thanks very much for your answer. I am very happy to have asked :)
From that snippet I can see that you guys have something similar to action nodes in behaviour trees
that’s a framework I have been using at work (not doing videogames or war games, my partner approves of my hobbies in historical war gaming, just doesn’t allow me to dedicate myself to other endeavours), and it comes with a very nice online editor, which we have used to have “analysts” specify complex behaviours.
What I meant by “purely reactive” is the following.
In TOAW, the event engine allows you to define trigger conditions too, over a very limited set of variables which are exposed by the engine. So the influence you have on them, as a player, is limited to how you affect the state of the game world (e.g. I got a unit in location X, which flips ownership and in turn triggers an event).
In Paradox’s Clausewitz engine, you can have variables which aren’t exposing some piece of data describing the state of the game world (hex ownership), but actually be control variables, which are used to control the flow of the “story line” via simple conditionals (if then else). The problem with Clausewitz scripting is that you have relatively little ability to compose “story lines” (other than copying and pasting), and also recurrent patterns of behaviour become difficult to implement.
What I referred to as the “unicorn” is this idea that the game environment is also acting as an NPC if you wish. The behaviour of this NPC affects the game world, and with the right tools, you can create a real impression of “agency” very much like an umpire in a real world war game or a RPG game master decides to pull the strings to create situations with the intention of achieving specific outcomes: that of exposing the players to interesting situations.