Let’s take a look how you can win Axis and Allies (Europe, Pacific, Global) 2th edition.
Without your capital, you can’t produce units nor collect income. So never loose your capital. Even just losing it for 1 round, means you haven’t just lost your IPC, the enemy has gained it too. It hurts twice.
Now that we have the most obvious of guidelines out of the way, let’s take a look at some more devious game mechanics:
Attack with an overwhelming army, not just to win the battle, but to minimize your IPC loss. For example let’s presume your 8 tanks are attacking 4 tanks:
Your 8 tanks cause on average 4 hits in the first round, killing all 4 tanks of the opposition. But those 4 tanks only have 2 hits on average. So in the end, you loose 2 tanks less than the opponent. Given that each tank costs 6 IPC to build, this gives you a profit of 12 IPC, near the frontline (right where you want them).
So always attack with a larger army. Don’t pass up the opportunity to attack a large force with a much larger force, unless a counterattack is immanent.
Cannon fodder are cheap units that are used to take hits, so the more powerful, expensive units live longer. There are 4 units that are considered cannon fodder:
Infantry (3 IPC): the best on land
Mechanized infantry (4 IPC): to resupply your army faster
Submarine (6 IPC): the best on sea
Destroyer (8 IPC): in case the enemy has airplanes and no destroyers, he can’t hit the submarines
Always bring cannon fodder to minimize your IPC loss. For example, let’s presume your 3 infantry and 7 tanks attack 4 tanks:
Notice that for a mere loss of 6 IPC, the enemy lost 24 IPC, which is a profit of 18 IPC, worth 75% of the enemy’s entire army.
If you play it right, your expensive units won’t die: avoid loosing battles and do winning battles with cannon fodder to absorb the hits. But you’ll need to replace that cannon fodder.
Make sure their reinforcements arrive in time, especially if the frontline is far away from your major production facilities.
Starting from your major production facilities, it can be a long route to reach the enemy capital. For example, from Berlin to Moscow at infantry speed (without transports) takes 5 rounds:
A lot can happen in 5 rounds. Plenty of time to mount a defense. For example, the German bowling ball strategy invests in a large force to move from Berlin straight into Moscow. Let’s see what happens if you send 30 artillery (or 15 artillery and 15 infantry) from Berlin to Moscow, with only 10 infantry there. Surely, 30 artillery will beat 10 infantry?
Well, your capture of Moscow is doomed:
In round 1, you produce or gather your army in Berlin.
In round 2, you start moving your army straight towards Moscow, to attack it in round 6.
Russia can wait until round 3 to act upon it: it producing up to 10 infantry per turn in Moscow.
By the time your Germany army reaches Moscow, the Russian defense outnumbers it.
This is an ideal situation for the allies: Germany is heavily invested in the Russian front, at the expense of the Atlantic wall, without being able to capture Moscow.
When Germany sends a bowling ball towards Moscow, Russia’s armies must never end a turn next to it. However, they must also still be able to make it back to Moscow if that’s under attack. A typical pitfall is to retreat armies to Leningrad, which allows the German army to bypass those and reach Moscow without those reinforcements.
Amputate a limb to save the body: If Russia had instead send its 40 infantry towards Moscow, it would have lost Leningrad, but Moscow would survive at least 4 turns longer, and much more if US/UK open a western front.
UK’s pacific armies and Japan’s armada are also susceptible to this.
The Allies (usually US and UK) can leapfrog into Berlin or Rome by surprise, because US plays before UK:
First, US conquers Denmark and Norway to open up the Danish Straight (or Gibraltar to open up that straight).
Next, UK’s transports do an amphibious attack on Berlin (or Rome), passing through the straight.
If the Axis don’t realize they don’t get to play between these 2 turns, they can false assume it’s ok to leave Berlin (or Rome) defenceless.
This being said, it’s usually ok to leave Berlin and Rome defenceless, as long as no UK transports are in range.
Ok, this advise might seem the inverse of our second guideline Attack with a larger army, but airplanes can come from far to increase an attacking army’s size.
Keep an eye on enemy airplanes.
Transports are precious units: they cost 7 IPC, yet they can’t attack nor defend. But there are is no other way to conquer oversees territories. Transports are essential.
A fully loaded transport with 1 artillery and 1 infantry costs 14 IPC, carrying 4 attack and 2 hitpoints. That’s not much. You need a lot of them to have any chance to invade Normandy and not be kicked out immediately. So you might be tempted not to protect your transports decently.
Any transport without naval units to protect it, is an ideal target for strategic bombers. Guam and the Solomon Islands can make good landing spots to extend your range.
But even protected transports have a target painted on their back. For example, 3 destroyers (24 IPC) with 3 loaded transports (32 IPC) are worth 56 IPC. They won’t survive your attack of 3 strategic bombers (36 IPC). On average, at least 1 strategic bomber will survive, leading to a cost of 24 IPC on your side. So a profit of 32 IPC. That’s well worth it.
Recycle your transports. Send them back to ferry additional units.
A great way to disrupt the enemy economy is convoy disruption. Especially a single submarine can wreck a lot of economical damage, because it rolls two dices.
Great locations for an Allied submarine:
Sea zone 6, between Japan and Korea
Sea zone 105, left of Normandy
Sea zone 125, left of Norway
Great locations for an Axis submarine:
Sea zone 39, below India
Sea zone 109, left of United Kingdom
Sea zones 54, 62 and 63, between Australia and New Zealand
If London or Tokyo can’t protect their adjacent sea area’s, then convoy disruptions can hurt their income a lot.
It’s normally a good idea to leave the true neutrals alone. but don’t wait to conquer pro-enemy neutrals and recruit friendly neutrals:
Finland and Bulgaria
Yugoslavia and Greece
Even the cost of attacking pro-enemy neutrals is well worth it. Their income will pay it back in no time. And those armies won’t be able to pile up with enemy forces.
In the pacific, it’s tempting to not tak the time to conquer all islands. However, those islands greatly increase the range of the enemy airforce. Especially if the enemy has a weak navy (but a strong airforce), it’s unlikely that those islands ever change to the other side again.