In order to achieve a near-complete representation of RTS mechanics on tabletop (down to things like fog-of-war and combat micro), the Ares Project builds a towering infrastructure of deep rules and fiddly mechanics, held together with a bonkers amount of cards, tokens, and other components. This is the type of approach that has killed so many other thematic games, turning them into mindless book-keeping and repetitive token-shuffling, but shockingly, in The Ares Project it all just... works. The game has a long setup and an intimidating core ruleset, but after that it's a fairly quick and smooth experience. The action is well represented and fun, the mechanics are easy to take advantage of, and all gameplay decisions have weight and consequence to them. This game is a rare instance of over-designing turning out great in the end.