I mentioned this earlier, but want to chime in on the current conversation around randomized techs.
Having been seriously frustrated by not having access to any of the green biology/colonization techs for something like 160 turns (with rerolls every time), the randomization definitely needs some fine tuning or some slight redesign.
I have never played Stellaris, so before reading the posts above that reference it, I had no idea how its research system works. That said, I was already thinking something like a tech tree plus randomized techs within a category would be a nice balance.
I've thought about the research system's design a bit more after a number of additional hours of play. Perhaps the design could be a hybrid of the tech tree in GCIII and the cards in GCIV.
Specifically, perhaps most core technologies (i.e., the equivalent of non-specialization techs from GCIII) are available on a tech tree similar to GCIII, but randomized techs (i.e., specializations) and special mission techs could get unlocked as you traverse the tech tree and/or start missions. The core technologies on the tree provide you some measure of control over the direction your civilization is going, while the random techs would appear as tech cards as they currently do, but the selection of cards would be determined by what techs you have researched on the tree.
Taking this a step further... using a card system that mimics the leader cards could open up some interesting possibilities.
- Perhaps the special random research cards could be purchasable with resources as an option OR researched as normal.
- Maybe as you research core technologies, you build up specialization points to spend on these cards...
- Executive orders or other means could be used to shuffle the random research cards.
- Random research cards could be given a certain level of additional randomness through attributes (like the leaders)--for instance, a tech that adds to global influence may have an additional bonus to influence but might also increase crime.
Okay, that is a bit of a long post... and I'm going to make it a little longer by throwing out a few alternative solutions.
Random alternative #1: On the planet screen, we have several governance options to deal with crime, have a festival, etc. Also, we have executive orders that seem to have a similar effect but are global. Perhaps we could have something like the planetary orders on the research screen or an executive order that allows us to spend control and/or other resources to reroll the random tech but focus our research into a specific category.
Random alternative #2: On the research screen, give us some UI control that allows us to focus our research efforts. This would not control the research--it would still be random--but it would influence the RNG to provide more techs based on how we prioritize research.
Random alternative #3: Create slots under the Minister of Technology that allow us to assign leaders to focus our research efforts. These leaders would have particular focuses based on their stats and traits. Certain factions would have certain focuses. High resolve leaders would push our research toward military tech. High social leaders would raise our focus on colonization and diplomacy. The paranoid trait would encourage military and espionage research. Having a handful of slots under the Ministry of Science would allow us alter the weights used in the RNG for tech cards and change our focus as necessary.
Okay. I've got that out of my system. For now.
I should say I do like the idea of keeping some random elements at play. But too much randomness and the game becomes more a game of luck rather than one of strategy and planning.