Got my first game of Vassal in yesterday, tested out my tourney SW list. Had a good time with this dude from Denver and his virtual Tau. It was a close game up until the end, but some lucky breaks got me a W. I didn't take any pics cuz it was my first try and also at 5am, but next time I'll save some.
I don't think Vassal is equivalent to normal 40k. There are a lot of things you do IRL that aren't possible or feasible in Vassal. The obvious one is movement, as it's tricky to get the full range of motion and your full distance. LoS is another big one, you really have to discuss things with your opponent beforehand to avoid any problems down the road. Never assume anything, always talk it over. We never had a problem, but I can see how that could break down real quick. It's also possible to get models in weird places like overlapping or fitting in places they wouldn't normally. Judging distances is also tricky, at least it was for me. I was surprised that my TWC had such reach. Precision can be a big deal in 40k, and Vassal doesn't do it as well.
There's also the whole factor of actually physically being at the table, interacting with an IRL person, seeing actual models and terrain, and of course rolling dice. This is what makes games fun, Vassal is just a simulation of it :/
That said, Vassal has its benefits. I can't go play Normhammer with folks in Denver, Australia, England, or middle of bumfuck nowhere every day. I also don't have access to every model under the sun barring proxies. I'm also not limited by local business practices of closing obnoxiously early (10pm? The fuck is that? The night is young!). I think it's a great way to test stuff out, get familiar with builds or armies, and connect with people you wouldn't normally get the chance to.
So, while I enjoyed myself and will definitely use Vassal in the future I have to say that I'd rather play Normhammer every time. Vassal is a simulation, and substitute, and it just barely passes at that. All the basic elements are there: models, measuring, and dice, but it lacks what makes table top gaming really fun: having people around you can actually physically see, touch, smell (maybe not) and interact with, same with models, tables and dice.
So, who wants to play?