RTS games for people who don't like RTS, but want to

This might sound odd, but I want some recommendations for RTS games, even though I tend not to like them. The thing is, I WANT to like them, but I don’t like memorizing tech upgrades so I can maximize my timing, etc. I DO like games like Rage of Mages or Myth, where I basically pick my guys and run around in realtime battling things, upgrading, etc. ARe there games like this being made nowadays?

Sounds like you’re looking for games commonly referred to as “tactical.” Several of them out of Germany, such as Sudden Strike and its successors, like Blitzkrieg, Codename Panzers, etc. May also want to investigate the Commandos series from Pyro Studios / Eidos, though some would argue that those are more like puzzle games than strategy. Could also try the Freedom Force games from Irrational, which have heavy role-playing overtones but still a hoot.

(Edit, and of course, couldn’t mention German tactical games without mentioning Silent Storm, though that’s turn-based.)

You might like Kohan II: Kings of War. There are no peons to micro-manage, the resource system is very elegant (you either have a surplus or a deficit, and if you have a deficit it’s made up out of your gold), and you don’t need to babysit your troops.

You build Companies, made up of the usual fantasy compliment: swords, pikes, archers, mounted, wizards, healers, etc; and you move them around as companies, not as individual units. It models morale and flanking, and the A.I. is really strong. The engine is a little behind the curve, but it’s still plenty nice to look at.

There’s a demo at the dev site: http://www.kohan.net/kow/?cnt=news


I didn’t finish it but I had fun with Spellforce for awhile. It reminded me of an RPG mixed with Myth.

Or you could just download Project Magma and replay the first two Myth games.

I’m the same way. I don’t like RTS games, but mostly because of the building and such. I like the idea of having a bunch of units and then just fighting, using strategy and such to win. For that reason I try out every Total War game that comes out, but they never manage to do it for me. Almost, but not quite. Things are just too slow or too unresponsive or too random, when I play those games.

Rome: Total War is great. It has a Civilization type thing where you do your troop production and buildings, and the battles are just all fighting.

The upcoming Warhammer game sounds appropriate - Link

actually, come to think of it, I was enjoying the demo of the warhammer rts. I should pick it up.

There is a slight shift in approach needed to get the most out of those games – they are definitately a very different beast to RTS, a difference well illustrated by playing Praetorians, which looked very similar to Rome in some respects.

In Total War, you’re giving orders to just one of the guys in the unit, who is passing them on. So they tend to be “sticky” when busy; units will get totally spread out and can’t do much except keep fighting until they’re disengaged and reformed; low moral units will ignore orders or just run away; and elite units will do whatever they damn well want, especially if your general is low star or not Royalty.

That might be perfect. If they use the points system from the Warhammer games, I would LOVE that. You still get to choose your armies, how you want to attack, what units you need, how they would work together, etc. But there is no building or race to see who can build fastest or produce the most units. That’s exactly what I am looking for.

Any recent news on when it is coming out?

What about Dragonshard? Is it just dumbed down RTS? Or is it the kind of game I might like?

On the flip side is Majesty, the “fantasy kingdom simulator.” I consider it a great “beginner” RTS, because while you can essentially choose targets by placing bounties on the heads of enemies, you can’t directly control your troops. The focus is more on selecting and upgrading buildings and units than tactical battles so it’s not quite as intimidating for those new to the real-time strategy (though things still get pretty hectic).

I don’t think it’s really what you’re asking for, but it is another angle on “RTS games for people who hate RTS games.”

If tactical is what you’re going for, then another oddball suggestion would be to play Freedom Force with the “pauses” set to a selectable rate of slow-mo rather than the freeze setting. You could, of course, play it without any pauses whatsoever, but that would verge on masochistic.

Majesty is a great game, but I don’t really think of it as an RTS. It’s more Fantasy Kingdom Tycoon.

I second Majesty and Kohan II (and I). Both have less micro management and simpler “tech trees”. And Majesty is a classic that should be played by anyone who owns a PC, IMHO.

If you’re looking for RTS with more character focus and less micromanagement and base-building, there’s Battle for Middle Earth. It simplifies the resource side of RTS pretty significantly.

If you want to get rid of the resource/base side entirely, well there’s Ground Control. It’s kind of old at this point, and may be hard to find, but it was pretty much all units and no base.

YMMV, of course.


The upcoming Legion: Arena might be up your alley. No building, just customizing and upgrading your army through Roman history. The demo makes it look like RTW: Lite, and the battles are over very quickly (like in all of Slitherine’s games).

Still, if you just want to kill stuff…


I never cotton’d to RTS until Warhammer: Dawn of War, but both the original release and the expansion, Winter Assault were great. Resource gathering is rather simple and kept to a minimum, you manage squads instead of individual units, and the carnage is exquisite. Teriffic visuals and audio as well. Highly recommended.

I really like Blitzkrieg 2. No buildings or tech trees. Another similar game is Soldiers: Heroes of World War 2. A lot of people liked it but I didn’t enjoy the micro management aspect (e.g. managing an individual tank’s inventory).

I really enjoy Dawn of War as the ‘un-RTS RTS’. It has simplified base building and unit construction like Kohan, but unlike Kohan it hasn’t sucked the fun out of playing it either. It’s just a silly game with over-the-top visuals and music. It’s really the “Red Alert” of this RTS generation. It’s the only RTS i enjoy playing in skirmish every so often just because it’s fun. Rise of Nations, AoM, ect, might be “deeper” games but they’re not near as enjoyable to spend a quickie 20 min skirmish against the computer either.[/quote]

If you dig Blitzkrieg 2, you should definitely check out Codename Panzers: Phase One or Phase Two. Both series are great for people who dislike resource management but like to see things blow up good in an RTS way.


I’ll second both of these. Soldiers in particular is really underrated.