Am I worried that this is overly ambitious?
No. I did a 14DRL, a 7DRL, then made a 1DRLL out of the 7DRL, and now I'm getting tired of projects with excessively limited time and scope. ASCII graphics and lack of economic system take out a lot of the work that would be required for a typical strategy game, and I just checked that Shogun 2 can handle 14,100
people at 4x speed (with animated 3d graphics and occlusion culling and
experience tracking for everyone, though not with a capable AI), so
there's no doubt that doing all the stuff I want to do in a game second 4
times per real second is possible, at least on two cores. I won't be
bothered if single-core users have to make to with just 2 game seconds
per second. Boo hoo.
What do I definitely not want to do?
Some people might have thought I had gone crazy and wanted a procedurally generated plot with procedurally generated characters and relationships and socio-economic modelling and a few years worth of coding a plot generator. Actually someone *did* think that.
Definitely not. The overall plot, which would only be strictly relevant at the start and end of the game, would be constant. Ideally I'd have around 15 "types" of battle, each with an introductory/closing snippet of prewritten prose and procedurally generated maps/enemy forces. Of these, something like 8 would appear in a given game, preceded by the opening bloodbath (which would need some heavy narrative) and followed by the climactic whatever-the-win-condition-is that the player does at the end (also narrative-heavy). This wouldn't be difficult at all, with a writer on board to do the prose, and would produce around 260 million possible sequences. Between battles would be a summary of what was lost/gained in the battle, the group/equipment assignment interface (see Intentions), and not much else. Some kind of choice about where to go (probably not free movement) on a world map might not hurt but would be nonessential.
Quests, side-quests, side-anything: nope. Considering the total absence of reinforcements and friendly faces, there's no-one to give you quests, and there's no reason to go way off course and lose 5% of the army rescuing a kitten from barbarian wolf-riders. Not unless you're desperate for mounts.
Next time: either the procrastination-born macguffin plot that's just about coherent enough to excuse the intended gameplay, or the local shouting system that probably makes clusters unnecessary.