As you progress up the map towards the enemy carrier, the only two islands which seem to be important are your stockpile island, and the one you're about to attack. You cannot attack an island remotely, nor is there a need to go back to any of your old islands since everything can be controlled from the map.
Since (at the moment) you cannot accellerate time unless you're moving, game proceeds with expansion up to a certain point on the map, then by attrition you deplete your stocks. You then 'stall', waiting for production to complete. Your only option is to "timewarp" back and forth between two islands until you re-stock, and can go back on the offensive.
Also, there's a suspension of belief aspect too... At the moment the fact that the enemy carrier has not appeared in over two hours while I'm attacking an island of his is REALLY suspicious. If it were me, I'd have been on it like a car bonnet, since there's no reason for him to be anywhere else, but right here, defending his island.
May I suggest some possibilities of things you can do to 'fill in' the re-arming time, and make those 'dead' islands (to steal a term from card playing) a useful distraction? Also, it makes the user think "I wonder what he's up to?"
- in order to change an island's 'type', you have to take the carrier back to that island and hit the CC with a 'pod'.
- in order to purchase upgrades for that island, you have have to take the carrier back to that island.
- in order to accelerate that island's repair, you can take a walrus with a repair gun.
- in order to make an island the stockpile island, you have to visit it with the carrier.
- if you can buy (say) "Walrus factory" for an island, which gives a bonus to walrus production, then taking the carrier to that island will further boost any production of that type of object?
- being close to an island with a 'repair pier' accelerates your repair. If you make a repair pier take a long time to build, but give the player one on his starting island, then he will be more likely to return there when badly damaged.
- create a 'supply drop' from time to time to land on a far-back island: "Sir, our orbital forces have managed to punch a hole through to us, they're launching a supply drop in two mikes. ". Pilotting a manta with a 'walrus cradle' can let the manta pick it up, and return it to the aft-deck of the carrier. If you make the contents of the crate determined at the point when it's 'docked' then you will always give the player a little bonus that she needs. If the carrier needs nothing, then it could be 'fuel'. or the ability to trigger something else.
- earthquakes / lightning / storms, doing damage to islands in the far rear, causing you to have to retreat. If you got a general message to say "Satellites indicate a storm in enemy territory, he may be retreating to deal with it", then that could give you some tantellizing hints that he's had to go back to an island to repair it.
- allow the player / enemy to produce a "saboteur" unit, which can be sent back to take out any one installation on an enemy island. This could be used to distract the enemy.
- research is sped-up when the carrier can 'connect its AI to the island's mainframe', or other Sci-Fi stuff.
- Allow either player to send a 'virus' which temporarily shuts down production. Allow the AI to 'plug in' to the mainframe to flush the virus out, or make a minigame for it. Otherwise, it takes a little longer to flush than it would have taken the carrier to get there (say), so there's always a bonus to reacting to these alerts.
- create one island with a satellite uplink. When the carrier's AI is 'plugged in' to the island's mainframe, the current location of the enemy carrier is visible.
These could be things that in "easy" are disabled and wouldn't affect the gameplay at all, but in 'normal' or 'hard' some or all of these could be 'enabled' to provide more of a strategic challenge?
I hope that made sense to someone except me Anyone got any other _EASY_ things the devs could do to bring those dead islands back into play?