So When is Half a Game Good Enough

I’ve been playing Medieval Total War lately, purely on the strategic level. I find the tactical battles get too cumbersome and repetitive after a bit. However, I’ve been having a blast just playing the strategic game. The strategic game is a significant upgrade from Shogun, and just by itself its an enjoyable game (at least after 3 days of play).

Makes me wonder about other games where only part of the game was enjoyable, but that part was still good enough to make the game an overal success? To some degree I played Imperialism I the same way: ignore most tactical battles, focus on the strategic. I know there are some gamers who love shooters but hate jumping puzzles and will use cheat codes to skip that part.

Any other nominees for games where you only play part of the game?

Daniel Ban aka Sharpe

Well, I only really played the multiplayer portion of RtCW. Does that count?

As for other games, there are number of games with mediocre tactical combat portions. Some have fun strategic wrappers and often allow you to resolve combat automatically (e.g. strategic combat). Others are cRPGs/adventure games, some which force you to slog through mediocre combat portions anyway.

  • Alan

I tend to play AoW2 without tactical combat, especially when it’s a large siege. Too cumbersome. I was trying to think of any games where the tactical game was more interesting than the strategic one. I liked the battles in Conquest of the New World compared to the colonising stuff. The battles in Disciples 2 were also better than the puzzle like maneuverings you had to do on the strategic map. Can’t think of too many more.

Something I’d like to see is a marriage of a hex-based wargame with a combat resolution engine very similar to Combat Mission. Take something like Talonsoft’s “Bulge” and let me play out the battles in each hex if I wish to.

I only play the SP version of pretty much everything. Which perhaps explains why I was so underwhelmed by Neverwinter Nights…

Half a game is OK for a while, but it’s easier to tire of a game if you are enjoying/exploiting part of what it can do.

Shogun is the best example of this. I found the battles beautiful and played the strategic game (mediocre as it was) simply to move archers onto hills and send cavalry into the flanks of my enemy. Unfortunately, when I got to the point that the battles could only be properly enjoyed in their grand scale by hunting down large and inert rebel armies on that silly little Risk map, I stopped seeing much point.

It’s nice to hear that Medievel has done more with the strategy game. The development of the generals as more than army managers is an interesting prospect and should give the game considerably more replay value.

Sid Meier’s Covert Action consisted of about 5 different interlocking mini-games. I loved 2 of them (assembling clues, phone taps), was OK playing another 2 (cryptography, building infiltration), and absolutely hated one (the “car chase” mode). Luckily, the game was structured in such a way that I could completely avoid car chases, so it remains one of my favorite games overall. I’d love to see a remake of this one (actual or “just in the spirit of”).