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Subject: Strategy Games or Tactical Games? rss

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Bryan Buchsdrucker
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EDIT: Revised Poll on page 2.

Which do you prefer to play? Strategic, Tactical, or both?

For the scope of my poll please consider strategic and tactical to be defined by the examples given below. (and your own judgment)

Examples of a strategic wargame would be:
Europe Engulfed
A Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos, 1570-1584
Ikusa
Twilight Struggle

Examples of a tactical wargame would be:
ASL
Commands & Colors: Ancients
Napoleon's Triumph
Combat Commander

Poll
I'm only a semi serious wargamer, and the other day I started to consciously think about the scope of wargames that I tended to enjoy. So after going through my favorites I came to the conclusion that I prefer grand strategy type games more than I do unit based tactical games. I think it's the fact I can usually go shopping for new kit in those games. (I have spending issues in real life :ninja:)

Then I figured I'd make a poll.:D
Strategy games or Tactical games?
I prefer to look at the big picture
I like to micro manage
I can't choose, I love them both equally!
      154 answers
Poll created by Byrns
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Martin Gallo
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I love them both, and I also like Operationsl games. It just depends on my mood and what my opponents want to play.
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Chris Drake
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All types, depends on what I'm in the mood for.
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Brandon Pennington
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Gamesmeister99 wrote:
All types, depends on what I'm in the mood for.


+1
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Hunga Dunga
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It's possible to micro-manage strategic games!
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Martin Gallo
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Hungadunga wrote:
It's possible to micro-manage strategic games!


In fact it happens all too often.
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Ken Feldman
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I love them both, however, I tend to play many more tactical games as you can finish a scenario in an evening while strategic games often require several day-long sessions to play out.
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I prefer operational/strategic games, but I equally enjoy tactical games as well.
Having said that, the only tactical game I played was CC:A, but I like that one.

But you asked "what I prefer" and I prefer to look at the big picture.

Cheers, Haring

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Mike Szarka
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I enjoy playing games at a variety of scales, but the ones I find most fascinating are strategic. It's all about examining the options available and seeing how history might have turned out differently, or why it played out the way it did.
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Erik Syvertsen
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martimer wrote:
I love them both, and I also like Operationsl games. It just depends on my mood and what my opponents want to play.


My thoughts exactly.
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Doug Cooley
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I think you mean a strategic/tactical dichotomy based on scale, not on the level of planning the game requires. A "strategic" game might require you to plan far ahead, whereas a tactical game requires you to maintain enough flexibility to react to immediate threats or openings but otherwise not reward long term planning.

My own wargaming preferences tend to be outside of scale. For example, I enjoy the eastern front in WW2, and there are a wide variety of games at the strategic level but that vary widely in unit scale.

For me, the primary concerns are a) table space, b) availability of opponents, c) time available to play, and d) period (not necessarily in that order). A decision regarding time/space scale of a game is less important.

That said, I find myself drifting away from grand strategic games as not fitting within the parameters above, and I am considering making a lifestyle choice to take up ASL once I move in a year or three (and plan to never move again, if I can possibly help it).
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p55carroll
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When I play a big-picture game, I may have a lot of fun, but to some degree I usually resent that it's so abstract and seems so much like "alternate history" (i.e., fiction--the portrayal of something that never actually happened and might not have even been a real possibility).

When I play a close-up-to-the-action tactical game, I may also have a lot of fun, but to some degree I usually resent having to take care of fiddly details like checking LOS (line of sight). Sometimes it can also feel like "generic combat" instead of anything truly historical.

So, there are pluses and minuses to both scales.
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Andrew C
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I would recommend asking this question on three levels:

Strategic
Operational
Tactical

For example, games like Command and Colors: Ancients and Napoleon's Triumph are more operational than tactical, as they involve the movement of roughly brigade sized units over terrain over several hours or possibly days. True tactical games, like ASL, are more focused on an individual firefight between small groups of soldiers over the course of tens of minutes.

That said, I enjoy all three levels of simulation, but probably prefer the operational level best. Tactical games can get too caught up in detail or simply fail enable me to suspend my disbelief when it takes 1 hour to game something that occurs in 3 minutes, and strategic games tend to run long and involve lots of diplomacy.
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Tom Willcockson
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Based on those choices I would say that I definitely prefer strategic first then a ways down from there tactical, and finally operational. However I still enjoy all three when I get to play them, ie I don't dislike any of those scales.
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Wendell
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Strategy all the way. I want to fight over the future of empires, not to capture a pesticide factory.
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Colin Hunter
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Operational would be my vote.
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Mike Szarka
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wifwendell wrote:
Strategy all the way. I want to fight over the future of empires, not to capture a pesticide factory.


That was not a pesticide factory. They were WMDs.
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Carlos Ferreira
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Always strategic.

I don't like tactical games. They are to personal. I don't like to see the name of the guy I'm about to send to dead... if it is an all army I do not care

Operational is somewhat ok... but if you ask me which one... Strategic would be my thing.

I can even give you more details.

Strategic, card driven and point-to-point.
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Leo Zappa
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martimer wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
It's possible to micro-manage strategic games!


In fact it happens all too often.


Yeah, I remember one case in particular...there was this one guy, with a funny mustache and a bad haircut...
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Leo Zappa
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I like the in-between case: Operational

Give me division or corps level playing pieces, a whole front (let's say, Eastern Front, WW2), a defined timespan and defined, historical reinforcements, and I'm happy. Tactical is not my favorite because I find the disconnect between the game and the reality sometimes too great, and while I'm OK with strategic level games, I'd prefer to not be bothered with production systems and political considerations. I'd rather be in the shoes of an army or front commander, rather than a company commander or political head of state.

Here is a pic of an operational level game I'm playing right now - this setting is just about perfect for me...

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Corey H
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Quote:
I like to micro manage


I find it funny that tactical games would be considered micro managing. With the current tactical designs out there (command rules, moral rules, random activations), it seems that micro management is tough to accomplish. The players is ofton forced to make the best of a current situation.

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John Kovacs
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I prefer tactical level games to operational or strategic, but that does not mean I won't play games at the operational or strategic levels. I like being in the mud with the grunts, or perched in the open hatch of a tank, or gripping the stick of my fighter plane (or wheel of my B-17F bomber), leading a squad or squadron into battle over a single hill, small town, or yes, a pesticide factory.

Not that I can't get a rush over being the supreme commander over an invasion force, deciding which battalions will live and which will die in glorious conquests. Or grimly defending my homeland from vicious enemy troops, sending battalions into the teeth of the line to delay the enemy while reinforcements are on their way.

As long as you have fun, does it really matter what level of game you prefer to play?
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I strongly prefer Operational or Strategic level games to Tactical games, and that preference has been growing much stronger of late. if I had to guess, I'd say, ironically, that the increased abstraction of Operational and Strategic wargames actually makes them more realistic, and thus helps appeal to the simulationist inside of me.

Time in the military quickly convinced me that boardgames don't do tactical-level simulation all that well. Initiative problems, command structure, opaque and mercurial 'victory conditions', the absolute dearth of reliable information - even ASL's detail-slog misses the forest for the trees. I'm not saying many tactical games aren't good games, or that O&S games don't have their own problems; they just don't tickle my simulationist-side the way a good Operational or Strategic game does, especially one which incorporates politics into the mix.
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Pelle Nilsson
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My vote would be for a lower-level operational game, or a higher-level tactical game ("grand tactical" perhaps?). Just high enough that you do not need to worry much about micromanaging LOS or defensive fire.
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Cleitus the Black wrote:
For example, games like Command and Colors: Ancients and Napoleon's Triumph are more operational than tactical


In this is the case (And I believe anybody with more knowledge on the subject..Which is everybody ) Then it's settled.
I indeed prefer operational/strategic games over tactical.

Conquer galaxies, not the local supermarket!

Cheers, Haring
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