See, if I can't move my country within the setup week, I will wait until last minute to place it. Although the first few get to choose their position a bit better, they don't get to choose their neighbors.
The reason for shrinking the big map is to have a small map with the series of medium and small islands. This would make for more naval battles and a lot of island hopping.
People would fight to take their own island and then the next and the next etc.
Large landmasses lend to large countries.
Just out of curiosity, could you post the large map in a way that people could pan around it like the current game to see exactly how large this is.
I like the idea of the small map to allow us to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but the polls show...