Yep, it’s Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones (or any Fire Emblem game, really, as my brother also had the original Fire Emblem for GBA lying around in his collection and I had a very similar experience!). While there may be a lot of plates to spin at any one time, it’s not only more engaging than Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, but it also affords you a little more freedom than Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising.
It gives you the space to breathe as you learn the ropes of its strategy while also letting you develop your own play-style thanks to its numerous cast members. I also like how every action is so deeply tied into the story, particularly the perma-death feature, as it gives you a reason why you ought to be doing something as opposed to being told you should do it out of routine. It makes the strategy matter, and I never thought a game would make me care so much about a group of pixellated warriors. It’s no longer about winning and losing– it’s about life and death, and that’s why Fire Emblem stands head and shoulders above the rest of them.
And now, readers, I turn the question to you. Which strategy game do you think is best for beginners? Has your experience of these three games been the same as mine, or am I a complete fool for not liking Final Fantasy Tactics Advance? More importantly, if you’ve got your own favourite strategy game you think would be great for tactics newbies, then be sure to go and share the goods in the comments below!