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darkwolf

ALL (Most) The TRPG's

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There is a wide range of TRPG's with different styles to draw on, and not nearly enough space to discuss them all in one post. Still, its a start. Feel free to expand on the list or any game.

It would be fun to see a MASSIVE CHALICE Game Club stream of different TRPG's, like the DFA game club did for old adventure games.

Fire Emblem

Strongly story driven game, based around a large cast of main characters. Featured equipment durability, perma-death, and a rock/paper/scissors class composition of sorts.

+ Strong characterization and story

- Durability more of an annoyance then a satisfying strategic or resource management choice.

- Perma-death promotes save scumming, or stacking 'invulnerable' heroes.

Shining Forces

Highly stylized, based around a large cast of main characters. Alternating turns in which the Player / CPU move all of their units. Class / Promotion based advancement system. Player spent time between battles in a more traditional JRPG perspective, walking around towns, interacting with NPC's, ect.

+ Highly stylized Art concept

+ Satisfying game play

- Heroes were not well balanced. Certain heros not strong late game. Flying units very powerful

- Promotion System unintuitively punishes players if they don't get level 20 as base class before promoting.

- Awkward inventory

Ogre Battle

The original Ogre battle had you organizing squad composition, and directing position on the map; while squad battles would act out automatically whenever your party encountered the enemy. Only interaction in battle was the use of 'tarot' cards to occasional turn the tide.

There was a large amount of meta gametness, in that squad alignment/ sex (M/F) / and level would affect the result of how your actions in the game are gauged on a lawful/Chaotic scale that affected the endings. Often ignored in favor of main mechanics.

Tactics Ogre

Controlling individual units, using a combination of main character and anonymous units in battle. Individual units get movement priority based on their stats. Unit perma death promotes defensive play. MP starts at 0 and gradually raises as the time counter progresses, so stronger spells are not available until a few turns have passed.

+ Class composition/combat felt good

- Leveling up new units was tedious, often requiring repetitive unrewarding/unchallanging task.

Final Fantasy Tactics

Combination of main/anon character units using a more open Class system. The original had perma-death, though there were more ways to avoid it. In later iterations operma-death was mostly removed for a more casual play. MP starts at full but gets used up during fight, making fights potentially front heavy.

+ Great Class flavor

- Main characters special abilities outshine generic characters.

Disgaea

Highly stylized and humors, designed for character development to extreme levels in new game++ through procedurally generated levels. Can level characters to 9999. then reincarnate to lvl 1 while banking stats from your previous life and do it all again. You can level up items numerous times. While the original game involved a lot more grinding, sequels added features which made it easier to level up new characters. Weapon types have unique skills, apart from classes.

+ Ridiculous power levels and character development potential

+ Lots of personality

- Main game works better using a few characters the majority of the time, rather then deploying a full squad

- Some of the grinding can be ridiculously tedious or fiddly. Best/Worst nightmare for a min/maxer.

Soul Nomad

An advancement of the original Ogre Battle Style. Player creates squad composition and skirmishes play out automatically. But the player has control of the units on the grid, and party leaders give perks or special abilities that could be used a limited time on the map. Game contains a hugely branching story with not just multiple endings, but paths to those endings. Including a really well done, decide to be the villain path/parody.

Bahamut Lagoon

Squad combat with a twist, each squad also has a CPU controlled Dragon unit that acts on its own (with limited instruction) and which provide a buff to your main unit while they are alive. Player has ability to nurture and grow the dragons.

Saga frontier 2

Primarily a not so traditional JRPG, spaning several characters life times. Contains a few TRPG mini games. Players position and give basic commands (fight/skill/defend) to the squad, rather then to units. Having ranged units nearby can bombard the enemy before the attack. Doing the more/less damage in 3 rounds of a skirmish causes the losing unit to move back a square, and killed units are refilled from a limited set of reserve. So focus becomes territory and attrition.

Suikoden

Primarily a traditional JRPG experience with a huge cast of characters, but it incorporates several significant TRPG style battles as well. You create unit composition by leveraging perks from your main characters, then control squads on a grid based board following a rock/paper/scissors style of battle. The various Suikoden sequels have tweaked and advanced on the controls of the TRPG aspects of the game.

X-Com

Extremely atmospheric and procedurally generated modern (gun) combat gameplay. Each side takes turns moving their entire squad of individual units, but you could 'save' time units to set up reaction shots during the enemies turn. Big emphasis on the fog of war, line of sight, and ranged weapon accuracy/bullet physics. Enemy units are active as soon as the mission starts, even while the player can not necessarily see their actions (Though they can sometimes notice sound queues).

Units are generic, but can be outfitted (based on their stats) to act as specific roles. Perma death can happen and punish the player very quickly, causing a large amount of tension in the positional and scouting stages of an encounter.

There is also a lot more emphasis on management outside of the fights as well. Players control base, manage global threats, control funds, stock supplies, and manage research/advancement of equipment.

X-Com Enemy Unknown

Made a long time after the original, does a lot of polishing to the tactical fighting gameplay, but also simplifies and linearies a lot of the over world management. Enemies don't move until players encounter them on the map. Encounters more predictable, and no longer as procedurally generated (maps are static, encounters are scheduled, ect). Implements a more focused class based system, and skill tree for character development.

Valkyria Chronicles

Before the recent X-Com game came out, I would herald this as the first huge advancement in the TRPG genre in a long time. Beautifully stylized, it manages to sensibly switch from isometric grid view to 3rd person 3D view. Opponents take turns moving their entire squad, but suppressing fire from idle units on the opponent team help emphasis position, cover, and gradual advancement.

Leveling is done between combats for class types as a whole, rather then leveling individual units. Each character has their own unique personality, and traits; which can be unlocked after using them repeatedly. There is a simplistic class based system, though latter iterations add a divergent promotion that can specialize units. Unit gear can also be customized to suit roles. Creates a support class that actually feels powerful and relevant compared to the other classes.

Has perma death that is relatively trivial to avoid. Downed units can be tagged to avoid death.

It dose have some weaknesses, such as all mission objectives being capture the flag combined with a performance ranking system that encourages beating missions as fast as possible, while ignoring enemies. This also imbalances class choice, specially when scouts get the projectile grenade that counters their weakness (Gunners in cover).

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Does Advance Wars count? Not sure if that really has enough of the RPG side? Only played the GBA version to be fair. I've spent many many hours on X-Com (original, Terror fro the Deep and the recent reboot) plus Valkyria Chronicles however. All great sources of inspiration!

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I should play more Valkyria Chronicles. It's transition from top down view of the battlefield to actually moving individual units in 3D is amazing

Scout are indeed OP. especially Alicia in Newgame+

No love for Advance Wars?

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No love for Advance Wars?

I ran out of space... also I can't say I ever played it. But feel free to do a synopsis post of it! I'd be interested in hearing about it.

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Jagged Alliance, Jagged Alliance 2, Fallout Tactics, Omerta – City of Gangsters, and Xenonauts. Is Wasteland 2 going to be a TRPG? It's turn based and squad based, gameplay is described as "tactical". Of course there's SPACE HULK (seems to be pretty unique gameplay based on the board game) and Jagged Alliance: Flashback in production now. Also Shadowrun Returns.

Advance Wars isn't a RPG, it is a turn based strategy game like Civ, Might and Magic, or the campaign map part of the Total War series, which would expand the list by a lot. One of the differences is unit production and the amount of units you control, which in Advance Wars is quite a lot. Another is resources, in the case of Advance Wars are cities that generate money. "Tactical" is usually only used to describe squad based games but games like the X-Com series have a strategy management element above the tactical gameplay.

The KickStarter page only called it a tactical strategy game, but the games listed as examples are all RPGs.

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Daaaang. I'm super impressed you put Bahamut Lagoon in there. I f***ing love Bahamut Lagoon. The dragon system was simultaneously awesome and terrible. Awesome, because developing your dragons and having them fight with you in combat was PHENOMENAL. But only if you developed a good dragon. Bahamut Lagoon also made it possible to develop your dragon "wrong" or at least "poorly", which gave you a really piss poor mutated crap dragon. The worst part is that every dragon needed something completely different to become a high level dragon, and you didn't know what any of them were, and if you screwed it up, you didn't know how to fix it again. At least not without going online and consulting a guide/FAQ. In principle, though, Bahamut Lagoon is great.

Also, in regard to Disgaea, I would also praise its mentoring system. (There are Teacher/Student experience perks.) One of the huge minuses to the Disgaea games is that both the player and the enemies are so incredibly powerful that most of the time you are both killing members of the opposite party in a single attack. Especially if it's a special attack. So all the strategy boils down to scrambling for first blood a lot of the time.

I'm also a fan of the Front Mission games. As with all games involving mechs, half of the fun is outfitting your mechs with new parts and tools. DAT CUSTOMIZATION.

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The recent X-COM was super fun, I loved it BUT it had a camera bug where you couldn't click on any ground that had a second level below it. This made the game extremely frustrating for me. I liked the control scheme of Valkyria Chronicles, where you went to 3rd person view and moved the guy around until his endurance or whatever it was called ran out.

I really like Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. These were my first experience of the TRPG genre. Advance Wars was also incredibly fun.

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It's like you're listing a list of games in my backlog (or wishlist) I'd love to get at someday.

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@darkwolf - what an amazing post! I love your clear, succinct breakdown of each game. This is a great resource for people looking to get into tactical games! Thanks for writing it up! :D!

Also I could not agree more with this point about FFT:

"- Main characters special abilities outshine generic characters."

It was such a bummer to train up your awesome, unique characters over the course of the game, only to have them be overshadowed by Cloud and the robot and such!

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Oh! I almost forgot.

Banner Saga

Banner Saga is another kickstarter game that has not yet been released. Its a tactical RPG, with a Norse/Viking setting and a story focused on inter clan decisions while your people are fleeing some great calamity. Your trying to keep alive both your soldiers and farmers, deal with possible dissenting factions within your group, while doing a not entirely unlike oregon trail trek across the landmass.

In developing the game, they have made a standalone pvp version of their combat system available as a "Free to play" on Steam, called Banner Saga factions.

I have not played it since early in its alpha stage... so I can't speak for all of the things that might have changed, but a few things it did with combat...

Characters have both HP and Armor. You can choose to attack either HP or Armor. Removing Armor makes the character take more damage, but removing HP makes the character do less damage (As HP/Strength is tied to Damage done). Characters have a set amount of will points that lets them take additional movement squares or use special abilities, but these don't necessarily return over the battle. Players take turns moving individual units, selected from some unit priority. If you only have one unit left however, you will get to move every other turn. This sometimes lead to strategies where its better to weaken the entire enemy army before picking them off (make them low hp so they can do less) rather then ganging up on individual units and leaving one last fast/mobile enemy at the end.

And while I'm thinking of it...

Fallout 1/2

The original Fallout, same setting / type of dynamic role playing like the modern ones but with a grid based combat system whenever you approached an enemy. Multiple Combat styles, character development / character sheet based attributes and skills, firearms or melee weapons ect. Classic and cheap to find, but shows its age.

Fallout Tactics

A more squad / team based fallout game, as far as mission structure and squad size go.

Wasteland 2

That other kickstarter. Again, not so much a tactics game as an RPG that happens to use a grid combat system when you approach enemies. Your team is made up of the same four characters, plus a slot for various optional NPC companion/mercs. Gameplay video: http://youtu.be/R9hQWqtxXPU?t=2m38s

Valkyrie Chronicles 2

Moved from PS3 to console. Moved from serious themes of war, and 20 something characters, to 14 year olds at an academy trope =/. Also made some iteration changes plus additional changes to deal with the limitation of the new system.

Instead of One massive map, Chapters of the game contain multiple smaller modulo maps, which you can travel between by controlling certain camps or bases. Each mini map has a max character deployment limit (4-6?), while the over all mission had a global deployment cap (6-10?). Each mini zone also had a number of optional 'road blocks' such as bolders, blockades, and ladders which would change the terrain or possible ways to transverse the area. This allowed reusing of the same assets multiple times, while keeping combat varied.

For instance...

Mission 1-1 you would have zones A<->B.

Mission 1-2 could have zones A<->C.

Mission 1-5 could have A,B,C,D.

A<->B,D

B<->C,D

C<->D

D<->A,B,C

There were probably only 5-6 different map title sets. But each title set had 5-6 sub zones that could be combined in a number of ways. Plus a few unique special missions for certain plot or boss fights.

They also balanced the classes a little better. Added class specialization... Trooper could go to Shock Trooper or Flame Thrower. Both anti unit in different ways. I don't think it was a permanent choice so you could switch back as necessary. They also added a new unit, a Melle/shield unit that could act as mobile cover in someways.

City of Gangsters

(As "A Pile of Kittens" pointed out above.) Has a tactical turn based element involving gangsters, combining melle and gun weapon damage.

There is a total Biscuit video that features some of the combat here:

Blood Bowl

A war hammer inspired fantasy football game. Wait wut? The fantasy in that statesmen refers to orcs, elves, and goblins. (And demons, undead, dark elves, chaos orcs, ect).

It's a strongly dice/rng based, grid based tactical 'sports' game that mostly involves various characters punching the crap out of each other. Despite the large introduction of dice rng, there is a lot of strategic tactical choices to make, as well as en emphasis on character development and perks that drastically changes the roles your units can play during a match.

Is calling this a tactical RPG a strech? Maybe. But it certainly illustrates a new variation on just what kind of context you can put a grid tactics game into, as well as different ways to think about 'combat' apart from HP/MP.

'Combat' is primarily done through trying to knockdown opponents. You can usually only knockdown an opponent if you are standing next to them at the start of your turn. That is moving and attacking is restricted. But you also create tackle zones, such that characters you are next to can not move away from you without rolling a saving throw (or else they can get knocked down.). Adjacent allies can increase your chance to attack or defend by ganging up on, or engaging opponents by being adjacent to them. This creates an interesting positional / territory strategy to the game.

So. Many. Possibilities.

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Fallout 1/2 I don't think count as TRPGs because you only control one character. Wasteland, not part of the TRPG subgenre, there's no movement of the squad, a lot of console RPGs and old PC RPGs are like this with turn based battle instances where you select attacks, I think that would cover most RPGs for long periods.

Wasteland 2, not sure what makes X-COM or Omerta a TRPG but not Wasteland 2 apart from it's focus on RPG gameplay. In terms of tactical combat, the difference between X-COM: Enemy Unknown and Wasteland 2 is not going to be that different, Omerta even less, and Wasteland 2 has more claim to being in a RPG sub-genre. Wasteland 2 combat seems to be modelled on Jagged Alliance and Fallout Tactics, pretty much the definitions of Western tactical role playing games.

Blood Bowl is clearly in the same kind of genre as X-COM or Omerta, a strategy management sim with turn based tactical arena combat. Part of the problem is that Western games like Blood Bowl, X-COM, or Omerta are not necessarily referred to as TRPGs they're just placed in the turn base strategy genre, because they only have RPG elements, and were influenced by the mechanics of RPG games, they're not trying to be RPGs and they don't come from RPG series.

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Fallout 1/2 I don't think count as TRPGs because you only control one character. Wasteland, not part of the TRPG subgenre, there's no movement of the squad, a lot of console RPGs and old PC RPGs are like this with turn based battle instances where you select attacks, I think that would cover most RPGs for long periods.

Ok, I removed wasteland 1. I had not actually played that before and was going mostly by my exposure to wasteland 2.

These were all games I wasn't as familiar with, or games whose mechanics are merely derivative (or precursors) to later 'tactics games'. But I think this 'B team' shows of a lot of games with mechanics that are relevant to Tactical combat regardless; even if they probably do fall into a much broader category (or much more specific categories within a broader topic of which TRPG may only be a part.)

Fallout 1/2 may only have you controlling one character, but it does have a grid based / action point / turn based combat. It does this in a way that more seamlessly transitions between navigating/exploring the environment. These games later evolved to party based versions in Fallout Tactics or Wasteland 2 in different ways. While it is a small persistent party, it's combat mechanics are interesting and relevant enough to be worth analysis when compared to potential TRPG combat systems.

City of Gangsters was mentioned for a similar reason, solely to point out it's combat mechanics. Rather then having a medieval fantasy or full on warfare, it focuses on a smaller / gangster style of combat combining both melle and various ranged weapons. Unlike X-Com it is character speed priority rather then each team move all their units at once. And I remember the general flavor and mechanics standing out as kind of different and interesting so I added it to the list.

I think the most interesting in this list is actually Blood bowl. I'm not sure if there are any other 'table top' inspired video games that use similar dice mechanics... but I'd be interested to hear about other games like it.

Most combat systems in any RPG rely on the HP mechanic. From a weapons combat perspective however, it is much more likely that opponents block the majority of attacks until one strikes a killing blow. Glancing blows and wounds are less common, though still happen... but not really in the same way as the HP soak a lot of units become in games. (See Uncharted 1 and the bullet sponge mercenaries...) Most prospective designers try to think of alternate methods of dealing with this, but it is a non-trivial problem to convey to the user in a satisfying way.

Setting aside the 'sport' aspect of Blood Bowl, they have created a 'combat system' that basically has a few set states. Knock back, knock down, wound, kill. They also incorporate this in a way that includes zoning out / territory control, as well as adjacent units assisting in attack/defense.

That means you can actually create a meaningful front line, or have breaking / sneaking around that front line be a tactical device. Knocking back or winning a skirmish forces the enemy to give up ground which you can take, and which you can also potentialy over extend yourself into... Positioning individual units together or in formations provides a greater tactical advantage, apart from the 'just gang up each of the enemies hero's as fast as possible' strat.

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I know someone who maintains a list of these, I'll see if I can figure out where it is.

Here we go: http://www.tbstactics.com/2010/04/list-of-turn-based-tactics-and-srpg.html

Hey that's a great list! Also it's super sad to see how few games in this genre make it to the west... which is why we think it's an excellent genre that could definitely use our help!

As for my personal favorites in the genre, in no particular order:

Phantom Brave - had such a charming atmosphere as well as grid-free combat! It can also be broken wide open in about 2 hours so you can just play around with mechanics very early in the story.

Front Mission - I think I like the SFC one better than Front Mission 3, but both are rad as heck because they combine my love of NUMBERS DOING BATTLE with ROBOTS DOING BATTLE. Would have definitely preferred more Super Robots, but hey, that's why there's:

Super Robot Taisen - The OG games we got in the US are pretty bland, but Alpha 3 for PS2 and W for NDS are some of my absolute favorite moments of Hard Nerding. I love the attack animations so much, and I can't get over seeing a GoLion slicing pieces off of Mazinger Z!

Jeanne D'arc - So utterly charming throughout. Amazing looking monsters! Actually I totally need to play this again because I don't remember it all that well!

and an honoroble mention to Tactics Ogre / Final Fantasy Tactics because I love Yoshida Akihiko's character designs.

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Speaking of gridless combat....

Does Resonance of Fate kind of count as a TRPG?

Probably most people would say no, but trying to call it any other kind of RPG doesn't really work either. That game is weird, man.

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My absolute favorite game in the genre:

Jagged Alliance 2

*The merc system where you pay for their contracts instead of always finding and keeping characters

*So much personality in the mercs and the characters. In how many other games can characters dislike each other and fight until they actually start fighting each other.

*Open world map.

*Crafting and upgrades

*Humour! Try sending flowers to the capital.

*Great loot system

*So many secrets and great sidemission

*The economy system

*And much more.

And the most recent favorite:

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

A lot of people complain about the combat being simplified, but I don't agree. I really really like it, and think they found a brilliant combination of pace and tactics. Having to deal with difficult choices and give something up is important in all strategy and roleplaying games, and the limited amount of units and inventory items, alongside with the injuries was a great design descision.

And the feeling of the battles when you were getting pinned, panicking and just trying to get your best soldiers out of there, since the system to personalize your characters and the skill tree made them mean so much.

This game is so much fun! :) (and yes, I played the old ones, at their release).

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Speaking of gridless combat....

Does Resonance of Fate kind of count as a TRPG?

Probably most people would say no, but trying to call it any other kind of RPG doesn't really work either. That game is weird, man.

I don't think it has the emphasis on environment or positioning that TRPGs have. In terms of tactics it's more like a straight up traditional JRPG but with an unconventional turn based system. Turns between different squad members not between the player and AI and the attacks are determined in a real-time system. It has the "bleed" and "real" damage system that's in some games, I think they call it "thrash" and "direct", I don't think that's in many RPGs. I've never seen a mixture of both turn based systems with real-time like this, excluding semi-turn based systems like in MMORPGs and Arcanum/Fallout Tactics in real-time mode which aren't really turn based at all.

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I don't think it has the emphasis on environment or positioning that TRPGs have.

Not in nearly the same way, but it DOES have them, whereas traditional turn-based RPGs/JRPGs don't tend to have it at all. It's just that a typical TRPG creates special kinds of squares in the grid you can place a unit on, and the different types of squares on the grid have different kinds of advantages/penalties associated with them.

ROF doesn't HAVE a grid, so the "character" of a square in the environment isn't important in the same way. Instead, ROF encourages (almost to the point of making it a requirement) that all actions be paired up with movement across the battlefield. The environment is important to the extent that it obstructs or assists your move actions, and the success of your attack action is regulated by the success of your move action. So the environment is (albeit somewhat indirectly) a pretty important thing to consider. Plus you have various other environmental considerations, such as objects on the battlefield that act as barriers/shields or objects on the battlefield that explode, etc.

In short, I wonder about ROF because it's not like a standard turn-based RPG where you have just a battle SCREEN. ROF is similar to a TRPG in that it is turn-based combat on a battle FIELD and where positioning and environmental objects can make a difference.

On the other hand, it's not at all like a TRPG, because there is no grid, and the movement is "free". (Movement is actually limited in terms of distance you can travel per turn, which is comparable to how the SPEED or MOVE stat typically works in a TRPG, but it's "free" in that the movement is not ratcheted as it would be on a grid.)

In terms of tactics it's more like a straight up traditional JRPG but with an unconventional turn based system. Turns between different squad members not between the player and AI

Not sure what you mean by this.

and the attacks are determined in a real-time system.

Right, but why does that make it an unconventional RPG and not an unconventional TRPG? Also, even though the attacks are executed with something like real-time button commands and the damage is calculated in real time as those commands are/aren't carried out, it's not REAL real time in the sense that enemies and allies don't move simultaneously. Every individual unit on the field moves in "real time", but while that unit is moving in real time, all other units are idle. Although the enemies have damage animations, they are actually in an idle state while they wait for their turn to come up again.

It has the "bleed" and "real" damage system that's in some games, I think they call it "thrash" and "direct",

It's "scratch" damage. That system is really weird. I've played a lot of ROF, and the scratch damage system is still really strange to me. There is something satisfying about "actualizing" the scratch damage by driving it home with a direct hit, but other than that, it doesn't serve much strategic purpose in term's of the player achieving his/her objectives. The only way it factors into strategy is when they PLAYER'S characters have RECEIVED scratched damage and must take into account the possibility that it will convert to real damage.

It's one of the more difficult parts of the battle system to understand and get used to, but even when you do, it doesn't add a whole lot. Kudos to them for trying something creative, though.

I've never seen a mixture of both turn based systems with real-time like this, excluding semi-turn based systems like in MMORPGs and Arcanum/Fallout Tactics in real-time mode which aren't really turn based at all.

I've played A LOT of RPGs of all different kinds (currently typing this with Persona 3:FES on pause!), and there really is nothing that is quite like Resonance of Fate. Whether or not you end up liking it (or hell even understanding it), you have to admit that it's a horse of a very different color.

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I remember being really excited for Hoshigami: Ruining Blue Earth when I was younger, since I was such a big fan of Final Fantasy Tactics. I ended up being very disappointed.

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Not in nearly the same way, but it DOES have them, whereas traditional turn-based RPGs/JRPGs don’t tend to have it at all.

If by traditional you mean old PC RPGs (from the 80's and early 90's) and JRPGs, especially console RPGs, but that's not true of many if not most later RPGs on PCs and many on console, they also have walls and barriers (destructible barricades, ridges), sometimes created by characters with spells, and position is important for staying out of range of projectiles, kiting melee, and avoiding AOE. Some RPGs have environmental hazards like acid, explosives, and gas.

It’s just that a typical TRPG creates special kinds of squares in the grid you can place a unit on, and the different types of squares on the grid have different kinds of advantages/penalties associated with them.

I think that TRPG have an emphasis on positioning, whether that's tile properties or a cover system, also movement trade offs like prone/crouch, whether you can attack and move. Players make their own environment and cover in Blood Bowl, they create tackle zone tiles and the characters make walls.

I wouldn't say that Resonance of Fate's cover and position is even as important as the squad based RPG (Icewind Dale, ToEE, NWN, DA: Origins), let alone close to the level of TRPG.

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When it comes to tactical strategy RPGs, I think my favorite series is actually the Super Robot Wars series.

Often overlooked, Super Robot Wars does large scale tactical battle with heavy narrative in a largely unique and very compelling way, with statistics and special abilities that make each unit its own. If we're plumbing what exists to look for things to learn (and steal) and things to avoid, there is a wealth of knowledge on tactical RPG battles to be gained from the Super Robot Wars series of games.

Speaking of taking inspiration, perhaps some sort of inspiration-quest might be in order. I wonder if it would be possible to organize some sessions of streaming play featuring different games that have ideas to learn from. Kind of like what was done early on in the Broken Age project, but with games of the appropriate genre and style for this project.

EDIT: I just realized that DF benburbank already mentioned Super Robot Wars (SUPER ROBOT TAISEN) earlier in the thread. I'm glad to see not everybody overlooks it.

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I know someone who maintains a list of these, I'll see if I can figure out where it is.

Here we go: http://www.tbstactics.com/2010/04/list-of-turn-based-tactics-and-srpg.html

Hey that's a great list! Also it's super sad to see how few games in this genre make it to the west... which is why we think it's an excellent genre that could definitely use our help!

As for my personal favorites in the genre, in no particular order:

Phantom Brave - had such a charming atmosphere as well as grid-free combat! It can also be broken wide open in about 2 hours so you can just play around with mechanics very early in the story.

Front Mission - I think I like the SFC one better than Front Mission 3, but both are rad as heck because they combine my love of NUMBERS DOING BATTLE with ROBOTS DOING BATTLE. Would have definitely preferred more Super Robots, but hey, that's why there's:

Super Robot Taisen - The OG games we got in the US are pretty bland, but Alpha 3 for PS2 and W for NDS are some of my absolute favorite moments of Hard Nerding. I love the attack animations so much, and I can't get over seeing a GoLion slicing pieces off of Mazinger Z!

Jeanne D'arc - So utterly charming throughout. Amazing looking monsters! Actually I totally need to play this again because I don't remember it all that well!

and an honoroble mention to Tactics Ogre / Final Fantasy Tactics because I love Yoshida Akihiko's character designs.

The SRT games i've played are super dope. There's a very good one for the GBA (J, I think) that was recently fan translated into english. Excellent. Can't recall if Fire Emblem made this list or not. Gonna go back to the top.

Edit: well duh....first game mentioned on the first post *shameful look of shame*

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One of my favourites... and probably the one that hooked me on them, was Nobunga's Ambition waaaay back. I still remember the animations showing me showering the peasants with rice (and the resulting cheers) when I granted them additional food reserves :P

Found a youtube video of it :)

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Not quite an RPG, but I enjoyed the heck out of Dominus by US Gold back in the early 90s. MC reminds me greatly of it (part of why I backed). Basically you play as an overlord (with a cool flying chariot and all) whose kingdom is under attack by several groups of demons. You could make traps, cast spells, make new spells, send out troops to gather resources, capture enemy soldiers, interrogate prisoners, splice your own monsters into new monsters, or fly into combat yourself and dish out doom yourself.

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EDIT: I just realized that DF benburbank already mentioned Super Robot Wars (SUPER ROBOT TAISEN) earlier in the thread. I'm glad to see not everybody overlooks it.

HECK YEAH. It's The Best! I love them so muchhhhh! Also Chad mentioned Silent Storm which was STRAIGHT UP AMAZING (and I usually only go for the ones with ridiculous environments / characters / robies).

And yeah Brigadine was super cool, but has almost always been prohibitively expensive / rare. I sold my copy like an idiot a couple years back. D:

I just remembered one that hasn't been mentioned but is worth checking out: Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (NDS). SUPER over-looked but definitely my favorite game in that series.

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Battle for Wesnoth deserves a mention:

http://www.wesnoth.org/

Not many RPG elements but the tactical turn based combat with persistent units across battles is very well done. The fact it's freeware is even better.

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EDIT: I just realized that DF benburbank already mentioned Super Robot Wars (SUPER ROBOT TAISEN) earlier in the thread. I'm glad to see not everybody overlooks it.

HECK YEAH. It's The Best! I love them so muchhhhh! Also Chad mentioned Silent Storm which was STRAIGHT UP AMAZING (and I usually only go for the ones with ridiculous environments / characters / robies).

And yeah Brigadine was super cool, but has almost always been prohibitively expensive / rare. I sold my copy like an idiot a couple years back. D:

I just remembered one that hasn't been mentioned but is worth checking out: Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume (NDS). SUPER over-looked but definitely my favorite game in that series.

Silent Storm, cause some drunk dev thought "you know what would be cool, WWII with mechs and LASERS!" And they were right.

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