Maybe it's more to do with the difference in combat mechanics (stack vs. 1upt), now that I think more about it. But even if we disregard that, imo there must be enough 'stuff' present so that the game feels strategic. I almost always played on a world map in Civ IV, and founded dozens of cities just to give it that epic feel that I wanted. I wanted to take over the world! In Civ V that's very hard to do without using mods (which can often have other elements included that you wouldn't really care for). I also forgot to mention the different 'economies' that existed in Civ IV. You could opt to grow your cottages over many centuries, which made you weak production-wise in the early game, but a financial powerhouse later on; or you could go with a specialist economy, which offered rapid science growth and good production at the expense of a not-so-amazing late game. Even a hybrid approach where you used specialists first and switched to cottages later on with the appropriate techs discovered was possible. Nothing in the vein of this strategic decision exists in Civ V. You'll just spam farms and food caravans since pop = science. And every 30 turns you get to manually renew all your luxury trade deals. Yay... EDIT: With the district system in Civ VI, there's a lot of potential for different forms of economies, assuming they don't dumb down the mechanic for the benefit of the clueless masses. I have very low expectations here, so I guess I can only be pleasantly surprised... I do miss that. Even in Civ IV I lamented that we had less cities and smaller maps than in Civ III. Civ V took it way too much in the 'less is more' direction, imo -- to the point where there's hardly anything left. As for getting bogged down with 30 units, that is a symptom of the terrible 1upt system. You could have 300 units in a single stack and move them all with a single click across the whole map (since go-to orders actually worked in Civ IV). *Sigh* I miss the days when I was an emperor instead of a traffic cop! Never said you couldn't. I hate micromanagement as well, and often just clicked at random when my cities asked what to build in the late game of Civ III and IV. But that is really a fault of the interface and not of the scale of the game imo. (Civ IV had some kind of queue feature for building stuff, but I never used it, iirc. I guess by the time I discovered it, I was too ingrained in my old habits... ) Starcraft is a tactical game as least as much as it is strategic, as far as I understand it (never did care for real-time strategies). But yes, you can have a deeply strategic game with few well-balanced elements (chess is an even better example). But the scale is not a detriment to strategy either (cf. the EU series), and without the sweeping scale of the old Civs, I feel like I'm managing a municipal office instead of a world-spanning empire. It's about the strategic feel or atmosphere as much as about the actual mechanics (important as they are). It does to me though. As I said before, with a good interface even 10,000 units are a breeze to manage. Ofc with the promotions and such, individual units should still matter some, so the scale must be toned down drastically from rl proportions. Civ is not meant to be a simulation, but I'd prefer it to contain as much realism as possible without interfering with the fun of the gameplay experience. To me, that includes running huge empires with many cities. As I said, ymmv.