@cernel okay, I see what you’re getting at now. The thought of leaving National Objectives “on” and Escorts and Interceptors “off”(or “vanilla” as you call it), to take a shot at balance definitely occurred to me. Both were obvious bugs to me but I played, I think, just two games in this format to see if “two bugs make a right” and it became apparent that the NOs still outweighed the potential damage from the “green skies” saturation bombing.
[It was found that paying off the IPC damage as the axis is far, far less economically consequential when N.O.s are in play - when you’re pulling in 15 IPC extra per turn and the max damage is 20 IPC per turn, it just doesn’t hurt that bad, not to mention AA guns will start taking a toll. In other words, the adverse affects of both of these bugs are not equal in my findings. They do not cancel each other out or otherwise make for a good game.]
I am open to stacking another few games towards that calibration but I felt (and still feel) confident in my experience to come to the conclusion I have. The tipping point for me was the mandatory build out of the USA player. “build bombers or bust - you bastard” is a nonstarter for many players.
Further, I can say with confidence that experienced online players on this website don’t do NOs or at least don’t do them without some massive bid for the Allies.
Also…Keeping with the same group of online players: regarding Escorts and Interceptors I feel there is still some confusion as regards why it’s needed. (not helped by the fact that TripleA has the wrong rules for EandI for Anniversary). But I’m confident enough to say, as I have said in games without NOs where I’m the Allies, “If we don’t use EandI then I have to tell you before the game exactly what I’m going to do as the USA so you can try to stop it from happening.” But insofar as I can tell, it cannot be stopped.
So in my conclusion, NOs without EandI is a bust (as is not using NOs without EandI).
This is why I recommend the optional rules be set to the following:
13 victory cities
No National Objectives
Close the Dardanelles
Use Escorts and Interceptors
Its still easier (imbalanced) to be the axis with this setup but at least there are no bugs (no USA bomber spam and no massive cash influx for the axis).