Computer and iPad Game Suggestions for Dad
February 28, 2015 1:57 PM   Subscribe

My dad enjoys playing computer games but is getting a little tired of Civilization V after thousands of hours of playing it. I am trying to help him find other games that he might enjoy; more information on what he likes and doesn't like is contained within. Also, due to neck-related pain, it is sometimes more convenient for him to use his iPad than his desktop computer. I know almost nothing about iOS games, so we would be happy to hear suggestions for those as well.

He tends to enjoy turn-based strategy games such as all the Sid Meier Civilization games, as well as military simulations such as Microprose' D-Day, Decision in the Desert, and Silent Service (all from 1985). He also enjoyed a 1990s Civil War/Gettysburg game (the name of which we can't recall), and to some extent, the 1994 Panzer General from SSI.

Given the way his thought processes work, I think he would probably excel at real-time strategy games; the problem there would be the rapid UI interactions needed to control them. He knows his way around the keyboard and mouse well enough but is not good at, nor interested in, anything requiring rapid physical responses. This also rules out first/third-person shooter type action games.

He is interested in history and historical fiction, but I'm afraid the action-oriented nature (and lack of historical depth/seriousness) of the Assassin's Creed series would rule them out as well.

He is much more interested in gameplay than graphics; the games do not by any means need to be fancy AAA-style productions.

He has a Windows 7 PC with a reasonably powerful CPU and graphics card, and an iPad 3 running iOS 8.1 at his disposal.

I, not being the most avid gamer myself, am having a hard time thinking of promising titles, so we will be very interested to hear your suggestions.
posted by Juffo-Wup to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Offworld Trading Company is made by one of the designers of CivIV. He might enjoy it. Note that it isn't quite finished yet, but you can play the prerelease version.

Crusader Kings 2 is well-regarded and historically deep. You play as a noble chosen from somewhere in Europe in the Middle Ages, and you try to marry/murder/conquer your way to power. It is not a fast-paced or pretty game, and it rewards patient strategizing. The same company, Paradox, makes other historical games in a similar style. (Seriously look at all of them. They sound right up his alley.)
posted by vogon_poet at 2:17 PM on February 28, 2015

Carcassone for iOS.
posted by fairmettle at 3:01 PM on February 28, 2015

Endless Legend is a fantasy civilisation-like game that has had very favourable reviews. Not historical, obviously, but he may enjoy the variety of factions on offer.

The Total War series is a popular and long-running historical RTS series with entries covering a variety of periods. Rather than just a string of battles, it has a civ-like strategic map and diplomacy. Crucially you can pause the game to issue orders whenever you please, so perhaps that might be a good compromise between real time and turn-based.
posted by Lorc at 3:02 PM on February 28, 2015

My preferences are very close to your father's and XCOM is the best such game I've played in the last five years.
posted by norm at 3:12 PM on February 28, 2015 [4 favorites]

I think Alpha Centauri is a better game than Civ4. It was the last of the "good" civ games. It's available on GOG for $5.99.
posted by H21 at 3:25 PM on February 28, 2015

There are a lot of niche turn-based military strategy and tactics games out there. I'm not really deep in this genre, because most of what I play is realtime, but you could probably do worse than reading the back-catalog of The Flare Path on Rock Paper Shotgun and scanning for turn-based titles. A lot of games in this genre are extremely dense/technical and reward knowing real-world military trivia. There's a lot more reliance on reading the manual than a lot of other contemporary genres though -- you might have to have a PDF up on a tablet while getting started.

In the "Casual, iOS" world, I've heard good things about Sid Meier's Ace Patrol (link to Flare Path review). It's not "realistic" but it is turn based, tactical, and on mobile.
posted by Alterscape at 4:44 PM on February 28, 2015

While I personally have always found it hard to get into, the Europa Universalis series is another historically-based empire-building TBS game in the same vein as Civlization. It sounds right up his alley.
posted by briank at 4:48 PM on February 28, 2015

Coming out in a couple of weeks is Sid Meier's Starships. It will be out for PC and iOS. That looks like something he might enjoy.
posted by sevenless at 6:48 PM on February 28, 2015

Maybe X-COM?
posted by Lexica at 9:21 PM on February 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Banner Saga combines some unique tactical turn-based strategy with gorgeous art and a unique story.

Also, the series of Heroes of Might and Magic games contain some gems- Heroes 3 and HoMM 5 are my favorites. Note that Heroes 3 is on Steam, but the GoG is considered better by many.

I'd also second Endless Legend.

And although it's not a strategy game, 80 Days is one of the best tablet games I've ever played. It's available for Android as well.
posted by EKStickland at 10:08 PM on February 28, 2015

Seconding Total War - I most highly recommend Medieval 2: Total War, it's very satisfyingly intricate but not at all hard to learn the ropes.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 7:48 PM on March 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

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