I’ve played a few of these, and they are hard to describe unless you’ve played one. Imagine a huge commitee game (so lots of players, lots of roles and various supporting props).
It is certainly possible to play them online, as with John Bassetts games on the Cuban Missile Crisis and Berlin Wall Crisis, although in that case it was more a matter of having a sets of team connected by the miracle of the internet.
It is the player interaction which makes these things work, same as the really big Megablitz games with 20+ players (although they do generally feature toys).
"Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke