You misunderstand me. I don't want to be forced into reliving history. I want the possibility for the history to occur to be available. For a historical game to be good, it needs what I call potential historicism. Imagine a World War 2 strategic game where Germany never once invades Russia when controlled by the AI.
Here's what I wrote about it in my blueprint for a better Three Kingdoms game:
The ahistorical nature of the ROTK games is their most important and frustrating aspect. The novel contains two main narrative thrusts: the first half follows the hero, Liu Bei, as he gains a reputation, a castle and city, loses it, joins Cao Cao, leaves Cao Cao, and eventually forms his own empire, on the far side of China. This sequence of events will absolutely never happen in a ROTK game using their engine, for two important reasons. First of all, officers tend not to travel in order to found a new kingdom. Second, and more importantly, no characters ever successfully rebel, or even leave, their lieges. The sequence of events which had Liu Bei defeated by Cao Cao and eventually join him might occur, but then he would never leave and travel south to join Liu Biao, then form his own faction/kingdom at Liu Biao’s death. It simply would not happen.
The second half of the novel, which starts around the time of Liu Bei’s death, focuses on the decline and eventual fall of all of the Three Kingdoms. Shu falls to Wei, Wei falls to Jin, and Jin finally destroys Wu. Jin, the kingdom of the Sima family, grew out of Wei, with the Simas deposing the Caos. The kingdom founded by Cao Cao usually wins in ROTK, but it’s always the Cao family which succeeds, never the Simas. Sima Yan, the emperor who eventually united China – the winner! – will never win a ROTK game, because there are never successful rebellions.
Any Three Kingdoms game that cannot potentially model, without arbitrary triggers, Liu Bei’s travels and eventual successes, and the eventual possible victory of Sima Yan, must be considered a failure.
I propose that any historical strategy game, in order to succeed both historically and as a game, subscribe to a concept of potential historicism. It cannot be literal history, because then the player has no ability to change events, making it a bad game. But it cannot ignore history, otherwise it loses its primary attraction. Historical strategy must have events that COULD have happened in historically – for example, Yuan Shao could have defeated Cao Cao, or Lu Bu could have failed in his assassination of Dong Zhuo. But alternatively, the sequence of events that actually occurred must be conceivably possible, if not probable.