A list of tropes related to Strategy Games.
- A Commander Is You
Describing the different types of factions that appear in strategy games.
- After-Action Report
A type of Fan Fiction for strategy games that involves a blow-by-blow description of a mission or campaign.
- A.I.-Generated Economy
The computer controls the economy of the game's world.
- All Swords Are the Same
All weapons of a specific type will look and play exactly the same.
An attack, weapon, munition, ability, etc. that is really effective against flying enemies.
An attack, weapon, munition, ability, etc. that is really effective against armored enemies.
An attack, weapon, munition, ability, etc. that is really effective against mounted enemies.
An attack, weapon, munition, ability, etc. that is really effective against enemies on foot.
An attack, weapon, munition, ability, etc. that is really effective against enemy structures.
An attack, weapon, munition, ability, etc. that is really effective against enemy vehicles.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit
Arbitrary requirement that stops you from having too many characters in a party or unit.
- Area of Effect
Attacks that hit a wide area, rather than a specific target.
- Armor-Piercing Attack
An attack, weapon, or munition that rips through the armor or special shield that your enemies wear.
- Baseless Mission
A mission that does not provide you with a base in strategy games where bases are generally required.
- Civil Warcraft
A contrived battle where you fight your own side.
- Colour Coded Armies
Units are colour coded so the player can tell their units from the enemy's.
- Construct Additional Pylons
In Real-Time Strategy games, having to build a base to churn out units right on the battlefield.
- Command & Conquer Economy
Nothing ever gets built unless the player specifically orders it.
- Cosmetically Different Sides
Although both sides in a battle may be from vastly different technologies, their statistics and attacks will be exactly the same.
- Crippling Overspecialization
Units are so specialized that they are completely useless against units that fall outside their specialty.
- Damage Is Fire
Whenever a structure is damaged, it's shown as being on fire.
- Defenseless Transports
For game balance, units that carry other units have no weapons of their own.
- Defog of War
Lessens the obscurity of Fog of War.
- Dual Mode Unit
A unit that has two different functions that can be switched between.
- Easy Communication
Once you issue an order, it will be carried out instantly without having to go through any channels.
- Easy Logistics
You don't need to worry about feeding your troops or keeping up supplies - that all happens automatically.
- Enemy Exchange Program
Capture an enemy base, and churn out your own enemy units!
- Faction Calculus
Describing the different dynamics of a strategy game depending on the number of factions involved.
- Firewood Resources
Resource icons/sprites are simplified at the cost of scale and accuracy.
- Fog of War
You can only see the parts of the map where you have units.
- Garrisonable Structures
Structures that allow units to take cover.
- Geo Effects
Terrain affects tactics.
- Hard-Coded Hostility
A faction which cannot be negotiated with and is perpetually at war with every other faction.
- Hero Must Survive
One of your units is a NPC that must not be allowed to die.
- Hero Unit
A (usually very powerful) unit that represents the Player Character or other important character in the game's storyline.
- Hold the Line
A mission where you have to prevent the enemy completing their objective before time runs out.
- Instant Militia
An option to convert your workers into basic fighters.
- Magic Tool
A universal hand tool whose user can magically fix any machine or structure simply by waving it at the target from close range.
- Mercenary Units
Special units that are "hired" instead of "trained" or "built".
- Neutrals, Critters, and Creeps
These entities hinder both player armies and enemy factions.
- Non-Entity General
The player is a general or commander in a strategy game who may not actually even exist.
- Protection Mission
Protect a stationary object from enemy attack.
- Reinventing the Wheel
You need to purchase "upgrades" to capabilities in each campaign, even if your forces already had it in the last one.
- Resource-Gathering Mission
The main focus is gathering a certain amount of resources instead of destroying the enemy.
- Ridiculously Fast Construction
All buildings can be produced and military units trained in a ridiculously short amount of time.
- Ridiculously Fast Population Growth
Populations grow faster than realistic birthrates could sustain.
- "Risk"-Style Map
A map which shows you delineated areas so you can choose which campaigns to wage.
- Separate, but Identical
Some sub-factions are said to be different in composition, outlook etc., but really only differ in their color palette.
- Some Dexterity Required
In the real-time variety, being able to issue commands to your units more efficiently gives you an edge.
- Splash Damage Abuse
Abusing an attack's Splash Damage or Area of Effect to get enhanced performance.
- Starting Units
In strategy games, you sometimes have units at the start that you can't train or create more of.
- Stop Poking Me!
Clicking too often on a unit will make them insult or nag you.
- Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic
Simulating the capture of a strategic asset, either an abstract "Strategic Zone" or a tangible building with a specific bonus.
- Strong Flesh, Weak Steel
It's easier to destroy something made of armored steel, like a tank, than to destroy an ostensibly flesh and blood character.
- Support Power
The player receives support from things that are not included on the in-game map.
- Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors
Strategy games divide your units into three types, each of which is strong and weak against each of the other types.
- Tactical Superweapon Unit
A unit that is overpowered, hard to deploy and limited in number. Built to break stalemates by virtue of being a Damage-Sponge Boss that can dish out as much dakka as it can take; requiring either a huge army, exploiting its weakness(es), or another unit of equal power to bring down.
- Tech Tree
Strategy games let you research new abilities for your units.
- Turn-Based Strategy, Real Time Combat
The strategic level gameplay is turn-based but tactical engagements play out in real time.
- Unblockable Attack
An attack that always deals damage and can't be blocked or guarded (but in most cases may be dodged or interrupted instead).
- Units Not to Scale
Infantrymen appear ridiculously large when compared to vehicles and buildings.
- Video Game Time
Fake use of a time scale means that empires rise and fall in the time it takes to take the trash out.
- Weather of War
Weather drastically affects units.
- Worker Unit
A non-combatant unit dedicated to constructing buildings or gathering resources.
- You Have Researched Breathing
Where you have to spend time researching things that should be patently obvious.
- You Require More Vespene Gas
Strategy games make you gather resources.
- Zerg Rush
Sending waves upon waves of cheap, weak units in order to overwhelm a more tech-aware enemy with sheer numbers.