I own COG and FOF, but was never able to get into either. I realize that, as I have gotten older, my ability to really get into a wargame has seriously shrunk. On the one hand, I want all the historical detail and realisim that I wanted when I was younger, and on the other hand, I find that if I feel at all like I am going to have to micromanage or deal with complexity, my eyes glaze over and I soon lose interest.
So, while I have bought *a lot* of wargames over the last several years, the ones that I have really gotten into, I can easily count on one hand.
What does all of this have to do with COG:EE? Well, I just got done *finishing* my first game, something I rarely do these days. I played as Sweden and I think I only made it until September 1808 before France won a commanding victory, but, dammit, I still finished the game! :)
Eric and Gil, you guys have hit on a winner for guys like me. The simple economy keeps my eyes from glazing over. The fact that you included generals, but not the vast multitude of them like what I saw in FOF, made them fun to use, but not tedious to assign. The fact that you actually *reduced* the number of generals shows something rarely seen these days in game sequels. In so many sequels and expansions, developers seem to think that they have to include more of everthing, more units, more territory, more options, more rules, and ultimately more complexity. The fact that you guys have showed restraint and actually made your game *easier* to play is so rare in the industry, but is a genius move, as far as I'm concerned. Yet, you have done this while at the same time preserving the things that make the game feel historical.
The manual, as others have mentioned, is excellent. Not only is it detailed, but, more importantly, it is well written. I have recently read another manual for a game released in the last several weeks, which is as thick as yours, but not nearly as helpful, because it is poorly written.
Of course the game is not perfect. There are little things here and there that could be improved, reworked, or made clearer. But, the core gameplay is so easy to get into now, that I was able to keep going long enough to figure out some of the subtle nuances of the interface that stymied me right out of the gate in the past.
So, if you are someone like me who has really wanted to get into COG and FOF, but just seemed to not be able to get past the initial complexity and micromanagement, I would strongly recommend that you buy COG:EE. If I can get into it, anyone can.
I'm looking forward to playing this one for a long time. Hell, I might even get myself into a PBEM game, something I haven't done in years.
Thanks, Eric and Gil!