This article criticizing the way civilization models the real world has got me thinking about alternate models that could be used for a game. In particular, almost every 4X game uses the same basic idea that your economy depends on controlling more resources and people. It's a supply-side view of economics, and I'd like to see a game built around a demand-side view. I've noticed that historical scenarios always run into trouble when they try to put England and Japan on the map. The problem is that these are small island nations with few natural resources, so in the Civ world they'd be toast- but in the real world they have powerful economies. Meanwhile the african countries have large territories and many resources, and an explosively high birth rate. In civ this would make them powerful, but in the real world their economy lags way behind. There's no good way to model that in civ, so most mapmakers have to cheat by increasing the size of England and Japan, and packing them full of natural resources. The only thing even close to this in civilization are the specialists. They live in the city, so it doesn't matter how many tiles the city controls. As long as you can feed them, you can have infinitely many (it's especially absurd in civ 4, where you can use caste system to turn the entire population of a city into scientists, instantly). However, since their food cost is high, you typically have most of your population still working the tiles as farmers and miners. It's very strange to model an economy that way, since very few people in an industrialized nation are going to be farmers or miners. Almost every job these days would qualify as a "merchant" in civ terms. Especially England, which imports almost all of its food- there's no way to do that in civ. You can't even transfer food between your own cities. For me personally, the specialists are one of the most fun parts of the game. I'd like to see a game that focuses more on them, and less on acquiring more resources. Speaking of which, why are commerce and production separated? It's the same thing in any country that has a national currency system. I don't have this all sorted out yet. I'd like to hear ideas from other people for a system that would be a bit more realistic, but also fun for a game. The only game that I've seen come close to what I'm thinking of is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Kingdoms_(computer_game) where you have to manage every individual person in your kingdom, training them to do a job, and everything costs money. Unfortunately, that game suffers from TONS of micromanagement. But, it's a good start.