As a kid I used to play The Dark Queen of Krynn for hours, weeks, months on end, and from my lifetime of gaming it's right up there with my all time favourites. I don't know if it was the story (although I enjoyed that) as much as the style of turn based combat that really grabbed me.
It's kind of been something I often thought about over the years, wondering what other games might scratch that particular itch, and finally now in my 30s I thought I might finally make a post about it.
For thread context; I'm inspired by this kind of gameplay for my own potential game design, but I really have no idea which developers over the years carried and refined this kind of combat in the best ways and I'd love to get anyone's thoughts on that subject. I SHOULD know.. I just didn't keep up. I got into different games, and especially around the time I got into gamedev, I was doing totally different things.
I'd like to think that good game design is always informed by mistakes and successes from the past, and with such an explosion of indie dev in recent years I feel like there must be dozens of amazing titles I don't know about that have this kind of approach to combat. I feel like before I'd even consider working on my little title in the vein of Gold Box TBS I should ideally be really familiar with what's already happening right now in this space, and what kind of audience exists for it.
I'm really talking purely about the combat - not necessarily the audience that exists for Dragonlance type AD&D narrative, nor the audience for retro pixel art, nor the specifics of the D&D ruleset they used (although I did like it a lot, I prefer NWN / 3.0, and even then I'd just do my own thing anyway).
What I loved, in terms of gameplay, was the role separation between party members and need to balance a good squad for all occasions. In a tough battle, every turn of every party member was important - it mattered where everyone was, who you had protected, who's at the front line, who's supporting, who's guarded, etc. I think I really loved the party size of six as well, as you really need to keep everybody alive and protected as a crucial aspect of combat.
I could probably name a few similar games I played over the years but none that quite scratched the itch the same way:
- FF Tactic and Disgaea 3 - extreme addiction occurred in both of these titles, I think they're both actually a good example of something nore recent I enjoyed in more or less the same way.
- Boulder's Gate 2 - absolutely loved every minute of this game, and loved the combat also but in a different way / for different reasons.
- Arcanum - also absolutely loved this game as well, but I never got as engrossed in the combat.
- Battle for Wesnoth (played on iOS) - I really enjoy this game, but I wish it had deeper character customisation and the fact that it's army vs army gives it a totally different appeal to me (not in a bad way, just scratching a different itch)
- Reign of Swords (played on iOS) - actually loved the hell out of this game but for unknown reasons, they killed it on the app store and it never returned.
So I guess what I'm interested in is some of the best modern examples of people doing great things in this space - both because I want to play those games, but also as creative reference. I don't want to make something exactly like anything pre-existing, and I also don't want to reinvent any wheels.
There's actually just about 0 games I can find on iOS/mobile that scratches this itch and I'd love it if there was. FF Tactics is there but compared to PSP the control scheme is not really to my liking. I do also own BG on iPad but I think I'd rather play that on PC, but I've also already played both of those titles and would rather get into something new.
Any insight on this would be really great.