Creating players when there are 13 different possible combinations

Hi, I’m creating a module of Belter, which has up to five players, and each of the first four (the Belters) can start in three configurations (Prospector, Partnership, or Corporation). The fifth player (the Peace Keeping Force) has a completely different counter mix from the other players, and can only be included if there are five players. Every counter is numbered so it is different from every other counter, though there are many otherwise identical counters. It doesn’t matter which specific counters the players start with, as long as they are the correct colour and they have the right number of each type.

Should I

  1. trust the players to sort it out. Just give five options at start up for players.
  2. somehow get Vassal to ask the player which of three levels he wants to start at, and only allow the fifth player to be an option if there are five players?
  3. Create 13 players?

How to setup the players in a multiplayer game is not mentioned in the Vassal tutorial. In this game, the game board is a hex map of space and the players can setup where they choose on the map, within certain restrictions.