There are competing impulses when it come to strategy game design. The first is towards an ideal of elegant simplicity, where every decision confronting players is meaningful, comes with clear trade-offs, and is easy to relate to the overall objectives of the game. The complexity and ambiguity of conflict, whether historical or speculative, is abridged or abstracted into a handful of transparent choices. The way Civilization games often pose a stark choice between, say, building a Wonder or an army’s worth new units gets to the essence of civic and political tensions without burdening a player with too much detail or management.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/neq3v8/rise-and-fall-takes-a-cautious-step-toward-a-more-nuanced-civilization