Significant and desirable, yes. Essential, no.
> And if so, why?
> Apparently many people think so, and I'm trying to figure out just
> what it is about simultaneous execution that's so great.
> Now I chose simultaneous execution because it seemed more realistic,
> and less game-like to me. But now it seems to me that atmosphere is
> its only advantage.
IMO, atmosphere is an _important_ advantage. The feel of a game makes
a big difference to me, and to my willingness to play.
> Consider the advantages of phases-and-points:
> o Order failures don't cascade.
Well, no, but ramifications do. What happens in the combat phase
often affects what happens in the movement phase. I have to admit,
though, that if-then-else scripting would sure be nice.
> o Since points may be allocated differently for different
> commands, it's easier to tune the system.
Well, did you want easy or fun?! :-)
> o None of this confusing priority, who-goes-first,
If you don't mind answering the questions, I don't mind asking them! :-)
> Consider STUDY. Instead of varying the amount of time a study order
> takes, let's say we charge study points for the various skills. A
> 1 week skill in Olympia would cost 1 point, etc. We give players 5
> study points to start with, and an extra point each turn.
> If a player misses a turn, and consequently misses his chance to study
> that turn, he hasn't really lost anything, since the study potential is
> tracked as points. Giving players five study points to start lets them
> start quickly, if they like, or they can hang onto the points until they
> get a better feel for the game.
I happen to admire the current study system, with declining effectiveness
and all that.
> What's so great about modeling time?
Getting philosophical now, huh? :-) What's so great about modeling anything?
As far as games are concerned, I think it comes down to personal taste.