This would require a separate journal entry but broadly speaking, we mean that Derek Paxton (Kael) has a specific vision for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress which falls under a number of broad design principles. A common request is that the tactical battles be much more complex than they currently are. But one of the design principles of FE is that tactical battles should not decide the outcome of the strategic game.
For example, the people who want really involved tactical battles. They're not going to happen. Not because we don't have time or budget but because we don't want the game to revolve around tactical battles. That doesn't mean we won't add other elements to tactical battles, but it'll be carefully evaluated as to whether it's causing tactical battles to deviate from their relative place in the game experience.
I'd find this argument more compelling if I thought there really were much of a "strategic" game to speak of in FE. There's just so little there of the things I look for in a good strategic game, but maybe I'm spoiled coming off of Crusader Kings 2.
City management is non existent, and not likely to turn into anything with casual tweaks. City Building is a vestigial function of some other game, and could be amputated without the game missing a beat. Diplomacy, even if the ai were smarter there than it is now, seems shallow and pointless. Empire management consists of moving a single global tax slider, if one bothers. Tech trees are interesting only as a means to be able to field more powerful troops on the tactical grid. I cant even build roads exactly where I want to build them. Most of the strategic depth that even something like Gal Civ 2 had, has been "streamlined" out. There is no pulse to speak of in this part of the game at present, in my opinion of course.
However, there *Is* a solid core forming around adventuring, fielding different troops and champions on the tactical grid against foes with unique abilities, and leveling up troops with new loot and abilities. That part of the game, while not home yet, has signs of life and a genuine hook. You've got to build a game around a hook, and there is at present a stronger base there to build on. Any time your troops are not adventuring, this game suffers because there's little else to do other than click the "end turn" button, and the tactical combat is central to the act of adventuring.
It just seems to me the road to making FE a successful "strategically" focused game, is far, far longer than making it an appealing tactical/adventuring-focused game. Sure, ideally I wish that the game would be the best of both worlds, but I don't see any way FE becomes a game I play for the strategic side of things, any time in the next year. If your development timeframe for the game extends beyond the next year, I'd say go for it, but I get the impression you were thinking this game would be release ready earlier than that.
It's possible you have a whole new game under wraps that I'm not aware of, that will breathe life into the strategic side of the game, and make it worthy of taking the focus away from the parts of the game that are working right now. But I really hope there's not the same denial at work here that was evident in War of Magic. I hope you're able to step back and soberly judge the game you actually have, or are likely to have in the upcoming months, rather than the game you wish it was. It seems to me, you have a game where light strategic elements support a tactical adventuring gameplay focus with RPG-like progression mechanics. If your goal is otherwise, you have a lot more work ahead of you than you seem to be indicating.
I say these things out of best wishes for you and your team, and a sincere desire to see the game succeed. As ever, this is only my opinion, and it's possible other people may find hidden appeals in the game that I don't. If it's a matter of me misunderstanding what the game is supposed to be, and it turns out the game isn't for me, I will be disappointed, but I understand. As long as the game is for someone.