Next thing to try this weekend: Endless Legend. Yes, another game from 2014. I have a deep Steam library to get through. This is not actually a discussion of Endless Legends in particular; I played a few hours, it was entertaining but did not knock my socks off.
No, this is about the struggle to get into a new 4X game at all. 4X games are commitments. One full game is going to take hours. Just the tutorial was about 30 minutes. And like with an MMO, you cannot say you really know the game after that first game. You need to invest a lot of hours to get a feel for its mechanics. While you would think you at least know whether it is fun for you in that time, you might be expecting it to be like previous games, missing a major mechanic, and otherwise be too clueless on your first playthrough. “Oh, that was a horrible experience because I went with Strategy X for my first 50 turns, which was optimal in Game Y but lousy here.”
I was looking for bite-sized gaming last year largely to avoid this, and I guess I still am. I don’t want to invest 23 hours in a television season or more than 100 in a series only to find it craps out at the end. I am unlikely to start The Wheel of Time when most seem to say that you want to skim/skip several thousand pages in the late Jordan years. And how much do I want to invest 20+ hours to see if I like a game? I have a friend who encourages me to join them for Twilight Imperium, where even if I accept that it will be a great experience, I will be investing 3+ hours to learn an 8-hour game that I might play twice.
Movies are looking pretty good in terms of benefit-cost. Games that do not feel the need to pad themselves to 40 hours are looking pretty good.
And the funny thing is that I love commitment. I want to dive in and invest deeply. I have thousands of MMO hours under my belt. Maybe that is it: after a combination of burnout and disappointment with the entire MMO genre, I am hesitant to commit and get burned anew. I am still recovering from a divorce.
I would pick up Civilization VI, because I feel already invested in that series, but I am waiting for a good sale. I have plenty of years-old games that I am still sifting through, and a few good ones will see me through to the Christmas sales.