Thought I'd start this as I was reading an old post in my "Games We've Let Go Of" discussion group describing some frustrations with tactical game systems regarding play balance. The series under discussion was the Lock 'N Load tactical games. Now, I've played that series too but don't have the experience in it with many other players to talk to the balance issue. But I've played other game systems with other players where it has. Probably the most notable are the PANZERGRENADIER series and COMBAT COMMANDER. What's interesting is that these games don't seem to suffer from this at all. In fact, the players who engage and like these games don't seem bothered by this in the least. And I've noticed that--for those two games systems at least--the reasons boil down to two things:
(1) The degree of fog and friction is so high that you can barely plan anything and just about anything happens in these games, so when the odds seem stacked against you, you just shrug your shoulders and carry on--or quit and quickly set up another game (this is what I see in COMBAT COMMANDER quite often), or:
(2) The wide range and number of scenarios are dealing with historical situations and you are playing history--it's the experience, not the question of balance and who wins and who loses, that matters. We see this a lot in the plethora of PANZERGRENADIER scenarios.
On the other hand, the ASLSK and ASL players--and I suspect the PANZERBLITZ: HILL OF DEATH players--are and would be the most bothered by issues of balance. These players, while many of them like history and pay close attention to it--tend to be more of the competitive type and therefore scrutinize this more. I don't know enough Lock 'N Load players to know which side of the issue they tend to sit or whether or not the scenarios tend to have balance issues or not. But if there are, I wouldn't be surprised that the game enjoys such a following given the color, graphical treatment, and strong story-telling aspects of the system (among other things).
Where do you sit on "A Question of Balance?" Which games seem to be popular where balance seems to be legitimately called into question--and why do people still play them? What games got "killed" because they were unbalanced and couldn't find an audience who could ignore that--and why?