Turn based strategy

Hearthstone Help: Dreamhack Summer report

PC Gamer at

Greetings Hearthstonians, Vincent Sarius here again, and today we're going to discuss the best moments from the biggest Hearthstone tournament held so far. Dreamhack Summer took took place this weekend in Sweden, and aside from a $25,000 total prize pool—of which, $10,000 went to the winner—the top three finishers all received spots in Blizzard's upcoming qualifier tournament for a chance to play at Blizzcon for an immense $100,000 prize. That'll buy you a lot of packs.


Civilization: Beyond Earth E3 interview: diplomacy, quests, and putting the pieces together

Wes Fenlon at

E3 isn't the easiest place to demo a sprawling, intricate strategy game like Civilization: Beyond Earth, but it is a great place to give the talented developers at Firaxis a chance to talk about the sci-fi future of Civ. While I played a demo build of Beyond Earth's early game, landing on an alien planet and stumbling around in deadly miasma, I talked to lead producer Lena Brenk about what's changed since our big reveal, how XCOM has influenced Beyond Earth, and Sid Meier's 10 Commandments of Civ.


Xenonauts leaves early access, brings the Cold War-style back to XCOM

Ian Birnbaum at

We came into the office today to a series of alarm klaxons alerting us to the version 1.0, real-deal release of Xenonauts, an indie reimagining of the 1994 classic XCOM: UFO Defense. The new XCOM is one of our favorites, sure, but there’s something magical about the isometric, grid-based perspective of the '90s.


Warhammer 40,000: Chess - Regicide announced, because nothing is more Warhammer than chess

Ian Birnbaum at

The grimdark future of Warhammer 40K is a great setting for all kinds of games. Shooters? Check. Real-time strategy? Sure. 2,000-year-old board game? Uh, maybe. That's what Warhammer 40,000: Chess – Regicide has planned: a thematic mash-up of the classic strategic game and huge, burly space marines. The Emperor will be pleased.


Warlock 2 review

Phil Savage at

My empire is in ruins. It had such a strong start, too. My cities were spreading, my resources finely balanced, my army developing into a fearsome force of monsters and heroes. Now they're gone, consumed on three sides by the continuously spawning might of huge, armoured, fire breathing reptiles. I am defeated. By turtles.


Civilization: Beyond Earth announced. Civ is going to space

Tom Senior at

Firaxis announced the next stage of Civilization's evolution at PAX today. Civilization: Beyond Earth will take Sid Meier's classic turn-based strategy formula to an alien world for the first time since Alpha Centauri.


Show Us Your Rig: Civ V designer Jon Shafer

Cory Banks at

Welcome to Show Us Your Rig, a new feature where the PC gaming industry's best and brightest show us the systems they use to work and play. 

Conifer Games' Jon Shafer requires a lot of information. As the lead designer on Civilization V, he's understandably used to having a lot of data to process—his civ's economic details or battle data from the front lines, perhaps. Lately, most of that information is the thousands of lines of code for his newest project, the upcoming 4X At The Gates. Still, we were surprised when Shafer told us that his setup for both programming and gaming requires four separate screens. For most people, that'd be information overload. For Shafer, it's just another work day.

Age of Wonders 3 video teaches the arcane art of level editing

Tom Sykes at

Age of Wonders III is so out now that it's available for purchase - you literally can't get more out now than that. If you're currently entrenched in the turn-based fantasy fantasy and your mind is already racing with ideas for your own campaigns, you're probably pretty glad that it has a level editor tucked away in the game's launcher program. If you've been wondering how to use that editor, Triumph Studios have you covered with the following video, which dives into the nitty gritty of constructing your own AoW content.

Galactic Civilizations 3 alpha costs $100, how much is too much for early access?

Tom Senior at

Editor's note: We've received additional comment from Stardock regarding early access pricing for GalCiv3. Read its statement below our original story.

I like galactic conquest, devastating AI and overbearing tech trees, so I'm very excited about Galactic Civilizations 3. Not excited enough to pay the £76 / $100 asking price for the Founder's Elite version, however, which has been placed on Steam and the GalCiv site with some pretty major caveats from the developers. They warn that "major systems are unfinished and content is severely limited" and, remarkably, say "please be aware that the game isn't actually, well, fun yet."

Blackguards review

Phil Savage at

Much of my time in Blackguards was spent waiting. I waited for my turn, as enemies slowly plodded around hex-grid maps. I waited for tactical diversity, yearning to unlock the more interesting attack options. Mostly, I waited for earnest fantasy stereotypes to finish performing their questionably accented dialogue and unlock the next fight.

Based on The Dark Eye pen-andpaper ruleset, Blackguards is a turnbased RPG so focused on combat that it’s more fantasy XCOM than fantasy Fallout. At the start the character you’ve created is convicted of murder. Escaping from prison, he or she must team up with a band of roguish misfits to figure out who – or what – was really responsible. Yet that mystery isn’t much more than a flimsy tool to link each battle.


Latest Humble Bundle discounts Sid Meier's greats like Civ 4 and Railroads

Omri Petitte at

Sid Meier. Sid Meier. Sid Meier. If you say Sid Meier three times, well, he won't exactly pop out of your bathroom mirror, but at least you'll be prepared for seeing the name of one of PC gaming's developer grandmasters festooned across the newest offering from Humble Bundle which focuses on a selection of terrific turn-based strategy titles.


The Castle Doctrine review

Patrick Carlson at

I've just left my wife and kids home alone so I can rob one of my neighbors, John Gordon Buffington. I bring a backpack stuffed with tools: some sturdy clubs for smashing windows, a saw to hack through wood paneling, and because my part of town is full of clever and dangerous people, water to short-out the security system and some drugged meat to fling at any guard dogs I run into. I expect I'll have to deal with more than one angry pit bull before I can break into the Buffington vault.


Oxide's engine tech demo throws thousands of starships into strategy battles

PC Gamer at

New independent studio Oxide Games wants to reshape the way strategy games are built. The five-man team—mostly ex-Civilization V developers—is building a new 64-bit 3D engine called Nitrous, with a focus on adding some technical muscle to new turn-based and real-time strategy games. The aim, according to the studio, is to help developers add massive scope to upcoming games.


The Banner Saga's launch trailer heralds the arrival of the tactical-RPG

Phil Savage at

Stoic Games have reached the end of a long and arduous journey; one that required the help of an army of crowdfunders, and contained a short intermission for some free-to-play battling. To celebrate the end of their adventure, here's a celebratory trailer. To be clear: their adventure is in the more metaphorical sense of the development and release of tactical-RPG The Banner Saga. As far as I know, they have not personally carried some giant axes through a harsh and mythical wilderness.


Steam Machine hands-on part two: the Steam Controller, Civilization V and StarCraft 2

PC Gamer at

It was supposed to be a short break. I told myself Civilization V wouldn't suck me in when I began playing on the big screen. The game will be too tedious. The text will be too small. I was wrong.

I've spent the past couple days going through every game I thought would be interesting to play, and Civilization V on a couch, staring at a big screen TV is among most engaging, relaxing gaming experiences I've ever had with a game.


Sid Meier interview: Ace Patrol, Civ's evolution, and the future of strategy games

Cory Banks at

Sid Meier is a game design legend. He co-founded MicroProse in 1982 and created Civilization, one of the longest-running and most loved series in gaming. Now the creative director at Firaxis—and overseer for both the Civ and XCOM franchises, Meier can be choosy about what he works on. His choice: Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies, a WWI-era turn-based strategy game that's small in price but big on strategy, and even influenced by tabletop games.

PC Gamer spoke to Meier about his interest in smaller game design, and how it let his team take some risks. He also shared his view of the changing strategy game market, and how he thinks all gamers are strategy gamers at heart.


Frozen Endzone first-look: tackling tactically in Mode 7's competitive robot sports sim

Tom Senior at

If you took all the pomp and spectacle out of American Football and boil it down to a few key moments, you'd have Frozen Endzone (or a Melted Endzone, if you're being pedantic). You'd also need to randomise the pitch and player positions, make it turn-based, and add robots, but the shoulder pads, balls, and tactical tosses are ripped straight from the playbook.

Playing Frozen Endzone is like watching a coach's game-changing scrawl come to life: each game begins with two teams of five facing off on a randomised pitch of high and low walls, with the attackers running down the screen to the Endzone. Each bot on the field is controlled by placing waypoints for them to follow, drawing out routes through the series of random walls the game generates. Depending on the side, you're either hoping to set-up a glorious series of snaps that'll end with a touchdown, or positioning players to arrest the attacking team's goal charge.


At The Gates not ready to open; Jon Shafer's turn-based strategy delayed to 2015

Phil Savage at

Alpha testing is a bit like inviting a barbarian horde to ransack your city. Sure, you might think you've built sturdy walls and impenetrable defences, but sooner or later the throng of testers will find a crack. That's what happened to Jon Shafer's appropriately named turn-based strategy At The Gates. Its alpha testers, having breached the early code, went on to make a number of reasonable and sensible design requests based on the issues they identified. The savages! In response, Shafer is extending the game's development past the planned mid-2014 release date and into 2015.


Space Wolf trailer offers a first look at Warhammer 40K's tactical card game

Phil Savage at

Here's an announcement trailer for Warhammer 40K: Space Wolf, the free-to-play tactical card game that was announced back in August. If you follow Warhammer to any extent, you'll have an idea of what to expect. If you don't, I've got some bad news: the Space Wolves are just people, not actual wolves who prowl around and do wolf things in space. I know, I was disappointed too.


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.