Well during the endgame by like round 10, there are so many fuel using units on the map I think the only way for the AI to remain viable is for them to basically have an infinite fuel reserve. Their purchasing decisions and non com moves especially probably have them using like 3 times as much oil as a human would on average. The AI of course does all kinds of crazy little moves shifting transports and fighters around each turn, whereas a human can parse things out and make larger coordinated moves to conserve fuel. But over time its still impressive to see how the AI amasses its steel forces and aircraft, and they can gun pretty hard even despite its other shortcomings, usually in far flung regions of the map when they have the juice to do so. With a boost even doing like scrub reloads every other round, the AI can still pull out surprises. Some more saves messing around with that oil hack for USA that had me up late on a good time hehe...
Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu invasion USA Germany round 12.tsvg
Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Russia crush Germany round 21.tsvg
Hard AI Allies 99 fuel 133 pu Balkan gambit Japan round 15.tsvg
The main thing I notice when the AI is just given shit tons of oil, is that the endgame (after 20 cities has been achieved) is a lot more engaging, where even after you have turned the production spread, the machine still churns out enough of a punch that its fun to keep it going. Otherwise I think the AI does ok for the first few rounds, but after its starting reserve is expended it gets bogged down pretty hard, and can't move enough aircraft or ships to prevent an easy rout.
The sub pens are pretty badass for Axis. It gives them a way to maintain parity if they go naval, but I also think the air transports can be kind of nuts, once they park a half a dozen somewhere with a lot of fighters. The AI of course doesn't use them to their fullest extent ferrying ground, but even just as fodder they can do some cool sweeps against ships. But yeah, the pens are hella potent once you start stacking up.
ps. got a fun one going vs Axis at 145% where I tried to do a Russian transport thing in the baltic. Basically giving up the middle to try and switch places with Germany haha.
Hard AI Axis 145 USA round 5.tsvg
Few rounds later, Japan is still kicking and pretty thorough with their island hop and tank launch. Italy and Balkans are still trying to throw their weight around to make up for the loss of Berlin.
Hard AI Axis 145 Russia round 9.tsvg
And then again a few rounds after KGF, AI Japan still doing pretty well all by itself into round 16 with the boost at 145% vs the rest of the world lol. Its been a while since the UK has had enough fuel to move their airtransports, so we're counting on those to cover north america while everyone else dodeca-teams godzilla.
Hard AI Axis 145 USA round 16.tsvg
Playing as the Allies is fun, but I still feel like they could use some more +5 production lily pads on the pacific side. Like maybe a couple starting Japanese island territories that the Allies can target to build out of? Here I totally ignored that side in favor of trying to screw G, but for the Pacific game I think it would be cool if Anzac and USA had another spot to gun for after Truk but before they swoop on coastal China/Thailand.
I think Iwo could be fun, though probably Okinawa makes more sense for the size. Maybe Sakhalin, since it was like a prestige target/bone of contention between Russia and Japan going back like a 100 years, is large and had resources. I think it would be a cool way to add something to the choice between going north vs south with Japan, and make it a little more challenging to cover everything at once. Maybe could be offset on the Allied side by Southern Alaska? The north pacific has a lot of potential for back and forth, but its kind of a production deadzone currently, so might benefit from another couple golden tiles that can support a factory.
Kamchatka maybe? A counter weight to the Sumatra/India expansion route would offer some variety, if you want to imagine say a scenario where Japan went to war vs Russia first instead of the USA. Or a scenario where the USA goes straight after the North Pacific instead of the South Pacific, or vice versa with Japan trying to springboard east rather than west. I think you could hang like 4 Russian inf here, so Japan has to divert a second transport or the bomber or something if they want to make a run at it. Kamchatka is also interesting because it can be covered by USA or Britain if Russia is backed up, or if Russia is destroyed they can reclaim it directy, which might help them to reposition on the North Pacific if Axis crush the center. Plus its got the RISK connection, so I think people would dig it hehe.
Midway is a bit of a stretch, but might also be cool for the Pacific, since its midway. Call it a historical highlight or whatever hehe. I think the gold tiles are cool abstractions that really activate the region they're in, so I think any of those options would fit with the spread and jumpstart the action around them. They make all the surrounding +1 tiles a lot more interesting when there is an adjacent production hub, and I think it helps the gameflow when you have ways to push production to the fronts, so the fleets and forces aren't stranded on the move as much.
On the Europe side I still really like Sicily and Algeria as potential gold tiles to open up the western med a bit. Greece on the Eastern side of the med for a toss up toehold next to Balkans. Benelux for the North Sea.