I've been playing SE regularly for about a month now and have gotten to the point where I feel competent enough not to panic and start trolling through the threads whenever there's a new logistical issue. Anyway, I think that I have begun to understand the game a little.
Of all that the game offers, I would like to suggest here that the system of regime profiles is perhaps the one that is most in need of improvement sometime in the future. (There are other places too where the game can get better, such as the cumbersome system creating large military formations, but that's already been discussed elsewhere.) In the hope of starting a useful discussion about this, I'll offer my thinking and then hopefully others weigh in.
The basic concept of regime profiles is a good one, and I especially like how you are given options for shaping the basic profile during the last stages of generating the game. To me,it makes sense that your profile would be shaped in response to how your little tribe managed to survive the Dissolution Wars. This gives the game that bit of role-playing that many games seem to require now, and, most importantly, it offers a logical point of departure for what follows. Your regime is what history has made of it -- at least in the beginning.
The problem begins with what happens next. As nearly everyone has pointed out in reviews and videos, no player will fail to see that nearly all of the individual profiles offer regime feats that are well worth striving for. Thus we are given incentives to shift our regime profile around some, from autocracy to democracy, from heart to mind, from fist to commerce, etc., in an attempt to harvest some of those feats and the stratagem cards that go with them. This shifting around can't continue forever, of course, because harvesting the higher-level fests requires that your choose an individual profile and stay with it.
Personally, I find the early phase of shifting profiles both arbitrary and somewhat too "easy." A regime that is really changing its basic social and political commitments from, say, popular democracy to meritocratic elitism should be suffering more unrest than I typically observe in the game. Other shifts wouldn't necessarily bring demonstrators out into the streets, but all of them could arguably come at more cost than they do now.
Secondly, the system for modifying profiles feels arbitrary insofar as one of the principal ways it happens -- at least, in my experience -- is to wait for decisions whereby your governor decides to take a lover and asks to have him/her accompany the governor on trips around the zone (wtf?), or some talented soldier appears and you are offered to retrain the soldier as a spy, or a circus juggler, or whatever, or you are invited to attend one of the local cult's therapy session, to have your mind bent, etc. These and other decisions come with +/- modifications to existing profiles that often appear unconnected with the issue -- the talented soldier ones are especially mystifying in this regard. To me, anyway, these events haven't been thought through carefully enough, nor are there enough of them, so eventually they start to feel pretty repetitive.
My point here is not to criticize the use of events as a vehicle for shaping regime profiles. That's a solid mechanic. It's just the the events themselves are not rich enough in their diversity, nor in their connection to the game narrative, to offer all that they could. Let's go back to one of the regime developments I mentioned above, where you want to shift from popular democracy to a more meritocratic regime. Any faction attempting that ought to have a chance of receiving events that specifically refer to that shift, such as the appearance of a populist demagogue who threatens unrest unless you restore democracy, or in the other direction, an elitist clique that agitates for more investment in private initiatives. Or both! (not in the same turn, of course, or . . . .?)
Well, there it is. I love this game, truly. And what I love most is how it offers us a chance to imagine how it could be even better.
< Message edited by Kriegsspieler -- 7/16/2020 4:16:18 PM >