I’m in the same boat as you regarding unit designers. Alpha Centauri’s was the last one I enjoyed and it normally is a point against a game for me. But HOI4’s is very high level, and that’s why I think it works. You don’t feel you are designing an unit, but the composition of a fleet/squadron. It’s more in line with the level of abstraction the game has overall.
And that’s why I’m wary of the coming ship designer.