Interesting, many things to like here.
Re: Mongolia the change makes it simple but it also nullifies Mongolia if the USSR wants to help China. Perhaps the new rule is too simple.
At first glance, I would have thought these changes would make it hard to win as Axis. But your play testing is that it is quite competitive? Hmm.
Are you sure you want to allow ICs to be built on Sumatra, Java, Borneo and Manilla? Perhaps unlikely to happen, unless Japan is getting hammered.
Don’t really follow why N Italy no longer connects to W Germany or France. Was the former just to prevent the W Germany -> Egypt flight? Or why Iwo Jima was moved to be a border island. Or why each of the money islands is now worth 1 less. I doubt making Siciily <-> Rome a walkable connection was a good move.
A couple of things I don’t think went far enough. No convoy zone in SZ5? No Canada as a playable power? Keeping plunder on first capture? No paratroopers? Still able to produce non-capital ships without naval bases?
Don’t really love the style of the new borders - they look like they were drawn by hand. Perhaps that’s a taste thing.
Particularly like the Med changes though. Crete & Malta become more important.
That was the thinking behind the new Mongolia rule. Everything should hinge on the DOW. Plus it’s simpler.
Balancing comes later. From our preliminary playtests, Allies have the advantage. But as time passes and more Axis strategies are discovered, that may change. Same thing happened with Global and BM.
ICs cannot be built on islands, same rule as G40.
N Italy not connecting to Western Germany is for a bunch of reasons. Namely, it makes the Western Germany aircraft placement worse for Med operations. It puts a bit more room between territories in Western Europe which was necessary especially with the new scramble rules. Iwo Jima offers a decent base of operation in some cases for the Allies in the North. DEI got a reduction in production value because they were worth too much in our opinion. Too much of a swing depended on the DEI. Why is the Sicily-Rome connection not a good move?
There is a convoy zone in SZ5. Canada as a playable power is a very bad idea, it further splits the Allies for no good reason. If UK Pacific and UK Europe are still essentially the same nation, it doesn’t make sense for Canada to be separate. Not good for gameplay either. Plunder rules stay yes. No paratroopers for now, if you have a suggestion for their implementation we’ll read it. Yes don’t need naval bases to produce any ship. Already axis-dominion said the current rule is limiting.