And yes the size of the chessboard affects strategic options, I can't disagree with that. But I'd also argue that a 10,000x10,000 chessboard wouldn't really make chase more strategic than a 1000x1000 chessboard, for the same reason that increasing the size of a map in a game like Elemental wouldn't make it more strategic. The human mind is not capable of dealing with such vast quantities of information. With a small board an experienced play can actually look ahead a few turns and figure out what will the board will likely look like. Make the board too big and the number of turns you can effectively look ahead drops significantly. And once you can't really look ahead at all, then strategy kind of falls out the window. Strategy is not only about how many choices are available to the player.
Actually the extra variables of magic, diplomacy, structures, items, etc., etc., etc., from the game Elemental allows larger maps to provide more strategic options at a much larger rate as compared with a chessboard from chess. Therefore while humans will only recognize a fractional percentage of strategic options the larger pool means more available for considering. The massively gigantic maps don't prevent planning ahead... it only changes where sections need to be viewed independently and then reviewed for matching the larger game plan. There's no game which can have a map too big for strategy to fall out of the window.
No! Having a pool of 10^643 options is in effect not a bigger pool than 10^452! It's so far beyond anything that a person can comprehend that it doesn't make a difference. Strategy is about conscious thought and planning in order to achieve some specific goal in the future. The number of possible actions at any one time, or even in totality, is not the same as the number of possible strategies. Bigger maps provide more tactical options, but not more strategic options.
Here you're thinking humans can grasp all 10^643 options which is not true... in reality humans recognize only a fractional of a percentage of this number and this final number will always be greater from an obviously significantly larger pool. Given a map of 200 islands, 2000 islands or 20,000 islands a list of strategies from an intelligent human will not only have increased strategies, but they will change as well. The larger maps within Elemental also allows the infinite research to be more significant.
Those are not objective advantages. Some people prefer smaller scale battles, and many people enjoy the challenge of not being able to expand quietly and safely or the whole beginning of the game. That's actually one of my gripes with immense GC 2 maps - they are so big, and the player limit is too small, so you are playing by yourself for an enormous amount of time. You don't encounter anyone, besides maybe some scouts, for ages. You can do whatever you want, you don't need to worry about defenses, you can just focus on building up your war machine or research machine or whatever unhindered with no worries about the rest of the world. In that sense, larger maps can actually detract from strategy because you have the freedom to set yourself up however you'd like.
Well the player limit for Elemental remains undetermined at this time. And anyone who's played Dominions_3 knows with a small mod the number of players is virtually unlimited... at least no one has reached the maximum number. Hopefully Elemental provides the same open door for a large amount of players, allowing us to participate in both singleplayer and multiplayer games of 30, 50, 100 or more opponents.
Just because you're able to "set yourself however you'd like" does not detract strategy it merely prevents others from using the Blitz/Rush strategy. If equally positioned in distance each player is able to test their strategies with full force as compared to a percentage. The only downside to very gigantic maps is the amount of time it takes to complete the game, but this is based on an individuals preference.
I prefer playing on giant maps where people aren't squished together and constantly at each other's throats from the very beginning, but where there is still meaningful interactions with other players (and/or non-player kingdoms if applicable) from an early point in the game. I want the possibility of there being an early conflict, even if it isn't likely to be an all-out war.
As I mentioned earlier this is already possible within Dominions_3 where a gigantic map will have as many players as desired... allowing for early interactions/neighbors and then grow as time passes. Hopefully Elemental will also be as flexible. I have yet to see any PC game where people have complained the largest maps as being too big, yet we've seen plenty of complaints about maps for games being too small.