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Turn-Based Games: What Happened?

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the itchy-trigger-finger dept.

Games 251

WarSpite self-promotes: "Over at Firingsquad we have an editorial on the fate of turn-based gaming. We explore how real-time games have taken over from their slower brethren, some of the consequences therein, and try to find the answer to that universal question - "why?" At the least it's an interesting read which gets the brain going - feel free to check it out."

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Re:"which gets the brain going" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#406471)

You're assuming that people are using the same amount of strategy in an RTS that they are in a TBG. Not a chance! Go look at half the games of StarCraft or RedAlert being played. It's cookie-cutter strategy (if you could even call it strategy). Face it, RTS games lose almost all elements of strategy as everyone just fumbles with the controls to pump out units to rush the other guy. It may be fun for some, but TBG have WAY more strategy involved and for some of us, that's much more interesting. For some of these RTS games, you might as well just pull out a joystick and control your units like an arcade game.

Re:fp (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#406472)

Turn-Based Games: What Happened?

Somebody set up us the bomb !!

Re:Xcom? (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 12 years ago | (#406484)

No way. I squandered months at a time playing XCOM: Terror from the Deep. Still play it sometimes, actually.

Re:Chess ... (1)

BHS_Turf (8387) | more than 12 years ago | (#406485)

Not only chess, but all games based on board games are usually turn-based and not likely to improve drastically through a real-time makeover.

SSI D&D Games (1)

jeremyphillips (17237) | more than 12 years ago | (#406496)

I can remember growing up playing the SSI D&D games on my C64... Man, those were the days... Everytime you go into a new sector or encounter, changing the 5-1/4...

My friends and I used to play together - sitting around the computer taking turns controlling our characters... Man, those were the days...

Even old paper role-playing games aren't nearly as popular as they were... Even during the whole satanic/suicide days of the 80's w/ D&D, you always could find lots of people who played...

Recently, I started playing AD&D again with a bunch of friends; old school geeks... We've noticed we play totally different then when we were younger. We're VERY cautious, and over analyze everything. We're not as gung-ho as we used to be, running into encounters, swords raised, screaming a barbaric YALP! Now we argue for two hours at each door checking for traps, listening, thinking how to best handle what could be on the other side of the door. When we reach a room and the DM describes the contents, we analyze everything about the description, from the order info was given to the tense in which words were used... Man, I'm way too anal... :-p


Re:I prefer turn based war games... (1)

Ronin75 (21473) | more than 13 years ago | (#406498)

I'm with you. Since I got the first HoMM years ago, other games have only been installed for short amounts of time before I go back to Heroes. I buy the upgrades as soon as they come out. The series just has the staying power. :)

Re:Xcom? (1)

tono (38883) | more than 12 years ago | (#406501)

ahh just days.. I spent the better part of a year battling the sectoids and aquamen.. Still at the top of my list of best games ever. Also there, the original Master of Orion, it was reviewed as Civ in space but it was very different.. Better in my opinion.

What a coinceidence (1)

thomkt (59664) | more than 12 years ago | (#406505)

Several of my friends and I have just started playing X-Com again, and email each other "battle reports".

this is pretty easy... (1)

mrwiz (74631) | more than 12 years ago | (#406512)

Turn based games have fallen in popularity for 1 main reason: A real opponent is more interesting / challenging than a computer AI. When you add to this the fact that MOST turn based multiplayer games require one player to act while everyone else sits around, you see why turn based games aren't popular. In their old "I go, then you go" form, they take too long to hold the interest of any but the most hard core gamer.

If turn based games are going to make a resurgance, they will need to speed up the time between turns and let the players feel like they can always interact with one another and not waste their time. Games like Combat Mission [] have the right idea... Instead of an "I go, you go" format, they do a "we go" format, where both sides enter orders at the same time, then see the results of those orders, repeat. This way the games move along at a decent clip and you can always talk to the other players or tell them to hurry up. ;)

Anyways, turn based games remain a niche market from their lack of engrossing multi-player. No one wants to spend 8 hours to play one game of heroes of might and magic.

Kicking... (1)

airos4 (82561) | more than 12 years ago | (#406517)

Personally, I hate RTS games. Generals have huge staffs to coordinate battles, and so far I've not seen an AI intelligent enough to make a tactical decision I approved of or that even fit my battle plans. I hate trying to scoll over an entire front, or even two fronts, and see/control everything. This is why I love games like X-Com and Alpha Centauri.. because I can take my sweet time making sure everything is going as I would have it if I had the ability to delegate to an adjutant, and then I can hit the button. PS -- Multiplayer on AC is great, because if you have two computers networked both people can take their turn at the same time. Then you both hit the button, it thinks for a moment, and then comes back with results.

Re:Neverwinter Nights or death!! (1)

Kishar (83244) | more than 12 years ago | (#406518)

Odd that you should mention Bioware.
Most feel that their games are NOT a butchery of AD&D (Let's count Game Of The Year awards, starting with Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment, shall we?). Also interesting is that you bring up NWN, which is the FIRST BlackIsle/Bioware D&D-based game that is NOT turn-based. All of the Infinity engine games were a mixture of both real-time and turn-based elements. The user selected the level of turn-based-ness(?), and could pause at will.

I only mention it because Infinity Engine games, with the ability to play in turn-based mode are MUCH closer to PnP D&D than NWN will be. (though the presence of a judge/DM is a great addition), and yet you praise moving D&D into real-time as "redeeming themselves".
One has to chuckle.

Re:the answer: (1)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 12 years ago | (#406525)

opponents who can't process a hundred million floating point operations per second.

You sure about that? I've that on some level our brains can do the same sort of calculations as computers, we just cannot express them in words. It's an interesting theory, but that's all it is, a theory.

Re:End began when joystick button moved to right s (1)

Trepalium (109107) | more than 12 years ago | (#406526)

Even more to that, back in the A2600 days, games that involved shooting enemies generally made it so that pressing the button and releasing rapidly fired one shot, but pressing and holding the button initiated a rapid fire. Now with the Nintendo and newer consoles and systems, pressing the button and holding it either has no effect or serves a secondary purpose, so gamers buy expensive replacement controllers that implement pseudo rapid fire via the chips in the controller rather than the software in the console.

Re:Short attention spans (1)

Khopesh (112447) | more than 12 years ago | (#406528)

most definately. more and more people nowadays are diagnosed (or could/should be) with ADD. Take a look at today's 900mph children's television shows, both educational (like sesame street) and not (like pokemon), and you will find some REALLY fast-paced programming. the gaming industry seems to have picked up on this trend (faster=hold attention longer).

I happen to love turn-based games. If my heart starts pounding faster, I simply play it faster. ...And I'm one of those coulda/shoulda been diagnosed with ADD. go figure.


Re:Short attention spans (1)

Khopesh (112447) | more than 12 years ago | (#406529)

Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I'm bored! Can we go home now?


Re:It's simple. (1)

Forrestina (120989) | more than 12 years ago | (#406533)

oh... just a coupl... ah shit, thats a lie :)

i even took my laptop with me when i visited a friend in seattle, so i could play alpha centauri. just TRY not to be adicted...

p.s. it's been coming for linux forever. when is it gonna be here...


Re:Right on! But... (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 13 years ago | (#406537)

It is? []


Alpha Centauri (1)

gengee (124713) | more than 12 years ago | (#406539)

It's alive and well. Alpha Centauri, anyone?
signature smigmature

RTS kills a good game (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 12 years ago | (#406540)

I remember an old Interplay (I think it was Interplay) turn-based strategy game called MAX. Wonderful game. I got great at figuring out the weak points in a base - there was a massive amount of interconnection, so that if the base wasn't very well designed, you could often cause an entire base to grind to a halt with just a few good shots. And of course you could sit there for hours figuring out the precise right points to hit.

Unfortunately, MAX 2 was real-time, and sucked. So much for that . . .

From what I saw of it, Fallout: Tactics suffered from its realtime mode (note: I only played the demo. This may have changed.) Opportunity fire just wasn't reliable enough for turnbased, yet realtime offered no "pause" key. If they'd just chosen to do one, it would have been far better.

Some of the best games ever were turn-based (1)

tphockenberry (126512) | more than 12 years ago | (#406541)

and the report of their death is a bit premature. Pool of Radiance 2 is in the works, as is another installment of Master of Orion (which I assume will be turn based since the prequels were), and so will Wizardry 8. Plus, I doubt we've seen the last of long-running successful series' such as Warlords or Might and Magic.

Re:cant share the machine???? (1)

Acrucis (132401) | more than 12 years ago | (#406548)

Yup, you can play Warlords in realtime over the Internet. But you can take turns playing it on the same machine (without multiple logins to the machine) if the players are all in the same place IRL and have only one computer at their disposal. If you think two people can sit close enough to share a GUI real-time games don't allow for multiple players at one console.

Why? (1)

dcollins (135727) | more than 12 years ago | (#406550)

how real-time games have taken over from their slower brethren, some of the consequences therein, and try to find the answer to that universal question - "why?"

I'd suggest that this "universal question" is analagous to the question "why have the talkies taken over from their silent-movie brethren?"

Who wouldn't prefer to have continually-progressing fun, instead of in bits and spurts that are locked into turn increments? Particularly if we consider the emergence of the internet, and the realization and possibilities of multiplayer interaction, then turn-based games suffer even more since they guarantee that some player(s) will be spending time simply waiting for the turn, and not playing.

It wasn't obvious 15 years ago, but real-time games are simply better material for computers -- it took us a while to realize it, since all (non-athletic) games were turn-based prior to the advent of computers.

I was about to reply... (1)

mashy (135839) | more than 12 years ago | (#406551)

but now that idea seems too slow

something realtime would suit me better, think I'll play Unreal instead

Re:turn-based games (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 12 years ago | (#406560)

As far as war games go, while overall turn-based strategy is good, there is one big thing going for real-time over turn-based. It's more realistic. It's a totally different experience to say "Hmm... Flank of Panzer's coming down, better move this this and this into place" whereas in real-time, like it would be in a real war it's a case of "Oh shit! Where the **** is my backup!" as you get pummeled to death by shells. It's more visceral and war games, which face it, Starcraft, Warcraft and all that lot are, are just far more visceral than any turnbased game. Such is the nature of war.


Re:"which gets the brain going" (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 13 years ago | (#406561)

Starcraft, a "crappy RTS game"? What are smoking dude?! I mostly loathe RTS games. They are boring and derivative. Take Tiberian Sun (please!), that game had 1 innovative feature (random map generator) and bog all gameplay. Total Annihilation has a mass of user created addon's but to run huge wars needs a ninjascopic PC. Starcraft is a masterpiece of the genre. As gameplay experiences go I would rank it behind Half Life and just ahead of Transport Tycoon.

Don't go dissin' the craft man, you know know not of what you speak.


Re:Planetarion (1)

M. Silver (141590) | more than 12 years ago | (#406564)

Somebody set us up the bomb

Planetarion get signal! (For great justice.)

Re:Different genres (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 13 years ago | (#406565)

ARCHON!!!!!!!!! Oh man that was a great game. Running up to the phoenix with the goblin, hitting him, then running away before he could flame you...

I don't buy RPGs anymore for exactly this reason. (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#406567)

Ever since encountering the load of bullshit that is Baulders Gate I have refused to buy any of the modern "rpgs".

In fact, as far as I am concerned, a real true RPG has not been released since Fallout 2, end of the story.

Goldbox games have alot more playability in them today then Baulders Gate, simply because GoldBox games ROCK. Period. Baulders Gate reduced combat down to pointless "click him before he clicks you" combat and relies on advanced knowledge of the enemies possesion to win. Excuse me, mega powerful wizard teleports in and frags your party, oops, to bad! Reload, make sure you have a spell lined up and ready to go the second he beams in. That is NOT strategy, that is bullshit. Strategy is spending TWO HOURS defeating hoards of creatures. Role Playing is stepping into the shoes of a Dwarven Warrior and kicking an entire armies ass (with the help from a few Mages, Paladines, and Clerics of course!)

Whats more, as shown in Interplays game Dragon Wars (which totaly rocks BTW, and is the most non-linear game I have seen yet) Role Playing is taking the part of either good OR evil and screwing things up how YOU want to screw with them. You should never just throw a player in a dungion and say "go through it". Hell, my charecters are smarter then that (they should be, I rolled them some nice INT dice) and will go AROUND THE DAMN MOUNTINE OF ULTIMATE DOOM THINGY OF PAIN WHATCHAMACOLITE.

Fallout tactics is not tactical at all, the orginal two Fallout games had ALOT of Tactics in them, but the new Fallout Tactics doesn't even tell you how many movement points a move is going to take! DOH, who forgot THAT one eh? Shit, that is SO FUCKING OBVIOUS. If you are going to charge the player points to move THEN ALWAYS TELL THEM AHEAD OF TIME HOW MANY POINTS IT WILL TAKE TO MOVE DAMNIT.

Sorry, that one still gets to me, can't stand that horrible blunder, shit, so friggin obvious people!

Oh yah, and one more note.

If the charecters are all predefined ::COUGH:: Final Fantasy 7+ ::COUGH:: then it is not Role Playing. Role Playing is making a charecter and using it, not reading what amounts to glorified sub-titles in a poorly done movie.

Who says I *WANT* my charecter to have some secret hidious background? Criminies, that is the auther playing the role for me. If I want ot pretend to be a depressed psycho I don't need to spend $300 on a consol and $40 on a CD for that! I can just close my eyes and pretend I am cutting my wrists, saves alot of money! Sheesh, leave some room for a LITTLE bit of imagination in modern so called "rpgs". Until you do, those quotes around rpg arn't going nowheres!

Re:wtf? (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 12 years ago | (#406578)

It didn't, but it does have a games [] section.

Re:this is pretty easy... (1)

caffeinated_bunsen (179721) | more than 12 years ago | (#406580)

>No one wants to spend 8 hours to play one game of heroes of might and magic. Maybe not, but I have repeatedly spent entire days playing Steel Panthers III and Master of Orion. In fact, the only games I've been playing lately are Counter Strike and MOO. Even in CS, I prefer the times when strategy apply. Rushing and shooting like hell is fun for a few mintues, but it gets old really quick. The real fun is when you have a slower game going, and you actually have time to think about where your targets might be, and how best to attack them.

"One should consider free-look mode only as a breathing-time, which gives one leisure to contrive, and prepare to execute, military plans." - Apologies to Niccolo Machiavelli

Re:this is pretty easy... (1)

caffeinated_bunsen (179721) | more than 12 years ago | (#406581)

D'OH! Forgot that first <P&gt tag. Well, I'm a dumbass.

Little Ironies (1)

JPrice (181921) | more than 12 years ago | (#406582)

I think one of the most ironic things in the "death of turn based games" is that many of the gamers who have abandoned turn based games for RTS are the same people that will spend hours playing a game of Chess or Go with friends

Re:Xcom? (1)

JPrice (181921) | more than 12 years ago | (#406583)

The article did mention them, actually. But yes... I installed the original X-Com a few months ago and spent many hours playing it. Lately I've been playing Jagged Alliance 2 incessantly. Screw real-time ;)

Re:Turn based games dying? (1)

JPrice (181921) | more than 12 years ago | (#406584)

It's not that turn based games are decreasing, it's just that real time games are increasing.

Arguably because it takes a lot less effort to slap some new units onto a Star Craft engine and call it a new game than it does to produce a genuinely interesting turn-based strategy.

Wow (1)

Mike the Mac Geek (182790) | more than 12 years ago | (#406585)

I actually miss these. Especially turn based RPGs. Everything now is all action oriented.

For a good game, and if you have a PSX, pick up Final Fantasy Tactics, if you can find it. Turnbased, strategy, and a very involving storyline.

Re:Short attention spans SOLUTION (1)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 13 years ago | (#406587)

Perhaps we should all drag out our C64's from the closet, dust them off, and let the youngn's learn to wait for a 1540 floppy load Bard's Tale for a while. Let them understand that speed and reactionary time isn't all there is to gaming.
"What? No mouse!"

Stomp (1)

brownjim (187520) | more than 12 years ago | (#406588)

If I'm playing a turn based game with my brother over the internet and he decides to get a coke or take a bathroom break, I'm waiting forever.

In a RTS game when he's in the bathroom, he get stomped into the ground!!! I win, therefore I like RTS, I can hold my own!

Chess - An unsuccessful example? (1)

Jantastic (196238) | more than 12 years ago | (#406596)

Interesting point, I guess.
I really enjoyed games like X-Com, Civ, and the text based Zork on my C64 back in the day. I think there still is a future for TB games, if the TB aspect is used functionally. Try playing chess without it for instance, in my opinion the ultimate TB game. Don't tell me this one doesn't count, lots of people play it in some sort of digital form; via e-mail, 2D, 3D, battlechess, etc. Does it really matter that it doesn't generate zillions of money for a company?
I could also think of lots of examples in which sharing the same game space in different points in time could add value to a(n existing) game.
But then again, I won't, so I don't.

We haven't even started burying the artificial dinosaur skeletons yet - HHGG

From Model to Code (1)

robbway (200983) | more than 12 years ago | (#406598)

Turn-based games probably got their start because programmers were coding boardgames into computer and video games. Turn-based model yields turn-based code. The switch to real-time type games is only in games that were originally always represented in turns because of pencil and paper, but actually model a more analog-style play (RPGs are prime examples). Turn-based games (board games, game shows) are maintaining their model.


"which gets the brain going" (1)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | more than 12 years ago | (#406602)

I think many turn based games have been replaced by more brain taxing RTS games. Part of the difficulty in RTS games is coming up with descisions rapidly, much more than turn based games. Take chess for example. If you dont have a timer a person may go through every consequence and decide if its a good move (supported by this statement on page 4 "TBGs are very time-consuming. To plan out all the moves of your characters in an SSI gold box game, or to move every trooper in X-Com, or (especially) to plot the movement of divisions and corps in a war-game - that's brutal work."). That might bring a bad chess player up to someone who can make the descision in a second. Stick on a timer and the better person will win. Well a RTS game is like that except of course timed chess isn't really RTS but if they had it I'm sure it would get the brain goin a little more =D A level of pressure can also be added, and also visual intensity. So a simple answer to your question, they were replaced by better games. So I fail to see a "problem" with the dissapearing TB games.

Re:I don't know about you, but turn based rocks (1)

minusthink (218231) | more than 12 years ago | (#406608)

Just wanted to throw in my favorite independent TurnBased company Matrix Games [] .

So far they released a rewrite of Steel Panthers, with update features, etc. The game is high quality.
minusthink [Code poet or super hero? (you decide)]

Re:Planetarion (1)

fatmantis (218867) | more than 12 years ago | (#406609)

From the manual:

2024 Taurus Colony Set-up on Earths Moon, 15,000 Men, Women and children emigrate there. War was begining. Somebody set us up the bomb. The first Lunar Mining Plant is commissioned by the EEC (Eon Energy Commission) and they make a discovery that will change the future of mankind forever, a metallic compound similar to mercury in a vein of rock 1.7 miles below the surface.

Personally.... (1)

espresso_now (219443) | more than 12 years ago | (#406611)

I really never cared much at all for turn-based gaming. It's so much more fun to just run into a room shooting at everthing that moves....

Re:It is pretty obvious.. (1)

kodiar (226287) | more than 12 years ago | (#406616)

Pre-chewed? I take my cake IV.

Why turn based games are being left behind (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#406617)

I think that there are two major reasons that turn based games are being forgotten amidst the deluge of real time games saturating the market.

1. Bigger, faster, cheaper LANs and fast internet access. Because more and more people are getting a LAN in their home and millions have reasonably fast internet access, it's feasable to write a game that allows people to interact over a network in real time without much lag. The publishers probably think that we would never settle for and older style of gaming whose dynamics were influenced by older technology. What's the point of sitting at your computer while the person on the other side of the 'net is making their moves when there's more than enough bandwidth to do it in real time?

2. More powerful computers. Again, in the years when turn based games were more common, the computers were often not capable of handling more than one player in real time. It was too complicated and there just wasn't enough horsepower in the 16 bit processors.

And is all this a good thing? I say that it's neither good or bad. The gaming world goes through phases and waves for most generes and styles. For example we're near the peak of the RPG cycle. They will eventually die out in popularity and then come back again as they always have. I predict the same thing will happen with turn based games. Sooner or later, developers and consumers will get tired of making/playing the action, RPG and other games that are common today. They'll look for something fresh. And turn-based games and well as adventure games and other generes that are currently in a drought phase will experience rebirth.

It's all a cycle. Gaming generes don't permenantly die. There's a nice little cycle of temporary death and rebirth that refreshes the market.

O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Law:

turn based aint dead yet (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 12 years ago | (#406618)

For starters, there is still literally millions of AD&D geeks out there. Secondly turn based is completely different playstyle than RTS. RTS forces the player to mke decisions in real time vs planning. Perhaps there should be a new hybrid TBRTS (turn based real time strategy) that applies to most new stuff. A good example of a TBRTSFPS (turn based real time strategy first person shooter) would be counterstrike or even rainbow 6. Both games have turns where people can sit and wait and plan stuff out......

Sorry folks sorta forgot where i was goin with this, but i think you get the picture, turn based isnt going anywhere, just its gaming characteristics will be brought into some of the newer games coming out.


Turns has just gotten really short (1)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 12 years ago | (#406619)

Real time turn based games? How is that possible? Theres no turn base in CS in the normal "you make a move, your opponent makes a move, you move again..." sense, its all seemingly simultanious movement by all parties. And from personal experience, I know that if you wait around and do any significant amount of planning you're dead before you can say "Get in position".

IMO it's not so much that turn-based games have declined, its just that the turns now take milliseconds. Obviously, a computer can't calculate the results of all players movements and actions at the same time, its simply done in so little time that you are basically taking 1000/(your ping in milliseconds) turns per second; couple that with some neat tricks in the programming department and you get the illusion that you are engaged in fluid motion.

"// this is the most hacked, evil, bastardized thing I've ever seen. kjb"

Re:Alpha Centauri (1)

Unstablist (231412) | more than 12 years ago | (#406620)

Don't forget Civ III, coming eventually, somewhere.
-The Unstablist

Re:It's simple. (1)

skt (248449) | more than 12 years ago | (#406627)

I really like both types, but I find that turn based games tend to be more fun. The entire final fantasy series has traditionally used turn-based combat and final fantasy games are some of the most sucessful RPG games for consoles. Towards the end, they started to use some kind of hybrid combat system that was between real-time and turn-based. There are real-time combat RPG games for consoles such as zelda (which I haven't played much of), but I have always prefered the relaxed, turn-based nature of the FF series.

On the PC, I loved both Fallout I and Fallout II. Both games are very well done and have excellent artwork. But now I'm playing DiabloII which is equally as good, but of course it has real-time combat.

Baldur's gate is a weird game in that it uses real-time combat, but to stand any kind of chance in the game you have to pause all of the time since you control so many guys. I really didn't like that system as well, but it's an interesting way of handling real-time combat when you have several people under your control. Most other RPGs would have turned their control over to AI.

Re:It is pretty obvious.. (1)

skt (248449) | more than 12 years ago | (#406628)

I would agree that most network games are better with realtime combat systems, but turn-based games definitely have their places on consoles and PCs for single player games. The fact that they are slower is great for when you just want to relax and veg out in front of the TV w/ your playstation and copy of FF7.

This isn't just about games. (1)

megaduck (250895) | more than 12 years ago | (#406630)

The same market forces work on other art forms too. Scott McCloud [] came to some similar conclusions about comic books. In his book Reinventing Comics [] he examines how a single genre (superhero comics) took over the industry. Same story, different day. (1)

Evil Adrian (253301) | more than 12 years ago | (#406631) was a great turn based game. It's not that old, but I always thought it was a shame that it didn't catch on. But, I don't think computer games are as fun as games you play face to face with other people. Nothing beats a long session of Vampire LARP or Diplomacy.

evil adrian

Re:Short attention spans SOLUTION (1)

Bwuce Pewwens (261192) | more than 12 years ago | (#406635)

Umm, actually trolling and fishing [] have a lot in common.







Oh *that* kind of trolling...

Life is real time. (1)

derf77 (265283) | more than 12 years ago | (#406637)

It simply isn't realistic. Life doesn't pause for you and let you take a breather. Granted a lot of real time games suck (because they stress building crap and then rushing with everything.)

What we really need are more real time tactical games.

Neverwinter Nights or death!! (1)

derf77 (265283) | more than 12 years ago | (#406638)

It seems to me that Bioware butchered the AD&D franchise with Baldur's Gate 2. I mean, it's fun and all, but I demand dynamic games. It's good to see that they're redeeming themselves with Neverwinter Nights. [Oh come on, it's ontopic.. turnbased games.. get it?]

Re:Life is real time. (1)

derf77 (265283) | more than 12 years ago | (#406639)

Maybe the two styles of play could be married.. Have one player orchestrate a war, and have others fight the battles. Could make for an interesting and complex game, but it would be the best of both worlds!

Different genres (1)

Liquidated (300307) | more than 12 years ago | (#406641)

I'm really not sure where people are getting this idea that turn based Strategy games are dying off.

Take games such as Alpha Centauri, Combat mission, Heroes of might and magic, Age of wonders, Space Empires 4, Reach for the stars, Warlords and the descriminating gamer has plenty to choose from. Add to that pile, up coming classics CIV3, Stars!SuperNova and Master of Orion 3 and I just do not see TBS games going away anytime soon.

Real Time Strategy is no doubt a very popular format but realistically, it's Real Time Tactical gaming and a different game altogether. As a fan of both types of games, I can tell you that the requirements for each TBS and RTS are quite a bit different.

In most TBS games, a very real part of the game is long range planning. Since the player is given time to actually run through all the options, the complexity of the game can get very sophisticated.

With real time tactical games, you have very real restrictions on how much can be done in a set amount of time. What this does is force the designer to shrink the strategic portion of the game down to the bare minimum as to allow the player to concentrate on the immediate tactical situation.

I find both genres, when well done, to be a joy to play. At the same time one hardly can take over the reign of the other, as they are simply too divergent in their final goal.

I find Hybrids such as Shogun, which mixes a turn based stategic game with a fully realized RTS tactical module as a refreshing take on the scene. It's hardly a new idea (the original Star control had the same sort of dual genre) but with the surge of new gamers entering the scene via the starcrafts and Age of Empires I think the two tiered approach might well pick up new converts.


dead? no way (1)

crudmonky (301152) | more than 12 years ago | (#406643)

I am still losing lots of nights of sleep playing the civilizations series. The only choice I have to make is 1, 2, or 3. Once in a while I'll just have to pull out colonizations. Those were real games, screw this new crap coming out.

Fallout (1)

Mossfoot (310128) | more than 12 years ago | (#406649)

The new Fallout game, Brotherhood of Steel, is a game that can be turn based or real time, depending on how you want to play. It's also squad based like X-Com.

Bring it on, baby!

Good Turn-Based Game (1)

JEntwistle (316981) | more than 12 years ago | (#406654)

Solar Wars is a turn-based space strategy game, based in a distant solar system, with up to thirty orbiting planets. Starting with your home world, build up your ships and strategy. Scout out nearby worlds, send fleets of ships to attack or send annihilation bombs. Destroy opponents by setting hidden proximity bombs or pulse bombs. Play in single player mode, with computer opponents, or multiplayer mode, over the Internet. See how fast you can eliminate your opponents and dominate the entire solar system! tm

Re:what happened? (1)

Esperanto_Guy (319114) | more than 13 years ago | (#406657)

Tut via bazo est aperteni al nia!!

Turn Based Games (1)

musloth (319435) | more than 12 years ago | (#406658)

I think that the non-existence of modern turn-based games is due to the simple fact that they are a worthless form of entertainment. With the exception of the Final Fantasy Sagas (an anomaly of their class) turn-based action is (at least to me) boring and banal. Besides, who wants to wait when you can frag right away!

End began when joystick button moved to right side (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#406659)

In the old days, the button was always to the left of the joystick. Look at the Atari 2600. This was because game control was more important than pressing buttons, hence the stick was allocated to the right hand (as most peope are right handed). The Nintendo era reversed all this. All of a sudden the button(s) were on the right. And more and more buttons too. You scored well on these newer games just by slamming buttons faster. Skill? What skill? Boom---Boom---Boom for player 1, BoomBoomBoomBoomBoom for player 2. Player 2 wins. Skill. Yah right. And it's only getting worse. Today the "game" is only an annoying interlude to get you to the next FMV movie. Yeesh.

The Operational Art of Warfare - Century of War (2)

ggoebel (1760) | more than 12 years ago | (#406661)

What was that an article or a novella? Many valid and interesting points, but too too long.

If there are fewer turn based games (TBG's), then let me suggest a relatively recent release that was overlooked. Sure it's one of those wargames which the writer described as being a hopelessly small niche market. I'm not a war nut, I am becoming a "The Operational Art of Warfare - Century of War" (TOAW-CW) nut.

It is the wargamers' wargame. Practically every major offensive of the past century is represented in the scenario library. And if you like to play a game with a friend on your own schedule. TBG's can't be beat. Every other night I play a turn vs. one of the guys from work. Testing each other's prowess in various scenarios. This game could be played for years without exhausting the scenarios or growing bored. And as it ships with its own editor, you're free to create your own scenarios.

The first thing I did was turn the 3D view off, and settle into the informative 2D game view. The variety of units, formations, supply, combat and organizational tactics and strategies that can be mastered are a pleasure to delve into. And here is a game AI which is better on offense than defense...

You can find it for $19.95 at Gamestop []

Turn-based aren't dead... (2)

trims (10010) | more than 12 years ago | (#406664)

... they're just keeping a low-profile.

My favorite UNIX-based game is a turn-based game, XConq [] , which is a derivative of the old Empire and Conquest series.

The thing that keeps turn-based games alive is that a large number of people prefer strategy games. There are no real-time strategy games that I'm aware of. Game such as StarCraft, Total Annihilation, and other "gather-resources and make units" aren't strategy games, no matter what the marketing droids say. They're tactical games. Which is a whole 'nother ball of wax.

What I'm waiting for is someone to create the marriage of the 1st-person shooter with the real-time "strategy" game and requiring multi-person teams. Strategy requires a larger time-frame, and a broad view, something with our current generation of realtime games don't have, but turn-based ones have down cold.

(who knows more than a few people at MIT who almost didn't graduate because of an Xconq addiction...)

Re:Different genres (2)

hugg (22953) | more than 12 years ago | (#406668)

Yes, Star Control had a board game mixed with action sequence, but so did ... ARCHON way back in 1984! Sorry, had to invoke the '80's :)

Reality (2)

LS (57954) | more than 13 years ago | (#406671)

As technology advances, simulation and games get closer to being indistinguishable from everyday reality. I've heard the comment that gamers don't want reality, but I don't believe this. Players may not want realistic plot (though the Sims may show me to be incorrect), but they do want realistic gravity and reflections, and they also want realistic _time_ continuity.

When we are sitting in a holo-deck, are we going to want to take turns each time we do something? Turns are only a model of reality. Even though a single player and a computer can't do the work of an general and his staff (as the article states), players will step into the role of the characters and work with others in a massive online environment and become the general and his staff.


I don't know about you, but turn based rocks (2)

toast- (72345) | more than 12 years ago | (#406672)

There are some great 'independant' companies selling turn based games that are winning tons of awards:

Shrapnel Games []

This company sells tons of award winning games, such as "steel beasts".

Another such company is "Battlefront games" at BattleFront Games [] with games such as "Combat Mission"..

There are lots of turn-based game companes out there.. many of them may not be "big names" but the companies listed above are getting lots of press and business thanks to the power of the internet community.

Who knows, companies such as this may become much larger in little time.. Fans of turn based games won't be left out =)

Re:Life is real time. (2)

Wolfier (94144) | more than 12 years ago | (#406674)

But are realistic games necessarily more fun?

Re:Life is real time. (2)

SIGFPE (97527) | more than 12 years ago | (#406675)

Life doesn't pause for you and let you take a breather.
I think you're missing something. Turn based games aren't slower than real time. They're super compressed. Who wants to play a game like a strategtic war game at real time? Consider WWII. Assuming you play 3 hours a day it would take 48 years to finish. And I dread to think how long it would take to play Civilisation in real time.

Its simple! (2)

OmegaDan (101255) | more than 12 years ago | (#406678)

The reason turn based games are declining is uber-simple ... YOU SPEND HALF THE GAME WAITING.

I prefer turn based war games... (2)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 12 years ago | (#406680)

I got Heroes III Complete sitting on my desk, and it the game I play most often. They had a successful game, 2 expansions, and a series of standalone campaigns that seems to be selling. They are supposedly working on Heroes IV. Turn based games still exist, because some people prefer them. They are easier to write and have a following.

Re:dead? no way (2)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 13 years ago | (#406682)

And for the uninitiated in the genre, there is the venerable Freeciv [] , an open source implementation of the game and a damn fine one at that.


Re:Short attention spans (2)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 12 years ago | (#406683)

Erm... Ever heard of chess? Perhaps the ultimate turn-based game, been around for centuries, massively popular today, people make a living playing it... There's still plenty of room for turn-based games, it's just games developers are too busy with the whizz-bang graphics and copying what's popular. There are a few turn based games left (Heroes of Might and Magic for example) but nobody is going to release a killer turn-based game because they simply don't have the balls.


cant share the machine???? (2) (142825) | more than 12 years ago | (#406685)

Why can't you share the machine? Two people can sit close enough to share a keyboard.

You can play turn based games over the internet.

Re:Chess ... (2)

caffeinated_bunsen (179721) | more than 12 years ago | (#406688)

Chess is definitely not going to die in the near future. But computer game companies are not going to make millions of dollars selling it, either. In the eyes of those play everything the day it comes out and shelve it a week later, turn based games are nearly nonexistant. There is no question that lots of people still play turn based games. The question is if many people are still buying turn based games, or if many companies are still making them.

It is pretty obvious.. (2)

vectus (193351) | more than 12 years ago | (#406690)

The increase in bandwidth available to users has made networked games popular.. people can act at the same time, and it not only tests strategy, but reaction time, and ingenuity..

Games that take "turns" are to slow for the average user these days. We all want our cake now, and it pre-chewed for us to mitigate eating time..

The Operational Art of War (2)

jasamaman (221350) | more than 12 years ago | (#406693)

An excellent turn based game is the Operational Art of War. [] This game allows you to play out many battles that have taken place since World War 2. You can play against your friends via email with it's play by email (pbem - After you finish your turn, you save a file and email it to your opponent) feature. Once you finish all the scenerios that come with it you can build your own scnerios with the built in scenerio feature. Overall, it's a great game, and anyone that is opposed to turn-based games has NOT played it.

Re:Short attention spans SOLUTION (2)

onepoint (301486) | more than 12 years ago | (#406696)

Maybe if we can teach our children to fish they would learn to let time pass them by.

just my 2 cents
I'm not trolling


spambait e-mail
my web site hip-hop news
please help me make it better

Short attention spans (3)

XoXus (12014) | more than 12 years ago | (#406697)

I think the real reason turn-based games have lost ground is that people's attention span has decreased, frustration tolerance has diminished markedly, and, as a consequence, people are now most likely to seek instant (or fast) gratification.

You gotta love how postmodernism has screwed up the world.


Re:turn-based games (3)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 12 years ago | (#406698)

People generally find it more fun to strategize and plan when there's a time limit and the pressure is on. Sure, it can be fun to sit around all day to come up with a plan, but it's just as fun to come up with some ad-hoc thing on the spur of the moment because you just don't have time for something better... and then pull it off.

turn-based games (3)

log0n (18224) | more than 12 years ago | (#406699)

Rush rush rush!

People find it easier to react (ie: real-time) than strategize/plan their actions (ie: turn-based).

It's the whole Nike "Just Do It!" philosophy presented at it's finest.

the answer: (3)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#406702)

The problem I think is the move towards multiplayer games. Personally I get a little impatient when the computer takes it turn in Alpha Centauri; do I really want to wait for 3 human players to take theirs? I like turn-based games solo, but give me Starcraft when I'm playing against opponents who can't process a hundred million floating point operations per second.

Fallout: The Turn Based Game That Still Exists (3) (184378) | more than 12 years ago | (#406703)

And for good reason... it's a blast to play. I have the original, as well as the sequel, and have already pre-ordered the "squad based combat" version called Fallout: Tactics [] . It is a "real time" game but you disable the real time play for the classic Fallout turn-based mayhem.

I highly recommend Fallout if you like the isometric view of Diablo but don't like the real time game play.

Plus, you get the fantastic post-apocalypic environment of The Road Warrior with some good humor (making fun of themselves at times). Definitely worth picking up a used copy on eBay or from a friend.

Some Fallout sites:
Duck And Cover []
No Mutants Allowed []

Turn based games dying? (3)

Ismilar (222791) | more than 12 years ago | (#406704)

Let's see... Civ 3 and MOO 3 are coming out soon, there are several RPGs coming out with 'phased' or 'initiative based' or full turn based combat, there are always wargames, computer board games and card games, and my personal favourite: Worms World Party. That's at least as many turn based games coming out now as at any time. It's not that turn based games are decreasing, it's just that real time games are increasing.

Market forces, baby. (3)

pixel_bc (265009) | more than 12 years ago | (#406705)

You don't need a fancy $600 card to play the average turn based game. Think about who buys the 3 page spread advertisements for hardware in the magazines, and the kind of games that usually play on them. Not turn based, thats for sure.

Also, I mean - the flashy screenshots with 4 stage multipass effects and lens flares get great press coverage... buzz words baby, buzz words.

I expect turn based stuff to be relegated to a niche market, as the accelerator vendors gather more and more influence with the industry.

Webboard discussion (3)

*xpenguin* (306001) | more than 12 years ago | (#406706)

Here [] is a discussion about real time games vs. turn based games.


The are alive and well. that's what (3)

MSBob (307239) | more than 12 years ago | (#406707)

Turn based games are alive and well. Firaxis is pounding on the latest and the greatest Civ yet and we all know that Sid had a midas touch when it comes to strategy games.

On the other front the only semi-complete Open Source developed game is FreeCiv. Is it coincidental? I don't think so. Like it or not turn based strategy is more 3l33t than those C&C and populous clones. But it hase a very nice and loyal niche.

Chess ... (4)

Amokscience (86909) | more than 12 years ago | (#406709)

... is one turn-based game that will far outlive the rest of the real-time games. I don't see chess dying in the near century.

Re:this is pretty easy... (4)

JPrice (181921) | more than 12 years ago | (#406710)

No one wants to spend 8 hours to play one game of heroes of might and magic.

I think the thousands (millons?) of people who bought the Heroes of Might and Magic games might disagree with you. I think a better statement might be "No one wants to spend 8 hours to play one game of heroes of might and magic when four of those hours are waiting for the other player to go."

I agree with you that turn-based games suffer greatly (in most cases) in the multiplayer department. However, I think you underestimate the desire of many players (like myself) for good non-multiplayer strategy games. Many gamers I talk to are frustrated by the movement away from single-player games to multi-player ones, and more specifically to massively-multiplayer online games. My biggest worry is that someday in order to get my game fix I will be forced to play against 13 year old 31337 H4X0Rs because companies have stopped producing good opponent AI in the belief that everyone wants to play online.

Nethack (4)

*xpenguin* (306001) | more than 12 years ago | (#406711)

Nethack is an excelent turn-based game. It features lots of characters, potions, spells, weapons, aromour, shops, etc. The homepage is here [] and the Qt version (which i prefer) is here []


Re:Chess ... (5)

Daniel (1678) | more than 12 years ago | (#406712)

Perhaps, but the trend even in chess is towards shorter time controls and faster games that run more on reflex than on deep thought. Outlive the rest it may, but at what price?


Funny you should mention it... (5)

Magus311X (5823) | more than 12 years ago | (#406713)

A whole group of us actually went out and purchased copies of Stars! (yes, Stars!) for the sole purpose of having legitimate copies so we could start some lengthy e-mail based campaigns.

It makes so much more sense too. We get about 18 hours to complete our turn, which means we can do it at our leisure, or you can really sit down and play out several different options to see which is best for a really nasty battle/trade agreement/whatnot. We're thinking that with so much more time to make our next move, that our games will be incredibly aggressive, and definitely some of the best gaming we've ever had. Plus there's so much to anticipate. We plan on 1 turn a day... just imagine our anxiety waiting an entire day to find out the outcome of an assult!

Not exactly a stressful game either. Runs on a 486 just great, Windows 3.1 and it runs in Wine just fine. You can order it straight from the UK for about £10.06 (about $14.05 U.S.) from Empire Interactive [] with shipping included.

Who says turn based gaming is dead? ;)

Planetarion (5)

sbeitzel (33479) | more than 12 years ago | (#406714)

Evidently, they haven't discovered Planetarion [] -- the most addictive (and free (beer)) turn based game around. More addictive than Empire or Civilization (although, oddly enough, not nearly so interesting), Planetarion will take over your life if you let it. Turn-based games are dead? No, I think it's just game magazine editors.

Re:It's simple. (5)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 12 years ago | (#406715)

In a turn-based game, it's too easy to 'take a break'.

Remember playing Civilization? (or later Civ 2, Alpha Centauri..) How many times did you stay up all night because it's so easy to take a break? :)


Right on! But... (5)

Ravagin (100668) | more than 12 years ago | (#406716)

I'm with you on that all the way. Nethack is still my favorite game.

But we mustn't forget the other interfaces available besides the Qt thingie. [] ... AllegroHack uses the Allegro libs to enslicken (shutup, that's a word :P) the graphical interface that us DOS users can use. If it works, it's awesome. [] ... Falcon's Eye is a really neat "isometric 3d" interface with mouse control and everything. Still in development, but cool nonetheless.
The Nethack Site [] lets you set up a career ont heir server and then telnet in and play there, so that all the scores can be collected and people can compete against one another. Cute.

Also, there are many other Roguelikes out there... Rogue (the original roguelike, hehe), Angband, ADOM, etc.

I'm still partial to NetHack. I could list the reasons, but it's better if you play it for yourself and see.

Diablo is a roguelike, really, just shinier and with realtime action. Durn newfangled games.... ;)


cant share the machine (5)

Acrucis (132401) | more than 12 years ago | (#406718)

As nice as it is to play Diablo II with my IRC friends, I miss turn based games. When we were dating my husband and I would sit together talking about stuff and taking turns at Warlords. My parents have only one computer, and my little brothers fight over who gets to play with it. It doesn't occur to them that there are games that they could play together, both at the same time. While real-time games are great if you're sitting in your house alone, turn-based games can be played with a group of people all at one machine. So you get to play computer games and get the social interaction parent-types seem to think we should get, all at once. And without the bother of carrying your machine to a LAN party.

Angband (5)

CamMac (140401) | more than 13 years ago | (#406719)

Turn Based RPGs aren't gone, they're just hiding.

Angband [] is possibly the best game ever. Granted the plot is totally lacking, but I can distribute the complete file on a floppy; and I judge every game against it. Its graphics are simplistic, yet convey more information than most gaming interfaces today. The controls require some learning, but allow the user to execute any command without delay or mouse movements. I've been playing it since 1996. Did I mention that it was Open Sourced in 1984, before the GPL was thought of, and can run on ANY OS that came out since then.

But its strongest aspect is that it is turn based. I can stop, walk away, smoke a cigerate, come back, walk a step, then go to the bathroom. Or I can run down a hall and assult a vault in less than 30 seconds. Because it is turn based the game runs at MY speed. I never feel that I had to make a split second decision. When I'm getting my ass kicked, I can slow down and analyze the situation.

The game kicks ass. I have wasted many a day playing it. I lost a keyboard when my HDD crashed and killed my best character. Check it out, read the help files, read and get hooked:-)


Re:Life is real time. (5)

RandomPeon (230002) | more than 13 years ago | (#406720)

It simply isn't realistic. Life doesn't pause for you and let you take a breather. Granted a lot of real time games suck (because they stress building crap and then rushing with everything.)

Actual, life runs closer to turn-based in terms of actual time. "Real" time games are usually accelerated by orders of magnitude, at least in war games like Starcraft.

At operational and strategic levels(battalion and up, for our purposes), an operations order for a single mission is the size of a book - you don't ever want to work on part of one. These behemoths are typed by an entire staff of officers. Yep, we type orders up before we start fighting. The detail involved in planning a real military operation is just staggering.

Turn-based games give you a chance to experience this is in real-life - the sheer complexity of large organizations. A turn-based game is possibly somewhat realistic, just sped up by 10^4 or 10^7. A "real"-time game is completely lacking in realism - your forces appear out of little buildings after 30 seconds, and you all run right at the other side like a bunch of 29th century Soviets. Don't get me wrong, they can be fun. But they're devoid of realism. Turn based games feel more like "the real thing", at least from higher levels.

question (5)

flynt (248848) | more than 12 years ago | (#406721)

At the least it's an interesting read which gets the brain going...

Isn't that what I'm not supposed to be doing on a Friday night?
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