From: Lamezia Terme (Italy)
Guderian has amassed the troops needed for his assault on Tula - no small feat. He is ready! But... A messenger arrives and Guderian is informed that he cannot attack until a small skirmish near Leningrad ends! Guderian can only curse and wait near the radio.
Of course it doesn't happen this way. And it wouldn't in TOAW. Both combats would take place at the same time.
Not if Guderian attack is operational (an important word) in scale. True, maybe they both start at the same moment. However, Guderian breaks the first line of defense using two/tens of his turn, but then he cannot exploit the breach with his reserves because, half-a-World away two battalions exchange slaps in the face and bad words for eight/tens of a turn.
This is not a realistic portrayal of front-level action at all. Admittedly, timestamps alleviate the problem. It is still interesting to note how TOAW needed them.
What would be stupid is if the small attack took place while Guderian waited and then time reversed and Guderian had the entire day to do his thing. And this isn't a TOAW 'thing'. It affects all turn based games of the IGOUGO ilk.
Any wargame is an attempt to portray a military action at a given scale. Nothing can equate reality 1:1, not even paintball. Reality hasn't hexes, "squares" representing divisions, fixed 50m wide roads both in urban areas and in small countryside villages (Iì'm looking at you Advanced Squad Leader) and so on. What matters is "Do the choices made by the designer manage to portray the feeling and sense of combat in a given scale/period/geographic area?"
I mentioned the OCS because, while being turn-based, the system manages to convey exceptionally well the operational feeling of the covered era. I actually like more to re-enact the Allied invasion of Germany from Aug, 1944 to May, 1945 using "Beyond the Rhine" than a TOAW scenario.
For the most part classic SPI and GDW board games had a movement phase where every unit was moved that was going to move, a combat phase where all combat took place and some had an exploitation phase for mechanized units. Note that no one unit moved, conducted combat and then another unit moved and conducted combat in most of these board games. That would be nothing less than a science fiction time travel game with nothing to do with the real world. It doesn't take an Einstein to grasp this. If you take the science fiction route you have truly impossible things happening like the Axis cutting off the Soviets with a right hook to the Black Sea.
You still haven't answered my question: is, so, any turn based wargame a beer-and-pretzel game? What about Frank Chadwich's WWIII (a game to which TOAW is deeply indebted - not that many people noticed) and its asymmetric turn system? Or, for what matters, World in Flames? Maybe we should inform the MWIF board that they are playing a "lite" b'n'p wargame - because I bet that they aren't aware of this
"Yes darling, I served in the Navy for eight years. I was a cook..."
"Oh dad... so you were a God-damned cook?"
(My 10 years old daughter after watching "The Hunt for Red October")