STRATEGY GAMES OF 2018
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord
TBA | Taleworlds Entertainment | Link
It’s been a long wait for the sequel to Mount & Blade: Warband, and it may be a bit longer still, but previews have indicated a strongly expanded combat system to the cavalry battle simulator. Chief among those changes is a directional shield blocking system, chain attacks, and a command structure that allows you to focus on the task at hand while letting your A.I. commander dictate the overall flow of the fight. We've played it, so one assumes it'll come out before the the heat death of the universe.
April 12 (as Early Access) | Chris Hecker, John Cimino | Link
A “competitive espionage game about subtle human behavior,” which honestly sounds like every party I’ve ever been to, SpyParty pits two players against one another in a battle of wits and deception. The spy must blend in with a gathering of A.I. characters while a sniper lies in wait outside, attempting to deduce his target, not unlike the Team Fortress 2 mode. It’s been hailed as a “vanguard of the future of indie,” so you know it’s carrying some bonafides behind its nine-year development cycle. Yes, you read that right: Nine years. Developer Chris Hecker says it'll be about two years before a full release.
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
December 4 | Bearded Ladies, Funcom | Link
A hybrid RPG-strategy game with the stealthy pedigree of a team of former Hitman designers, starring mutant animals in the post-apocalypse. If you're not already intrigued, let's sweeten the pitch: this game is basically XCOM in combat, but with RPG party recruiting and questing around it, and the whole package is pretty rad. That instantly catapulted Mutant Year Zero to the top of our most anticipated strategy games of the year.
"Second Half of 2018" | Chucklefish | Link
Taking clear inspiration from the likes of Advance Wars, Wargroove combines turn-based, grid-based strategy with knights, flying mages, the occasional golem, and more fantasy fare. You’ll need to exercise caution during each match’s 40-60 minute runtime as you fight to capture the enemy commander or raze their fortress, or show off your design skills with a fully featured map editor.
TBA | Tetragon Works | Link
This turn-based mech combat game pulls inspiration from Armored Core and Front Mission, with tabletop-style rules determining unique damage statistics, destructible buildings, and pilots that evolve as characters, like a simpler Nemesis System from Shadow of War. Mod support promises new events, missions, order, mech parts, and more.