CSGs let the player construct and manage some organized system that he can build up from constituent parts—a city, a building, an anthill, or whatever the game permits him to design. Most CSGs offer two sets of tools: one set for building and one set for managing and (normally) growing an internal economy. Building is generally considered easy, but managing can be tricky indeed.
The Player’s Role
When designing any game, the first question you have to ask yourself is: What is the player going to do? Usually the answer to this question takes the form of a clear statement of the player’s role in a game: pilot, detective, irradiated hedgehog, and so on. In a CSG, however, it’s not as easy to define the player’s role because that role ...