I’m not a big strategy fan. Never have been. The closest I got to strategy games when I was younger was Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, an RTS for PC, and even then I cheated like there was no tomorrow (mostly so I could line every entrance to my base with at least three rows of arrow-spitting watchtowers while I constructed a hugely elaborate fortress thanks to my endless supply of cash). Since then, though, I’ve been somewhat wary of the genre, dabbling in games like Pikmin and Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings but steering well clear of the renowned strategy behemoths like Civilisation and Age of Empires. It’s not that I’m necessarily bad at them, per se, or don’t like them, but they’ve just never caught my interest in the same way as, say, RPGs or action-adventure games have.
But I was rooting through my brother’s GBA collection not that long ago (as you do), and found a whole slew of big Nintendo strategy titles that I’d never even given a chance. Games like Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. So I thought, “You know what? I should really give these games a shot and see whether I’ve been missing anything all these years.” They’re all starting to become integral parts of Nintendo’s third party support, after all, so I should probably see what all the fuss is about.
Given my relative inexperience with the genre, though, I also thought I’d do things a little differently. We all know these titles are some of the most beloved Nintendo strategy games out there, but how would they fare against someone like me who barely knows her S-RPGs from her TBTs? (That’s turn-based tactics, in case you were wondering– see, I have learned something!) With so many great titles to choose from too, what’s the best one to start with? Are there some strategy games that are just too extreme for greenhorns like myself, or can anyone just pick up and play them and be instantly transformed into a pro tactician? With those questions in mind, then, I present to you a Beginner’s Guide to Strategy Games, as seen through the eyes of such a beginner.
Onto the battle grid!