Come to think of it, another way to support 8 players without getting rid of significant gameplay elements might look like
Here Roma and Lapid are receiver dishes that work just like in the 6-player option, while Klein and Carlin are the pirates. I'm not sure how they'd behave but I'm not too worried about balancing them against the tower stations because they're only starting positions in 7-8 player matches. However, they would necessarily have 3 neutral to begin with so their abilities would have to be appropriate. Probably they auto-deploy +1 and remotely attack something-or-other-I'm-not-sure. The biggest drawback, I think, is that since the pirates are right next to the dishes, and each station player starts their first turn with 8 troops on their station, it might be too easy to eliminate a pirates right off the bat -- especially annoying in Assassin games. That could be fixed by raising the dish house neutral value to 4, maybe?
Either way I do tend to think the 6-player option as I have it up now might be a bit too simplistic for my taste, anyway. There's room for another gameplay feature, or possibly two small ones.