From: Exeter, UK
This is a great post. I have both games and agree with your appraisal. Both are great games with as you'd expect different pros and cons. In my opinion WBTS is the more stable and polished game and reproduces very historical results, while AACW is much more detailed with a better mapbut a bit buggy and ridiculous AI raids deep into Union territory.
I heartily agree that WBTS has regions that are too big and dividing them up with a bigger map would allow much more movement, currently WBTS doesn't reproduce explicitly the war of manouvre that happened early in ACW, you could argue it's happening within each battle as the regions are big and the turns a month.
I really hope Joel & Gary revisit the ACW for a WBTS 2. In it I'd like to see:-
1) Fix the confusing amphibious interface, ie prevent ground units being placed on ships, only allow the correct amphibious invasion (if enough transport points)
2) Larger map with more smaller regions. Will help encourage more fighting in the East as game tends to result in all the action in the West.
3) Better interface, and quicker turn resolution. I'd love to see the interface rehashed as currently you have to rely too much on the e button and replays. Maybe have a results phase in PBEM that shows all battles on the map and allows player to click each to get info on the battle.
Also all wargames seem to suffer from long slow turn resolutions often which could be speeded up (eg I don't want to have to wait for each enemy cavalry scouting report as turn resolves, again better to have a screen/phase that shows enemy scouting as icons on map that can be clicked for more info)
4) Get rid of weird CSC system and have proper corps and divisions. At the moment the CSC rule unblanaces game one way or the other. CSCs on favours CSA, off favours USA, ideal is middle ground so CSA leadrship balances USA numbers.
5) More modabilty, encourages longevity
6) More scenarios and what ifs (easier if bigger map), again encourages longevity.
7) Better AI if poss.
8) The leader ratings might be better if they all rated out the same range. At the moment most are rated out of 4 with admin rated out of 6. Might be better to rate all out of either 6 or 10 as at the moment the difference between a level 3 and level 4 leader is too great, if instead the rating were out of 6 or 10 the diffence between rating would be less abrupt.
9) Admin rating. Not sure this should be used for both engineers and theatre command. Skills of good engineers and good theatre commanders are not the same? Maybe change to two ratings called strategic and engineering skill?
10) Forts too easy to build level 1 forts. Maybe just have a gradual entrenching of armies that don't move or fight instead and make real forts a big commitment of supplies and mainly for river and coastal defence
11) Tweak factory builds. Too easy for CSA to get round blockade by building lots of factories and once they are online being totally self-sufficient.
Whatever Joel & Gary should be proud, IMHO its their best game for playability and realism, not as overwhelming as War in Pacific or War in the East but still deep and is great for PBEM play.
This post is a bit old, but I've been playing the heck out of WBTS recently, learned a lot via the manual and Joel Billings, and thought I'd add my two cents.
I've played both WBTS and AGEod ACW and both are currently installed and sometimes it's a tough choice between the two. AGEod is beautiful, but it a bit of a graphics bear, and even looks a little cartoon-y for my tastes. I'm a "Union Man" so to speak, and love the challenges presented a Union player (leadership, public support, etc...), and I think AGEod manages to capture the dilemma of the early-war leadership problems, especially with regards to initiative. The CS AI, however, is a bit gamey. I've had to chase independent Confederate infantry brigades that slip through the detection cracks in the border as far north as Chicago and beyond. That's a heck of a long way to march while foraging for supplies in a hostile country. Units can move a bit too fast for two week turns. It took a month for two armies to tactically move from the Rappahannock to Gettysburg. WBTS does seem to have this problem. In fact, in some regards I'd say it's a little restrictive (a larger, more detailed map might solve this).
I love the map in AGEod ACW! It's very well put together. Not so much graphically, which is nice, but that it is very expansive and detailed. I'd say it's close to twice the size of WBTS with twice as many regions. If there were to ever be a re-invention of WBTS, this would be the first thing I'd recommend. A larger map would give me more opportunity to use maneuver tactics, which is crucial for both sides out West. A large map of the US drawn up much the way it is done in WITE would be unbelievable!
The production system in WTBS is (IMO) much better and easier to "deal with." In AGEod, you practically have to micromanage production to the regimental/brigade level, across the entire front, which can get old, and makes it easy to lose track of units. I like the fact that I can put production on autopilot. It might be a noob move, but it's worked out SO FAR. Also, the level of detail in the units in AGEod make the game a bit of a bear when conducting operations. The supply system is a bit too intricate and a puzzle by itself whereas WBTS seems to not be so. Also, AGEod has historical-based events that, IMO, drag players in directions they may not want to go. There are political announcements and the like which though likely accurate in the timelines of the ACW, may not be so depending on the actions of the player filling in for Lincoln or Davis. I don't like engines that force decisions on me and WBTS manages to keep that to a minimum, Emancipation Proclamation being an exception.
WBTS has NATO counters. AGEod does not. 10 points for WBTS. Period.
Also, the WBTS video tutorials are amazing! I think that's a must for companies that produce complex wargames! Well done!
(But Y U no make production video???)
WBTS is a much "tighter" game, it seems. I haven't had a crash yet while AGEod crashes with some regularity (and I'm rocking an i5 w/ 4gig mem) and doesn't have half the support. AGEod is moddable, but it's instability make it a dangerous one to do so with. WBTS could benefit from some modding capabilities and a scenarios editor/designer. AGEod has a much larger scenario list that deals with specific theaters and time frames.
I'd argue that the ACW is probably one of the hardest wars to develop a meaningful strategy game for because of the amount of variables in it. The political and social "what-if's" are a lot more prevalent than in a game about the Pacific War or the advance through Russia, so my hat is off to anyone that manages to pull a game off. Anyone expecting a mild learning curve to a operational/strategic game depicting the Civil War should expect a "phoned-in" game as far as its design is concerned.
On my ACW gamer dream list include a larger, updated WBTS/AGEod hybrid without the wood-and-nail GUI campiness and/or a computerization of the operational-level Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series that allows for both operational and tactical levels of play. I suppose I'll keep dreaming...... LOL
< Message edited by jonboym -- 1/12/2012 12:02:05 PM >