I'm not totally sure, because much time passed since I played the first game, but I think enemies always had a chance to recover each turn, because Body Building/Willpower got tested every turn. If not, I would not mind to have it changed that way.

If hard CC is the issue, than it is because the Delta of Randomness ist to large, which means the difference between success and failure is to big: Success being hard CC'ed target and failure kind of wasted attack and possible own death.

Possible solutions would be:
- remove hard CC at all and keep only soft CC
- make hard CC a low chance effect of a skill and soft CC a always chance of a skill
- make hard CC only single target and high tier, high tear meaning 8 skill points and above into a skill tree and not 3, 3 is ridiculous low. In the first game you needed 10 points to learn one Tier 3 skill, 15 points to learn more than one. (But you got skill points later on much faster tough.)

For Physical Armor I once suggested during EA:
Return damage types and give them specifical traits, like piercing weapons always doing part of their damage as vitality damage, blunt weapons dealing extra damage to armor and slashing weapons always having a chance to cause bleeding. (Just as quick suggestion, not well thought out.)

With the current armor system, weapon benefits like "10% chance to cause shocked" are pretty useless, because the chance is anyway 0% while armor is on. Also magical soft CC on physical weapons is total bullshit anway, because the magic armor will hardly get penetrated for a chance of applying effect. In the first the problem was, that the chance were to low against high level mobs, making them useless and now they are even lower, making them even more useless as it seems.

Regarding chess:
Sure, that is strategy too, but in the end it is pretty boring. There are hardly ever real surprises, because the core game play means thinking several turns ahead and evaluating the most likely outcome of the next turns. Memorising all the typical high special moves/openings helps even more, but you won't have to need to think of a Plan B because the Plan A action failed, so hardly any need to improvise and hardly any suspense. Chess master can predict outcomes several turns in advance?