Turn-based tactics

Turn-based tactics

Turn-based tacticscite web | last =Butts | first =Steve | title =Silent Storm Review | publisher =IGN | date =January 27, 2004 | url =http://pc.ign.com/articles/475/475977p1.html | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-25 ] cite web | last =Ocampo | first =Jason | title =E3 06: Panzer Tactics DS | publisher =GameSpot | date =May 12, 2006 | url =http://www.gamespot.com/ds/strategy/panzertactics/news.html?sid=6151193 | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-25 ] (TBT), or tactical turn-basedcite web | title =Battle Lord | publisher =GameSpot | url =http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/battlelord/index.html# | format =HTML | accessdate =2007-11-25 ] (TTB), is a computer and video game genre of strategy video games that through stop-action simulates the considerations and circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics in generally small-scale confrontations as opposed to more strategic considerations of turn-based strategy (TBS) games.

Genre characteristics

The gameplay of turn-based tactics games is the stop-action counterpart to those of the real-time tactics genre and as such is characterized by the expectation of players to complete their tasks using only the combat forces provided to them and usually by the provision of a realistic (or at least believable) representation of military tactics and operations. This contrasts with other current wargame genres: for instance, in large-scale turn-based strategy games battles are generally abstracted and the gameplay close to that of related board games, and real-time strategy games de-emphasize realism and focus on the collection and conversion of resources into production capacities which manufacture combat units thereafter used in generally highly stylised confrontations. In contrast, turn-based tactics games' military tactical and realistic focus, emphasis on executing intricate and well thought through plans and comparatively short risk/reward cycle usually provide a distinctly more immediate, intense, careful and meticulous experience of battlefield tactics and mêlée than strategy games of other genres.

As suggested by the genre's name, also fundamental to turn-based tactics is turn-based gameplay. The genre has its roots in tactical and miniature wargaming, the recreation of battle scenarios using miniatures or even simple paper chits using relatively intricate rules. Compared to other strategy games, games of the turn-based tactics genre often have distinctly detailed and complex environments due to the tactical implications of elevation, hard cover and line of sight. Further, in most turn-based tactics games a player's force is maintained between battles. This allows units to become more proficient as they gain more battle experience and coupled with the often small and specialised squads used, can even encourage an affinity between the player and his or her troops, breaking down the stereotypical anonymity of the expendable, mass-produced units found in strategic games.

History

During the 1980s, as microcomputers and personal computers became more powerful and more common, game developers turned their attention to designing tactical wargames for them.

Some early tactical wargames for the computer included Gary Grigsby's series of games for the Commodore 64 and Apple II: "Panzer Strike" (1987), "Typhoon of Steel" (1988) and "Overrun!".

"Under Fire" was released by Avalon Hill in 1985, which bore resemblances to "Squad Leader" but, despite the release of an expansion disk upgrading the player's abilities, remained a very limited effort constrained by the limitations of current computer hardware.

"Battle Isle" is a series of games developed starting in 1991 by Blue Byte Software. Set on a fictional planet, Chromos, and inspired by the Japanese game "Nectaris", the games feature futuristic tactical battles played on a hexagonal grid. Players control combat units, ranging from infantry and tanks to helicopters, fighters and bombers; as well as (especially in the later games) support units, including ammo and fuel transports, scout and radar units, and road and trench construction vehicles. "Battle Isle" also spawned a man-to-man wargame, "" (1997), an even earlier strategy title to use fully 3D graphics and support hardware acceleration on the 3dfx Voodoo.

"Steel Panthers" was released in 1995 by SSI, very much resembling a board wargame translated to the computer; it gave a traditional overheard view, though numeric ratings were not visible on the screen depictions. Two sequels followed; "Steel Panthers II: Modern Battles" in 1996 and "Steel Panthers III: Brigade Command 1939-1999" in 1997. Rights to the game and source code were later acquired by Matrix Games who developed and released as freeware an improved remake based on the "Steel Panthers III" engine (but limited to the timespan of World War II); this was known as "Steel Panthers: World at War!" ("SP:WAW"). Another group, SP-Camo, developed and released "Steel Panthers: World War II", and "Steel Panthers: Main Battle Tank" was released in June 2005. The SP-Camo games were based on the "Steel Panthers II" engine. Both the Matrix Games and SP-Camo versions had many fans and resulted in several releases with enhanced graphics, program code changes, and new unit types.

Another game originally scheduled to be a computerized "Squad Leader/ASL" was "Combat Mission". While not the first 3-D tactical warfare game, it set an industry standard for realism, thanks to minutely detailed armor penetration modelling. There was no first-person element to the game, which placed a realistic burden of command on the player, and unlike earlier games like "M-1 Tank Platoon" or "Muzzle Velocity", human intervention wasn't necessary to ensure that one's troops were capable of fighting with the same skill as the computer enemy. Despite a somewhat dated look to its graphics, the first title in the series, "Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord" received extremely high critical acclaim upon release in 2000. Two follow up games were released in 2002 and 2004, which improved the infantry game with better suppression and automatic fire modelling. The game featured a "WEGO" system, where orders were entered sequentially, and the turn was then executed simultaneously, with a "Tactical AI" carrying out both sets of orders. This type of system had been what the original board wargame designers of "Firefight" et al had dreamed of, but were restricted to creating manually.

Types

Tactical wargames

:"Main article Tactical wargame"Tactical wargames are a type of wargames (board game or video game) that models military conflict at a tactical level, i.e. units range from individual vehicles and squads to platoons or companies. These units are rated based on types and ranges of individual weaponry.

Tactical role-playing games

:"Main article Tactical role-playing game"

This sub-genre is principally used to refer to RPG-derived games as an alternative to the traditional turn-based system. In such titles, the system has been tailored to incorporate role-playing game characteristics. The term "tactical" was not widely used to describe such titles until "Final Fantasy Tactics" was released, where it popularized the genre in North America, although games such as "Shining Force" were part of the genre years beforehand.

Genre blurring

Some CRPGs, such as "The Temple of Elemental Evil", ""cite web | title =Prelude to Darkness | publisher =Zero Sum Software | url =http://www.zero-sum.com/ | format =HTML | accessdate = 2007-07-13 | quote = Pyrrhic Tales: Prelude to Darkness is a dark, sophisticated fantasy CRPG featuring complex, turn-based tactical combat, 3D graphics, a skill-based character advancement system, and an intricate, involved plot.] and the "Gold Box" games of the late '80s and early '90s, also feature tactical turn-based combat.

Some turn-based tactics titles, such as "Jagged Alliance 2" and the "X-COM" series, feature a strategic layer in addition to a tactical combat layer.

Examples

PC

*"Avalon Hill's Squad Leader"
*"Battle Isle series"
*"Battle for Wesnoth"
*""
*"Fantasy Wars"
*"Silent Storm series"
*"Steel Panthers series"
*"X-COM series"
*""
*"Jagged Alliance series"
*""
*"Gorky 17/Odium(US)

Consoles

*"Dynasty Tactics series"
*"Final Fantasy Tactics"
*"Fire Emblem series"
*"Nintendo Wars series"
*"Panzer Tactics DS"
*""

References

ee also

*List of turn-based tactics video games


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