SG Friday Filter: Surprising Quality Edition

By Marcello Perricone 21 Jul 2017 2

Strategy is a hard thing to pin down. Arguably every single game under the sun requires some form of strategy, but very few are actually strategic games. While you can bunny hop through a Counter-Strike level with a sniper rifle and call that "strategy", having a tactical plan of troop deployment and supplies movement through Ancient Europe is something completely different.

Every so often, we look into Steam's 'Strategy' category and sift through its contents, in order to bring you the real strategy games out there. We will avoid games that seem to have a bad reception/low quality, as we'd rather not mislead our readers into buying duds. The main parameter in deciding if a game truly belongs to the strategy genre will be to define what that tag actually means. If you can consistently succeed by mindless shooting or spamming, we don't believe it is a strategy title; if you need a strategy to win and can't be utterly victorious without it, then that's a true strategy game.

This list was assembled via the "New Releases" and "New and Trending" tabs of Steam's Strategy tag, and covers 07/07 through to 21/07. Check it out!

Longsword - Tabletop Tactics (Released: 20 Jul, 2017)

Also tagged as: Early Access, Indie, Board Game

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Collect and build an army of miniature champions, spells, equipment, and structures, customise them to your liking, and then lead them into battle. That's the premise of Longsword, the strategy game that brings that hex-based miniature tabletop battlefield to the PC. Joe did an interview with the designer last month, if you want to find out more.

Featuring solo, cooperative, and PvP modes, the game also aims to provide a framework for tabletop games, complete with a common ruleset and set of tools. It looks interesting, so check it out if it strikes your fancy.

Kingdoms and Castles (Released: 20 Jul, 2017)

Also tagged as: City Builder, Indie, Simulation

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Fulfil your inner Arthurian fantasies with this game about growing a kingdom from a tiny little hamlet to a sprawling fortified city. In a deadly world where viking raiders, aggressive dragons, and harsh seasons abound, you must take care of your villagers and make sure your settlement is secure.

Featuring a fully city and castle planer gameplay complete with some pretty nice visuals, Kingdoms and Castles definitely looks like a keeper.

Rusted Warfare - RTS (Released: 14 Jul, 2017)

Also tagged as: RTS, Indie, Multiplayer

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An old-school RTS inspired by classic real-time strategy games such as Supreme Commander, Red Alert, and Total Annihilation, this indie title has the impressive approval rate of 100% out of 45 reviews. Built for large battles featuring thousands of units, the game seems to take an approach to large scale warfare similar to the amazing Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. Even the unit choices are taken straight out of that book, with over 40 unique options with upgrades and special "experimental" units for late-game engagements. It also has full cross-platform multiplayer between the Windows, Linux and Android versions so if you like these kind of games and can stomach the 2D, check this out.

Ultimate General: Civil War (Released: 14 Jul, 2017)

Also tagged as: War, Historical, RTS

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From the creator of a few famous Total War mods, comes Ultimate General: Civil War. A tactical war-game set in the American Civil War of 1861-1865, the sequel to Ultimate General: Gettysburg has launched last week and seems well received.

Featuring a full campaign, detailed army management, and historical weapons, this game aim to fill that accuracy itch that Total War won't ever be able to. It also features a staple of tactical options, such as terrain-based line of sight, enhanced unit control, and even officer progression in order to make it all a more complete experience. If you like large scale engagements with a lot of focus on historical accuracy, give this a try.

Pixel Shopkeeper (Released: 21 Jul, 2017)

Also tagged as: Adventure, Indie, Simulation

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This very closely straddles the line of strategy, but it makes it by a whiff. Also, it's my column, so I write about what I goddamn want; you're all lucky I don't put Dance Dance Revolution in here.

Starting as a lonely shopkeeper with a small shop, you must venture dungeons and collect items to sell to would-be adventures that pass through your town. You collect gear, decorate your shop, craft new products, and sell your wares in order to make a profit. As you become richer, you can expand the size of your shop, upgrade your gear to brave harder dungeons, and help transform the little village into a bonafide adventurer crossroad.

The strategy part permeates all of it -- you don't worry too much about combat, but instead have to make sure all the loot from monsters fits nicely into your bag, Tetris-style. Your store can be customised with furniture and items, and you can even downright expand and remodel the shop into a specific look or style. In the end, this looks like a well done and interesting little game that mixes strategy with shop management simulation. Given the price tag, this could be definitely worth a shot.

That's it for this edition of Friday Filter - keep an eye out for future updates as we filter out the noise of Steam's 'Strategy' tab. Seen anything else you like or tried any of the above? Let us know in the comments!

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