Well first of all, let me offer my gratitude to Ralph for doing this extensive conversation. I feel quite satisfied in having understood more about the thought process, the ideas, fears, and values that Ralph is fielding.
Both Troy and Bruce came off as passionate, articulate gamers. I think Bruce's primary criticism about 'other factors' is totally defrocked by the fact that the game DOES have other values, and that's just one of the things that make this game not only superior, but IMO designed to be perfectly 'tweaked'. Bruce doesn't seem to get that while more numbers doesn't equate certainty, it does better equate. The only thing less numbers does, is provide a more certain calculation. Which while less realistic, is what Bruce wants.
There really isn't so much of a 'sweet spot' as there is a 'sour spot' regarding scale, and if you walk into any wargame store (do any still exist?) you realize there are many different tastes out there. Ralph I think was slightly reticent to give the perfect scale, but finally said 10km. I would agree with that. I don't really mind the smaller scales, but thousands of pieces I feel I'm not doing the work of one man, but that of 100s. IMO games from 10km to 40km work for me. I don't mind big scenarios if they accomplish big things. But then I like scenarios that are conducive to more than two people.
The more I listen to Ralph, the more he reminds me of Steve(developing WiF) in that they get a hold of the AI, and then want to sort of live vicariously through it. They believe in a 'perfect strategy' and then want to implement it through an AI. Have you seen a chess-player play like, 20 games simultaneously and win them all? Imagine that on a scale that is almost infinite, as it can continue after death. But it's not all ego. After all, the AI is supposed to teach and compete with people. How well can you do that? Is simply teaching the players how the game works enough? Some people prefer a computer to a human opponent. That's just a fact.
My feeling is that as long as he respects the ambitions of others -including somewhere in the equation, mine naturally, I have no problem with any of Ralph's ambitions, regardless of whether I personally will use them. It is a 'markedly improved' game. Any criticism I have had has to be taken contextually. There is nothing Ralph has done that I am not grateful for. And I don't mean that altruistically, I really do appreciate how much better the game runs, and of course, looks.