I really, really hope you will succeed in this. I have yet to see a TBS in which any queue has been able to have this power.
I disagree. Civ 4 largely achieves this. Most buildings in Civ4 have no or low maintenance costs. The constraint for virtually all of the game is that you only have enough production to build some of the buildings and units you want. This is part of its greatness.
I couldn't agree less. I find the Civ 4 BTS building queue to be, like its earlier iterations, poor after mid-game has been established, and mind-bogglingly boring once late-game has been reached. In CivIV, the only thing I end up doing is building mechanized infantries in cities A, B, and C, jet fighers in D and E, and bland unit X in cities F, G, and I - because there is nothing left to build. Even before I have reached this sad state, in which I have exhausted my "choices" by building every single one, I never felt that I was actually making a choice, unless it was a minor one in order. Agreed, I felt some minor sense of accomplishment when a new technological breakthrough was reached which finally gave me a new building to build, but this was never a "choice" between mutually exclusive benefits, and rarely a "choice" in that I had to consider if building the item was in fact a wise decision.
With few exceptions, all cities feel identical in Civilization. I never feel constrained whatsoever, neither by time nor resources. While the Civilization iterations succeeded in making a compelling and captivating experience for early game situations (which many other games also do well) and also in setting the bar for quality and creating a locus classicus to which almost all other 4X TBS games must refer, I belong to the minority of people who have only been able to finish 1 or 2 games before late game tedium sets in. I think the Civilization series was good, but that they failed in creating a fun queue constrained only by supposedly near-limitless possibilities. The possibilities were, indeed, exceptionally limited, and soon became drudgingly similar.
Pretty much this. I feel as though Civ IV has done the best in varying and constraining city building development, but I still get very bored after 1000AD mark because all the cities just end up building the same buildings all the time.
When it comes to FE, I'm seeing several 'zones' in the game:
Zone 1: Initial RPG. Building and developing your empire, but having to rely heavily on your hero's rpg.
Zone 2: Empire Building. Planning and curtailing how your empire is to function. Hero's begin leading small groups of troops around killing little bands of renegades and enemy forces.
Zone 3: The Developed Nation. Full scale assaults, diplomacy, what-have-you; anything that's found in the civ games is now done here.
Zone 4: Back to RPG. What's this? An epic story has been happening in the background and now I can finish the game? Cool...but where did that story go throughout?
I'm hoping that these Zones will merge into one glorious game of 5x fun.