From: La Salle, Colorado
ORIGINAL: Gary Childress
What makes a game interesting? Does being on the edge of your seat with every turn, not knowing what the overall outcome of the game will be more fun or is playing out the historical sequence of the war more fun? Does fantasy ruin it for the game?
Damn good questions... I often have a weak spot for underdogs, no matter whether it is the Civil War or WW2, so Japan being vastly inferior to the Allies does add some sort of a challenge. That's of course not the full story, i.e. playing Allies in 1942 and trying to stop the waltzing empire is also something very exciting. I can see the point of scenario 2 or the mods that bump up the IJ side a bit for PBEM, though, and also generally, but I kinda prefer the historical Scen 1.
This game somehow has extreme addictive potential. A lot of it comes from my perspective from the level of detail, OOBs and technical, and the vast logistical and organizational "nightmare" following from that. A positive nightmare, sorts of. There's always new aspects to learn and find some eye openers. It's like a well-researched, interactive book. And it lets you try out things, "what-if" things, and (almost always) gives you even a range of plausible results that very well could have happened in reality. What had happened at Midway had Nagumo's trap worked?
The other aspect that makes this game so addictive for me from the daily turn resolution. It makes it feel so real to watch combats and events unfold "day after day". It is totally different than predecessors with week resolution, or I-Go-U-Go. There is nothing better in this game to watch a critical air combat or major naval battle unfold. Yes, nothing moves, you only read the messages, but it can be very very tense. Perhaps it would be nicer if the ships or planes would move around on a fake map and you could watch them, or the LCU operate as symbols on a random battle map, but it doesn't even need this to be fun. Maybe the latter would be nice, but maybe your fantasy can do a better job there. It often feels like you'd like to jump right into the combat, push a button and fight it a la TF 1942 or IL-2.
On a side note, I know it may sound stupid, but if Matrix/G&G doesn't have the (financial) incentives to put together a (new) team to built a new engine for AE and enhancements, but there seem quite a few people who'd right away buy a successor, how about crowd-funding?
Echo these sentiments about the underdog in particular. ALWAYS like to play the South as well in Civil War games. Guess we're just gluttons for punishment!