The biggest issue with this game as an absolute whole is:
Your overall propensity for success is directly linked to activity. And not just day-to-day activity; but the ability to be active day-to-day for the entire length of the round.
I would hazard a guess that the families who perform best round after round are the same groups of people that simply can be active all hours, for the entire round. For others, start well and take a few days holiday or have a crazy few days at work or your kid gets sick or anything like that and… that could effectively be your round over.
The danger with this, is that nobody new wants to play a game in which they need to be on the game for large amounts of time every day for the entire 4-6 weeks of a round. Which other game requires you to do this in order to be successful… in an age of short attention spans derived from social media and TikTok?
I guess this would be a prime example for myself; I came back to play the game in March 2020; when the UK went into lockdown for the first time and I was made to work from home throughout the pandemic. We weren’t allowed to leave the house so what else could I do but play games. Now the real world has returned, it’s nigh on impossible to be active to the levels that win you rounds.
This won’t be the case for some people who can seemingly operate on zero sleep, logging in on their phone in their office toilets etc; but for the majority - they will fall behind and become these smaller fams that the more active people prey on. Naturally. Turn based games on people’s phones are comparible in terms of game play, but you can put that down and return to it and you haven’t lost everything or got real-life angry people at you for not aiding or attacking or whatever.
It feels like for IC to become appealing to the masses again; it needs a radical transformation to something that somehow fixes the link (or reduces it) between activity and success. Admittedly, I don’t know what that is.
Alternatively, things stay as they are, the player base diminishes further and you end up with 20-30 people who can be active the majority of the time and they play each other until Pie gets sick of paying for a game to run with only a tiny number of people.
I fear that’s the overarching state of affairs as I see them. But if other people think that there are better solutions I am happy to lend my expertise in what I know, to try and help fix things.