Hey man, I hear what you’re saying: seems like we played and enjoyed the same games, and I know exactly what you mean and appreciate it. I just think that there is a way to give games more “meaningful” decisions as well as to differentiate these decisions better. I loved The Russian Campaign, and that was nothing if it wasn’t a straight-up factor-counting bonanza. Make one mistake on defense and the Stukas come in and it’s an automatic victory and now you have panzers in your Soviet pantaloons on the second impulse. But as I think Carl Paradis has shown in the No Retreat series (and in the brilliant solo game The Barbarossa Campaign), you don’t need to jam it all up with a million numbers to make it deep. When the calculations get so minute that you need to decide among 20 units where this one factor will go, your cost is the time the non-phasing player (such a 70s term!) spends getting bored. When Euros showed us that constant player interactivity didn’t have to sacrifice decision depth, wargame designers smartly followed suit. I don’t see stuff like cards as “chrome” - more like decision sharpening. I’m still up for a Vance Von Borries monster, where I can make and eat a sandwich during the first half of my opponent’s turn, but that stuff is best with a buddy where you’re examining the history as much as playing the game.
I also acknowledge that I am such a contrarian at heart that if someone had come in here running down Ogre, I would have immediately posted a manifesto detailing exactly how fast the kids needed to be vacating my lawn, and the consequences for failure to do so.
Anyway, if you bring that black-and-white set over, I’ll play as long as you want. I can even pull out the big set when we get tired of that. I even ordered the miniatures.