themes can just intuit how it works and succeed more often than not, then that is good. It seems to be working, but I appreciate if anyone can clarify if any of my following points are inaccurate or fallacious.

The challenges facing Japan are as follows:
1. Social forces at home are agitating for war; I attempted in one of my earlier practice plays when I was getting a handle on the game and the position to simply forestall some of the historical conflicts (e.g., appease the coup instead of crushing them, back down at Marco Polo, take a bite of Shanxi then agree to peace . . .) and this did not work at all. Well done on the game designers for having managed to pull this off: one of the most challenging things in war games that seek to be realistic/historicall-constrained, but also open ended enough to allow for creative approaches to historical problems based on hindsight. Because of these social forces, Japan is honestly best off going to war as soon as possible (against Shanxi/National China and it would seem the entire unified front of all the Chinese clans is more or less inevitable). The option to NOT pursue this conflict either historically or later than historically certainly exists, but it is (at least in the short-run) NOT the optimum path.

2. Despite the social/cultural/political impetus to go to war and expand Japans Asian mainland empire, Japan is in fact NOT ready for a war of this sort at the outset of the scenario, something which I also learned based on some practice sessions, and which I was aware from my knowledge of history was in fact the case. Again, well done for the scenario/mod developers. My knowledge of the Japanese OOB is not perfect, and clearly there are some "short-hands" that have been taken to abstract a massive international relations theatre into a small number of provinces . . . but on the whole, it seems you've struck a very good balance with Japans starting OOB, industrial development, tech level etc. This is a huge improvement as my limited previous experience with this game was firing up a Japan start and finding it to be a ridiculously easy cake-walk where I was churning out hordes of armor and mowing across China like the Mongols.

3. Japans air force is meager at best and its navy, while fairly sizeable, comprises a large fraction of outdated ships. Indeed, the land forces are nearly 10 years old designs in most cases. So in addition to just plain not having enough divisions to take on China, there is a general need to enhance military tech and infrastructure.

All of this strikes me as very good balancing and I applaud the designers of the mod/scenario.

Having tried a couple of different things, I have finally come up with what seems to be a good interim strategy for a Japan start, a strategy that should allow for conquesting large fractions of China (more than historical) by the time it is time to go to war against the western powers.

1. Delete all the build items that are either very low in progress or which are superfluous or archaic.
2. Change at least one each of the DD, Convoy, Escort, etc. to be a permanent production line.
3. Add infra development in the main home island provinces based on IC and resource levels bump these to top of the queue and set them to go at high speed.
4. Until those infra are done, run science at about 50%, but fill out all the tech slots with a focus on industrial buildup and infantry/armor build up and neglecting navy and air for the time being.
5. Add a single production line for HQ+AA, Inf+Arty, Inf+AA, Inf+Armor, Inf+CombEng, Security+Security, as well as about 4 or 5 of the long range troop transports. Set those to all come after the infrastructure is done.
6. Get a few trade deals to maintain all resources in the green, and set sliders so that everything stays at least slightly in the green except for production (which will almost always be a fraction of the total alloted . . . delaying stuff at the bottom such as the various ships that Japan starts with).

My goal was to build a total of about 8 corps with 4 to 5 divisions, plus maybe 10 or 15 security forces to take care of partisans behind the lines. I believe I was only about about 4 or 5 corps and 8 or so garrisons, so that didn't work out quite right.

I used Marco Polo to get war with Shanxi, which quickly led to war with NatChina and CommChi as well, and I had most of my corps with a three AP task force in Fukuoka so I could do an amphibious assault with three divisions on Shanghai. The other 3 or 4 corps and the fourth division for each of them followed along in sequence.

Here I actually made an error and allowed myself to reload a save game. I did set a supply route to Shanghai but did not pay attention to how much supply units had accumulated. After I had made a breakout into the two provinces adjoining Shanghai there was alull then when I restarted I realized my supply levels were too low and my front collapsed, so I reloaded . . . Nice that the game makes supply such a crucial feature, but slightly frustrating that one must use these abstracted "convoys" instead of simply loading supply into specific human-controlled task forces . . . also frustrating that, apart from the supply depot and the color in the supply overlay, there is no clear way to tell how much supply is IN a particular province?

Meanwhile all of the initial forces which were not bolted down in Manchukuo and Manchuria were advancing soung of Tianjin . . .

As of autum 1938: I am nearly ready to start building functional radar devices, I have built two heavy tank battalions, I have started to get zeros (early model "Oscar" I suppose . . . Japanese machines always seem to have at least 3 different ways to refer to them and it is all a bit bewildering), I have roughly 8 corps with 3 to 8 divisions operating and have expanded to cover the entire northeastern coast of China from Manhukuo to Shanghai and now about 3 to 4 provinces inland. If memory serves that is a bit better than historical, though I have neglected developing any additional beachheads along the southeastern or southern coasts so far. Chinese air is proving to be a slight nuisance, so I've built one AA facility at Shanghai, and started building new models of Divisions with AA brigades. I would say my hold is slightly tenuous . . . my intell suggests that across nearly ever province of the front the Chinese have anywhere from 5 to 15 Divisions per province . . . if the computer opponent "decides" how best to concentrate his forces and launch a counter attack I could suffer some serious setbacks. But overall, I'd say I'm doing pretty well.
 

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So I managed to conquest China by about Jan 1942. With the improved knowledge of the Tech Tree, game mechanics, etc. I probably could get that a bit earlier on a replay. I won't give away any spoilers, lets just say: even when China won't agree to reasonable peace demands, just keep gobbling . . . eventually they will cave in. When they do, don't do anything too rash, there are a series of events that fire in sequence over the span of a few days or so in game time. Assuming the player has achieved a relatively high level of domination of Chinese territory, you'll be able to divide up your spoils roughly to your liking. I'd say there are half-dozen event choices that allow you each about three alternative choices in which you can either go for complete conquest of China or essentially make them a puppet. At first it seems there is no option to annex anything, but that should fire (assuming you've conquered enough).

Not a bad way to handle a "what if" historical outcome and salute to the designers who worked it out.

I would not call this an "easy" task by any means. It pushed Japans capacities pretty far to the brink, and there were long stretches where my efforts to make progress were thwarted and the Chinese fortress provinces required repeated assaults. By the time I got the first event to fire, my manpower was zero, and I simply could not build any more large land units, so I had pushed all of those to the bottom of my queue and I was getting the ships that one starts the scenario with out of the way along with other things that do not require much manpower.

I opted to annex the entire coastline as well as the south and heartland, but left Shanxi, Xibei and maybe one other one as puppets. Nationalist Chinese retains a small strip of territory, but of course they are all puppets. Once I can get the manpower flow from those annexed Chinese provinces going (along with the other goodies) I should be able to get pretty far toward global conquest by 1953! :)

ADDIT: so, I think I have FINALLY, got my money's worth out of this game! :) Thanks to the C.O.R.E. mod team for that!

Like I said in a previous post, when I first bought it (which was perhaps within the first year it was released) I found the balance for Japan to be absolutely ridiculous, though perhaps it was not so bad for Germany, etc.
 
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