From: Louisiana, USA
My issue is that taking the DEI on Dec 7th is just so impossible. It is not a 'what if', it just could not be done.
The game forces you to do this on turn 1 because Japan would be crippled without it. When in fact Japan had enough fuel stored to cover the 4+ months they needed to take the DEI.
This is really bad game design to me. The game forces you to do something that was impossible in RL because Japan was not given the oil resources they should have had when the game starts. Plus, as I said before, if you HAVE to do something the same way every time you play the game otherwise you lose or are really crippled, does not provide the player with really exploring 'what ifs'.
To the point about trying to convince 'others my approach is correct'. If a game that is supposed to be a even rough approximation of what the war in the Pacific was supposed to be like, then it should have at least some resemblance to what was actually possible. If the game was on a random map with Red and Blue sides none of this would have been an issue. Since the game forces you to do something that was impossible in the real war, that make this game just as much a fantasy game as if it had Orcs and Elves.
I love the cartoon btw :)
I would say if the AI taking NEI early is a fall on your sword issue, then the game, or at least the 1941 scenario, won't work for you. Period. And I don't think Alvaro will change it, though I suggested above how that could be done, more oil supply for Japan and setting up the scenario where it isn't possible to take the hexes that cause DEI's surrender quite as fast. Or he could change the DEI surrender rule to put a delay on it or require maybe that the main oil fields be captured, and the Japanese did go after the oil fields directly in Feb 42. Yet we would still end up in the same place in the spring of 42, and the Allies still wouldn't be able to do anything to prevent its capture, just as they weren't able to in real life.
On the other hand, if you want "at least some resemblance to what was actually possible," I think the game does much better than you portray it because we still end up in mid-1942 when the Allies start getting transports roughly where we would be historically. Considered that way, I think the early surrender of DEI works as intended and works just fine.
I also think Cohen_slith's excellent suggestion of just starting with the 1942 scenario might solve the problem for those unsatisfied with the 1941 Japanese opening moves. I've played the game enough as a beta tester to know that the first few months are usually very repetitive.