I like the real-time and hierarchical approach to CO. It is a more realistic simulation of what a commander would do in a real battle.
I think the worst thing about TOAW is the complexity. The tutorial scenario is the entire Korean War! There is a very simple scenario... why didn't they start with that one? it is a perfectly balanced ground-only situation, and I started to actually learn something from it... once I found it. The primary thing that I don't like about most wargames is that you have to manage every single unit. That gets overwhelming; it also isn't realistic from a commander's viewpoint. After all, a 3-star general (corps) commander isn't going to skip over the division and regiment commanders to give orders to ALL of the battalion commanders for EVERY action.
There is a management concept (which applies to military because command is a form of management) that addresses span of control and depth of control. Related is the concept of having too many direct reports. If you have 20 people who directly report to you, you will be overwhelmed, and unable to function with any efficiency. You also shouldn't micromanage, which is really trying to control what your subordinate's subordinates are doing. (Sometimes a manager/commander has to, but in general, it is a no-no.)
Patton had an approach that is very wise, I think. Give orders to those you command, and be sure you know the status of those he commands, but don't give orders to them. As for the next command level down, you shouldn't worry about their status, and you certainly shouldn't be giving any orders to them.
You had to do the deep micromanagement with board games because it was the only way to do it. As computer war games came out, that was what they started with.
But this isn't what a real general does.
But with, CO, the approach is far FAR different.
First off, the tutorial is not too complicated, and the interface is far simpler. With the videos for it, I was off and running in no time. It is still a very challenging task to learn the details and then to apply them effectively, so it isn't a cakewalk, but it is easier to concentrate on the big picture, and that is what a real commander does. Because the other side does the same thing, this doesn't confer any advantage to you.
As for TOAW, the general, basic approach for all of the turn-based, manage-each-piece is the same. CO is a different approach/paradigm. If you ever played Command HQ back in the early 1990s you get the idea of the difference between real-time and turn-based games. CO takes that a step further with a command hierarchy.
There is a CO demo available for download. You can give it a try before you buy.
Thank you very much for the info! That does sounds pretty unique and fun. I think I'll give the demo a shot. Thanks again =)