Very interesting post on a subject that’s always interested me as an A&A sculpt collector: additional countries and additional unit types. However in terms of your opening question, “What’s the probability that, in some future version of A&A, we’ll get new minors?” I think that at the moment the larger question which remains unanswered is actually “What’s the probability that we’ll get some future version of A&A?” The prevailing view seems to be “Not anytime soon,” as has been discussed at some length over here: http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=36004.0
On top of the fact that WotC doesn’t seem to be showing much interest right now in producing new A&A games, I believe that Larry himself has said that “bigger isn’t always better”, which has been taken to mean that he didn’t have any plans to introduce additional nations into the game. This isn’t to say that he’s ruled out the idea entirely, but it doesn’t sound promising. In any case, Larry’s attention currently seems to be on other projects.
On the other hand, the two problems I’ve mentioned might conceivably cancel each other out at some point in the future. Hasbro (which owns WotC and the Avalon Hill brand) could theoretically move the A&A product line to another company division that would be more interested in the game, that would take a fresh look at it and that might be open to expanding it in various interesting ways (with or without Larry’s involvement), including potentially via a bigger game format. But all of this is pure speculation, and I’m not holding my breath whatsoever. At the moment, the best options for expanding the game in terms of new countries and new unit types are via HBG’s expanding line of combat units.
On the general question of more countries and more unit types, I won’t comment on the specific suggestions you’ve made but I will make the following general comment. From a piece-junkie perspective, there’s no such thing as too many countries and too many units. From the perspective of practical game play, however, it’s quite possible to overdo this sort of thing and to have the game collapse under its own weight. G40 already includes 14 unit types (infantry + equipment), and the list of types you’ve proposed would basically double that number, which sounds unwieldy to me if all of these units are available to all the players in all the games.
In practical terms, unit types represent different ratios of combat values (attack, defense, movement and special abilities) at varying prices. In a game like A&A, which operates at a pretty high level of abstraction, I’m not sure that it’s possible to produce enough enough fine gradations of abilities to differentiate around 30 individual types of units. At the very least it would tremendously complicate the job of players when they’re deciding what to purchase. Note, incidentally, that the A&A OOB sculpts from Global and from A&A 1941 represent what were in reality a vast number of unit subtypes (see my unit identification charts for more details), such as heavy tanks, medium tanks and light tanks, yet the game treats them all equally for reasons of simplicity.
My view on the concept of vast numbers of extra unit types has generally been that the only practical way to handle them is to allow each player to have only one or two of these “specialist extra” unit types per game (not necessarily the same types for each player, and not the same ones from one game to the next) as supplements to the OOB “standard” units.
As for the issue of other player countries, which is the subject of a project I’m currently working on, there’s definitely some room for growth here…but, again, it has to be within reason. In practical terms, most of the “minors” in WWII had very marginal roles. Some countries (e.g. Poland and Yugoslavia on the Allied side and Iraq on the Axis side) were what I call “first-round knock-outs” that went from neutrality to foreign occupation in just one or two months. Some (like various Caribbean and Latin American nations) were simply at war from a technical point of view; only Brazil and Mexico actually sent men overseas to fight (and the numbers they sent were fairly modest). On the Axis side, Bulgaria mostly sat on the sidelines, even though it was an Axis nation; it cleverly (or crassly, depending on your viewpoint) declared war on the US and the UK (which it was in no position to attack), but did not declare war on the USSR (which was located right next door), much to Hitler’s annoyance. Some minors simply entered the war at the last minute on the Allied side, to gain a seat at the victors’ table.
Some minors did genuinely contribute very substantial (in the six-figure range) numbers of troops, and thus were significant players in the war – Canada would be one example, and Romania would be another – but the involvement of others was more problematic. Finland did participate in the invasion of the USSR as an Axis co-belligerent, but in a strictly limited way and in pursuit of its own aims: it basically just recaptured the Karelian Peninsula (lost to the USSR after the Winter War) and stopped there for the next two years, having accomplished its strategic objective. Thailand/Siam, another co-belligerent, briefly fought Vichy France in the Franco-Thai War, and was later permitted by Japan to occupy parts of Shan State in conjunction with the Japanese invasion of Burma, but it did little else beyond allowing Japan to traverse its territory unhindered.
So my feeling about all this is: while there are no doubt a few nations that could justifiably be added to the game as full player powers – with their own pieces, income and game turn – most minors countries wouldn’t qualify for this status in practical terms.