Saturday, December 8, 2012

Episode 55: Strategy Games

Welcome to Roguelike Radio episode 55. This week we talk about Strategy games, and how similar and dissimilar they are to roguelikes. Talking this episode are Darren Grey, Andrew Doull and special guest Troy Goodfellow, founder of Three Moves Ahead, the podcast which directly inspired Roguelike Radio.

You can download the mp3 of the podcast, play it in the embedded player below, or you can follow us on iTunes.

Topics discussed in this episode include:
 - Planning vs reacting
 - Player agency
 - Real time as a solution to too much detail
 - Darren teaches Troy how to play FTL
 - Troy teaches Darren how to play an RTS
 - Dwarf Fortress talk
 - "We don't play games because they are easy, but because they are hard."
 - Strategy games which are designed for failure
 - The strategy trend towards a hostile wilderness (cf. cigarette smoking monsters)
 - Hybridisation and cross over between strategy games and roguelikes
 - Brogue and the power of Google
 - Indie strategy games
 - The European strategy connection
 - Remembering the PC again

There's a number of strategy games and links mentioned on the podcast:  - FTL
 - Troy's defense of FTL on the Idle Thumbs forum
 - Troy's article on failure
 - Graph of roguelike popularity
 - The Civilisation series
 - Crusader Kings 2
 - Fallen Enchantress
 - X@Com (X-COM-roguelike hybrid)
 - Men of War
 - Dark Souls
 - Dungeons of Dredmor
 - Clockwork Empires
 - Dwarf Fortress
 - Majesty
 - Theology
 - Simcity
 - Warlock: Master of the Arcane
 - Conquest of Elysium 3 (strategy-roguelike hybrid)
 - Seven Cities of Gold
 - The Occult Chronicles
 - Theology
 - Simcity
 - Warlock: Master of the Arcane
 - Conquest of Elysium 3
 - Seven Cities of Gold
 - The Occult Chronicles
 - Vertex Dispensor
 - Ultimate Ratio Regnum
 - Goblin Camp
 - Sword of the Stars: The Pit (not mentioned, but should have been included in the discussion)
 - Unity of Command
 - Dominion 3
 - X COM: Enemy Unknown
 - Probably others we've missed out - Troy's knowledge of strategy games is insane!

Join us next week for an interview with the FTL developers, and shortly after a discussion of the ASCII Dreams Roguelike of the Year 2012 Poll!


  1. Just a quick note to say Troy has posted a thoughtful follow up article on his blog:

  2. Yay! Games I'm actually good at!

    Any thoughts on the old Koei games? Or the new ones? Any Romance of the Three Kingdoms fans around? That's my number 1 favorite game of all time.

    That first Total War Game, Shogun, was great as well. The later ones added chrome, but the first was just perfect.

    I think I like them because they scratch my boardgame itch. Unfortunately none of my game buddies likes the slow pace of boardgames anymore, it's just a huge frag fest when we play as a group. So for solo gaming, it's strategy and it's roguelike cousins for me.

    Anyone else with that problem? Probably mostly solo gamers here, anyone else have group that has turned into a twitchfest?

    Thanks for the episode, really. I'm not done listening but couldn't wait to respond.

  3. Quite interesting to get the comparison between strategy games and roguelikes, so thanks again for YAGP guys!

  4. Tarn Adams messaged me about a game that may interest some:

    "In terms of Roguelike+Strategy cross-overs/melds, an interesting recent release was Drox Operative by Soldak (, demo just went up). You're basically playing a Diablo style spaceship in the middle of a Master of Orion game, and you have to plan around what's happening between the civilizations to win your sector. It's kind of like Din's Curse (also Soldak), if you played that, but I found the active world more satisfying this time. Combat can be clicky and somewhat uninteresting, but overall it's neat."

  5. Great episode. One thing I'd like to correct Troy on is the concept of cascading failure in Roguelikes. Troy mentioned that it doesn't happen very often and that most deaths are sudden and rather unexpected. This is definitely not the case in FTL, where small failures here and there (taking damage) can add up over time, putting you farther and farther behind. Particularly bad players of the game don't understand this element, which is why so many people seem to think the game is unfair.

    Another example of cascading failure is the misuse of resources in traditional Roguelikes such as Brogue. It's very easy to run out of potions and scrolls, ending up in a situation where you need one to survive but don't have it.