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July 23rd, 2007, 22:16
Okay—I can't take any more Titan Quest; The Witcher and Dragon Age and Hellgate:London are off on the distant horizon. I need a game.

Except for HoMM and Disciples, I stopped buying and playing strategy games quite awhile back when I got into rpgs. Now I'm hopelessly behind the times. I'm downloading a demo for the new CIV4 expansion as I type, but I haven't played any of the CIV titles. A lot of titles have been talked about on the forums but I don't know where to start.

Can anyone shine a light down the strategy aisle and point me to some good historical turn based titles that feature either unit combat(fantasy preferred) or economic/city builder dynamics. I'd like to avoid World War II and anything too futuristic.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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July 23rd, 2007, 22:23
there was one I have seen yet never played, Age of Wonders and it's sequel. It's older, so prolly dirt cheap by now
Last edited by xSamhainx; July 23rd, 2007 at 22:34.
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July 23rd, 2007, 22:43
Fantasy General

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July 23rd, 2007, 22:50
I recently saw a Civ Archives or some such that has all the old Civ games in one box. I HIGHLY recommend Civ2. I didn't get the warm fuzzy off Civ4, although I admit I didn't give it a fair shake (something else came out around the same time that got played instead). Age of Wonders is fairly good, although I didn't play it much. When it came out, I was due for a new rig so the AI took forever to complete which tempered my enthusiasm.

Although you're not enthused with non-elf stuff, you might take a peak at UFO:Extraterrestrials. Does a very good job recreating the original X-Com, which was an absolute classic. Squad-based TBS with a bit of real time base management thrown in for good measure.

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July 23rd, 2007, 22:52
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
Fantasy General
I seem to remember Fantasy General getting slammed in reviews, but that might have been all the old grognards getting pissed at the "corruption" of their Panzer General franchise. The PG franchise was the premiere TBS wargame series for many years, but I never ended up playing any of them.

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July 23rd, 2007, 23:00
Are you looking for something new, or will older stuff do? If so, how old?
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July 23rd, 2007, 23:10
i tried the civ iv demo this weekend too. the space setting reminded me of galciv2 and alpha centauri a bit. the first expansion wasn't even close to worth the 20 bucks i paid for it. however i enjoyed the demo quite a bit. if i can hold out 'til the gaming season starts with bioshock, with my pool of older games, i won't buy it. i might just cave in though. i'm currently playing stronghold legends which i'd recommend since it is vastly superior to stronghold 2 in nearly everyway. the evil campaign is awesome.
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July 23rd, 2007, 23:17
Old is fine as long as it will play on XP. I have the most background in old stuff, like MOO2 and HoMMs.
Sammy I've played Age of Wonders a bit and it failed to move me, but mostly because it has one of those tutorials that stop after showing you how to left click on your base. Might load it up again and retry, tho.
@dte—you boys and your space toys Actually, I liked the look of X-Com when you guys rec'd it as a good wargame for my spouse. It's the gameplay that makes a strat game, after all (as long as the setting isn't too alienating.) I've had a lot of fun with Alpha Centauri and Master of Orion over the years, overcoming my fear of lasers,alien life forms, tiny figures in wierd suits and doom stars.

I also love historical city builders and have played all the old Sierra stuff. Gallifrey mentioned Anno 1701, which I'm hunting the demo for atm.

@ c.u. yes I just played a bit of it. pretty cool.

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July 23rd, 2007, 23:39
Civ 4 would be your best bet. I'd also recommend Dominions 3. Try the demo which comes with an excellent tutorial by Bruce Geryk. Infinite replayability with these two games. Fantasy General is also very good; what I loved most from that series (Panzer General and all) were the persistent armies that you built and fought with through the campaigns.
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July 24th, 2007, 00:13
Thanks for the link Cormac. I remember you mentioned Dominions once before as a good title. I'm downloading it and the 1701 demo as I type.

Unfortunately, I'm not getting through to Fantasy Generals on that link.

@dte: Gamespot really slammed the UFO game.


Edit: Finally got Firefox to let me look at Fantasy Generals—looks promising.

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Last edited by magerette; July 24th, 2007 at 00:22.
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July 24th, 2007, 00:22
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
I seem to remember Fantasy General getting slammed in reviews, but that might have been all the old grognards getting pissed at the "corruption" of their Panzer General franchise. The PG franchise was the premiere TBS wargame series for many years, but I never ended up playing any of them.
Depends on the reviewer but mostly it got good reviews. My local mag gave it 90%. Everyone I know liked the game. It was was a great title.

Coming Soon Magazine 15.04.1996 92 out of 100 92
PC Player (Brazil) Jul, 1996 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
PC Games (Germany) Apr, 1996 86 out of 100 86
PC Player (Germany) Apr, 1996 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 83
GameSpot 01.05.1996 4.9 out of 10 49

Warlords 4 is a nice TB strategy game too. Thats about it for turn based fantasy strategy games unless you try som real old stuff or try the handheld/console stuff (romance of x kingdoms etc). Im currently digging into homm5 + expansion which received a nice patch som time ago.
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July 24th, 2007, 03:34
Age Of Wonders: Shadow Magic is excellent. I don't recall what the demo covered but it's fairly easy to pick up and play.

The Civilization games are great. I'm currently torn on whether I like IV better than III.

The Anno games are solid, 1701 is the best of the bunch I think (you can get the demo here

For city builders, the last year saw three Roman titles released - Glory Of The Roman Empire, Caesar IV and CivCity: Rome. Glory is the most accessable and the most casual of the three, CivCity is pretty solid with nice graphics and good mechanics, and Caesar IV is the most in-depth but the hardest on system requirements and a bit convoluted in it's interface.
The Impressions city builders like Caesar III and Pharaoh are superb as well. I highly recommend those.

The Stronghold games aren't bad either, but haven't managed to really captivate me.

While not being turn-based, Knights Of Honour is a solid, in-depth medieval strategy game. It's real-time but has a very slow pace and plays more like a traditional grand strategy game rather than your typical RTS.

You could also look at the Europa Universalis series (III is the most recent) or other Paradox games like Victoria: Empire Under The Sun which is an empire game in the Victorian period and Crusader Kings which focuses more on building your medieval dynasty. Unfortunately Paradox isn't great about releasing demos.

I'll post more if/when I think of them!

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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July 24th, 2007, 04:46
Thanks for all the input. I have three demos I'm working through now, and still reading the tutorial on Dominions 3. (This is the one with the 300 page manual, isn't it? But I like it I get the feeling that 'immersive' is an understatement on this one. )

The Civ IV x-pak demo is nice, but I would want to go back to a little earlier time frame for a start position—which I'm sure the actual game allows, right? It's a little pricey atm as well since I would also have to get the main game. Would it be better as well as cheaper to start earlier in the series, say Civ II or III, or is IV a really big improvement?

@ Gallifrey: Played through the four tutorials of the 1701 demo—it has quite the addictive feel to it. I liked the look of the Knights of Honour title as well. I also had Stronghold at one point but couldn't get into it. Think I gave it away.

All this should keep me out of the bars for a few days. (Just joking, at my age granola bars are a big challenge )

Again, many thanks and feel free to add any not too rush-oriented rts games that someone with a distaste for pressure and no twitch skills can handle.

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July 24th, 2007, 05:31
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
[…]still reading the tutorial on Dominions 3. (This is the one with the 300 page manual, isn't it? But I like it I get the feeling that 'immersive' is an understatement on this one. )

The Civ IV x-pak demo is nice, but I would want to go back to a little earlier time frame for a start position—which I'm sure the actual game allows, right? It's a little pricey atm as well since I would also have to get the main game. Would it be better as well as cheaper to start earlier in the series, say Civ II or III, or is IV a really big improvement?
Yes, Dom3 comes with a 300 page manual, though half of it is made up of spell lists. What the tutorial doesn't teach you is how to create a pretender god, and that's a big part of the game.

As for Civ, yes you can start in earlier eras: the earliest starting date is something like 3500 BC. Civ 2 is the only one in the series I haven't played therefore I can't compare it with Civ 4, but I have played # 3 and 4 is infinitely superior in every way. I know there's a Civ 4 Gold edition that has been just released, containing the main Civ game and the first expansion, Warlords; if you're interested in buying Civ 4 it's best, in my opinion, to try and find a cheap copy of vanilla Civ 4 and not bother with Warlords. Then if you really like the game you could get the latest expansion, Beyond the Sword, which has just come out. It contains all the improvements from Warlords: the new units and wonders, the Great General, etc. You only lose the Warlords scenarios although beside the Chinese Unification one they were quite forgettable.
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July 24th, 2007, 06:17
supposedly they are bringing back paratroopers with beyond the sword—the best part of civ2!
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July 24th, 2007, 09:52
Well, I was thinking a bit and this gem came to mind: Conquest of the New World. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it'll run on XP (would have to try installing my own copy to see), but it's still a great game!
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July 24th, 2007, 13:19
I had never played much TBS until GamerDad recommended that I just *had* to play Civ IV … and I have absolutely loved it. The Warlords expansion was nice, but the upcoming Beyond the Sword looks magnificent with loads of options and new modes. Paratroopers and espionage and 'events' … cool stuff.

I also loved Anno 1701, though the combat is really pretty weak. Not a big distraction though, the overall game is quite good.

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July 24th, 2007, 13:59
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
Thanks for all the input. I have three demos I'm working through now, and still reading the tutorial on Dominions 3. (This is the one with the 300 page manual, isn't it? But I like it I get the feeling that 'immersive' is an understatement on this one. )
I was going to add Dominions to the list this morning, but I see you're already on to it!

@ Gallifrey: Played through the four tutorials of the 1701 demo—it has quite the addictive feel to it. I liked the look of the Knights of Honour title as well. I also had Stronghold at one point but couldn't get into it. Think I gave it away.
1701 is addictive. It's just the right balance of casual and strategic gameplay, and the graphics, sound and music are really well done. It's just a great game to play. Combat in city builder games is always weak, I never expect it to be otherwise, but it plays such a small role it's not really worth spending the time on.
Do check out Knights Of Honour. I've played the heck out of it and always enjoyed it immensely. While everything happens in real-time, it's not fast paced and you can slow it down to a real crawl if you need to. But you'll see armies moving and have time to respond accordingly, you don't get mobbed by gangs in the RTS fashion (it's not at all rush-oriented). Battles are fought in real-time, but you can pause and command, or just use an auto-resolve to skip the control completely, and the autoresolve is quite fair in how it governs the battle.
The graphics are quite nice and the music is about the best I've ever heard in a PC game.

Originally Posted by Cormac View Post
…. I have played # 3 and 4 is infinitely superior in every way.
I don't really agree. I far prefer the look of Civ3, I find it has a lot more character whereas Civ4 is pretty bland. Although I do like the extra map details (like showing cottages and towns and other improvements) but I just find the 3D art style dull. Civ4 is immensely better in how it handles the border expansion of cities as it loses that stupid X shape expansion in favour of a more realistic spread. In terms of the interface, I'm on the fence over that one. I get a more hands-off feeling from Civ4, but then I'm still very new to it. I really miss the tech tree layout for research that Civ3 had. Having just a list of items to research without seeing where they go is annoying, as is being unable to just click on your target research and your queue being filled with the proper research path.

I think I'll need to start a new game. My current Russian empire is just breezing through everything. I'm not sure what difficulty I set the game at, but it's been really easy. I think I put it at the same level I always played Civ3 at, and there it gave me a challenge. Right now, I just build Culture improvements and gradually expand my empire, and everybody likes me, even if I swallow up one of their cities.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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July 24th, 2007, 16:06
I can recommend AoW: SM as well (stands for Age of Wonders : Shadow Magic, and is a standard abbreviation used by fans).

If you plan to buy it, look out at the unofficial patch 1.4 at aow.heavengames !
The most recent official patch is 1.3, but the unofficial 1.4 got at least an "okay" by both Triumph and Take2.
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July 24th, 2007, 16:26
I totally neglected to mention the historical strategy games from Slitherine. They've done a whole bunch - Legion (Gold), Legion: Arena (and the Cult Of Mithras expansion), Chariots Of War, Spartan and Gates Of Troy.
Legion is a grand strategy turn-based game set in the ancient Roman period, Chariots Of War is the ancient Middle East and Spartan and it's sequel/expansion Gates Of Troy are pretty self explanatory. Legion: Arena takes the combat model from Legion and beefs it up to include more customization and personalization of your legions, but it's more a war game, there's no diplomacy or empire management element. You essentially take your armies from one battle scenario to the next.

Out of the larger strategy games, Spartan and Gates Of Troy are the best, with the most features and are the most fully realised of the series.
In these games, you do the usual empire management things, make sure your resources are kept up, people are happy, that sort of thing. Cities have limited building areas so you have to decide which ones will specialise in what areas, and some cities have resources you need, so you'll need to expand and conquer.
Battles are real-time, but you lay out your unit positions, assign formations and marching orders before starting the battle. Once the battle has started, you have very limited control (you can rally, retreat or a charge), which I really like, it's more realistic than the Total War model where you can control nearly every footstep of your army if you want, which is kind of silly.
Diplomacy is a bit on the passive side. You can send diplomats to other empires and try to achieve various things, and the longer they stay the more experienced they get and can carry out greater acts of diplomacy. So you don't spend any time personally managing discussions, but the effects are there nonetheless.

The games aren't that impressive in the graphics department but they are perfectly adequate. Music is on the bland side though, and there isn't a lot of fiddly in-depth stuff that can really pull you into the game, but it still has that one more turn feeling.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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