From: Dallas, Texas, USA
ravinhood: My goodness mate, and here I was thinking you were the bastion of turn-based play, and it sounds like you barely have a notion of what are of the 2 greater efforts of turn-based has meant in terms of the history of wargaming. I tried earlier to tell you what I saw as the very fundamental differences between the games, my preferring winSPWW2 as it turns out (not that it was always that way), but since that reply got destroyed I decided against it. One of the primary things I will tell you however, is that you can set the individual visibility and map size for EVERY battle with the ease of a click; unlike SPWAW. I departed from SPWAW when the visibility got really bad and it looked like there was nothing the user could do about that. The map sizes, on the campaigns, would often involuntarily slip into the narrowest of narrow, and though it could be adjusted, or so I heard, when I tried to adjust it it didn't work. Even so, should it work, it's a lot more difficult to deal with to adjust it that way.
I have deliberately left a lot out here, as I said I wouldn't get as deep as I originally planned, but for those PBEM types out there, winSPWW2 is so far ahead. They have a filtering system, a recent addition, which will direct your opfire. You can tell each and every unit, or as a group, a few things to do, and the following are just some of the opfire filtering options, not all: Range to fire, and at what (AFV, infantry, soft vehicles, ATG's). You can also tell them what amount of armor on the front of an AFV you are willing to have them fire at (both maximum and minimum). You can also give them an overwatch zone for each unit or platoon of any size and on any center hex you desire. Unfortunately the enemy AI is not programmed to use this awesome filtering, so for the campaigners of us it's just something to experiment with and try to decide on how much of using it is just being gamey. One could edit a scenario or battle and set the AI to do those things for each battle I suppose, because people can make scenarios enabling the AI to use filtering, but I figure most campaigners don't want to lose the element of surprise that editing each battle would do (though I guess automatic redeploy would largely eliminate "where" the units would be stationed), or it just seems too much of a hassle. Just loading the default infantry and armor filters they have I theorize would do quite a lot of more realistic play. It might be worth the effort to end up knowing what the enemy has, but not where they will redeploy to. Something tells me I am pretty sure I am going to experiment with that, but for now, I campaign on and am just trying to see how it works for my own guys, here and there. The concept of the filtering is clearly very good, but I don't have enough experience with it to know how well it actually works, and if I'm unwilling to edit the AI so they will filter every battle it's largely immaterial for me anyway.
Now SPWAW, the last time I played it, did have an opfire filtering sytem of sorts, which at the time was better than the then winSPWW2 version. It interrupts the enemy turn as each action occurs. For example, for each enemy unit that moves within sight of one of your units, you will get a prompt as to whether you would desire to fire on it (now that I think about it, I do find it somewhat odd that the only reaction you can have, to enemy actions on their turn, is to fire or not. Why not react by moving as well? But then it is called opfire for a reason - both games have opfire, but not "opmove" if you will). So you can see how that is better than just setting ranges in the old manner of SP and everything reacting on their own. Problem was, the SPWAW method got very tiring for me over time. I grew tired of not only some of the dumbest units being the ones chosen for the opfire (you only had two possibilities for every seen action, so if you had a scout squad and an SPAA as the units chosen for the current enemy action, then you got no more choices if you declined both - I think it was actually three opfires "chances" maximum, and you could fire two times only). In heavy fighting, it got often quite unnnerving that I had to constantly input whether I wanted them to fire. I cannot recall if there would be any reaction fire "at all" if you didn't accept one of the prompts. So given the same situation, winSPWW2 might overreact to where every unit that can see the action, fires in response, whereas in SPWAW you might get too few opfires, but more than over a long haul you might want to constantly type. So I decided finally that I liked the winSPWW2 old style opfire better, because it was a way where I didn't have to input so much, and I didn't see much difference in my success between the two games opfirewise, so ease became a primary concern. Also it was kind of fun to have less input at that time, as they were fighting on their own so to speak.
Now, though I don't think they any notion of making the "new" opfire filtering of winSPWW2 into something the AI can use, if they did so, there would be no comparison whatsoever between the two games opfire treatment, as it's clear the winSPWW2 new treatment is something of a dream quite frankly. The only thing missing is the ability to pick out a specific unit of the enemy and tell units on your own side to ignore it, but for most circumstances the filtering can be done to largely accomodate the same thing. They also have some saved opfire filtering routines, to where you can copy an entire reactions settings to all situations at a mere click for an entire platoon or individual unit, all without having to save the game and then edit it, and then return to the game; all at the touch of a button or two.
One of the things (yes, I am getting a bit wordy here) I used to hate about winSPWW2 (or all the SP versions but SPWAW) is that the AFV's used to always be without accounting for slope of the armor; just flat armor thickness. Now, they account for slope, but you don't just see how much it is sloped. For example, some tank on SPWAW might have 3 armor with 60 degree slope, therefore maybe taking up to a penetration of 5. In winSPWW2, they just give you the 5 armor setting. There's no need to account for slope when you already know how much the actual slope would take rounds to pierce. Over the years, I have played the two games a great deal, and I can tell you that there is really no difference in what was once a critical difference in the game concernign slope.