Why Turn-based Strategy Games Are Making a Comeback
With the advent of the age of personal computers, turn-based strategy games became the legit children of old school board games. They provided hours of fun and intellectual challenges to the 90s kids (and those kids’ kids), but somehow were abruptly forgotten a decade into the new millennium. Fortunately, TBS is making a comeback right now, with new generations discovering the joys of this classic genre. The reasons for the revival are multiple.
What Are TBS Video Games?
Turn-based strategy (TBS) games, and their fast-paced cousins, the real-time strategy (RTS) games, are the successors of board games. Even though both TBS and RTS are strategy computer games, in TBS, players take turns when playing, which means that they must wait on one another before making their next move. Just like in a game of chess.
The most popular TBS titles are strategic wargames, as the Heroes of Might and Magic (HOMM) series or the Civilization series, but because of extended downtimes, the games can get stretched quite a lot which makes the genre less appealing for multiplayer mode.
RTS games, on the other hand, include beloved multiplayer titles played by millions of people worldwide, with some RTSs even making it on the esports stage like Blizzard’s StarCraft II.
The first TBS games were developed based on the traditional board games from the ‘70s and ‘80s. They reached their peak popularity in the ’90s and early 2000s, followed by a steep decline. Very popular titles included Heroes of Might & Magic 3, Age of wonders 3, XCOM 2, Civilizations IV, Age of Wonders III, and Total War: Warhammer II. Most of these titles developed a cult following, but games like XCOM, which is a happy mix of TBS and isometric RPG gameplay, became a genre on their own.
Why Are Turn-based Strategy Games Making a Comeback?
In recent years, the turn-based strategy genre has seen a modest revival, with more and more people falling in love with both new and old TBS titles. The reasons for this rebirth are multiple, but the primary one is overworked people looking for a slow-paced game in which they can unwind and have fun.
Most modern-day games are fast, deadly, and reactive. TBS is slow-paced, growth-focused, and pro-active. It allows players to slow things down and have fun while they’re at it. But a slower pace doesn’t mean that the games are boring. The best TBS titles manage to create the perfect balance between action and planning, just like good ol’ board games do.
Another reason TBS gaming is seeing a revival it is because the genre is a niche, with players that know what to look for in a TBS game and developers that are equally passionate about what they are doing. The many fan-based addons and expansions to classic TBS titles are further proof of this reality.
The TBS revival is also due to technological advances. Since the genre is not fit for multiplayer, the single-player mode had to advance greatly to keep gamers interested. Artificial Intelligence, paired with advanced graphics, has breathed new life into TBS classics.
Finally, the turn-based strategy gaming genre is becoming popular once more because of casual gaming. Many players can now access their favorite titles (or a simplified version of those titles) on their mobile phones. They can play the games with family and friends or stick to the single-player mode. And they can logout and jump back into the game whenever they feel like it as most of them have now access to their smartphones 24/7.
To Wrap It Up
Turn-based strategy is a gaming genre that has seen a resurgence in recent years thanks to a general want to slow things down even in gaming, technology advances, and the explosion of mobile gaming. There are dozens of titles that are worthy of your attention, backed by tightly knit gaming communities and equally passionate developers.
TBS is popular again also because it has managed to remain an oasis of calm and strategic thinking in a crazily fast-paced and irrational world, to where more and more gamers retreat to unwind and have fun just like they or their parents did in the good old days.