I like the idea of Quebec serving as the French capital-in-exile very much! It’s not strictly historical; Quebec thought of itself much more as part of Canada than as part of France at the time, but it’s not crazy, either. It lets the Germans loot the French treasury for balance, and then lets the French continue to have an impact on the game. I might even start Quebec with a minor industrial complex so that the French can afford to build some transports and get them back to Europe or Africa before the game is decided.
I also like the idea in another thread to let France take one turn before Germany smacks it down – gives you more options for what to do with the French starting units and starting purchasing power other than just “hand it to the Nazis untouched.”
Just piggybacking off of your idea, what do you think of the following play order and player division?
Player 1: Italy, Axis Minors (Finland, Hungary, Romania)
Player 2: Russia, France (including Quebec)
Player 3: Germany
Player 4: UK Europe, UK Pacific, ANZAC
Player 5: Japan
Player 6: USA, China
The “Axis Minors” player would be a new Axis nation carved out of Finland, Slovakia-Hungary, and Romania. Finland would start the game as an active Axis territory (with its starting infantry fully mobilized) rather than as a pro-Axis neutral. The Axis Minors might get a national objective that gives them +5 IPC / turn if they are at war with Russia and the Axis Minors have no troops in Karelia or Novgorod (symbolizing the Finns’ zeal to defend their homeland and their reluctance to wage an aggressive war against Russia). The capital of the Axis Minors would be Helsinki (Finland), and the capitol-in-exile would be Prague (Slovakia-Hungary).
The Axis Minor nation gives Italy something to do for the rest of the game other than just send two infantry to the eastern front if the UK crushes Italy on turns 1-2.