Website was down for a day, so haven't had a chance to write. I'm typing from my phone at work, so I don't have my most recent gamesave to share, but just wanted to say I am liking it so far.
I think having the launch/player-selection screen mirror the actual turn order in game is pretty helpful. Feels more straightforward and may help players to decide who should take which block.
For the turn order itself, everything seems pretty well balanced. The only thing I might tweak at this point is the USA and Brazil switching positions. But that's mainly because I like the idea of the game round beginning and ending with one of the big dog players.
I haven't had too much input so far on the unit roster, but increasing the cost of subs to 2 steel seems sensible enough. The unit will now be in competition with transports, but that's fine by me. It does leave patrol-boats as the only ship you can build for 1 steel, though that probably makes sense too. Personally I find it kind of tough to build a broader strategy around PT boats, mainly because of the movement restriction makes it hard to cross the major sea lanes with them. The move 1 puts real limitations on where you can build them (unless the production is close to home, and you don't really plan on moving the fleet much). But sometimes they are critically necessary as last minute fodder purchase, to prevent all out air sweeps, so I see their main use as bolstering shuck lanes. Basically the transports move to shuck while the patrol-boats remain in position at the unload endpoint. For that to work though, you really need to have the logistics in place and a pretty short distance to cover.
I do feel like the destroyer is pretty expensive in steel for what you get. Even if it is the cheapest ship that can still move 2, (at 16 PUs), the cost in steel can be pretty steep at 3, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense as a fodder unit. I typically will purchase 1 or maybe 2 per battlegroup (just so I can hit enemy submarines) and then rely on my own subs to do the dirty work as fodder. But destroyers are not serving as the bulk of my fleets by any stretch.
Right now I'll admit to still not being particularly good at calculating my overall fuel requirements in advance. But I think fuel (even more so than steel) is what was preventing the all out sub spam of cheap naval units for me. Even when the sub only needed 1 steel to build, purchasing a whole gang of them was not the best plan, just because I'd find myself running out of fuel if trying to move a huge fleet, and end up having to leave them behind anyway. From a fuel perspective the carrier is by far the best purchase on the water. Because, if the deck is fully stacked, you can move 4 defensive units into a sz while only requiring 1 fuel per movement point. Even if the initial cost in PUs and Steel is almost prohibitively expensive, you definitely make it up on the back end with fuel savings and the extra mobility/hitpoints that fighters provide. I don't think I would suggest increasing the carrier cost, since it's already the most expensive unit in the game (at least until you get nukes haha) but I might perhaps consider scaling down the cost of some of the other ships. For example, I might go 4 steel for the battleship, 3 for the cruiser, and 2 for the destroyer, Sub and transport. Or something or that sort.
One thing that might be fun for breaking naval pickets or creating a more independent role for submarines (with convoy raiding) would be the idea of a move 3 Sub.
Right now Subs typically operate with the main naval battlegroup, and there aren't many cases where it's a good idea to break off and do solo hunting. If I do break away, its usually to serve as a blocker (which I see as there main role in gameplay terms.) I like that role for them, since it is disruptive to enemy fleet movement, so it kind of fits the unit thematically. But even if they can be effective for that use, their range is still pretty limited based on where the main surface fleet is parked. A 3rd movement point might make convoy raiding a bit more feasible. I'd say 2 moves for everyone has a certain simplicity to coming out of A&A, but the patrol boat is at move 1 already, so you have some nuance to naval movement anyway. Maybe a naval unit at move 3 would carry that idea even a bit farther? I think the sub makes the most sense if any ship is considered for M3. Anyhow, just an idea, as a way to somehow make the sub feel more unique and not just an extension of the surface fleet.
I like the new colors for the Dutch and South Africa, really feels more recognizable at a glance. Nice work on the flags for the dutch especially. I feel like they are a lot less likely to be confused with South Africa now. On the Axis side, I do sometimes mistake Italians units for units from Iraq or Iran, so not sure if it might be worth doing some work there? Seems like the flags would be tough to change, but perhaps something with the unit tint might work. Like more green for Iran or more red for Iraq or something along those lines. Mainly the confusion happens with fighters or tanks at glance, since these nations are all operating in pretty close proximity to one another.
The new British-Colonies player seems cool. I like the Egypt focus, and a larger fleet is great. Having some capital ships to move around definitely makes them feel more significant, and I like how they can put a wedge between Italy and the Middle East. In previous versions the Italians could get on Riyadh without much difficulty, and stole the thunder from Iraq. Here they really have to earn it if they want that Arabian oil.
I noticed that there has been some switching of VCs in the last couple versions. Have you considered just adding more total VCs as a possible solution? Seems to me that each player-nation should probably have at least 1 VC territory to protect. So maybe 30 VCs, would be better than 20? That gives you some flexibility to give each nation at least 1 VC with a few left over to round out the historical interest angle. A little while back a had like a month long conversation at A&Aorg where I asked people for feedback on which VCs they wanted to see in Global. We got a lot of replies and some definite back and forth, with the primary tension being between gameplay interest and historical interest. The final top 40 list looked like this below...
In my view Iron War has a much more compelling production spread than G40, so the need for VCs in some of these places is a lot less pressing on the Iron War map (since their strategic advantage is already covered by having +5 gold territories.) But maybe it would be useful for brainstorming, if you decide you want to increase the number of VCs. The parenthetical territory names refer to the G40 map, but the Iron War map is more detailed so they may not correspond exactly.
Washington (Eastern USA)
Cape Town (South Africa)
Leningrad (Karelia SSR)
Dakar (French West Africa)
Kiev (Ukraine SSR)
Truk (Caroline Islands)
Rabaul (New Britain)
Sydney (Eastern Australia)
Wellington (New Zealand)
San Francisco (Western USA)
Victoria (Western Canada)
Irkutsk (Yakut SSR)
Hong Kong (Kwangtung)
Oh and one final thought. In the latest version I downloaded, I didn't hear any of the national anthems playing at the start of the turns. So might want to have a look there. The music is definitely one of my favorite things about this game. Anyhow, I dig it a lot! The new version looks way slick! Can't wait to get home from work so I can play haha. Keep up the great work man!