The board game is clearly the best for fun and general entertainment. Of course, you have to have ready made people 😄 to play with.
The CD is a great option if you don’t have a play group, or if you wish to expand your horizons. It is also the best way to learn quickly, as you can play in real time against many different people…and you can always get a game, regardless of time zone etc. Simply login to the zone.com, make your way to the A&A section and enter the W@W room. You can get a game there pretty much anytime…day or night.
I agree with those who say that the CD AI is crap…it is. Totally useless IMO. But, you never need to play it…as a human is always available.
Regarding bugs…there are some. Many people don’t realize that patch 1.3.3 fixes most of them. The rest of the bugs have fairly easy and common workarounds. There is no impediment whatsoever to playing the game over the internet against a live opponent and for the most part it is very smooth and very similar in look and feel to the boardgame.
Regarding clubs…there are many, for both the CD version and also Play By Email (PBEM). For CD check out spring1942.org or Balance-of-Power.net For PBEM check out AAMC.net All of these orgs are free to join.
Regarding club play…you will find it is a very dynamic community. Many friendships are formed on-line. Real time on-line chat on the zone.com provides a forum for chatting about anything, or just hanging out. I wouldn’t suggest these are a substitute for in-person friends, but you can derive a lot from these communities, and they go far beyond nameless and faceless game playing. Face to face tournies are also often organized locally, regionally through these clubs. As well, they are another great way to meet people in your city who enjoy the game.
If you cannot find the CD, simply visit the sites of Spring or BOP and request help. Chances are someone will point you in the right direction or even ‘burn’ you a copy of the CD. It has also been found at times through sharing engines like Gnotella etc where you can down load the entire disk…provided you have high speed access.