%%If you're wondering what's going on, this page is currently being renovated.

In Strategy Games -- whether [[TurnBasedStrategy turn-based]], [[RealTimeStrategy real-time]], or FourX -- or [[WarGaming tabletop wargames]], when there are different factions, these will ([[CosmeticallyDifferentSides usually]]) have different advantages, disadvantages, and play styles to entertain the player. With a low amount of factions, there are clear, fundamental differences, but as the factions grow, the differences subside, until [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters eventually]] the sides are not polar opposites as much as points on a gradient line between two extremes.

Compare PlayerCharacterCalculus.


At the core of Faction Calculus are two sides.

* '''[[UnskilledButStrong Powerhouse]]''' - Power and Efficiency. Powerhouse armies typically consist of powerful units with great durability and attack power. Pound for pound, Dollar for Dollar, their forces are flat out stronger than their opponents and in a head on meatgrinder, they'll come out on top. What abilities they do have tend to be things like {{Herd Hitting Attack}}s, temporary power-ups, heailng, [[wehavereserves economic advantages]], and other things that make them even harder to beat head on, or a few tools oriented towards forcing their opponents to fight them head on.
* '''[[WeakButSkilled Subversive]]''' - Speed and Techique. Subversive armies can't handle Powerhouses head-on, atleast not without simply having a bigger army where their they overcome the fact that their troops are weaker for their cost via out-spending, but realistically, [[CoolButInefficient that's not going to work as plan A]]. Intead, Subversive forces use a combination of burst damage Hit-and-Run Tactics, striking at their opponent's vulnerable supply lines, support units, and artillery, leaving traps, or otherwise "cheating" to get the upper hand.

The contrast between the two playstyles allows for a more varied game than strictly CosmeticallyDifferentSides and mirror matches. The Subversive player will have to play around the Powerhouse's greater power using his techiques, while the Powerhouse needs to predict and counter the tricks and traps of the Subversive player's forces to bring his strength to bear.

Every faction in a game exists somewhere in between these two extremes, either leaning towards straightforward brute force, or misdirection and dirty fighting. However, simply making one faction slightly stronger but slower than the next rarely adds enough assymetry once enough factions are involved, so developers often turn to giving each faction a gimmick of some sort, such as long range or large numbers as is shown in ACommanderIsYou.
[[folder: Four X]]
* ''VideoGame/CivilizationBeyondEarth'' has the three Affinities: Purity(Powerhouse), to Supremacy, to Harmony(Subversive). Purity is stronger when immobile and on the defensive, as well as in general slugging matches, Supremacy is highly mobile, works best when all their units are in groups with eachother and more offensively oriented, while Harmony favors using the terrain, and natural fauna to their advantage, but lose strength when in clustered battles.
* The late game of ''VideoGame/{{Colonization}}'' pits your colony against the mother country's Royal Expeditionary Force after you declare independence. The REF has stronger units overall, making it the Powerhouse, but your colonial troops are better able to take advantage of [[GeoEffects terrain bonuses]] in the open field, allowing you to use Subversive tactics like luring the enemy into ambushes to defeat the Royalists.
[[folder: Trading Card Game]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'' has this in the form of it's Color Wheel, with Green being the Powerhouse, White, then Red, then Black, and finally Blue as the most Subversive color. While you can technically play multiple colors (and some decks do actually play two), the fact that each color requires it's own form of mana encourages you to treat colors as their own indivual factions.
** Most Duel Decks series take this tack, usually with the "Bad Guy" deck being the Powerhouse (though unusually the very first, Elves vs. Goblins, pitted two Subversive strategies against each other, though the Elves are better able to transition to Powerhouse late game).
%% The Following Magic The Gathering section is in storage for transportation to A Commander Is You
%%* ''MagicTheGathering'''s five colors are divided like this. White is the Horde, as it likes to summon lots of small creatures and use effects like [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=382186 Honor of the Pure]] to power them all up. A mix of protection, flying, and trying to have the moral high ground keep it from being little more than [[VideoGame/StarCraft the Zerg]]. Blue is Subversive; it uses counterspells, boomerang effects, and other disruptive tactics to shut down its opponent's strategy while it whittles away at them with small evasive creatures. Black is Balanced with elements of Cannon; it can do almost anything the other colors can do, but black cards often have restrictive costs, the most common of which are [[CastFromHitPoints paying life]] or [[HumanSacrifice sacrificing creatures]] to quickly gain power. Red is the Cannon: it's all about doing as much damage as possible as fast as you can. There are numerous red creatures such as [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=234722 Ball Lightning]] that have a lot of attack power, but only 1 point of toughness. Like Black, it has a theme of sacrificing permanents for an advantage. Green is the Powerhouse; it features large, expensive and powerful units, and it's the best at destroying artifacts and enchantments, letting it fight back against subversive tactics.
%%** It is common - if not outright expected - for each block to all but redefine various colours' roles, especially with regards to the above roles. Even within the same block, there is usually enough variety for a skilled player to build a suitable deck for most if not all of these roles. Throughout blocks, Black, Blue, and White tend to be the most uniform. Green and Red often switch between each other, and borrow from other colours.
%%*** White's most identifiable forte is healing. Nearly every block, white has some respectable capacity to restore life points. Teamwork is another common theme - white decks tend to have cards that, while not particularly spectacular in and of themselves, synergize well. Exalted is, perhaps, the most notable example.
%%*** Blue's typical strategy is mostly just to screw with its opponent's by making them discard cards, frequently countering spells, and being fairly morphic and difficult to pin down.
%%*** Black's usual technique is damaging life points directly (often at the cost of its own), and keeping its creatures from dying (usually via regeneration).
%%*** Red shifts between between large giants, dragons, and other beasts, and swarms of goblins. As mentioned above, Red tends to pull from Black's book in biting its own hand in order to gain an advantage.
%%*** Green tends to be the best colour for getting mana. There are a lot of green cards that will either pull lands out of your deck or directly tap for mana, letting you get the big guns out faster. It frequently shifts from being focused on large beasts to swarms of small creatures (a role that it performs well at when mixed with White).
%%** And then there's the ''other'' "colour": artifacts. Usually just meant to enhance and add variety to other decks, it is quite possible and a fairly common strategy to build artifact decks. Because they can be so variable, they can be quite difficult to counter for the unprepared.
%%** Or we could consider two-color combos. In fact, the allied color pairs fit into five roles rather neatly:
%%*** '''White-blue''' is the Powerhouse. Among the allied color pairs, it's the one most inclined towards Control, a strategy that focuses on slowing the game down and not summoning units or attacking until mid to late game. Moreover, the units these decks do summon tend to look like what would be called "elite" in other games: since the units these decks use are few in numbers, the said units are usually either large or hard to stop, often both;
%%*** '''Blue-black''' is the Subversive. They're the colors most associated with evasive creatures, and they're also the sole colors capable of messing with their opponents' hands and libraries. As a result, they are able to undermine their opponents' plans in ways that no other color can;
%%*** '''Black-red''' is the Glass Cannon. They're the colors that frequently power up their spells and abilities via paying life or sacrificing stuffs. This gives them incredible firepower at times, but the fact that their spells and abilities often damage themselves can markedly reduce their longevity;
%%*** '''Red-green''' is the Horde in a sense. They're the color combo that favors Aggro the most: Aggro can be summed up as a strategy where the player just says "I'll throw all of my spells and creatures out as quickly as possible and overwhelm my opponent. This will probably screw up my late games, but whatever." Because of this, they tend to lose if they fail to leave their opponents dead (or at least close to dead) within the first five turns;
%%*** '''Green-white''', situated between White-blue and Red-green, is the Balanced. They tend to put out lots of creatures, and have many spells and enchantments that buff or protect those creatures. They can't go fast like Red-green, but are certainly nowhere as sluggish as White-blue. There's a reason why mid-range decks are so strongly associated with these two colors.
[[folder: Turn Based Strategy]]
[[folder: Real Time Strategy]]
* ''VideoGame/ActOfWar: Direct Action'': United States Army (Powerhouse), Consortium, to Task Force Talon(Subversive).
** In the SpiritualSuccessor ''VideoGame/ActOfAggression'' this is largely unchanged - we have the United States Army (who are still Powerhouse) though Chimera swaps roles with the Cartel (i.e: Chimera's versatility and upgrades make it the Balanced, while the Cartel's emphasis on Speed, Mobility and cutting edge technology make it Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend'': Tainted Coil(Powerhouse), to Ironheade, to Drowning Doom (Subversive). There ''is'' a fourth faction, Lionwhyte's Hair Metal Militia, but they're just a PaletteSwap of Ironheade for the early campaign before the other factions are introduced.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianDawn'': Global Defence Initiative(Powerhouse) to Brotherhood of Nod(Subversive) - A rare example of the good guys being the Powerhouse.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'':
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2'': Soviets (Powerhouse) to Allies (Subversive). Although this dynamic is reversed in the seas, where the Allied surface fleet is more powerful than the Soviets and their reliance on submarines.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2: Yuri's Revenge'': Adds Yuri, whose forces are typically weaker than either, but have a variety of incredibly cheap tricks such as mind control. Meanwhile, the Allies gain two powerful new brute force units in the Battle Fortress and Guardian GI that allow them to function as a more balanced faction in the middle of Yuri's treachery and the Soviet's brutality.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'': GDI (Powerhouse), to Scrin, to Nod (Subversive)
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert3'': [[PlayingWithATrope It's somewhat complicated here]]. The Empire Of The Rising Sun has the weakest units, making them the Subversive faction. The Allies are Balanced, with a strong, straightforward army and powerful force multipliers. Soviets are Powerhouse, as usual. However, this is only for ground-based combat. In the air, the Allies are Powerhouse, the Soviets are Balanced, and the Empire is Subversive, while on the water the Allies are the Subversive, the Soviets are Balanced, and the Empire is Powerhouse.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'': China (Powerhouse), to the US, to GLA (Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/CompanyOfHeroes'': Wehrmacht (Powerhouse) to United States Of America (Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/ConquestFrontierWars'':Celareons(Powerhouse) to Terran Empire, to Mantis(Subversive)
* ''VideoGame/DarkReign'': JDA/Imperium (Powerhouse) to Sprawlers/Freedom Guard (Subversive)
* ''VideoGame/DuneII'', ''Dune 2000'' and ''VideoGame/EmperorBattleForDune'': Harkonnen(Powerhouse), to Atreides, to Ordos(Subversive).
* Somtaaw vs Beast in ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}}: Cataclysm''; Hiigarans vs Vaygr in ''VideoGame/{{Homeworld}} 2''. Two more examples of Powerhouse good guys.
* ''VideoGame/{{Earth2150}}'': Eurasian Dynasty(Powerhouse), to United Civilised States, to Lunar Corporation(Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/EndOfNations'': Liberation Front(Powerhouse) to Shadow Revolution(Subversive).
** Or alternatively, if commander classes are counted as as separate factions: Spartan (Powerhouse) to Patriot, to Wraith, to Phantom(Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/EndWar'': Spetsnaz Guard Brigades(Powerhouse), to Joint Strike Force, to European Federation Enforcer Corps(Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/GroundControl'': Crayven Corporation(Powerhouse) to Order Of The New Dawn(Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/MetalFatigue'': Mil-Agro(Powerhouse), to Rimtech, to Neuropa(Subversive)
* ''VideoGame/{{Paraworld}}'': Tries to break this by having two "typical" factions, the Norsemen (powerhouse) and Dustriders (subversive), but then try to alter the mix by having a "stealthy" team, the Dragon Clan. However, stealth doesn't work too well when you're leading a big honking army.
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfLegends'': Cuotl(Powerhouse), to Vinci, to Alin(Subversive). Each faction features [[CosmeticallyDifferentSides units and buildings with the same basic uses and functions which are appropriated to the art style of their civilisation]], but they each have unique abilities not specific to any one unit and {{Hero Unit}}s have their sets of abilities, which are not mirrored by their counterparts in the other factions.
* ''VideoGame/{{SWINE}}'': Pigs (Powerhouse) to Rabbits (Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire'' has the Trader Emergency Coalition(Powerhouse) to Vasari Empire to Advent(Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft'':Protoss (powerhouse) focus upon durable units with fewer numbers, combined with spell caster assistance, but also have a stealth attack with Dark Templar assassins, and Zerg (subversive) rely upon a properly balanced mix of great numbers, with one main spell caster later in the game; the Zerg overlords are both a troop transport and supply cap increaser, allowing very liberal use of sneak attacks. Terrans stand in the middle, with GlassCannon units who all use ranged attacks, and perform sneak attacks with Vulture bikes who can set up minefields and kill worker units very quickly, along with imposing Siege Tank lines that can eradicate entire armies in a few salvos, as well as swarms of Marines that rip enemies apart in a stim- and bullet-filled frenzy
* ''VideoGame/StarWarsEmpireAtWar:'' Galactic Empire (Powerhouse) to Rebel Alliance (Subversive).
** The later expansion pack, ''Force of Corruption'' adds the Zann Consortium as a third faction, which nominally fills the role of a more subversive faction, but has the issue of simply being ''better'' at everything than the other factions, making them a flat GameBreaker in reality.
* ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander'' has the United Earth Federation(Powerhouse), to Aeon Illuminate, to Cybran Nation(Subversive), though all sides tactics boil down to ZergRush eventually.* ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilation'': CORE (Powerhouse) to ARM (Subversive), although [[SeparateButIdentical the differences are fairly small]].

* ''Ultimate General: Civil War'' Union (Powerhouse) to Confederates (Subversive). The Union outnumbers and outguns the Conefederacy, but the latter has better trained, and as a result, coordinated forces.
* ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'': While Humans and Orcs at the lower end of the TechTree are CosmeticallyDifferentSides, advanced units differ enough to require different strategies. Orcs are more of a powerhouse, relying on Bloodlusted Ogre Magi, while Humans rely on subversive but powerful spells such as Invisibility, Blizzard and Exorcism.
* ''VideoGame/WorldInConflict'': United States Of America, Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics, North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Here, though, the differences are much smaller then in other games - most units and supports are exactly the same on either side, and many more only have subtle differences. What little differences there are makes Soviets the Subversive, US Powerhouse, and NATO Balanced (NATO uses a mix of units and supports from the other two factions).
[[folder: Other]]
%% Not sure if this one works, don't watch the series and couldn't find enough evidence of it from wiki walks.
%%* A non-video game example in ''Series/BabylonFive'': The Vorlons are the Powerhouse, the Shadows are Balanced, and the Sherridan-led Army of Light is Subversive.
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', the three major enemy mercenary groups are set up like this, with the Blood Pack as Powerhouses, the Blue Suns in the middle, and the Eclipse as Subversive.
* ''Videogame/PlanetSide'': New Conglomerate(Powerhouse), to Terran Republic, to Vanu Sovereignty(Subversive) although this only matters for vehicles and a few unique weapons. The NC have the toughest, heaviest hitting vehicles, the TR's are faster, weaker, but make up for it with [[MoreDakka volume of fire]], and the Vanu tend towards using their hover technology and the maneuverability granted by it, along with cheap, gimmicky weapons.
* ''Running with Rifles: Pacific'' (though not a strategy game) exemplifies this trope, featuring America (Powerhouse) vs. Imperial Japan (Subversive). America favors technology, firepower, and direct mass engagements, and has unique access to a default semi-automatic rifle, a 100-round machine gun, and an amphibious warfare vehicle. Imperial Japan mixes "banzai" ZergRush tactics with stealth and disabling technology, possessing unique access to a stealth suit and a semi-automatic anti-tank rifle.
* ''Tomorrow's War'': In "asymetric warfare" scenarios the professional army is the powerhouse while the insurgents have to be subversive.

[[folder: Three ]]

* ''VideoGame/{{Achron}}'''s 3 factions are difficult to place since they don't follow any one category. For example, the Grekim rely the most on trickery and special abilities, but unlike Subversive, it focuses on few high powered units. The Collective Earth Security Organization is most like The Horde, while the Vecgir are somewhere in between.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}: Rites of War'' has three factions: the Eldar, who, with a small number of elite units, are the Powerhouse; the Tyranids, who, with a large number of units, including many that are human genestealer hybrids, are the Subversives; and the Imperium, who are the Balanced. Interestingly, you play as the Eldar in campaign mode.
* ''VideoGame/UniverseAtWar'': Hierarchy(Powerhouse), to Masari, to Novus(Subversive).


[[folder: Four ]]

* ''[[Videogame/EveOnline Eve Online]]'': The four dominant human races of the EVE Cluster: The Amarr Empire (Powerhouse), The Gallente Federation (Balanced), The Caldari State (Subversive), and The Minmatar Republic (Cannon)
* ''[[VideoGame/WarCraft Warcraft III]]'': Human Alliance, Orcish Horde, Undead Scourge, Night Elf Sentinels are Balanced, Powerhouse, Subversive, and Cannon respectively.
* (Original) ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'': Space Marines (Balanced), Orks (The Horde), Eldar (Subversive) and Chaos (Powerhouse).
* ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander'''s ''Forged Alliance'' expansion adds the Seraphim as Cannon.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekArmada'': United Federation Of Planets, Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, Borg. The Romulans do not appear in the sequel.
** The Romulans just don't get a campaign in Armada 2. They're still there as enemies/multiplayer factions, along with the Cardassian Union and Species 8472.
* ''VideoGame/BattleRealms'': The 4 Clans; Dragon (Balanced), Serpent (Subversive), Wolf (Powerhouse), Lotus (Cannon).
* ''VideoGame/CompanyOfHeroes''[='=] expansion, Opposing Fronts, adds in two more factions - the Panzer Elite and British. By comparison, the Panzer Elite are Cannons, the British are Balanced (but in a ''very'' defensive sense), the Americans are Subversive, and the Wehrmacht are the Powerhouse.
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfTheStars'' base game: Humans (Balanced), Liir (Subversive), Hivers (Powerhouse), and Tarka (Cannon).
** The first expansion added the Zuul (Horde). The second one added the Morrigi (Arguably took over Subversive from the Liir).
* ''VideoGame/TheWitcher3WildHunt'' features a card game called Gwent, which divides its decks into four separate factions, including the Northern Realms (Balanced), the Nilfgaardian Empire (Powerhouse), the Scoia'tael (Cannon), and Monsters (Subversive).
** This is true considering that these four decks are all based after the actual factions themselves in both the video games as well as the books. The Nilfgaardian Empire (Powerhouse) consumed its southern neighbors and is threatening to consume the Northern Kingdoms. Meanwhile, the Northern Kingdoms (Balanced) spend most of their time waging war with each other than uniting against the larger Nilfgaardian Empire. The Scoia'tael (Cannons) are elven and dwarven guerrillas who wage war with the Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaardian Empire's respective human populations. And, the Wild Hunt (Subversive, and what the Monster deck is based after) threatens to spread the white frost across both the Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaardian Empire, while chasing down Ciri for her powerful magic.
** The standalone, free-to-play ''VideoGame/GwentTheWitcherCardGame'' changes its opposing factions, including the Northern Kingdoms as the Powerhouse faction due to units increasing their point values based on how many of each are played; Nilfgaard as the Subversive faction due to its emphasis on spies and diplomats; the Scoia'tael as the Balanced faction due to its units freely switching between melee, ranged, and/or siege; Monsters being the Horde faction due to its emphasis on spawning mass numbers and consuming other monsters to increase point values; and Skellige as the Cannon faction due to units getting killed only to be resurrected by their priests.
* Though not a strategy game, the four major players in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 4}}'' fit this dynamic. The [[MugglePower Commonwealth]] [[WeHelpTheHelpless Minutemen]] would be Balanced: Minutemen fighters usually feature a mishmash of different weapons and armour and are moderately powerful. The [[PoweredArmor Brotherhood]] [[CoolPlane of Steel]] are definitely Powerhouse, as their heavily-armoured Knights are few in number but also some of the strongest enemies you'll encounter, even being able to consistently beat Deathclaws one-on-one, and they're the only faction to have air power. The [[TheConspiracy Institute]] are a shoe-in for Subversive, as while they don't produce Power Armour or other advanced weapons of war, they do produce large quantities of expendable Synths to do their fighting for them, and they also send the Synths to infiltrate the Commonwealth, working covertly to maintain their grip on the people. Finally, the [[UndergroundRailroad Railroad]] would be the Cannons; Railroad Heavies are often equipped with Gauss Rifles and Railway Rifles which can punch through a Brotherhood Knight's armour with ease, but aren't very well-armoured themselves, and they're few in number and don't really have the staying power to openly contend with the other factions.
* ''VideoGame/BattlefleetGothicArmada'': Imperial Navy (Balanced) vs. Fleets of Chaos (Subversive) vs. Ork Freebooterz (Powerhouse) vs. Eldar Corsairs (Cannons).
** The Imperial Navy fields ships with impressive macro-cannon batteries and considerable durability due to good armour and shielding. They're also equipped with heavy prows for ramming and prow-facing torpedo launchers. The Imperial's secret weapon, the Nova cannon, is a heavy long-range cannon which fires a massive shell which explodes destroying any ship for kilometres around the blast. While good at close to mid-range engagements, the Imperial Navy struggle at longer ranges due to heavy reliance on macro weapons, a lack of carrier vessels until the late-game (and even then carriers are expensive) and moderate to mediocre speed. Generally, the Imperials succeed when they do whatever the faction they're facing is bad at.
** The Fleets of Chaos field a number of older ships which the Imperial Navy have long since decommissioned. They tend to prefer mid to long range engagements with large numbers of lance weapons and plenty of carrier ships - every class has a carrier ship and outfitting them is very cheap too. On the other hand, their macro batteries are nothing to write home about, their ramming potential is limited, their torpedoes are nonexistent, and high speed is what protects them instead of thick armour.
** The Ork Freebooterz field a number of ships with extremely heavy frontal prows, giving them excellent protection from frontal attack and letting them bull apart enemy ships with ease, and they are the best at boarding actions too. Ork ships are also rather versatile as instead of choosing from specific ships with a class, each class provides a basic "krooza" which comes with a number of options which the player can freely choose. However, this raw power comes at significant cost: their accuracy at any range other than "very close" is abysmal, their ships are highly vulnerable in the rear due to loads of engines and thin armour, and due to their anarchic natures the Ork "kaptins" are more likely to disobey the admiral and abandon battle than those of other races.
** The Eldar Corsairs specialise in lightning fast hit-n-run tactics with the most manoeuvrable ships of any faction, but this comes at considerable cost to their durability: Eldar ships have very thin armour, and their holofields (shields) only work when the ship is moving at speed. While even Chaos can perform somewhat decent ramming manoeuvres in a pinch, ramming with Eldar ships is simple suicide. Eldar ships have solar sails and hence need to [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacking_(sailing) "tack"]], and most of their weapons are front-facing meaning that an Eldar admiral has to pay close attention to positioning and micromanagement. However, Eldar ships have a lot of lance-based firepower and their captains have better morale, making them less like to flee battles.
* ''VideoGame/MentalOmega'' ([[GameMod mod]] for ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2: Yuri's Revenge''): The Allied Nations are Cannons (formerly Balanced before the introduction of Foehn), with fast units, advanced weaponry and air and naval superiority. The Soviet Union is the Powerhouse, being the most straightforward and direct faction with a preference towards heavy armour, weapons and assault tactics. The Epsilon Army is Subversive, with cheap but statistically weak units and preferring to spam infantry and rely on unconventional weapons. The Foehn Revolt is Balanced, with strong units that also come with many special abilities but pay for it in very high individual cost. Furthermore, each faction is divided into three sub-factions that also play this trope straight:
** Allies: The USA is Subversive, with fast but frail units and preference towards rapid deployment and surgical strikes with a strong air force. The Euro Alliance, emphasising in heavy firepower and defence, is the Powerhouse. The Pacific Front is Balanced, with versatile, multifunctional units and a focus on long-range bombardment.
** Soviets: Russia is Balanced, with its versatile Tesla technology, mobile and moderately powerful units. The Latin Confederation is Subversive, with a preference for guerrilla warfare, urban combat and sabotage, being slightly weaker in direct fights. China is the Powerhouse to the max, whose signature tactic is steamrolling the enemy with a wall of slow-moving but strong war machines.
** Epsilon: [=PsiCorps=] is Balanced, whose main strength lies in mind control technology and amphibious assaults. HQ is slightly more of a Powerhouse, focusing on territorial control, defence and strong infantry. Scorpion Cell is the most Subversive, favouring cheap, spammable and WeakButSkilled units, and {{troll}}ing the enemy with its arsenal of chemical weapons and ambush capability.
** Foehn: Haihead is Balanced, relying on getting close and personal to swiftly destroy enemy installations. The Wings of Coronia is Subversive, preferring mobility over raw strength, with various flying and hovering units. And with their focus on durable and powerful units, amazing defence and turtling, the Last Bastion is the Powerhouse.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfTheTiberiumAge'' ({{crossover}} [[GameMod mod]] between ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianDawn'' and ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' for ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSun''): GDI (Balanced), Nod (Subversive), Allies (Cannons) and Soviets (Powerhouse).


[[folder: Five ]]

* ''TabletopGame/DuelMasters'', itself [[SelfPlagiarism based on]] ''Magic: The Gathering'', has 5 Civilizations, although not balanced identically due to its significantly different mechanics: Fire Civilization is the Offensive Powerhouse, with Power Attackers and Speed Attackers; Light Civilization is the Defensive Powerhouse, with a huge number of Blockers and defensive spells which, for instance, add Shields or tap enemy creatures; Nature Civilization being the cross between the Powerhouse and the Horde, using Mana-buffing to bring out Power Attackers, or just Zerg their way to victory; Water Civilization, the closest to being Balanced, focuses on Hand-buffing similar to Nature's Mana-buffing, and replaces Powerhouse creatures with powerful Blockers and enemy creature control; Darkness Civilization has Powerhouses in the form of Slayers (which can kill any enemy they battle with, making them the best suicide units), [[GlassCannon Glass Cannons]] which die after battle, Blockers (to a lesser extent than Light and Water), discarding enemy Hand cards, revival of dead creatures, and making sacrifices for certain abilities.
** Because it is hard to counter every situation with a single Civilization, most decks includes 2 to 3 civilizations, either to cover for each other's weaknesses, or to increase the potency of a strategy:
*** Nature's Mana-buffing is very helpful for bringing out powerful units of other races, making it a compatible with all Civilizations, whether playing stamina with Water or Light, or aiming for a beatdown with Fire or Darkness.
*** Light and Water can be combined to form a formidable defense, using a large amount of powerful Blockers and defensive abilities.
*** Fire and Water/Light make an excellent combination of offense and defense.
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar: Winter Assault'': Space Marines (Balanced), Orks (The Horde), Eldar (Subversive), Chaos (Powerhouse) and Imperial Guard (Cannons).
%%* ''[[VideoGame/NintendoWars Advance Wars]]''
* Also theoretically, ''VideoGame/{{Sacrifice}}'' has five factions if one plays with one god straight - Persephone (Balanced), James (Powerhouse), Stratos (Subversive), Pyro (Cannon) and Charnel (Horde). Technically speaking, a player can mix and match with the various powers, meaning his unit combinations can come anywhere inbetween.
* ''VideoGame/TotalAnnihilationKingdoms'' starts with four Aramon(Balanced), Veruna(Balanced naval), Taros(Cannon) and Zhon(Horde). The expansion pack adds Creon(Powerhouse).
* ''VideoGame/AgeOfMythology'' has five with the Tale of the Dragon expansion: Greeks (Balanced), Egyptians (Subversive), Norse (Powerhouse), Atlanteans (Cannon), and Chinese (Horde).
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfTheReds'' ([[GameMod a mod]] for ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals: Zero Hour''): USA (Balanced), Russia (Powerhouse), ECA (Cannons), GLA (Subversive), and China (Horde).
** Made more complex in 2.0, as each faction has 3 Generals that further diversify the game by either being Powerhouse, Subversive or exaggerating their faction's strengths ("Exaggerator"), respectively. This results in combinations such as Balanced-Powerhouse (USA General Bradley), Powerhouse-Powerhouse (Russian General Zhukov), similar but different Powerhouse-Exaggerator (Russian General Aleksandr), Subversive-Powerhouse (GLA General Sulaymaan), Horde-Subversive (Chinese General Jin) and so on for a total of '''15''' combinations.
* In ''VideoGame/CompanyOfHeroes II'', it's the Red Army (Subversive/Horde), the US Army (Balanced) and the British Army (Powerhouse with a focus on defence) vs. the Wehrmacht Ostheer (Powerhouse) and the Oberkommando West (Cannons).
* The real World War II actually did play out a lot like this when it comes to the five most significant participant countries, the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Empire of Japan. United States was Balanced, United Kingdom was Cannon, Soviet Union was Horde, Nazi Germany was Powerhouse and Empire of Japan was Subversive.


[[folder: Six or more ]]

* ''Videogame/LordsOfMagic'' has EIGHT races. Fire (Cannon-subversive-ish), Chaos (Cannon-horde-ish), Air (Subversive-horde-ish), Life (Subversive-Balanced), Water (Balanced), Order (Powerhouse-Cannon), Earth (Powerhouse-Horde-VERY SLOW-ish), and Death (Balanced, in the way that having a Horde of Nukes is balanced).
* ''VideoGame/DawnOfWar'': In the second and third expansion packs ''Dark Crusade'' (Space Marines (Balanced), Orks (The Horde), Eldar (Subversive), Chaos (Powerhouse), Imperial Guard (Cannons), Tau Empire (Cannons) and Necrons (Powerhouse)) and ''Soulstorm'' (Space Marines (Balanced), Orks (The Horde), Eldar (Subversive), Chaos (Powerhouse), Imperial Guard (Cannons), Tau Empire (Cannons), Necrons (Powerhouse), Sisters of Battle (Cannons) and Dark Eldar (super-Subversive)).
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': '''Sixteen''' factions (Space Marines, including five variant groups, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons, Ordo Malleus, Ordo Hereticus, Orks, Necrons, Imperial Guard, and Tyranids). They're generally organized in terms of how focused they are on shooting versus close combat and by whether they tend to field [[ZergRush hordes]] versus [[EliteArmy elite units]].
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfNations'' has over 20 different nations to choose from, but most of the differences are small.
* ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpires'' series have large numbers of playable factions, with more added in each expansion pack. Since the tech trees are shared, most variation comes in the form of each civilisation having exclusive bonuses or missing out on a few research items or unit upgrades. The second game adds one (in some cases two) unique technology and unit for each civilisation. Additionally, both games feature set statistical bonuses (military and economic) and minor gimmicks for each civ.
** The third game in the series takes earlier concepts further, increasing complexity by giving all European civilisations two or more (up to five) unique units, removing or replacing basic units for specific civs, providing each civ with a more powerful mainline upgrade for some basic units, and adding a variety of bonuses, gimmicks, etc. to each civ. Further, the game introduces the Home City feature, allowing for even more unique bonuses and technologies to be applied on the fly. The two expansions add three civilisations each, and all of these are entirely unique, sharing no units with any other civ (although there are some similarities). There are also variety of gameplay gimmicks implemented according to civ-grouping (for instance, the Fire Pit for all Native Americans, Wonders and Rice Paddies for all Asians) and individual civilisation (as the system in the base game TurnedUpToEleven).
*** In a way, with the third expansion, the game plays into the three-way version of this trope, with the Europeans being Balanced, the Natives being Subversive, and Asians being Powerhouses. Also, in same expansion, the Asian factions form the same triangle: Japan (Balanced), India (Powerhouse), and China (Subversive).
* ''VideoGame/AgeOfWonders 2'' has ''twelve'' races, alphabetically: Archons, Dark Elves, Draconians, Dwarves, Elves, Frostlings, Goblins, Halflings, Humans, Orcs, Tigran, and Undead. Additionally, there are two Elvish wizard factions, two Human wizard factions (one is you), and two Undead wizard factions. Humans are the most balanced straightforward units by race, but everyone else is a bit mixed.
** The sequel/expansion "Age of Wonder: Shadow Magic" brought that number up to fifteen.
* ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth'' has six factions in the Default era: Rebels (elves), Knalgan Alliance (dwarves and outlaws), Loyalists (humans), Northerners (orcs), Undead, and Drakes (dragonmen and lizardmen). The balance of powers oscillates with the day cycle. But in general Knalgan Alliance acts mostly as a powerhouse, Rebels as subversive, Undead and Drakes as cannons, Northerners as horde, and Loyalists as balanced.
* ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion'' has ten races who actually play fairly differently. Each has a special racial bonus (and a few have handicaps to go along with that if their bonus is too powerful - most races can only colonize half the planets in the galaxy until they've researched the proper tech, but Silicoids can colonize them all right away. But their population grows HALF as fast as everyone else's!). They also have certain tech fields that they are better or worse at, and tendencies toward good or bad relations with certain other races. This results in quite a bit of difference in how each race plays, plus a rather extreme case of unbalance. The Psilons are excellent at all research AND are liked by most other races, making them one of the clearly best races, while the Klackons have an equally overpowered ability (bonuses to industrial production) but are widely disliked (they're still one of the top races though). Mrrshans and Alkaris have awful abilities (small combat bonuses) and are generally disliked, making them the hardest to play, while the Darloks (bonuses to all spying activities) are hated by all, but can often become the leaders in technology by stealing everyone else's tech, and can keep themselves alive by inciting wars between other empires.
* ''VideoGame/WarlordsBattlecry'' 2 has 12 races that play differently, and Warlord's Battlecry 3 has SIXTEEN! Though for the most part it is a sliding gradient scale, there are several races that have unique combat gimmicks which make them difficult to categorize - the undead, for example, can upgrade their units on the field, simultaneously fully healing them. The Swarm in WBC3 can resource starve their opponents while hammering them with weak - but very cheap - troops. Daemons can use their units to summon whole new units onto the field for free, effectively replacing lost troops mid-battle or freely building up the ranks beforehand, but the base units are hideously expensive. And then there's the Plaguelords in WBC3, who are just totally overpowered; with access to cheap hordes of units with powerful upgrades "and" powerful area of effect monsters, their only real weakness is a lack of effective ranged units.
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' has seven factions: Gaia's Stepdaughters, Human Hive, University Of Planet, Morgan Industries, Spartan Federation, The Lord's Believers, and Peacekeeping Forces. The expansion, ''Alien Crossfire'', adds seven more: Cybernetic Consciousness, Nautilus Pirates, Free Drones, Data Angels, Cult Of Planet, Manifold Caretakers, and Manifold Usurpers. There may still only be seven factions in the game. Also, if one alien faction (i.e. Caretakers/Usurpers) is in the game, the other must be as well. The printed manual for Alien Crossfire went into detail describing the process of autoplaying games with all 1,584 combinations of factions just to make sure everything is balanced juuuuust right.
** And then there's the unlockable faction in Alien Crossfire - the Firaxians (named after Firaxis Games, the developer). They're intentionally a LethalJokeCharacter, for people who just want to kick inordinate amounts of butt inordinately early, so they don't factor into the balancing.
* ''[[TabletopGame/IronKingdoms Warmachine]]'' and ''[[TabletopGame/IronKingdoms Hordes]]'' are two halves of a game: ''Warmachine'' has six factions while ''Hordes'' has four (with another planned in 2017). Has even more if you count the sub groups in the mercenaries (5) and Minions (2) factions.
** If you look only at the original four Warmachine factions, they mostly follow the standard for 4 Factions: Cygnar (Cannons), Khador (Powerhouse), Cryx (Subversive), Protectorate (Balanced). Specific models and units within each faction will break the standard, but overall they fit fairly well. With the addition of Retribution of Scyrah in Mk. II, the faction calculus changed a bit to follow the 5 Faction standard, with Cryx becoming The Horde and Retribution becoming the new Subversive.
** The faction calculus on the Hordes side also follows the 4 Faction standard to some degree: Legion (Cannons), Skorne (Powerhouse), Circle (Subversive), Trollbloods (Balanced).
** It's interesting to note that both Powerhouse factions (Khador and Skorne) have a red color scheme and both Subversive factions (Cryx and Circle) have a green color scheme, both of which are common to other games.
** The Convergence of Cyriss, ''Warmachine'' faction #6, is definitely the [[ACommanderIsYou Gimmick Faction]], with hints of Technical and Pariah, using Vectors (more technologically advanced warjack equivalents without an ai) that rely on their Warcasters' accuracy stat instead of their own, are unusually focus-efficient, and cannot use Mercenaries under any circumstances.
* ''VideoGame/{{Wizard101}}'' has seven schools of magic. Storm is a GlassCannon, Fire is a GradualGrinder mixed with some GlassCannon, Ice is the StoneWall and later on learns GradualGrinder spells, Life is CombatMedic, Myth is TheBeastMaster, Death is based off LifeDrain based spells, and balance is a mix of JackOfAllStats and [[StatusBuff status buffing.]] All of them are actually very well balanced.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Monsterpocalypse}}'' has six factions each are one of six agendas, G.U.A.R.D. (Protectors), Terrasaurs (Radicals), Planet Eaters (Destroyers), Lords Of Cthul (Fiends), Martian Menace (Invaders), and Shadowsun Syndicate (Collaborators). The later sets add six more factions to each agenda, Elemental Champions (Protectors), Empire of the Apes (Radicals), Savage Swarm (Destroyers), Subterran Uprising (Fiends), Tritons (Invaders), Ubercorp International (Collaborators).
* GameMod ''VideoGame/RedAlert3Paradox'' has 8 factions which are fairly deverse. Out of those, 4 play in typical ''Command & Conquer'' fashion while the other 4 do NOT (they play like an RPG, VideoGame/SimCity and both sides of a TowerDefense game, respectively). The orientations are equally deverse, the Allies posses air power and "working together", the Soviets have tanks ad absurdum, bringing raw unmatched firepower in, the Empire are versatile and very fast in addition to a powerful navy, the Confederates have great infantry and all sorts of stealthy mean tricks, the Talons are even more about working together, creating impenetrable shields with their strong defense values, the Chinese are the towers of a TowerDefense game, short-ranged but powerful, the Electrical Protectorate are the creeps of tower defense games with ZergRush tactics that would make the actual Zerg proud and the Syndicate are all about range and speed while bringing entire cities on the battlefield.
* The FourX space simulation ''[[VideoGame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'' series has twelve different starship-manufacturing factions, each of which uses a different design philosophy best described in terms of the armor triangle (speed-defense-offense). The core factions are as follows: the [[TheFederation Argon Federation]] and [[TheEmpire Paranid Empire]] (variations on Balanced), the [[HumanityIsAdvanced Terrans]], [[ProudMerchantRace Teladi Company]], [[EliteArmy AGI Task Force]], and [[NGOSuperpower OTAS Corporation]] (variations on Powerhouse), the [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Split Dynasty]] (Cannons), and the Kingdom Of Boron (poor Balanced, being a pacifist race forced into warfare). The [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Kha'ak Hive]] and [[AIIsACrapshoot Xenon Fleet]] are The Horde, while the [[{{Yakuza}} Yaki]] are somewhere between Powerhouse and Cannons, and the [[SpacePirate Pirates]] are Subversives.
* ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' has a total of nine factions the player can join, each of them offering different, spells, weapons, armor, and how you interact with other players in PvP.
* The ''VideoGame/CompanyOfHeroes'' GameMod Eastern Front adds the Soviet Union and German Ostheer to the mix; the Soviets are clearly Horde in the early to mid-game, using upgrades to transition into powerhouse by the finale. The Ostheer are primarily technical with specialized units perfect for their roles, but also trapped when put against enemies outside their specialty.
* ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'' has [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters thousands of units among numerous factions]], but some general tendencies stand out. The Capellan Confederation are probably the most clear cut Subversives, particularly in later eras, with their reliance on Stealth technologies, minefields and terrorist actions, while the Clans and to a lesser degree, the Lyran Commonwealth/Alliance are fairly heavily into Powerhouse territory. Most other factions are somewhere in the Balanced spectrum between those two.