here, for 5 $:
I could make mine this comment, comparing Imperialism to Paradox production, that may be extended to other current games :
Every time I play it, I wish we could pass legislation requiring all game designers to study it.
1. The interface is clean and everything is interconnected.
2. You research something, you get to build it. You build it, it produces tangible product. If you build a lumber mill, it’s so much more satisfying to get wood instead of a 0.000375% increase in some hidden production value. (I wish the Paradox guys had been awake during Imperialism class.)
2. The game elements are simple but challenging: six or so commodities, two of this makes one of that, and Worker A needs this food and Work B that food. Simple. But really hard to fulfill over the course of game – just when you’re ready to take off, some critical shortage always creeps up on you. (Compare to Paradox games. In EUIII, for example, is there a single commodity that you really NEED? Apart from tiny, largely invisible increases in income, why trade at all?)
3. Same with the transport system. Developed a nice gold mine overseas? Great, now all you have to do is transport the gold back home. But, wait, you need those same ships for trade. Or that grand invasion you’ve been planning. You suddenly need more ships, which means you suddenly need more cloth, which means you suddenly need more cotton….which is also overseas, which means you need more ships…. (Again, I’m talking to you, Paradox. A game mechanic, if well conceived, can be very simple and still very challenging.)
4. I even like the combat (though I may be in the minority on this). Each unit plays a specific role. Tactics actually matter. And I get to do it myself. (Instead of just watching sprites stand on the map stabbing each other (for weeks!). Another Paradox staple.)
5. Finally, turned-based beats RTS for strategy games. (RTS, with its emphasis on speed over thought, is too often just camouflage for a weak AI.)
My own view is that Paradox has taken us about as far as we can go in the spreadsheet as game genre. Here’s hoping we can press the reset button a bit and revisit the elements that made games great in the beginning, before mega-computers spawned game bloat, when game designers had to search for elegant abstractions. That may be the best impact of the mobile platform. (I actually think CK2 is an improvement on the typical Paradox model, though they seem intent on adding yet more layers of questionable complexity with each DLC.)
Thanks. I needed to say this. I feel better now.