From: Marietta, GA
Great questions. Let's step through them...
I'm enjoying this AAR a great deal. This game is already a must-buy for me, but I do have a few questions.
Great! That's why we're doing it. It really is good to hear people are enjoying it and getting something out of it.
First, I'm surprised how expensive diplomacy is. What is this expense intended to simulate? Don't get me wrong, I like it; it adds depth to the game, and it's forcing you to make some hard choices.
I think the expense really is more for game balance than to model anything specific. The CSA gets benefits with every level of relationship they build. If they get to level 6, England or France will enter the war in support of them and that's a pretty big deal. If it were too cheap, both sides would just max it out and leave it there making it irrelevant. The USA has the economic advantage, but they are playing defense. They don't know where the CSA is investing and therefore have to cover the board or take their chances. With modest focused investment, the CSA can achieve some real gains by nudging a pwer their way. With modest spread investment and a little luck, they can get the USA to spend a lot trying to cover it all (which is close to where I am right now).
Also, I notice that your screenshots sometimes show more than one unit in a province per turn. Do they all occupy the same location, or are they presumed to be in different parts of that province?
All units are assuming to be in the same place within a province. You have have independent units in a province. One of the game options is whether you want them "stacked" with one icon representing them all or whether you want to see separate icons. I prefer to keep them separate. Within a province, you can also choose to combine or divide units. The "container" concept allows a lot of flexibility in reorganizing units, though I am sure some will find that flexibility to be a management burden. I tend to like it.
Finally, I'm interested that you can pull garrisons from, say, Wisconsin and send them to the front. Do you pay any political penalty with the Wisc. governor for doing so? Or any other kind of penalty?
There is no immediate penalty. You'll see that governors make occasional demands. The governors of Virginia and Tennessee have both demanded a certain number of brigades within their borders already in this game (both players see demands from governors on both sides - politicians aren't very secretive). If Wisconsin makes a similar demand, I'll have to decide what to do about it. But for now, I can empty the state and not worry about it.