Back in the day I remember reading a article in the old "General" about how to play the United States side in the game Pax Brittanica.
Now, I thought the game Pax B. was pretty cool and I played it with a group of people and we had fun doing it despite it's flaws. However, that "General" article always stuck with me because it said that if you play the near perfect game as the US, you can hope to finish 4rth or maybe 3rd.
The idea that a game doesn't give a near equal chance of success, or what is called balance, is kind of silly right? A game almost by definition is about fair competition.
Games are designed to do that right?
Well. not so much.
The truth in the wargaming hobby is that a large number of gamers play "solitairy." I don't mean to put solitary gamers down by any means, however, the end result is that many wargames are not designed with balance as a primary concern.
Take for example, "Flying Colors." FC is a great system of showing age of sail battles, yet there was no attempt to try and balance the battles. "Tragalgar" is a total joke in regards to balance; the British player will win every time. There was no attempt to make an equal battle through victory conditions.
This to me goes to the point of poor game design combined with the solitairy nature of wargamers.
Now, if you compare games like Ben Hull's Musket & Pike or Mark Miklo's Battles of the American Revolution, you see designers who attempt to create a competative game experience.
In the end for me, which you can see represented in my Top 10 GMT games, balance is as important in a game design as any other factor.