Since first posting the question I have had some time to research the various available gasification wood boilers and pricing.
Pret, you are right on the mark. The efficiency is there but it is cumbersome and expensive to capitalize on it. The PITA factor remains (though reduced by less wood cutting and hauling) because the handling and loading of wood for the boiler remains and is expanded by the complicated machinery maintenance.
As far as cash outlays go, wood is so inexpensive cut, split and delivered (in our area 150-165 per full cord) that the efficiency gains upgrading from a good wood stove are minimal to amortize the $10k price tag. The unit will wear out before it is amortized by cash savings. Also, the size of the storage tank is a drawback as is the boiler tending.
There are some units that burn woodchips and even wet woodchips which, if produced by woodcutters for fuel, could automate the fueling of the boiler, which would bring the unit up to a convenience level that competes with a stoker.
I have once again come to the conclusion though that woodburning really isn't cheap especially when you add all the hidden expense and work. Even when you can get your wood for "free", the cutting, hauling, splitting, stacking, storing, drying, hauling (again), stacking (again), and loading into the stove just isn't even close to cheap.
That's how I ended up burning coal.