Strategy Games

How we justify all that high-dollar hardware.

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Strategy Games

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:33 pm

Due to health reasons it looks like I am going to be stuck at home for a extended period. Since physical labor is out of the question right now and I need to keep my mind busy I thought I would pick up a couple of strategy games to add to my collection. I used to be big into strategy games several years ago. Not so much lately because they all seemed to be getting more and more complicated to the point you can't keep track of everything that's going on in them. I have a good collection of Strategy games but I am looking to add a few before I give that category of games a rest permanently. The three that put me off Strategy games were Earth 2042, Sins of a Solar Empire, and Hearts of Iron.

One I did enjoy playing a lot was Age of Empires 2. They are going to release a updated version called Age of Empires 2 HD. I can pre purchase AoE2 HD alone, for $18 or get a bundle that includes AoE 3 for $28. I know nothing about Age of Empires 3. Is it worth the extra $10?

I am also looking at the Command & Conquer™ The Ultimate Collection from Origin. I played all the C&C games up to Tiberian Sun then left off until Generals was released. I also picked up Renegade but I don't consider it belonging with the strategy C&C games since it was a FPS. Any thoughts on the collection being worth $30?

Any other recommendations for Strategy games that would be worth the time and money?
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:35 pm

Look into the total war franchise. You can combine many styles of RTS into one huge campaign game with them. They are top notch IMHO.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:18 pm

If you enjoyed Age of Empires, you'll probably love Rise of Nations. I enjoyed AoE II and I got the same enjoyment from RoN. It's on Amazon for only $9.99

Also I agree with StuG on the Total War franchise. You may want to look at all the different titles though; to me Empire and it's kin plays differently from the previous TW titles.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:35 pm

If you enjoy RTS, then get Men of war assault squad, so detailed it's amazing.

And yeah, check out total war! It's great fun.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:07 am

Starcraft II expansion just released, great great game and getting better as time goes on. Also, for that price AoE III complete is worth it.

However, AoE III is almost unanimously believed to be inferior to AoE II and given the replayability of these games, you might not need it.

Supreme Commander is a good game if you were a fan of total annihilation. DoW 2 was good if you like hero units. CoH 2 is due out soon.

I haven't played it yet but Natural Selection 2 looks like it might be fun. Looks like mesh of both RTS and FPS gameplay from screenshots.

Also, it's an old game and I'm not sure if you can find it as a digital download anywhere, but LotR:BFME is a pretty awesome game as well.

I haven't touched XCOM: Enemy Unknown yet but that one received many, many rave reviews from everyone towards the end of last year.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:20 am

If you liked AoE1/2 then I would second the suggestion for Rise of Nations (and pick up the Thrones & Patriots Expansion, I think "Gold" edition probably includes it).

Lord of the Ring the Battle for Middle Earth 2 (and more importantly, the expansion Rise of the Witch King) is a very good game. You sort've have to like LOTR to enjoy it I guess, but overall there were only a few (tolerable) quirks keeping it from being one of the best RTS games ever IMHO. (Although I'm not sure where you could pick one up, maybe on ebay).

Obviously, SCII Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm are both awesome. The campaigns with story and cinematics are wonderful if you enjoy that type of thing. And there are tons of worthwhile online modes and mods for SCII that could keep you busy for quite awhile if you wanted them to. (You can get WoL for $20 on Amazon, well worth it)

As mentioned above, Total War franchise is quality.

I used to enjoy playing Empire Earth a bit, but it's right on the cusp of being too complicated.

I grew up on C&C, but apart from replaying some of the nostalgia of the original Red Alert and C&C, I can't see spending any time on those games anymore.

Good luck with your health.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:55 am

Dawn of War. Less focus on resources more focus on combat.

Sins of a Solar Empire. Slow paced, lots of space ships.

Those are the 2 I can suggest. Thee are many others but those 2 are at the top of my list.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:15 am

I'm guessing that since you didn't like Hearts of Iron you don't like super in-depth strategy games. Sins of a Solar Empire isn't that confusing to me but it does tend to take a long time (unless you're getting steamrollered).

Depending on how much you like to micro your units I agree with Black Applesauce that Men of War or Men of War Assault Squad are good choices. I like the older Soldiers: Heroes of World War II (on Gog.com) as well. Not at all new but I love Alpha Centauri though that's probably too in depth for you if you didn't like HOI.

While more of a city builder than a strategy game I found Tropico 4 (and 3 before it) to be a lot of fun and you can micro manage to your heart's content or take a more casual tack.

Regarding the C&C games: Generals: Zero Hour is one of the best and most frequently modded games ever. Shockwave, Rise of the Reds and others have built heavily on the engine, added new units and AI and transform the game. There's a gazillion maps out there and new mods for it are still coming out. I still play it 10 years after it came out. 3 is pretty good but honestly I enjoyed the cut scenes more than the game but I might be alone in that opinion. I've never played Kane's Wrath, Red Alert 3 or 4. C&C 4 has been panned by pretty much everyone and started EA's downhill slide to always on hooey.

An offbeat choice would be Joint Task Force which is also as old as dirt now but combines Men of War/SHOWW2 microing with current units (much like Generals). The voice acting is pretty bad but it's fun and you can level up your heroes which gives them different and better abilities. Act of War is a solid current day/near future RTS with some stellar mods. Very tough with (particularly with the "Almost Human AI" mod) the best intra building battles I've ever seen in an RTS.

Another offbeat choice would be Crusader Kings II which despite being from Paradox isn't that hard to keep track of compared to HOI. It has RPG like elements and I get a big kick out of it. I don't play it a lot any more because it's an easy way to lose 4+ hours. Consider disabling Factions when you're first starting out.

I liked the King Arthur series which I understand to be similar to some degree to the Total War games.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:32 am

Philldoe wrote:Dawn of War. Less focus on resources more focus on combat.

Sins of a Solar Empire. Slow paced, lots of space ships.

Those are the 2 I can suggest. Thee are many others but those 2 are at the top of my list.


Can't talk about other games, but Dawn of War is highly recommend.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:10 am

I'm not sure if you would enjoy it.. or if it would fit the pure "Strategy Game" ideal, but when I had the time I really enjoyed the newest iteration of Heroes of Might and Magic VI - it reminds me of the classic first versions of the game, had some really fun campaigns and an interesting lore/story line. It kept my interest and was not so simple that I got tired of it. Additionally, you get the "feel" of building cities, and customizing your heroes... etc.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:42 am

Well .. if you want a minature time sucking black hole in your PC there is always Civ4 + Mods
Top of the list: Cavemen2Cosmos (civilization + loads and loads of stuff added), DuneWars (... Dune setting nothing to add ), Planetfall ( AlphaCentauri remake !!! ).
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:27 am

Jigar wrote:Dawn of War is highly recommend.

Yeah, but it would have to be any of the DOWII versions for me (3rd person). DOW2 Retribution/Chaos Rising being the most recent 3rd person games. The newest DOW Space Marine (1st person) is just stupid.

I got a decent amount of "brain excercise" from Portal 2...
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:35 am

DancingWind wrote:Well .. if you want a minature time sucking black hole in your PC there is always Civ4 + Mods
Top of the list: Cavemen2Cosmos (civilization + loads and loads of stuff added), DuneWars (... Dune setting nothing to add ), Planetfall ( AlphaCentauri remake !!! ).

I am not allowed to play Civilization...I tried the Gods and Kings demo starting at about 7:30PM local time. The demo ended and I realized it was ater 1AM...
So...if you want to burn a lot of time, Civ is fun and will fit the bill!

It depends on what kind of strategy you want, but I would say that Plants vs. Zombies fits the bill and is a fun tower defense game. If you're ok with a little more action, Sanctum is an indie FPS/tower defense game. That one you might want to pick up really cheap, though.

And I'm a fan of the Starcraft campaigns. There is a free starter edition that will let you into custom games and a few Wings of Liberty missions.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:17 am

One of these days I will have to get around to playing those Civilization games. Everyone seems to say the same thing about getting lost in them.

To address the first question: An unqualified yes. If you enjoyed AOE2 and are thinking about getting AOE2HD then by all means pay the extra 10 bucks to get AOE3. I spent many an hour playing AOE3 and the add-ons. As someone else suggested Plants Vs Zombies is a fun little game that does involve a bit of strategy, You might also give some of the tower defense games a try like Defense Grid. Another suggestion is to look at. If you have liked any of the Command and Conquer games you might give
Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection 2012 a try. It's a collection of the C&C games from the beginning up to C&C4. That alone could keep you busy for quite a while. ;)
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:31 am

Darn it!

I had a whole post written up then my work laptop did something fritzy and lost it. Grrrrr.....

What I have to say is mostly what a lot of other people here have already mentioned.

Command and Conquer: I thought Generals (and its expansion pack, Zero Hour) was an excellent game. I still fire it up from time-to-time and I find it to still be excellent. I also really enjoyed CnC 3 a lot, though a lot of people don't seem to like it much. I think it was the story they didn't like, but I really enjoyed the game play. RA3 and CnC 4 is absolute complete bull rubbish and should be avoided at all costs. They're terrible and only increased my hatred of EA.

Star Craft II: 'nuff said. The story is excellent and very engaging. The gameplay is excellent as well.

Age of Empires: Steam I believe has AoE III on sale right now. Even if it's not as good as II (It's been so long since I played II I don't remember), it's still a very good game.

If you're interested in tower games, there are two that are excellent.

Plants vs Zombies. A very fun light hearted game but is very polished and complete with a ton of mini-games. I've put over 100 hours into this game. There is also an unlimited wave option which will really test your mastery of the game (I got up to level 74)

Defense Grid: The Awakening: This is a much more "proper" tower defense game than PvZ. It actually has a story and some good voice acting. In later levels you actually have to start shaping the paths of the enemies with your towers. In later missions, success or fail depends on tower placement and often you'll have to restart the level and re-think your tower placement. There are a ton of challenges for each map and quite a few expansion maps (all excellent). I've logged over 200 hours on this game...
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:28 am

I've been enjoying Fallen Enchantress... It's a fantasy Stardock game. It took me a little while to understand the game, but now it's pretty awesome.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:43 am

DancingWind wrote:Well .. if you want a minature time sucking black hole in your PC there is always Civ4 + Mods
Top of the list: Cavemen2Cosmos (civilization + loads and loads of stuff added), DuneWars (... Dune setting nothing to add ), Planetfall ( AlphaCentauri remake !!! ).

I am intrigued. I need to get a Civ fix, haven't played in a long time.

How is the DRM in Civ4? Is it one of those connect to server games? My Internet has been wonky and I want a good "offline" game.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:49 pm

nanoflower wrote:One of these days I will have to get around to playing those Civilization games. Everyone seems to say the same thing about getting lost in them.

Ugh, yeah, multiple 6 hour sessions and whole weekends spent on Civ5. Just remember to turn off the "maximum turn limit" :lol:
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:30 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Jigar wrote:Dawn of War is highly recommend.

Yeah, but it would have to be any of the DOWII versions for me (3rd person). DOW2 Retribution/Chaos Rising being the most recent 3rd person games. The newest DOW Space Marine (1st person) is just stupid.

I got a decent amount of "brain excercise" from Portal 2...


Space Marine is not a DoW game. DoW = RTS - Space Marine = FPS

Back to DoW. I suggest DoW 1 + expansions. DoW 2 is much more fast paced in skirmish mode plus DoW 1 has a lot more units and more base building. DoW 2 is a very odd flavor of RTS that most people do not like.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:33 pm

Don't get the command and conquer pack!! You would think that because EA is re-releasing it they would fix some of the issue's with playing online/network but nope. I've spent way to much time get the games to work. In my opinion none of the newer ones are worth it. I would recommend Dawn of war 2
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 4:53 pm

blorbic5 wrote:Don't get the command and conquer pack!! You would think that because EA is re-releasing it they would fix some of the issue's with playing online/network but nope. I've spent way to much time get the games to work.


A friend of mine got the CnC decade pack (all the way up to Generals and Zero Hour I believe), but we could never play on-line as that pack had a different version than my stand-alone Generals/Zero Hour. No matter how much searching, we could never get our games to communicate. It was a well known issue on the technical support forums and EA never got around to fixing it.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:06 pm

AOE3 is prettier but gameplay-wise, some things are just "missing" compared with AOE2, in my opinion. But I enjoy both, and AOE3 as a $10 add-on to AOE2-HD is definitely a steal. First I've heard of this AOE2-HD, I'm gonna have to check that out!

I recently got into a RTS mode again after a few years and those, plus Dawn of War and Warcraft 3, were at the top of my list. C&C Generals was fun too if I remember correctly.

I like the mention of LOTR-BFME... those were built on the AOE engines, no?

OH! Age of Mythology! It's similar to AOE2 but prettier, but without the sucky bits of AOE3. I'd recommend that for sure.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 6:52 pm

Sargent Duck wrote: A friend of mine got the CnC decade pack (all the way up to Generals and Zero Hour I believe), but we could never play on-line as that pack had a different version than my stand-alone Generals/Zero Hour. No matter how much searching, we could never get our games to communicate. It was a well known issue on the technical support forums and EA never got around to fixing it .


I haven't seen this problem though I'm generally a comp stomper. All the versions have to be patched to the latest versions. If you own TFD I highly recommend the unofficial patches.

I wouldn't get the Origin version of these no matter what but that's just me.

BFME series was based on the SAGE engine just like Generals. Those are fun games too esp if you're into the whole Middle Earth/Fantasy thing.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:30 pm

Galactic Civilizations II is an interesting one too.
Of course, if you want really old-school there's Go in various AI and online human flavors.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Fri Mar 15, 2013 7:38 pm

As one of the forum's most active gamers, I feel like I should post in this thread, but ... I'm way too impulsive and ADD for strategy games. (=TェT=)
The only "strategy game" I have ever played a lot (besides semi-turn-based RPGs like Dragon Age) is an old Win9x Sierra game called Missionforce: Cyberstorm. I had it on my first PC (a hand me down from my brother) and it's basically tactical mech combat. I tried to play a java-based BattleTech game called MegaMek a few times, but without the cool visualization and sound effects (especially the sounds! they were so good!) of Cyberstorm I couldn't get into it. I think there was a sequel, but I never got it. I heard it was bad anyway. 「(°ヘ°)
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:56 am

I have a lot of what was suggested so far. Some of the other recommendations I have played before on various models of the Playstation. Just off the top of my head I have the following on hand.

Age of Empires Gold edition
Starcraft
Starcraft Broodwar
Starcraft 2
Warcraft 3 (did not like this one compared to WC 2)
Command and Conquer Tiberian Sun and Generals
Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds Saga
Empire Earth
Sins of a Solar Empire
Earth 2042
Hearts of Iron

The last four are probably my least favorite for various reasons.

I will give the others a look. I was a huge C&C fan back in the day. I don't ever intend to play any of these games other than solo so the network connection issues are not a concern to me. Dawn of War looks promising.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Sat Mar 16, 2013 9:06 pm

If your PlayStation 2 still works and you can find a copy, I can suggest Front Mission 4. It's a turn-based strategy-RPG where you pit squads of wanzers (mecha) against each other, as with other games in the Front Mission franchise. It's got the deepest strategy elements out of the entire series (I've played the SNES original, FM3 on the PS1, and FM4 on PS2).

FM4's story and graphics are kind of meh for a PS2 title, but the gang-up linking tactics make for a deep game.

If you're itching for a real workout, unlock the simulator missions as you play through the main story campaign. The simulator practically doubles the number of missions if you unlock them all, and quite a few of them are pretty challenging. Winning them also unlocks special weapons and wanzer parts.

Other than FM4, CnC: Red Alert 2 is still my favorite of the real-time strategy variety.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:17 am

I want to second FM 4. FM 5 has been fan -patched and I hear is amazing (I have yet to fire up a ps2 emulator). Front Mission series is one of my favorites and basically plays like an srpg with mechs.

And if you are going to fire up that PS2 and cant' get enough mech action try Ring of Red which is similar but is very different battle-wise.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:40 am

Sadly all my consoles were stolen from me when I lived in Colorado Springs. Nice chunk of change went out my apartment door that day. An original Playstation, Playstation 2, Nintendo 64, and around 150 to 200 games across all three consoles. At that point I gave up on consoles when I learned the PS3 was not going to be backward compatible. I started gaming on a Atari 2600 and quickly moved to a PC when they were introduced back in the 80's. Consoles were OK in the 90's because they were so much easier to transport than a computer was at the time. Since I returned to my home state of Ohio I have been a PC gamer ever since. Unless something really changes in the future I think I am done with consoles since a PC can do the job so much better. Plus the fact a PC does not have the built in obsolescence over time issue that consoles do. You can upgrade a PC as tech changes and most games will work on a new system years later. Not so with consoles, once the hardware dies your just done if its several years later. Plus you cant take a old game and play it on a new console 15 years later. With out a N64 those cartridges are useless. Ditto with a original PS1 game, just wont work on a PS3. Granted the Playstation series is not as afflicted with this issue as the various Nintendo systems.

Any way back on topic. I picked up the AoE bundle from Steam. I have AoE 3 on my system but I have yet to look at it. Skyrim is taking up all my free time. So many mods to check out. I am on my third character since some mods just wont work with a saved game. Not a bad thing. At least I know what I'm doing after a few trial runs.
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Re: Strategy Games

Postposted on Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:16 am

I'm only going to echo recommendations from other people here, but I would totally recommend StarCraft 2 with Heart of the Swarm, and Supreme Commander with Forged Alliance.

SupCom runs great on even a modest Sandy Bridge setup - I've played quite a bit of it on my i3 2100 and it's very fluid. When it first came out it was the poster boy for multi-core CPUs, but now that everyone has at least a dual-core it's really hit its stride. There are plenty of mods if you want to play against the AI, and the campaign is fun. It's not really separate campaigns, but all the same campaign told from different points of view and with different outcomes depending on who you play as. It's still worthwhile ot play through as all the factions.
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