@Davide: please read this, as there is interesting suggestion in the end
Well it's another post in my series of civ problems
Though this is probably lesser problem in itself, more a peculiarity that people might not think about, this might be considered philosophical so not everyone might be interested. But I'll practice my writing anyways, so here it goes
My main point (again) is that civ isn't a simulation game, but why I'm saying that might be unexpected, I'll leave main reason for the end, first lets look at not really important points that still might be interesting, just for interest sake.
First and foremost game is of course restricted in the amount of details, though as games should be manageable I do not see it as problem at all.
Another thing that I do not like quite a bit is that in civilization space is discreate (that is divided in cells), not a bad thing per se, still I consider it a bit negative (esp when one considers distortions of most popular square grid)
Turn model is just bad, though it is imposed by discreate space. You have two options: sequential turns - which is totally unusable for something like GT as one turn would take "number of players" days and is also quite bad in regards to fairness, while you get to move insane amount of stuff can change; another option is simultaneous turns - what we have in GT, much better, but it allows for various "race conditions" and the like
Another fun thing about civ turn/space model is that it has infinite speed units! How so you ask? because time does not exist in civ turn. Take unit, load it in ship, move ship to other ship, load unit to just reached ship move it to third ship, and so on ad infinitum, transported unit breaks the speed of light
can travel any number of times around the world in single turn! Admittedly this could be somewhat limited but introducing some cost to load operations, but there really is quite little need for that as I do not think many people use such peculiarity for advantage, it's just property of how turns work in civ. And the load cost would still not make it logical in any way. Transported unit is still in some kind of "quantum superposition" where slower unit moves more in one turn than one faster unit (transport). This is due to a simple reason that logically time/turn should happen at the same/time rate to everything, namely every unit and city, but instead time really only passes to unit being moved (as only that unit loses opportunity to act by expending movement points).
A bit more serious issues - which, now that I think of it, applies to most strategy games.
Spatial information problem - you have information of whole civilization (or more if you share), instantly and constantly no matter the distance or whatever. This of course never was and very likely never will be possible in reality, you can not be solder on the front line nether can you be leader in palace or HQ as such omniscience/omnipresence is not possible, also in reality the amount of information would be overwhelming for single leader, that why real life has various hierarchies, often of quite many levels. Yes I know lots of things are abstracted, also as turns are quite long we could conceive that leader has enough time to analyze everything (all of this would be unworkable in a past when information moved at "leg speed"), but I still find it significantly unrealistic.
Temporal(!) information problem - you know what leaders of the past could have never ever known, the biggest "elephant in the room" is tech tree, you know right from the start, when you can can only build spear wielding warrior, that you will be able to research and build nukes, aircraft and similar. Past leaders could have never ever dreamed about what we have today. In my eyes such information discrepancy in game an reality is very serious blow at any realism. It distorts "simulation" in very peculiar way, it's not that your units could not do this or that, is that you would have never ever made decisions you make in game if you did not know "the future" (of course such a strongly directed research is not really realistic for old times in itself, but thats quite minor in my eyes). Of course this applies to probably most if not all games, as it is hard to make a game where you play without knowing rules (but there are certain remedies, roguelikes are a bit of an example what can be done, though not directly applicable).
Now what I consider the most serious point that precludes, general civ, and other strategy games (esp. ones that cover long timespan) from being considered simulation:
What you are in game? Supposedly you are a leader, or if you stretch it a bit maybe a dynasty? But thats just nonsense, leaders do not live that long, not even dynasties. So what? The what is that again you will not be acting anything close to real leader, you have basically no emotional investment in game, there are other games to be played, you know the goal (and also remember magic temporal and spatial information) your decisions are based on clearly known (and very distant in general civ case [and I think thats very bad as per other thread]) victory conditions. Reality is not like that at all. When you are human leader in real world, you can not and will not (or at very least are very unlikely) plan 1000 of years into future (nor can you guess where people will be or what tech they will have in that time). You have immediate real issues at hand: unhappy people, untrusted subordinates (from hierarchy that does not exist in game), threats to _your life_, maybe someone is trying to assassinate you; you also have strong emotional interest in your family, say your son or daughter is very ill, and you are the leader! you have resources at your hand and you spend them on which doctors and the like to push bullish on you in hopes of saving what you care about. There are cases where leaders spent enormous resources with "guidances" of basically bullshit peddlers. And then in most cases leaders just want to leave a legacy. Maybe you are a pharaoh that wants a grave that will stand the test of time(thin Egypt OFC); maybe you are a warlord that wants to conquer all known land (think anything, Mongols, Romans); maybe you want to protect your people from some long standing threat (think China and great wall against Mongols); Maybe you are emerging leader from lower branches of hierarchy that wants to overthrow the tyrant; Maybe you just want to appease the gods for good afterlife. Maybe you have "axe to grind" and want to extract vengeance on your neighbors for slaying your father in battle. Maybe you want to expand your dominion by finding and settling new lands. All such things have quite some precedent in history, but none of it is present in game, those are just small parts of game, they do not define you, they do not drive your actions. You have magical knowledge of how everything should end after long long time, and you act on that.
What to do about it? Well mostly nothing, as game is just that, a game.
On the other hand... We have quite some new people appearing in GT, some of them want more classical things and do not find scenario games all that attractive (oh how I understand them;) ). But me, and I would presume significant number of other existing players "might have their hands full" with already running games and might not want to start another one. Thus new games would be started only quite rarely (not that there is anything bad about that). But here I see and interesting opportunity, inspired by communities of other games. Dwarf fortress and some roguelike players do this some times: they play a game for some time/turns, when they give their save file to other person and that other person continues, and so on and so on. These are so called succession games.
Now lets combine three things: succession game, ladder and the points I made in "leader life section". So here is the possibility: have some, very long running game (not sure about map sizes or properties), that would most likely need to have tech cost significantly increases (and as much roadblocks as possible to tech trading) to ensure long duration. The game would start "normally" with some significant amount of players, probably at least 30, maybe 50, some if not all could be bot controlled if we get lazy waiting for humans to join. But you could not win that game, in any way, and you would only control nation for something like 15-30 turns. You would however have some goal assigned to you, think of it as a lifetime goal of current leader. If you achieve that goal in time you control the nation, you get some points on the ladder. And if you want you can stand in line for next "leader position", but you will most likely not get same nation, and definitely not the same goal. And thus you would be played this game from various angles with various goals collecting "achievements". If game starts with bots and players are introduced something like 3-5 every (other) day, after some time you could ensure that free slots for new players will be available in just a couple of days or maybe even immediately! I would think that this could be desirable for making people stay in community.
There of course issues with that, goal assignment would need to be done by someone, as goals should make sense, that someone would need to be able to see map and situation, currently only Davide can do that, but maybe there can be exception for such succession games. Also if there is ladder score for goals (partial)completion would need to be assigned. For now I do not see any systematic way of doing this. Still I think the general idea is quite interesting, and with certain appeals (maybe you know you are going on vacation in moth's time and can't don't want to start full gt game, you just stand in line for a slot of succession game, play for 2 weeks and go to your vacation:) ; maybe you just want to play without waiting for next game to be set up etc, etc.) Anyways, for guys/girls that read this far I'm very interested in what you thing.
Lastly I'll just brainstorm some possible goals in succession games:
research/acquire some tech (assuming tech cost is significant to make it worthy goal)
increase number of cities in your country by X (using specific means [conquest, incite, settling] or any means)
take certain important city(ies) from certain enemies
build certain wonder
increase population by some value
ally all neighbors
settle new island with X cities
build huge army of N of X units
build certain improvements in all/N of your cities (maybe you [current leader] think that literacy is very cool and practical so all your people must have access to library, no questions asked!]
kill certain number of certain kind of units
kill certain number of units of certain player
accumulate certain amount of gold
reach certain milestone in city (30 production, 100% citizens happy for 5 turns, ...)
build "great wall" line of fortresses, optionally occupied by units, to keep the huns out of course!
alter certain number of terrain tiles, say clear 20 forests (people need farmlands to feed themselves!), or plant 20 forests (thats stupid deforestation is bad!)
there are others with more special stuff that would need to be introduced, but not too difficult,
say there is unit princes, that is capabler and can't enter city for some reason, one player has to keep it safe/keep owning her
his neighbors need to capture the princess, or free the princess
Well enough this time, thanks for reading if you did.