How to be a Good Gamer: Turn Based Strategy

This time around we’ll be covering turn-based strategy games, which for those that may not know, refers to games such as Fire Emblem, Wargroove, Advanced Wars, and Civilization. Essentially they cover games where you take turns controlling a series of units and/or buildings on a grid-like map split either into squares, hexagons, or octagons. Generally the main goal of these games is to use your units strategically to destroy the other player’s units and/or buildings, although there are some exceptions such as Civilization which allows you to win through other less violent means.

Now the first thing you’ll want to do in any TBS scenario is get an idea of what’s around you. In some cases the map is uncovered and you can see everything from the beginning, but in some cases there may be a fog-of-war feature which refers to the use of a darkened map that prevents you from either seeing the formation of the land, hostile units, or both. In these cases, the only way to learn is to scout which is why most scenarios will start you off with at least one unit to control. Choose the unit you want to use carefully, as you have to be prepared for the chance they might be ambushed while scouting. The best choice is a unit that is relatively cheap to make and highly expendable. If that unit happens to have high movement speed and/or high sight range all the better. Civilization starts you off with a single melee unit which can be used the moment you found your first city, but shortly after you’ll be able to make a scout that is much more suited for the task.

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Now game tactics can generally split up into two categories: long-term and reactive tactics. Some games lean into long-term tactics which require you to look towards the end goal and plan out your future moves, while some games lean more towards reactive tactics which require you to think on the fly in response to what happens as it happens. TBS games fall under long-term tactics, which means that while it doesn’t hurt to react to things as they happen, you generally want a game plan that you follow through the game. For instance, in games such as Wargroove or Advanced Wars you’ll want to look at the map and find your best route for attack. Should you bulk up on tough units and attack head on? Should you outnumber them with cheap expendable units? Should you attempt to flank and take them on multiple sides? Or should you try to cut off their resources/unit creation? In Fire Emblem you’ll want to look over the map if you’re able to, create a formation with your toughest units in front, next toughest in the back in case of an ambush, and healers and ranged units in the middle. Then you’ll plan which units should go after which objectives/enemy units making sure they’re kept out of range of units that are strong against them. In Civilization you’ll want to decide from the beginning which victory condition you’ll want to lean towards as well as a secondary condition to go for in case you fall behind. Also keep an eye out on your tech tree, civics tree, and what buildings you’ll have to work towards. Being proactive is the path to victory.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to lose some resources or units to get what you want. Many people shy away from anything that will cause other Civs to dislike them, but sometimes you have to take that plunge. You may need to take some risks and if it doesn’t work out you can always try again! Experiment and learn what methods work best for you. But don’t use guesswork! Keep an eye on the numbers and ensure you have the best odds of winning. Hopefully these tips help you out in your future games.

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