yeah, "scripted spawns" wasn't really a good choice of words, and didn't convey what i was trying to get at.. it's a map design/enemy placement issue. original x-com had you more randomly parked in the middle of a big square with single enemies seemingly randomly placed around the map, which felt a bit more unpredictable (and thus suspenseful.. also, eerie midi music
). the moment you start to think "yeah, that's where i would have placed a group of enemies, too", something is lost. i got that feeling in FOT, as well - a feeling of slightly too linear design. but hey, when it works it works!
you know, your FO kiting example makes perfect sense. i always played FO aggressively, trying to deal as much damage per turn as possible (and still survive) - but when i tried to do that in FOT/JA2 i got killed quite badly due to how (much) damage is dealt in those systems, so i assumed a more defensive playing style (aka. range advantage). man, does proning with snipers or scoped/range-extended ARs get old fast, especially when it effectively beats the house [rinse, repeat].
the times when i found both those games really enjoyable were when a) the map design either made sniping/camping impossible or otherwise encouraged CQ engagements, and b) when more of the weapons/etc. actually became relevant.
FOT did a shitty job of balancing weapons(range/damage/armour piercing etc..), and JA2 had range advantage as a too obviously important factor (for most of the engagements), imo.
there was, supposedly, some kind of close range accuracy drawback to having überscopes on your rifles in JA2, but i can't say i really noticed it. then again, i'm not very good at noticing "5-15% variances" in turnbased combat. a solid point of referance, like % chance to hit, would have been nice, i guess ("+40% accuracy counterforce handling modifier.. right... is that a lot? 40% of WHAT, exactly??"
thing is, i don't see APs, per se, as the definite root of the problem(s) here..