My point precisely. This is not something strictly analog board games are typically capable of. If there’s a “deck” we draw from it or a player draws from it. Board games are much more dependent on open-source mechanics, as it were.
Oh dear, this is exactly the sort of guff I was worried I should apologize for projecting onto you.
You’re mixing metaphors here. The change in shooting mechanics in Battlefield and the change in its map design are relatively distinct phenomena. For one thing, Battlefield 2 retained these sprawling, slower paced maps. Battlefield 3 had a somewhat more chaotic mixture of map types as well as faster tanks and trucks. For another, many of 1942’s maps were big without being smart or interesting. Walking for 20 minutes to get to the action is not a virtue in an action game–and let’s not pretend BF1942 was trying to be an early ARMA II! It was an action game through and through with some bizarre pacing decisions that had interesting knock-on effects for players who were sufficiently patient and enterprising to swim all the way around to the back side of a tightly defended Wake Island …
But along with that memory needs to come the memory of why you had to do that. You had to do that because against players who were skilled at shooting things, defense was phenomenally easier than attack and matches were long and slow. Players had to resort to desperate measures to escape an otherwise utterly boring meat grinder on maps that could have used a fair bit of tweaking. BF1942 was a far cry from some of the sharp map design that cam into play in BF2.
I can come with you this far: BF3 and BF1 are too frenetic for their scale. Maps are too big and matches are too long for how quickly death comes, how mobile some players are, how effective planes are, and how every other vehicle is a glass cannon. Things don’t sync together quite right. It needs the full-spectrum slow down of alpha-era Ace of Spades or underpopulated BF1942 maps … or it needs the tighter quarters and cleaner execution of BF2’s best maps and BF3’s slightly less good best maps. The massive scale just doesn’t mix well with the pace of firefights.
But then we hit some snags, such as the conflation of needing to walk for 20 minutes and the game being “smarter.” Or the equation of fast paced shooting games and being “dumber.” Counter Strike: Source is still arguably best tactical shooter I’ve ever played. It is nothing if not a twitch shooter. The thing about real-time tactics is that they do involve making tactical decisions in real time. What you’re doing, to me, is taking the excesses of brand/franchise based marketing and pounding it with a hammer until it looks about the right shape to prove that games have gotten worse over time. ARMA II and ARMA III are newer than BF1942 but they are slower and deeper. I never played X-Com, but I love turn based strategy games and I’ve found plenty I quite enjoy for a good challenge. The first that comes to mind is Frozen Synapse but maybe that’s also too “dumbed down” for you. Arnold Schwarzenegger sure doesn’t look like he used to either, but that’s hardly proof that Hollywood has run out of muscle-bound action stars.
And then we get to AI. We do not have artificial humans. This is not news to anyone. Yet, we’ve seemed to manage “good” AI in games from decades both past and present without managing to build a real life CP30 or GLADOS for our troubles. Many people get a spooky feeling of effective AI while playing Arkham Horror of all things! Clearly, AI design isn’t about having a fake human that plays by the same rules. So if “good” AI isn’t a fake human playing by the same rules as the human, how do we define an AI “exploit?” I could put up with calling things like giving the AI complete information in a game with fog of war or other sorts of hidden information an “exploit” for the convenience of the metaphor, but when we start calling things like alien pods in XCOM:EU getting to move on discovery an “exploit” … come on now, that’s just willful refusal to accept the game on terms even remotely approaching its own. The alien player isn’t you. It’s an asymmetric game. Aliens do not follow the same rules as player soldiers. This is not an exploit and it’s not strictly speaking new. Last I checked X-COM had its fair share of nasty tricks and surprises …
I think this sums up my issue with your rhetoric pretty cleanly. If you take 1) A good board game with good mechanics 2) A human opponent of reasonable skill, you get a better result than … what? A video game with bad mechanics and an AI that’s poorly matched to those mechanics? A game that’s not supposed to be difficult in the first place? Because you don’t get better results than 1) A good video game with good mechanics with 2) a skilled human opponent.