Banished is a game that I've been following the development of for the past year; written by a single developer. it hearkens back to the good old days of gaming when one person really could develop an active game on their own.
It's a charmingly simple city builder. You start off with a handful of families, a small cart of supplies and a large wilderness map to help them call home. You plan out some basic buildings and services and watch your citizens die of starvation.
Okay, so food needs to be a bit more of a priority than the town hall. This time you limit yourself to just the basics, housing, food production, and make it through to winter and watch your citizens die of exposure.
Fine, a more balanced approach required, this time you make it through winter and have plenty of houses for everybody, no more than two per house. You make it all the way to the second year until everybody dies of starvation again.
You built too quickly, clearly, everybody started popping out kids, including the 39 year old man shacked up with the 16 year old girl, seriously, what's up with that? No wonder these people were banished!
Now you'll go much more slowly, keeping things balanced, not growing your village too fast, but not too slowly either. It's year ten, doing much better, this time they don't die of starvation, and they don't die of exposure. They die of old age!
Turns out if you don't have plentiful housing, people stay home with their parents, and nothing puts a downer on the kid-making than mom and dad at home. Of course, by the time mom and pop finally kick the bucket, the kids are too old to have their own, so the entire village turns geriatric and they all die childless.
Banished is hard to get right.
But not in the same way that SimCity is hard. SimCity is hard because every single problem in your city comes down to one thing: traffic. Unhealthy citizens? Traffic problems are preventing your ambulances from reaching them. High crime? Traffic problems delaying the cops. Unemployment? Traffic problems.
And you can't fix the traffic because it's fundamentally broken in the game.
Banished isn't fundamentally broken, it's just fundamentally challenging. There isn't a perfect balance to be had, the game is a continual balancing act, juggling your citizens needs from year to year to stave off their deaths from starvation, exposure, old age and whatever the buggers are going to all die of next time.