One of my goals for this project was depth. I wanted to make something which people could play, and not feel like they're just nudging around pieces on a board. For depth, you need immersion.
I've always had the opinion that most games centred on blunt war were always rather shallow. Even in 4X games, it seems that you're not so much building an empire, but rather creating a war machine. Whilst this is acceptable in some cases, the intricacies of creating a kingdom from the ground up go far beyond the annihilation of your neighbours.
I'm trying to think of ways to "win" that don't directly involve either destroying your opponents, or beating them in a straight-out race. This may be unrealistic. After all, even if I figure a good way to implement non-conquest victory conditions, that doesn't mean anybody will necessarily want to achieve victory in any form other than conquest.
Keeping a concept fun is more difficult than one might assume. But, I've made this commitment, and I intend to carry it out.
On a lighter note; one thing I've learned, is that you can't always be productive by focusing flat out on a project, especially when inspiration is the key to progress. I remember reading an article a while back about rapid prototyping (if somebody knows the link, I'll link it here) that said, quite bluntly, that you can't schedule creativity.
I think they're right.