I share some of your concerns, but I’m happy for the game to be, in the right places, a slogging match along a static frontier because that’s what I expect from a WWI game. There is plenty of scope for movement on other fronts.
As Churchill said, “in the West there were too many troops for the front, and in the East there was too much front for the troops”.
I just hope that there’s been some intensive playtesting, the usual wall of silence suggests there may turn out to be serious flaws which could have been ironed out by involving forums such as this one.
My main concerns:
1. Lack of rail movement.
Any war from 1861 to 1945 was driven by the movement of land units by rail. If it doesn’t happen in this version it’ll never happen in A&A, and the game system’s most serious flaw will remain forever.
Without it, the Central Powers will be seriously (and unhistorically) handicapped.
2. Lack of convoy zones.
The blockade of the Central Powers was the #1 factor in forcing them to surrender. It was also, like in WWII, the best chance the Germans had to win the war by starving out Britain. The failure to press ahead with unrestricted U-boat attacks (for fear of American intervention) was the biggest mistake the CPs made.
If there are no CZs, what incentive do the CPs have to invest in a fleet? They can use subs to attack Allied shipping, but since they have a virtually continuous block of land tt, a surface fleet is practically useless to them.
3. Unrealistic placement and use of factories.
There should be no factories outside Europe and North America. Other regions should be able to place infantry (and cavalry) only. Powers should not be able to build units at captured factories.
USA capturing Constantinople and using it to churn out American tanks? No thanks.
4. Capture the Capital.
Always hated this as a victory condition, especially the attacker getting all the money, and the defender just dropping out of the war. Virtually directs players to target the 2/3 most easily attainable capitals and ignore everything else, when there should be a broad front towards capturing ALL the enemies industrial capacity. Only when a power has lost all its factories should it be prevented from continuing the fight and building units.
Some stuff I’d like to see (in addition to the above points)
An Official Expansion pack, featuring units not included in the basic game. Specifically:
Heavy Artillery/Rail guns
Separate recruitment for infantry units. They can be placed in any area with an an income value in home tt, up to the value of the tt. Factories are irrelevant. They still have to be bought (trained), but are not “built” as per mechanical units. Each unit should be of a specific nationality, effecting sometimes their loyalty.
Possibly, UK & US infantry cost more than soldiers in continental armies due to their lack of national service training.
Ship re-fueling. Ships could not remain at sea indefinitely, therefore each naval unit must stay within range of a friendly (or neutral?) land tt to reflect the need to take on coal. Hence, small islands and enclaves can become important irrespective of IPC value.
A Pacific expansion, with Japan as a major power. The German East Asian fleet was a major headache for the Allies:
Official rules for more open scenarios. Certainly Italy with the possibility of joining either side, and American neutrality not automatically ended so early.
Maybe even a full “Diplomacy” scenario with 7 players all out for themselves and making & breaking alliances as they go.