Having never played or even seen Master of Magic, much less the "tactical battles" from it, what exactly are we talking about? What is a tactical battle mean in a TBS game? And I mean for strictly single player, because I have zero internest in multiplayer.
In a game like Civilization (or Elemental up to now), combat is resolved via autocombat/diceroll on the main map, and the results are instantly displayed.
What happens in tactical battle is that the screen "zooms in" on the combat, and you actually play out the battle. It typically involves things like using terrain to your advantage, using your abilities wisely, etc. Think of it as a mini-TBS wargame, designed to be resolved in about 3 minutes or so.
So while the main game is focused on the strategy aspects of managing your empire, Tactical battles are more involved with how you manage your units/abilities. When do you use your Dragon's firebreath? Do you fly him over the enemy troops to roast the archers, or do you flame his front line infantry while your cavalry races around a hill and flanks them?
Games that have had tactical battles:
-Age of Wonders