Ok, so, as I understand it, you like to have a frame that fills the game with meaning.
I can relate to that. Almost every game at some point made me think "What am I doing here, what am I wasting my time on?", and that was when that meaning diminished.
I guess I was baffled because for me the meaning of games such as EWOM or Master of Magic or Civilization or Master of Orion is to play the "sandbox" game.
I always write "sandbox" in quotation marks because the word gives me the association of exactly this - ambiguity, absence of meaning.
As I said, this isn´t true to me, this "sandbox mode" for me IS the game.
And I wonder how anyone would buy a (4X) game like that when he only wanted to play the campaign.
For me this would seldomly be worth the money, and when it comes to the developer, wouldn´t be worth the effort of building an extremely complex game.
PS: And it´s even more than that.
For me such a game is about making my own story, not playing the story that some other has made for me.
I recall an 18-hours hotseat session of Master of Orion 2 with a good friend of mine.
All the time administrator Kimbuzzi came and wanted to work for me, so in the end I hired him.
This session was extremely much fun, because we imagined how the actions would look like in our game-universe and how they would appear in the historybooks of our game-universe. There really was immersion in the gameworld for us and we made our own story.
A campaign doesn´t give me that.