I have a few things I want/need to write and post. But they’ve all been big, and I haven’t been able to convince myself to sit down for a long stretch and pound some of it out. But I took part in the big survey over at Paradox last month, so I received the free copy of Cities in Motion going into the weekend and want to share some thoughts.

I’m not a big fan of city builders and the like, sandbox games tend to be something that I just don’t stick with for very long. But there’s some interesting things with this one.

First, it isn’t really a city builder. SimCity et al. put you in the city board office; you’re zoning areas, working out the main street grid, and working out the infrastructure. Instead, you’re only dealing with mass transit, more like in OpenTTD.

But it isn’t that either. OpenTTD and A-Train and the like have cities as little things, and you’re establishing transit links across the countryside. CiM is concentrated on single urban areas, leaving you to manage bus lines, tram systems, and the expensive subways. No trains (at least, not under your control) or airlines here.

It is also mostly oriented around a campaign, so you are given scenarios and a constant stream of goals to accomplish. In keeping with it being published by Paradox, this is more of a sim than its cousins, with each map being a particular city (mostly Western/Central European, with NY, SF and Tokyo appearing in expansions). However, this also leads to trouble as the behavior of the lines in the game don’t really match with expectations, with the need to have a bunch of small interlocking lines to make make money with bus routes instead of long sprawling ones. (Or is this just the inhabitant of the land of failed mass transit speaking?)

At any rate, an interesting technical wrinkle is that the passengers get on the transit system with particular destinations in mind, so success also rides on satisfying those. I know that OpenTTD was pondering how to put something like that into its model the last time I looked.

And then late Sunday night, I finally got around to trying out Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun. As is usual with Paradox, the first reaction is that of being overwhelmed. The more so in this case because it is more detailed than the usual, being kind of all the concerns of Europa Universalis with all the concerns of Imperialism added on top.