I liked it. Probably what I liked most was your identifications of the various problem areas, notably ship designs that one would never build (unless impelled by the lack of any other counters).
Without the chance to play (and I have no idea when I will find the time or person for another campaign game), I don't feel that I can make other comments at this time.
I can help you with the no one to play problem.
Imperium has a good Module on Vassal. It even gives you random [or maybe not so random] strength Jump and Reg. Troops. [I thought there is a tendency to give you the last one eliminated back.]
So, you can play against me even though I retired to Thailand.
I might be able to help you with the time problem in you have 1 hour a week to play. We could try to do 1 turn a week, or 1 player turn a week.
Don't worry about paying the designer who knows all the quirks. I don't know them. I will let you pick a side and I'll give you all the extra income that you think is fair. I hope you will give all or some of it back in later wars if you think you asked for too much.
I really, really! want to try this variant out against another player.