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 all Turn-Based Combat
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.
- BattleTech - a modern tabletop wargame. Played in a form of Simultaneous Turn Resolution.
- Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land, a Cthulhu Mythos-themed videogame set during World War One.
- Caravaneer 2
- Chaos Reborn, a skirmish-level tactics game with elements of board and card games.
- Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., which combines Turn-Based Tactics with elements of a Third-Person Shooter.
- The Combat Mission series (uses Simultaneous Turn Resolution).
- The CyberStorm series (of the Starsiege:Tribes universe)
- Dungeons & Dragons actually started as a tabletop Turn Based Tactics game - a system of rules for small-scale fantasy wargames that focused on individual characters instead of whole army units. The Role Playing aspects were initially there only to flesh out the battles. This was eventually reversed, turning D&D into a Role-Playing Game with occasional turn based combat.
- Doctor Who Legacy combines this rather brilliantly with a Match-Three Game system.
- Door Kickers, with Real Time with Pause.
- 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
- God Wars Future Past
- Hard West, which alternates XCOM: Enemy Unknown-like tactical battles with "Choose Your Own Adventure" sequences on a worldmap.
- 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-detailed 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.
- Laser Squad (the predecessor to X-COM):
- Laser Squad: Nemesis (using Simultaneous Turn Resolution)
- Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Super Mario Bros. and Raving Rabbids Crossover.
- Metal Gear Ac!d, a non-canon spinoff from the Metal Gear franchise which combines turn-based tactics with collectible cards.
- Moékuri, a fantasy game with Always Female Moe Anthropomorphisms of over a hundred monsters or deities to use, with unique skillsets and backgrounds for every single one of them. Has RPG Elements to train the Mons and summoners and a lengthy campaign involving Hindu Mythology.
- Odium/Gorky 17
- Pacific Fleet and its sequel Atlantic Fleet
- The Perfect General
- Phoenix Point
- 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 I 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 Diver has a "Steel Commander" mode based off of Tabletopgame/Battleship, where you do most of the ship sinking manually after you find them, with the opponent have a chance to escape or return fire during your turn depending on what kind of vessels are matching up.
- 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.
- Templar Battleforce
- UFO: Alien Invasion.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- X-COM, which features Turn-Based combat, but relies on real time for the Geoscape/world-map portion (the exceptions, namely Enforcer, Interceptor, and 2K Marin's The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, are of very different genres):