Follow TV Tropes


Grand Strategy

Go To
The Nazis are attacking! Evacuate the city, engage all defenses, summon the allies, place the armies at strategic locations, send the Leeroy Jenkins to jail, and get Captain America a shield!
Grand Strategy is a subgenre of Strategy Game. Like in most strategy games, you take control of a game faction, such as a country, and manage it. The difference is complexity: the game is not just the creation of units to send them to fight other units. Warfare is still present, but so is diplomacy, economy, science, population, etc; in equal degrees. Which means that those aspects of the game are not just supporting the warfare aspect, but have depth of their own. Everything hangs in a delicate balance, and just a small mistake or careless action can lead to unexpected ramifications like a domino chain. Definitely not the genre for a Leeroy Jenkins.

The idea of a video game about ruling a country is not new, and it has been used in genres such as Real-Time Strategy, Turn-Based Strategy and Construction and Management Games. This genre aims to take things a little closer to the real experience, with all its nuances and complexities. In fact, the term "Grand strategy" is borrowed from real life and describes the art of governing without losing sight of the long-term interests of a nation; it can be contrasted with other levels of warfare. Some games are even used in the real world to teach an introduction to those complexities.

The genre may intersect with 4X, but often some of its principles are modified or absent. For example, Crusader Kings lacks exploration and special resources on the map, and military conflict in most Paradox Interactive games is abstracted. A 4X game may be Grand Strategy as well if it is complex enough and goes well beyond just the production and combat of units. Note, by the way, that there are cases of standard strategy games being marketed as this genre: as Grand Strategy is the shiny new thing in PC games and its name has better gravitas than others, some games are marketed as being Grand Strategy when they belong more clearly in other genres.

The genre easily lends itself to cover real-world countries and time periods, but it has examples set in outer space empires as well.