The Advance Wars series is one that I remember fondly for introducing me to the world of strategy games. When Nintendo first iced the franchise, I was deeply disappointed. But the more I thought about it over the years, the more I was okay with letting it go.
I think the fundamental reason why its sibling franchise Fire Emblem took off but Advance Wars didn’t was that the former was built around characters with names, faces, and a progression from beginning-to-end (assuming they didn’t die). The latter used nameless soldiers and disposable units. After a few iterations, Nintendo hit a wall with what they could do in digital version of Chess, ultimately pushing forward with a gritty tonal shift that failed to appease existing or new players while adding little to the tired tactics that had worn out its welcome.
With time and advents of game design on its side, the creators of Wargroove leveraged the modern design trope of hero units as a means of adding personality and emotional weight to the moment-to-moment tactics without going full-RPG. It may not seem like much, but it makes a tangible difference towards my enjoyment of the game.