These weighty and important treatises summarize the vast knowledge and experience of the INLG staff, acquaintences, friends, and various hangers-on. As such it is comprehensive and definitive. Yep. It is all we got to say about about this stuff. For now.
We've been playing and making games as a hobby and professionally for ... well, a collective while now. So, we know a thing or two, and more importantly, we know a thing or two about what we don't know. And are pretty much cool with that. Overall, INLG is based on the philosophy that there has to be some balance between:
good ideas should be freeand
good work should be rewardedSo a happy (?) compromise was determined. The basic work, that is, the core concepts should be available for free and protected to keep them free. So all the rule sets here will be freely available to get, use, trade, etc. What is offered for sale are derivative content from those freely available core concepts.
So, basically, if we (which could, of course, include you...) come up with a good idea for a system, test it out, find its plusses and minuses, and ramble on about them in an erudite manner, well, that will be open and free. If someone (us or you or we or them or ...) wants to refine the base concepts down to individual fun and playable games (or other content) that have been put through the ringer, then we feel you ought to pay for that work. A little.
Seriously, we mean a little. Check the prices. Even though we feel compensation is due, this is not a bread-and-butter gig for those involved, so you can get the fruits of our labors for low investment. Part of this is based on the "whatever" philosophy. Part is based on the idea that at low cost, you are more likely to say "what the heck" and buy.
Realism is a big pet peeve term around here (here being this site, and by extension the Internet and the whole world). Part of the probelm with the term comes from overgeneralization (another pet peeve) and its cousin inconsistent ambiguity (that is, an ambiguous premise being used to support a specific conclusion).
If you look here, you can find a few definitions to help. Most of them (except for the ones about Realism vice realism) talk about focusing on the real world as opposed to some type of abstraction. This is our source of priggishness about using this term.
With respect to the "real world," assuming for the sake of argument that there is a common understanding of what that means, it is big. Real big. And it has lots of parts. Lots. So, from a realistic perspective, you can't expect to capture all of it. (There are also formal mathematical reasons that trump this, too, even if you had infinite resources.) Most people don't argue that. What they do argue, however, is that they can capture all the relevant aspects of the real world. This is both true and false.
You can capture all the relevant aspects of the real world within a well defined set of boundaries. But that set of boundaries is based on your arbitrary definition of what is relevant. Ultimately, whether consciously or not, I believe that that definition is dependent on another subjective thing -- your intent.
With respect to a realistic system representing the real world vice an abstraction, well, you are representing the real world. You have a representation. Not the real world. So it is an abstraction. All the things you have and all the processes you conduct in a wargame are abstractions, so it is a little silly (and self-contradictory) to use the word realism about it.
So what should we say? Well, if you can (begrudgingly?) agree with the above stuff, you can probably accept that the controlling intrest is the intent for the representation. So, if we are careful to describe our intent in building the wargame, that provides a decent referent to use for discussing how "realistic" the implementation is. It moves us away from boring questions like "Doesn't this realistically represent 2nd century barbarian morale?" to more interesting questions like "Does this system allow detailed action on the part of the commander to influence the outcome of an engagement between similarly equipped and manned forces?" That sounds like an interesting discussion.