Saturday, 3 March 2012

Roguelike Strategy Games

I'm surprised there's not more games that explore the fertile boundaries between roguelikes (which are almost always tactical) and the strategy genre. The latest Three Moves Ahead podcast features Conquest of Elysium 3, which the panel headed by Troy Goodfellow (a well known Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup fan) describe the game as a strategy roguelike in the sense that it is a strategy game firmly embedded in roguelike randomness: not just procedurally generated maps, but the emergent strangeness and unexpected behaviours of the genre we love. 7 Cities of Gold is cited as the closest relative, but I immediately thought of Expedition: The New World which is inspired by the same source, but much more in the roguelike tradition. I guess Pirates would be the other series to be so obviously inspired by these ideas. Strange Worlds of Infinite Space and its sequel hew to the same kind of play, but the playfulness and over-randomness of Weird Worlds means that the strategy element falls away. I'm have a feeling Space Rangers and Space Rangers 2 (despite containing a full RTS sub game) and Space Rangers 2.5 Spore do the same.

Care to suggest others?

[Edit: Ah, irony. From Vic Davis, talking about his new roguelike 3 hours before I made this post:

The Occult Chronicles is a thinking man’s rogue like….. a “strategy rogue like” is the term being bandied about.


Joseph said...

I'm thinking of quite a few games with procedural generation. Like the Civ series, X-Com and Chaos Gate (A 40K styled squad strategy game). Masters of Orion and most other space empire type games use procedural content.

But only Dwarf Fortress strikes me as a good example of the convergence of random worlds, robust mechanics and perma-fail that create that immersive and emergent roguelike experience.

It's no big surprise though. Even games that are trying to be straight homages to Rogue (or Moria) can miss the boat on some of these things. Diablo is a good example, though it is not so much a strategy game.

Andrew Doull said...

I agree procedural generation is a staple of strategy games. But it has to be more than that... even PCG + destructible terrain isn't enough, or we'll be calling Minecraft a roguelike next.

Joseph said...

Agreed. I cannot think of a good example apart from Dwarf Fortress.

Sir Yobgod Ababua the Handless said...

X@Com seems like it should be the poster child for this...