Regarding opening setup:
Should the opening setup reflect the situation on August 4th 1914? In this case, Germany will have the equivalent of 7 armies massed in the West, with just 1 to hold tt in the East.
This effectively commits Germany to the Schleiffen plan; just about practical if rail movement is used, suicidal if it is not.
However, I would suggest a non-combat “Mobilization” round before any combat rounds, following these steps:
1. All starting units are placed in their Army Corps district headquarters/depots (land) and Home Station (ships). That is, each county’s units begin on their Peacetime settings.
2. Each player will simultaneously write down his mobilization orders in secret (don’t worry its one turn only). They are then revealed and units given their Mobe orders.
3. Referring to MOs, land and air units are moved as ordered, restricted of course to moving anywhere in home tt. Ships can be moved to any friendly port, or ordered to sea. This may result in rival fleets passing through the same sea zones, or ending up in the same zone. This is not a problem, as there is no combat in this round.
4. Nations may call up their national reserves, placing such units in their appropriate depots. Any new units purchased are also placed at this time.
Players may, Diplomacy style, confer in secret with Allies before writing orders.
Depending on politics at set up:
The Mobilization round may involve just Germany, Austria, France & Russia; perhaps Serbia as Russian ally.
Britain can only mobilize after G or A attacks a neutral. Turkey mobilizes at the start of Round two; Italy mobilizes in May 1915; USA under conditions agreed as per rules.
Newly mobilizing nations do not collect income before their Mob turn. Effectively they don’t take a turn before this.
Any country coming under attack before it is mobed automatically activates. Its units can defend themselves, and attack next turn.
An alternative system is for each power to Mobe in turn order, so that Player Two can Mobe in response to Player One’s Mobe moves and so forth.