My own thoughts on balancing the game:
1. Use the Tournament Rules WITHOUT the starting setup changes.
2. Added Political Rules: (a) Germany must attack Belgium on Turn 1, (b) Italy is neutral on Turn 1 (no offensive actions, but can move into Albania to mobilize) unless/until attacked, and © the US joins on Turn 6, not Turn 4. Thus, each turn is half of a year (Fall 1914, then Spring 1915, etc. - which also makes tanks at Turn 4 makes sense.
3. Strategic Movement: one or more units in one (1) space of home territory may be moved together to any other space of home territory that is not enemy-occupied or contested which is connected by a line of unoccupied, uncontested home territories from the first. This may only be used once per turn per country, and is in lieu of other movement that those units could make.
Obviously, those crazy people who actually get 8 living, breathing people together to play the game will not like the US at Turn 6, but they can always find one person to not invite and have the US player also be the Russian player.