From: San Francisco, CA - USA
I just recently got COTA and i never liked hex-based games. It's artificial to say the least, thinking that armies move one unit per side per turn or even one entire side per turn.
The feeling of real time in COTA is simple, and of course, complex at the same time. You can order units at any moment on any terrain on map since the grid is only there for range calculations.
You play on a plain paper map which doesn't display accurate height steps unless you use a tool, in that case you will see what each unit can or cannot see according to weather, suppression, time of the day and of course according to what the target is also doing. Units are displayed on NATO symbols or with a generic unit-type icon and each unit has a breakdown of its exact content. So u have a full feeling of realism here. That's what commanders DREAMED of having at that point in time...but well we got the PC now!
An important part of the real time strategy concerns the synchronization of orders. The farther an HQ is from the "boss" the worse this HQ staff is, the longer it will take to formulate in concrete the orders you gave it...and, in turn, this HQ formulates sub-orders for each sub-unit according to general parameters you have pre-established.
An easy example is the airstrike. You get the call there's a support airplane in the combat zone and u point a target for it. The strike will come in the next 5 minutes. You don't know exactly when and you don't know whether that target will remain there when the strike comes or not.
The same can be said about orders. You give assault order to a village but since you are a n00b when your troops assault the enemy has already abandoned it so you capture empty ground.
Of course...once you master this whole system, having the troops do exactly what you want them to do, and when you want them to do it, is a huge satisfaction.
Thank God there's the pause button you can use to plan your moves!!!