So. My first experience with woodelves was to dive into the mini campaign right after buying the dlc. And wow I loved it. Obviously the roster was great and the mechanics were fun, but what really sold it was how big he Forrest was. DAMN! It felt like anything could be in here, anything could be hiding. There were all these wood elf tribes with massive areas of their own, and it was just one Forrest! Truly, Athel Loren felt like it had been done justice.
Then, after I beat that campaign I wanted to try my luck at the Grand campaign. One of my favorite parts of the game was having to unite and constantly deal with other parts of the forest, and in a Grand campaign that would just become better.
Starting the campaign there was something off. The map where it showed my starting position seemed bigger, and the forest seemed smaller. I dismissed it and started. Then I got in game. Not only did some factions have less cities even though they had plenty of room for more (I'm looking at you mousillon) so that instead of a looking vampire realm full of darkness it was simply a half a province, but Athel Loren was tiny. Miniscule compared to the mini campaign. Only four sides of the forest total. I was crushed, and it wasn't the same and didn't capture my feeling of having a massive Haven and forest that I was home to and protected me. Instead of feeling like the massive, mystical forest that is Athel Loren it felt like..well some mundane woods where I lived.
So here's my suggestion. Keep that size of forest on the map, we will call this the exterior, and make it so that you can't see any territories inside of it. Then, when you send an army in you are transported to another map of how Athel Loren actually looks--one closer to the mini campaign. This is the interior.
One way entering and exiting could work is having it so you move into the exterior to enter. If you are at any point inside the exterior--unless you previously just exited, you are transported to the interior map. Another way could be to have specific entrance locations indicated similarly to quest battles, and other than that you cannot
enter the exterior. There would be four of these on each side of the exterior corresponding to four on the interior. entering could put you in a semi random location on the side near the exit point, or exactly at that point.
Those inside could simply enter a specific exit location, indicated the same way. There could also be multiple exit points for a single entrance point.
Now, if making a separate map that you can't normally view without toggling between them doesn't work, then put the interior on some corner of the map that is inaccessible and blocked off other than this method of travel.
You could also easily place some NPC beastmen hordes so that they start on the interior to add a little variation on the inside.
What this does is makes athel Loren mysterious in a way that no other part of the world is, as it should be. It also organically creates an inhospitable nature to it, since you don't know what's going on inside the forest, and things could pop out at any time, whether beastmen, wood elves, or forest spirits. This also creates a sense of isolation for the wood elves--whether playing as or against/with them-like they should have, but at the same time you are free to send armies in and out whenever.
Viewing the exterior would trigger discovery of all of the factions inside, but until you go inside you don't know what's going on in there since you dont have vision of the interior without entering it. (Or maybe you have to enter the forest to discover factions or see one of their armies). Wood elves would all have vision from the exterior as if they had a settlement inside of it, but that would be the case for anyone with a settlement on the interior.
Alternatively, you could gain vision of the entire interior if you had vision on the exterior, and this would simply be a way to make the forest larger and more like Athel Loren should be, and giving the wood elves a defensive advantage.
If this was implemented it would change the game for the better and...possibly.pave the way for some kind of under-empire for skaven, dwarves, chaos dwarves, and greenskins? Probably not but here's hoping. In addition it would for sure be excellent for PR, and would make people more likely to but future games, and would go hand in hand with the desire for unique factions and mechanics. What do you guys think?
Edit: I'm sure people would pay for this as a DLC.
TL;DR, make Grand campaign athel loren into a separate map closer to what was in the mini campaign, have the current ahel loren be a way into the separate map.