Sounds pretty cool! I’d watch the video haha. I have a lot of old pewters from the 80s, but mine are all high fantasy, dragons and the like. My uncle had some kick ass Napoleonic era pewters, and a great set of plastic army men from the early 60s that I always pined over.
My first serious attempt at the map concept was for the computer in tripleA, a few decades ago, so pretty limited by what the thing could do at the time. It worked for a bit, but was kinda wonky and used some gimmicky ideas for the naval movement and convoys, as a way to delay the USA. It had a kind of one direction flow from the Americas to support the Entente, but the game was basically decided by what happened in Europe with the CP. I was never very satisfied, but it was a fun project cause I like the era. You can see the map down at the bottom here…
Then I tried to revisit the era again, but ended up not using the WW1 map abstraction concept, opting for something that just had the whole world on view and a more free form 1898-1918 vibe, so the factions could be less rigid. Basically I wanted it to include the Spanish American war, and Africa scrambles, or Boxer rebellion-y stuff with a kind of slow build into WW1. I split the Entente into Anglo-American and Franco-Russian sides, to see if I could find a way of dividing up the world and then tacked some others minors onto each team just to see how it would work. I think I had America-Britain-Portugal-Japan on one team, France-Spain-Italy-Russia on another. Germany-Austria-Ottomans-the Dutch and China on the last. Just so the spread would be evenly distributed with some fronts in each theater to tease out. I determined it as too simplistic and anachronistic though. It was basically the dilemma of the 3 faction game and being modelled more on the playscale of Risk than A&A that proved kind of intractable. The factions weren’t entirely satisfying, though I thought it kind of fun for make believe, and colonial competition. I just called it “Domination” lol. That one had a very limited unit roster, and simplified economy, but a much larger scale of territory divisions. I think it still would have worked on a 6 ft table, but only because of the limited units. Really it was just an excuse to draw a world map projection with a warp that I liked a little better than the traditional A&A map.
I wanted something a bit closer to Mercator, but which would still give a much larger Europe. The squish-blob challenge I found was in how to manage South Asia and Africa, where the map compression becomes more extreme due to what has to happen with Europe/Med in A&A style games, so there was some abstraction, but a bit different than the earlier idea. I abandoned that one too, but Hepster picked it up again and revised it considerably for a 1914 era game using the same base projection but focused more on politics and a much more highly evolved roster/ruleset for this one…
I’m not sure if that one would work as a physical game though without a very large map. Perhaps 2x6 ft tables to make a large square with a more extreme warp in the map projection? But basically its better on a computer I’d imagine since you can map zoom and scale to micro with the imaginary sculpts. But work on it has gone a bit quiet since last year. Anyhow, it have a few of the abstraction concepts for stuff like convoys or how to handle the Bolshevik revolution (always a toughy), or things like cities through an abstracted scheme, but not so much with the playboxes ideas.
I’m definitely interested in different ways to push the map around though. I enjoyed the Classic playboxes in the first A&A map I picked up, even if they were just sort of cosmetic zooms in that one. I liked the look of it.