RTS and strategy games | Strategy genre
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If you are seeking games that truly challenge your strategic thinking and planning, look no further than the strategy genre. From the original games that laid the foundation to modern masterpieces, these titles eschew mindless action and quick reflexes in favor of methodical decision-making and astute tactics. Prepare to immerse yourself in a world where careful strategy and sharp thinking are the keys to achieving victory as you navigate complex maps, manage resources, and outmaneuver opponents in the best strategy games.
What is a strategy video game?
At its core, this kind of game offers battles against AI or other players in multiplayer mode, where the player has to make important, strategic decisions to achieve victory against the opponent. For example, the player has to build his base, defend it, and destroy the base of the enemy. Strategy games include gameplay types such as high-level strategy, logistics, and resource management. At first glance, it may not look like the strategy genre offers very enjoyable games, but for those craving tactics and brain teasers, this genre is where those players strive the most. Join legions of strategy enthusiasts and witness the charm of strategy games firsthand!
What are the kinds of strategy video games?
There are several kinds of such games, and we present you the most important sub-genres:
- 4X.In this kind of strategy, the player has to control an empire. 4X means “explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate”, which are the main objectives the player has to achieve while playing 4X games. They are known for deep, complex gameplay, taking emphasis on economic and technological development. These games take a lot of time to complete because of a huge amount of micromanagement while sustaining your empire. The most notable 4X games are Sid Meier's Civilization and the Total War series, which also strives to be historically accurate PC games;
- MOBA. Also known as multiplayer online battle arena, MOBA is a kind of PC strategy game that is exclusively played in online mode. Each player controls a single character with unique abilities that are improved over the course of a game. In MOBA games, players have to work together to destroy the enemy's base. MOBA games are a fusion of real-time strategy, RPG, and action games. The most notable MOBA games are Heroes of the Storm, Dota 2, and League of Legends;
- RTS. Exclusive to PC, RTS, or real-time strategy games, offer battles in real-time, where the player has to make important decisions and actions in the state of always changing battle conditions and game state. In RTS games, you have to obtain resources, build bases, research technologies, and produce units. Some of the best RTS games include Warcraft, StarCraft, Company of Heroes, Command & Conquer, Offworld Trading Company, and Age of Empires;
- TBS. Turn-based strategy games, or TBS, as a genre was discovered with a need to distinguish their games from other titles. In TBS games, the player is allowed to analyze the state of battle before committing to game action. The most notable TBS games are Civilization, Heroes of Might and Magic, and Advance Wars. They are often called war strategy games;
- TBT. Turn-based tactics, also known as tactical turn-based games are a kind of strategy video game where a player has an option to stop the action in order to consider the circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics. They are usually of a smaller scale than strategic considerations of turn-based games. The most notable TBT games are XCOM, Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Fire Emblem;
- Management simulation. Also known as construction simulation games, this kind of strategy game offers players to build and maintain various objects: cities, theme parks, restaurants, zoos, and many more. Management simulation games are about economic planning and not about warfare. The most notable management simulation games are Cities: Skylines, Transport Fever, and Tycoon games.
- Deck-building games. Deck-building video games offer a unique blend of strategy and customization, allowing players to construct and refine their own decks of cards to overcome challenges. Dive into the addictive gameplay of deck-building games, where you strategically acquire and manage cards, craft powerful synergies, and adapt your strategies on the fly. Whether battling AI opponents or engaging in thrilling multiplayer matches, these card-collecting games provide endless possibilities, strategic layer, and a satisfying sense of progression as you fine-tune your deck and conquer your foes. Most notable titles include Slay the Spire, Hearthstone, Marvel's Midnight Suns, Inscryption, and Magic: The Gathering Arena.
Why are strategy games so popular?
This kind of video game is popular among players due to its nature which forces sharp thinking and important decision-making. Especially well-liked are grand strategy video games because they let players immerse themselves into the shoes of a war general, which is an opportunity that, for many people, is very appealing. Many strategy games also include a map editor, which allows one to edit existing maps and create new ones. Turn-based tactics games, such as the XCOM series, are very admired because they let players control a team of fighters in turn-based battles against an alien threat. Every movement of every team member is strategized by the player, which lets them experience total control of a battlefield. That's just another reason why this kind of game is very popular.
What strategy games should I play?
There are a lot of good and attention-worthy games that have been released throughout history, but we present you with the most significant series:
- Warcraft. Made in 1994, this series by Blizzard is known as one of the most important franchises in the history of best strategy games. Warcraft games are set in a fantasy world with fantasy races, magic, and endless conflicts. The third installment Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002) is considered one of the best games of its kind on the market, it even was remade as Warcraft III: Reforged. Furthermore, the biggest MMORPG series of all time, World of Warcraft is set in Warcraft's universe;
- StarCraft. Another popular RTS series by Blizzard, StarCraft is like Warcraft set in space. Since 1998, this series is one of the best RTS space games, which takes place in a sci-fi setting offering a sprawling campaign;
- Civilization. Since 1991, Civilization is considered as the biggest series of turn-based strategies and 4X sub-genres. Made by MicroProse, Activision, and Firaxis, this series is known and praised not only by hardcore players but by the older generation as well;
- XCOM. Probably the most important series of turn-based tactics, XCOM was started in 1994 by MicroProse. Much later, in 2012, the series was resurrected by Firaxis Games, and it's still praised as one of the best strategic games offering turn-based tactical battles;
- Total War. A grand-strategy type of series by Creative Assembly, with the first installment released in 2000. To this day, the Total War series is known for its redefined approach to the management of grand battles. There are a lot of different kinds of Total War games, including Total War Warhammer, Total War Rome, Shogun Total War, and a lot of spin-offs;
- League of Legends. Released in 2009 by Riot Games, LoL is known as the most popular MOBA type of game. With League of Legends, get ready for breathtaking battles in huge arenas. Rise against your opponents and achieve victory! After all these years, LoL isn't showing any signs of stopping.
- Marvel's Midnight Suns. Marvel's Midnight Suns combine the iconic Marvel universe with strategic card battle combat. As a member of the Midnight Suns, a team of supernatural heroes, you'll engage in thrilling turn-based battles, utilizing powerful abilities and teamwork to save the world from the clutches of darkness. With a captivating story, a diverse roster of Marvel characters, and stunning visuals, get ready to embark on an epic adventure where you'll uncover the secrets of the night and unleash your inner hero;
- Command & Conquer. Get ready to command your forces and conquer the battlefield in the legendary Command & Conquer series. From the classic real-time strategy games that defined the genre to the thrilling modern adaptations, immerse yourself in the relentless warfare and strategic brilliance that has captivated gamers for decades. Plan your every move, assemble formidable armies, and unleash devastating tactics as you vie for supremacy across diverse and treacherous landscapes. With iconic factions, intense multiplayer battles, and gripping storytelling, Command & Conquer delivers an unparalleled experience that will leave you hooked, strategizing your way to victory one epic battle at a time.
Here are just some of the most popular and beloved games, check them out, and you might find your next favourite strategy game!
History of strategy games
The origin of these games is rooted in traditional tabletop games like Chess, Go, and miniature wargaming. Take a look at the most important events of this genre:
- The 1970s and 1980s. The very first strategy game for consoles was called Invasion (1972), released for the Magnavox Odyssey system. Reach for the Stars (1983) was one of the first 4X games, which emphasized economic growth, technological progress, and conquest. Herzog Zwei (1989) is often considered the first real-time strategy game;
- The 1990s. The genre of games was popularized by Dune II (1992). The creator of the game, Brett Sperry, came up with the name "real-time strategy." From this point, RTS games started to emphasize the importance of time management. StarCraft (1998) by Blizzard had more than 11 million copies sold worldwide by February 2009 and is known as one of the best-selling games for PC.
- The 2000s. Another huge influence, the original game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002) added RPG elements and hero units. Not only the biggest MMORPG franchise is set in Warcraft's universe, but also its mod, Defense of the Ancients, is known for creating one of the most popular games in existence, Dota 2. Another important series of the genre, Total War, started in 2000 and has sold over 20 million copies, becoming one of the most successful series of strategy games of all time.