Yeah, I'm always down! This map is damn enjoyable for a solo against the AI, it definitely passes the "next turn" click test for me hehe. I guess I've been treating it like the 4X WW2 game that I always figured CA or someone else would put out eventually, but which still hasn't materialized. So I return to it the same way I'd return to MOO or MTW, just has a certain classic charm and simplicity, and I always dig watching the map change colors for these sorts of games.
As for South Africa, I don't think it would be missed. Axing SA as a faction would probably help with the unit crowding in Africa too, which can get a bit extreme if you have quite a few Allies converging in just a few territories. Sometimes there's a lot of spill over in some spots, especially towards the endgame, when airstacks (even from midling players like KNIL or French Colonies) start dropping in to contribute to the chaos. Something similar can happen with the hotspot seazones, where a ton of smaller powers converging can create a lot of look-alikes and spill over.
Just from a UI standpoint, I think 18 playable factions might be cool (8 Axis vs 10 Allies), since that would mean that you can see all the factions on the launch screen without having to scroll down. Currently you have to scroll down to see last three slots for the Neutrals. I'm not sure which other faction I would nix though. Maybe French Colonies, since they seem like the easiest to just fold into another existing faction. I think what I'd do in that case, is weaken the current French position in Central Africa, to accommodate the inclusion of places like Indo-China, Madagascar, Puducherry as part of regular France etc. With British-Colonies becoming a much more important faction in Africa (presumably they take over South Africa?), I think it makes sense to give the French something else to do/worry about. Right now its pretty much all Africa all the time for the French, since their only active production outside of Normandy is Gabon. I think part of what makes a nation interesting to play, and big dog status is if they have the option to effect both theaters of operation ETO and PTO in at least some capacity. Clearly France wouldn't have the money to do both at once, but at least it would put more of a dilemma on them, about whether to concentrate their early builds in Africa or Asia. But yeah, whatever else is decided, I agree with you guys that I think South Africa is a bit unnecessary. I think it stands out a bit as the lone Dominion to get a separate treatment. Even ANZAC is a combination of two Dominions, so it just seems kind of conspicuous like "why S.A. but nowhere else?" I'd say just fold them into one of the larger British factions.
Only somewhat related, but I was thinking in my last game that its kind of rough getting a toehold in the Eastern Med as the Germans. I wonder if increasing the value of Syria to +5 gold, so it could serve as a production hub, might up the suspense in the area a bit? I was thinking about it more in terms of German expansion (rather than Italy or Iraq), since they could probably use a few more places to set up shop. I guess Greece or Tunisia could work in a similar fashion, but was kind of digging Syria's location strategically.