Sthenno linked me to a new kind of idle game that is a cross between cookie clicker and civilization. It is a lot more interesting than most idle games because you actually have a lot of control over how you design your economy and there are so many kinds of resources and ways to convert them that figuring out the best use for all of your stuff is really pretty complicated. The title of the game is Kittens Game, and it seems like somebody had a ridiculous idea for kittens and catnip and clicking and then spent months bolting on a complete civ style economy simulator on top of it.
However ridiculous that sounds, it is a pretty cool game. One of the things I like a lot about it is that there are so many requirements for making new stuff that you really have to think a lot. The obvious one is that new technologies require a certain amount of science to acquire. That sounds easy enough, but you have both an amount of science in reserve and a science cap. So if Theology costs 20K science, you have to not only accumulate 20K science but you have to build up to the cap so that you can actually store that much.
Because you have to pay attention to both your rate of acquisition and your cap it makes saving up for things a lot trickier. You can't just decide to get Theology and wait till that happens - you have to figure out how much wood and minerals you are going to want to build all of the Libraries and Academies you will need to get your science cap up. Then you have to consider how much iron you want to be making, because the iron you make costs wood and minerals. Your wood and minerals come mostly from assigning your workers to chop trees or work in mines, but you can also get wood by farming it. That is just the very tip of the iceberg too, there are so many options to think about.
And I am just learning about Theology! There is so much game left, because apparently this game goes all the way through modern tech. I can hardly imagine what kind of mess it is going to be once I have to manage another two dozen resource types. But it is the loveliest kind of mess, one that consumes my brain as I desperately try to figure out how to make it beautiful.
Like most idle games, and unlike civ, Kittens Game is not one you can lose. Your kittens keep on getting stuff, and once you have new techs and buildings they stay there. It is purely an optimization game, one where all you do is try to more efficiently do the things you were already doing, and find new things to optimize. There isn't a goal, as far as I can tell, just a constant stream of stuff to do.
Make numbers bigger. Find new things to count. Then make *those* numbers bigger. Wheee!