Yes. As our friends across the Atlantic will say: it’s best to put the most important area in the center of the map: Europe. Right? 🙂
Yes, the old map didn’t have it that way. Yes, it might look a little better to have the US all combined. So then why did we do it? The simplest answer is better game play. A whole US makes the map look better. Splitting the US makes the game work better.
While playing as the US, a split map makes it easier to focus on your theaters. You look at the east coast and can plan your European theater. When you look at the west coast, you can visualize and plan a pacific theater. When it’s combined, there is a tendency to ‘forget’ the pacific or miss judge distances etc. You tend to get surprised over the map edge. This confusion effect also impacts the players fighting against the US.
Splitting the US puts the confusing ‘surprise’ seam in a place that is out of the way and doesn’t interrupt your planning of key campaigns. If you are fighting over the US interior, you’re in big trouble. You’ve probably already lost the war. Confusion here won’t hurt you much. Might even help the US as their attackers may get confused around the edge.
So when looks and game play came into conflict, we chose game play in this version. This is a good example of how we approached this whole project. Too many game companies do the opposite. Heck, that’s why we are here in the first place right? The original guys spent too much time on things that looked or sounded good but didn’t work.
We did the same with the rules too. Some rules are ‘candy’ rules. They sound good. Makes you want to buy the game but they don’t really work and aren’t fun. We tried to keep the core stuff that works in this system and cut the candy rules. We also cut rules that added lots of complexity but not much fun. And of course rules that didn’t work.
We like the result. It is a game that just works. It keeps the rules out of the way so the players can just have fun. That’s what it’s all about.