Axis And Allies USA Strategy

How To Play Axis & Allies As The USA

If you have just set up for your first game of Axis & Allies then it can be really tough to work out what to do.

If you are the US player then you need to work with Russia and the United Kingdom but you also have to deal with threats from Japan and help your allies control the Germans.

Thankfully there are some really solid strategies for the US to follow which will ensure that they can keep their enemies in check while building their strength across the board.

Whichever global version of Axis & Allies you play, whether 1940, 1941, 1942 or even the Anniversary Edition, this article will give you some really powerful concepts that will ensure that your role as the US player is really effective.

The best strategy for the US player in Axis & Allies is to set up a supply chain across the Atlantic to Europe and Africa. They should produce infantry and tanks and transport them in a steady supply to exert pressure on the Germans from the west. Meanwhile their allies in the United Kingdom should join them in attacking Germany while the Russians reinforce and keep Japan in check.

Axis & Allies is a complex game with many options, so it always helps to be flexible and adapt according to how your opponents are playing, but the following principles will tend to hold true however your game plays out.

Think Of Your Role Within The Team

Whichever global version of Axis & Allies you play if you are in charge of the US then you will be part of a group of Allies.

Whether you are just playing head to head or with the full player count you need to think of the game as described in its own title, as a war between the Axis powers of Germany and Japan and the Allied powers of the US, Russia and the United Kingdom.

This means that the best way to play as the USA is to support the other two Allied powers and enable them to do what they do best.

Of course, both the United Kingdom and Russia have direct access to Europe while the USA doe not, but you can still use your abilities to cause trouble and give your allies the chance to play to their strengths.

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Make Germany Fight On The Western Front

One of the most useful things that you can do as the US player is to team up with the forces from the United Kingdom to ensure that Germany has to fight on its Western front.

If you build up sufficient forces in western Europe then Germany will be forced to turn its attention to you and away from Russia if it does not want to lose its capital.

Although the USA can’t reach Germany directly they can set up a supply route across the Atlantic and then flood troops into Europe either from the west or from Africa.

So spend your early turns setting up transports from the US and filling them with infantry and tanks to land on the ground in Europe or Africa and keep this flow of supplies going as effectively as you can.

Do this early on in the game and Germany will have to fight off this threat, which means that Russia will be left alone to strengthen itself and deal with anything that the Japanese might get up to as well as keeping an eye on Germany’s eastern front.

With this strategy the combined forces of the United States and the United Kingdom keep hammering away at Germany while Russia consolidates its position.

While all this is going on the supply route from the US ensures that a constant stream of reinforcements is arriving from across the Atlantic and keeping up the pressure.

This video by Jonathan Meyer discusses various ideas for the US, including this idea of making Germany fight in Europe:

Infantry Are Cheap And Effective

One of the core principles of battle in Axis & Allies is that you should always ensure that you have enough forces to overcome the effects of luck in battles.

Sometimes you will roll absurdly well and sometimes the dice will hate you, but over the long run things will even out so you need to be able to ride out the variance until the averages kick in.

Having loads of infantry on the ground is the best way to be able to suck up damage as you can produce them in large quantities so you should be able to hold the line even if you lose some of them.

They are also a cheap way of tipping the balance in your favour when making attacks, so although they may seem like cannon fodder (which they often are) they gain strength in numbers and can make the difference between holding a line and losing it, or between winning a battle and getting wiped out.

This is why the US player should be producing infantry and shipping them across the Atlantic to put pressure on the Germans in Europe – the Germans will have no choice but to deal with this threat, but no matter how many forces they pit against their enemies the reinforcements will just keep coming.

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Rely On Averages, Not Luck

This is linked to what I have written above, but it is a critical part of doing well in the game and should be held in mind whichever power you are playing.

You always need to be thinking of the average number of hits that each side would be able to make in a battle rather than relying on being lucky with the dice.

Because each battle can play out over multiple rolls of the dice it is really unlikely that you are going to be lucky that many times in a row, so you need to be sure that your forces are generally stronger overall.

Also, if you roll very badly in round one of combat you need to be able to ride it out.

This links in with the hint about infantry supply I mentioned earlier – if defending you need to make sure that you have enough units to hold the line, but if attacking you should be sure that you have the better chance on average of winning.

Sure, you’ll win some on luck and lose some on luck, but it will more or less even out over the course of a game, so make sure the numbers on the board and on the dice are on your side.

Unite Your Allies

While you are busy setting up your supply chains and keeping the Germans occupied in Europe you should make sure that your Allies are playing supporting roles.

In a two-player game this is easy as you’ll be running those countries as well as the US, but in a five-player game you need to make sure that your fellow players are part of a united overall strategy.

The United Kingdom should be supporting your efforts putting pressure on Germany while Russia should be sitting tight, reinforcing enough to keep Japan from thinking about attacking, and waiting for you to break through from the west.

For the Russians it’s a waiting game until you can hook up with them and then pile in on Japan for the win.

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Be Flexible

Of course, sometimes things won’t pan out as you expect and you’ll have to think on your feet, but these general principles still all hold true.

Also, because the US plays last in a round of Axis & Allies you’ll have had a chance to see what the enemy powers are up to at the beginning of the game before you make your first decision.

So be ready to adapt but stick to the core ideas if you can.

Don’s Essays Are Essential Reading

If you really want to dig into the nitty gritty of American strategy and do some deep reading on probabilities and ideas then Don Rae’s set of essays about Axis & Allies is essential reading.

The essays are over twenty years old now, so don’t cover some of the details of the newer versions of Axis & Allies that you are likely to be playing, but for general concepts discussed in a deep and useful way they really can’t be beaten.

Thankfully they can still be found on the internet, so click on this link and get reading if you want to become a deep-level Axis & Allies player, whichever side you happen to be playing.

Of course, sometimes you might just want to play for fun and see what happens, but if you want to take the next step after reading this article – and see what your opponents might have been reading – then these essays are pure gold.

If you’re playing on a newer version of Axis & Allies, which is likely, then this video by Jonathan Meyer takes a look at the US strategy with a focus on the 1942 edition:

US Strategy Summarised

So, to wrap up, here’s a summary of the best strategy for the US player in a game of Axis & Allies.

You might have to tweak this a little depending on which version you’re playing, but in general it should hold up well:

  • Set up a supply chain across the Atlantic towards Europe and Africa
  • Produce infantry in large amounts as well as tanks
  • Keep a steady supply of reinforcements arriving and team up with the United Kingdom to put pressure on the Germans
  • Ensure that the numbers are on your side, whether attacking or defending
  • Hold the defensive line if at all possible
  • Ensure that Russia keeps reinforcing to deter the Japanese from making any moves and keep Germany engaged on two fronts
  • Once you have broken through the German lines you can combine to attack Japan
  • Be prepared to be flexible

 

Image credit, license, No changes made.
Image credit, license, No changes made.
Image credit, license, No changes made.
Image credit, license, No changes made.

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About the author

James Declan discovered board gaming via a one hour sesh trying to escape Forbidden Island with his daughter and has never looked back.