I think it's time to think seriously about tutorials. Or even more, a full campaign that would drive us through the game mechanics.
Think about a game like starcraft. Not a wargame, but the example will work.
The first time you play starcraft you have no idea about how to play. There is an overwhelming number of options, decisions about building structures and units. Multiply all this options by the
three races you can choose. My point is that starcraft is not an easy game to start playing, nor it is to master. Yet it is widely played and is one of the most popular RTS games.
Well, we are not going to talk about the money they spend in advertising. Focus on how thousands of people end learning and playing such a complex game.
The first time you play starcraft, you will probably start playing the campaign. The first missions are very easy, you just can use a bunch of soldiers and build a couple of structures. The rest are forbidden.
Then the missions become more and more difficult, they let you build more unit types and buildings, and the teach you what they are for. Each mission you learn something new, and in each mission you have
to use the lessons of previous ones.
They goal of the game is that you end playing multiplayer games in internet, but they know that they have to teach you first, otherwise no one would play their game.
The crux of the campaign in a game like starcraft is just to teach the player how to play the game, and let the player enjoy while he is learning.
I think in the case of wargames it should be the same. I picture myself playing a deep and complex wargame where in the first missions only some units are allowed, not supply, not weather, not terrain...
And then step by step, those mechanics would turn on, little by little, while the game puts me in situations where they are important. Cleverly designed missions where I have to use what I just have learned.
I like groghead and complex games. But I know that instead of playing, first I will have to study the manual and dive into the forums.
And that keeps me out from some awesome games. Would be great if I could learn to play those games playing them instead of studying them.
What do you think?