I’ve been playing this little indie game called Factorio.
Think SimCity meets Minecraft.
In essence, you’re handed an undeveloped procedurally generated landscape peppered with a few basic resources and barely a handful of tools. Through a series of activities like mining and refining, you build progressively better tools and faster technologies, ultimately leading to researching, improving, and building towards the end goal of producing enough material and technology to launch a rocket into space.
The interesting part is that while you can manually craft and transport resources around from machine to machine, the spirit of the game encourages you to creatively link your machines by conveyor belts, transport machines, and carefully planned power grids. You need to build pipes to bring in water and oil from where they are found half way across the map, link your coal production via a self-powered belt to fuel you power generators, and twisting and wind complex layouts of mining equipment and grabbers and refining smelters and little production units to build increasingly complex resources in an attempt to fully automate your creation.
In effect, you’re piecing together an insanely complex machine that is so delicately balanced that pulling a switch on one end of the map can result in a cascade of effects that completely stops everything on the other.
It’s way too easy to lose a few hours of your life in the micromanagement of the (literally) hundreds or thousands of moving pieces.
I think I might be ever so slightly addicted.