Well the proposal was for a single roll for the tech for all nations, not an individual roll for each nation separately. The turn order in this game is fixed, so even though the tech is activated for everyone at the same time, Germany would always get the initial benefit, since they go first in the turn order.
Basically it’s rolled for everyone on G1, G2, G3, G4, and G5. On G 6 autotech shipyards for all is guaranteed.
Auto tech in round 2 would seem the easiest method, but for people who wand to add variety, the shipyards roll per round could provide it. It’s not a luckfest, the results are very predictable, since they mirror exactly a progressive 1d6 throw.
This would be a single die rolled for All nations (at once, together) to activate shipyards for all at the beginning of the round (together). The number which this die hits at is based on the game round.
Round 1 at 1 = 16.666%
Round 2 at 2 = 33.333%
Round 3 at 3 = 50%
Round 4 at 4 = 66.666%
Round 5 at 5 = 83.333%
Round 6 = 100% guaranteed Shipyard tech advance.
So you can see, the odds are no different for individual nations. Everyone is subject to the results of the same roll, it autotechs for everyone at the same time (the beginning of the game round.) This way there is no seeing “who gets it first” only seeing when everyone gets it, or seeing when the naval race begins in earnest for all players. This wouldn’t totally throw out the first round option, it would just drop the odds on it to about 16.67%.
I’m clearly cool with a round 2 auto activate for simplicity, but just wanted to offer another system that involves a roll for those who like to play it that way. Under rolling conditions the more advantageous shipyards is to Axis per round, the more challenging the roll is. From the 3rd round on its 50/50 or better. In the 6th round, if it wasn’t already activated by then, there is no longer a need to roll, it autotechs for everyone at 100% 1d6 at a 6. Make sense?
So there is variability in the first 5 rounds, but always certainty during the end game. Eventually, after the 5th round, ships will be cheap for everyone, no matter what.