This is why I interpret IPCs in A&A as abstract and flexible. Lets looks at some examples by Region from Revised up to G40…
Canada: from 4 ipcs up to 7 ipcs
America (the continental USA): from 28 ipcs up to 45 ipcs
Africa: from 11 ipcs up to 20
China (unoccupied): from 4 ipcs up to 12 ipcs
Western Europe (France/Holland/Denmark): from 6 ipcs to 14 ipcs
Germany: from 10 ipcs to 14 ipcs
Australia: from 2 ipcs to 8 ipcs
United Kingdom: from 8 ipcs to 8 ipcs
Japan: from 8 ipcs to 8 ipcs
Hawai: from 1 ipc to 1 ipc
Philippines: from 3 ipcs down to 2 ipcs
I could go on, but the point here is that there is no hard and fast relative scale for how these values are being worked out over successive boards. Sometimes the same region nearly doubles in value, sometimes it triples, sometimes it stays roughly the same.
This is a very strong indication to me that IPCs are not the iron values sometimes suggested, or that IPC values in A&A are somehow set in stone. They have been changing to suit the gameplay for a while now.
I want to point this out because I think it speaks to a more general feeling I get, that money/production should be flexible, to suite the needs of the gameplay, rather than something highly rigid or that must somehow retain consistency along historical lines, or to match up with previous boards. It just seems arbitrary for the most part, and more so when you look at the values side by side for successive boards. Clearly IPCs are there for the gameplay. They are distributed in the way they are for gameplay purposes, not in some highly fine tuned or particularly accurate spread for historical or “real world” reasons.
If for example, China’s total value can increase by 300%, or Australia can go up by 400%, while Hawaii stays exactly the same, and Philippines is decreased by 33%, then why should we expect anything consistent out of IPCs anywhere on the gamemap?
To me this is encouraging, because it suggests that IPC value and “collect income” can be tweaked for game balance (on a regional basis) without upsetting some underlying foundation. The fact that these values have changed so much over time, indicates a high level of abstraction going on.
The thing to notice is that IPCs are already being counted differently (in terms of relative value) depending on where they are located on the gamemap. I think this is an important thing to bear in mind when considering what IPCs really represent, and to see why gameplay (and not necessarily historical production analogy) is the critical factor in determining how these should be distributed across the map on any given board.