Turn based strategy

Mod of the Week: Faerun, for Civilization V

Christopher Livingston at

If you filled a sock with Dungeons & Dragons dice and knocked Sid Meier unconscious with it, what do you think he'd dream of? Possibly something like Faerun, a mod that brings Forgotten Realms to life inside Civilization V: Gods & Kings. Lead civilizations of elves, dwarves, and orcs, recruit druids and wizards, battle dragons and ogres, and learn powerful spells. (Also, please don't knock Sid Meier unconscious with a sock full of dice. Or with anything else.)

There's a ton of civilizations to choose from in the Faerun mod, all straight out of the Forgotten Realms universe. Play as Cormyr, Land of the Purple Dragon, led by Princess Alusair Nacacia Obarskyr. Or choose the dwarf Bruenor Battlehammer of Mithral Hall. Sarevok Anchev of Baldur's Gate fame? Hells yeah. And about two dozen more, representing most of the major nations you've encountered in Forgotten Realms D&D or video games.


XCOM: Enemy Within's interactive trailer teases mechs and EXALT operatives

Phil Savage at

While multi-format publications froth expectantly at the coming release of a plastic box, we might as well laze back and enjoy a bit of strategy news. XCOM: Enemy Within is either out or incoming, depending on your geographical status, but if you're waiting - or just haven't bought the turn-based expansion - an interactive trailer takes you through some of the new features and mission types.


Battle Worlds: Kronos out now, trailer explores the morality of artillery strikes

Phil Savage at

It's actually happening. Kickstarter projects are being released. Between Broken Sword 5's release announcement, and last night's release of turn-based tactical strategy Battle Worlds: Kronos, we're going to find out if these games the community has already funded are even any good. In case of the latter, a launch trailer has appeared to persuade you that while yes, you absolutely should murder your foes with rockets, you should really do it for the right reasons.


XCOM: Enemy Within hands-on - encountering new enemies in Operation Devil's Giant

Tom Senior at

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT - this reveals a new type of alien for turn-based tactical add-on, XCOM: Enemy Within. If you've already decided that you're getting the expansion and would rather encounter and adapt to it yourself, give this preview a miss. This hands-on focuses on one particular encounter, for additional in-depth overview of Enemy Within's new features, you can also check out our other hands-on account.

All rise to salute the fallen. Sergeant Balls, start the bagpipes. AHEM. Lt. April "Congo" Palmer, slain by a Floater's light plasma rifle in Operation Devil's Giant. Eleven kills to her name. Squaddie Eric Stevens, mauled to death trying to taser a Chryssalid at melee range during Operation Flying Skull. My, my, what a mess that was. Lt. Shaojie Zhang, slain by a Thin Man at range in Operation Dark Vanguard. Rookie Dieter Kohler, strangled to death by a flying metal octopus During Operation Devil's Giant.

Wait, flying metal octopus? Balls, stop the bagpipes. Colonel Jenkins, stop crying. Nobody told me anything about a flying goddamn octopus.

XCOM: Enemy Within trailer introduces the Exalt, hints at base defence missions

Phil Savage at

Here's a trailer that focuses on the Exalt: those covert enemy operatives that Tyler revealed in his XCOM: Enemy Within preview. They're an enemy within, you see. Within the expansion, within your species, and, as your trailer shows, within your own base. While the trailer consists entirely of cutscene, it does suggest that base defence missions could be making a return.


Warlock 2: The Exiled trailer promises war, magic and werewolves wearing hats

Phil Savage at

Damn those pesky wizards! Warlock 2: The Exiled was announced towards the end of last week. Unfortunately, due to a troublesome cloaking spell, it passed us by unseen. That is definitely what happened, and in no way can I be blamed for missing the news of a follow up to fantasy turn-based strategy Warlock: Master of the Arcane. With that disclaimer made abundantly clear, let's take a look at the announcement trailer.


Total War: Rome 2's huge second patch promises performance and AI improvements

Tom Senior at

You could read a book in the time it takes for Rome 2 to calculate AI movements between turns. Our Chris Thursten has made good progress with Game of Thrones. I, meanwhile, tend to make a cup of tea every end-turn event, and then run my empire with the urgency and recklessness of a hyper-stimulated general with a permanently full bladder. To the delight of my internal organs, CA are trying to trim those long AI thinking times down. They've posted a list of fixes made by a beta version of the second patch, which went into testing on Friday, of which "campaign performance optimisations" and "AI round time improvements" are the most welcome. There are also GPU optimisation tweaks listed alongside significant in-game changes to unit speed and morale-battering flank charges. The fix-list is here for your perusal.


Incognita opens for alpha access, trailer shows turn-based espionage in action

Phil Savage at

I'm starting to worry about Klei, you guys. Between new Mark of the Ninja DLC, continued development on Don't Starve, and now the turn-based spy-'em-up Incongnita, they're pumping out an incredible number of games. Has anyone checked to make sure their office isn't full of developers chained to computers; forced to code strategic espionage-based interactions and draw gorgeously stylistic art? They've just opened Incognita for pre-order purchase, giving buyers instant alpha access to the game. Maybe they need to raise funds for some thicker restraints?


See the first screenshots of Arcen's next game: the roguelike-like Bionic Dues

Katie Williams at

Arcen's been pumping out the indie goods this year, with A Valley Without Wind 2 and Shattered Haven and the recent Skyward Collapse threatening our shame-piles with another kind of collapse. And that's not it for 2013—Arcen dev Chris Park has revealed that besides numerous expansions for existing games, there is one more full game release on the studio's calendar this year. Bionic Dues is a tactical roguelike thing which will see us playing as legless, hovering mechs called Exos.


Camp Keepalive releases today, is pretty much Friday the 13th in turn-based strategy form

Tom Sykes at

Summer might be coming to an end, but there's still time to indulge in that most traditional of holiday pastimes: getting chopped up by a supernatural psycho who's basically a homing missile for promiscuous American teenagers. 80s-horror-inspired turn-based strategy Camp Keepalive had a demo release back in February, and today the full thing has launched on Desura. As a quartet of counselors, you have to defend your campers from a pack of murderous monsters, including clowns, wolfmen, and Jason Voorhees-a-likes.


Battle Worlds: Kronos release planned for mid-November, open-beta a few weeks earlier

Phil Savage at

Thanks to my photographic memory (read: access to the internet), I can point you to the last time we scouted turn-based strategy Battle Worlds: Kronos. That was in March, when the Kickstarter project hit its funding goal. It subsequently went on to more than double the £120,000 target, finishing on $260,235. Now the developers are drawing out their battle plans, and have picked a mid-November date for the game's release.


Age of Wonders 3 trailer shows ten minutes of dwarves and destruction

Phil Savage at

Here's 10 minutes of Age of Wonders III footage, introducing the dwarven Dreadnought Gustav and his predilection for technological hijinks. Really, the campaign slice we're shown is a magical - and violent - turn-based Ocean's 11. Our narrator gets himself into a tricky tactical situation, before stealing an entire city with a hitherto unrevealed plan: killing everything. That's a film I would watch.


Endless Legend announced, a fantasy 4X from the Endless Space devs

Tom Sykes at

Space is endless. We knew that much, but it turns out legends are endless as well. Or rather, one Legend in particular, and probably not the one where Tom Cruise shares a curry with a guy named Tim (as is my understanding of the film). Not content with just one 4X strategy game, the Endless Space developers are back at it again, this time using those 4 Xs (eXplore, eXploit, eXpand and eXtreme) in a fantasy setting, with no spaceships or anything. You can see some hexy screenshots after the break.


Space Hulk launch trailer brings honour and righteous death

Phil Savage at

There's something about the word "space" that makes anything that's prefixed with it seem more exciting. Sending Space Marines into a Space Hulk? That sounds tense and dramatic. Sending plain old marines into a regular Hulk? That sounds like a military-ordered endoscopy into Bruce Banner. Also dramatic, but not quite the same as a turn-based tactical adaptation of the Warhammer 40K board game. Probably a good job that it's the latter that's now available.


Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes trailer teases boxed release on Friday

Tom Senior at

On August 16 - this Friday - Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes will emerge from the magic interpipes of the World Wide Web and sit on store shelves in a fancy-pants box. In celebration, Stardock have put out a new video showing off Fallen Enchantress' fantasy-flavoured turn based battles, empire-building, dragons and giant evil glowing Python fiends. I hate those guys.

Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes is a standalone expansion for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress, itself a re-worked and polished version of Elemental: War of Magic, which came out back in 2010. It adds two extra factions, reworks the way you hire heroes (formerly they'd loiter on the map like super-powerful hobos), adds more magic, more maps, more monsters. Anything beginning with "M" has received attention. They've even put in a new mevelling mystem!


XCOM: Enemy Unknown's Steam listing updates with mysterious achievements

Phil Savage at

XCOM: Enemy Unknown has just received a collection of Achievements Unknown. Thirty of them have been added to the game's Steam Global Achievement Page, all showing placeholder names and text. It's another hint that new XCOM content could be on the way, after, last week, a Korean listing appeared for something called "XCOM: Enemy Within".


Game of Thrones diary part five: staying alive in Crusader Kings 2′s Westeros

Rich McCormick at

Welcome to the Game of Thrones diary, in which Rich plays as Ned Stark and tries to stay alive in the excellent Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2. The diary may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones book one and season one of the TV show. Missed the story so far? Here's part one, part two, part three and part four.

My wife tried to kill me, but that’s OK. I’ve decided Mya Stone – King Robert Baratheon’s bastard daughter, and my new bride who professes to love me – slipped and put the poison in the wrong cup. She must’ve been trying to kill someone else in the castle. An innocent mistake. A totally innocent mistake with absolutely no troubling connotations whatsoever for my rule of the largest bit of Westeros.

Game of Thrones diary part four: staying alive in Crusader Kings 2′s Westeros

Rich McCormick at

Welcome to the Game of Thrones diary, in which Rich plays as Ned Stark and tries to stay alive in the excellent Game of Thrones mod for Crusader Kings 2. The diary may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones book one and season one of the TV show. Missed the start? Here's part one, part two and part three.

My wife is dead and I am sad. Catelyn Stark died last month, and Ned Stark – still ruler of the North of Westeros, and still alive at my hands – is in some serious mourning. Crusader Kings II codifies that mourning in the form of negative character traits: my Ned is now ‘depressed’, ‘chaste’, and a ‘widower’ – traits that conspire to make him about as fertile as a socially awkward panda. That’s a problem when Crusader Kings II’s explicit aim is to create as strong a dynasty as possible, and my eldest son Robb is useless in a fight, diplomatic or otherwise.

Ned’s sad right now but I’m confident, thanks to some Wiki reading, that his malaise will lift. I’ll get over Catelyn, shake off my temporary chasteness and get back to the business of making strong little babies to continue the Stark name. But to do that, I need a new wife.

Game of Thrones diary part three: staying alive in Crusader Kings 2's Westeros

Rich McCormick at

For the Old Gods’ sake Robert, can you please let someone else have some fun? No sooner have I re-rallied my northern forces (for the second time in as many months) with the express intention of crushing Mace Tyrell’s bid for kingship (also the second in as many months), than Robert beats him up in battle and puts him in his castle. The last time Robert did this, he let Mace go after a stern telling off, patting him on the Tyrell posterior and asking him nicely not to rebel again. Mace, being head of one of Westeros’s most powerful families and ‘Ambitious’ by nature – by character sheet anyway – immediately made another bid for the kingship.

Robert isn’t going to make the same mistake again. Out comes old headlopper, and Mace is no more, executed on Baratheon turf for his repeated treasons. My armies, raised from local peasantry and armed with northern steel – and some sticks and pitchforks – have to once again lay down arms and go back to their respective villages, their swords and pointy objects boringly blood-free. I feel bad. I promised these guys a war – several, really – but my remoteness in comparison to the rest of Westeros means I’m always the warmaid, never the warbastard.


Tabletop game Warmachine to storm onto PC in an already-successful Kickstarter campaign

Katie Williams at

How much do we want another game prefixed with "War"? Very much, apparently. In the case of turn-based game Warmachine Tactics, whose Kickstarter sprung up and seemingly bowled over its $550,000 goal practically overnight, it helps to be based on a much-loved tabletop game of the same name. Wading into battle, says the Kickstarter campaign, will be like holding "the power of a thunderstorm in the palm of your hand."