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The 15 Best Strategy Games On PC

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The 15 Best Strategy Games On PC

Every game has strategy, and as a genre “strategy" can mean a lot of different things. Turn-based, or real-time? “Grand" strategy, or tactics? A great strategy game isn’t necessarily one with good graphics, or a wide unit variety, but it’ll have excellent core mechanics, and ultimately it’ll make you think. 

Here are 15 great strategy games that I think you should all play right now. Or, you know, whenever you get the time:

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Total War: Rome II Preview: saving Capua

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Total War: Rome II Preview: saving Capua

Italy is a hot mess of warring factions, invaders bash at the gates of Roman towns and the plebs are causing a ruckus. Total War: Rome II’s prologue, ostensibly a long tutorial, throws players into a war against Rome’s neighbours, the Samnites. The goal: rescue a captured Roman VIP and, along the way, carve off a nice chunk of Italy.

After fiddling around with it for an hour in Rome itself, a code was thrown my way, and I’ve been messing about with burly men in skirts and knocking down walls for a few weeks. So it’s pretty much been like a long Saturday night in Glasgow. 

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Total War: Rome II trailer actually representative of game

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Total War: Rome II trailer actually representative of game

It's increasingly rare to watch a trailer for a game that isn't just a straight recording of someone playing it and actually feel that it's at all related to the game you'll actually be playing. Even the term 'in engine' has become all but meaningless now that we can see the pockmarks in the grizzled jaw line of a space marine, or the battered follicles of his buzz cut. 

But the latest trailer for Rome II happily cuts from what looks like the grand strategy map to proper top down warrings, all narrated by a bunch of quibbling Roman congressmen arguing about how Hannibal's going to attack Rome. It's a smart way to illustrate the theatre of Rome II, from the upper reaches of Africa north to the passes through the Alps; it's showing you not only where you're going to be playing, but exactly how the rest of the world is framed in the period where Rome II is set. 

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Ultimate General: Gettysburg is the first original RTS from Total War modder Darth Vader

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Ultimate General: Gettysburg is the first original RTS from Total War modder Darth Vader

You might recall that prominent Total War tinkerer Darth Vader (no relation) loudly announced his retirement from modding last September after a perceived snub by Creative Assembly, who he claimed had consistently “[devalued] my efforts to improve their games".

Thankfully, he’s managed to that harness that bitterness to fuel something creative. With the help of a band of “very talented" programmers, he’s taken up residence in Sid Meier’s old haunt, Gettysburg(!), to develop the first game in a new series named Ultimate General.

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Total War: Rome 2 hands-on: a new endgame

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Total War: Rome 2 hands-on: a new endgame

The battle should be won before you even take to the field. Sun-Tzu probably said that. It sounds like the kind of thing he’d say. As the Egyptians, fighting the Battle of the Nile in Rome 2, you could say the same thing. I outnumber the Romans. I’ve got artillery. I’ve got elephants. I’ve got better troops, and better boats. And I’m on top of a hill.

It should be an easy fight. Hmm.

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Total War: Rome 2 to introduce the Pontus faction and its scythed chariots as free launch DLC

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Total War: Rome 2 to introduce the Pontus faction and its scythed chariots as free launch DLC

Rome 2 may be halfway out the door and on its way to market, but that hasn’t stopped the Creative Assembly from chasing after it with their art-brushes and code-saws. Once it’s released, I imagine lead designer James Russell will be hiding out in your Steam Library like that Japanese lady in the cupboard, sneaking out at night for more playtesting. Anyway - the result of this mania is a whole new faction, bringing the total to nine for the game’s launch.

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Creative Assembly developers make the case for Total War: Arena

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Creative Assembly developers make the case for Total War: Arena

I met Creative Assembly’s James Russell and Gabor Beressy on the last day of GDC at a convention center cafe underneath Moscone North. Both men had the worn look I’d seen on most media and developers that day, the toll of five days of meetings, sessions, and interviews. After a weary greeting, the three of us slumped at a table for our last interview of GDC, while all around us workers were tearing down exhibits and overeager security guards started shooing loiterers toward the exits.

Russell is the lead designer for the Total War series, while Beressy is the series’ lead multiplayer designer and the point man on Total War: Arena. Worried we were about to be thrown out by security, I got right to the point: “So the problem I’m having is: I don’t really get how Total War: Arena is going to work."

They nodded. That’s the problem they’re facing. It’s not easy to explain how the Total War formula can be adapted to a MOBA, and anxious Total War fans are reading their own worries into the news about Arena. Russell and Beressy wanted to set things straight.

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Total War: Rome 2’s latest faction revealed: the Suebi

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Total War: Rome 2’s latest faction revealed: the SuebiThe Suebi are a Rhine-bordering faction brought in to replace the original Rome’s generic Germanic peoples, whom our Joe tells me I probably didn’t quite manage to bump into while trampling all over Gaul. For the sequel, the Creative Assembly have coaxed out their most distinctive features - their ambush tactics, their Berserkers and their haircuts.

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Total War: Rome 2 reveals the Macedonians, a faction not trusted by its neighbours

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Total War: Rome 2 reveals the Macedonians, a faction not trusted by its neighboursAccording to the description posted on the Total War wiki, Macedon is a pretty organised place, "an administration, with the king holding power and governing in the name of the people." The Macedonians make their money through trade and agriculture and field strong armies of horses and cavalry. They don't get along so great with other Greek states, though, because their neighbours view their "hegemonic tendencies" with suspicion.

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The best DLC for Total War: Shogun 2: what's worth spending your cash on?

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The best DLC for Total War: Shogun 2: what's worth spending your cash on?

Creative Assembly have been very aggressive with DLC for the Total War series, and never more so than in the case of Total War: Shogun 2. Between unit packs, clan packs, new scenarios, and even a “blood pack", there’s mountains of extra Shogun 2 content to choose from. 

So, let's take a look at Shogun 2: Total War and look at all of its DLC, to help you find what’s worth your time, and what’s worth avoiding.

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Warhammer: Total War now may be a thing; Creative Assembly acquire license for Warhammer series, Relic still have 40K

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Warhammer: Total War now may be a thing; Creative Assembly acquire license for Warhammer series, Relic still have 40K

Bloody hell. Creative Assembly and SEGA have struck a deal with Games Workshop for multiple games set in Warhammer’s fantasy universe. A new development team has been set up at the West Sussex Total War studio and has already begun work on the first. We’re dubbing it Gnome: Total War.

Update: We have confirmed that Dawn of War forgers Relic still have their 40K license, as suspected. Phew.

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Total War: Rome 2 combines land and sea assaults; see them in action

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Total War: Rome 2 combines land and sea assaults; see them in actionYou’d be forgiven for thinking that Total War: Rome 2 is all about the siege of Carthage, because right now that’s all Creative Assembly will show us. Actually though, Rome 2 is about everywhere and everything, all at once.

Case in point: combined battles stretching seamlessly across both brine and beach, as demonstrated in this new video. Just ignore, if you can, the fact that we’re returning to bloody Carthage for the privilege.

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Shogun 2 modding tools are out now, Assembly Kit will let you change history

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Shogun 2 modding tools are out now, Assembly Kit will let you change historyCreative Assembly have launched a full suite of modding tools for Total War: Shogun 2, allowing historical tinkerers a far greater degree of control over their custom battles. The announcement of the Shogun 2 Assembly Kit on Steam also updates the existing Battle Map Editor to enable Steam Workship integration, as well as the ability to create scripted single-player historical battles. Of course, just rotating a battle-ready Shimotsuma Nakayuki twelve degrees would have such a profound effect on 16th century gene pool as to vanish your present self into a sad little paradoxical wisp. So watch out for that.

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Falling prices, shogunates, and samurai in Total War Steam sale

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Falling prices, shogunates, and samurai in Total War Steam saleThe Total War Steam sale ends tomorrow, but the time to buy is now: Shogun 2 and its extraordinary standalone expansion, Fall of the Samurai, are on sale for $7.50 apiece. They will make excellent purchases to go with the news that Creative Assembly have just announced Steam Workshop support for the game. All DLC is on sale at a hefty discount, too.

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The 8 best Rome: Total War mods

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The 8 best Rome: Total War modsWith Rome 2 on its way, now is the perfect time to revisit what many still consider to be the best Total War game. Whether you just want to enhance your Rome campaign, check out another ancient empire or change settings entirely, we’ve got all the best and brightest mods for your perusal. 

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Shogun 2 to receive new unit pack: includes Hanzo's Shadows and Tetsubo Warriors

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Shogun 2 to receive new unit pack: includes Hanzo's Shadows and Tetsubo WarriorsShogun 2 will receive a new elite unit pack next week, tweets Creative Assembly. The Saints and Heroes Elite Unit Pack will contain nine new legendary warrior units, "the masters of their combat disciplines, standing head-and-shoulders above their rank-and-file brothers". Good, it's about time those rank-and-file chumps were taken down a peg or two.

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