Dear Vic & Cameron,
I've finally started playing DC1 and DC2, and am really looking forward to DC3. Great games with some really innovative concepts.
Could I enter a gentle plea for some serious attention to the manual, and to the interface?
On interface, I don't have huge expectations as to the graphics in a wargame, and in fact I generally hate the 3D modeled graphics that seem to be all the rage in games like EU/HOI, Panzer General, etc. I far prefer clean, minimalist 2D graphics. Unity of Command is in my view the best ever wargame in terms of its aesthetic style and clean presentation of information.
The DC1 and DC2 interface aren't bad, but not especially good either. Graphic presentation of information on the counters in particular is a dog's breakfast. Different sized, shaped indicators all over the counter, with really ugly repeated icons on the largest counter size. I find it all really non-intuitive.
For instance, I now know, after some searching, that the little square in the bottom right of the counter represents supply status.
Ditto for the cards. There's no reason the effect of a card should not be displayed on the card itself. Instead, there's a general description, but I have to click and then hover over the card to see what it actually does...
There's are lots of examples like this of where a bit more attention to user-friendly, clear presentation of information would really help the game.
Perhaps one of the most important interface improvements would be something like a combat adviser, to explain the various modifiers that will apply during a combat. I don't mean something that would give you expected losses or chance of victory (I like that those remain unknown to the player, as in real life), but something that says "your panzers will get a -50% penalty for attacking into urban terrain, and a further -23% penalty for their poor readiness, and a +17% bonus for leadership ... etc etc ... for a total modifier of -xx%". This would really help the player to get a hand's-on feel for what really matters in combats.
On documentation, I found the DC1 manual to be really very substandard. DC2 was only marginally better.
Two examples: first, I start up the First Panzer Army linked campaign. No description of how the campaign works. Do my losses in scenario one carry over to scenario 2? What about experience gains? And for the Russians? Or is each scenario basically stand-alone, with only prestige and political points carrying over?
Second example: take the concept of "readiness". I know it's important, but nowhere is there a clear explanation of (a) what it represents in real life (supply state? Or organisation?); (b) how it differs from other concepts like supply and integrity; (c) what it affects in game; and (d) what things can cause it to change in the game. The manual should have a section headed "readiness" that explains all of this. Ditto for each variable in the game.
Finally, there is some sloppiness in translation to English in the game. I wince every time I read "Systematical finetuning" during the AI runs! No such word as "systematical"...
Hope you don't mind the blunt feedback on these aspects of the game. I've taken the time to put these thoughts down because I am really enjoying the game, and want the next one to be even better.