Unit Value And How It Impacts Game Immersion

I am really enjoying Wargame Airland Battle.  It vastly improves on the original Eugen Systems Cold War title European Escalation and is something I will continue to play for quite awhile.  That said, it lacks one thing that I was reminded of while playing a Battlefront Fortress Italy scenario this morning:  unit value.

By that I mean a combination of the unit's tactical importance to the scenario and your ability to impact the units fate and therefore develop some sort of emotional attachment with the unit.  In Airland Battle, you almost never see the unit you deploy again.  And frankly that's okay because chances are you have a few more variants of that unit in your virtual deck.  With limits on the number of aircraft you can deploy, they are the only unit you are forced to use "wisely."  Every other unit is basically free to do whatever crazy thing you need them to do and you will order them to do crazy things because they will do it without a thought to their own safety.

Not so in for instance a Combat Mission title.  In the Fight at Vallebruce scenario in the demo (which I played this morning) I was hugging the ground with my Rangers as they crawled uphill behind a rockwall bordering on an orchard. The road into Vallebruce had become a killing ground and this sortie by my Rangers to get LOS on a German gun was critical to my winning or losing the scenario.  When they came under fire I popped smoke and prayed they would be able to make the wall and hide.  Other units had failed but these Rangers were the best I had and they were going to make it and did (unfortunately I still lost).

You don't get that kind of gritty intensity/immersion in Airland Battle in my opinion.  Airland Battle is great, but if you want to sweat out your choices in real time, pick a game like Fortress Italy or Shock Force from Battlefront.

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