Image from James Lee on Flickr

Axis and Allies is a strategy board game based on the World War II conflict. Anyone can play a game, but these strategies are sure to net you an easy win. Read ahead for some compelling Axis and Allies strategy techniques to blow away the competition.

These strategies are based on Axis and Allies 2nd Edition (Revised), but most of the rules are the same no matter what version you use.

Choosing a Side

Axis

You control Germany and Japan. The Axis’ greatest advantage is their territory locations. Crush key points on the map early in the game to get ahead.

Your main disadvantage is if you wait too long to attack/disrupt Allies, your IPCs will lag behind the Allied forces. To win you need to have control of any two Allies’ capitals (Washington, London, Moscow) at the end of the US’s turn.

Allies

You will control Russia, UK and US. The added bonus is that Russia gets to go first, and the US last. This is perfect to set up and counter any other strategies on the board. Stockpile resources to buy a hefty amount of troops early on to position accordingly.

Your key disadvantage is that each country’s forces and locations are spread out too much. Some of the key locations like the east coast of the US have weak naval capability when facing Japan at its border. The excessive amount of pressure Germany can put on the UK can cause it to fall early in the game.

As an Allies player, you need to have control of Berlin and Tokyo at the end of Japan’s turn.

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Best Axis and Allies Strategies

1. Axis and Allies Strategy Germany

What to Focus on: 

  • Building Infantry
  • Crushing Russia or UK early on
  • Capturing Africa

The Strategy: 

Russia always moves first. Pay attention to what Russia decides to do. For your first turn, buy infantry and at least one transport to deal with the UK sea forces. 

There’s two ways this can go:

  • Focus on taking over Russia in collaboration with the Japanese.
  • OR: Focus on taking out the UK while you capture Africa. Make a strong border to keep Russia at bay until you’ve gained a massive amount of IPCs from Africa.

If you’re playing a two player game, you will have control of Japan too. If playing with more players, pay attention to what this player is doing and coordinate with them.  

If Japan decides to attack Russia, you should attack Karelia or Caucasus on your next move. Once captured, make sure you maintain control of it. It will help you put pressure on Moscow. Going this route will ensure an early victory.

No matter which way you choose, you should always have a transport in the Mediterranean to keep the UK and US at bay. Two if you can afford it.

Grow a large army before the Allied forces get their bearings. You will need a massive infantry to counter Russian troops to your right, and UK troops to the left. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Try to take Africa for the added IPC gains. 
  • Put pressure on Russia and UK forces from the beginning to ensure your victory.
  • If the US tries to aid the Allies early on, it could result in a quick loss for you.
  • Capturing US territories will be a waste of resources.

2. Axis and Allies Strategy Japan

Image from David Jensen on Flickr

What to Focus on: 

  • Building Infantry and Transports
  • Crushing Russia or US early on
  • Using your Sea Units/Air force to disrupt the Allies

The Strategy: 

Use your large starting capital to purchase infantry and transports. Invest in tanks and bombers as a last resort. 

Pay attention to what Russia and the UK do on their turns. If key territories are taken near your capital, prioritize reclaiming them for the navy bonuses. Also consider what you can do to set Germany up with support in the next round. 

For this strategy to work, you have to choose one of the following methods:

  • Flood Asia with troops to push back the Russians and US
  • Or, send troops south towards Africa to support the German control of it

If you focus on taking over Asia, you should coordinate with Germany to attack Russia. Keep the US off the Japanese mainland. Once you’ve captured Russia, use your forces to capture the UK.

If you support Germany in conquering Africa, send as many troops as you can around the ocean borders. This makes it challenging for the UK to send backup. While you keep the UK busy you should run interference against any attempt by the US to send help.

One of my favorite strategies is to use the Japanese’s unique locations to disrupt the Allies’. Their location keeps them open to attack the UK, Russia or US at any time. And their high amount of sea and air forces make it easy to attack and retreat quickly.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Japan has unique starting positions that make them ideal to interrupt any moves the Allies might make. 
  • Keep the Allies scattered with various guerrilla-type attacks to ensure victory.
  • Keep your ships nearby to protect the mainland and your infantry count high.

3. Axis and Allies Strategy US

What to Focus on: 

  • Support the Allies with troops and ships
  • Prevent Japan from invading your east coast

The Strategy: 

For this Axis and Allies strategy, the US is best in a supportive role. 

Your moves will reflect upon how your Japanese opponent moves. If they don’t attack your East coast, it frees you up for one of two scenarios. 

  • Focus on helping the UK 
  • OR: Disrupt Japan and support Russia

If you help the UK, use resources for troops and ships. Use a transport to send troops to the UK. Hold off German invasions into Africa. Save some ships to defend your east coast from Japan. 

Send as many other troops towards the Germans as you can. A key pinch point is Norway/Finland.

If Japan attacks Midway, Wake Island or the Hawaiian Islands, use your naval forces to retaliate.

Send your planes to a UK carrier. Transfer troops from Alaska, and Hawaii into Western Canada. From there you have the option to load them onto transports making it easy to reinforce key areas.

If you choose to disrupt Japan, use your Chinese forces to take territory. While you do that, your allies should destroy Germany.

If capturing Japanese territories is difficult, get your troops to Karelia or Ukraine. Help them weaken the German forces. Then Russia can sweep in and crush the Germans.

Key Takeaways:

  • Moving last makes you at the mercy of the other players to retaliate. But at the same time it gives you the advantage to help out where you’re needed most based on the other players’ turns.
  • You have a significant amount of IPCs at the beginning. Use it to build a strong army.

4. Axis and Allies Strategy UK

What to Focus on: 

  • Keep Germany out of Africa
  • Conquer Germany

The Strategy: 

Germany moves before you.  If they seem intent on taking over Africa, build your home base in India. It puts you in line with Russian forces and blocks Japan from taking over Asia. 

It’s key to keep Germany from occupying Africa. If they’ve already got a foothold here, your priority should be to drive them out. 

Alternatively, you can let Japan have India.  Focus on maintaining control of Africa. The US should keep the Japanese at bay through Chinese territories.

Build a carrier to lend air support to Russia. It will allow you to bomb Germany periodically to drive them back.

Use your transports to defend your carrier. Funnel troops into Norway/Finland or North Africa. This will start to box in Germany, putting them on the defensive.

Clearing Germany out from the south gives you the new advantage of taking over Karelia. It will put you right next to your Russian allies. Between your forces and the Russian defense, you will be able to crush Germany.

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Key Takeaways:

  • If Germany has already taken over a lot of Africa, it will be hard to reclaim.
  • Take out the German ships so the US ships have easy passage.
  • Support Russia with defense units in key areas. (Karelia or Caucasus)

5. Axis and Allies Strategy Russia

What to Focus on: 

  • Fortify infantry 
  • Strengthen key territories (Karelia & Siberia)
  • Support your Allies with Air and Ship support

The Strategy: 

Your main advantage is you get to go first, but you’re boxed in by two Axis forces. 

Germany will be attacking from the west while Japan attacks from the southeast. Your main goal is to keep Germany and Japan from being able to topple your defenses. You are a stronghold in a support role to the other Allied forces.

Buy enough land forces to deter Germany from invading Karelia. Keep Japan from attacking Siberia. Supporting US forces prevents Japan from wearing them down.

Send enough infantry and aircraft to Ukraine to gain extra IPCs. When the timing is right, crush either Germany or Japan based on what your teammates are doing.

Key Takeaways:

  • The rest of the game is determined by how Russia fares.
  • Naval support off the coast of Japan and the UK keep the Allied forces ahead.

Additional Considerations

For Land Battles

When attacking, aim to crush most of the army without taking the territory on that turn. This will keep your army at its greatest strength before it has to divide to control the new territory.

Sea Skirmishes

Remember that ships can’t move after unloading. Make sure the ships can survive another turn should your opponent attack.

Note: If your ships are carrying troops and are killed before reaching their destination, you lose those units too.

Air Warfare

Air units can fly through any territory while ignoring enemy units. They need to have enough points to land in safe territory after their attack phase. 

Fighter planes have great attack and defense and are useful to hold the line. Bomber planes are better suited to quickly attack a territory and then retreat. These raids can weaken your opponents until you’re ready for your main strike.

What is the Best Way to Win Axis and Allies?

Decide your strategy from turn one. Stick to this strategy as much as possible. Being flexible is key, but if you spread your efforts too thin you will lose.

Only alter your strategy as needed. If you try to take too many properties at once, you won’t have the forces to defend them. 

As with all strategy games pay attention to your opponents and be ready to counter their moves. Every country has a different role to play. No one strategy fits all.

If you want an easy win, the consensus is that the Allies have a clear advantage. Likewise, a harder match if you play as the Axis powers.

Final Thoughts

The Axis have the odds stacked against them. They have one less turn and start with a lower combined IPC score. Germany is boxed in by the UK and Russia. Should they attack early and hard, Germany will fall quickly.

Japan’s forces are scattered and mostly on the coastline. They depend on ships more heavily than any other country. If the US decides to hit them hard from both sides, Japan will fall.

The Allies have the clear advantage as long as they don’t blunder or wait around too long. As long as Russia has a strong opening, the Allies should have no trouble taking down the Axis.

If the UK can’t keep Germany from taking Africa, the Axis will have a staggering IPC advantage. If the US gets crushed by a Japanese naval attack, they will have a hard time recovering. If the US or Russia can’t play a good support role to the UK, the Allies will fall.

Experiment with as many strategies as you can. Let us know your best axis and allies strategy in the comment section!

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