Currently, I'm weighing a lot of decisions against each other.
Squad Leader or ASL.
Steel Panthers or Steel Tigers.
Boardgame or computer game.
A popular viewpoint is a computer must be exploited to the fullest. Why though?
Bigger isn't always better. More realistic isn't always better. That's just me stating an obvious truth. But feel free to argue over it ad museum if you must. Just don't expect me to feel obliged to argue back.
I played a lot of Squad Leader. What drew me in was the ease. ASL is more 'accurate'. It sure isn't easier to play. I think ASL would have done fine if it has been a lot less Advanced, and a lot more inclusive. In Squad Leader you got 4 boards Germans Russians and Americans. In CoI they started to fiddle. They made the Germans and Russians over again. Which made the American units now out of sync. In Crescendo of Doom they fiddled again, The Americans were even further behind. They added British and French to the key players and other nations. By the time of GI Anvil of Victory, they had created a wobbly mix.
ASL was supposed to clean up the rules. What they really did was greatly complicate the rules. And all you got was a rules manual. Then they proceeded to release nations as massive purchases. Goodbye game in a box.
Myself, I would have rather the game sat back at Squad Leader. A few Rules tweaks perhaps. Some ideas were ok. But we wargamers never leave well enough alone, do we :)
I would have liked a release of British Counters ala Squad Leader. A French set. An Italian set. All done the same way.
I like the massive assortment of vehicle types to a point. But it's excessive.
If you are the British player, you might need a couple of tanks. It's called SQUAD LEADER though. I don't need every piece of armour ever to exist. I don't need 3 counters of every version of a specific type.
I think the maps went a bit overboard. A -1 modifier is the same every single time. So an apple orchard, or a standard of mixed trees. Conifers or hardwoods. If they are all the same modifier, why make a fuss? I think sets of maps, maybe 5-10 boards no more complicated than the first 4 would have been fine. I didn't want more terrain types, I just wanted more boards. The ASL desert boards are about the most useless of the lot too. Yes, I get it, the desert is boringly flat and empty.
Anyway, I think Squad Leader was great because of how it was made. Simple.
ASL is not nearly as great, regardless of the massive sums of product it has generated.
Picking up the Squad Leader box and going to a friend's or a tournament, so much easier than carting around your ASL stash.
I think ASL was more of a mistake than not. More lost opportunity than not. But that's my view, and I have owned it all.
So now the tie in with Steel Panthers and Steel Tigers.
Steel Panthers was an incredible game the day it appeared. It was tweaked some, but it remained the same.
The only thing that harmed it was evolving software. Getting it to run on newer and newer computers and newer and newer OSs seems to be the main hassle. I'm able to enjoy Generals Edition on Win 10 on a modern computer currently. Will that hold true in 5 years? Who knows.
What is our main gripe with Steel Panthers? Is it because it isn't WEGO? 3d? Real-Time? No to all of that.
It's we have trouble running it on our new computer.
What is the main stumbling block to changing it?
Ownership. Yep. That's mainly it. The code is not owned. And the owners are clearly not interested in selling, and yet, they are also not interested in doing anything with it. Not really sure who owns it at all, to be honest.
The best thing Steel Tigers will do is become owned.
The worst thing Steel Tigers will do is not be Steel Panthers in a new dress.
I do NOT want it to become ASL.
I don't need WEGO. Steel Panthers wasn't WEGO. It played just fine without it. Yeah, Kubel blitz is a pain.
I will not buy it if it becomes a silly 3d design. I like Steel Panthers because it looks like Squad Leader. It only looks like it though. Squad Leader has a very specific turn structure. And Steel Panthers doesn't use it. I've seen some emulations of Squad Leader scenarios. Nice effort. Not really the same though. But close.
I don't need Steel Tigers to be an all in one release program. But, Steel Panthers was more or less.
So only getting some Germans and Some Russians will suck. It will look like a DLC money machine. Not the end of the world for a developer to like making money. But let's be real, if designing wargames is your day job, you might have made a mistake. I likely live on a better budget.
I'm only playing computer board game emulations of board game wargames because board game wargames are often harder to obtain. It isn't 1985, and I haven't even seen a hobby store with wargames in over a decade. Often just finding a physical hobby store is something of a stroke of luck. There is one retailer within 30 minutes drive of my home in any direction. They don't sell wargames.
I don't want a computer to play a board game wargame that is anything more than the board game wargame was.
A computer is just a tool. A table is a tool. The table doesn't need to be a digital device. A nice oak table will do just fine. I don't need a computer to be my friend. Yeah, if you live in the middle of north-central nowhere, you might wish for an AI. I'm ok with them designing an AI. But design it as an option. If I can't turn it off, I likely won't purchase the game.
I like that with a computer, you can get updates, you can get options like instant set up. Setting up the counters for The Longest Day is a massive burden. The counters are all expected to be in the exact same place each time. I won't miss the hours of organizing the charts. But once the game begins, I just want the board game. I won't want an AI to oppose me. There isn't one in the board game. It's either me vs a human or not at all. Solo is ok. And there are lots of nice software options out there for board gaming via distance and computer interface. But for me, I like the company.
I personally think a board game wargame via VASSAL will probably always beat our best efforts to create a computer wargame with no board game ancestor that includes an AI. Fire in the East from the Europa series, unwieldy as it is, will always trump War in the East the computer game.
Now I am not the definitive opinion, and I am not the perfect opinion.
But I was there in 1970 and 1980 and 1990 and throughout this century too.
I was buying the games. I was among those that created this hobby :)
I am at least a valid opinion.
And I didn't come here to have an involved argument. I don't require statistics and charts and tables.
There is no winning opinion. You are free to disagree. You just don't get to invalidate my comments by default :)
If I had the millions, I'd probably be in a very large room, with a very cool table able to swallow Fire in the East whole. In the next room, I'd have a really cool set up to play with 72nd scale miniatures. Squad Leader with models. The boards would be partly 3d.
I likely wouldn't be playing computer games. Opponents would be simple. I have millions remember. Hell, I'd pay people to play. I'd probably prowl our military college for candidates ;)
Wargame, 05% of the time.
Play with Barbies 05% of the time.
Play with Legos 10% of the time.
Build models 20% of the time
Shopping 60% of the time.
Exlains why I buy em more than I play em.