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Strategy game
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Strategy game

Strategy games are typically board games, video or computer games with the players' decision-making skills having a high significance in determining the outcome. Many games include this element to a greater or lesser degree, making demarcation difficult. It is therefore more accurate to describe a particular game as having a degree of strategic elements.

Strategy (and tactics) are usually contrasted with luck, games exist on a continuum from pure skill to pure chance.

Table of contents
1 Abstract strategy
2 Simulation
3 Real-time strategy
4 Turn-based
5 War game
6 Grand strategy
7 See also

Abstract strategy

In abstract strategy games, the game is only loosely tied to a real-world theme, if at all. The mechanics do not attempt to simulate reality, but rather serve the internal logic of the game. Chess, checkers, and go are excellent examples.


This type of game is an attempt to capture the decisions inherent to some real-world situation. Most of the mechanics are chosen to reflect what the real-world consequences would be of each player action and decision. Abstract games cannot be cleanly divided from simulations and so games can be thought of as existing on a continuum of almost pure abstraction (like Abalone) to almost pure simulation (like Strat-o-matic Baseball).

Real-time strategy

Usually applied only to certain computer strategy games, the moniker "real-time strategy" indicates that the action in the game is continuous, and players will have to make their decisions and actions within the backdrop of a constantly changing game state. Very few non-computer strategy games are real-time; one example is Icehouse.

The game considered the father of RTS games is Dune 2, by Westwood Studios, and was followed by their seminal Command & Conquer;. Cavedog's Total Annihilation (1997), Blizzard's Warcraft (1994) series and StarCraft (1997), and Ensemble Studios' Age of Empires (1998) series are some of the most popular RTS games.


The term "turn-based strategy game" (TBS) is usually reserved for computer strategy games in order to distinguish them from real-time games. A player of a turn-based game is allowed a period of analysis before committing to a game action. Almost all non-computer strategy games are turn-based. The most notable games of this genre are the Civilization, Heroes of Might and Magic, Jagged Alliance and X-COM series.

War game

War gamess are an attempt to simulate a hypothetical battle. Players will have to consider situations that are analogous to the situations faced by leaders of historical battles. As such, war games are usually heavy on simulation elements. Some games of this type will use physical models of detailed terrain and miniature representations of people and equipment to depict the game state.

A popular wargame with physical models is Warhammer 40k. Diplomacy and Global Diplomacy are also strategic wargames.

Grand strategy

Grand strategy games allow players to have both large strategic games, and smaller tactical games together. The best example of this series is the Total War series where players recruit and move armies, spies and diplomats on the world map, but then control the ensuing battles in a manner similar to real-time strategy.

See also

Computer and video game genres
Adventure | Educational | Fighting | Fixed shooter | Platform | Puzzle | Racing | Role-playing | Rhythm | Simulation | Shooter | Sports | Strategy