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Turn-Based Games: What Happened? 251

WarSpite self-promotes: "Over at Firingsquad we have an editorial on the fate of turn-based gaming. We explore how real-time games have taken over from their slower brethren, some of the consequences therein, and try to find the answer to that universal question - "why?" At the least it's an interesting read which gets the brain going - feel free to check it out."
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Turn-Based Games: What Happened?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    You're assuming that people are using the same amount of strategy in an RTS that they are in a TBG. Not a chance! Go look at half the games of StarCraft or RedAlert being played. It's cookie-cutter strategy (if you could even call it strategy). Face it, RTS games lose almost all elements of strategy as everyone just fumbles with the controls to pump out units to rush the other guy. It may be fun for some, but TBG have WAY more strategy involved and for some of us, that's much more interesting. For some of these RTS games, you might as well just pull out a joystick and control your units like an arcade game.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Turn-Based Games: What Happened?

    Somebody set up us the bomb !!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Especially with the rise of online multiplayer gaming this becomes a huge issue. If I take 5 minutes to do my turn that's probably going to be 5 minutes I have to sit around waiting for my opponent to move. Boooooorrrrriiiing. When I play a game I want to be able to jump in at any time and jump out without causing any major disturbance. Someone else will come along and take my place. With turn based games I'd be committed to sitting there for probably at least an hour or two.
  • I love games like Civilization and Sim City. They usually have the best cheats and people don't bitch at you when you use them like they do with real-time online networked games. I mean hell, who wants to sit around for half of forever to build up money in Sim City when you can just give yourself 2 billion, build a huge cool city and then kick its ass destroying it with tornadoes and seamonsters. :-)
  • Bah, chess is SOOO boring and is complicated with too many obscure rules. Now, Battle Chess.. that was fun. We need online realtime Battle Chess and then maybe it'd be interesting. Too many pussy chess players will sit there for minutes just thinking of their next move. There should be a 5 second time limit on each move and new rules that increase the fun. Maybe let the big castle thingies crush anything on the board if it can get to it in any direction or let the queen cast a spell on a pawn and turn it into a knight for 3 rounds. That'd rule.
  • by Enahs ( 1606 )
    Erm, so you're saying...

    "Hey, Taco, I don't like this. Why are you posting stories I'm not interested in?"

  • pimpwar.com is a very hilarious game, which is turn based, although the turns to come about fairly quickly, its still turn based, and its a whole lot of fun!
  • Yeah, BRE was great, except for the fact that any BBS can cheat by intentionally not sending response messages. If I remember correctly when you send an attack, and there is no response message it could be many days before your units return, leaving you vulnerable (okay if you use jets, bad if you use tanks). And sometimes depends of how often the BBS's talk to one another you can get 2 day's worth of nuke/chem/bio attacks stacked together... very messy.

    BTW, be great if there is a version of BRE on the net that you can telnet to and play... :)
  • But SC1 was rather unbalanced with the Alliance having the almost unbeatable x-form fighter - it's faster than everything else and the missles shoot far enough to allow it to swing around most units and wear them down shot by shot. And once you move one of them around exploring a bit to put in a few add-ons you can walk over your opponent, expecially if you get extra speed and turning rate.

    SC2 was more balanced, with a lot more fast units (those respawning Pkunk fighters are neat), but the full game was trivially simple once you have your mothership loaded with power generators and hellbore cannons. I thought that there is limit to the amount of ships attacking in a home world and proceeded to take down about hundred or so Ur-quan dreadnoughts before giving up guessing there is probably no limit.

    Pity SC3 is such a shocking dissapointment, some of the new ships are kind of interesting though.
  • Yeah well, everyone is cautious in from of a door, but I wonder how most DM would react to the "we'll grease the hinges of the door, gentally push it open just a tiny bit and point the tip of the wand of fire into the gap and shoot a fireball into the room" :)
  • The problem is in most real-time strategy games your units have the mental capacity of some soft noodle. For example in Starcraft it'd be nice if the siege tanks don't all fire on the first incoming unit, almost all at the same time. have a way to set the firing pattern would make them a lot more useful. And yeah, in real life entrenched infantry is almost impervious to an infantry rush, as demonstrated in the millions of life lost in WWI trench warfare.
  • I think online multiplayer turn based games will need to use the x turns per day way of playing like the old BBS games. But in a LAN game, there is no problem - just have a rule that everybody do the massive micromanagement stuff at the same time. e.g. in Master of Orion II we make sure everyone design ships in the same turn. Usually a game can be finished in about 4 to 5 hours because you don't need to completely annhiliate the enemy to win, any conclusive swing of balance would be sufficient, expecially with the more advanced techs. Also the spare time while waiting for someone to finish their turn can be filled up by some mp3 copying :)
  • No one has yet pointed out that turn-based games work really well in multiplayer if the players are't all free at the same time. The PBEM (Play By EMail) mode of games like Alpha Centauri lets you carry on a game even when all of the players are on completely different schedules.

    I have a good friend who's as into turn-based strategy games as I am. In the past, we've gotten together for a full day playing Master of Orion II, FreeCiv, or Alpha Centauri on a LAN, but that takes a lot of time and requires us to both be free at the same time. He and I now live in different cities in different time zones with different schedules, so it'd be very difficult to set up a simultaneous game over the Internet.

    Instead, since August, we've been playing near continuous games of Alpha Centauri via email. When I finish a turn, I send it to him in email and vice versa. This lets the game go whenever we have time in our respective schedules, and gives time to think about strategy and tactics between turns without holding up the other players.

    This is easily extensible up to the maximum of seven players allowed in Alpha Centauri. The Apolyton Alpha Centauri Multiplayer forum [apolyton.net] regularly has games going with players from all over the world, playing their turns whenever is convenient for them in their own timezone.

    Alpha Centauri is a long game and takes a lot of time, so you can't complete a full game in a single sitting as with RTS games. Coming from a long line of turn-based games it works very well in that mode, and turn-based gaming is very compatible with PBEM. I'm also aware of other games like VGA Planets which also are turn-based with PBEM modes, so the idea that turn-based games aren't multiplayer is a myth.

    Turn-based games aren't as popular as RTS games, but there's a sizable contingent of people who prefer them, and will continue to buy them as long as there are companies that produce good ones. The next year looks very promising with Civilization III and Master of Orion III coming out, and I hope they both have PBEM capability.

  • No way. I squandered months at a time playing XCOM: Terror from the Deep. Still play it sometimes, actually.
  • Not only chess, but all games based on board games are usually turn-based and not likely to improve drastically through a real-time makeover.
  • Battlefront's Combat Mission is getting a fair amount of press as "the future of gaming". It's a paradigm shifter for wargaming. And I dearly want to see some science fiction done with that engine. Close Combat (also a lot of fun, and pretty realistic) was going to be used for a Hammer's Slammers game, now we can hope for a Combat Mission-based game. Or maybe 'Gear Krieg' from www.dp9.com would be a good fit for this engine.

    we can also hope they start licensing their engine. And that more companies share their success in Internet-only sales.

    You *must* try the demo, but be aware that the atmospheric effects and scenarios are *even better still* in the full version.

  • And have minor arthritis and can't keep up with the real time rpg...

    Damnit, I want turn based games so I can set up a HUGE TV/playstation etc in my retirement home one day. No, really. Future proof the games industry.

  • Chess is OK, but I like Go so much better. And I love the IGS, Internet Go Server [joyjoy.net] I often have watch a game playing on my desktop while I work.

    Like chess, on-line go is often played against a clock. Of course. It is no less a turn based game.

  • That's the main problem with angband, I find. If you don't have your resistances covered, boom, insta-death. It's sorta lame. Don't get me wrong, I like the game and play it semi-often, but that's my main complaint.

    Plus, I'm fairly sure that Angband wasn't around since 1984. Maybe you're thinking of Moria?
  • Final Fantasy Tactics is one of the better games I've ever played. I bought a copy when it came out, and haven't regretted it. I've put a lot of time into that game - it's probably the only really re-playable Final Fantasy title. Great graphics, beautiful music, wonderful storyline (it's basically medieval Europe).
  • I don't think that turn-based games are dead. They might be for multi-player, but that's because you have to wait for someone else. Roguelikes are single-player turn-based games, usually set in a fantasy world. Examples include nethack [nethack.org] and ADOM [www.adom.de]. These are terribly addictive games, and I'd recommend everyone give one a try sometime.
  • It's both. It's turn based when you play the board, and when you attack an, it's real-time while you organize your troops.

    Think Master of Orion, but with real time battles.
  • The truth is that Baldur's Gate had very little to nothing to do with it directly. Unlike some of our competitiors, we did a huge amount of research in the form of focus groups, usability testing, market research, etc.. ad nausium.

    The research and testing concentrated on RTS games in general and especially our first game, Age of Empires. If any of the hundreds of people that provided feedback (of one form or another) were familiar with BG, then the influence would have come from there.

    What came out of it was that our designers had profiles of various "player types" who played our first game, with info on what the game experience was like for them (their best and worst feature lists and wish lists if you will). From that a big problem identified for the casual player was that there were moments in the game then things got too overwhelming (remember unlike BG, 2 side clashing could involve 100+ units in AoK) causing the player to throw their hands up in the air and go "AAacck!"

    And if I recall correctly, we had AoK in development for over a year when BG came out (still a year to go before it was done), and I think the pause mode for input was in the game by that time.

    Still... In both cases you can see the driving force behind the feature was to make a better game for all types of players (the pause feature being totally controlled by the user, thus fits different users playstyles.)
  • Speaking of Stars! Mare Crisium is producing it's sequal Stars! Supernova Genesis. Check out Crisium's [crisium.com] homepage for more info on it. It is significantly snazzier, including the option for allied victory.
  • Isn't Planetarion just earth 2060 in steroids? I heard similar hype about the named earth 2060 (or whatever), but I _really_ wasn't impressed. Without any sort of spatial dimension, they are essentially just number crunching. I know I shouldn't say the same about Planetarion, not having played it, but I've saw someone else play it a couple of times, asked him a few questions and it sounds just the same.

    VGA planets, on the other hand... technically, it's total bullshit, but man! just try it out one day. And don't think that planets-style PBEM-in-space sucks simply because Stars! sucks.

    OK, so I'm a bit opinionated here, so what? Feel free to flame me.
  • I can remember growing up playing the SSI D&D games on my C64... Man, those were the days... Everytime you go into a new sector or encounter, changing the 5-1/4...

    My friends and I used to play together - sitting around the computer taking turns controlling our characters... Man, those were the days...

    Even old paper role-playing games aren't nearly as popular as they were... Even during the whole satanic/suicide days of the 80's w/ D&D, you always could find lots of people who played...

    Recently, I started playing AD&D again with a bunch of friends; old school geeks... We've noticed we play totally different then when we were younger. We're VERY cautious, and over analyze everything. We're not as gung-ho as we used to be, running into encounters, swords raised, screaming a barbaric YALP! Now we argue for two hours at each door checking for traps, listening, thinking how to best handle what could be on the other side of the door. When we reach a room and the DM describes the contents, we analyze everything about the description, from the order info was given to the tense in which words were used... Man, I'm way too anal... :-p

  • You forget something. In real war, the commander(If he can see the threat) only issues an order to the relevant unit to take care of the threat bearing down on him, then he moves on to looking over the situation again. Say, for example, a major, commander of an armour battalion sees an enemy armour company bearing down on one of his companies. He then orders one of his aides to issue a warning of the threat and perhaps an order to that unit to meet and take care of that threat. The actual implementation of the orders are up to the captain commanding the company in question.

    The above hasn't been covered in computer-based strategy games yet, even though Close Combat is nearing the goal.

    Ground Control is good because it focuses on tactics, and, unlike Red Alert etc, is not as much a practice in who can click the button the fastest and build the most tanks(The group I used to play with eventually only played on maps without seas, because they hated the cruisers, and couldn't handle Combined Arms warfare).
  • I'm with you. Since I got the first HoMM years ago, other games have only been installed for short amounts of time before I go back to Heroes. I buy the upgrades as soon as they come out. The series just has the staying power. :)
  • The article asks:
    What was the last turn-based game you played? What about the one before that?
    Well that's easy: Alpha Centauri yesterday, Panzer General a couple of days ago. Last realtime strategy game? Now that's harder to remember. Realtime strategy just sucks and sucks compared to turn based strategy.

    BTW, playing against the computer gets tiresome after not too much time in any game; I play Panzer head to head, generally hotseat. Now that's good gaming.

  • I remember playing "Pool of Radience" when it first came out. I thought it was very enjoyable. The FPS games tend to get quite boring, really.

    The one thing I remember about gaming is the old board turn based games. Simple ones like "D-Day" were even more stimulating than the current crop of FPS'. I think one of the issues is attention span (or the lack thereof). The people who game these days lose interest in what they are doing if they haven't killed something in the last 10 seconds. The old board games required some thought and planing and stradagy. That is, in my opinion, wht turn pased games aren't as popular.


  • ahh just days.. I spent the better part of a year battling the sectoids and aquamen.. Still at the top of my list of best games ever. Also there, the original Master of Orion, it was reviewed as Civ in space but it was very different.. Better in my opinion.

  • I would agree with that, however, a point that a LOT of people miss is that realism doesn't make good games.

    The reason people are losing interest in turn based games is because of the pauses and how long they take to play. A couple years ago, you couldn't tear me away from Alpha Centauri. In December, when I got Call to Power II, it only served to entertain me for part of an airplane trip. As times and technology have changed, so have interests. I mean, who the hell wants to pay for and play a Street Fighter clone anymore (not counting downloading free emulators)?

    Right now, internet gaming's all the rage. Everyone's trying to "push the envelope" by seeing how many people they can cram into one game while keeping it interesting. Turn based strategy simply doesn't make room for this. I tried playing Alpha Centauri in multiplayer with simultaneous turns, but it only ended in frustration. Turn based games simply do not and cannot by design contribute well to TCP/IP gaming. RTS's can.

    Why was StarCraft a success? Battle.net. The single player was kinda boring after a while, but I got a good year off and on of playing on Battle.net. Alpha Centauri lased maybe two months.

    I'll shut up now.
  • Because it's a business.

    Chess isn't a business. You can't make millions of dollars making new chessboards.

    Unless you make million-dollar chessboards.

    Chess doesn't rely on technology. Video games do.

    Get off the high horse, old man.
  • I hink at least at Richards PBM Server [gamerz.net] we still enjoy it alot. Of course it's mostly board games, but don't forget you don't "see" much of the rest of the mail crowd on the web: you have to be able to read. They only write mail.

    Anyway it's a great resource since many of the games are all but extinct, and it's fairly simple to become world champion to some forgotten game - like, I'm the Lord of Rings ("rings challenge username b7kich").


  • Several of my friends and I have just started playing X-Com again, and email each other "battle reports".

  • Bingo. I've noticed a lot of hardcore FPS gamers I know care more about "I can play game x at framerate y with z ping" than they do about actually playing the game! Of course, you know what they say about guys who brag about how much RAM their video card has. . .
  • Suprised nobody has pointed out
    Combat Mission [battlefront.com].

    Turn based WWII tactical action, sold only via the web, amazingly well supported. They single-handedly dragged serious wargaming from the '70s into the '90s.

    Now if only someone would notice that it's the 21st century...
  • In the old days, the button was always to the left of the joystick. Look at the Atari 2600. This was because game control was more important than pressing buttons, hence the stick was allocated to the right hand (as most peope are right handed). The Nintendo era reversed all this. All of a sudden the button(s) were on the right. And more and more buttons too. You scored well on these newer games just by slamming buttons faster. Skill? What skill? Boom---Boom---Boom for player 1, BoomBoomBoomBoomBoom for player 2. Player 2 wins. Skill. Yah right. And it's only getting worse. Today the "game" is only an annoying interlude to get you to the next FMV movie. Yeesh.
  • This game came out about 2 years ago, and basically was a turn-based game set in a fantasy world, it was pseudo-RPG-ish since you could also develop your hero with basic stats, but the heard of the game was a turn-based game; each piece had a limited number of moves or attacks it could make each turn. However, besides the standard turn-based mode, it also had a hybrid mode where each player would make their moves simulataneously for that turn; if you and your opponent both had forces a space outside of a city, you'd have to react quickly to get your force inside the city before he did. You'd still have only an allocated number of moves for each piece in that turn, of course. The game also featured a built-in email version of itself to allow it to be played with others in less-than-real time.

    It didn't do so hot, but I have heard rumors of a AoW2 to be put out, so maybe it did sell a good number of copies. But it certainly wasn't a shelf-clearer like DII.

  • What was that an article or a novella? Many valid and interesting points, but too too long.

    If there are fewer turn based games (TBG's), then let me suggest a relatively recent release that was overlooked. Sure it's one of those wargames which the writer described as being a hopelessly small niche market. I'm not a war nut, I am becoming a "The Operational Art of Warfare - Century of War" (TOAW-CW) nut.

    It is the wargamers' wargame. Practically every major offensive of the past century is represented in the scenario library. And if you like to play a game with a friend on your own schedule. TBG's can't be beat. Every other night I play a turn vs. one of the guys from work. Testing each other's prowess in various scenarios. This game could be played for years without exhausting the scenarios or growing bored. And as it ships with its own editor, you're free to create your own scenarios.

    The first thing I did was turn the 3D view off, and settle into the informative 2D game view. The variety of units, formations, supply, combat and organizational tactics and strategies that can be mastered are a pleasure to delve into. And here is a game AI which is better on offense than defense...

    You can find it for $19.95 at Gamestop [gamestop.com]

  • Of course, even rogue-like games have become real-time. Now there's Mangband [mangband.org] - multiplayer real-time angband. It's not very popular (in that I never saw more than a handful of people playing when I looked), but kind of neat anyway.
  • No one wants to spend 8 hours to play one game of heroes of might and magic.

    What curious timing you have. I spent 5 hours playing Heroes 3 yesterday. I would have been more had I not needed to go out. I agree that turn based games suffer for multiplayer use though. That's why they turned mangband into a real time game. IMHO, it suffered as a result, though.

  • ... they're just keeping a low-profile.

    My favorite UNIX-based game is a turn-based game, XConq [redhat.com], which is a derivative of the old Empire and Conquest series.

    The thing that keeps turn-based games alive is that a large number of people prefer strategy games. There are no real-time strategy games that I'm aware of. Game such as StarCraft, Total Annihilation, and other "gather-resources and make units" aren't strategy games, no matter what the marketing droids say. They're tactical games. Which is a whole 'nother ball of wax.

    What I'm waiting for is someone to create the marriage of the 1st-person shooter with the real-time "strategy" game and requiring multi-person teams. Strategy requires a larger time-frame, and a broad view, something with our current generation of realtime games don't have, but turn-based ones have down cold.

    (who knows more than a few people at MIT who almost didn't graduate because of an Xconq addiction...)

  • If you liked VGA Plants, you should try Space Empires III [malfador.com], or it's recently-commercially-released relative, Space Empires IV [shrapnelgames.com]. Like VGA planets, it is turn-based, and can use transferred files so you can play with people far and wide. It has a bit more economics, and the ships are restricted by what you choose to research instead of by race, but it does have the minor problem that turns are sequential, not batch, so everyone is at the mercy of a single slow player. The graphics beat the pants off of VGA Planets, though.

    SE3 was the yardstick by which I measured WINE performance for a long time, although now it's perfectly playable under it so I need a new yardstick.

    A lot of people will not play real-time games because they have high blood pressure and it could endanger their lives. I had that problem until the right drugs were identified.

    Perhaps they should file lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act against the makers of games they like that don't feature turn-based play. That seems to be the preferred approach these days.

  • Exactly. I've played a game called Chaos Overlords, and while being somewhat "lightweight" on the whole (compared to more in-depth games like Civilization), it has (I think) 10 different modes of play, each of which can be single player or multiplayer (up to 6). Everyone issues their orders, hits the "done" button, and the entire turn is resolved once everyone is ready. It also allows you to place a time limit on turns, or to run without time limits.

    It's an older game, you can probably pick it up for $10-15 if you can find it -- and that's very true for a lot of turn-based strategy games -- older games still play well, as they're generally not so graphics and speed oriented that they seem too outdated...


  • > It is?

    You realize, of course, that every word was made up by someone?

  • Yes, Star Control had a board game mixed with action sequence, but so did ... ARCHON way back in 1984! Sorry, had to invoke the '80's :)
  • Let's see... Civ 3 and MOO 3 are coming out soon,

    Um... I hate to break it to you but even MoO3 is starting to lean toward RTS-hood. The combat will take place similar to Harpoon (continuous time, but lots of time to do things).
  • I haven't played earth 2060, so I can't answer that part. But yeah, PA has a lot of flaws. It's really simple, and there isn't any real notion of distance. It's a game that you can play by spreadsheet. But for all that, it's still interesting. I'm really interested in the community of players. Other people have their own reasons for sinking the majority of their lives into the game.
  • by LS ( 57954 )
    As technology advances, simulation and games get closer to being indistinguishable from everyday reality. I've heard the comment that gamers don't want reality, but I don't believe this. Players may not want realistic plot (though the Sims may show me to be incorrect), but they do want realistic gravity and reflections, and they also want realistic _time_ continuity.

    When we are sitting in a holo-deck, are we going to want to take turns each time we do something? Turns are only a model of reality. Even though a single player and a computer can't do the work of an general and his staff (as the article states), players will step into the role of the characters and work with others in a massive online environment and become the general and his staff.

  • There are some great 'independant' companies selling turn based games that are winning tons of awards:

    Shrapnel Games [shrapnelgames.com]

    This company sells tons of award winning games, such as "steel beasts".

    Another such company is "Battlefront games" at BattleFront Games [battlefront.com] with games such as "Combat Mission"..

    There are lots of turn-based game companes out there.. many of them may not be "big names" but the companies listed above are getting lots of press and business thanks to the power of the internet community.

    Who knows, companies such as this may become much larger in little time.. Fans of turn based games won't be left out =)

  • A Qt version? Oh shit, I've already started downloading. This stupid game affected my grade point average...
  • But are realistic games necessarily more fun?
  • Life doesn't pause for you and let you take a breather.
    I think you're missing something. Turn based games aren't slower than real time. They're super compressed. Who wants to play a game like a strategtic war game at real time? Consider WWII. Assuming you play 3 hours a day it would take 48 years to finish. And I dread to think how long it would take to play Civilisation in real time.
  • Heh, I'm well aware that it's not a real word. If I had delivered that post verbally, the parenthetical statement would have been delivereed with a narrowing of the eyes and a twist of the mouth.
    It's a bad habit of mine to make up words by incorrectly adding prefixes or suffixes (like en-). 8)

    For a minute there, when i saw your post, I thought that it really was a word...

  • Hehehe, I like that. um... what does it mean, exactly?

    I think it was last weekend that I used the word "octopusillanimosity" in reference to... well, an octopus, I guess.

  • The reason turn based games are declining is uber-simple ... YOU SPEND HALF THE GAME WAITING.
  • I really want to meet someone that can play a game of Heroes of Might and Magic in 8 hours... must be a genius to think and act that fast...

    My games (2-3 players) will go 18-24 hours, easily... but 3 people on 5 computers with the max difficulty takes a while... :) Especially with enough cigarette and pizza breaks.
  • I got Heroes III Complete sitting on my desk, and it the game I play most often. They had a successful game, 2 expansions, and a series of standalone campaigns that seems to be selling. They are supposedly working on Heroes IV. Turn based games still exist, because some people prefer them. They are easier to write and have a following.
  • In no function of real life am I ever restricted to performing an action and then waiting for the corresponding action from the other party

    Not tried buying or selling a house yet then? I've currently been waiting nearly three months from performing an action (accepting an offer on my house) to the corresponding action from the other party (exchange of contracts). On the other hand, that was incredibly annoying which doesn't exactly support turn based games (which I like).

    My fave turn based game for anyone who recalls it is "Rebelstar". There were definitely FPS before Wolfenstein too.


  • And for the uninitiated in the genre, there is the venerable Freeciv [freeciv.org], an open source implementation of the game and a damn fine one at that.


  • Erm... Ever heard of chess? Perhaps the ultimate turn-based game, been around for centuries, massively popular today, people make a living playing it... There's still plenty of room for turn-based games, it's just games developers are too busy with the whizz-bang graphics and copying what's popular. There are a few turn based games left (Heroes of Might and Magic for example) but nobody is going to release a killer turn-based game because they simply don't have the balls.


  • But what about magic of games? What about that nights only with computer? What about sitting alone and thinking how to win?

    Good point. I have not found anything that compares to the olden days, sitting alone in front of a text adventure, staring at the screen for an hour as my mind thrashes on some seeming impossible puzzle.

    The good thing about multiplayer though, is in the replay value it adds to the game.
  • Why can't you share the machine? Two people can sit close enough to share a keyboard.

    You can play turn based games over the internet.

  • And yet I have been playing chess, Stratego, Risk and go nearly all my life.

    Indeed, there are people who do virtually NOTHING but play chess and/or go and people don't even consider it particularly strange. Kasparov is a household word around the world and the idol of many.

    Perhaps the younger people of our culture see life itself as little more than an RTS? Why is it that nothing holds interest for more than a few months, or ever just a few hours?

    AOE is a great game. There is no inate reason it shouldn't be played 100 years from now, and just as seriously as chess. Yet in a couple of years it will be virtually forgotten. Why?

    Frankly I just don't get it.

  • In a RTS game when he's in the bathroom, he get stomped into the ground!!!

    So you only play games that test your reflexes and bladder control and don't offer a 'Pause' functionality?


  • Chess is definitely not going to die in the near future. But computer game companies are not going to make millions of dollars selling it, either. In the eyes of those play everything the day it comes out and shelve it a week later, turn based games are nearly nonexistant. There is no question that lots of people still play turn based games. The question is if many people are still buying turn based games, or if many companies are still making them.
  • With the exception of the Final Fantasy Sagas (an anomaly of their class) turn-based action is (at least to me) boring and banal.

    Ah, yes, the infamous FF games. I remember when VII (I think, this would have been in late 97 or early 98) came out it had eye-catching ads on TV, and gamers around the world were heralding it as the second coming of Christ.

    As we soon found out, the TV ads simply played back the cut scenes, and the game play was hardly challenging. Keep pressing circle until you or your foe is dead.

    At the time a friend of mine and I were trying to explain why we thought FF7 was the worst game of all time and was hyped way to far. We brought up the gameplay issue (we never criticized the story -- having never played the game all the way through I can't comment on that aspect) on several occasions to some guys we knew who revered the game. They didn't take to kindly to our ideas.

    The turning point came when one of these lads had to go to class, but he was fighting some sort of boss or the like, and wanted to keep playing while he was at class. So he calls in his girlfriend and tells her, "I need to go to class, can you sit here and press circle until I come back?"

    We witnessed this, and made a point to make our point one final time. We never spoke of it again...
  • The increase in bandwidth available to users has made networked games popular.. people can act at the same time, and it not only tests strategy, but reaction time, and ingenuity..

    Games that take "turns" are to slow for the average user these days. We all want our cake now, and it pre-chewed for us to mitigate eating time..

  • (Stop your bitching -- everyone reading this site has access to a PC or a Mac, and no amount of zealotry will change that.)

    What do you run your copy of Linux on, a mainframe?
  • While real-time games are great if you're sitting in your house alone, turn-based games can be played with a group of people all at one machine. So you get to play computer games and get the social interaction parent-types seem to think we should get, all at once.

    Why are there 2-4 joystick ports on the front of the game consoles instead of just one?

    That's right folks... real-time, multi-player games that you and your friends can play while gathered around the same machine.

    As far as old-school games go, none better than King's Quest I! KQ1 was classic because you had to actually TELL THE COMPUTER WHAT TO DO! None of that sissy click-everywhere-with-the-mouse like the rest of the KQ series had... Classic.

  • An excellent turn based game is the Operational Art of War. [talonsoft.com] This game allows you to play out many battles that have taken place since World War 2. You can play against your friends via email with it's play by email (pbem - After you finish your turn, you save a file and email it to your opponent) feature. Once you finish all the scenerios that come with it you can build your own scnerios with the built in scenerio feature. Overall, it's a great game, and anyone that is opposed to turn-based games has NOT played it.
  • The reason we (the guys who made the Age of Empires games) added this feature [allowing the player to stop the game] was in response to direct feedback from focus groups...

    By this, of course, you mean that it was pretty cool in Baldur's Gate, so you took it... Right? Right?

    --Come, on! Let us use the basement, Lou! Haaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaa!--

  • Basically, I have a hard time getting into turn-based games because I can't begin to identify with what i'm seeing on screen.

    In no function of real life am I ever restricted to performing an action and then waiting for the corresponding action from the other party. Even in something as simple as conversation- it is certainly polite to speak and listen to the response and then speak again, but I am always free to interject, interrupt, ignore, or simply walk away from the other person when it is their "turn" to talk. I can't imagine being in a fight with somebody where we stand facing each other taking turns throwing punches and not being free to do something so simple as blocking.

    Say what you will about a lack of imagination/intelligence/attention span on my part, I just have a very difficult time mentally connecting with this style of play.

  • Maybe if we can teach our children to fish they would learn to let time pass them by.

    just my 2 cents
    I'm not trolling


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  • by XoXus ( 12014 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @05:58PM (#406697)
    I think the real reason turn-based games have lost ground is that people's attention span has decreased, frustration tolerance has diminished markedly, and, as a consequence, people are now most likely to seek instant (or fast) gratification.

    You gotta love how postmodernism has screwed up the world.

  • by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @07:09PM (#406698) Homepage Journal
    People generally find it more fun to strategize and plan when there's a time limit and the pressure is on. Sure, it can be fun to sit around all day to come up with a plan, but it's just as fun to come up with some ad-hoc thing on the spur of the moment because you just don't have time for something better... and then pull it off.
  • by log0n ( 18224 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:02PM (#406699)
    Rush rush rush!

    People find it easier to react (ie: real-time) than strategize/plan their actions (ie: turn-based).

    It's the whole Nike "Just Do It!" philosophy presented at it's finest.

  • by EnderWiggnz ( 39214 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @08:20PM (#406700)
    oh baby... hours upon hours of playing vga planets....


  • by Desert Raven ( 52125 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @09:01PM (#406701)
    >>Real-time games are more fun.<<

    For you, I'm sure. Personally, I get bored with them very easily.

    Real-time = tactical play

    Tactics get your blood boiling, you need to be thinking 3-5 steps ahead. Nonetheless, you are constantly reacting to other's actions, you're not really in control.

    Turn-based = strategy

    Strategy is cool, reasoned long-term planning. Unless you can plan 10 or more steps ahead, you're not going to cut it.

    In tactical games, those with the fastest reflexes win. In strategy games, those with the best planning and creativity win.

    I'll take the strategy games any day of the week, I happen to enjoy attempting to figure out the long-term consequences of seemingly minor actions. Plus, I can daydream all day about the various things I can do for my next turn...

    Funny thing, I was diagnosed ADD a long time ago. I actually find it an advantage in this type of game, since I can "task-switch" between evaluating various options while planning my next move.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:27PM (#406702) Homepage
    The problem I think is the move towards multiplayer games. Personally I get a little impatient when the computer takes it turn in Alpha Centauri; do I really want to wait for 3 human players to take theirs? I like turn-based games solo, but give me Starcraft when I'm playing against opponents who can't process a hundred million floating point operations per second.
  • by doorbot.com ( 184378 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:42PM (#406703) Journal
    And for good reason... it's a blast to play. I have the original, as well as the sequel, and have already pre-ordered the "squad based combat" version called Fallout: Tactics [interplay.com]. It is a "real time" game but you disable the real time play for the classic Fallout turn-based mayhem.

    I highly recommend Fallout if you like the isometric view of Diablo but don't like the real time game play.

    Plus, you get the fantastic post-apocalypic environment of The Road Warrior with some good humor (making fun of themselves at times). Definitely worth picking up a used copy on eBay or from a friend.

    Some Fallout sites:
    Duck And Cover [rpgplanet.com]
    No Mutants Allowed [gamestats.com]
  • by Ismilar ( 222791 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:36PM (#406704) Homepage
    Let's see... Civ 3 and MOO 3 are coming out soon, there are several RPGs coming out with 'phased' or 'initiative based' or full turn based combat, there are always wargames, computer board games and card games, and my personal favourite: Worms World Party. That's at least as many turn based games coming out now as at any time. It's not that turn based games are decreasing, it's just that real time games are increasing.
  • by pixel_bc ( 265009 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:09PM (#406705)

    You don't need a fancy $600 card to play the average turn based game. Think about who buys the 3 page spread advertisements for hardware in the magazines, and the kind of games that usually play on them. Not turn based, thats for sure.

    Also, I mean - the flashy screenshots with 4 stage multipass effects and lens flares get great press coverage... buzz words baby, buzz words.

    I expect turn based stuff to be relegated to a niche market, as the accelerator vendors gather more and more influence with the industry.

  • by *xpenguin* ( 306001 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:11PM (#406706)
    Here [interplay.com] is a discussion about real time games vs. turn based games.

  • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:06PM (#406707)
    Turn based games are alive and well. Firaxis is pounding on the latest and the greatest Civ yet and we all know that Sid had a midas touch when it comes to strategy games.

    On the other front the only semi-complete Open Source developed game is FreeCiv. Is it coincidental? I don't think so. Like it or not turn based strategy is more 3l33t than those C&C and populous clones. But it hase a very nice and loyal niche.

  • by The Optimizer ( 14168 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @09:50PM (#406708)
    I see that another poster already mentioned Fallout where you stop the realtime mode for turn-based combat.

    Believe it or not, one of the biggest of what people think of as "pure" RTS (Real-Time Strategy) games actually has a form of turn based play. Age of Empires II:Age of Kings (and the Conquerors Expansion), when played in single player mode, allows the player to stop the game (just hit the pause key) at any time, and scroll around, check units, and issue new orders to their hearts content. When they are done, they unpause the game, and play resumes with the new orders. This creates a hybred mode, where a human player can issue destailed orders and micromanage the game as well as if not better than the computer opponents, even if they have over one hundred active units in the game.

    The reason we (the guys who made the Age of Empires games) added this feature, was in response to direct feedback from focus groups made up of people who play our games. They told us what they like and dislike, and how they want to go about playing the game.

    If you were to guess from all the hype and reviews, you would think that 50-75% of our audience plays the game in online multi-player mode. In truth, it's more like 7-15% multiplayer, with a huge and vast demographic of people who like to play against the computer. Mostly, these people are not "hard-core" gamers, but 'normal' or 'casual' game players.

    This large group that doesn't play online, isn't always accustom to playing the game at a relentless pace. They like being able to stop and ponder specific situations and spend time plotting their strategy.

    Unfortunatly, we found we can't let multiplayer games do this, because 2 or more players won't agree on when to pause and when to go... Trust us: it would be very ugly if they could do that.

    Its pretty much a safe bet that you will this functionality, if not even more extended 'turn based like' features in the single-player component of all of our future strategy games.

    What's happened is that the real-time model provides some play benefits over turn-based for a trade off price: I.e. when 100 units goes into battle in AoE or Starcraft the Unit AI stands in and allows for the battle to be resolved in under a minute, while taking limited but significant decision input from the player (i.e. like which units get targeted first, etc). Done in true turn-based fashion, with 100 units to individually order, it might take 30 to 60 minutes for the same battle to play out, thus changing the game playing experience radically.

    Turned based play elements offer the player some gameplay benefits too.. they giving the player time to think, plan complex maneuvers, micromange, and be thourough in ways that the continous turn system of an RTS game can not provide.

    Anyway, with respect to the editorial, I think they were a bit too negative in tone. When developers are trying to make a game as good as possible, they'll do what it take to provide maximum gameplay benefits. In many cases that probably will mean games with multiple modes - real time for those portions when its more exciting/interesting and turn-based for when it provides more control.

    And as for pure turn-based games? They'll be back around... (In fact, they'll never really go away).

  • by Amokscience ( 86909 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:08PM (#406709) Homepage
    ... is one turn-based game that will far outlive the rest of the real-time games. I don't see chess dying in the near century.
  • by JPrice ( 181921 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:34PM (#406710) Homepage

    No one wants to spend 8 hours to play one game of heroes of might and magic.

    I think the thousands (millons?) of people who bought the Heroes of Might and Magic games might disagree with you. I think a better statement might be "No one wants to spend 8 hours to play one game of heroes of might and magic when four of those hours are waiting for the other player to go."

    I agree with you that turn-based games suffer greatly (in most cases) in the multiplayer department. However, I think you underestimate the desire of many players (like myself) for good non-multiplayer strategy games. Many gamers I talk to are frustrated by the movement away from single-player games to multi-player ones, and more specifically to massively-multiplayer online games. My biggest worry is that someday in order to get my game fix I will be forced to play against 13 year old 31337 H4X0Rs because companies have stopped producing good opponent AI in the belief that everyone wants to play online.

  • by *xpenguin* ( 306001 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @05:57PM (#406711)
    Nethack is an excelent turn-based game. It features lots of characters, potions, spells, weapons, aromour, shops, etc. The homepage is here [nethack.org] and the Qt version (which i prefer) is here [troll.no]

  • by Daniel ( 1678 ) <dburrows@@@debian...org> on Friday February 23, 2001 @07:01PM (#406712)
    Perhaps, but the trend even in chess is towards shorter time controls and faster games that run more on reflex than on deep thought. Outlive the rest it may, but at what price?

  • by Magus311X ( 5823 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:10PM (#406713)
    A whole group of us actually went out and purchased copies of Stars! (yes, Stars!) for the sole purpose of having legitimate copies so we could start some lengthy e-mail based campaigns.

    It makes so much more sense too. We get about 18 hours to complete our turn, which means we can do it at our leisure, or you can really sit down and play out several different options to see which is best for a really nasty battle/trade agreement/whatnot. We're thinking that with so much more time to make our next move, that our games will be incredibly aggressive, and definitely some of the best gaming we've ever had. Plus there's so much to anticipate. We plan on 1 turn a day... just imagine our anxiety waiting an entire day to find out the outcome of an assult!

    Not exactly a stressful game either. Runs on a 486 just great, Windows 3.1 and it runs in Wine just fine. You can order it straight from the UK for about £10.06 (about $14.05 U.S.) from Empire Interactive [empireinteractive.com] with shipping included.

    Who says turn based gaming is dead? ;)
  • by sbeitzel ( 33479 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:55PM (#406714) Homepage Journal
    Evidently, they haven't discovered Planetarion [planetarion.com] -- the most addictive (and free (beer)) turn based game around. More addictive than Empire or Civilization (although, oddly enough, not nearly so interesting), Planetarion will take over your life if you let it. Turn-based games are dead? No, I think it's just game magazine editors.
  • by Pulzar ( 81031 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:55PM (#406715)
    In a turn-based game, it's too easy to 'take a break'.

    Remember playing Civilization? (or later Civ 2, Alpha Centauri..) How many times did you stay up all night because it's so easy to take a break? :)


  • by Ravagin ( 100668 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @07:19PM (#406716)

    I'm with you on that all the way. Nethack is still my favorite game.

    But we mustn't forget the other interfaces available besides the Qt thingie.

    http://www.pinn.net/~jry/allegrohack/ [pinn.net] ... AllegroHack uses the Allegro libs to enslicken (shutup, that's a word :P) the graphical interface that us DOS users can use. If it works, it's awesome.
    http://www.pinn.net/~jry/allegrohack/ [pinn.net] ... Falcon's Eye is a really neat "isometric 3d" interface with mouse control and everything. Still in development, but cool nonetheless.
    The Nethack Site [thenethacksite.com] lets you set up a career ont heir server and then telnet in and play there, so that all the scores can be collected and people can compete against one another. Cute.

    Also, there are many other Roguelikes out there... Rogue (the original roguelike, hehe), Angband, ADOM, etc.

    I'm still partial to NetHack. I could list the reasons, but it's better if you play it for yourself and see.

    Diablo is a roguelike, really, just shinier and with realtime action. Durn newfangled games.... ;)

  • by The_Messenger ( 110966 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @08:44PM (#406717) Homepage Journal
    Nethack owns me.

    Many may initially balk at its "graphics", but playing Nethack is like reading a book... your eyes see the characters, and your imagination makes up the rest. I play the original (all ASCII) vesion on a color console, and there's nothing better... I've seen the X versions, but they spoil the magic for me; by attempting to make Nethack graphical, it ruins the atmosphere. (My attitude towards game graphics is all or nothing... either Nethack on a terminal, or Q3A on a GeForce2).

    If you really need a graphical Nethack, try Diablo and Diablo 2. (Stop your bitching -- everyone reading this site has access to a PC or a Mac, and no amount of zealotry will change that.) Despite the fact that at times these two games degenerate into repetitive mouse-clicking frenzies, I find them extremely entertaining and addictive, and I have yet to play either Diablo game online . . .

    Nethack is great, make no bones about it. (Har har.)

    The_Messenger -- killed by a kitten named Fluffy.

    PS - UNIX newbies will find Nethack an entertaining way to practice cursor movement in vi. ;-)

    PPS - Am I the only one who thinks that the long Nethack manual is perhaps the only coherent document ESR has ever written?

    Ellison: How are you gentlemen !! All your database are belong to us

  • by Acrucis ( 132401 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @06:03PM (#406718)
    As nice as it is to play Diablo II with my IRC friends, I miss turn based games. When we were dating my husband and I would sit together talking about stuff and taking turns at Warlords. My parents have only one computer, and my little brothers fight over who gets to play with it. It doesn't occur to them that there are games that they could play together, both at the same time. While real-time games are great if you're sitting in your house alone, turn-based games can be played with a group of people all at one machine. So you get to play computer games and get the social interaction parent-types seem to think we should get, all at once. And without the bother of carrying your machine to a LAN party.
  • by CamMac ( 140401 ) <PvtCam@@@yahoo...com> on Friday February 23, 2001 @08:02PM (#406719)
    Turn Based RPGs aren't gone, they're just hiding.

    Angband [angband.org] is possibly the best game ever. Granted the plot is totally lacking, but I can distribute the complete file on a floppy; and I judge every game against it. Its graphics are simplistic, yet convey more information than most gaming interfaces today. The controls require some learning, but allow the user to execute any command without delay or mouse movements. I've been playing it since 1996. Did I mention that it was Open Sourced in 1984, before the GPL was thought of, and can run on ANY OS that came out since then.

    But its strongest aspect is that it is turn based. I can stop, walk away, smoke a cigerate, come back, walk a step, then go to the bathroom. Or I can run down a hall and assult a vault in less than 30 seconds. Because it is turn based the game runs at MY speed. I never feel that I had to make a split second decision. When I'm getting my ass kicked, I can slow down and analyze the situation.

    The game kicks ass. I have wasted many a day playing it. I lost a keyboard when my HDD crashed and killed my best character. Check it out, read the help files, read rec.games.roguelike.angband and get hooked:-)

  • by RandomPeon ( 230002 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @08:11PM (#406720) Journal
    It simply isn't realistic. Life doesn't pause for you and let you take a breather. Granted a lot of real time games suck (because they stress building crap and then rushing with everything.)

    Actual, life runs closer to turn-based in terms of actual time. "Real" time games are usually accelerated by orders of magnitude, at least in war games like Starcraft.

    At operational and strategic levels(battalion and up, for our purposes), an operations order for a single mission is the size of a book - you don't ever want to work on part of one. These behemoths are typed by an entire staff of officers. Yep, we type orders up before we start fighting. The detail involved in planning a real military operation is just staggering.

    Turn-based games give you a chance to experience this is in real-life - the sheer complexity of large organizations. A turn-based game is possibly somewhat realistic, just sped up by 10^4 or 10^7. A "real"-time game is completely lacking in realism - your forces appear out of little buildings after 30 seconds, and you all run right at the other side like a bunch of 29th century Soviets. Don't get me wrong, they can be fun. But they're devoid of realism. Turn based games feel more like "the real thing", at least from higher levels.
  • by flynt ( 248848 ) on Friday February 23, 2001 @05:57PM (#406721)
    At the least it's an interesting read which gets the brain going...

    Isn't that what I'm not supposed to be doing on a Friday night?

Reactor error - core dumped!