Join Rob and Nate as they have a lengthy (45 minutes) discussion about all the news out of E3 and the 4X gaming world! There’s lot to talk about, including Age of Wonders 3, Galaxia: Remember Tomorrow, Xenia’s Ark, Master of Orion, and much, much more!

Music: Ale’iens by Jason Covenant from the Star Ruler 2 OST.

Show Notes


  1. Basic thoughts: Good tactical combat > no tactical combat > poor tactical combat.

    I wouldn’t want tactical combat in my civ and probably would have enjoyed endless legend more if it didn’t have any either*. StarDrive 2 would certainly have been better off without the atrocious ground tactical combat as well.
    I LOVE the tactical combat in AoW3.

    If you have many unique units, tactical combat helps them come to live. In tactical combat, small differences can become big. You can see why they’re different, what the differences mean. But if your tactical combat is patched on or just doesn’t work out, you need to cut it off.
    “kill your darling” is an often uttered sentence when you talk to people who like to talk about game development in general. It’s something you don’t see often in the 4x genre, because these games are meant to be big and complex. But even big and complex games don’t have space for bad or badly implemented design. Streamline your game a little, otherwise the interesting stuff gets bogged down by the bad stuff. Review what your game is about, then think on whether tactical combat helps with that and think on whether you can spend the time to make it good.


  2. I really agree with DevildogFF on the best way of framing the poll question. Making it about strategic vs. tactical combat kind of presents a false dilemma and misses some options. I’m particularly invested in this since those missed options include my own opinion. :p

    Personally, I don’t really care one way or another whether my 4x games have tactical combat, as long as what they do have is designed and integrated well. Civ IV’s combat was fine overall, despite being very bare-bones and in no way tactical. Because when I’m playing Civilization, I want to be managing a civilization. (Otherwise, I’d be playing Stack of Doom™.) Civ V’s still not-tactical but more complex system rubs me the wrong way, because it keeps me from doing what I want to be doing when I’m playing Civ. Plus IMO it’s just plain poor design, since the Civ franchise’s scalability, unit production system, and unit logistics don’t combine well with 1UPT.

    StarDrive II’s much-maligned ground combat suffers the same problems. I want to manage my space empire and command a kick-ass fleet, not micromanage single troopers. Notice that one of these examples tactical and one isn’t. To me, it’s not a question of tactical vs. other; it’s just a matter of execution and how it fits into the bigger picture.

    Then there’s games like MoO II (and even MoO III to a lesser extent), where I really enjoy the tactical combat. The design and combat minigame is a big piece of the game and it’s viscerally appealing, so I don’t feel frustrated if I spend a decent amount of time in it. Although it does have problems with dragging in the late-game, but I think that’s more an endgame consideration that a failing of the combat.

    Then there’s games like Age of Wonders and HoMM, which are really all about constructing a strong framework for delivering the varied and satisfying tactical combat that is the core of the game. Master of Magic falls somewhere in-between, since the combat, while not stellar, is satisfying enough and, importantly, doesn’t really drag on. And it plays well with the mage and magic management systems.

    I’ll refrain from rehashing what I posted on the Tactical Combat thread regarding the Dominions combat system. But I will restate that its combat, while not tactical, is some of the deepest and most satisfying I’ve ever seen because I give the fewest possible orders for the maximum possible effect. Plus I can choose to watch the battle, speed through it, or skip it entirely and just view the casualty report, so I can choose how much of my time I want it to take up.

    TL;DR: I think tactical combat can be a hinderance or a boon. Please remember people like me in your polling options! =)



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