I haven’t ever played that, so I don’t know. I would compare the core of it to Railroad Tycoon. You try to make money by finding good routes where you can buy low and sell high in a very simple economic model. But where it gets interesting is how you get access to those trade routes through exploration and warfare. Both are expensive and risky, but they pay off if you discover or conquer a good trade route and get a monopoly there for yourself. There’s also a political and religious layer similar to Emperor of the Fading Suns, which was made by the same guys. What I can’t describe in words is how well these different systems in the game mesh.
What makes a sequel to this so tantalizing for me is that there’s so many ways those systems could be fleshed out more. Just off the top of my head I could think of dozens of things to add to the game that would actually be
fun gratifying and worth the added complexity. Like how awesome would it be to have papal schisms?