@Frostion Sounds good man. Just downloaded the latest version and am having a look around. I'm not too concerned about Sea Lion anymore. Against the AI it's a novelty (and I kind of like that it's still possible there) but against a human the British should be able to hold it down with a 5 fighter purchase and some maneuvering by the USA to make it prohibitively expensive for the Axis. Not to say that the Germans couldn't pull it off in the endgame, but I think it's a lot less likely to occur in the opening rounds now PVP, just owing to the German limits on transport capacity/steel.
The New Guinea change seems agreeable too. I was always hoping to see it as a forward base for Anzac or the USA, but that of course requires that the territory be first taken by Japan, which wasn't really happening anyway. With no factory in New Guinea, the Japanese can effectively shut down KNIL by taking Sumatra (which would leave KNIL with only Dutch Guiana in S. America as a build location.) I like it.
Elsewhere on the board the French and British Colonies along with KNIL present a bit of a dilema for Axis, since taking those territories can open things up for the major Allies after liberation. So Axis have to be somewhat cautious about not expanding beyond their reach too quickly. West Africa or South America for example can become a nice hub for the US, if Axis make a land grab there without warships to back the play long term. I like that tweak introduced a few version back. I'll admit that when choosing an expansion pattern I always focus on the +5 territories, with anything worth less more as targets of opportunity. But in the case of New Guinea I think it works well for the overall balance to reduce the value as you have here.
The Balkans option seems cool too. I wonder, if the goal there is to speed up the turns PvP, if the Allies should have a similar option to take direct control of the British Colonies, South Africa, French Colonies and KNIL? Might be a cool compliment to the Balkans thing for Axis.
That would take it from 27 player nations down to 18, which would probably accelerate the play pace quite a bit, in a PvP where each is controlled by the human. Just an idea. I think in most SP games vs the AI, I would use the full set if nations, but I can see the appeal of streamlining things for PvP or CoOp.
Probably the only other area of improvement that I can think of would be in the central Pacific. Right now there isn't a whole lot drawing the Japanese AI towards Hawaii, so the surprise attacks on Pearl is kind of unlikely. I think the issue there is that Japan lacks a good springboard territory to get them onto the Hawaiian sea zone.
The best solution I can think of would be a map adjustment to include Truk (Caroline Islands) in Pacific 5 Sea Zone as a starting Japanese territory +5 with a factory on it. This would reflect the massive base located here since pre-war times. Could probably work both ways, either as a lilly pad for Japan to attack the US/Anzac, or in reverse as a target territory for the Allies...
Despite its small size I think that Truk (not currently included) was more historically significant to the war than many of the islands that are on the map right now, such as Aru, Timor and the like. Such that it's absence seems a little conspicuous. It was the home base for the Japanese fleet for much of the war, and one of their most important strategic holdings in the Pacific. Below is a quick summary from the wiki...
"During World War II, Truk Lagoon was the Empire of Japan's main base in the South Pacific theatre. Truk was a heavily fortified base for Japanese operations against Allied forces in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, serving as the forward anchorage for the Japanese Imperial Fleet.
Truk Lagoon was considered the most formidable of all Japanese strongholds in the Pacific. On the various islands, the Japanese Civil Engineering Department and Naval Construction Department had built roads, trenches, bunkers and caves. Five airstrips, seaplane bases, a torpedo boat station, submarine repair shops, a communications center and a radar station were constructed during the war. Protecting these various facilities were coastal defense guns and mortar emplacements. The Japanese garrison consisted of 27,856 IJN men, under the command of Vice Admiral Masami Kobayashi, then Vice Admiral Chuichi Hara, and 16,737 IJA men, under the command of Major General Kanenobu Ishuin. Due to its heavy fortifications, both natural and manmade, the base at Truk was known to Allied forces as "the Gibraltar of the Pacific".
A significant portion of the Japanese fleet was based at Truk, with its administrative center on Tonoas (south of Weno). At anchor in the lagoon, were the Imperial Japanese Navy's battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, tankers, cargo ships, tugboats, gunboats, minesweepers, landing craft, and submarines. In particular; Yamato and Musashi were stationed at Truk for months around 1943, unable to participate in battle. Some have described Truk as Japan's equivalent of the Americans' Pearl Harbor."
With Truk/Carolines as a +5 starting factory territory, I think you'd see a lot more back and forth across the Central Pacific, with more opportunities for the cat and mouse game between the IJN and the USN. This would provide a more historical play pattern than what we typically see in A&A games, where the action is always oriented on the "Money islands" of the East Indies, which were not a serious flashpoint during the actual war after their initial invasion by the Japanese. (Basically the Allies contained and bypassed them, relying on Subs to disrupt the supply of oil and rubber.) I think Truk at +5 might be the ticket to getting a real island hopping campaign going for Japan or the US, since Pacific 5 Sea Zone is within range of so many other islands.
One of the main reasons I prefer Iron War to G40 or similar A&A games, is that we are not beholden to an arbitrarily low production spread with so many worthless Pacific islands. The PU values in Iron War are clearly in the service of the gameplay needs, which is just a superior approach in my view. I love Hawaii +5 for example (I think it could even support a starting factory). If so the idea would be to have Truk as a Japanese counter balance to US production Pearl, as a way to jumpstart the island action in the Central Pacific (something that has been missing from basically every A&A game going back to Classic haha.)
If going that route with a Map adjustment, I'd also consider adding Malta too as a +1 territory, just as a nod to history. I think with the map distortion in the Med you could get away with putting it in on the far left side of the Adriatic Sea Zone (would probably be more interesting for the gameplay than putting it in the Tyrrhenian Sea Zone, which already has 3 islands.) Just a thought. It could be a cool early landing pad for the Allies, as they struggle to deal with Italy in the Med.
Here is my first attempt under the new set up. Germany Solo vs the Fast AI (with Balkans under German control.)
0_1494957300817_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Allies Balkans to Germany G4.tsvg
I put the Soviets on blast right out the gate. I made the Sea Lion feint into Scotland but then doubled back with everything on the Eastern Front. I think we must have put the spook on the Russians, since they pulled off their factories in Leningrad, Archangel, and Stalingrad, allowing our German mech to roll them up. Pretty epic for a quick German offensive haha.
One thing I really like is how the Americans made a B Line for Iceland and Morocco, which shows that even the AI will get with program and advance on Europe provided the Kriegsmarine isn't brining the heat on the Atlantic crossing.
ps. Here is the same game a few rounds later, after the Germans consolidated their position on the Eastern Front. It's kind of cool to see how, despite being flattened at Moscow, the Soviets have re-oriented themselves around Siberia and the Far East (even purchasing a factory for Vladivostok!) Nice one Soviet AI heheh. Also, you can see that the US AI is making pretty good use of Morocco. Even though the Kriegsmarine moved to cut them off, the Americans built a forward factory here, to give their Torch campaign a little more fire. Meanwhile the Japanese AI just got worked by the Australians, with an airblitz in the gulf of Thailand. Half the IJN went to the bottom of the sea, and the other half was forced to pull off their campaign in India. Japan is now down to just a single transport and a handful of warships, so I expect that the Allied AI will have them broken down in fairly short order. I wonder if the Truk idea might help the IJN, by giving them another location for introducing early naval TUV onto the board, other than the Japan sea zone?
0_1494960303626_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Allies Balkans to Germany G7.tsvg
Edit: Just had an idea, which I think would have general applications on any map, but would be particularly cool for one like Iron War. What if we could Edit "Switch Teams"? Or assign any nation to a new "Third Team" which was hostile to existing teams, and friendly only with other third team nations?
Having this as a pregame option would be cool for any map, but it would be even better as a feature of the edit mode.
Such a tool to change a nation from an existing team to a new third team, would allow teammates to eventually become rivals or adversaries in the endgame. It could be either built into the game, or at the players discretion. I think it would be coolest as an edit feature on the fly.
But basically you could have a game where the Allies destroy the Axis, and then Russia forms a new team to just go straight into an alternate cold war 1950/60s final bought. Or similarly you could have a game where Axis prevail and then Germany and Japan go into their own brinksmanship "man in the high castle" game with nukes and all. It would also give you a way to model armistaces or side switching the occurred during actual war like with Italy and others go over to Allies.
I think something like this would be ideal for a game like Iron War, especially versus the AI, where two players can go Co-op but then break into opposing teams once the mutual AI enemy is destroyed. Or in SP one might choose to break from their original team and just go total domination vs the AI at the end.
Just an idea. I think it could work for many maps, and provide a way to make existing team games into an FFA if desired.
Iron war is pretty well polished and has all the cool features one would want for such an endgame, including jets and rockets and strategic weapons. I could easily see it make a simple transition into a game that plays through the 1960s for the players who are truly diehard about it haha.
I don't know maybe at some point down the line you tech in helicopters, supersonic bombers and jet fighters, nuclear Submarines and ICBMs. So that by like round 20 or 30 you're basically in the space age! Hehe.
The basic map and game architecture here (the core production spread and diverse unit roster with tech advancement as a built in feature) is all interesting, and dynamic enough that I could probably play it endlesslessly. If team switching was a feature, the only real hard limit to the possibilities would the total number of player nations and ones endurance to play till the sun comes up
Started a new one vs AI Axis, no AI boost just the regular set up with Axis minors. Kind of impressed with the Bulgarians at the moment since they've taken Greece and Istanbul haha. So far feels pretty solid as the Allies. I've been pushing my luck as far as it'll take me, and bought a carrier with British right off the bat, just to see what cracks off. Tried to go as forward as I could with the Soviets too against Finland, Persia and Japan, to see if I could break them before the German AI overruns the center. On the water the IJN is gunning pretty far from home, this time in the persian gulf to smoke my British India fleet. That last round was a savage exchange that left us both decimated on the high seas haha. Fortunately Anzac and the US are starting to get in position.
Should be fun...
0_1495004259429_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Axis US 4.tsvg
Total Victory for Allies by the 7th, with the Soviets building a glorious Pacific Fleet hehe. Looks like the Axis were no match for our red advance in the Far East this time. Germany let the British into the Baltic by neglecting to retake Denmark for a couple rounds, which seemed to be all the Allies needed to stop their offensive against Moscow.
0_1495008537597_Iron War Elk vs Fast AI Axis Russia 7.tsvg