Ps. Great insights CWOMarc! The thing that’s odd about the Pacific side of G40, in terms of the ipc spread… relative to Classic, the ipc value of various regions has doubled or tripled, except the valueless islands, which have remained valueless. This puts the action almost everywhere other than the valueless islands. Japan has an even stronger incentive to ignore the worthless land and focus on territories with IPCs, Allies do the same in response.
In older games it was the production value of territories like Dutch East Indies that made them so key to the gameplay. Japan could build an industrial complex there to hold off the Allies, or Allies could build an industrial complex to pressure the Mainland or Japan itself. It was more about the ability to mobilize units than income. In G40 this doesn’t happen because of the factory rules, but the income incentive has become so large that the area is still the primary focus of the Pacific.
Consider how much India or China or Australia or the Dutch Indies have been increased in ipc value relative to Classic or Revised or AA50. Then look at all the little islands at zero ipcs. Islands with names we all know, because of their storied history in the greatest conflict in human history, but which have little effect on the gameplay in A&A.
Dutch Islands are already in play even without an NO. New Guinea is in play, because of the Anzac NO. Carolines is in play because of the airbase and harbor and because it is on the warpath for USA (towards Australia and East Indies.) But Marianas, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and Palau are not in play. Not only are they worthless in terms of ipcs, but many are in sea zones with Kamikaze markers. This makes them unattractive as targets for USA. They are usually bypassed on the way to the Dutch islands, whereas in the war, the situation was the reverse haha.
This would be fairly easy to fix by replacing the Dutch island NO for Japan, with something oriented more on the Japanese “home islands” the ones they control at the start of play. Not a perfect fix granted, but at least it would help.
The Dutch islands don’t need more help, their gravitational pull is already felt and they are governing the whole Pacific side of the board as is. The op notes, their influence is already so strong from the DoW. Do they really need more NO money attached to them? For gameplay an NO for Iwo Jima and Okinawa would do more as an incentive for the same value +5 ipcs. USA would have a solid reason to start island hopping as quickly as possible. Japan would have an incentive to protect Iwo, so as not to lose the NO on a walk in. All this would put the gameplay in a more historical direction.
These Dutch territories would still be significant, but they wouldn’t be the whole contest. Japan would have an achievable NO, but one which would necessarily pull some forces away from Dutch islands. Let the British and Australians worry about dutch liberation haha, while American marines go island hoping in places more in tune with the history.