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Old 06-06-2012, 03:51 PM
ArtNJ ArtNJ is offline
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Default Best Asynch Tactics Games

This thread is for:

(1) asynchronous multiplayer games;

(2) with a tactical focus -- i.e. games where the focus is on maneuvering, not a 4x game like Starbase Orion or card games like Ascension;

(3) with built in multiplayer matching. For example, I understand people love Battle for Westnoth, but apparently you are on your own for finding opponents. People keep suggesting tactics games without real mutliplayer. Please stop!

So far I am aware of the following games:

1. Hero Academy: 6 very different playable teams, multiple maps, small 5x9 maps and no fog of war mean everything fits on the screen and there is a board game feel. First team is free, and roughly equal with the other 5 teams, the other 5 teams cost 1.99 each, but go on sale for .99 periodically. No 2v2, no official player ratings, no offline. Easy to get random games, and there is a player league external to the app which I run. Steep learning curve do to the fact that all 6 teams have slightly to very different mechanics. Luck component keeps games fresh, but can sometimes create unfair matchups. On Steam -- IOS players can play with PC or Mac folks. Not on Android;

2. Outwitters: 4 teams that differ only in skin and super unit, multiple maps. One team is free, while the other three teams are pay to acquire. The teams appear balanced. Unlike Hero Academy, has fog of war, but still a board game feel to some degree. Built in 1 v 1 and 2 v 2, pass and play, and leagues. Leagues are loosely modelled on Starcraft's league structure. Although Leagues were rather mucked up initially, that seems sorted out now. No luck component. Simple mechanics mean a modest learning curve. Skill only based leaderboard posted on web site (the League leaderboard has a heavier activity component).

3. Big Little War Game: $2.99, comes with 15 maps. 1 team only, but nice mix of land, sea and air units. Additional map packs including bonus units available as DLC. Bonus units do not appear particularly critical to being competetive, and developer has promised to expand existing map packs rather than keep adding new ones. Has a campaign, and skirmish mode. Uses ELO rating system; has website based leaderboard outside the app. Full fog of war (including terrain and structures, not just units) is an odd choice, as the terrain and structures are persistent on every play through of a map. Currently the game starter is always player 1 and picks the map, but the second player receives 100 bonus cash. Cross platform with Android and PC.

4. Dominion: Well-implemented Risk variant with an active player base but odd rating system. I havent played in a while, but took a look and it seems to still be very active. Doesnt really fit well with the style of the other games on this list, but its an asynch tactics game;

5. Uniwar: Perhaps the oldest game of the genre, still going strong. 3 different teams for one price (no IAP), massive ladder, around 2 million multiplayer games played. It is more complex than Hero Academy and Outwitters (terrain effects for example), and visually less polished. Its also apparently not well balanced. Nonetheless, the games can have an epic feel that Hero Academy and Outwitters dont necessarily deliver. Has a numerical ELO-ish rating system that no one fully understands;

6. Summoner Wars: Based on a popular card game, but you move the cards from a spawn point around a grid, so it qualifies. True fans are loving having it on the IOS. Non-fans that have dived in are definitely enjoying it, but some are deterred by the somewhat awkward nature of the port to IOS -- the cards appear very small on iphone/itouch, and are not always easy to distinguish. Even some true fans have complained about the transition to the small screen, but apparently things are much better on ipad.

7. RAD Soldiers: Asynch multiplayer XCOM type game. You can either grind through the campaign to unlock everything, or pay (a lot) so you can unlock stuff for use in multiplayer right away. Unlike the other games on this list, you can grind for everything. I dont play this one heavily, but it has done very well on the charts.

8. Neuroshima Hex: Has a card/board game look. $4.99. People speak highly of it, but I havent tried it. If someone wants to write up a short summary along the lines of the above including as to the multiplayer aspects/features, I'll add.

9. Haunted Hallow: Simply asynch game with similarities to the world of Monsters Inc. -- your goal is to scare all the town houses to your color, using a variety of monsters that can scare, fight or have special abilities. Has built in matchmaking, but you cant talk to each other and their is no stat tracking or leaderboards. IAP unlock for "Season 1" is $7.99 and gives you more choices for which monsters and power-ups you can bring into the battle (they can also be bought per unit or in smaller packs for less). These are alternative choices, and do not increase the number of monsters or power-ups per game. Some feel the starting monsters and power-ups are stronger so that this is not pay to win, others feel it is mildly pay to win. Either way, since there is no stat tracking, and the IAP offers at most a modest edge, it doesnt strike me as particularly offensive. Its a bit slow to load.

10. Wizard Ops Tactics: Modeled on final fantasy tactics, you control a small group of units, wizards, healers and the like, each with various spells all of which cost action points. Your goal is to either control a crystal for 3 turns or kill all enemies. So far, there doesn't seem to be that many people playing it. There is no stat tracking. There is a level up and item system for your guys. As you grow in power, your army is rated 1-3 stars, and the game matches you with others rated 1-3 stars. Seems a little imprecise to me, there will be more than 3 shades of power, and also you can pay gold for commander skills (basically power-ups), so there is a good chance the playing field will not be completely level. Nonetheless, if you like FF Tactics, check it out. A bit slow to load. IAP will speed your progression towards a 3 star army, and give you more to spend on the power-ups.

11. Ace Patrol: Rule the skies in this plane vs plane asynch dogfighting game. Multiplayer with leaderboards through game center. Its free, and apparently you can level up your planes and get additional stuff by playing (or IAP of course). Its around 180 mb. Leaderboards and asynch notifications handled through gamecenter.

12. Odd Squad: Its on a Hero Academy like grid with various score and bonus tiles, and your units and items come from a deck of 50. You earn currency for wins and losses, or IAP, and can buy packs of new units and items for your deck. Seems fair enough; if you play a lot you'll have plenty of choices soon enough. Rather polished in some ways, but I cant see a way to chat, I dont see any turn timer, no rating system, and although it may be a matter of taste, to me not visually as appealing as some of these (Hero Academy for example).

IPAD Only:

1. Battle Academy: Many rave about this. It is a WWII style game where your various units (squads of men, tanks etc) have line of sight, cover, ability to suppress fire, etc. It is cross-platform with PC and has a huge player base. Uses PBEM (play by email) notifications. However it apparently doesnt have ELO scoring or any type of rankings, and also lacks things like in-game friends list for direct challenges, etc. (Is there an unofficial league, as in Hero Academy?)

2. Leviathan Warships

I havent tried either of these yet, not 100% sure they fit all the criteria. If you want to do a sentence or two for me, I'll add it.

3. Frozen Synapse: Popular on the PC that generated substantial critical acclaim. Simultaneous movement of mixed squads of various troopers (machine gun, grenade, etc) with crouching, cover and the like. Ipad version is generating some mixed reviews for the quality of the port/controls, but apparently those that persist get over that and the game is drawing raves. The multiplayer options are also being praised, although I need details about the ranking system -- it doesnt sound ELO based.

What else is there and what do you like?

Last edited by ArtNJ; 06-04-2013 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:15 PM
Vovin Vovin is offline
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STARBASE ORION!

Fantastic asynch multi-player.
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Old 06-07-2012, 02:09 AM
Teh_Ninja Teh_Ninja is offline
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Does UniWar count?
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:48 AM
ArtNJ ArtNJ is offline
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I dont know what kind of multiplayer Uniwar has, never tried to play that multiplayer. So you tell me

Not to quibble, but Starbase Orion is technically a different category in my view, a strategy/4x game, and not a tactics game per se. Tactics means the strategy is more at the unit level, and the name of the game is outmaneuvering your opponent.

Ascension (surprised no one mentioned it yet) isnt really a tactics game either.
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Old 06-07-2012, 08:09 AM
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Rubicon Rubicon is offline
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Great Big War Game:
Just for the record, the packs you can buy are basically bunches of multiplayer maps, but we added a bonus unit to each just to sweeten the deal.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:30 AM
ArtNJ ArtNJ is offline
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@Rubicon,

The issue is just feeling like you are on an equal footing. If you are not on an equal footing, than the IAP is not optional to a serious gamer. The difficulty with releasing meaningful units with IAP packs is that the user has no idea of the eventual total cost of remaining on an equal footing, as you can keep releasing packs forever. I spent $1.99x3 on Hero Academy teams (first was free), but I can stop any time, because the teams are all balanced to be equal. I dont have to buy the 5th team if I dont want too -- I'll still be 100% competitive.

I gather that you dont have distinct teams, so you dont have this mechanism available to you. So I recognize that you are in a more difficult spot with revenue generation, but I still view your model as a negative as compared to Hero Academy and the soon to be released Outwitters.

Doesnt mean that I'm not looking forward to trying it
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:36 AM
Comassion Comassion is offline
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Battle Academy is my current favorite - pricey, yes, but totally worth it. It really feels like a proper World War II game. Tons of campaigns right out of the box, and the battles are intense and exciting. Armor modeling was done right - tanks don't have hitpoints, which is one of my favorite aspects, and infantry combat is a matter of fire and maneuver (suppress the enemy, then get in close). It's not purely realistic (artillery and air strikes can be called in fast and accurately), but it's a ton of fun. Perhaps best of all, there's no base and unit building - you have your force and you take it out to meet the enemy force, every time. That makes it a game of pure tactics rather than a game of economy and tactics where you could just overwhelm the enemy eventually. You will feel your losses acutely, and deservedly reward yourself with a pat on the back when you succeed despite early setbacks.

The main downside is that I believe it's iPad only - iPhone users are out of luck.


Battle for Wesnoth is the grandaddy of all fantasy tactical games - more campaigns than you can shake a stick at (with storylines!), tons of units, and if you're not sure about buying it you can download the PC version for free and try it out. And this one works on both the iPad and iPhone.

Either of those two will keep any tactical gamer happy for a long, long time.

Last edited by Comassion; 06-07-2012 at 09:44 AM..
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:07 AM
ArtNJ ArtNJ is offline
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@Comassion -- this thread is for asynchronous multiplayer tactics games. Do those games have multiplayer, and if so, can you tell us about it?
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:38 AM
Comassion Comassion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtNJ View Post
@Comassion -- this thread is for asynchronous multiplayer tactics games. Do those games have multiplayer, and if so, can you tell us about it?
Both of them have asnch multiplayer, but I don't personally engage in multiplayer all that much, so I can't tell you how the experience is.
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:45 PM
Teh_Ninja Teh_Ninja is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtNJ View Post
I dont know what kind of multiplayer Uniwar has, never tried to play that multiplayer. So you tell me

Not to quibble, but Starbase Orion is technically a different category in my view, a strategy/4x game, and not a tactics game per se. Tactics means the strategy is more at the unit level, and the name of the game is outmaneuvering your opponent.

Ascension (surprised no one mentioned it yet) isnt really a tactics game either.
It's got asynch multiplayer. It's also turn-based, kind of like Advanced Wars.
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