So I don't know how it happened, but I was thinking about desert cultures in Africa and the mid-east (1200's-1700's?) one day, and how much they depended on trade. Then I started getting flashbacks from my 7th grade social studies class. Then the thought occurred to me "HEY! could this be a decent game?". The idea is this. It's kind of a management game with simple 16 bit-style graphics, in which the player gets a settlement in a procedurally generated desert. Other AI settlements are also generated, along with rivers, oasis's, etc. There are also resources are randomly placed in the world (spices, salt, gold, gems, ivory, etc...). The game revolves around trading these resources with the AI settlements.
Depending on the difficulty level, the player also starts with a certain amount of soldiers, merchants and camels. (Perhaps the difficulty level also controls the rarity of the resources?) Pretty much the trading is done by sending caravans through trade routes. Merchants affect the money you make from the trade, camels affect the speed of the caravan, and soldiers protect from raiders. Once you send the caravan, it is subject to somewhat random events (starvation, thirst, sand storms, raider attacks). If you send a caravan that hugs a river for it's journey or goes through an oasis, it is less likely for these to occur.
I'm thinking the title could be like Merchants of Morocco (catchy right?) or something like that. The player's experience would mostly consist of determining which AI's to trade with, where the trade routes should go, how many merchants/camels/soldiers to send on a trade mission, and protecting the resources with soldiers. Perhaps it would make a good mobile game. I'm thinking I should make a few more games to get some more experience before I attempt this however. Let me know what you guys think about the idea. I also need some help with the victory conditions.
Sorry that was kinda long...