Strategy games are one of those classic genres that’s popular with almost everyone. From “pure” strategy where the gameplay revolves around tackling your enemy’s attacks to games with other elements (such as roleplay or resource management), there’s a pc strategy game out there for any player.
Strategy games fall into two broad categories: real-time strategy games and turn-based strategy games. In a real-time strategy or RTS game, the action happens continuously; you must plan, arrange and deploy your attacks while the enemy is attacking you. In a turn-based strategy or TBS, you and your opponent each have a certain number of moves or a certain amount of ammunition or energy and you must take turns to attack each other. You can’t move or take any other actions while your enemies take their turn. Similarly, they can’t act while you take yours.
Strategy games have many different themes. You may find yourself encountering enemies as you struggle across a post-nuclear wasteland, engaging in pitched space battles in the depths of the interstellar vacuum, holding off armies of orcs and goblins with your wizard allies or defeating rifle-wielding foes on the battlefields of WWII. Historically-themed strategy games are very common but there are plenty of popular games involving more exotic settings.
Best Pc Strategy Games for 2013
Total War – Rome II
The second installment in this Roman Empire-themed real-time strategy game, “Rome II: Total War,” is one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2013. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to purchase it until October. In the meantime, you can still enjoy the first of the two games.
Known as the RTS for people who hate RTS games, it’s easy to see how the Total War franchise has become so popular. It’s a challenging and engrossing series of games in historical settings, from feudal Japan to ancient Europe. In each game, you are the ruler of a kingdom and must compete against similar powerful figures to claim the entire map and win the game. In Rome: Total War, you must claim Europe, Africa and other regions for your Emperor. The Gold edition comes bundled with the Barbarian Hordes expansion – once you’ve built your empire, you can switch sides and overrun it!
A major feature of the Total War series is the lovingly-rendered terrain. Choosing where and how to deploy your forces based on cover, high ground and other landscape features can make the difference between swift defeat and overwhelming victory. Place your archers on a hillside to pick off the approaching forces or hide your men in forested areas to enact a dramatic ambush. Build up armies, research and discover new units and new technologies to attack your foe – then lay waste to his armies as your own forces sweep into action.
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
One of the most venerable names in RTS, the StarCraft franchise has kept pace with the shifting whims of today’s gaming public to remain popular and relevant. This sci-fi-themed strategy game pits three space-faring races against each other: the human Terrans, the psionic Krotoss and the insectoid Zerg. The original StarCraft was a defining title in its genre; although some players were initially skeptical about StarCraft II: Wings of War, it was very well-received. These days, every game has to have a multiplayer version and StarCraft II is no exception. This expansion pack provides two Zerg-centric single player campaigns and some extras for the MMO version.
Command and Conquer The Ultimate Collection
Command and Conquer is another long-running franchise. It’s marketed as “the Best Selling Real-Time Strategy franchise of all time,” which is strictly accurate but elides a certain slump in the game’s fortunes in recent years. Although as well-designed and playable as ever, more recent Command and Conquer releases have struggled to attract the same enthusiasm as they did a few years ago.
While the franchise is associated with a high-tech futuristic gameworld, the latest edition takes place in the universe of the Generals spin-off games. This translates into a historical background rather than a science-fiction one. The release has great benefits from the involvement of Blizzard Games and the leadership of Might & Magic creator Jon Van Caneghem.
Company of Heroes 2
This latest addition to the award-winning historical strategy franchise puts the player at the head of Soviet army during WWII. As commander, it’s up to you to fend off the Nazi menace and protect Mother Russia from the invaders. As well as an engrossing single-player campaign, you can participate in an open-ended online version of CoH.
This Digital Collectors Edition of the game bundles the latest installment with the original Company of Heroes. Those ordering the Digital Collectors Edition can take advantage of an attractive selection of extras, including two vehicle patterns and access to premium content.
Europa Universalis IIII
The newest game in the Europa Universalis series will be available sometime in the third quarter of 2013. While you’re waiting for Europa Universalis 4 and its musketeers, EU3 has plenty to keep you occupied. The EU series is famous for its longevity and re-playability; with four mods and flexible nation-building, EU3 has endless possibilities.
End of Nations
A real-time strategy MMO, End of Nations doesn’t yet have an official release date beyond “sometime in 2013″ – but it’s already generating plenty of buzz. EoN has an excellent pedigree: the developers, Petroglyph, have previously worked on the Command and Conquer franchise, while the game is published by MMO stalwarts Rift. EoN’s vision of a dystopic near future promises to be an impressive experience. The developers advertise EoN as taking place in a vast, sprawling game universe, with lots of action and plenty to explore. Tantalizing pre-release shots would appear to bear out these claims: giant robots stalk the streets, while hordes of laser-firing tanks emerge from a mobile fortress to lay waste to the land. The online game will be free to play.