I'm still quite "meh" on outpost, mainly since I haven't played a good game of it yet.
In other words, Michigan has no steep little hills :p
The way to make Outpost play more chaotic is to place the bases in areas that are tough to defend and/or can be approached from many angles and/or can be overrun. It scales up or down using positioning of the bases and number of bases. 7 sticks should be more than enough.
The reason I don't take (splatter) hits below the knees and other people shouldn't either is how impossible it is to check shoes, socks, camo pants, etc. That's also where blaster leakage often ends up, as well as mud/water if you step in such. You can get those wet just by moving through wet plants. I still take low hits if it's a direct stream, like at the barn CTF where Scott soaked my shoe with a laminated stream at close range. If I had my way, splatter damage would only count in the "strike zone" (knees to chest), but people want it for some reason.
As for balloons, I wouldn't mind counting bursts, like when it breaks in mid-air and the water falls on you. I am absolutely against counting splash damage off solid objects because that's a slippery slope. If that counts, I should be able to bounce a normal stream off a wall and count that. Those are clearly not hits and I don't understand why people want to add them. Water balloons are not grenades, they are water balloons. If it bursts on a wall or the ground and the splash lands on someone, it didn't hit them, it hit the wall/ground. I guess I would be ok with counting overhead splash damage, like if you toss a balloon at a tree branch over the enemy's head and it bursts on that and the water falls on them. It's kind of still blatantly not a hit...but it is the same effect as angling streams into people, so I have no problem with it.
I'm not to fond of retrying the treehouse. Even if the defense has light primaries, a Python 2 could still threaten a 2000 and keep them out of range. It took the water cannon to do anything in that round, because the only way to hit them in the treehouse was to shoot a large stream at it, but then have the stream die and fall over the people behind the boards. The physics of that are really tough to get right and when I took that shot I was completely guessing the range. Nothing else had the intimidation factor required to get in range and the WBLs were never going to be effective with the treehouse boards set up in the way they were. Direct fire would not place the water in the way and spot necessary.
I'm also not feeling OHK this time around, mainly because newbies are not very good with taking hits, so the effort required to hit them all would basically be like OHS anyway. Some of that problem is just that we have a more specific version of hits, while the more universal view is a direct stream counts (when I say "direct" I don't mean parallel to ground, I mean the whole stream stays together) and splatter doesn't. If the stream breaks up, they are far less likely to count it. If you put a CPS sized blast in their chest from 10ft away, with none of it breaking up and all of it soaking them, they don't dispute that. However, changing our rules to only allow direct streams with no break up would be a mess. Engagements might happen at really close range and people might get pretty decently soaked from splatter. It would be tough to justify a direct 1x stream being a hit, while the next guy with water all over isn't dead. Hit rules are still one of the most problematic issues we're faced with.
Using both sides of the island would be great for the naval war, although that really depends on flow conditions in the river. Scott, you should probably have a Plan B just in case the Potomac is really going like last time. I'd like to see a multi-stage round where the first stage is the landing, the 2nd stage is a general fight on the island, and the 3rd is maybe the treehouse or other defendable area. The attackers land, progress through the island, and try to wipe out the defense in their last stand. If the rules are simple, it could work.