These are some ideas I have come up with in designing a new game for TripleA.
1. Multiple Battle Strength Settings: Currently units can be assigned an attack strength and a defense strength. This works well for land and sea units, which never enter both land territories and sea zones. However, air units enter both, and are required to fight at the same battle strength in both. It would be better to have separate attack/defend strengths depending on where the combat occurs. This would allow specialized air units such as torpedo bombers to fight better at sea than on land, and fighters to not be very effective against ships while still being good on land. There are actually uses for this for units other than air units too, when bombardment is occurring for example, and (another suggestion below) when coastal batteries are firing at sea.
2. Expanded Bombardment Capabilities: Currently sea units can be assigned a bombardment strength and can use it to fire at a land territory if an amphibious landing is under way. More flexible would be the ability to fire at other times also, in the same way that strategic bombing is conducted. Bombarding ships could choose an infrastructure target that is adjacent and fire upon it to inflict damage. In addition it should be possible to make land units that can fire at the sea, i.e. coastal batteries and forts. This would mean it should be possible to assign a bombardment strength to land units.
3. Additional Battle Phases: Currently there are several “hard-coded” battle phases, such as AA fire, shore bombardment, air to air combat, and then surface combat. If there were multiple surface combat phases, e.g. numbered 1-10, every unit could be assigned a phase during which it fires. For backward compatibility, unassigned units would all fire in phase 10. Between each phase casualties would be assessed, giving additional power to the units that fired in earlier phases. This would be especially useful to simulate ranged fire, where artillery fired before small arms, etc. At sea, it would allow battleships to fire before cruisers, which would fire before destroyers, etc. etc. Another feature that could then be brought into effect is limiting the ability of some units in what they can hit. Besides assigning a “fire phase” to each unit, we would also assign an “invulnerable phase” at which phase (and all lesser phases) the unit could no longer be chosen as a casualty. An example of this is a battleship where it is given a “fire phase” of 1 and an “invulnerable phase” of 5. During battle phases 1-4 (in which other battleships, heavy cruisers, cruisers, & light cruisers are firing) it could be hit. However from phase 5 through 10, it could no longer be hit, so units such as destroyers, frigates, PT boats, etc could be prevented from being able to hit battleships.
4. Phased Construction: Currently all units are built the same turn in which they are purchased. If units were assigned a number of turns to complete, they would still be purchased and placed on the same turn, but be immobile and unusable until the appropriate number of turns had passed. For clarity, when the unit is placed on the board, it would be marked with an “under construction” symbol that shows how many turn are left before it is complete. While it is under construction it could be strategic bombed.
5. ASW Capability: Instead of the current system of destroyers simply negating the special abilities of submarines, we should be able to assign an ASW strength to units. This would function similarly to how AA fire functions now, only it would apply to submarine units. It should occur in the battle phases prior to submarine fire so that subs that are hit would not be able to fire.
6. Directed Torpedo Fire: In conjunction with the ASW capability above, subs should be given the ability to choose targets, similar to how strategic bombing works.
7. Display of overflow units: Currently when there are more types of units in a space than there are placement spots, a line is automatically drawn from the last placement spot and the units are displayed on the line. This can result in very crowded screens where it is very difficult to determine the exact location of units and it becomes very hard to click on territories that are overlayed with the lines and units. (I have often had to turn off the unit display to be able to click a territory). It would be a great enhancement to place some sort of “overflow” symbol in the territory instead of automatically drawing the line, which when clicked would expand to show the units. If the overflow symbol was a number it could reflect how many units were overflowing. Once expanded, there should be something to click to minimize it again. It would probably be very handy to also have an “expand all” and “minimize all” button or dropdown choice.
8. Political Situation: Currently for games with politics, relationships are displayed in green for allied, red for at war, and gray for neutral. However there can be many relationships in between, and we need the ability to assign the color for each relationship. It would make the political screen much more readable.
Another idea is to have constructable & damageable canals. If the canal attachment could have a feature added to check for the presence of an undamaged unit, that unit could be built or not, damaged or not, and thus control whether the canal functioned or not.
Also it would be great to add the capability of a unit to automatically change into another unit. This would be part of a trigger attachment.
One more: have some way where units, territories, and/or resources (PUs) can be exchanged between players, controlled by the map.xml whether it is allowed or not.