One of the primary things that game needs to do is stop avoiding risky design decisions. And there is just no way that's gonna happen with a game like Endless space. Which has one of the silliest combat systems ever. .. I mean, really, magical action cards?
The combat is OK. I wouldn't call it the silliest. I mean yes, they're presented as cards, but that's just fluff. You're really just selecting from a series of possible combat styles. I think the way that you have a limited time to think of what you want to use, plus the limited options is a good base to start from. The only problem really right now is that it might as well be rock paper scissors, since you have absolutely no intelligence to base your choice on so it's entirely guesswork. Also the meaning of different combat things isn't explained very well in the first place. So it's double guesswork right now, I suppose.
But if it were expanded to allow you to make interesting tactical choices based on meaningful intel, so you weren't just guessing but actually strategizing, it could be pretty great. I think the main design goal at first was just to make combat quick and simple to allow more time to show off their cinematic combat views. Unfortunately, the AI directing the camera for that is obviously still in need of some work. It likes to alternate between a shot so far out that I can't tell which fleet is which, and shots so close up that I am just staring at bulkheads and nothing else. But the idea is sound, anyway.
But if this isn't a risky design decision per se, it is at least a combat system that is pretty outside the norm for a 4X game, so it's a step in a new direction. Whether a good one or not remains to be seen. (Which sort of does make it a risky design decision after all.)