Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
What is your favorite turn-based strategy game?

Thallian posted a list of his favorite turn-based strategy games. Some really good games on that list, unfortunately not any current one. And of course if you make a list of *classic* turn-based strategy games, then of course Master of Magic and the Warlords series belong on that list. Even further back I loved to play Empire.

But maybe you have a more up-to-date list of great turn-based strategy games. Which games would you recommend?
I haven't played a turn based game in years. Final Fantasy Tactics was good. XCOM was one of the first turn base game I played but a friend and I spent countless hours during high school playing Heroes of Might and Magic 2 which is still one of my favorite Turn Based games.

Most of the newer ones I've played over the past 3 years have tried to mix and blend RPG, RTS, and action genre's into the classic turn based strat game play and it leaves me feeling empty.
Another vote for final fantasy tactics, and final fantasy tactics advanced (if DS/ gameboy games count).
currently: Dominions 3

of all times: the Battle Isle series (1-3)
Civ, Master of Orion and Space Empires would be my favorites.

Also, can't forget about Galactic Civilizations.
I have to say X-COM and Civilization. Civilization is a game I just keep coming back to, with new versions and clones (I recently discovered Freeciv and am highly impressed). But X-COM had the UFOpedia which gave all the back story, the blow-things-up strategy battles, and Chrysalids (oh how I hate Chrysalids).
History Line was a great turn based game. And of course the classic Civilization tied me to the PC for hours and days...
Heroes of Might and Magic was my favorite TBS game of all time. The franchise got diluted eventually but Heroes 3 and its expansion was just an amazing experience.

I also enjoy the Civilization series but much prefer Sid's take on the Colonization of the "new world" and love that he remade Colonization recently.
X-Com, and Arnhem on the zx spectrum
I've got two oldies to recommend; both Jagged Alliance and XCOM (and their sequels) have kept me hooked to my PC for hours and hours :)
And then there's the more up-to-date Civilization 4, which is really great and is available on the Xbox too (as Civilization Revolution).
I agree with Nobs, my favorite was FF Tactics Advanced. It was really the only turn-based game I could get into. The genre usually bored me because it was so slow.
how i miss heroes, moo and xcom! :)

i liked also age of wonders, panzer general and fantasy wars. The excellent and dark disciples.

sadly real time is now the norm, eh.
Been a while since I played it but here's a few recent classics:
-> Silent Storm - Kill nazis!
-> Age of Wonders 1 & 2 - Kill dragons!
-> The Total War series - Kill soldiers! The whole map is turn based and you can skip the realtime fights
-> Kings Bounty - Kill more dragons! The sleeper hit from last year.
My favorite Turn Based Games were the Civilization series. I absolutely loved those games. "" /fallasleepatdeskatfouram
XCOM and Civilization.
If you have a DS then Fire Emblem is a great romp.
I think pretty much any (Meier) version of Civilization needs to be mentioned, although Master of Magic probably still wins. Stardock have put out several good turn-based games recently, but they're in quite a small niche now.

Most of this genre seems to have evolved into relatively simple web-based games. Fish tank games, Farmville, and so on. Instead of "playing a turn", one simply logs on regularly to do things. I suspect that's an indicator that the type of turn-based strategy game "we" liked (early computer adopters, looking back), were actually far too complex for the mass market. Or maybe the whole week-long, fiddly, global domination thing, simply failed to transfer to multi-player or console environments?

If you haven't given your life to this game yet, do it!
While it isn't completely turned based, the Total War series gets my vote here. I've been hooked since Shogun: Total War. Civ has taken up plenty of my time as well.
Masters of Orion

(I forget which versions were the best)
My votes go to the entire Civilization series and Heroes of Might and Magic III. Civ III robbed me of several months of my life, and my buddy spent his last night before shipping off to Basic Training for the Marines playing Heroes via dial against with me.

Civ Revolution on the iPhone isn't half bad, despite how slow it can be at times (it stutters during the later turns).

If you're willing to try something tangential, other than video games, let me put in a good word for tabletop miniature gaming. I'm a huge fan of WARMACHINE; I've been playing a bit over a year now, but the level of depth in the game never ceases to amaze me. The game's cocreator Matt Wilson (who was the Art Director at Wizards of the Coast maybe a decade ago, overseeing all the art for MTG) said he to design a tabletop game that plays like a video game, and I think he nailed it. WARMACHINE plays fast and loose, with lots of emphasis on aggression, but there's also a ton of room for tactical strategy.

Definitely worth a peek if you're up for it!
Methinks people missed the "up-to-date list" part and are just listing their all-time favorites.

Civilization 4, the latest, for historical TBS. Galactic Civilizations 2 for a space empire TBS. Each are about the same age (released a few years ago). Both are being actively modded.
Chrono Trigger.

What? You can take turns (unless you turn on Active Battle) and you need strategy.

//King's Bounty and Civ 3/4
Battle Isle series, a hex sci-fi wargame of Blue Byte from mid nineties, also the second Master of Orion.
X-Com certainly, but also:
Alpha Centauri (with or without xpac)
and an obscure one with incredible depth: Stars!
While there are of course some exceptions (remakes of FF Tactics being a popular point) there really AREN'T any current turn based strategy games on the market or being produced. As a rule, they've just about all been replaced by real time strategy games. *sad sigh*
Ohh, turn-based games. Shiny! Here's my personal favorites of the current generation::

-HoMM series - the 5th installment is actually very good, and very much worth playing

-CIV series - must play for any fan of strategic turn based games

-King's Bounty series - the campaign map is mostly real time, but the real meat of the game is turn based combat, very similar to HoMM. Highly recommended

-Elven Legacy series - a modern and refined version of Fantasy General, really nice game if you favor tactical rather than strategic gameplay

Most disappointing game: Empire Total War. Lots and bugs and horrible AI, instead of evolving the gameplay and AI it focused strictly on new shinier graphics, therefore making the game itself unplayable. Stay away.
XCOM and Civilization from days gone by. Recently War in the Pacific from Matrix Games. WitP is based on the much older Gary Grigsby's Pacific War.
Risk II for the PC.
The Civilization series is the one I keep coming back to, actively wanting to love it. All the iterations were so well-composed packages. Unfortunately, the way the AI cheats causes me to cheat too. It isn't the game's fault per se, it is strictly my own for not accepting the game's own parameters. But because of it my Civ spasms always end in disappointment.

Therefore, I go with Europa Universalis II. I'd say III, but when I bought that I had already started playing WoW, which kinda prohibited the required investment of time (48-hour days, where are you!? :))
Advance Wars on the GBA.
For me I'd be looking at Master of Orion 2, Civ 3, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, Disciples 2, and sadly I'm not remembering the name of one that I loved also. You started with 1 province and hadda take over the country whilst managing your various farmlands and quarries. Combat was real-time, though. I remember it was a "2" but... ah well.
Heroes of Might & Magic 3 and it's expansions are my all time favourites for sure. There's nothing better than that...

Recently Ive been playing Final Fantasy Tactics A2 on the DS. Its pretty good.
Civilization II.

I easily have more hours in playing that game than any other. I have a whole post still germinating about why I never really made the transition to Civ III of IV, but while I own both of those, I still go back and play Civ II.
I like Richard Bartle's game, Spellbinder, but usually on the clones that can be played with computers, the Spellcasts.
:D Thanks Tobold, I'll have to check yours out! I've never even heard of Master of Magic and Warlords before!

@everyone else yeah I agree FFTactics is really good, I was making a list of PC games tho that's why I left it off.

Civilization was more of an oversight tho.

Chess is probably the penultimate example of a simple yet complex strategy game. The thing about chess though is it really isn't hard to make .. different unique versions of chess just by changing a couple pieces movement rules or whatever. I've coded three chess games in my lifetime, and it doesn't really take too long, its kinda fun. :) I even made a flash one that did xml based multiplayer over the web.
Empire (the text version!) was the first strategy game I ever played. As such I really cannot judge the game objectively, although I would rate it pretty highly.

One particular game I do remember was where I've beaten the computer (took all his cities), but one of his units evaded me for many hours. I literally covered the land and seas with units, until I found his ship in a corner of the map! Good times...

Also, an updated Master of Magic would be at the very top of my Christmas wishlist.
X-Com: UFO Defense and Master of Orion

X-Com was amazing! Developing members of my squad, improving their stats, keeping them alive. Facing different aliens with their abilities, entering crashed UFO's and seeing horrible alien experiments as well as food. It would suck me in for hours as we moved the story forward.

Master of Orion was perfect in such a way that following sequels did not measure up to the original. It was the cliched easy to learn difficult to master. Being able to be diplomatic or conquering with your alien neighbors was so fun. Customizing your ships and building your fleets to explore the galaxy. Finding the Guardian of the Orion star was always a thrill. Planning how to beat him and successfully doing so would be so satisfying.
Jagged Alliance series

X-Com Series


Fallout Tactics was pretty nice to play.

I would love to see some turn based tactics games with decent graphic.

I also loved the Panzer general series, might be an option to search the web for something similar.

I perfer Go over Chess.

FF Tactics is awesome, and so is the Advanced Wars games.

D&D 4e.

Is it weird that I dream of playing a turn-based Warcraft Tactics game?
Matrix Cubed, hands down. Graphics sucked, but it was just fun.
I'm going to also 2nd.. or maybe 3rd not sute what the count is now... Galactic Civilzations 2. It's been my go to game when I have nothing else to play.

I really didn't think XCOM was so popular. I love seeing everyone here post about it too. :)
Empire, Empire Deluxe, Master of Orion, Master of Magic, Master of Orion 2, Civilization, Civilization 2, Civilization 3, Civilization 4, Colonization (the original DOS one), Alpha Centauri.

If I had to pick one as the best, I'd go with Alpha Centauri.
Wow. I forgot Jagged Alliance, Jagged Alliance 2, XCOM, and (going all the way back to my Atari ST days) Battle Isle and Perfect General. And Lost Admiral. And Fantasy General.
Panzer General 1 for Windows. Most probably don't know it, but it is some kind of casual wargamer strategy game with a campaign modus that really rocks.
I can honestly say that when I think TBS I automatically think "Civilization". The second installment is the only game I've been gone back to since 1996, when it came out. It's set the standard for me when it comes to the series, I simply can't get into the later ones as much.

I also spent lots of time on HoMM3, but I actually need to be reminded it's TBS. Not because it isn't, but because in my head "TBS" automatically gets translated into "Civ".
No one who's mentioned Warhammer fantasy or 40k? :S Tabletop games ftw =D
Fire Emblem on the GBA/DS :)
Anyone here play/remember Lords of the Realm 2? By far my favorite turned based strategy game (or the one I am most nostalgic of)...despite it not being exactly that. Combining resource management, citizen welfare, economy, and warfare...made for a great game!

Yes my lord!?

Warhammer TT is a great game. The problem is I could build a top of the line computer for the cost of most 2000 point armies.
I have fond memories of Warlords II and III.

The more recent offerings from the Warlords developers (Warlords Battlecry and Puzzle Quest) are also pretty good, although not traditional turn-based strategy games.
Master of Magic, Civilization I, II, III, IV and Colonization. The Total War series are great too.
Bloodbowl is my favorite "current" turn-based strategy game. Although I'd more call it a See How Many Times You Can Get Screwed By The Dice Simulator.
Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a need for an updated list. :-/.

If there any game makers out there, please look at all the love for squad based, turn based, leveling games.

I think X-Com was better than Jagged Alliance 2 (which I never quite finished) but there is a huge well of desire here and no one looking to fill it it seems.

Turn based, squad level with character improvement. Achievements seem like a natural for a game like this too.
I cut my teeth on Civ2 and Master of Orion II back in the day. Still love them.
Better late than never -- I have to mention MTG by MicroProse. I still play that periodically since i got it running on Windows 7.
Stellar Forces! A cross between Laser Squad and X-Com.
The only one I play is New 1000 Ad.
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