Me too. I feel like I should love the genre, and I keep trying to get into them, but I never really manage it. I’m not totally sure why.
I think it’s partly a chicken and egg problem. I feel like they’re the kind of game where you need to set your own goals (short/medium/long term) but until I know how the systems work, who the opposition are, and basically what is possible, I can’t make any informed decisions.
So the whole thing feels like drifting through a series of uninformed decisions.
Either I get several choices, but I have no idea which one is good to go for because I have no idea of the implications of the decisions, or I get basic/reactive decisions where I only really have one option in front of me, so I take that.
Should I invest in exploration, or production, or military at the start? Who knows.
Which unit should I build? Either ‘Who Knows’ or ‘well, I can only afford this one’.
I feel like it’s partly experience on the player’s part, but it’s also due to the tutorials always either just telling you what to do and you do it (with no real idea why, or if there were other viable options) or just explaining the UI. There’s almost never any long term talk in the tutorials that would tell you what you might achieve, or what is important and why.