There’s a much simpler answer to China… instead of changing turn order and everything else… just allow the Chinese player to place the Flying Tigers where he wants on initial deployment, and my guess is they won’t be where they will be destroyed on turn-1 every single time Japan nukes them before the Chinese have a chance to use them once. Having access to the Flying Tigers for both offense and selective defense is critical to China, and almost never ever happens, because Japan ALWAYS kills them on turn-1 before China even moves once. This one minor change on setup changes the entire dynamic in China without people having to change turn-order or use selective bids.
Have you play tested this yet ?
Yes, standard practice on this end. The Chinese player can place the Flying Tigers anywhere he wants in China before the game begins… oddly enough, it’s never placed right next to the Japanese player… while it may not completely fix the play balance of the entire game, it does do several positive things without any noticed negatives on our playtesting.
Generally speaking, the Flying Tigers are rarely eliminated before the Chinese player ever gets to use them… if they are, it usually involves a much higher cost for the Japanese player (which then usually means it’s not worth it to the Japanese player on turn-1). It ends up giving the Chinese player some needed flexibility on attack and defense, otherwise lost when the Chinese player usually loses the Flying Tigers on turn-1 with OOB setup. It doesn’t automatically save China, it doesn’t make China invincible… but it does make them a tad more challenging to the Japanese player, and a tad more fun to play as the Chinese player.
I really see only upside, no downside to this very slight tweek to the OOB setup.