Yeah, partisan stuff just seems like an abstraction, with a small amount of game play. Your 'partisan sweeps' are, effectively, modelled by posting units in cities to hold down the occurrence of the real units. By the time you get to actually smacking those units, the sweeps are done and ineffective. So, I think, there is a pretty solid representation of ongoing activity, it's just not something you have to 'do'
I still remember cardboard!