The meat and potatoes of CR are the matches, which are turn battles in a tabletop. The metagame/RPG experience of the realms is an excuse to chain and it is not extremely complex, rather a mild or light strategy set up. It could have been and offer a richer experience ofc, but then we would have seen another game.
It could be compared somehow to the X-COM franchise where the tactical battles are the core while the strategy comes from the global map where you do management and air battles: in that case you could even skip some tactical skirmishes and play in the map for a larger amount of time. It was more balanced between both aspects.
This is not the case of CR, where as in other simple games (simple not meaning dumb) it’s the game itself what is worth and not the story behind or the global management in a map.
The opposite extreme to this I can think of is Master of Orion, where you can play, specially in 2, tactic battles between spacecrafts but the game itself are turns in a bigger map with a global strategy. I think the franchise of Heroes of Might and Magic (which I haven’t played) consists of the same. The difference with the realms is that in those games you were always wanting to play one more turn (spending hours) to make further progress in your strategy and the battles were events which you could dedicate time or skip without losing nothing specially relevant. In CR battles can’t be missed that way and in Realms you are playing turns just to advance to the next battle. As I said above, it would be a different game and in particular, I wouldn’t have dug it so much as it is currently.
Anyway I am biased negatively to RPG narrative elements in games, which are not my cup of tea. Said so, I appreciate the effort of the developers to provide the lore and a context to set the game and the imagination of the realm makers.