Category Archives: Strategy Games

Classifying the Total War games

Two different emperors prepare to defend their worlds. In Western Europe, circa 400 AD, a Roman emperor inspects his comitatenses and scholae, the successors to Caesar’s legions. A universe away, a different emperor raises his magic hammer, and beckons his … Continue reading

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A plethora of PC strategy game companies

Strategy gaming is vibrant and multi-faceted; that’s my take-away from mapping out selected strategy game publishers, developers, and games. Here are three observations: The first is what a broad tent the chart represents. Some of these publishers (Paradox, Slitherine) have … Continue reading

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Stellaris, one year on

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Stellaris

Amidst the brightly shining stars, the Mushroom Domain’s legacy shall endure. The Mushrooms were not the galaxy’s most populous species. They did not control its largest empire. Yet they were its most influential. It was a Mushroom-created federation that brought … Continue reading

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In search of Cathay: exploring historical strategy games set in China

This post discusses some of the notable games that explore the history of China – a fascinating subject crying out for more attention. Romance of the Three Kingdoms Any discussion of strategy games set in China must begin with KOEI’s … Continue reading

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A world at arms: thoughts on Hearts of Iron IV

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Hearts of Iron

Vive l’Entente! My first “proper” game of Hearts of Iron IV was a journey from desperation, through grind, to eventual triumph. Playing as Britain, World War II began a year early, in 1938, when I backed Czechoslovakia at Munich. This … Continue reading

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Shield of civilisation: Thoughts on Total Warhammer

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Total War: Warhammer

I am the shield that guards the realms of man. When the Vampire Counts marched west into the fragmented, bickering human principalities, it was the recently crowned Emperor, Karl Franz, who came to the rescue. And when the battle hung … Continue reading

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Space Opera, Act I: Thoughts on Stellaris

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Stellaris

Humanity triumphant! My first game of Stellaris was a short one, as my fledgling humans were ground to dust by a nearby computer player. My second was more successful. Under the banner of the Empire of the Shimmering Stars, humanity … Continue reading

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Thoughts on XCOM 2

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series XCOM: Enemy Unknown/XCOM 2

Worthy successor. XCOM 2 is game of the year material for me, building on what worked in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within. I look forward to what Jake Solomon and team do next! More detailed thoughts below: – This … Continue reading

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XCOM2 first impressions: Good luck, Commander. You’ll need it!

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series XCOM: Enemy Unknown/XCOM 2

I did it! I finally did it! At the start of my third campaign, I finally beat the aliens with no fatalities — on ironman “Commander” difficulty, the new name for “Classic”, no less! The stars aligned, the aliens walked … Continue reading

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Nobunaga’s Ambition: late-game observations (and reflections on AI automation)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence

Surprisingly satisfying. Now that I’ve finished my campaign, I thought I’d comment on the late game of Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence, a topic on which I initially reserved judgment. Strategy endgames are plagued with two problems, (1) snowballing and … Continue reading

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Shining in the darkness: playing the Eastern Romans in Attila

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Total War: Attila

The East endures. I closed out 2015 by returning to the grand campaign of Total War: Attila, this time as the Eastern Roman Empire. Like its Western sibling, the ERE is beset with enemies. Unlike my WRE game, I’ve been … Continue reading

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Age of Charlemagne – a worthy complement to Attila

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Total War: Attila

Age of Charlemagne offers the basics, done right. If Rome II was about conquering a huge empire, and Attila was about defending it, Age of Charlemagne offers a tight, focused campaign that can be finished in a reasonable time. In … Continue reading

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A Return to Adventure: Thoughts on Conquest of Elysium 4

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Conquest of Elysium

When the giant demon attacked my fortress, I cursed. The fort was my newest and proudest conquest, wrested from a nearby computer player. I left a small garrison, stiffened by two ballistae, to hold the walls while my main army … Continue reading

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From the archives: Tactics X-COM: Jagged Ogre Chronicles, or a guide to squad-level strategy/tactics/RPGs

I originally wrote this post in 2012 during the lead-up to Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown, proposing a classification system for squad-based games and tactical RPGs across PC and consoles. Since then, to my delight, the genre has gone from strength … Continue reading

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Friends in Need: Diplomacy in Nobunaga’s Ambition

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence

Akechi Mitsuhide did not have long to gloat. After he betrayed and killed Oda Nobunaga – per historical event – I rallied a coalition of Nobunaga’s generals and surviving sons against him. From the west came Hashiba Hideyoshi, the man … Continue reading

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Nobunaga’s Ambition: Strong First Impressions

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Nobunaga's Ambition: Sphere of Influence

In Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence, opportunity comes in many forms. When my Tokugawa clan was small and insignificant, sandwiched between the rival Imagawa clan and our mutual ally Oda Nobunaga, opportunity came when the Imagawa let their alliance with … Continue reading

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The OTHER space grand strategy game: Crisis of the Confederation

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series Crusader Kings II

Grand Admiral Wei Luo is about to betray everything for which he’s fought. For the last fifteen years, the Admiral has headed Confederate Space Command – the crowning glory of a life devoted to the Terran Confederation. He stood by … Continue reading

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Quick Impressions: Vietnam ’65

Vietnam ’65 is an iPad/PC strategy game with a deceptively simple concept: patrol villages on a randomly generated map (above) and prevent the Viet Cong & North Vietnamese Army from doing the same. It’s simple, short, and sweet; after two … Continue reading

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Let’s Play EU4: Common Sense! Pt 2: East Meets West

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series Europa Universalis IV

Report of the Spanish ambassador to Meiguo, 1600 In the three months since I departed Your Majesty’s presence, I have travelled first to our colony of New Spain, then thousands of miles north overland. I write to you now from … Continue reading

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Oriental Empires Q&A, with Bob Smith

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Oriental Empires

Oriental Empires is an upcoming 4X strategy game that will cover most of Chinese history, from 1500 BC to 1500 AD. My interest piqued, I conducted an email Q&A with developer Bob Smith. Read on:   About the developers 1. … Continue reading

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Let’s Play EU4: Common Sense! Part 1: Welcome to Meiguo

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Europa Universalis IV

In 1402, the Ming Emperor’s uncle usurped the throne. The imperial palace burned. According to one legend, the Emperor survived, and fled overseas; Zheng He’s fleets were dispatched to hunt him down. What if the Emperor made it further than … Continue reading

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Very Early Impressions: Battle Academy

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Battle Academy

So far1, I’m impressed by Battle Academy, the 2010-vintage World War 2 TBS. The vibrant, comic-book aesthetic charmed me straight away, while the game mechanics present tactical concepts in a clear, elegant manner. Light tanks are zippy and thinly armoured, … Continue reading

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Endless Legend & Age of Wonders 3: One Year On

The two expansions to Age of Wonders 3 have brought new races, a new character class, and (together with patches), assorted features and balance tweaks. They have also addressed my single biggest complaint with the game: the victory conditions (and … Continue reading

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A spiritual successor to KOEI’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms?

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Oriental Empires

That is my initial impression of Oriental Empires (press release here), a newly announced 4X game that will be set in China between 1500 BC and 1500 AD. The bullet points and especially the screenshots remind me of Endless Legend/Civilization … Continue reading

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The Roman Experience in Total War: Attila

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Total War: Attila

After 100 turns, I threw in the towel on my attempt to save the Western Roman Empire. The legions, and my treasury, had finally reached their limit. The barbarians never stopped flooding in, from the north, east, and the hitherto … Continue reading

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Thoughts on Cities: Skylines

This entry is part of 1 in the series Cities: Skylines

My first city made as much sense as a noodle-bowl. At one point, I went nuts building high-rise apartments without ensuring adequate road access. The result was a mess. Commuters clogged the roads. Fire engines, delivery vans, garbage trucks, and … Continue reading

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Only a Flesh Wound! Total War: Attila impressions

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Total War: Attila

War has come to Rome. Lands that were Roman for centuries are now desolate or in enemy hands. Northern Spain and the tip of Italy are smoking rubble. The empire’s leading general, Stilicho, is dead with all his army — … Continue reading

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Let’s reunify Japan in Total War: Shogun 2! Part 3 (Final): Ride Forth Victoriously

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Total War: Shogun 2

Welcome to the final instalment of my Let’s Play of Shogun 2. Previously, I stood on the verge of Shogun 2’s endgame — “realm divide”, in which most of Japan joins forces to stop the player. My armies were ready. … Continue reading

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Total War Rome II DLC Campaigns: The Buyer’s Guide

Matchsticks for my Eyes is pleased to present the latest guest post by Rachel “frogbeastegg” McFadden, author of Frogbeastegg’s Guides to Total War. Rome II has smartened up considerably since its release; the article below discusses its add-on campaigns. I … Continue reading

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