'small' turn-based strategy titles for PC

As some of you know, I have a pretty strong hankering for strategy titles, (preferably turn-based,) but the ones that tend to grab me the most are the smallish ones. You know, the kind that are generall cheap (~$20) and will run in a window.

There is an entire sub-genre of these things, but since many of them are low-budget, they tend to fly under the radar. I was wondering if any of you knew about any I don’t.

I do consider smallish RPG and off-line (i.e. no pay-per-card) CCG games to count.

-Astral Masters (one of my favorites)
-Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space (I have a hard time getting into this one, myself. Others love it.)
-Darwinia (haven’t tried this one – is it worth it?)
-Shady O’Grady’s Rising Star (upcoming release from Shrapnel. I played the beta. Pretty interesting, especially for people who are into music and the band scene.)
-Battle for Wesnoth (free/open source, which is nice.)
-Slay (badly in need of an update…)
-The upcoming “Dungeon Delvers” looks very promising. I wish they’d release it already…

Any others I’ve forgotten or don’t know about?

Just because I praise it everywhere I can, if you are going to play Angband, I recommend TKZangband (or ZangbandTK…can’t remember which). It has graphics, which if you set correctly look pretty nice, IMO.

I have no idea why you would call those games TBS though, or why Fate is on this list.

Oh, if RPGs count in general, try any/all of the Spiderwebsoftware games. I like Geneforge 1-3 best.

Well, RPGs are generally turn-based, unless you’re talking about Diablo/Fate-type games. And as much as they’re pigeon-holed into their own genre, RPGs generally focus on strategy/tactics. Other than story elements, RPGs are generally a subset of strategy.

And I include Fate because, even though it’s real-time, it appeals to the same part of me that likes these other games. Darwinia is real-time too, but I think it probably deserved mention in the ‘small strategy’ discussion.

I’ve tried Spiderweb games, but they just can’t hold my interest. Not sure why. I think it’s because if I’m going to play a retro-ish RPG, I’d rather fire up Arcanum or Fallout 2.

A lot of people here have said Ticket to Ride is good. And free.

Hoplites is also good and free.

Oh yeah … Dropshot is more fun than it should be, but it may be too retro.

If you had posted this 5 years ago, I would agree. Sadly, now things are different, and its actually rather hard to find turn-based RPGs. Oblivion, WoW, Vampire, Dungeon Seige, etc. are all realtime. That’s why you have to preface this with ‘small’ games.

(Ticket to Ride isn’t free. $30, I think.)

Lords of Conquest java redeux



Sure it is…you just can’t start games by yourself. But you can register and play for free as long as you want. According to the info on that website, it’s a Java app.

Conquest of Elysium II, by Illwinter.

And I would hope you’d have GalCiv2 by now.

Darwina is a good game, the main campaign is short, but there are alot of mods I’ve seen online for it.

Small, inexpensive TBS? Go to the best, baby: King of Dragon Pass.

Darwinia and Fate aren’t turn-based, but they’re worth it. (Repeated call: Stardock needs to get Fate.)

Laser Squad Nemesis is worth checking out. They’ve added some sort of solo mode since I saw it last; it’s focus has always been online though. Slick little play-by-email game, with a turn resolution system that I wish more turn-based titles would use–both sides give their orders, and then it’s resolved simultaneously, so movement and fire orders may not exactly survive contact with the enemy.

Seconded. What a fantastic game.

I could see a multiplayer, PBEM version of KoDP working really well.

Oh, and Fate deserves props for being really easy to re-download and re-install on a new system. A lot of download-only games seem to make it really difficult to re-install the game if you lose it somehow, like getting a new computer. (Out of the Park Baseball, anyone?) Fate’s dead simple.

I’d be tempted to give King of Dragon Pass a whirl, but the whole “send us money and we’ll burn a CD for you… eventually” falls woefully short of my need for instant gratification. Why can’t they get someone like Stardock to handle electronic distribution for them, if retailers aren’t carrying stock anymore?

Yeah, I’ve wanted KDP for a long time, but had forgotten about it more recently. It used to be $30, so I passed. At 20, that’s about right for me. But when they say 450MBs isn’t a practical DL size for the full game, I am confused. I would definitely DL the game! I’m not waiting for them to burn me a CD. Besides, with the shipping, suddenly the game is approaching $30 again :(.

I hear ya. The game looks interesting though. Since the address on the buy page is about a mile down the road from me, maybe I’ll write him and see if I can swing by and pick up a copy with no shipping. =)

Another one I forgot: Helherron, which is alot like Wizard’s Crown, if you’ve played that.

It’s also freeware.