When game designers create a game, they sometimes use mathematical algorithms to help them derive an equal “win-chance” scenario for all game participants. Its hardly ever perfectly equal (because only purely mathematical games can achieve total win-chance equality). But they get as close to equal as they possibly can (within predefined tolerance parameters).

One of the factors in the A&A game algorithm is first turn money. If someone just arbitrarily changes that part of the game, it violates the games algorithm and creates win-chance inequality (unless you’ve stumbled upon a way to make the game more equal that the designers totally overlooked…but thats doubtful).

Basically, it would be similar to taking all the fighters out of the game on the first turn. It seems fair, but, it really hurts some countries more than others and thus throws-off the game’s chance-equality.

Its much more disruptive than the common house-rule where Russia can’t attack on the first turn, because “not attacking” is one of the options open to the player playing Russia. And therefore, it doesn’t violate the Games mathematical algorithm of win-chance equality.

Believe me, much more goes into creating games like this than people usually know about, these “game designers” at Milton Bradley (and other companies), are actually highly skilled engineers. A lot of these guys have masters or doctorates in logic and mathematical theory. They put tons of time and effort into creating win-chance equality. (Otherwise the game sucks).

I don’t know where you got the idea that first-turn money is not in the rules. (Maybe you have an older copy of the rules that’s unclear about it).

The rulebook is divided into 8 chapters. Chapter 2 is called “game set-up”. One of the segments of that chapter is called “handing out the money”. This segment instructs players to hand out money as part of setting up the game. If you haven’t been handing out money when you set up your game, then you’ve been setting up your game incorrectly and thus not playing by the rules.