The way I see it, there are two easily holdable continents (Connacht and Munster), one challenging one (Ulster) and three that are very difficult to hold (the Leinster ones). If there were only five continents, I think the two Leinster ones that would result would still be fairly difficult to hold, and would probably only get held at the end of the game when it doesn't matter, if ever - not really a big change, even if the borders were reduced by putting, say, the Wicklow mts between a combined The Pale/Mide and Ossory. I think the main rationale for decreasing the number of continents would have to be the increasing of the number of holdable
continents, and therefore the number of players who can "find a home" in a game on the map, which I don't really see happening even if there are only 5 continents. While I see the problem Marv is worried about - Leinster is unholdable - reducing the number of continents won't really solve it, as I see it, though it could mitigate it a little. And I think it's reasonable to argue that by keeping the number of continents high, and thereby keeping them small, there's just as good a chance of their being held, especially if (as with Europe on the classic map) other players tend to fortify out of Leinster in despair.
So, in sum, I think it could go either way. Unless (and even if) more natural boundaries are thrown in - say, the royal canal, or the Wicklow mts - Leinster is probably doomed to be a no man's land no matter how many continents make it up. And I don't like the idea of more natural boundaries than are already here, because you can walk from one side of the island to the other unhindered (been done
), and I like maps to stay relatively diligent to geography.
So maybe it should be changed, maybe not, but I think it's hard to say ahead of time without playing it. I think Kevin will be as ready as anybody to alter the number of continents in a month or so if he doesn't like how it's playing out.