So, I've redrawn my spreadsheet, and I'm wondering if I'd meet resistance to switching to it over the current one. It's easier for me to use (and for me to use to report back to you), the rules for getting AP make more sense and are less likely to make you loose AP when other players develop (should curb kingmaker situations, which are allowed in the current set). The trick? It adds upkeep for large fleets.
Under the new setup, this is the AP everyone would get:
Hufer 3.7 <- Has a huge fleet
Holy Thunder 5.7
Tadius Faran 5.4
The Error 5.7
Commander Jackson 7.0
To go into some more detail; it allows for trade improvements and limits the effect of non-AP-producing tech on your AP value (right now I think something totally random actually gives you more AP, just like industrial upgrades). It also makes systems way easier to figure out - 1 AP/level and there's no level limit. I'll reimburse or use all the AP you've spent upgrading systems if you accept the upgrade.
On my end, it makes everything a simple value (Each upgrade is just +1 to that tech, which corresponds to your level in that tech) rather than the decimal value per level based on research trees that it is now; and it combines all of your AP bonuses (which none of you have used) into one place. It is also nice that you shouldn't significantly drop AP unless you build a huge fleet or loose all your planets or something - systems have less effect than they did. Wondering what to do with the decimals? I'll probably round to nearest (everyone has 6 but Hufer and Axis who have 4 each).
If it'd make you feel better, I'll drop the overhead costs, but that doesn't do much except for Hufer (UK 1.63) and Commander Jackson (UK .88), the two highest upkeep holders. Frankly, I like the upkeep - it deters you guys from building up huge FS stores until you've got a better system base.