Turn Based Tactics
is a specialized subgenre of Turn-Based Strategy
. What makes Tactical games different is their scope: While strategic games (like Risk
) revolve around the abstract mechanics of efficiently waging war, exploiting resources and controlling huge groups of combatants all at once (whether or not it's readily apparent
), tactical games focus on controlling individual soldiers or vehicles
. Due to this constricted scope, recruitment and construction take place outside of combat, if they even factor into the game at all.
TBT games tend to place a higher worth on individual Mooks
. To accommodate this, detailed grid maps, status rules like stance or facing and a spot high up the Sliding Scale of Turn Realism
are common. Backing this up, the combatants themselves tend to be modeled in greater statistical detail, with their load-outs, RPG Elements
, Subsystem Damage
. Unlike Grand Strategy games, Tactical games often put a hard limit the number of units that can be fielded, meaning that if one is lost it can never be replaced
As with Turn-Based Strategy
games, gameplay alternates between players: Each player has the time to contemplate their next move and execute it, before relinquishing control to the next player. There are some exceptions to this, primarily the Simultaneous Turn Resolution
(aka "WEGO") model, in which players formulate and submit their orders for the turn at the same time, and then all soldiers act simultaneously on those orders.
Where Tactical games overlap with Role Playing Games
, several other similarities may be involved. In particular, the ability to alter units' equipment and to gain experience
(thereby making units stronger as the game progresses).
Some TBT games are self-contained: each match or mission is a singular experience, having no influence on subsequent matches. Most however have a Grand Strategy or Adventure portion that serves to "tie" the matches together, with some large-scale goal to strive towards. Even so, the focus is always on the player's performance in each match. Therefore, Strategic success in such games stems from repeated Tactical success, not the other way around. For example, losing an important territory early on in the Strategic portion of the game may make future Tactical matches a little harder, but failing a single Tactical match may cost you the entire game. This is the opposite of Grand Strategy, where one lost battle rarely means Game Over
Since the start of the 21st century, TBT games have been in recession in what was their strongest market: the personal computer. The appearance of computers that could easily process gameplay in Real Time
attracted a large portion of Strategy Game fans towards Real-Time Strategy
in one direction, and towards Tactical Shooters
in the other direction. Recent attempts to make TBT games have been based primarily around free online casual matches
. Nonetheless, yesterday's TBT games continue to maintain hard-core supporters who refuse to give up easily. The result is that some of these games are still being played long after they've been abandoned by the mainstream fans. Some
even continue to top the all-time-favorite videogame lists, year after year.
Compare Strategy RPG
. See also Common Tactical Gameplay Elements
Note that Turn-Based Tactics is a genre. Games where tactical Turn-Based Combat does not form the central gameplay core (such as RPGs) should go under that trope's examples instead.
- Abomination: The Nemesis Project
- Some sections of games in the Battle Isle series, like Incubation: Time is Running Out and The Andosia War.
- Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, a Cthulhu Mythos-themed videogame set during World War One.
- The Combat Mission series (uses Simultaneous Turn Resolution).
- The CyberStorm series (of the Starsiege:Tribes universe)
- Doctor Who Legacy combines this rather brilliantly with a Match Three Game system.
- Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, although turn-based mechanics were optional, and could be freely alternated with real-time mechanics.
- Frozen Synapse. It features simultaneous turn resolution.
- Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
- Heroic Armies Marching, which also combines elements of a card game.
- Invisible, Inc.
- Jagged Alliance and its sequels. Most of them had plenty of highly-details grand-strategy and role-playing elements woven in.
- Just Tactics is a turn-based, 1v1 online multiplayer, tactical war game that involves squad-based combat, deck building, and some awesome teleporter units.
- Odium/Gorky 17
- The Perfect General
- Shadow Watch
- Sid Meiers Ace Patrol and Sid Meier's Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies - instead of a squad of soldiers, you are controlling a squadron of fighter pilots during World War One and World War II, respectively.
- Silent Storm
- Night Watch and Day Watch, The Games: Most enjoyment is to be had for fans of the setting who can look past the crippling bugs, but otherwise an excellent idea with a horrible execution, based on S2's engine.
- Space Rangers, during the space-flight portion of the game (and using simultaneous turn resolution).
- Steel Panthers. The third game in the series depicts individual units as platoons (4 tanks or 20-something soldiers) instead of seperate squads and vehicles.
- Sunrider has tactical battles broken up by Visual Novel-style narrative scenes.
- The upcoming Warmachine Tactics game, currently on Kickstarter.
- A number of Warhammer 40,000 games, like Space Crusade, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate, and Squad Command.
- Most games in the X-COM series. They featured Turn-Based combat, but relied on real time for the Geoscape/world-map portion. The other games, namely Enforcer, Interceptor, and 2K Marin's XCOM were of very different genres to the originals.
- In X-COM: Apocalypse, players were given the option to play combat as either Turn-Based or Real-Time, but had to make that decision before each battle began and could not switch mid-battle.
- Laser Squad, the predecessor to X-Com, and the newer Laser Squad: Nemesis (using Simultaneous Turn Resolution.)
- The open source UFO: Alien Invasion Fan Game
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown - the remake of the first game of the previous franchise.