Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
I think you have an oportunity to do much better than the boargame when it comes to minor units.
What matter with minors is not their color per se but cooperation rules. That is:
1. what major power they are aligned with.
2. a way to tell differentiate allied but not-cooperating minor units
To address these concerns, I would suggest to design flexible minor units colors. I would base the whole game design on the depiction of Germany's usual minors (Finland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria). That is:
a. Counter background = related major power
b. Numbers = related major power
c. Counter NATO background = minor power. Here, each major power would have a list of, say, 20 possible backgrounds you would use one after the other as minor are aligned
d. All letter text telling nationality
Application: Belgium. Drop their black color. If Belgium is aligned with Germany (uncommon but happens occasionaly), give their counters a German-grey background. Say Belgium is the 3rd minor aligned to Germany so far: the software automatically picks the 3rd "NATO background" compatible with German-grey color.
If Belgium is aligned with France, their outlook is now French-like. Etc.
This will be a nice clarification to the game. You can then apply the same idea to versatile territorials, partisans or to captured naval units. Some players have designed their own additional counters to address these issues and the only reason it's not in WiFFE is the cost and space/weight of additional counter sheets. Take advantage of the lack of constraints of MWiF
Besides, game testing will be easier: no need to check compatibility of 120+ colors against each other ("I can't tell the Liberian corps from the Aden territorial"), just check that you don't get mixed up in the major power's NATO background.
Hope that helps,
You offer some possibilities I will think about.
I would like to keep the national counters for the minors as is, prior to them becoming aligned. It is nice to scroll through all the units in the game, country by country, and see all the different colors. This also let's us use their national colors rather than just make them an appendage of a major power [I would like to sell copies of the game to people living in those minor countries - I don't want to annoy them before they have even started to play.]
I am not happy about a rotating set of colors either. A player would like to have a consistent coloring scheme for his counters. Whether you align Hungary before Finland or the other way around shouldn't affect what the counters for those countries look like.
However, the idea of using the controlling major power's colors after the country is aligned seems like a good one - for the reasons you gave. Of course, I have all this information readily available when the game is running, since it is needed to check the legality of moves et al. So the task is just to come up with a scheme for merging a minor country's starting colors with those of the controlling major power. Avoidng bizzarre color combinations would be the primary concern. German gray goes with almost everything, but the USA green and the Italian green could pose problems (to name but two).
Let me get some of the other loose ends related to counter colors out of the way first.
I have the divisional colors working, modified the colors for all the major powers, and the artillery colors right too. But I have 15 tasks remainnig on my to-do list for counter colors, and about half of them are multi-part.
I will post some revised screen shots tomorrow. I can't see straight any more tonight. Blink, blink, squint, squint.
Perfection is an elusive goal.