Grand Strategy Wargames

Real-time strategy games are hugely popular, but a subgenre of that larger umbrella category is the grand strategy wargame. Think titles like Europa Universalis or even, if you stretch it, online games like EVE Online.

Grand strategy wargames involve massive military campaigns, often drawn from history, and offer players a level of detail and micromanagement that would make a Civilization title look like child’s play in comparison.

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to play the board game Axis and Allies then you have some idea of what a grand strategy wargame is like. Often known for esoteric mechanics, overwhelming interfaces, and scales that boggle the mind, grand strategy games are anything if not tough.

There is really no such thing as a casual grand strategy wargame and, indeed, few casual players of strategy games would dare to enter into these lightly. Combat is often based upon dice rolls or some combination of dice rolls and card-playing mechanics.

Each title has its own system but all of them are equally esoteric. Some titles will focus the player’s attention solely on the military aspect of things while others will involve you in everything from domestic politics and economics to international affairs.

When based upon a historical event, these games often draw their details from intense readings of the history and what-if scenarios surrounding these events. They’re not scripted but there is a general thrust to everything if you’re playing a historical scenario.

Even in titles like Europa Universalis, which allow for huge amounts of customization, enforcing ahistorical scenarios is nonetheless challenging and for the adept only.

Field of Glory: Empires

Field of Glory: Empires

I have played some deep strategy games before, but Field of Glory: Empires is one of the grandest I have ever tried to take on. If you like your games to be very hard, force you to make difficult ...

Imperator: Rome

Imperator: Rome

Imperator: Rome is the latest strategy game from Paradox. I really think that you have to say the people at Paradox are the kings when it comes to strategy games. Just when you think that the ...

Medieval Kingdom Wars

Medieval Kingdom Wars

Medieval Kingdom Wars is a strategy game of grand nature, steeped in tradition. Although, there are games within the genre that execute strategy elements with greater assurance, "Kingdom Wars" makes ...

Age of Civilizations II

Age of Civilizations II

Developed and published by Łukasz Jakowski Games, the downloadable title Age of Civilizations II bills itself as a grand strategy game that allows for almost unlimited customization when it comes to ...

Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy game (it was released in 2012), which takes place between 1066 and 1453, and the player assumes the role of a ruler, wishing to develop his kingdom. Subsequent ...

Europa Universalis IV

Europa Universalis IV

Europa Universalis IV is the fourth part of the popular grand strategy wargame series by the Swedish company Paradox Interactive. The game was released in 2013, six years after the release of the ...

Total War: Warhammer II

Total War: Warhammer II

Total War: Warhammer II is a downloadable title that combines elements of turn-based strategy and real-time strategy. The tactical part of the game is played in turns, while the battles are fought in ...

Hearts of Iron IV

Hearts of Iron IV

Hearts of Iron IV is a downloadable game - the fourth installment of an extremely popular series of strategy games that tell the story of the military struggles during World War II. The player ...