I played CAP2 a bit, but was dissappointed with the AI and game system.
I found it to be a very easy game. From a gaming systems point of view, you quickly reach a threshold in the game where if you can cross, then you become economically unstoppable, since you get a snow balling/compounding interest affect. Thus, the system behaves in a “divergent” fashion. Get an advantage and the advantage will grow even bigger. In many grand strategy games it goes like: make big economy -> have big military -> able to conquer and grow -> grow -> get big economy -> have big military -> conquer. The same was true in CAP2. You got into high end electronics by setting up a powerhouse research facility and get notebooks and handhelds before anyone else. Also, you corner the vertical supply chain. At which point, the money coming in is huge. Now, despite whatever business problem the scenario posed … any problem or challenge could be addressed with tons of cash.
So, the game had two problems as I see it:
(1) Weak AI (not very competitive) … the AI was for atomosphere as opposed to brutal play.
(2) Divergent system which reinforced success with more success.
Note, that unlike in many games the real world has both convergent and divergent tendenicies. For example, in a military campaign. I break through the enemy’s front line and I strike deep into his territory. Now, such an attack may give you a divergent affect even strengthen you further and weaken your enemy further. However, a convergent affect is possible in that my supply lines get streched causing me delays, increased use of supplies, and greater vulnerability to counter-attack.
So, convergent behavior in games basically means that success brings more challenges and difficulty. Such games end up being interesting to play throughout an entire gaming session and not just up to the tipping point. Divergent game systems are only fun up to the threshold. From there continued play is anti-climatic. The only way to really enjoy such systems is have very short gaming sessions or end the game early or apply a set of house rules that mitigates the most divergent factors and exploits.
Some games with very good balance and convergence: 1830 and Tropico 1.
I was really excited by the concept of Cap2, since I wanted a serious business simulation after the entertaining play of RTD (Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon Deluxe). However, Cap2 was just too easy to beat. It would have required a whole manifesto of house rules to keep it interesting throughout an entire game. Sigh …