From: Western Nebraska
Roger, I agree with you with regard to your post about winning the game. I see so many gamers whining that the game is not balanced because the South (or Germany, or Japan, of "fill in the blank") cannot win the war. In my opinion, if a game is to represent history, the South should NOT be able to "win the war". But the player who plays the South should be able to win the game. And to follow up with your theory on timeline, there are potentially other units of measure. Conquered (and unconquered) cities. Casualtie counts. Resources in tact. etc., etc. My philosophy has always been to adjust the victory conditions so the underdog could win the game without turning history completely on its head. Anyone remember the Europa series? Case White comes to mind. A good Polish player could win the game, but no way in hell would he drive Germany out of East Prussia. A game that would allow that wouldn't be a historical simulation.
I haven't completed my first game of FoF yet. I am enjoying hell outta the game, but some of it just doesn't feel quite right. Not sure what it would take to make it feel right, but it seems that I as the south can run willy nilly around those Northern states and capture the ones with no cities/forts with impunity....at least against the AI. And while there is little to be gained, there is some to be gained. And the risk/reward ratio seems to warrant it.
Granted, the AI made a costly mistake that few human opponents would make. The North took Fredericksburg with relative ease, using a huge Army of the Potomac, and then marched right into Lynchburg without leaving anything protecting its rear. On the following turn, I marched ANV into Fredericksburg, sealing his line of retreat. I then attacked him in Lynchburg, and since Lee and Jackson had better initiative, I caught him where I wanted him. And while he slightly outnumbered me (we both had on top of 50,000 men), I was able to defeat him in QC. The combat was a close run thing, going down to the last two brigades (or three.....not sure now) on each side. But in the end, the North was defeated and all troops either died or surrendered. He has literally no fighting force, now. [Playing on First Seargent, IIRC]