Codex Gamicus

Turn-based tactics video games
Basic Information

Turn-based tactics[1][2] (TBT), or tactical turn-based[3] (TTB), is a computer and video game genre of strategy video games that through stop-action simulates the considerations and circumstances of operational warfare and military tactics in generally small-scale confrontations as opposed to more strategic considerations of turn-based strategy (TBS) games.

Turn-based tactical gameplay is characterized by the expectation of players to complete their tasks using only the combat forces provided to them, and usually by the provision of a realistic (or at least believable) representation of military tactics and operations. Examples of this genre include the Jagged Alliance and X-COM series, as well as tactical role-playing video games such as the Final Fantasy Tactics series and Nippon Ichi games.


During the 1980s, as microcomputers and personal computers became more powerful and more common, game developers turned their attention to designing tactical wargames for them. Some early tactical wargames for the computer included NCS's Elthlead series (1987 onwards) and Lightning Bacchus (1989), Nintendo's Wars series (1988 onwards), Hudson Soft's Nectaris series series (1989 onwards),[4] and Gary Grigsby's series of games for the Commodore 64 and Apple II: Panzer Strike (1987) and Typhoon of Steel (1988).


Tactical wargames[]

Main article: Wargaming

Tactical wargames are a type of wargames (board game or video game) that models military conflict at a tactical level, i.e. units range from individual vehicle and squads to platoons or companies. These units are rated based on types and ranges of individual weaponry.

Tactical role-playing games[]

This sub-genre is principally used to refer to RPG-derived games as an alternative to the traditional turn-based system. In such titles, the system has been tailored to incorporate role-playing game characteristics. The term "tactical" was not widely used to describe such titles until Final Fantasy Tactics was released, where it popularized the genre in North America, although games such as Shining Force were part of the genre years beforehand.


There are several turn-based tactical games with multi-player online gameplay featuring large numbers of players, such as Dofus, Gunrox, and Poxnora. Darkwind: War on Wheels, a combat-oriented auto racing simulation , is the only turn-based tactical game currently to have a persistent world. It is also one of the few games to simulate turn-based auto racing.


  1. Butts, Steve (January 27, 2004). Silent Storm Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-11-25
  2. Ocampo, Jason (May 12, 2006). E3 06: Panzer Tactics DS. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2007-11-25
  3. Battle Lord. GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2007-10-20 Retrieved on 2007-11-25
  4. Military Madness: Nectaris Explodes into Action on Xbox LIVE Arcade. GameZone (September 30, 2009). Retrieved on 2011-05-19