I have been following this forum since August of last year when I first bought Civ6. Previous to that, I had not played a computer game since Civ3 back in 2003. Civ6 is the only game I have experience with so take that for what its worth. My Steam account claims I have played over 3700 hours, but that is rather inflated because I rarely turn the game off. It sits there, waiting for the next turn, whether I am sleeping or at work. Nonetheless, I would estimate more than a thousand hours of actual game time to be more reasonable. Civ6 is indeed designed as a game. It has defined Victory Conditions and a scoring system. We can debate how well or poorly the these are designed or implemented (which is not my intent here), but they exist. Except for "Score" (which only matters with a turn limit in place) all Victory Conditions require that one of the Civilizations reach that condition before any others. That right there makes it a race to win the game. Despite it being designed as a game there are individuals (myself included) that play it less as a game and more as a simulation, or a sandbox. I have referred to Civ6 as a "Lego set" at times, or a storytelling medium at others. I use all the features of the game to build my civilization based on my whim at the moment with little regard to Victory Conditions - except on the rare occasions where I actually played optimally for a win on Diey, or just to see how fast I could go. I am not suggesting people should follow my lead in this, but just wanted to illustrate that I could not enjoy the game in this manner if it wasn't so loaded with so many features. Others, quite rightly, seek to achieve each victory condition in as quick a time as possible. Still others fall somewhere in between. That, to me, is a paradox and it is a paradox that then creates many discussion on how the game could be tweaked or adjusted or even redesigned, but these suggestions often come from different preferences on how it is enjoyed. Some will complain the game is not challenging enough, while others complain about specific challenges that they find too 'gamey' or inappropriate for a strategy game. Some want more automation and less micro-management, while others want to be able to tweak their empire detail by detail as it grows. None of these are right or wrong but only reflect varying preferences. What amazes me is that we can even discuss all these variables in one single game title. The real paradox is that Civilization is a game that represents something that has no true example of a victory condition in reality. In game, a Victory Condition effectively ends the game, as though no further history is written that has any meaning. In reality, the U.S. moon landing would only be a victory condition if all other progress stopped and all the nations of the world declared America the one, true victor. But that is precisely what a game is about. It must have arbitrary goals and conditions and rules. It is expected to follow a certain logic. For the most part, I feel Civ6 accomplishes this. However, this then creates another paradox. Human civilization did not have a rule book to guide its development. The first tribal chieftains did not evaluate their first settlement based on what district yields it might realize in a couple thousand years. No leader was able to predict that upon meeting certain other leaders just how they would react or what their agenda was because the civilopedia told them so....or because they had 'played' them before. In 100 A.D., no Roman was trying to see how they could ramp up their science development to better prepare for that eventual Space Race. But in game, WE know how to do all of that and more. The one element the developers cannot provide is the true element of surprise and the unknown. The moment we plop down that settler, we know what to expect from the surrounding tiles. We expect there to be barbarians that will harry our civilization in its infancy. As players, we have it all worked out and that is how we want it. Well, we want it that way until all that prescient knowledge makes the game too easy. But that is simply the paradox of it all. History is itself a paradox over and over again. Feed your tribe, it grows and then it needs more food. Figure out how to provide more food, you have more citizens and more citizens start wanting more stuff...like amenities and housing. We are still in that same cycle today. We have improved medicine exponentially in just the last century. Infant mortality is down, life spans are up. Even with average birth rates down in the last 50 years, population continues to increase which places more pressure on food, medicine and a host of other social programs. In the past, there were events that no one could predict and if they could, had no preparation for. In game, we have nothing (except some unpredictable diplomacy) that is unpredictable. There is no 'surprise' waiting in the next turn. Throughout history, humans faced various natural disasters of the sudden, catastrophic kind (such as earthquakes, tsumanis, volcanoes, hurricanes) or the slower, but more devastating kind such as plague, famine and climate change (both warming and cooling). From what I gather in the forum, most players do not want some sudden, random, arbitrary event to set back all their hard work. Such events would, in my opinion, add another element to the game, but would create another paradox. The players would never accept a game condition that they were not previously warned about. So, if natural disasters became a possibility, you can bet most players would study everything about these new game mechanics and start preparing for the possibility as soon as they could. The paradox of Civilization6 is that some of us want a competitive game while others want a sandbox to build their own version in. The paradox is that we want to be challenged, but we want the chance to prepare for all possible challenges. The paradox is we want to emulate the growth of civilization, but we dislike the luck factor involved in that growth. The paradox is we want a good war game (though I neve really saw Civ6 as much of a war game) but we cringe that war is the one element that comes closest to reality by being the single most effective path to any victory. I don't know about anyone else, but me?........I love a good paradox!