Absolutely! My overall point–and this is just my personal POV, not any attempt to “lay down the lay” or anything like that!–is that if you have data in the game, it needs to fall into two very clear categories. One is stuff that you actually can use, to make decisions with, because it actually figures into the game model in an intelligent way. The other is stuff that’s fluff, or chrome, that is interesting but not really part of the system as it were.
All too often games have a ton of data that simply does not matter for one reason or another. And, to me, just because you add up the number of jeeps in a division and that gives you .001% of its combat value does not mean the number of jeeps is useful or meaningful. It’s chrome, but it’s masquerading as useful information. Grigsby to me is a less egregious offender by far than Koger, but IMO the use of so many data points to define a formation leads to none of them being terribly important in and of themselves.
A game, to my mind, should sort of distill the essence of decision making down to stuff that is engaging and matters. Command Ops lets you dig into the numbers of guns and stuff but you make your decisions based mostly on the overall level of morale, supply, and cohesion a formation has, as well as its ability to perform in specific combat roles (anti-tank, holding ground, etc.); the data supports your decision making but you are not guided to obsess about minutia (there are other issues I have with the game system in general, but it is a very good example IMO of a distillation of essentials that is still quite meaty and complex). Most other game systems that deluge the player with numbers don’t differentiate very well between useful and not so useful data, often I feel because under the hood there isn’t that much there. This is impressionistic, however, and not a result of a scientific survey of game mechanics, by any means.
So, yeah, I love to see that a tank battalion has PzKw IVs and not PzKw Vs, as it does as you note make a difference (though often for a lot of reasons beyond just a raw attack or defense value). I don’t really care though whether they are PzKw Ausf. G or Ausf. H, because at this level it is hardly critical.I don’t mind knowing that, but if the game presents that as “oh, the battalion now has a rating of 112 instead of 110,” that implies that you should be managing those numbers carefully, and to me that misses the point entirely, and is also sort of misleading in terms of simulation fidelity. And number of operational tanks available is absolutely important–but it’s important in relationship to the formation’s overall efficiency. German Panzer divisions often, in the mid to late part of the war, had compositions that were far less robust than their TO&E called for, yet still managed to be effective combat units. In this case, the number of tanks has to be placed into the context of how you are evaluating combat power. The cheap way to do it is to simply make German tanks worth a ton of points, but then that overstates the combat power of a full-strength unit by a huge amount, and it places the simulation focus, and the player’s focus, on a chimera. The real secret to a German maneuver unit’s success isn’t the number of tanks it has so much as a host of soft factors, depending on the time of the war, like leadership, experience, doctrine, force balance, etc. That’s why they could still field effective formations even when decimated by losses. A purely numerical, count the tubes approach can’t model this very well.