The will to conquer is the first condition of victory

Originally posted at GameSpot on May 6, 2008

The title of this post comes to you from Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929), a French soldier, military theorist, and writer.)

If you listen very closely, you can hear it; the sound of armor clashing against spear and sword…muskets being fired over the hills…lasers tearing into the passing ship’s hull (yes, I know there’s no sound in space, but just go with it)…all these sounds assault your ears and force you to live in that moment – whether you like it or not.

This sort of scenario is what I think of when strategy games come to mind – playing on a historical or futuristic landscape where you have the power to conquer vast amounts of land and glory, or get crushed to dust by rival factions.

There are a number of quality strategy games out there that all have the same problem – I don’t own them yet. Usually by lack of hardware (which is directly related to lack of money), these games have eluded my strategy-loving power-seeking hands up to the present.

But be that as it may, I still think on them from time to time. I think of worlds to conquer, armies to raise, and mass plans to put into effect…all while laughing maniacally, of course.

My laughter aside, I’ve felt the need to go over some strategy games I’m really looking forward to playing someday, in no particular order:

Medieval II: Total War

This one’s an easy choice, since Shogun: Total War brought me into the strategy genre. Real-time battles, hundreds of soldiers fighting in 3-D, a great score and top-down map, etc., the list goes on and on of what that game did right. I expect nothing less from Medieval II, and fact – I want more! I’ve seen the game in action, and with updated graphics and more options, I’m planning on having this game blow me away.

World in Conflict

Another game I’ve seen in action, the first strategy game (that I’ve seen) to take place in the modern world – and it looks amazing. From what I could tell, the pace is just right (fast and furious), and the story one I’ll want to see to the end. A nuclear bomb? Well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Europa Universalis III

Now we start the games I haven’t played. The Europa series of games looks to me to be a different animal then I’m used to – more on the “map strategy” and less on the battles. I’m assuming diplomacy and trade will come stronger in this game, and with the end-goal not necessarily being world domination it should be an interesting ride.

Europa Universalis III also has detailed info in spades, which is half of the fun for me. RPG detail is boring and tedious, but for some reason I can’t get enough in a strategy game.

Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords

I don’t have much experience when it comes to strategy in space – but I want to get some! I own Star Trek: Armada, but nothing on the epic scale this game promises to be. As I’ve mentioned, I like my strategy big – and nothing is bigger then the final frontier. Of course, I’ll want the two expansion packs – Dark Avatar and Twilight of the Arnor. If you’re going to do something, do it right.

Sins of a Solar Empire

This is the new kid on the block, having come out this past February. People talk about the death of PC gaming, but until a game like this can come out on console I hope it’s not an imminent death.

Star Wars: Empire at War

There have been some attempts at this in the past (Star Wars Rebellion), but it seems Lucas Arts got it right this time. Seems to have a very cinematic quality about it, and that’s a big seller in my book when it comes to Star Wars. The Forces of Corruption expansion looks very good as well, but I’ll get the most fun out of playing the Empire. Ever since Tie Fighter, I’ve been on their side.

Stronghold Crusader Extreme

Looking at this series, the reviews are either hit-or-miss on GameSpot – but here’s hoping the latest will be a hit. Sieges, knights, and warfare in huge medieval settings – all the right ingredients to make a great game – now it just has to come out!

So there you have it – a list of strategy games full of worlds just begging for me to rule them.

And some day. . . I will!

(Fadeout to more maniacal laughter)

Post tenebras lux