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Micro-or-Mini Management PC Strategy Game?

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the little-napoleon dept.

PC Games (Games) 89

darth_MALL writes "I've been looking high and low for the ultimate (could even be free!) single-player PC strategy game that offers detailed troop/battle management. I've met a few contenders that fit the bill: Medieval: Total War is a primo candidate, but Europe just ain't enough! I hate to say, the magic is gone - what I really want is to conquer the known universe from top to bottom. I checked out Ferion, as per another /.'ers suggestion, but it wasn't quite the same thrill as M:TW. What is a bloodthirsty, single player tyrant to do?"

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Get a life and move out of his parents basement (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455138)

That's what you should do.

HoI (5, Informative)

whoda (569082) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455171)

Hearts of Iron [] is one of the most insanely detailed games I have ever attempted to play. And it's quite historically accurate to boot.
The micro-management detail is HUGE.

If you play a smallish to medium sized country, your very first turn could easily consume 3 real hours of detailed planning and order giving.

Re:HoI (2, Informative)

Colazar (707548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456141)

It's worth mentioning that Europa Universalis II is also made on the same engine. It deals with a different time period (1400 - 1800), but has many of the same features, so if you like one, you'll probably like the other.

I second Hearts of Iron ... with a caveat (3, Informative)

maddog2o_2o (577019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456274)

It *is* a great, detailed Grand Strategy game. I prefer Europa Universalis (from the same makers) but that's just an affection for the time period. I'm also looking forward to their Crusader Kings. But there is a LOT of technology tree managing and economic stuff as well - if you just want a big RTS this may not be what you want. Tremendously fun game though. Kevin

Re:HoI (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456305)

Check out other games from Paradox (strategy first in the US)

HOI was pretty good, but their best game is Europa Universalis II. it covers 1419-1819

Never played anything like it before or since, and its got great fan-mods. Im still playing years later.

They also have some other titles like Crusader Kings and Victoria, so it pretty much covers whichever era happens to be your favorite.

(warning, a bit of a learning curve)

Re:HoI (2, Interesting)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461180)

Good grief! Do not touch Hearts of Iron or EU (I or II) with a ten-foot barge-pole.

EU was a good strategy game (it's based on a boardgame of the same name) but the implementation was appaulling and it is incredibly bugged.

EU II was a marginal improvement (really an expansion for which you had to pay full price) but even more buggy and the game balance was even more screwed: and don't get me started on their historical events. These "happen" regardless of what's going on in the game. For example, playing Spain I had several bouts of hyperinflation brought on by the "Spanish Armada" event. This despite the fact that not only had I not launched the Armad: I wasn't even at war with England, in fact they were an ally !!

Hearts of Iron though is the crowning pile of crap. EU at least had the advantage of some play balance as a result of basing it on an existing board game. Hearts of Iron is just awful, it is so unbalanced and unplayable and plain silly. For example it is easy to get an event, playing as the USA, that sees the USA suddenly switch to Communist. Yeah right.

Medieval:Total War is just so much better than any of Paradox's offerings.

get friends? (1, Funny)

fcheslack (712576) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455212)

what is a bloodthirsty single player tyrant to do? perhaps get some friends so you can play multiplayer would do the trick.

Re:get friends? (1)

secolactico (519805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456995)

That would do the trick... except for the coordination thing. Turn based, play by e-mail-like, would fit the bill, but anything that requires to coordinate a time of play with other people is kind of difficult.

I gave up massive multiplayer rpg for this reason (among others). I can't set aside a specific time of the day for playing, so I play when time permits... lunchtime, early in the morning, at midnight... you get the idea, usually never at the same time two days in a row... so it's single player for me for the time being.

Re:get friends? (1)

JuggleGeek (665620) | more than 10 years ago | (#9473743)

anything that requires to coordinate a time of play with other people is kind of difficult.

You might want to try [] . You RP a medieval noble, recruiting men, fighting for your kingdom. It doesn't take a lot of time to play, if you just stick with the basics. If, however, you really get into the game, then you can end up as a battlegroup leader, general, duke, king, etc, and reading messages, answering questions, and giving orders can get much more involved.

There are two turns a day, one every 12 hours. You can only do a small amount on any given turn - and then you have to wait for the next turn before you can do anything else (other than read/send messages.) You have to play regularly for weeks/months in order to really be successful.

It's free to play, and the developer is still working to make it better.

Re:get friends? (2, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9457281)

Yep. Wolfpack Empire [] seems to fit the bill here. It's also open source, not that that's really important... but the price is right! Here's the lengthy description from the "about" page:
  • Empire is a simulation game of unique proportions. While it concentrates mostly on the war simulation aspects, it also has economic, political, and other more subtle real-world parallels.

  • Empire is a game that is played against human opponents over a computer network, usually the internet. It is possible for a game to last from a few hours to many months. While the common goal of an Empire player is to "win", there is no clear cut definition of what winning is. Players may seak to achieve whatever goals they want to achieve.

    Typically, a game is "won" by a player or group of players who make a "win declaration" and defy the world to oppose their declaration. Such declarations usually must stand unopposed either for 24 hours or by all players still playing in the game. If they are opposed, they typically wipe out the opposition and re-declare. However, it should be noted that even finishing a game with a viable country can be considered a victory (especially for a new player).

    Short games, called blitzes, require an intense and concentrated amount of effort on the part of players participating. They are a tremendous amount of fun if played against a full set of active players. Such games can heavily task your physical stamina. After many hours, your hands are dying to be unattached from the keyboard, your stomach is screaming for some form of sustenance, your family (if you have one) will wonder what deamon has possesed you and your brain will turn to putty, to say nothing of your digestive system and its need to purge itself once in a while. Ahh, Empire at its best!

    "Regular" games usually have some sort of sign up period lasting a week or three, and will have a well announced start date. Games typically last around two months, give or take a month though some games have been known to go for the better part of a year. "Updates", which you may learn about in other parts of this guide, typically occur once a day. It is usually a good idea to be on the game around updates, though not absolutely necessary.

    Empire is complex. There is no denying that. There are hundreds of thousands of 'pieces' in the game ranging from civilians to satellites to single units of food. The computer removes most of the complexity of the game, and allows you to manage things more easily. However, if you want to be the best of the best players, it will require you to micro-manage your country, paying attention to every detail. Small advantages in the beginning of the game can pay big dividends later. It is hard to catch up.

    The learning curve for the game is, as a result, rather steep. But it is far from impossible to become a good player in just a few games. Once in a while there are players who become great in a few games. It's a matter of how good you really are at such games combined with your knack for managing the environment of the game.

    Empire is not for the light of heart, nor the weak of mind. But for those who tread in the tortured landscapes of Empire battlegrounds, you will no doubt enjoy yourself on some level, perhaps satisfying inner neo-lithic desires in the process.

    Quite simply, in this writer's mind Empire is the best game ever. Bar none.

    Geoff Cashman (Mithrilien)

Try the Real World (tm) (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455257)

Go into politics, choose a small country, run for leader, build up army and economy, take on neighboring countries...Profit. Keep going until you've conquered the whole world or die trying. How's that for exciting.

Re:Try the Real World (tm) (2, Funny)

Lars T. (470328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456798)

You can't win, the biggest computer player's AI cheats.

Re:Try the Real World (tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9457365)

They dont cheat...

There is just some bad AI built in... :P

Re:Try the Real World (tm) (1)

KDan (90353) | more than 10 years ago | (#9458386)

Yeah and some of the players keep on exploiting various bugs. Someone should do something about this, really. It's almost as bad as Diablo 2 cheating...


Well, if you want to get technical about it... (1)

Incoherent07 (695470) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455389)

Ferion is neither single-player nor (for the most part) free. (I played it a little back before it became pay to play... don't even try to convince me you don't need to either buy or beg for a key to get anywhere.)

Empire and VASL (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455398)

UNIX based Empire was an extremely complicated game, and a lot of fun.

Then there's VASL (, which is a Java client for ASL - Advanced Squad Leader. Now THAT's a complex board game that's been made available for live or PBEM play.

Stars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455402)

Stars! (the name includes the exclamation mark)

Fantastic, detailed strategy game for win 3 and later (runs perfectly on wine). Design your race. Design hundreds of warships on an individual component basis and conquer the universe. Lots of micromanagement of planetary production and population movement too.

However, sadly the AI can't stand up to an experienced player, so once you've learnt it (which will take a month or two) to get a challenging game you have to go multiplayer.

Free demo here [] for instance.

Advance Wars / Fire Emblem (on GBA) are also very good. But not sci-fi themed.

Re:Stars! (1)

timbur (196776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456006)

Stars! is great, but I wouldn't recommend it for single-player. Also, I'm not sure if you can order it anymore though. But play the demo, and if you want to know more, ask the folks at

Advance Wars and Fire Emblem are both very enjoyable. But Advance Wars is a much better game, and is more of a wargame than Fire Emblem. Plus you can play against another human, should you ever make any gamer friends.

Re:Stars! (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456901)

I agree, Stars! rocks, but it's definitely a lot more fun when playing against a human opponent. Can't wait for Stars Supernova, but it seems to be like the Duke Nukem Forever of the strategy world.

Re:Stars! (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466397)

Last I heard Supernova was cancelled due to the publisher dropping it.

If you're not averse to it, you can find Stars! serial numbers on the net. I had to do that when I installed it about 4 years after I got it to discover I'd lost the serial.

Pocket War is pretty good especially for on the go (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455481)

Pocket War [] is a great game if you like old school turn based strategy games.

It has very large randomly generated maps that take forever to beat, and even better the core of the product is written in a javascript like language that is exposed so its really easy to add new units, AIs, etc. It even comes with script documentation and sample files showing how to make your own mods.

It runs on Pocket PCs and Windows and you can sync games back and forth between to the two for continued play on the go. I've really enjoyed it. It looks like the whole company that makes it though is run by a single person.

Re:Pocket War is pretty good especially for on the (5, Informative)

MetalShard (633009) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455967)

I'm the person that makes Pocket War (and yes there is only one of me.) It is a lot like the old text based empire game, but I guess that could be said about all games in this category to some extent. I have been told it is also like Empire Deluxe but I never played that one some I'm not sure.

Re:Pocket War is pretty good especially for on the (2, Interesting)

timbur (196776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456134)

PocketWar is very similar to Empire/Reach-For-The-Stars/Conquest/AdvanceWars(GB ) and is very fun, provided you like that type of game. I do! Thank you for writing a good game, especially one that can sync between PocketPC and your PC. That's a neat feature.

Freeciv (4, Interesting)

nickos (91443) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455494)

It's free and you can get it here []

Europe? (1, Funny)

Klowner (145731) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455512)

What about Shogun: Total War, or Mexico: Total Enchilada?

er, wait, that second one was cancelled.

Oldie but a goodie! (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455526)

1995's Master of Magic!! Should be able to find a copy for free on the abandonware sites.

Re:Oldie but a goodie! (3, Interesting)

timbur (196776) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455912)

Master of Magic was very fun. Too bad it was so buggy that if you did anything in DOS after running it, it scrambled your FAT. (I ran all my SIM-TEX games in my "SIMTEXSUX" partition.)

If you like Master of Magic, try Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic.

Re:Oldie but a goodie! (1)

Lord Dimwit Flathead (668521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9489111)

Definitely a cool game. I haven't been able to get it to run under Win98/2000/XP though :(

George Dubya, quit that whining right now! (-1, Troll)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455537)

What is a bloodthirsty, single player tyrant to do?"

George Dubya!

Uncle Dick and I told you not to break Iraq!

If you can't play nicely with the toys we already gave you, you'll just have to wait for our next invasion!

Then you can dress up in your nifty flight-suit again and everyone will say how handsome and brave you look.

But now it's time for all little tyrants to take their naps so they can be up early to learn their lines for tomorrow, dear.

+1 Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9475556)


Well... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455689)

Rome: Total War comes out in a few months. And from what it looks like, it'll be more than enough to satisfy your hunger.

Lord knows it's going to cause me to fail a class or two when it comes out.

MOO (3, Informative)

mwheeler01 (625017) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455706)

I don't know if this fits the bill but Master of Orion 3 has TONS of micromanagement you can do. Though it may lack the action you're looking for, you can get down to really low level management or set policies and managers to do all the menial work while you conquer the galaxy. Good fun if you like getting hung up on the details.

GalCiv MOO (1)

perrinkog (536087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9455883)

IMHO, GalCiv ( is better than MOO3. That said, MoO2 is a fantastic game.

Re:GalCiv MOO (1)

Eklypz (731361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9457137)

Galactic Civilizations is awesome. The cool about that is you can get a subscription to and get free add-ons and other great strategy games. A very good deal!

Re:MOO (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9456362)

MOO 3 is the bane of all things good. Any game where you can click NEXT 127 times in a row and win has some serious issues.

I pre-ordered this game months before it was released. After playing for 2 weeks and trying really hard to like the game I just gave up. What finally did it in was one of the authors wrote a bit on their user forum on "how to enjoy this game". If I need instructions on how to enjoy a game, it's not worth it.

just my 2 cents.

Re:MOO (1)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466804)

MOO 3 is the bane of all things good. Any game where you can click NEXT 127 times in a row and win has some serious issues.
I'm not sure how your game was set up, but I've been in cases where I would lose if I only did that.

In particular, a bug with the game causes the election of a new orion president to be an instant defeat for all players, even those outside of the senate. This is a problem if you are playing with the Ikthul (Harvesters), as you must rely on either brute force, or acquisition of the five X-es - diplomacy is an impossible victory condition, unless there are other human players.

What finally did it in was one of the authors wrote a bit on their user forum on "how to enjoy this game". If I need instructions on how to enjoy a game, it's not worth it.
You need instructions to enjoy any game - they are called tutorials. Otherwise, you'll become frustrated with other games such as UT2004 because your teammates won't heal the power core.

The case with MOO3 was that the intructions were there with the game, but described everything at once rather than one thing at a time. This will turn off most players because of a steep initial learning curve. While those who have played the game know how to use development plans to encourage the AI to build specific improvements first, this is generally considered one of the more advanced topics of the game and therefore avoided by most players until they know the ropes even more.

I'd say that that forum posting is one of the best forms of documentation that I've bookmarked when I want to go back to that game later on. From what I could tell, it was organized into sections and described only the very critical stuff that you need to worry about. (Either that, or I bookmared a page on how to maximize production from my empire - doesn't matter since it is a high-quality reference.)

Re:MOO (2, Insightful)

Tyreth (523822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459050)

MOO3 is hopeless. It's not even fun. It is unecessarily complex, and then tries to hide that complexity through AI - what's the point? I wish I'd returned it within the week that I could, rather than keeping it in the hopes that it would be fixed.

Re:MOO (3, Insightful)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459451)

I don't know if this fits the bill but Master of Orion 3 has TONS of micromanagement you can do.
This is true, and I would agree fully with you.

However, there's a major implementation problem with Master of Orion 3. While allowing you to manage your empire completely is find, the interface was not designed for that in mind. As a result, I find myself checking every individual build queue to detemine if there is something else to produce, or if the planetary AI is not building correctly.

MOO 2 has a much better interface for micromanagement - the building Queues are much larger, and it is fairly easy to tell which ones need new production orders (mainly because it brings you to each planet that completed building.) In addition, unused production is immediatly applied to the next thing you want to build.

These features from Moo2 were not carried over to Moo3, resulting in very low ratings for the game. If only...

Make your own! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9455994)

Seriously, what's to stop you? Just start the FLOSS micromanagement game of your dreams. If you can find people to help, you can even micromanage them!

VGA Planets 3 / Planets 4 (5, Informative)

Abraxis (180472) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456014)

VGA Planets 3 and it's still-in development sequel Planets 4 probably has all of the micro-management and galactic conquest you'll ever need. They have a bunch of races (mostly blatantly, ahem, borrowing from popular sci-fi) each with fairly unique traits and abilities that make for unique strategies. Nothing like assimilating all of the enemy colonists on a planet with space-cover from your fleet of Cyborg cubes. Or perhaps if you are the "Evil Empire", you'd decide to just destroy the planet with the Super Laser on your Gorbi (AKA Death Star).

The combat is Strategic, not tactical -- you give your fleets their orders, they execute, and you watch the results in the 'VCR' of the combat that occured between turns.

Planets 3 has pretty decent computer players available, and Planets 4 may in the future. Mostly, though, these games are designed to be play-by-email, and are really most enjoyable when played that way. There are lots of automated hosting sites out there to help you find opponents and such.

Planets 4 is still in 'beta', but is rapidly nearing completion. I know that Planets 3 still has a fairly rabid fan base though.

The cool thing about these games is that they are pretty much all the work of one guy. Go Tim!

Anyhoo, Planets 4 can be found here:

Re:VGA Planets 3 / Planets 4 (2, Interesting)

HelzRage (789188) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456922)

Any chance I get to speak about VGA Planets I must use. It only helps me in so few situations. Now is my time to enlighten to those that may actually be interested. First let me say Abraxis did a fine job in describing the game. Unfortunately it is a PBEM game which it does not seem you are looking for. Even still I would still check the game out if you are a big strategy nut. Great game with tons of micromanagement and galaxy conquest fun. Diverse races from all of your favorite sci-fi movies/series, personally I love the Robots from Battlestar Galactica fame, but thats just me. No matter what the race all have special abilities and talnets in order to defeat the remnant races. Diplomacy and strategy is key no matter how you play, besides its fun to swindle alliance with actual human players only to stab them in the back when its most convenient for you. Unfortunately, as in real life it may have repurcussions, but thats half the fun. Either way I have been playing for 8 years, and still love this game. Highly reccomended if you are a keyboard strategist. HelzRage

Mod parent up! :) (2, Interesting)

Qetu (732155) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459766)

If i had mod points i would ...

However, i must also talk about this blissful game.
I never got into VGA4 testing, as it is even more micromanagement (more than i can take). But having played my share of VGA 3 games i must praise it as one of the best multiplayer games ever. You could play it on your own, but the "AIs" out there (Admiral.exe, Dominate.exe ...) are not very bright.

The ELEVEN factions are extremely balanced. You can play as the Borg! How cool is that? I played versus 10 other people with weekly turns, and the possibilities for alliances, treason, double play and the likes are endless :D you can sell information (Bird People), Use firepower and diplomacy (Federation), Invade planets with your huge infantry troops (Lizard Men), Explode your own ships (Fascist), Use evil Fuel-draining minefields (Crystallines), Assimilate and use warp chunnels (Borg), Blockade planets and stir unrest (Rebellion), Board enemy ships when they are out of fuel (Privateers), Make huge amounts of Fighters or Mines (Robots), Use the famous Imperial Blockade with a Star Destroyer (Empire), or spacefare as the best and use your huge amount of fighters (Colonies).

There are UFOs, Meteorites, Cloaking, Space Minefields, Warp Speeds, Lasers, Torpedoes, Shields, Carriers with Fighters, Terraforming, Assimilation, Orbital Bases, Transports ... Almost every thing you have thought about in spacefaring Science Fiction is there ...

Although the initial GUI is horrible, there are tons of programs you can use as the file formats are well documented. I used VPA as my main GUI ...

Alrigh, i'm getting nostalgic. Time to download it again (it's shareware, with a limit on tech, but nothing that dampens mixed play with registered players ...) and get that VPA. One of this days i'm getting myself a reg version, if i get some friends to play with me!

On the subject of VGA Planets... (2, Informative)

ThePyro (645161) | more than 10 years ago | (#9457923)

Another plus (IMO) of Planets 4 is the scripting engine. You can create virtually any scenario you can dream of, and there are already several 3rd party programs to assist in script and map creation.

Over at Drewhead's hosting site [] , we've had a huge variety of games... Epic team games on huge custom maps - "Resource allocation" type games, where players get a fixed number of points to build their own starting equipment / fleet - "Flagship" type games, where the goal is to hunt down the enemy's flagship... I just finished hosting one game where the goal was to mine a huge amount of a certain mineral.

Point is, the rules allow a wide variety of game types.

Once the game goes gold, Tim will likely release DLLs and such to allow 3rd party programmers to write their own add-ons, making the game even more customizable.

Re:On the subject of VGA Planets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9459381)

IF the game goes gold. Version 4's been in beta for HOW many years now?

See, I remember Version 3 was getting long in the tooth when I was starting high school. I just graduated from a 3-year college program today, and I took a year off in between.

Version 4 may never see gold. I mean, I hope it does, and Tim sells enough copies to afford someone ELSE to design his UI for the next game. I really want to like v4. I really do. But... I can't. It has so many strikes against it, I just feel like I have to WORK at enjoying it, which is kind of the antithesis of gaming.

Re:On the subject of VGA Planets... (1)

HelzRage (789188) | more than 10 years ago | (#9460265)

Totally agree with your statement on VGAP 4. I too want to enjoy it but can't. It has been in development forever and was simply hoping for an expanded VGAP3, unfortunately it was made so micromanaged thats its damn near impossible to get into let alone play for a long period of time.

As far as the GUI, I think I am one of the few that actually like the GUI in CGAP3 and only use it and not other 3rd party apps. Once you get used to it I still think it handles much better then any 3rd party apps that are loaded with crap. Just my 2 cents.

Space Empires IV Gold and Age of Wonders II (4, Informative)

DaRat (678130) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456115)

Space Empires IV Gold [] might be a game for you. The game is a customizable space conquest game that also allows for tactical, turn based resolution of space combat. Since you can design your own ships, you get to customize the ship design and tactics to suit your own style of fighting. There is also a substantial modding community coming up with customized race and technology sets.

Another game to look at is Age of Wonders 2 [] . This game is a fantasy strategic game with tactical, turn based combat resolution. Cities can be upgraded ala Civ with different capabilities. Each city can produce a certain type of unit (or upgrade). Units are combined into armies and sent out to rampage.

Re:Space Empires IV Gold and Age of Wonders II (1)

CountBrass (590228) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461294)

I'd second the recommendation for Space Empires IV. I have a copy still sitting on my PC and I play it occassionally. It reminds me a lot of the really early Star Trek games: you know the ones where your ship is an asterix! But the depth (technology tree, colonies, space stations you can build etc etc) is much greater. A good game. And doubly nice because it doesn't require the CD to be in the drive to play.

Re:Space Empires IV Gold and Age of Wonders II (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466438)

Age of Wonders II: Shadow Magic is awesome. It's a standalone "expansion", so you get the original AoW II, and the extra stuff. Hell of a game. The combat is fun, but can be left to it's own devices etc.. Well worth checking out.

Space Empires IV is fun too.

Myth (3, Interesting)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456121)

It's all troop management and zero resource gathering. It's fairly old by now, but there are third party patches available to make it compatible with OS X or Windows XP.

Re:Myth (1)

gamgee5273 (410326) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456275)

I think he's looking for resource management, too. Arguably, Myth II takes a better step in that direction, and it has oodles of mods and player maps out there that have, in some cases, made it a completely different game. However, I still don't think Myth II would fit what this fellow is looking for.

My guess is WarCraft/StarCraft is too simplistic... but it would be cool to see Blizzard create a massive wargame for those franchises.

Oh, well. There's always Civilization. :)

Civ3 (4, Interesting)

hsoft (742011) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456168)

Each time I make the mistake of reinstalling that game, I waste countless hours playing it. This is one of the best games, although a things annoys me a lot, and fixing it would probably make it a perfect game for me:

Technology's going too fast. One of the only way to win when you play at higher difficulties is to have the best techs, so you can have the most powerful units. However, by the time you build an army to attack, your units are already obsolete, and upgrading is quite expensive. Thus, the only time where there is real war is when everybody has the modern tanks and ICMBs and stealth jets. Thus, all the other units are in case you get attacked.

This is of course if you don't annihilate your ennemy at the start of the game. So, that's either at the start, or at the end of the technology tree that things move.

I wonder if there is a mod that makes technologies MUCH more expensive ( I think of something like 3X or 4X more expensive ). I guess it would make the game much more enjoyable, and would make it *necessary* to trade technologies in order to reach the 4th age before 2050, and even if everybody still is at 2nd age at 2050, that would have been a cool game :)

Re:Civ3 (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459398)

Try some of the scenarios included with Play The World and Conquests - they heavily mod the tech trees, units, and even the gameplay.

For instance, the Japanese scenario has each player with a superunit (the Daimyo) that gains attack/defence bonuses after each promotion. The problem is that if the Daimyo is killed, you lose the game. And the ages, technologies, and units are all different, from ashigaru, samurai and so on.

Re:Civ3 (1)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459417)

Agreed, technology goes to fast in Civ 3 (well all of them really, in easier difficulties I can get space flight before the 1850's, eariler if I focus on getting it). But another thing that bothered me was the cultural victory. Without playing on a large map with lots of land, it was nearly impossible to achieve victory that way since you'd always be warring with some other nation for some reason either for land, resources, or 'just because.'

X-COM? (4, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456187)

You manage everything from way up high with a map of the earth down to exactly how many bullets a soldier carries and how many steps they take. Does it get more detailed than that?

Re:X-COM? (1)

trippinonbsd (689462) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459706)

A few of my friends and I really love X-Com. I still even have my origional cd. Alas it is a dos game; Windows 2000 and up seem to not run it at all. Neither do any dos emulators for linux that I have tried (its 'exe' is a dos4gw). Does anyone have anytips for playing these types of games besides setting up a dedicated box to play them?

Re:X-COM? (2, Informative)

hiei (104179) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459907)

There was an X-Com Collector's Edition released a few years back that included the original, the sequel, Terror from the Deep, and the 3rd game, X-Com Apocalypse (which I STILL haven't tried), which were designed for a more Windows-friendly, dos-less environment. While it is still a bit tricky to get running on Win2k, you can do it. Just google it, and you should be able to find out how. I'm sure you could probably find the Collector's Edition somewhere for around $10.

God I wish we had a good, new X-Com game.

Apocolypse is fun (1)

Aexia (517457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9474050)

Be warned it's "Aliens" to the original's "Alien."

People flipped out about the pauseable real-time combat system at the time but it works great.

Re:X-COM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9479564)

did you tried ufo2000?

UFO2000 is free and opensource remake of tactical part of 'X-COM: UFO Defense' game. It currently has no geoscape and economics, but it has the feature many X-COM fans dreamed for - multiplayer support.

Combat Mission (3, Interesting)

Colazar (707548) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456339)

It's not a strategic-level game, but the various flavors of Combat Mission, which you can get over at might fit be something you enjoy. It's WW2 squad-level combat, with the different versions being different fronts of the war.

It's sort of turn-based. You give instructions to all of your units that are in-command (yes, it takes communication between units into account) and then it executes 10 seconds worth of time (which you can view from any vantage point that is in your area of control), and then you repeat. It is extremely historically accurate, and the most detailed *tactical* computer game I have ever seen. It has the feel of a miniatures game that has been translated over to computer, but done extremely well.

Most of their games also have Mac versions (unfortunately OS9 only -- and don't work in Classic). Their newest Combat Mission game is going to be OSX, but I can't remember if that's out yet.

Turn length (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9459609)

Each turn lasts 60 seconds, not 10. That said, the Combat Mission series are easily the finest military strategy games I have ever played.

Re:Turn length (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466474)

Squad Assault is good too. I think that's the name. Was done by the guy who did the Close Combat series.

There's another. I think you can get CC3 at a certain abandoware site that I won't name here. *cough*underdogs*cough*

Re:Combat Mission (1)

Engdy (124179) | more than 10 years ago | (#9468792)

Another great selling point of these games is their PBEM capability. Ever have trouble finding opponents who have free time the same time you do? Just fire off a round of Combat Mission, and they can respond when they get the chance.

Micromanagement isn't always fun (2, Insightful)

Tzarius (688342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456391)

When you don't have all day to play a game, titles like Total Annihilation are great fun. MM is great for the hardcore (or obsessive-compulsive :) crowd, but few titles have combined smart AI and playability with decent automanagement.
I'm looking forward to getting Ground Control 2, where I can appreciate all the little things that I am allowed to do in-game, but don't have to.
Seriously, based on the demo, it's sweeet. It's getting my cash money.

Re:Micromanagement isn't always fun (1)

Reapy (688651) | more than 10 years ago | (#9456889)

I agree. I really love tactical rts games where you don't worry about building bases and just worry about moving your guys around and combat. The demo was really fun and ran nice on my machine, which is becoming a rare event with games now a days. I'm looking forward to the real thing too :)

Re:Micromanagement isn't always fun (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9458787)

I don't understand why I wouldn't have all day to play a game.

Re:Micromanagement isn't always fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9471888)

I agree, when it comes to RTS, nothing beats Total Annihilation + expansion packs.

Tetris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9456511)

Great wargame, tons of micromanagement, and if you squint hard enough, you can reproduce any battle or war in history.

MTW is cool (2, Interesting)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9457031)

I tend to play games 12 hours at a time, its a symptom of my conditio^^^personality. In case anyone was wondering about M:TW, here's my review/strategy guide. Summary: 7 out of 10.

I crank up the difficulty level to max, and just start conquering early on. Build a keep on your starting province, and start pumping out the vikings/infantry.

Conquer your neighbors with the intention of minimizing your borders with other countries. Look for coastal provinces (destroy the piers, so they can't sneak troops in), and natural bottlenecks in the terrain.

Keep your main army centralized, build a keep in every province you capture, and only start building money-making infrastructure once the province isn't bordering someone else's turf. Keep a unit of peasants in each castle so the pleb's don't revolt.

Expand outwards, always be fighting. Even if you can't keep a province, take it over and destroy all the buildings for money. Your army should mostly pay for itself, and the computer doesn't tend to rebuild castles.

If the folks revolt, send in the bishops and build a church. Assassinate the imams, they cause civil unrest. Only build units of vikings, feudal sargeants, and heavy cavalry - everything else is a waste. Go into battle with 50% more strength than the enemy has, and retreat from any even fights (its expensive to loose).

Once you get established, build a shipyard and start cranking out the baddest ships you can. I find it helpul to have a province on the atlantic and the mediterranean with a shipyard, so you can replace destroyed vessels more quickly. Naval superiority is easy to get if you start early, and will allow you lots of advantages.

Don't mess with the pope - you can conquer his little territory, but you get excommunicated and there's tons of rebellions. Sometimes he asks you to stop attacking nations, and its generally a good idea to listen unless you can get a major strategic advantage by conquering.

I like to start as the Danes, and conquer the bordering German province in the first few years of play. Then, once a foothold is established on the mainland, swing north and conquer Sweden. Sweden's a cash cow, tons of resouces and agriculture. Once the swede's are pacified, then resume the attack on the mainland.

If I play all night I can usually conquer most of the world, such that the game conceeds defeat. Its fun, but the AI doesn't use much long-term strategy. The game manages to be challenging just by throwing up random rebellions of really strong units.

The beginning is great fun, and your little men have their own personalities and descriptions. The endgame is a little disappointing for the amount of work required to get there. The tactical combat can be fun at first, but after the first 5 or 10 battles I just click auto-resolve. I never go into a fair fight, and its no fun to manually route and chase down a couple squads of archers.

The graphics are decent (for a strategy game), the music is good. Its one of the only games I've ever played that causes me stress. There really is alot to manage when you own 70% of the known world.

This was my longest slashdot post ever, whew!

Re:MTW is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9457932)

But what if you play a Muslim country? I've played a couple games with them and found it to be a blast, a refreshing change from a Catholic or Orthodox nation. Fun with jihads! Crush the infidels!

I guess that tastes differ... (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 10 years ago | (#9457149)

I'm looking for the most simplified (but still interesting) 4X game. My actual favorite is Master of Orion (the original, not the "we are micromanagement whores" sequels). Each planet has some slide bars to set it state. You make them build some ships, then send them to die fighting somewhere. They fight well, and, if you think you need it, you can control that fight too.

I was once a Civilization fan, but since I discovered MOO 1, I can't get myself to all the innecesary work, and useless details, that Civ (and sequels) makes you worry about.

MOO is the best.

Dominions 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9457413)

For my money one of the best recent strategy games is Dominions 2. Great fantasy strategy game. Tons of factions, great multiplayer, lots of micromanagement possibilites.

Developers site:

Tons of older strategy games... (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9457677)

Many of them you'll find in bargain bins or "previously enjoyed" at EB, Circuit City, Best Buy, Future Shop and so on. Many games from Strategy First are RTS, and vary in degree of difficulty. Chariots of War Cossacks Kohan Europa Universalis I & II Hearts of Iron Legion Man of War II Patrician II Victoria Waterloo Of course there is Shogun: Total War. Empire Earth is another suggestion as well. Sure, not many that are "conquer the entire world" rts games, but surely you can find some fun (and cheaply) in that selection.

Homeworld (1)

idries (174087) | more than 10 years ago | (#9458018)

... and homeworld 2 (and the expansion packs etc) are all great 3D Rts games. They're set in space so you can conquer the galaxy, and there's alot of options for low level troop (well, ship) management. You can set formations, aggressivness and all sorts of things. It's also a really nice game.

Uncommon Valor (2, Interesting)

Maserati (8679) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459286)

Uncommon Valor [] is an operational game set in the South Pacific from May 1, 1942 to December 31, 1943. 30 mile hexes, one day turns, units are tracked to squads, mortars and of course individual planes or PT boats.

It is *not* a tactical sim. The most control you have is to set operational postures and aircraft missions. Each day's action is fought out by friendly and enemy AI. Watching a major airstrike go after the wrong group is definitely exciting, maybe too frustrating for some. Your main concern as the player will be to keep your bases supplied and a steady flow of aircraft to the front lines. You get to do plenty of micromanagement in logistics.

The game is well supported, it got plenty of patching - sadly it needed it. The developers are now upgrading the engine to cover the whole frickin' war in the Pacific (and will then retrofit the new engine back to the South Pacific campaign).

Warrior Kings! (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459430)

Warrior kings very similar to the combat style of Total War, but without the macromanagement. Many people have mentioned Starcraft/Warcraft/C&C, but those games are really concerned with smaller unit activities (someone even mentioned X-Com!).

There are very few large scale battle simulators however, at least that involve micromanagement. Perhaps the poster would be interested in old style wargames? I strongly recommend War of the Lance, which is ancient but an excellent example of a wargame.

Homeworld2 equals Good Game, challenging to manage (1)

genrader (563784) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459435)

I believe an above poster has stated Homeworld2 was good, however I want to second that. I've been playing it recently and I've found it quite an amazing game, it's a 100% 3D Space RTS that's challenging and fun to micromanage. Sending squads of units through hyperspace to help your comrades is very entertaining.

Stars! or Capitalism Plus (1)

mutewinter (688449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459564)

Nothing beats the tactical level of gameplay you'll experience in Medieval: Total War. I've noticed most people have been posting 4x games such as MOO, Galactic Civ, etc. No one has mentioned Stars! ; a good 4x game despite being under-rated. If you want to get down to earth, perhaps you'd be interested in Capitalism Plus, a business-sim.

I'm gonna try this out (1)

Qetu (732155) | more than 10 years ago | (#9459804)

On the solely merits of being open source and spanish-mexican-latinamerican developed. If it gets good, i'll notice al of you :P

Europa Universalis 2, Viktoria and crusader kings (1)

so sue mee (660717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9460351)

Crusader kings is the simplest one, quite on par with MW:TW. Europa Universalis 2 is much better than TW and Victoria is soooooo complicated that any blood sucking computer army impailing tyrant will turn into a save and reloader soooo quickly Anything by paradox entertainment fits the bill

A list (1)

Haileri$ (672536) | more than 10 years ago | (#9461588)

of the games I recommend (woo hoo!) Civ 2 (maybe 3 is newer but AI aside is not as cool) HOMM3 (or 2, 4 is pants) Stars! (Supernova is cancelled btw) Hearts of Iron There are others I like, already mentioned in here! Cheers D

Dominions II (3, Interesting)

baalz (458046) | more than 10 years ago | (#9462283)

Dominions II [] is a mind bogglingly complex turn based strategy game I've recently discovered. It has so many elements in it that make you go "why hasn't anybody done this before?". The detail level is insane, from the 400+ spells to the mind boggling variety of units, its as deep as it is wide. Not only do they have practically every type of fantasy unit you can imagine, each one has all the stats of a typical RPG character and gains not only experience and skills, but battle afflictions like losing an eye or gaining a limp, and thats not even counting the hero units. The creativity is amazingly refreshing. Instead of the typical elves/orcs/dwarves there are elvish-flavored vikings, giant-spider-riding africans, lava men, and a dozen other equally fresh playable races. The distinct difference of picking one of dozens of gods(that you actually walk around and kick ass with), one of 17(?I think?) races, and ballancing 8 paths of magic make the replayability of this game more than any I've ever played.

On the downside, the initial learning curve is a bit steep. Check out the demo [] but believe me, even the veteran gamer will want to take a run through the fan created tutorial []

Re:Dominions II (1)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464526)

Marignon was my favorite so far, with the awesome inquisitors and the incredible cavalry. Pangaea was also a lot of fun: hard-hitting minos, tough cav to chase down bowmen, and Pans sitting in back providing strong magical support.

I should add that DII has a mac, linux, and solaris version. I use the mac version.


Alpha Centauri (1)

jimmyl930 (707185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463184)

Futuristic turn-based strategy game. IIRC, you can also play friends through e-mail.

Ascendancy (1)

kyldere (723002) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463644)

This is a game that was put out by The Logic Factory back in 1995. It should fit your requirements of universal conquest. I have played the game with the maximum number of computer opponents, and a very dense clustering of stars, and if you don't use your time wisely, you will be left in the dust. Also, the game has a unique (as far as I know) technology/research tree that is fully 3D. The replay value is up there near Fallout, as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Ascendancy (1)

Red Snertz (780511) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464753)

I played Ascendancy for a while, but quit when I couldn't set the difficulty high enough to be a challenge. IIRC, the way to win was with fighters in the initial attack wave; they'd take out all the mobile units but get pretty chewed up doing it. The second wave was ships with good point defense and missiles; keep their missiles beaten down while you pound the hell out of their orbitals. Point defense would then let you sweep the mine belts and get to the planet.

UFO: Aftermath (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466442)

For all you fans of XCOM, try this one out. It's pretty much XCOM, with a newer engine, and some other variances. Lots of fun IMHO. I wish there was multiplayer, but for all you single player folks, this could be a winner.

Your dream, my nightmare... (1)

dghcasp (459766) | more than 10 years ago | (#9466880)

] field strip rifle

What, you think this is a macro-management game?

] remove magazine

You have removed the magazine

] pull charging handle

You have pulled the charging handle

pull hand guard retaining ring towards receiver

Your seargent yells at you for not physically and visibly checking to make sure there is not a cartridge in the chamber, then pulls out a Colt .45, uses his right thumb to flip the safety from 1 to 0, uses his left hand to pull back the slide, aims his pistol three-quarters of an inch above your left eyeball, and then applies exactly 642 grams of pressure on the trigger.

The bullet's trajectory is deflected 0.003 millimetres to the left due to the shifting winds, which average between 9 kilometres/hour SSW and 11 kilometres/hour SSW. However, this is not significant enough to keep it from killing you.

You are dead. Play again (Y/N)

Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9466945)

I am surprised nobody has mentioned Rise of Nations or it's expansion pack. Its a great historical strategy game made by the same people who did Civ2 and Alpha Centauri, with excellent AI, that even calls its single player mode "Conquer the World." The actual battles are in real-time but if you aren't interested in fast action you can always turn down the game speed and pause as often as you like. If you are really into single player then I strongly suggest you pick up the Thrones and Patriots expansion as well as it adds conquer the world campaigns for Alexander the Great, The new world, Napoleon, and the cold war. Loads of strategic fun!

Civ3 mod: Test of time (1)

BeCre8iv (563502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9471419)

When it comes to life eating strategy games you cant beat the 'test of time mod' for Civ3 PTW by TeTurkhan. It features a huge and detailed worldmap, new units for every age, new civs, tech tree and complete game concepts. Makes pure Civ3 seem simple and boring.

I am not referring to the early version that ships with the game, but a downloadable modpack
The latest is here ?s=&th readid=29279

v2.0 seems like vapour though :?<
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