Congratulations to zibik21 for winning a very close Season VII!
Season VIII is going to do something a little different than previous seasons. In Season VIII, every bonus will have its value randomized. For each bonus on the map, there is a 1/3 chance that it will be worth one army per turn more than normal, a 1/3 chance that it will be worth one fewer, and a 1/3 chance that it won’t be changed.
It’s up to the players to determine how the modified bonus values will affect the game. Because each map will be randomized in this fashion, every game should be very different from the rest. Of course, the bonus boxes on the map will reflect the new values, but players can also check the Settings panel of each game to see a list of how each bonus was modified.
Since this bonus randomization is a special feature to Season VIII, creating a game with the same template won’t have the same bonus randomization. Therefore, it’s not as easy to practice these settings ahead of time. However, if you’re motivated enough, you can still practice by overriding each bonus value on the Armies tab.
It’s worth noting that the zero-bonuses that are located in Japan, Hawaii, Alaska, and Korea will also be modified. They will become either a 0, +1, or a -1. This opens up new strategic possibilities, such as the option of taking a zero-turn bonus. It’s important to remember that the bonuses you start in are the cheapest to take, so while taking a zero-turn +1 bonus will give you strength on the first turn, it can also make you weaker on future turns as your opponent captures their early bigger bonuses.
Settings are similar to Strategic 1v1 except on the Modified Medium Earth map. This map has also been modified from its previous version. In addition to East Russia having one fewer territories, East United States also has one fewer. The goal of this map is to increase the value of bonuses that are often ignored. Even though this map has two fewer territories than Medium Earth, it feels larger since there are more attractive bonuses and therefore more space that gets used.
You can see the template here, but as warned above, using this template won’t get you the randomized bonus values since that feature is specially coded into Season VIII.
The season will begin on Tuesday at Midnight GMT (which is really Monday night for those in negative timezones, such as North America). Good luck!