For ages I've wanted to make a game where you control a trading empire, like in Anno 1602 or any number of other German games, but you don't have a god-like overview of the whole world. Instead, you are confined to your banca in whatever port you reside in, sending ships full of letters and goods to your agents in foreign places for them to use.
There were two main problems with this idea - the first being that you need to have a simple, intuitive way of writing letters that can be interpreted by the game, but don't take too long to write and look plausibly like a person wrote them. I had a brainwave about how to solve that, so I could proceed to the second problem - that I would have to create an incredibly complex world for there to be any interest in the game - repeatedly doing the same thing over and over is only fun when there are pretty graphics to go with it.
So, the letter writing system.
I've made a system that works like predictive text on your mobile, but with an added grammar constraint that interprets what you're writing as you write it, and suggests what you might want to next write while correcting any mistakes you make. You could feasibly write out whole sentences and have the game interpret them, but most of the time it's only necessary to type the first couple of letters of the word or phrase you want and then press tab or enter to automatically complete it. It's rather clever!
And now the game world. I've arranged the world as a set of towns, all inter-connected by roads or waterways. There is a working postal system which directs letters between towns on the fastest routes. Each town has a population, which needs food in order to grow, and farmers who arrive at harvest time with their herds and crops. The player's task is to buy up raw materials and turn them into finished products which the populace can buy, while not pricing themselves out of the market. This all works at the moment, but it needs a lot of balancing, and I haven't even gone near the subject of AI yet.
At the moment only London is set up to be a viable city, and there's not even much you can do there. Your first task should be to hire an agent in London, and then get him to build a beef factory. Use the 'sleep' command to advance time while you wait for a letter to be delivered. Order him to buy some cattle and sell all of his beef every day, for around $0.20 and $0.10 respectively - you'll need to make a loss at the start because the populace don't begin with much money.
You can use the 'wait until' command to skip forward to the 1st of February, when the population will have grown enough to make a profit on beef. Send your agent another letter, telling him first to stop what he's doing, then again to buy cattle at $0.20 and sell beef at $0.30.
After that you should be set for a while. Once you have enough money, you can hire another agent and build a beer factory, which needs barley and hops as input but which you can make a large profit on.
You can write a letter to your agents at any time to ask them how much money or stock they've got, or to ask for a copy of the local paper.
If you really want, you can try and set up shop in another city and get that going, but only London produces anything at the moment.