Oh yeah that's a biggie haha. Right on, I'll check it out when I get home later.
I caught Frostion briefly the other night, while doing a big netflix insomniac bender like I tend to do at random hours hehe. He mentioned looking into a possible update in a couple weeks, so that'd be killer. I'm eager to check it out!
I think a cool approach would be to see what that one entails, and then maybe look into cooking up possible alternative start dates, which is something he's expressed some support for as a way to try a different theme or a different unit set up. I think a late 1941 start date, possibly with a Pearl Harbor opener might be cool. Something that kicks off with USA entry, and then gears into like Midway and Guadalcanal on the Pacific side, and Torch/Stalingrad on the Europe side would be fun. This would give a justification for a new starting unit distribution (maybe with larger forces, drawn on different battle lines, or with a different starting production front?) I can think of a lot of possibilities.
There is something really appealing I find about a map with multiple start dates, which is something familiar from AA50, and exists already with G40 some community projects. It was also a feature of other map conquest games I liked such as Medieval TW, where you had a choice to begin in the Early Middle ages or Late Middle Ages etc. So I could see something like that for this one being pretty cool, while still maintaining cohesion.
1941/42 is pretty compelling, since its still early enough in the war to imagine an Axis sprawl, but where USA could still do the build up thing. A late war setting of 1943 is also pretty compelling for a shorter game, but one which featured larger starting armies and more techs unlocked sooner, more advanced production by the front lines etc. I could see a number of themes to open it up for more starts, which would be rad.
ps. I do think there is something interesting in @forthebirds handling of the Soviet vs Japan front. Using a Soviet themed neutral power along the border area might be interesting to achieve something like this...
I said in posts above that my preference is for the True neutral mechanics, but there's nothing to say there couldn't be like multiple True neutral factions that all worked in pretty much the same way, while still having the different unit graphics or territory color themes.
Maybe a neutral faction called 'Pro-Soviet' that is more red tinged in color, could work for Mongolia, or like a 'demilitarized' border zone in the Soviet Far East section facing Japan, or some spots near the border with China? If doing that we could use em to create a couple choke points in that broad swath of land constituting the USSR. In practical terms it could be used for geographical stuff, like marshlands of deserts or whatever, or just as an abstraction and a way to spice up the geometry without changing the overall look too much. Basically using stacks of 'neutral armies' that don't move, but which help to shape the look and feel of the play lines across the Russian interior and far flung regions in the extreme east that were less active historically. Either side could attack and occupy if they wanted, but used in that way to create the defensive choke points. This might actually be really helpful for creating buffer zones across Eurasia. I could see it working for Iran/Persia front, or China front, or Far East vs Japan front. Also along the front with Germany just to divide up the lines a bit.
I was just imagining say the space above Siberia called "Ural" as a Pro Soviet neutral stack to create a choke point there, or the space above Irkutsk called "Sakha" same deal. Or maybe Vladivostok, Amur, Kabarovsk, Aldan, Chita etc are all handled in that way to emulate the Non-Agro Pact there. Might be fun. Would still look good if they were like Red colored and such so it doesn't jump out too much, but visually different enough so its not confusing, everyone can see what spots are the open lanes, and which are blocked out as working like true neutrals, and giving a way to create like shields and passes so its less sprawling in some areas between the +5 clusters.
The main prob I see with the current pro-side neutrality system is the aircraft landing exploits it creates in some spots, and the rush through aspect. An example would be like Italy attacking Gibraltar and landing the fighters in Spain. But things of that sort can happen many places. It would be simpler if all the neutrals were true neutral. You could still have Pro Allied or Pro Axis as the name/icons, but just have them work the way True Neutral does rules-wise eg cannot be moved through until occupied or landed in until held for round.
Pps. Actually Pro Allies icons already would look good (I mean they got the star already hehe) maybe just change the territory control color to something reddish to have it work that way?
But all using the same true neutral mechanics.
True Neutral: white
Pro-Allies: I think red or red-orange tinged
Pro-Axis: blue or green tinged
So in the gamenotes would read "can be attacked by both Axis and Allies" for all of the passive neutral factions, and just remove the thing about being "moved through." Functionally they are all the same, the only difference being aesthetic.
Then we could maybe add around armies to the neutral spots that make sense, to shape some choke points.
Anyhow, that's something that could also be explored I think. It might work well as a way to have the campaigns vs Russia work a little differently than they usually do, while still being a total war from the outset scheme, if Pro Allies/Soviet passive neutrals could be used that way. Basically finding ways to use the neutrals from a gameplay perspective, more than a political one. The same thing could be used in Africa, or in North America or wherever, depending on what colors where used for the neutral factions territory color theme there. I think the trick is just figuring out how many neutral armies constitute enough of a pain to deter the player/AI from going all nutso on a neutral stomp there in some spots, but while still allowing it at the player's discretion.
maybe something like...
"It is the year 1941. Japan has attacked Pearl Harbor and is still on the offensive. All Axis nations are now at war with all Allied nations. All eyes are on the United States - What will their next move be?"
Then we could still use the same turn order as whatever 1940 uses (just for consistency) while allowing for a different start position to the turn order. Different starting unit composition etc. I was not particularly fond of the changed turn order in AA50 between 1941 and 1942 scenarios, you know where Germany and Japan switch positions. I think it became confusing once people were used to the 1941 order, and so contributed maybe to less popularity for the 1942 start date. Anyhow, I think it is better to just change the start position, but keep it within the same main turn sequence (whatever that ends up). I still think UK following Italy would be best hehe. Whatever it is, to have that remain the same when moving between start dates on the map. There'd be plenty to do with starting territory ownership, and different starting forces. But yeah, I like the idea of having everything else working the same way, if that makes sense. Keeping the same kind of theme essentially, and the same gusto with a big start, just spinned with the emphasis more on USA1 as an opener for contrast. That might be fun, and popular. I've kind of wished for an A&A or tripleA map that starts with USA on the first turn, right on the eve of entry. Just think it's a cool concept that would make a slick purchasing dynamic, but it hasn't been explored much really. This map would be ideal for it I think.