Best strategic PC game.

Question to all PC games addicts:Which strategic game is the best of them all?
Is “Rise of the Nations” better than Civ3 ? how about “Medieval total War”?

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DrMatrix - GQ Moderator

I’ve had the most fun with Rise of Nations in terms of real-time strategy games. One of the reasons I loved it so much is because I loved the Civ line of games too, and RON is somewhat inspired from that series. It just seems like there is so much to do in Rise of Nations; so many different strategies, unlike games like Warcraft 3 where you usually do a rush tactic, or build up for a bit, amass an army of a single unit, and go for it, which leads to the game becoming repetitive and boring. RON requires a bit more brainpower and strategy than most other RTS games. You can give it my vote for being innovative, fun, and possibly the best strategy game out there. However, Alpha Centuari (sp?) certainly sticks out in the strategy genre as well. I can’t really place one better over the other, so let me just state that they both deserve the No. 1 spot IMHO.

For real strategy, try Gary Grigsby’s Pacific War. The game can be a bit hard to get down but once you start playing it, you get so addicted it sucks your life away. Play as the Japanese and see how well you do against overwhelming odds.

Rise of Nations is my favorite, the Thrones and Patriots addition had me playing it again for the past few months. Once you have a solid feel for the game, it is a lot of fun to experiment with the various “Wonder” structures. All are useful without being a dominant factor in the skirmish, it is interesting to mix wonder benefits with the native advantages of the various Nations.

Europa Universalis II when patched to 1.07. I liked it a lot better than Civ III, though really they’re not the same kind of game.

I’ll put a plug in for Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!: a superb Civil War real-time strategy game, it has exceptional game mechanics and lots of nifty features like authentic bugle calls for troop commands (if you learn to recognize them, you know what commands the enemy is giving), period music on authentic instruments, and a palpable sense of the strategy of combat in the Civil War. The sounds or warfare are terrific, the graphics very good for the time, and the combat interface is simple yet enhances the depth of the strategy.

A classic!

I second Europa Universalis. The best strategy game (excluding wargames, which are a different kettle of fish) I played. But of course, not everybody is going to like it.

I third it ( though I’m using the 1.08 patch ). EU II is mana from heaven for history geeks. Crusader Kings ( which I currently have on order from the frozen north, since it doesn’t roll out in the states until Sept. 21rst ) may challenge it, but from what I’ve been reading I doubt it will beat it.

MTW is a lot of fun and its tactical simulator is second to none ( or at least, perhaps, until Rome Total War gets here ). But it has nowhere near the depth of EU II.

  • Tamerlane

One small vote for Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns. It’s a different RTS, as you don’t directly control units in combat. Instead, you choose formations for them, and can direct them to attack or to retreat, but the fighting is something they handle for themselves. For me, it makes RTS workable – I find micromanaging the large number of units in most RTS games to be really hard.

For turn-based strategy games, I’l have to say Alpha Centauri. I love the setting, so I’m willing to overlook some of the UI flaws.

I’ll second Gettysburg and add an oldie-but-goodie…Harpoon.

Hearts of Iron. Certainly RoN is not a bad choice, nor is M:TW (or the soon-to-be-released M:RW), but nothing touches Hearts of Iron for a truly grand scale strategic military game. (Except for when HOI 2 comes out, I suppose.)

I’m playing Harpoon once again, having much fun making missle strikes on Iceland. Great game.

I would have to go with Civ III with the Conquest expansion pack. The game starts out simple, but there is a lot of complexity underlying everything, but it remains pretty easy to learn.

I fourth Europa Universalis II.

Neat game.

As with ALL single player strategic games that don’t excessively ‘cheat’ for non-players, the AI lacks (but is relatively good). However, you can usually do well against it. However, EUII is great if you ‘roleplay’ and impose constraints on yourself. It is more fun and gives a more ‘historical possible’ type game. If you try the game and want to know what I came up with let me know.

Someday my wish will be granted.

My wish is for Crusader Kings to offer seamless saved-game integration into Europa Universalis II, which then has its duration extended a bit and offers seamless integration into Victoria, which then has its duration extended a bit and offers seamless integration into Hearts of Iron.

I want to play from 1066 to 1948, goddamnit.

I agree to an extent. If you’re attempting to be the greatest player on your server, sure the games will get boring as you will always choose the same hero and unit cominations against each race. However, if you’re content to lose 30-70% of the time, you have a little leeway. You can choose the heroes and units that seem the most fun to you, and with decent micromanagement of your units/heroes and macromanagement of your base, supplies, unit producing buildings, and resources, you can will anyway. They game is (supposedly) made up of soft counters. This means that you don’t necessarily have to build the perfect counter to an enemy unit, just so long as you micro properly. This allows for interesting battles among the above average players. Again, if you want to be way above average, you’ll most likely find the game boring.

As for the best strategy game, how has *Starcraft *not been mentioned? I thought that was the de facto answer.

Yes! I agree with you completely. It sucks when you’ve built most of the game making your country how you exactly you want it, only to have the game end in three years.

I am intersted to hear.

I also highly recommend Europa Universalis II. Definitely patch it up to the lastest beta; the developers regularly tweak the code for better gameplay. I also use one the community-based mods (AGC-EEP), which adds even more historical detail.

The AI is very easy to beat if you pick any of the major countries. I generally choose a minor country and see where I can go. The game has endless replay value.

Crusader Kings is also a lot of fun. You play a familial dynasty controlling territories in Europe. It has even more replayability than EUII, but still needs some AI tweaks.

I have several constraints I usually put on myself for Europa Universalis II in order to make the game feel more ‘historical’ and to make it more challenging.

The first is obvious and should always be used – never reload the game for any reason. How would you feel if after you won a major battle and the enemy reloaded the game on you :smiley: .

For EUII…you can:

Never allow yourself to aquire more ‘bad boy’ points once your reputation hits ‘slightly tarnished’. You acquire bad boy points by declaring war, annexing provinces etc. It slowly wears off and once you hit respectable (or honorable) then you can aquire more bad boy points until you hit slightly tarnished again. This is a huge constraint but makes the game feel much more historical. You won’t conquer the world this way but that is easy to do and gets old after a couple of times.

(see the europa-universalis web site for more detail on reputation and ‘bad boy’ points)

Never allow your army or fleet to exceed the (I forget what it is called but it is the max army/fleet size of your empire). You can exceed it but the maintenance costs will be higher. However, I just downloaded version 1.7/1.8 and it seems they tweaked the maintenance cost penalty for exceeding it by making it higher. Still, following the max size at all times makes the game more of a challenge.

Never allow yourself to take the place of an ally during a siege by having a leader move in. (First one there gets control of the province when the siege is successful…however if someone moves in a leader then they take control of the seige)

Play smaller countries instead of the big boys.

No voluntary bankrupcies.

Doing the above results in more of a challenge and a ‘historical’ feel to the game. Croatia won’t conquer world but maybe you can make them a strong power :slight_smile: