Recommendations for Real Time Strategy games
November 3, 2007 5:05 PM   Subscribe

I'd appreciate some recommendations for PC based strategy games. I've really enjoyed playing Age of Empires and Caesar 3 in the past and was wondering what other newer games I could try, that are along the same lines. I tried the newer releases of the AOE franchise but find that I enjoy games that are set in ancient civilizations more . As far as playing hardware goes, my laptop has 2 GB of RAM and a pretty decent (I think!) video card (ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 with 256 MB of video RAM). Thanks!
posted by sk381 to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Have you played Civilization IV? If not, definitely play that. The base game is fine, or you can buy the gold edition to get one of the expansion packs as well.
posted by Nelson at 5:38 PM on November 3, 2007

Seconding Civ IV. Since adding the Warlords and Beyond the Sword expansions, everything else on my hard drive is gathering dust.

Although you should be warned if you've never played a Civ before, the insidious "just one more turn" factor of the game will have you up way too late on far too many evenings.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:44 PM on November 3, 2007

I really liked Medieval II: Total War (heck, Rome:TW and the original Medieval:TW were pretty damn awesome, too).
posted by porpoise at 5:45 PM on November 3, 2007

Civ IV gold edition is excellent. If you're looking for one turn-based strategy game and don't have it, that's the one to get.
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on November 3, 2007

Rome: Total War and its sequels are a little dated now (the original came out three years ago) but they're a lot of fun and seem to be right up the alley of what you're looking for - a mix of continuous empire-building (strategy-level city development, troop movement, and diplomacy) and real-time battles.

More ponderous and in-depth (but, then, some people dig that high learning curve on Paradox games) is Crusader Kings, also from 2004, which has you setting up a dynasty in medieval Europe. It's a very strong diplomacy game, but you don't get to control what happens in battles yourself - the computer rolls the dice and your little units are victorious or fall on the field of battle.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:55 PM on November 3, 2007

er, "sequels" should be read as "expansions," since the graphics aren't really updated or anything, although they offer entirely new eras and plots and whatnot.
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:58 PM on November 3, 2007

My 12 year-old bought Rome: Total War a few weeks ago an won't quit. He's played a lot of these kinds of games and was very impressed by it.
posted by lhauser at 7:55 PM on November 3, 2007

The battlefield aspect of Rome/Medieval II: Total War is very nicely done, although the overworld city-managing portion can become somewhat monotonous after your fourth or fifth campaign. For a couple of months, though, it's impossible to put down. Unfortunately, I have no experience with Civ, although I've been meaning to get it forever.
posted by Hargrimm at 8:30 PM on November 3, 2007

It depends on what you are after.

My son likes Command and Conquer 3. It's not bad, but I burned out on the series after General's, so I haven't played it. AOE3 sucks pretty bad IMHO, and it's best to avoid it.

Civ4, mentioned upthread is a good game. If you have a steam account, it can be a very reasonable purchase. It is probably responsible for a full point off of my GPA in college. :-)

Galactic Civilizations is another good one along those lines - and highly recommended.

I like Rome:Total War and it's sequels quite a bit. But, all in all I don't find them as compelling as Civ 4 or Galciv. YMMV of course. Hope this helps.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:37 PM on November 3, 2007

Here are a couple of obvious answers that you might have already thought of:

Age of Mythology is a legendary followup to Age of Empires. Probably still ancient enough for you.
Pharaoh and Master of Olympus are Egyptian and Greek followups to the Caesar series.
I liked Pharaoh and Master of Olympus even better than Caesar 3. There's also Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, which I haven't played, but is part of the same series.

I absolutely love Civ IV. If you get it, you simply must try out the Rhye's and Fall of Civilization mod, which places you in a historically accurate location, gives you a historically plausible win condition, and allows civilizations to collapse under their own weight due to instability.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 10:01 PM on November 3, 2007

I know you like the ancient civ ones, but for a very in depth strategy game that doesn't devolve into a click fest, try something from Paradox - Europa Universalis III (1452-1792) or Hearts of Iron II (WW II). Truly breathtaking in their depth and replayabilty. Want to make Venice a colonizing power? Wonder what would have happened had Spain entered WW II? Pretty much anything you can think of, you can try. There are also expansions for both that are supposed to be great, but I haven't tried them.
Then there's any one of the online Diplomacy games. A classic game made much easier by the intertubes. Try the Diplomatic Pouch to begin with.
posted by conifer at 10:51 PM on November 3, 2007

Civ IV is a great game, although it isn't real-time.

You should try the demo for Rise of Nations. It's got similar elements to what made Age of Empires good, but it feels a little more streamlined.
posted by demiurge at 11:19 PM on November 3, 2007

dawn of war.


dawn of war. it's sci fi, so the themes might not dig at you, but the gameplay is superb. it's the most innovative and fun strategy game i've played in a long time, and one of the few that understands properly the distinctions between tactics and strategy.

download a demo, trust me, it's worth it. great game, reinvigorated my interest in the genre.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 3:59 AM on November 4, 2007

Medieval II: Total War is fun, but please understand that it is two games in one: the first being the overland turn based strategy game, the second being the real time time battle simulator. The battles are fun (especially satisfying when an enemy is trying to attack a well fortified castle!) but the turn based part of the game is very lacking. Diplomacy is almost non-existent, as is trade, and other features are limited. Basically you build your cities along set lines and your strategy is mostly determined by where they are in relation to other nations and not much else. In the end it is a medieval battle simulator with elements of strategy.

Civ IV is pretty incredible simply due to its never ending variety. I can't say enough good things about it.

Galactic Civilizations is hands down one of the worse games I've ever played. I suppose if you never had the joy of playing MOO2 then you wouldn't know what you're missing. Horrible, horrible, game. (Stardoc got a bad rap for including spyware in their patches too.)
posted by wfrgms at 9:12 AM on November 4, 2007

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