What are the best TB Fantasy RPG/RTSs out there?

By on August 28, 2010 6:44:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

magiclyDeli...

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I am really enjoying Elemental. However I feel it needs some more work. It just feels like I have to make too many concessions each game and am not really challenged. Also, the simplicity of the tactical battles was a HUGE dispointment and really kills my desire to start a fresh game... I like indie devs, and support this game as well as Darkfall, just so we can have more variety and push the quality of AAA games. I feel like their hands were tied as far as release date and its either support them or see 5 major studios release all of our content.

Anyways, I keep hearing people mention other RTS games like dominion and MoM etc. I would be interested in trying a new game while I wait for Elemental to get polished. One game that seems similar is HOMM5. I REALLY liked the tactical combat, but the overmap and strategy elements fell flat. Can anyone recommend any other games to try, hopefully one that is still rather recent (past 5 years Id say).

Thanks for any suggestions!

 

Oh, also has anyone heard the extent of mods? Could we put something as complex as HOMM tactical battles into Elemtental? How about have dungeons actually load up dungeons that are REALLY long tactical battle maps...

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August 28, 2010 6:56:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

By RTS you mean real time strategy or?  Because Elemental is not an RTS and neither is Dominions or MoM.

The best games that are turn based fantasy 4x-ish would be, in no particular order:

 

Dominions 3

Fantasy General (really this is a war game, no city/empire building at all)

HoMM

AoW:SM

MoM

 

Sadly that is about all I can think of.  Its definitely a niche-genre.

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August 28, 2010 7:51:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

God I love Fantasy General, and MoM.  I feel that AoW:SM and HoMM are both very "messy" feeling in their systems.  Currently, Elemental also has this problem, and I'm hoping they clean it up like crazy, fast.

 

Can someone tell me more about this Dominions game?  Does it have turn based tactical combat?  Is 3 the best one?

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August 28, 2010 8:13:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 Fantasy Wars / Elven Legacy is probably worth a look rather than Fantasy General - same thing but more modern. If you want a turn based RPG the Eschalon series is currently on sale on Impulse. Reminds me a lot of a rogue with graphics.

 

Oh, and try King's Bounty or it's sequel Armoured Princess. It's HoMM style tactical combat but an RPG. And you can fight battles with your pants.

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August 28, 2010 8:14:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting keithburgun,

Can someone tell me more about this Dominions game?  Does it have turn based tactical combat?  Is 3 the best one?

Nope. You can give orders to your troops outside of battle, but once it begins it's entirely AI controlled. Best thing to do would be to try the demo.

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August 28, 2010 8:21:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah I forgot about Fantasy Wars and King's Bounty.  I liked both of them.


Kohan is maybe worth a look.  It is actually an RTS.  But its very tactical, much less twitchy or APM driven than other RTS games.

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August 28, 2010 8:26:21 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Dominions is great if you don't mind sprite based graphics (I do not). You can script your combat in Dominions, but as far as controlling it directly you cannot. I still prefer scripting and it being auto resolved than just auto resolve

Kings Bounty is really good too. I prefer it to HOMM5 by large margin. There is no multiplayer, but SP is a lot of fun.

Battle of Wesnoth is decent and free. Never played AI only friends.

Any of the RPG mods for Civ 4

MoM from GoG

Age of Wonders I/II/SM are supposedly coming to steam next week (I will be buying, hopefully they do a bundle deal for all versions)

 

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August 28, 2010 8:36:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I say fire up the MoM and enjoy it. I really wish someone would do a graphical upgrade on it, because the game mechanics are very good already.Speaking of that, I think I'll start a new game on Impossible difficulty while using Death Magic. It's tough but it's always enjoyable.

 

As for HoMM, I just didn't like the rather artificial way of completing the scenarios, like you have to navigate through chokepoints. HoMM just feels so "designed" so it's not as good.

 

Fantasy General was a war game, so if you're looking for combat, it's not bad at all. It's somewhat tougher than the game should be, but the units available is really diverse.

 

 

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August 28, 2010 8:47:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dominions 3 is a strategy gem. Very deep. Tons (i mean tons) of spells, units and items. I've had it for a long time, and it's one of those games that's on the computer to stay. There are just so many tactics you can try that it boggles the mind.

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August 28, 2010 9:06:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Heroes of Might & Magic is definitely the King in my book. There is also King's Bounty series which is a bit more subtle and less complex. If you get the complete set of Heroes of Might and Magic 5, it will offer a real challenge and also present you with an editor and some robust options for making your own campaigns. It's also rock solid, looks fantastic, is deep with great features and has yet to be dethroned as the turn based strategy game of the genre.

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August 28, 2010 9:46:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

wow, thanks for all of the great ideas. I looked up Eschalon and really like what I see! It seems to have that ultima online type of feel to it, I just hope the turn based combat is involved. Should I do book 1 before 2, or just jump right into 2 (my preference).

If that doesnt scratch the itch, I think I will check out Kings Bounty. I really did like HOMM5, but the campaign just felt kind of flat. There also seemed to be something with the momentum in HOMM5. Its difficult to explain, but basically just winning a couple battles early on gave you enough momentum to destroy things later. This is because since your not losing units, you have way more to spend on new ones, and the larger army size makes it that much more unlikely to lose units in later battles. This adds up exponentially, so I'd either be rampaging through the game, or bleeding out rather quickly. Dunno how to fix this issue.

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August 28, 2010 9:52:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

By RTS you mean real time strategy or?

Really Terrific Software...

I certainly didn't mean RTS like starcraft 2 or stalking weirdos at walmart (http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/)

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August 28, 2010 10:05:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How hard is it to learn how to play Dominions 3? I almost bought it an hour ago but its 60 bucks and I worry ab0ut not knowing how to play and giving up.

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August 28, 2010 10:32:18 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Fantasy Wars and its sequels are probably some of the better turn based fantasy strategy games as of late, even though it is pretty difficult, and translated from russian.

For new games, Disciples III is worth a look. Very gothic. gorgeous graphics. Strong limit on how many troops you can have with you, so having them work well together is important. It is not flawless, but it's not bad, either. There is a demo, you should check that one.

I can safely second the recommendation of King's bounty (+AP), it has a slightly quirky humor but the game is good. About the humor... you start out as the royal 'looter'. For once, someone is honest with what it is you do.

Lastly, Mount & Blade Warband is a sandbox RPG with strategy elements; it might be worth a look.

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August 28, 2010 11:18:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For a turn-based combat RPG try Wizardry 8. I only played it a couple years ago, and it hasn't aged that badly graphically for me at least, (well it's aged, but I still found it drawing me in regardless). It Worked on WinXP, not sure how it performs on Vista/Win 7. Be sure to get a mini-mod that speeds up the walking animation of enemy units to 3x-5x otherwise enemy turns take long as they walk real slow by default.

Wizardry 8 Fastmod:

http://wolfie.wiz8.de/Wiz8Fast.html

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August 28, 2010 11:25:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The only part of wizardry 8 that I did not like was knowing it was the last of its kind.

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August 28, 2010 11:25:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I won't lie to you, Dominions 3 has a steep learning curve. The game is deep. If you really love strategy war games then I really think you'll like it. My recommendation would be to start as one race and stick with them for a bit (I think Niefelheim might be a good race to start with-strong military units and decent mix of magic abilities from the start)

Check out their forums too. People there are real friendly.

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August 28, 2010 11:29:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No one above has mentioned Disciples - I don't recommend the recent 3rd installment, it betrays the series. More RPG-like versus tactical. However, you can pick up Disciples 2 with several expansions bundled for under $20. It doesn't have the depth of MoM, Dominions, AoW:SM, etc.. However, it holds some great play imo, and is quick moving yet tactical.  And it probably has the best art design and ambience of any strategy game I've played. Has a dark gothic feel. Very immersive and scores high on replayability.

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August 28, 2010 11:31:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting solidsmooky,
How hard is it to learn how to play Dominions 3? I almost bought it an hour ago but its 60 bucks and I worry ab0ut not knowing how to play and giving up.

It got one of the best manuals out there, so even if you could not figure something, you could look it up in manual.

Its not an 'easy' game (and 4X should not be), but neither its too complex.

Definitely worth a buy, its one of the few games which I play over and over for years.

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August 28, 2010 11:39:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I  definately highly recommend dominions 3.  It's also a highly modable game, with a very nice modding manual.  Very deep, and oh so fun.

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August 28, 2010 11:52:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As Supronar said, Dominions can take a while to get a handle on but it is well worth it. Pick a single race but make sure you read the guide for that race in both the manual and also in the Dominions forum. Your choices in the setup make a massive impact on the game. Also play against only a few other races initially rather than filling the world.


Fall From Heaven 2 is a free mod for Civ4 and this also has a fairly steep learning curve but is a wonderful gaming experience. Each race/faction is rich and diverse and must be played according to its specific strengths. Once again, it is best to pick a single race and get used to it. In the early days of Elemental's development the two games were often compared as it sounded like they had similar design objectives. I hope that one day Elemental even just gets half the real racial differences that FFH2 has. Perhaps this will come with modding and expansions.


Age of Wonders Shadow Magic (plus the community patch and mods) is a really immersive experience for such an old game. The AI is not all that difficult but it still sometimes can be surprising. The best thing about this game is once again the races. The world also feels so much more alive than the world of Elemental. It feels like a magical world rather than a nuclear wasteland. AoWSM has much better tactical battles as well.


Battle of Wesnoth is a fun free game that can wile away a few hours before you know it. This game is primarily about levelling up your armies. Once again, solid races that play differently.


Third Age Total War is a free mod for Medieval 2 Total War. It plays out the Lord of the Rings war using the TW engine. Nice game but I find it starts to drag a bit after some time.

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August 28, 2010 11:53:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh ya, Fantasy General was an absolutely fantastic game with a repetitive but brilliant soundtrack that I still listen to (if you like classical music). Heroes of Might and Magic is a good series as well, though I didn't love how you got tossed around the factions in #5, the last Age of Wonders game did that as well. King's Bounty is pretty good though not a real RPG by any means it has a similar combat system and good pacing.

I haven't played a lot of the other games mentioned here though, just not enough time in the day and I tend to play RPGs more often than RPG/TBS.

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August 28, 2010 11:53:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really didn't like Disciples III... Even II was too simplistic for my tastes.  Some neat ideas, but overall, played a few times then it languished and I eventually uninstalled it.  C4 has a lot of nice mods for it, depending on your taste, but most of them are either dry, or flawed, good for playing for a while* but then they unravel, and you get to wait for the next patch/upgrade/modmod to come out.  FFH2, The Three Kingdoms mod and Rhys and Fall are probably the best (Rhys and Fall isn't very fantasy), and the Dune mod is cute (that's kinda fantasy! 8D).  But back on point, I'm also a big fan of Dominions 3.  There is a Zen to the game which can take a while to pick up, as well as different strategies based on faction you choose.  The AI will happily stomp on your ****s without pity or remorse, and the game switches up strategies and play styles from the opening, mid and late games rather interestingly.  I quite like it.  Once you get the Zen of the game, though, you can learn quickly to win as anyone.  It also has some mods, some of which are fun, in the form of new factions with odd playstyles.  If you have a PS2, you could play Brigandine, which is one of the best turn based strat games I've played.  Warsong from Nintendo days.  Also Cryptic Comet has an interesting but overly luck based turn-based "fantasy" game called Solium Infernum (You play a Prince of Hell).  Amageddon Empires is better, but it's post-apoc "fantasy".  Overall it's pretty slim pickings, imo.

I've played the other games mentioned so far as well, but I think they've been pretty well covered.  As for RTS's, I'm not really a fan of the genre.  The best two I can recall (for my tastes) are the original Majesty, and the original Kohan games.  Both had sequels, both sequels were disappointing.

 

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August 29, 2010 12:02:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd recommend Fall from Heaven II for Civ4 as well. That mod's a huge timesink. I was hoping Elemental would take a few pages from its book.

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August 29, 2010 12:08:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Alright I just bought Dominions 3. If it sucks i'm going to strangle all of you

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August 29, 2010 12:51:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@solidsmooky

Start by playing around a bit, definately read the forum guides on the race you choose to play, those help to get you a feel of what kind of strengths and weaknesses your race have.  You won't be wow'd by it's graphics, but you will definately enjoy it if you like deep strategy games.

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