7 tips to help you become better at turn-based strategy games

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned veteran – turn-based strategy games can be quite a challenge! Today, we’ve decided to give you a couple of hints on how to master this difficult, yet immensely satisfying game genre.

1) Be patient

Mahatma Gandhi once said that “To lose patience is to lose the battle.” Those words ring true in the case of turn-based strategy games. Mastering their rules takes time, and even after you feel comfortable, you still learn mostly by making mistakes on the field of battle. But that’s the beauty of this genre – you win thanks to discipline and patience. That’s why you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself when starting missions over again in games like Panzer Corps 2.

2) Research

Sun Tzu was right when he wrote, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” While some beginner’s mistakes are unavoidable, many of them can be avoided if you take some time to study the game’s mechanics and the universe it’s set in. Studying historical events can be very useful in titles like Order of Battle: World War II, and besides – it’s always easier to swim in the pond you already know.

3) Pick your battles

Frederick the Great once wrote, “He who defends everything defends nothing.” The common mistake beginners make in turn-based strategies is trying to reach too many goals at once. Such an attitude usually stretches your forces too thin and brings catastrophe. Instead, try prioritizing your goals early in the game – this goes both for critical points on the map, as well as the direction you choose on the research tree in Imperialism 2: The Age of Exploration.

4) Fight with the sun behind your back

In Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi shouts, “It's over, Anakin! I have the high ground.” Unlike most RTS games, in turn-based strategies, the ground on which you choose to fight your battle usually has a HUGE effect on its outcome. So choose wisely – the trick is to force your enemy to fight on less favorable grounds during skirmishes like those we see in BATTLETECH.

5) Don’t get too self-protective

Napoleon Bonaparte once stated that “The logical end to the defensive strategy is surrender.” While playing safe and preserving your forces is a popular beginner’s choice, the sad truth is you have to get your hands dirty in order to win. You may want to wait for the enemy to cripple its forces on your defenses, but a powerful counterattack must take place soon after that! Time is of the essence in games such as Panzer General 2, every turn spent idly is a step closer to defeat.

6) … or too over-confident

"They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance" – those were the last words of General John Sedgwick during the battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Well, it turns out they could. Winning your first encounter with the enemy can be exhilarating, but you can’t let your guard down after a few turns. While hastily pursuing the enemy, you can easily fall into a trap or overstretch your forces. That’s why in games like Gary Grigsby's War in the East, the first thing you should do once you’re safe after breaching enemy lines is to rest or drink some coffee.

7) Embrace your fate

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness – that is life” – this wise quote from captain Jean-Luc Picard never gets old. Even the most meticulously planned maneuver can come to nothing due to a jinxed roll of the dice. The lesson here is not to get discouraged when a genie kills half of your dragons in Heroes of Might and Magic 3: Complete. Learning to deal with the unexpected and formulating new plans in a second is part of what makes turn-based strategies so much fun!
Do you agree with the above tips? Or maybe you have your own advice for other turn-based strategy buffs? Let us know in the comments section below, and remember – battles to come are as important as those already fought!