Wanted: New RTS

Okie, I need to pick up a couple of new RTS/TBS games this weekend and I’m looking for ideas.

At first the cut and dry choice seemed to be Warcraft 3, but after hearing that the Skirmish is close to impossible and the MP on Battle.net is essentially a rush-fest, I have a hard time justifying the choice. I beat the original Starcraft campaign in a couple of week of off and on playing. Yet I still play it now and then exclusively because of the skirmish mode and the fact that rushes are possible, but easily countered, on Battle.net. If I’m spending $60 on a game, I want to play it longer than 2 weeks before having to stick it in the Closet of Never Played Games.

Battlecry 2 sounds interesting, but I haven’t heard anything about the multiplayer or skirmish. Plus the low sales figures have me doubting if i can find opponents if the MP is worth playing.

Age of Wonders 2 is getting a lot of good word of mouth, but I don’t know anyone who personally owns it. Is it really one of the best turn based games made?

Heroes of might & Magic IV: I loved the first 3 games, but unless this is a nice evolutionary step in the system, it’s really not worth my gaming dollars. Haven’t heard much of anything about it yet.

Other: Anything out there I should look into?

Army Man RTS is the Warcraft killer we’ve all been waiting for. Hours and hours of fun… They’ve obviously put a lot of time into topping everything else on the market, and leapt several iterations ahead of the competition. This game is literally ahead of its time. The mods from the vibrant user community alone will keep you busy for months.

Buy it.

Whoops, forgot. Here’s the URL…


Gotta get some of this action. Online multiplayer is like a fresh burst of mint in the reeking hellmouth of the game industry. Don’t forget to pack extra undies, 'cause you’ll be wetting your pants.

What do you have (and like) already? The Kohan games are highly recommended. AoW2 is also good stuff, but requires a good chunk of time.

  • Alan

I have way too many RTS and TBS games. I’ll just list the ones that I have and still enjoy. There are many old RTS games that I used to enjoy that don’t do it for me anymore. C&C is now too ancient, Warcraft 2 has 2 cookie cutter races, which really puts me off. Etc.

Anyway, what I still enjoy:
Heroes of Might & Magic III
Age of Wonders
Civ III & Alpha Centari

OK, so why do I enjoy these still?

Starcraft: easy to get back into. 3 distinct races that are each open to several different strategies. Strong skirmish that is fun to play and not overpowering unless you make it so (Me vrs 3 comps, for example). Very strong and active multiplayer community.

TA: Huge variety of units. Decent skirmish mode. Multiplayer is strong, even stronger than Starcraft. Variety of units makes for many available strategies in MP.

Heroes of M&M III: Good question. It’s a very addictive game. Random map generator gives longer life to both the single player and multiplayer experience. Downside of MP is that it’s always just you and a friend or 2, due to the time commitment required to finish a game.

Age of Wonders: Well made HoMM III clone with better unit to unit combat. Haven’t messed around much with multiplayer yet, but the SP game has been fun.

Civ III & friends: No 2 games are alike. Nice AI opponents. Makes for nearly unlimited replayability. Custom rules and victory conditions make for new ways to challenge yourself (IE: turning off your Space victory forces you to take a new path to winning).

Sooo… yeah, that’s about it. I really can’t get into RTS games that have cookie cutter races. TA skirts the path of that problem, but the strength of the MP, the twist of having a commander, and the the variety of units saves it here.

I really don’t like turn based games that just resemble a town down hex board with little square units representing your forces. Used to like these in the past, but they are way too slow for me now. Having a battle between 2 infantry units and 4 tanks shouldn’t take me 2 hours to resolve.

Absolutely. It is the game that may finally make me shelve Heroes 3. Buy it. It is fantastic.

This game has all sorts of problems. First of all if your going to be playing it solo, the AI is so bad that there will be no challenge at all. Plus there are tons of balance issues, like the fact that heroes are so way overpowered you might as well just power-level some hero stacks and use these to wipe up the board. And since the AI is so sucky it is even more of a joke. Don’t waste you money.

HOMM4 is a mess. Aside from the artwork the mess is well below the surface though. The AI is just plain broken and the focus has been made less “board gamey” in favor of something rather milquetoast. In fact, sort of like Steve Bauman with Black & White, I believe Geryk was the only reviewer to call HOMM4 “right” (even if the rating he gives is a touch too generous). I tossed HOMM4 and returned to III pretty fast.

After the bad press the game has received in many places, much of it well deserved, I am sure you will not be purchasing HoMMIV.

Call me a dope, simple, or both, but I love it and I am still playing it. The changes they have made are wonderful and make it a substantially different game from Heroes III. The AI leaves a lot to be desired, but the last patch helped somewhat.

I do not play for hours on end, but I do play 5 or 6 days a week. Maybe I have not played enough to challenge myself more or dig deeper into the problems. I have finished 5 of the 6 campaigns and several of the individual scenarios. I am now playing user-created maps. I cannot get enough of it.

I have played the Heroes series since the 2nd ed. and may not convince anyone, but if you liked the others, find a store with a liberal return policy and at least give it a go.


I’ve said elsewhere, and I stand by it, that Battlecry II is the definitive real time strategy game. As someone not given to hyperbole and someone who has played most RTSs out there, I don’t say that lightly. It has superlative skirmish support and a fairly active multiplayer community; I haven’t been on the UbiSoft servers recently, but their boards are still hopping. The single player campaign is also very good.

Age of Wonders II also gets a big thumbs up from me. I like how it’s a very open and accessible system; like a board game, you always know what’s happening and why. There’s a lot of variety in the races and spells, an exciting tactical combat engine, and a robust grand strategic scheme driving the whole thing. It’s currently my turn-based game of choice, but mainly because I O.D.ed on Civ III and I’m still flummoxed by all the detail in Dominions.


Get the kohan stand-only expansion.

OK. That does it. No one says that anymore in general conversation. I just did an internet search and the word flummoxed has not been used on the entire planet, in any language since the year 1956. Just STOP. You are hurting my head with your literary superiority.

OTOH, Is that Ill Winter’s Dominions and is it fun at all? I have toyed with getting into one of those type games (Dominions, Call of the Warlords, Faith, et.al.), but every time I go to one of their sites the seemingly overwhelming complexity and sheer volume of rules do me in. Maybe if I catch pneumonia this winter I will have the time to attempt one. Then I would really have an Ill - Winter. You get it. Ill Winter. The guys who created Dominions. The sickness + the season. You see what I did was…Yeech!

That was horrid. I apologize.

While I wish I could take credit there, I think the Steve Bauman Accuracy Award on HOMM4 should go to Jason Kapalka for his review in CGW of a couple months ago. I think it was Kapalka. If it wasn’t, then it was whoever wrote the CGW review.

P.S. In re this thread, I vote for Age of Wonders 2!

You could try out Battle Realms as well. I liked the game for it’s rich history and colorful characters.

Hey Bruce, I saw on your Gamespotting article that you were playing Emperor of the Fading Suns. Where did you get your copy of it and do you know anyplace where I could find it? I’d like to play it again, but the copy I played earlier was owned by someone else.

WC3 has an excellent campaign, and Battle.net play is said to be quite good as well. But if skirmish is more important to you, forget it. Also, you definitely shouldn’t pay the initial $60 price – it should be available at $30-40 practically anywhere by now.

HoMM4 is indeed a nice evolutionary step as far as the game system is concerned. Unfortunately the release was completely broken, with an AI that randomly goes to sleep and offers no resistance at all, and a missing multiplayer mode that has yet to be added by a patch. If they ever fix it up it should be a really good game; until then, don’t waste your money.

Umm, I guess you could buy a Gamecube and get Pikmin… or wait for Age of Mythology and the Civ3 expansion.

it [Warcraft III] should be available at $30-40 practically anywhere by now

Check again. Compuexpert has it at 47.90, and that’s about the cheapest you’ll be likely to find it, this week, at least.

But best o’luck to you. And if anyone sees it somwhwere for $40 or less, I’m looking for a copy. :)

That’s amazing. Americans got screwed by that initial retail price of US$60 anyway – the game started out at €48 in Germany, with the euro being roughly at parity with the US dollar and including 16% VAT. Just the other day I saw a big stack of WC3 boxes marked down to around €30. I would have assumed that most American stores would have similar “special offers” by now.

Not regularly. Not yet. :evil:

At least, not that I’ve seen, and I’ve been watching. I’m waiting for it to drop to $40 or less to buy it. So far, it hasn’t made it.

I’d get TA for multiplay, theres still an active community that plays on Gamespy and MS Gaming Zone. For skirmish / solo play I’d get Warlords Battlecry 2… it has an open ended campaign and a persistent hero you can build up!

And for TBS, I’d say Age of Wonders 2 is a solid choice. Though, the original AoW isn’t a bad choice either, I like building up non wizard heroes… Heroes IV I would have reccomended IF they had fixed the AI a bit and put in some multi. Sad, but Heroes IV was released unfinished, but I still prefer the Heroes tactical combat over anyother tb tactical combats…

Anyway, maybe wait for Warlords IV or Age of Mythology or Rise of Nations? And Warcraft III is overrated! I borrowed my friends copy… I just dont see whats the big deal with it (besides the cool cutscenes!) I actually think the graphics in Battle Realms is better, and Empire Earth was MORE fun online than War 3 for me…


Well, I’ve spent a generous amount of time with the original Age of Wonders, and a more limited amount of time with the demo for AoW 2, and…I just don’t get it. Whatever you guys see in those games, I don’t. It’s not the turn-based part that bothers me – I’ve enjoyed a lot of turn-based games, from the Civ games to Disciples 2 to Space Empires IV – but something about them just doesn’t do it for me. I just can’t get into them.

So, that’s totally off-topic, but…what’s new?

Hey Murph have you tried JA2? I think its one of the best ! And its turnbased!