GWJ Strategy Gaming Group

Welcome to the GWJ Strategy Gaming Club! This group offers a chance for strategy lovers to come together and play the same game over a couple of months. We then share our thoughts, strategies, and epic wins.

The club votes on which game to play. This is a new group but we are open to all types of strategy titles. 4X, grand strategy, RTS, and even sports management games are all fair game. The only hard rules are:

1. Games must be more than a year old.
2. Games should cost under $30.
3. Nominated games should be beatable in a reasonable amount of time. We’re not trying to put a thousand hours into a title.
4. Games must be available on PC and easy to play without mods/manual patches/simulators. I know that sounds elitist but the nature of strategy games is a lot of them are PC only. However, it’s fine to play on console if a game is available on both.

Otherwise it’s up to you as a club member on how to approach a game. If you want to play Augustus’s Roman Empire on easy mode great! If you want to play WW 1 Belgium on insane with a single save, go on with your bad self! Also, there’s no expectation of multiplayer though we may form a group depending on the game.

In summary, this is just a chance to clear our backlogs, try something different, and have fun.

Current campaign is Battletech which will run until August 31 2020. Here’s the link.

I'm game

Me too

Games such as?

Sure, I’d be in.

I’d be down with that!

Woot we have a good initial crew! Thank you all!

I’m open to discussing how “strict” we make the group rules. For example, do we want to be as open as the CRPG group or rather focused like the JPRG? I would like if we can pick older affordable games and also games that we might not play otherwise. So for me there are a lot of Paradox titles sitting in my Steam category that I’ve never been played. Also a number of 4x turn based games I’ve never finished.

Some suggestions I have are:

EU 4
Imperator
Civilization Beyond Earth
Gladius
Warlock 2

I'm probably good with keeping it broad based on what the club wants to do. Or, how are we defining broad? For instance, I have Battletech on the pile and haven't gotten to it. It's been out for a couple of years but is not necessarily older/cheaper and it's something I still plan to get to eventually, but I would still be down to play it with others.

As part of the brainstorming, I was wondering about is if we would do the level up system, and if so, what should constitute completion? For a tactics game like XCOM, I can see beating it be the goal, and if an RTS has a campaign then sure maybe that's the goal, but what about something like EU 4 or CK 2? I don't imagine we would play the full campaign, since that would take a very long time, and not everyone may make it to the end (dynasty ends, etc.). Would participation be just playing for x hours or making it to a certain date, or some other criteria (on the honor system)? It kinda seems like the goal may be vary from game to game in a way that isn't the case in other clubs.

I'll toss in a few suggestions for games as well:
Battletech
Total War: Shogun 2
Hearts of Iron IV
Jagged Alliance 2 (forgot I had this)
X-COM: UFO Defense

I am in for this.

I'll throw Total War 3 Kingdoms into the ring (I've been meaning to get back to it). And, for completeness, Total Warhammer 2 (which I don't have but keep hearing about).

I've owned EU IV for years and never played it, so there's that. And Hearts of Iron IV has made a lot of changes since I last played. The latter supports a long campaign of course, or it may be suited to shorter, themed challenges if we want to play that way (play as France, see how long you can hold out/how many Nazis you can kill along the way).

Crusader Kings II is the Paradox game I've played the most. I'm starting to feel like I'll only fire it up to grind Monarch's Journey challenges for the next month.

Oh and Armored Brigade! Maybe we could generate a set of scenarios to share, play those out, and compare notes.

I only have a second at the moment, but ... I'm super excited about this! Count me in.

Favoriting this.

I have several of the games noted above. Based on what the group decides, I may join. I'm also not above buying a game for this if it's interesting enough

Would Valkyria Chronicles 4 belong in this thread, or in the JRPG thread?

Agathos wrote:

Would Valkyria Chronicles 4 belong in this thread, or in the JRPG thread?

The JRPG club already played VC1 and VC2, so it's easily in their wheel house. That said, if part of the discussion jdzappa wanted was to figure out the how strict people wanted to be with what counts as a strategy game, then it's probably worth discussing if SRPGs like VC could qualify. Personally, I'm fine with playing a bit fast and loose with the rules and let in stuff like Valkyria Chronicles or Fire Emblem (or even maybe some city builders), but that may not the majority opinion.

A couple of random thoughts from doing the CRPG Club...

- One of the nice things I've seen from the CRPG Club's rule that a game has to be at least a year old is that it fosters inclusiveness. For people on a budget or unemployed for a stretch, a $30 new game can be tough to justify. Older games are generally a lot cheaper, making it easier for more people to join.

- The easier it is to buy the game and get it working, the more people participate. We had our lowest numbers (both starting and completing) with Arcanum, a game that required substantial technical hoop-clearing to get working. An update or patch seems to be fine, but anything beyond a couple of steps seems to impact numbers. (We've yet to pick a game that wasn't on Steam, so we've done pretty well with ease of purchase.)

Even though I haven't done something like this before, I'd be interested, particularly for single-player, not multiplayer. Also, I agree that the game should be at least a year old and easy to access.

Looking through my backlog, here's a couple of strategy games that I'd enjoy going through:

Crusader Kings 2
Europa Universalis IV
Mutant Year Zero
Total War: Shogun 2
Total War: Medieval 2
Football Manager or Out of the Park Baseball
Gladius - Relics of War

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

A couple of random thoughts from doing the CRPG Club...

- One of the nice things I've seen from the CRPG Club's rule that a game has to be at least a year old is that it fosters inclusiveness. For people on a budget or unemployed for a stretch, a $30 new game can be tough to justify. Older games are generally a lot cheaper, making it easier for more people to join.

- The easier it is to buy the game and get it working, the more people participate. We had our lowest numbers (both starting and completing) with Arcanum, a game that required substantial technical hoop-clearing to get working. An update or patch seems to be fine, but anything beyond a couple of steps seems to impact numbers. (We've yet to pick a game that wasn't on Steam, so we've done pretty well with ease of purchase.)

Thanks Godzilla for the tips. Based on this feedback, I’d like to propose the following rules:

1. Games must be a year old but not so old as to require significant modding.
2. Games at minimum should be on Steam.
3. Games should be $30 or less. The steam sale should make this easy hopefully.
4. To begin with we should pick a game that has a clear “win” condition, though If we want to do Paradox we could pick surviving to a certain year as a “win.”
5. I also think we should focus on pure strategy titles to begin with, though we could open it up to hybrid games like Valkyria Chronicles eventually.
6. Multiplayer is completely optional, as are choice of factions and difficulty level.

I’ll also start compiling nominations and we can do first round of voting soon.

Sorry, new to the concept as I am not familiar with the other groups. When you say "play games together", how does that work exactly?

quasiChaos wrote:

Sorry, new to the concept as I am not familiar with the other groups. When you say "play games together", how does that work exactly?

If it's like the other groups, we each play on our own and then discuss impressions, help each other out if someone gets stuck, and share how things are going. For the CRPG group, if a game has multiplayer options, some people will do that.

I think the general idea is to bring a group of people back to play a game that's been out a while, because a lot of people have stuff sitting in their backlogs they want to play and it's a lot more fun playing when other people are playing the same game and you can talk about it.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:
quasiChaos wrote:

Sorry, new to the concept as I am not familiar with the other groups. When you say "play games together", how does that work exactly?

If it's like the other groups, we each play on our own and then discuss impressions, help each other out if someone gets stuck, and share how things are going. For the CRPG group, if a game has multiplayer options, some people will do that.

I think the general idea is to bring a group of people back to play a game that's been out a while, because a lot of people have stuff sitting in their backlogs they want to play and it's a lot more fun playing when other people are playing the same game and you can talk about it.

Godzilla would you mind if I shamelessly borrowed your intro from the CPRG thread? I think we have enough interest to set some of the rules you suggested.

jdzappa wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:
quasiChaos wrote:

Sorry, new to the concept as I am not familiar with the other groups. When you say "play games together", how does that work exactly?

If it's like the other groups, we each play on our own and then discuss impressions, help each other out if someone gets stuck, and share how things are going. For the CRPG group, if a game has multiplayer options, some people will do that.

I think the general idea is to bring a group of people back to play a game that's been out a while, because a lot of people have stuff sitting in their backlogs they want to play and it's a lot more fun playing when other people are playing the same game and you can talk about it.

Godzilla would you mind if I shamelessly borrowed your intro from the CPRG thread? I think we have enough interest to set some of the rules you suggested.

No worries at all! Use anything you like from the CRPG Club!

Godzilla Blitz wrote:
quasiChaos wrote:

Sorry, new to the concept as I am not familiar with the other groups. When you say "play games together", how does that work exactly?

If it's like the other groups, we each play on our own and then discuss impressions, help each other out if someone gets stuck, and share how things are going. For the CRPG group, if a game has multiplayer options, some people will do that.

I think the general idea is to bring a group of people back to play a game that's been out a while, because a lot of people have stuff sitting in their backlogs they want to play and it's a lot more fun playing when other people are playing the same game and you can talk about it.

Excellent! Sounds perfect! Only problem is now I want to be in both the strategy AND crpg groups!

Love the idea and will keep an eye on the thread.

One thing to think about might be the balance between crowd-pleasers and niche games. Strategy gaming has lots of well-regarded classics (Civ 4, Alpha Centauri, etc); and it also has lots of games whose beauty and depth are hidden behind steep learning curves (say, Dominions). Where do you strike the balance between bringing more people in to play, vs exposing people to hidden gems?

I'm in, I'm in!

I really like the "gaming bookclub" style threads and have been getting back into RTS games in a big way lately. I'm currently binging the old Dawn of War titles, and want to tackle Battletech, Homeworld and Company of Heroes 2 afterward. However, I'd be happy to just delve into anything and have a chat about it here!

Company of Heroes 2 may be a good first game for the group. It's been in bundles (I have a spare key if anyone needs it), it's on sale now on Steam for $5, and we could do PvP or comp stomps together.

Yeah, it'd be a solid pick! Games with a dedicated story/campaign mode seem like they'd be easier for these sorts of threads too.

I played hundreds of hours of Company of Heroes 1 online, so when a sequel was announced, I was very excited. They made a lot of changes and I felt it wasn't quite as good as the first. However, I never played the singleplayer and I'm genuinely curious to see how I feel about it all these years later. Honestly, I didn't give it much of a chance.

The new DLC campaign looks fascinating as well. A sort of permadeath grand-strategy-lite? I snapped up all of the addons for $8 AUD. Very keen.

Hope that doesn't come across as me railroading the selection process, I'm just excited to play it regardless of what is decided

Which DLC campaign, Ardennes Assault? Based on the word on the street from strategy game people (well, the 3 Moves Ahead podcast) AA is an outstanding expansion, and might by itself be one of the best RTSs of the last decade, iirc.

When do we begin voting? (Assuming the games we’ve suggesting are the nominations)

Ha, that's funny, I hadn't even considered RTS. I always feel like I'm cooking a meal with two stoves and eight burners and I just can't keep up. But maybe the genre has changed over the years?

Mind Elemental wrote:

One thing to think about might be the balance between crowd-pleasers and niche games. Strategy gaming has lots of well-regarded classics (Civ 4, Alpha Centauri, etc); and it also has lots of games whose beauty and depth are hidden behind steep learning curves (say, Dominions). Where do you strike the balance between bringing more people in to play, vs exposing people to hidden gems?

Interesting. This is something that the CRPG Club hasn't been able to achieve. We've mainly ended up with popular titles. The bigger titles seem to have a large number of people who actually haven't played them that much. It's all worked out, but it gets me thinking if there is a way to make something like this work out.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Ha, that's funny, I hadn't even considered RTS. I always feel like I'm cooking a meal with two stoves and eight burners and I just can't keep up. But maybe the genre has changed over the years?

I'm not trying to railroad CoH2 in either. But, I believe that you can pause the game at any time to give orders.

PWAlessi wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Ha, that's funny, I hadn't even considered RTS. I always feel like I'm cooking a meal with two stoves and eight burners and I just can't keep up. But maybe the genre has changed over the years?

I'm not trying to railroad CoH2 in either. But, I believe that you can pause the game at any time to give orders.

Totally understand that you're not trying to railroad something through.

Even though I lean toward TBS, I'm up for RTS as well.

I would lean toward TBS as well, but I do remember generally enjoying CoH1 when I played it.

I lean heavily toward TBS as well, and there’s several interesting or good ones of those mentioned so far. I think the last RTS I played as AoE2, and I wasn’t particularly good at it at the time. It’s also why I haven’t delved into the Total War series. I’ve played EU4, but I guess I don’t think of that as an RTS.

But, I aspire to be better at strategy games in general, so if that’s the way we go, then this would be as good of an excuse as any to take a crack at learning how to micro or whatever it is you do in an RTS.