I haven’t been following this thread in detail since it began, nor have I contributed any posts to it before now, but here are a few thoughts for whatever they’re worth. I think that many of the issues that have been discussed here (and in many other threads) basically come down to various pairs of competing interests: some related to the game itself and some related to the player community.
In terms of the game itself, it’s possible to list many pairs of competing interests: things like realism versus playability, detail versus simplicity, and so forth. The issue of balance that’s been discussed here is one such example. I don’t know what Larry’s thinking has been on this issue over the years, but it’s possible that the question of competing interests which he had to resolve was the following one: should A&A be viewed primarily as a military simulation which accurately depicts the situation that existed in WWII, or should it be viewed primarily as a military-themed board game?
The impression I have is that Larry opted for the board-game concept rather than the military simulation concept. That option, however, has the following implication: most board games give (or are assumed to give) a roughly equal chance of victory to all the players. WWII, however, was a historical conflict fought between highly asymmetrical military forces on a highly asymmetrical “board”, i.e. the surface of the world. So the design choice then becomes: should A&A give a roughly equal chance of victory to all the players (which would imply distorting historical accuracy)? Or should it try to be historically accurate (which would imply giving an unequal chance of victory to the Axis and Allied sides, which would mean that the players on one side would always be facing a frustrating built-in disadvantage)?
My guess is that Larry has traditionally tried to “have it both ways” by choosing as the starting point for most of his global-scale games the moment of WWII when the two sides were the closest to being balanced: the middle of 1942. It’s a good choice from that perspective because it’s the point at which the initial Axis drive had more or less run out of steam, but the Allies were not yet strong enough to drive the Axis back. So it’s arguably the point in WWII where the two sides were realistically “balanced”. The problem, however, is that this rationale stops working when the starting date of the game is changed from mid-1942 to mid-1940, as is the case in Global 1940. So this placed Larry back at square one on the fundamental question of accuracy versus balance.
Historically, June 1940 presents an interesting problem in terms of “balance.” On the one hand, it can be argued that June 1940 is part of the first third of the war, which was the period when the Axis was racking up its early successes, and therefore that it’s appropriate for the Axis to have an advantage at this time. On the other hand, it should be noted that the first third of WWII was not a period of unalloyed Axis success. When Germany was scoring its big wins in 1939 and 1940, Japan was seriously bogged down in China. Conversely, when Japan was running rampant in South East Asia and the Pacific in late 1941 and early 1942, Germany had run into serious trouble in the Soviet Union. Italy, meanwhile, see-sawed back and forth across North Africa during much of this time. Moreover – and this is something which the A&A game system does not model well – both Germany and Japan failed to use effectively the resources of the territories they captured and of their own domestic resources. By contrast, the UK, the USSR and the US (as each country entered the war) very quickly learned to mobilize their manpower and their industries to the full…though of course the USSR and US components of this factor hadn’t yet come into play in June 1940. And as I’ve argued in various other threads, I feel that Germany and Japan had unachievable strategic aims and at best ultimately could hope for nothing better than a stalemate.
So my feeling is that Larry, when designing the 1940 game, gave a secondary priority to accuracy and tried instead to give the Axis a better chance of victory than it had historically, with the aim of producing a balanced game whose probable winners and losers would not be predetermined by the actual events of WWII. As some forum members have pointed out, however, Larry may in fact have overcompensated and produced a game which not only isn’t balanced but is actually balanced in the wrong direction from the point of view of historical accuracy. So instead of “having it both ways” (being accurate and being balanced), he may instead have created a “worst of both worlds” game which fulfils neither objective.
As for the question of how to fix the 1940 game, we’re dealing here too with a case of competing interests. There’s no shortage of proposed solutions; in fact, the range of options that’s been proposed is so vast that it’s become unmanageable. A few solutions, like the bid system, have gained a degree of general acceptance, but most of these proposed solutions haven’t been used beyond a few individuals or groups because they 're unofficial personal systems.
As some people have said, the only solutions that would have any convincing force would be the ones that ultimately come from Larry himself…and Larry, at the moment, doesn’t seem to be producing any new A&A games, nor even really any revised rule systems for existing ones. Which leaves us to fall back on fan-developed house rules. And the problem with house rules is, here again, a case of competing interests: it takes a minimum of two people to play A&A, but there’s no guarantee that any house rule designer will ever find anyone other than himself who’s satisfied with (and who’ll agree to play under) the rules he’s created.
There’s an old saying that “anything known to more than one person cannot be deemed a secret,” and the problem with house rules can be expressed similarly: any house rule read by more than one person is going to generate differences of opinion. Other than any official rules that Larry might issue – and it doesn’t look as if he’ll be issuing any in the near future – I don’t see much prospect of the community ever reaching any kind of broad and definitive agreement on how Global 1940 (or any other A&A game) can be fixed. The most realistic solution is probably for local gaming groups to settle on their own customized solutions, since getting half a dozen people who know each other personally to agree to something is easier than achieving the same thing with a much larger and much more diverse forum community.