We love these games here on Broken Forum. We create monster threads for them, LP them, and name our squaddies after one another. Our love for them even transcends the grognard/otaku divide - both the Games and Kawaii forums have their respective TRPG threads! This is intended to be a catch-all thread, where we can discuss genre-wide issues, point each other to interesting TRPGs we might have missed, or talk about games that might not attract enough interest to warrant a full thread. (Also, I kinda-sorta hinted-promised to fadeaccompli that I'd create this thread. XD) To start with, I thought I'd talk about the genre's classics and established designs. This is really three genres in one: 1. Games that emphasise the "strategy" part of "squad-based strategy". Combat is "realistic" in the sense that there isn't much in the way of character customisation or special abilities, while soldiers can typically take only a few hits before (usually permanently) dying. Rather than linking battles with a story, these games usually feature a freeform campaign, in which the player runs an entire war effort. Examples: X-Com (1994) Jagged Alliance series - thread here The upcoming Xenonauts - thread here Silent Storm - LP by Nute here 2. Games that introduce a bit more in the way of RPG elements (classes, levels) and some level of abstraction (e.g. Fire Emblem sets up rock-paper-scissors between sword-, axe-, and lance-armed classes). However, there still is not much in the way of character customisation, which means these games can get away with perma-death. They also trade in the freeform campaign for a linear story-based campaign. Note that in these games, the player is typically vastly outnumbered; however, enemies will typically stay put until the player's units get close enough. So advancing cautiously, so as not to draw too much aggro, takes on a new importance. Examples: Fire Emblem - threads in Kawaii for the series as a whole, FE: Awakening, and FE x Shin Megami Tensei; thread in Games for FE: Awakening Valkyria Chronicles 3. Games that are primarily RPGs, in that the player's focus is on customising characters and fleshing out their skill trees, but that use a grid map for playing out battles. While perma-death can still be present, it takes so much time to level and train characters that - unlike type 1-2 games - I just cannot see myself playing these games without reloading if someone dies! Examples: Final Fantasy Tactics Tactics Ogre Disgaea Front Mission Maybe the upcoming Banner Saga? And then there are games which blur the boundaries. My favourite example is XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the current 500lb gorilla of the genre; it has a monster thread and not one, not two, but THREE LPs (by Snark, Farnsworth, and Adam B ). It also combines elements of all three - the strategic layer of type 1, the aggro management of type 2, and the character customisation of type 3, with a dash of Valkyria Chronicles' cinematic visuals. Note that type 1 is largely a PC, Western genre while types 2-3 are largely console and Japanese. One of my persistent gaming campaigns is an effort to make each fandom aware of each other's games. :D I think there are a lot of Fire Emblem players out there who would love XCOM if they knew about it, and vice-versa (every time I see some platform-warrior baying that the new XCOM is "dumbed down for console", I feel like saying, "hey, genius, if you're so good at these games, why don't you see how long you can keep your squad alive in Fire Emblem?"). And I'd love to see more developers following Firaxis' lead and borrowing ideas from the other sub-genres. Update: CSL @5 argues that MechCommander should be considered a type 1/2 hybrid as it shares a focus on inventory management with X-Com, Jagged Alliance, etc; while Talorc @13 points out that I've missed a long and rich history of Western TRPGs. How about you? What are your favourites? What are your rants, your thoughts, your dreams for the genre?