The game focuses to a large part on resource management, the allocation of the current posessions to various tasks. As such, I like the mechanics to be more complex than “wood, stone and iron” for a couple of reasons:
- A greater diversity of resources will, to some degree, result in more depth, which is hopefully is more engageing.
- The game takes place in the future; robots (as well as some people) have already realised that there is probably more the grey-ish, shiny stuff than meets the eye.
- The main actors of the game are robots! Who better to know all the various kinds of elements that need to go in complex construction.
Of course, having a lot of resources also means a lot of load on the player, leaving possibly to much to explore in a too random manner. Even worse, if the various resources do not add depth to gameplay mechanics, it might feel like cheap grinding, as opposed to meaningful expansion.
Thus, I plan to not have all resources at each play-through: A single colony might just stumble upon, say, a fifth or so of the actually available resources over the first couple of hours of expansion. This will, to some degree, enforce a certain style of construction and play; however, all somewhat relevant mechanics should be available, but maybe reachable in different ways or even different orders. So, one player might be able to expand on powerful stationary entertainment early, while another player might be able to shield his moving units from most distraction, allowing her to reach out (but leaving her defences weakened in the meantime).
Additionally, players might be able to substitute resources from other processes. For example, one player has the fortune of a nearby oil well to turn into plastics (a well-known all-round casing material), while a different player might add a filtration station to the nearby ocean, harvesting micro-plastics from the ocean water. A third one might stumble upon an covered garbage dump while digging the ground, which of course could yield all kinds of other materials as well.
In the same manner, resource acquisition will completely replace the concept of research: Advancements can be reached by adding a new resource to the mix, which enables new mechanics, as well as rewards successful expansion.
Still, 118 resources will likely still be to much to manage, thus the help of diligent engineering robots might be required…