Turn-Based Strategy, Real Time Combat
A video game expression of Strategy Versus Tactics, wherein long-term strategic gameplay takes place in turns (often on a "Risk"-Style Map of some sort), while localized tactical engagements occur in real time. Strategy games that implement these modes can be thus classified both as Turn-Based Strategy and as Real-Time Strategy, but other genres sometimes use the same setup, as well. Such dualistic gameplay is justified by a large discrepancy between the time scales of strategic and tactical conflicts: strategic decisions play out over months if not years of in-game time, so it is justified to give the player a lot of time to think about them; tactical decisions, in the meantime, are based on the current situation on the battlefield—which changes almost every second, leaving no room for long deliberations.
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- This is the trademark style of the Total War series: the strategic gameplay takes place on a "Risk"-Style Map, with the in-game turn duration ranging from a few months to a few years; battles, meanwhile, play out in real time and are usually over before the end of the day.
- A system similar to Total War is used by the King Arthur The Role Playing Wargame title and its sequel—armies have a certain amount of movement points (variable by some factors) per season to move on the strategic map (seasons having some differences between another), but clash in real-time combat.
- The Dawn of War Expansion Packs Dark Crusade and Soulstorm likewise augment the series' core real time combat gameplay with strategic turn-based maneuvers on a "Risk"-Style Map.
- Used in the original Sword of the Stars game. Strategic movements, research, and builds were all turn-based, but tactical battles were done in real time, each battle lasting up to 4 minutes before the battle is ended by the timer. Battles can conclude faster if one side is annihilated, or both sides abandon the fight, but there is always a hard timer for the length of the battles.
- In Project X Zone, all units move in turns and can either choose to attack one unit, multiple units, or use a special supportive ability. Once you choose to fight, it shifts into battle mode where you have to time your attacks well for massive damage.
- Campaign mode in Rise of Nations has strategic maneuverings take place on a "Risk"-Style Map, with the various AI nations and player nation operating in turns. However if the player wishes to direct an army in person, the game shifts to a real-time battlefield.
- Space Empires V uses a turn-based system for ship movement, construction, research, etc, with real-time combat occurring if two objects owned by different factions are positioned in the same hex.
- The Global Conquest mode of Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath shows the world like a game board where units can move a certain distance, resources are gathered, and bases are built or upgraded each turn. When enemy forces meet, you have the option of letting the computer simulate a fight, or enter the usual Command & Conquer battlefield and fight it out yourself.
- In Lords of the Realm 2, all the high-level property management is turn-based, but anytime you enter combat, it becomes real-time.
- The 1980s era game Archon may be the originator of this trope, as it had chess-like gameplay augmented with tactical battles when pieces attempted to capture each other.
- The even earlier 1980s game Battle Chess features this as an Unbuilt Trope. It's chess, but the sequences had (often comical) animated violence. The violence was not interactive, which is the addition that built this trope.
- Inverted in the original X-COM: Strategic gameplay (Geoscape) took place in real time but battles switched to Turn-Based Combat.
- In Divinity: Dragon Commander, the strategic level plays out akin to Risk, while the battles, if you direct them personally, take place in real time.
- The campaign mode in Wargame Red Dragon uses this model to simulate several hypothetical wars. The turns represent about a day, and each battle takes place in real time. Interesting in that the status of the tactical map changes depending on which neighboring territories are held on the strategic map, such as which reinforcement zones are available at the start.
- In Mega Man Battle Network games, the "virus busting" missions take place in two-phase turns: first, you Take Your Time to select your weapons (Battle Chips), then you use them in real time engagements. Weapon selection thus adds a strategic aspect to tactical real time gameplay.
- In Namco X Capcom (the Spiritual Predecessor to Project X Zone), individual units are moved around levels in turns until they attack, at which point the game shifts into action-based, Fighting Game-like combat mode. After the battle is concluded, it goes right back to turn-based.