Is it just me or is the TBS genre in better health than RTS?

#1 Posted by madrocketeer (2615 posts) -

Having just recently finished XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within, it got me thinking; is it just me or is the turn-based strategy genre in better shape than real-time strategy these days? Sure, RTS probably still has a much larger player base than TBS, but I bet about 90% of the traditional RTS player base are StarCraft players, with smatterings of Dawn of War and Total War players making up the rest. Aside from the aforementioned stalwarts, publishers and developers have largely abandoned the RTS genre, or moved on to MOBAs. Take away Blizzard's efforts, and the RTS genre is on life support.

Meanwhile, the Civilization series is still going strong. XCOM seems to be successful enough to warrant a sequel down the line. Galactic Civilizations III is coming. Age of Wonders III is just around the corner. Warlock is getting a sequel. Then you've got indie darlings like Endless Space and Skulls of the Shogun. Even turn-based tactical RPGs are making a comeback, with the likes of Blackguards, Shadowrun, The Banner Saga, Wasteland II and Torment already released or coming soon.

This is a very far cry from the late 90s, when I was just starting out as a gamer. TBSs were seemingly on their last legs, while RTSs seemed to be on an stoppable march towards becoming the future of strategy games as a whole. Fragile Allegiance and Total Annihilation were my first loves. What went wrong?

#2 Posted by Wasdie (49550 posts) -

Between the rise of MobA and Starcraft 2's domination, there has been little breathing room for RTSs. There are a few on the way though. Hopefully they can find enough sales to keep going.

#3 Posted by PurpleMan5000 (6857 posts) -

I have always preferred TBS myself, but it would be nice to see a larger variety of RTS on the market.

#4 Posted by jun_aka_pekto (15887 posts) -

Seems like the pattern of gluts and aftermaths to me.

If the upcoming space games become top sellers, I would bet a bunch of me-too's would follow. Then, everybody just gets tired of them and it's desolation until the cycle repeats.

#5 Posted by Assimilat0r (745 posts) -

Well lets see if Grey Goo gonna give resurrecting breath to the dying genre..

#6 Posted by edinsftw (4225 posts) -
@Wasdie said:

Between the rise of MobA and Starcraft 2's domination, there has been little breathing room for RTSs. There are a few on the way though. Hopefully they can find enough sales to keep going.

Pretty much this. Also, RTS is a genre that has no rewards system compared to other genres.

#7 Posted by Reaper4278 (337 posts) -

Always preferred TBS myself, more like a game of chess than RTS. I think they should change RTS to RTT, Real Time Tactical games. Would be more accurate then imo.

#8 Posted by SgtSutton (322 posts) -

That seems to be the trend right now. Wargame: Red Dragon (RTS) looks like it might be pretty cool though. All it takes is one great game from either genre for people to follow that and try and capitalize.

#9 Edited by Reaper4278 (337 posts) -

That seems to be the trend right now. Wargame: Red Dragon (RTS) looks like it might be pretty cool though. All it takes is one great game from either genre for people to follow that and try and capitalize.

The Wargame series had been pretty stale so far, I wouldn't count on it.

#10 Posted by pl4yer_f0und (964 posts) -

TBH, I feel like TBS games are just much more strategic and require more critical thinking than RTS's, where its all about speed and rush tactics. I like how I can sit back and make decisions more carefully in TBS games. As for their popularity, idk. I always felt like TBS games where on the fringe of the strategy gaming niche, I like to see how many are coming out.

#11 Posted by gigatrainer (2028 posts) -

Sure, RTS probably still has a much larger player base than TBS, but I bet about 90% of the traditional RTS player base are StarCraft players, with smatterings of Dawn of War and Total War players making up the rest.

Eh....Total War is a TBS?

#12 Posted by madrocketeer (2615 posts) -
@Wasdie said:

Between the rise of MobA and Starcraft 2's domination, there has been little breathing room for RTSs. There are a few on the way though. Hopefully they can find enough sales to keep going.

Basically, StarCraft's domination has suffocated innovation and advancement in the RTS scene, whereas TBS's more open market allowed for more innovation? If what you say is true, then that's a worrying trend indeed.

TBH, I feel like TBS games are just much more strategic and require more critical thinking than RTS's, where its all about speed and rush tactics. I like how I can sit back and make decisions more carefully in TBS games. As for their popularity, idk. I always felt like TBS games where on the fringe of the strategy gaming niche, I like to see how many are coming out.

As I mentioned, I too believe that the RTS player base is still much larger and more mainstream, but I also believe its continued survival in the mainstream is disproportionately due to the effort of one company, whereas the TBS market today seems to be more like a happily self-sustaining fringe. It's like an asthmatic Goliath compared to a fit and healthy David.

Eh....Total War is a TBS?

I've considered this question long and hard - after all, XCOM has a real-time Geoscape mode, yet its definition as a turn-based strategy game is undisputed. When it came down to it, however, I concluded that the real heart of any combat strategy game is the actual confrontation; the battle, the conflict, the combat. With this in mind, while in the Total War games (which I own five of: Medieval II, Empire, Napoleon, Shogun II and Rome II) you do indeed manage resources, construct infrastructures and build and deploy armies through a turn-based system, the actual confrontations themselves are resolved and simulated in real-time. Therefore, I would personally classify the Total War games as "real-time strategy games with turn-based grand strategic layers."

But, you know, such definitions are not derived through any process which can strictly be regarded as scientific by any measure, and are therefore naturally susceptible to the dynamics of human subjectivity. I most certainly have no intention of trying to change your personal opinions and definitions - I'm just trying to elaborate and explain my own.

#13 Posted by gigatrainer (2028 posts) -

@gigatrainer said:

Eh....Total War is a TBS?

I've considered this question long and hard - after all, XCOM has a real-time Geoscape mode, yet its definition as a turn-based strategy game is undisputed. When it came down to it, however, I concluded that the real heart of any combat strategy game is the actual confrontation; the battle, the conflict, the combat. With this in mind, while in the Total War games (which I own five of: Medieval II, Empire, Napoleon, Shogun II and Rome II) you do indeed manage resources, construct infrastructures and build and deploy armies through a turn-based system, the actual confrontations themselves are resolved and simulated in real-time. Therefore, I would personally classify the Total War games as "real-time strategy games with turn-based grand strategic layers."

But, you know, such definitions are not derived through any process which can strictly be regarded as scientific by any measure, and are therefore naturally susceptible to the dynamics of human subjectivity. I most certainly have no intention of trying to change your personal opinions and definitions - I'm just trying to elaborate and explain my own.

Fair enough, Total War might not have that fine grained TBS approach of XCOM (which I haven't played much, I've mostly been limited to TW and Civ for TBS) but I mostly play it for it's TBS aspects. I rarely battle (and that too is mostly limited for Shogun 2's sieges).

#14 Posted by SgtSutton (322 posts) -

@SgtSutton said:

That seems to be the trend right now. Wargame: Red Dragon (RTS) looks like it might be pretty cool though. All it takes is one great game from either genre for people to follow that and try and capitalize.

The Wargame series had been pretty stale so far, I wouldn't count on it.

That's disappointing to hear. I haven't played any of the previous titles. I was hoping it would be really good, but we'll have to wait and see

#15 Posted by KHAndAnime (13292 posts) -

TBH, I feel like TBS games are just much more strategic and require more critical thinking than RTS's, where its all about speed and rush tactics. I like how I can sit back and make decisions more carefully in TBS games. As for their popularity, idk. I always felt like TBS games where on the fringe of the strategy gaming niche, I like to see how many are coming out.

RTS games are more strategic and require more critical thinking precisely because time is an important factor in the game. You're constantly on your toes in a game like Starcraft, and constantly adapting to your opponent's strategies in real time. In just about all games except for TBS, speed is important. RTS games certainly aren't all about rush tactics, but rushing and speed are important parts of the game. It's not just about coming up with the better strategies - it's about coming up with them faster through constant scouting and enemy harassment.

#16 Edited by bussinrounds (1994 posts) -

Good.

TB/Phase-based is about being effective using limited actions, which is good for tactics. RT promotes reaction which is good for action.

In TB you think about using all AP (or whatever) to their best potential, in RT you just wing it because aren't into micromanaging every second.

RTS games are a lot about fighting the interface the fastest. Not to mention TB games are much more relaxing....you can do other things while playing too, if you wanted (like watch a show)... nothing happens until you click move

#17 Posted by frnk55 (259 posts) -

Good.

TB/Phase-based is about being effective using limited actions, which is good for tactics. RT promotes reaction which is good for action.

In TB you think about using all AP (or whatever) to their best potential, in RT you just wing it because aren't into micromanaging every second.

RTS games are a lot about fighting the interface the fastest. Not to mention TB games are much more relaxing....you can do other things while playing too, if you wanted (like watch a show)... nothing happens until you click move

That's why I love TB. Relax while watching a sporting event.

#18 Posted by Qixote (10667 posts) -

I seldom have patience for TBS games. Even Xcom EU is in my Steam library, barely even played. They always seem like its playing a board game, like checkers or chess. Not exactly my idea way of playing a video game. But I do occasionally try to give a game a chance.