Guide concerning research in Strategic Command: World at War - from Allied perspective.
Researcher Guide for Allies
Greetings fellow commanders.
Strategic Command: World at War is an amazingly deep game, which may overwhelm many players, mainly in the beginning. Especially research is an area, where mistakes made in early years of War will haunt you for long time. In fact, without knowledge about many of game's mechanics and sufficient experience you will probably stare at research screen and pick some stuff randomly, because it sounds cool. But against average players (or better), it's a road to demise.
Players, because this guide is written in a PBEM context. Against AI there is a lot of room for experimentation. But against developed human strategies - not that much. What is more, this guide is written - as title says - from Allied perspective. I have negligible experience from Axis side and I don't want to pretend I know their stuff. Though in my opinion, choices are easier as Germany/Japan.
This guide is not about research mechanic. It is well described in game's manual, so why reiterate it here?
The most important point - nothing is set in stone in this game when it comes to research. Stay flexible and adjust your strategy - so tech choices too - to your opponents decisions. No guide will be more important than you own judgement and sometimes intuition.
There are two main points about China:
- They are MPP poor. In 1939, with the help from US, the Chinese are earining only about 200 MPP's per turn. Taking into account their bad position, in opening months they usually lose some cities, so their income will be even lower ca. 160-180 MPP. Combining with pressure from Japanese army, they just can't afford a lot of research and must be picky.
- Their army is based entirely on infantry. So no fancy stuff - airplanes, tanks etc. We will do everything to make our armies and corps stronger.
We begin game with 120 MPP and 3 chits invested in: Advanced Aircraft, Industrial Tech and Production Tech. We don't need any of these, because:
- Advanced Aircraft - China has only one fighter, which will be no match for japanese air force even after upgrade, and is not worth investing in.
- Industrial Tech - China's industrial base is too low to benefit from IT.
- Production Tech - this may be controversial, but PT provides enough benefit mainly for countries building their armies from scratch - like USA. China is in tough position and will struggle to rebuild its forces, not mentioning building new armies/corps.
All 3 will be refunded, giving us back 87+62+62=211 MPP, for a total of 331 MPP. Then we will invest in following order:
- Infantry Weapons - probably the most important tech in the game, will improve our infantry stats a lot. As soon as we get lvl 1, we will invest in lvl 2. This will greatly improve chances against Japan, if it doesn't come too late.
- Infantry Warfare - it influences morale of our troops, making them last longer on battlefield. Only 1 level is available.
Your tech order should look like this:
- Infantry Weapons lvl 1.
- Infantry Warfare - both as mentioned above.
- Anti-Aircraft Defense lvl 1 - Japan rules the skies and China doesn't have enough planes to counter them. Troops must defend on their own, and AA is the way to go. We will need 2 levels.
- Second chit in Anti-Aircraft Defense lvl 1 whenever possible.
- Command&Control, if situation allows to
- Infantry Weapons level 2, whenever possible. Without this tech, China will be doomed.
Tech-wise China is relatively simple to play and you shouldn't go wrong.
We field a lot of infantry and we must improve it quickly.
Note: All of this is under assumption India entered War immediately.
India has even less MPP's than China, but is under zero pressure from Axis in the beginning. Therefore they have time to develop their tech at least until early 1941, when they should switch gears to military production. Though one may argue that due to lack of options, they may/should begin even earlier.
I believe India has two ways to go, and it may somehow determine starting techs, but not considerably. India starts with chits in:
- Infantry Weapons - definite keeper.
- Advanced Tanks - India will hardly produce enough Tanks and then transport it to main theathers so this is a nono - refund.
- Long Range Aircraft - if you take "Air route", keep it. See below.
- Artillery Weapons - niche tech. India may construct only one artillery piece, you don't invent a tech for one unit. Refund.
- After refunding Tanks and Arty, we have 249 MPP to use.
It's a good and straightforward way, we pick techs as we did in China:
- Infantry Warfare.
- Anti-Aircraft Defense lvl 1.
- Second chit in Anti-Aircraft Defense whenever possible.
- Second chit in C&C, whenever possible.
- Infantry Weapons level 2, whenever possible.
And then we produce a lot of infantry. We will need it to protect homeland from Japanese, some counteraction in Burma is possible too, later you may even retake Malayas. If Japan plays slow, you may reinforce all these islands in SE Asia with you troops, preventing JPN from easy gains. And you may of course support Allied actions in other parts of the world, like North Africa. Special Forces (India may get 2 if you build one before 1942) and Paratroopers may become very handy.
This way of playing is simple and to the point, but will not help Allies that much on the important fronts. Therefore you may check...
India may produce 4 bombers (2TAC, 2MED) and 3 fighters, and later in the game will get one fighter and one TAC for free. A formidable force indeed. Therefore you may invest a lot of MPP's in necessary air techs. Picking this route, you should definetely keep a starting chit in Long-Range Aircraft. Tech route may look like this:
- Ground Attack Weapons (GAW).
- Advanced Aircraft.
- All techs from Infantry Route. You may forego one chit in C&C, or a tech entirely if really pressed.
- Next level in Long Range Aircraft.
- Next level in GAW.
- Next level in Advanced Aircraft.
Air route is very demanding MPP-wise and Indian soldiers will probably not able to support UK in Africa when needed. But if you get all those bombers online, they will make a huge difference against Germany - combined with UK and US planes they will get a target practice. Remember that planes need an HQ to use their full potential, so you must be ready to send HQ wherever you send your planes.
If during the game you won't have enough MPP's, you may abandon fighters tech and focus only on bombers, letting US and UK fighters do the work. Abandoning rage tech is not an option, it takes away a lot of flexibility from your bombers.
For beginners I would go with 'Infantry route', but in the following games 'Air route' may be very worth testing out.
Soviet Union is in a bad shape in 1939, behind in tech and with low MPP output for the time being. Altough not under immediate pressure, an invasion from Germany in (early) 1941 is unavoidable. You have to prepare with whatever scarce resources you have. And unfortunately, there will be not a lot of flexibility.
USSR starts with cheats in:
- Anti-Tank - really debatable. AT units are tough and are a direct counter to Panzers, so may seem to be a no-brainer. But they don't have an attack potential, and against infantry they are ok at best. USSR can field 3 of these, so this tech won't be a waste. Try it and decide yourselves, but for the sake of adventure, we will keep it.
- Advanced Tanks - Tanks are strong in this game and USSR can produce alot of them, so it's a definite keeper.
- Advanced Fighters - similarly to China, you will never have enough aircraft to challenge enemy (Luftwaffe), so investing in this area is a waste. If you want to somehow make it viable, you must reserach Aerial Warfare too. So beter just refund it.
- Production Tech - China syndrome again, you will spent a lot of time rebuilding your units, not producing from scratch, therefore PT doesn't provide enough benefit. Some math may prove otherwise, but USSR must fight for life at once, and PT doesn't contribute directly to this. Refund.
- Industrial Tech - USSR has huge MPP base and will benefit greatly from this tech. Keeper.
After refunding both aircraft and PT, we end with 299 MPP, which we immediately put into Infantry Weapons lvl 1. This leaves us with 124 MPP, so we must wait for following turns with our decisions.
Somewhat necessary tech path later on looks like this:
- Another chit in Industrial Tech - as mentioned, USSR benefits greatly from it and if finished relatively quickly, may provide you with enough MPP's before war to buy tanks, and later on will of course give you MPP's to rebuild units. This step is not as critical as following.
- Infantry Warfare - more morale for our troops and USSR fields a lot of them.
- Armored Warfare - enabling a second attack for tanks, a tech close to being OP. Great benefit for 175 MPP
- Anti-Aircraft Defense - like China, soviet troops must defend directly against enemy planes. We need two levels, so...
- Anti-Aircraft Defense again = suffer less from enemy bombers.
- Command&Control - We have alot of troops and great need for better HQ's.
- Command&Control - next chit immediately.
After then - next levels in infantry weapons and advanced tanks whenever possible.
And probably that's all, unfortunately. Soviet Union (to reiterate) doesn't have a lot of resources before 1941, and must also invest in some units, like tanks/HQ. Playing this nation is less about tech, more about positioning your army and general tactical abilities. Only when you stabilize against Wermacht, you may pursue non-standard toys, from which I prefer artillery the most.
As IRL, USSR takes a lot of beating.
Finally a nation with some flexibility in its tech choices. UK is at war from the beginning, fully mobilized and with relatively many MPP's. What is more, as War progressess, it will gain help from US. But at the same time, UK has a lot to spend on. It's navy is big and will battle a lot, aircraft similarly and there is plenty of infantry dispersed around the world. Still, we must invest in many areas to keep even on tech level with Germany.
UK starts with chits in:
- Infantry Weapons - we will have a lot of infantry, a definite keeper as always.
- Advanced Tanks - although I prefer US for tank production, you can hardly find reasons to refund this.
- Heavy Bombers - upgraded heavy bombers have a lot of use, from strategic bombing to engaging land units directly. Definetely worth it.
- Long Range Aircraft - general rule of thumb is that if you invest in aircraft, an additional range will improve your planes considerably. Keep it.
- Artillery Weapons - although you will get one arty for free (in North Africa, after Italy declares), it doesn't justify keeping this tech. Refund!
- Spying&Intelligence - generally useful tech, for longterm benefits though. But if we get this for free, we keep it.
- Logistics - UK will do a lot of unit-moving around the globe, and this tech lowers costs of this undertaking. Again, it's for free, so keep it
- Production tech - Contrary to china and Russia in UK PT may have some sense, because we will build a lot. Still I am not a fan (apart from US), so I suggest refunding this. Though keeping it won't be a blunder by any means.
For the sake of clarity, I assume you did refund production tech, giving you a total of 249 MPP's. Now we have few dilemmas to solve.
UK is flexible, but still must adapt to what Germany is doing, so no funky stuff. After the fall of France, you will not engage Germans directly for a long time (apart from North Africa maybe). Therefore you should focus on these areas, which can help you battle Oktoberfestians. This is both air and seas. I believe air is more important, because your navy is already way bigger and you have an advantage in this area. Some may disagree though, because Axis will have a lot of subs and you must fight them somehow. Choices, choices, choices...
As offering a set in stone tech route is out of question, I will divide techs into tiers.
Tier 1 - necessary techs
- Infantry Weapons level 2 - no nation can neglect this, get this asap.
- Advanced Aircraft - Germany should be engaged in an air battle wherever possible, to drain them out of MPP's - aircraft is expensive to repair. So we need good fighters, at least at par with Axis ones. In early game getting ahead of them is hardly possible, but if GER gets bogged down in Russia, it's another story. Better fighters connected to a good HQ will give Luftwaffe a hard time (easier said than done though).
- Ground Attack Weapons - UK can have a lot of TACs and MED Bombers. These are strong on their own and will force Germans to devote fighters for defence - and they probably would want to spent MPP's elsewhere. 2 levels should be sufficient, lvl 3 is an endgame stuff. In the beginning bombers will help a lot in claiming North Africa for you, so this investment will repay quickly.
- Infantry Warfare - as mentioned many times before, important for your troops.
Tier 2 - important techs
- Advanced Tanks - tanks are useful indeed, but it will take a lot of time before UK will be able to field enough of these. In some situations you may even leave tanks for US only, though more is always bettter.
- Armored Warfare - if you go tank route, mandatory.
- Naval Weaponry - although Royal Navy should beat Kriegsmarine without this, there is an important point for naval weapons lvl 2. Basically, it improves efficiency of you carriers (their bombers) and UK has a lot of these swimming airfields. Bombing from sea may become deadly, both for units HP and morale. Definetely use this to your advantage. At the same time, it's quite expensive and you may do without it for some time.
- Heavy Bombers - there is no reason to not go further if you don't refund level 1. An air group of these can turn Germany's mines into glass for game duration, depriving them of ca. 100 mpp's per turn - it adds up quickly. These toys are expensive though.
- Long Range Aircraft - one level may be sufficient, but generally range=flexibility and you want to be as flexible as you can in this game, to take advantage of opportunities.
Tier 3 - supplementary techs
- Anti-Submarine Warfare - sometimes necessary, sometimes junk - it really depends whether Germany goes for heavy sub strategy. Some players do and you should be happy to see this - investing in subs doesn't bring fall of Russia much quicker for Germans. Still, subs may prove irritating, so getting level or two here may be worthwile.
- Anti Aircraft Defense - getting second level will get a nice screen for your land units. But contrary to China nad USSR, you should always have fighters for cover, so it's not neccesary.
- Command&Control - UK generally has good HQ's and although in control of many land units, they rarely are in big clusters. So this may wait for a time.
- Amphibious Warfare - UK will do some landings, so a level here will pay off. But in the end you may leave this to US Army.
As you may see, that's a lot of important techs and a lot of combinations. Just watch Germany closely and try to adapt to their strategy. Try to be irritating and initiate combat whenever possible, especially from 1941 onwards, when Germany focuses on Russia. IMHO there is nothing more complelling than turning Reich into rubble from air, but some may disagree.
One bomber fleet to raze them all.
Finally nation we may have some fun with. Why?
- US will be under no pressure for more than 2 years.
- We have plenty of MPP's from the get go.
Therefore we can spend a lot on research and take different paths. If US emerges with tech advantage, it will provide Alies with a lot of superior units.
In the beginning USA already works on:
- Advanced Fighters - good cover for our bombers is always welcome.
- Heavy Bombers - strategic bombers are a Toy, which US can make a great use of.
- Naval Weaponry - US will have to ultimately challenge Japanese fleet, so we nedd to upgrade ships.
- Long Range Aircraft - again, makes our planes better, so we keep it.
- Artillery Weapons - US needs planes, tanks, ships, troops and only then you may think about some hipster toys - like arty. Although US can afford this, I prefer to refund this tech.
- Amphibious Warfare - we will do a lot of landings, so refunding this would be a waste.
- Logistics - there will be a lot of transports coming from US, and this tech makes them cheaper, worth to keep it.
After Arty refund we have only 97 mpp, so no immediate new tech pick.
The luxury with USA is you don't have to pick techns in a very strict order. You will probably start building units late 1941, so you must time some techs well, but missing a few turns shouldn't be gamebreaking. What is more, US has really a plenty of strategies to pursue - some have mixed nature, some are more to the point. For example, you may focus on tanks entirely leaving infantry to UK. Plenty of options. Therefore I will describe path I like to take and I usually stick to it, unless opponent does something extraordinary.
- Industrial Technology - first two chits immediately into this. We must enter the war with high level IT and benefit from these MPP's. Until level 5 try to always have 2 chits, to speed things up.
- Air techs - usually Heavy Bombers first, then Ground Attack Weapons, Advanced Fighters and finally Long Range Aircraft. All of them are of high importance, though i favour Strategic Bombers and usually try to have chits in this tech until level 4. Try also to get aerial warfare at about late 1941, to use yoour fighters at once, for example in UK, China or North Africa
- Tanks - then we invest heavily into tanks, to close disparity between ours nad German ones. We may have up to 9 tank units, so it will pay off. Armored warfare may come later, because your forces won't join action for real until 1943.
- Production tech - try to get at least 1 lvl before US enters war, then maybe second one, not always though. You should have it before you start pumping your units for real.
- Infantry - contrary to other actions, US can do for sometime without better weapons/warfare. Of course if your strategy is infrantry heavy, try to invest heavily here, even before tanks.
- Naval techs - there are only two, so try to get them around mid 1942. Japan shouldn't challenge you fully at once, so this can wait. Take it faster if you see Japan is building more ships than usual.
- Now is time for supplementary techs - Anti-Aircraft, Command&Control, more levels in logistics and amphibious landings, maybe anti-submarine if opponent went heavy with subs. S&I is debatable - if UK takes this, US may leave it alone. But if you decide to invest here nevertheless, get it quickly.
Still, US has so many MPP's it can spare it on some hipster moves. An interesting one may be going heavy in subs, because Axis rarely invests in antisubmarine warfare. Some arty may be welcome too.