Two of the participants had played the game before, so I asked the question when we decided to call it: How often does an A&A:1914 game run to completion, as opposed to being called when the players were essentially tired of it or had run out of time? They estimated that nine times out of ten, participants agree to stop the game before victory conditions are achieved. In my mind, that observation indicates a poor game design - or at least, I should say that my taste in games does not easily accommodate a game that is so open-ended in its play duration.
As I think about my reaction to this game, I realize that if players are looking to spend an afternoon (or longer) building armies, pushing pieces, and rolling dice, well, this game provides that experience for as long as the players like - unless the play is so mismatched between Allies and Central Powers that two capitals on one side fall before the participants have tired of it. It's been argued that role-playing games are open-ended experiences, too, which is fine, if that's what you're looking for.
So what was I looking for? I think I wanted a finite, time-boxed experience. I wanted a framework in which to devise, execute, and adapt a strategy toward a resolution of success or failure. There are so many games available, and we have so little time to enjoy them along with all of our other commitments in the world, that I chafe at finding myself in an interminable and unresolved experience because a design team couldn't include a game-stop mechanism - or chose not to include one, or didn't think to.
wrote about a similar concern some time ago after playing 1955: The War of Espionage. That post mentions that the mass-market game Monopoly has this problem as well. If players never trade, never assemble monopolies, and never improve properties, then the net income among the players will be positive (primarily due to the $200 for passing "Go"), rents will never be high enough for any player to go bankrupt, and the game will never end.
Out of respect for players' time, I would like to see every game design (unless it is explicitly intended as an open-ended experience) to incorporate some kind of guaranteed exit ramp so that no players find themselves wondering when and how a game would ever end.