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October Strategy Preview

October 2nd, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

October is the beginning of the holiday season for games. Word of mouth begins about some of these titles and people hold off on their purchases in case Santa shows up with a bundle of new electronic toys.

It is also shaping up to be the month of the expansion pack, with five major titles getting add-ons. Here’s the list, assembled from press releases and major gaming websites:

October 2Wildlife Zoo (Dreamcatcher), Dominions 3: The Awakening (Shrapnel/Illwinter)

October 5Space Empires V (Strategy First/Malfador)

October 9Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War – Dark Crusade (THQ/Relic)

October 16The Guild II (Aspyr/4Head Studios), Sid Meiers Railroads! (2k/Firaxis), Birth of America (Strategy First/AgeOD)

October 17Sims 2: Pets (EA/Maxis), Age of Empires III: Warchiefs (Microsoft/Ensemble), Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania (Microsoft/Blue Fang), UFO: Extraterrestrials (TriSynergy/Chaos Concept), Brigade E5: New Jagged Union (Strategy First/Apeiron)

October 23Heroes of Annihilated Empires (CDV/GSC), Stronghold Legends (2k/Firefly)

October 24Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption (LucasArts/Petroglyph)

October 31Heroes of Might and Magic V: Hammers of Fate (Ubisoft/Nival Interactive)

Birth of America has been out for a while, but is now getting a proper North American distribution deal through Strategy First. Space Empires V will be another 4x space strategy game in a year that has already seen the acclaimed Galactic Civilizations II and the divisive Sword of the Stars.

The only truly huge new AAA title this month is Railroads, a game I had a chance to see a few months ago. And even it isn’t that new, since it is Railroad Tycoon all over again. I guess that’s not quite fair; the Firaxis team has really gone to town on the artwork and the economic game has been much simplified from the most recent version of the game. It is more a model train game, approximating the original Meier RRT design in many ways. It looks glorious, though.

Another title worth looking out for is Heroes of Annihilated Empires. Beyond the silly name and the obvious Peter Jackson ripoff in the game’s movies, I like the idea of another fantasy RTS to challenge my love for Battle for Middle Earth II – not that I’m expecting anything that good.

Of course, the big title of the month for my household isn’t even a strategy game. Much delayed, and seemingly troubled, role playing game Neverwinter Nights 2 (Atari/Obsidian) will be available on the 31st. I’ve been a big fan of the original NWN and have had some concerns about how Obsidian has approached the development of the sequel, especially in their punting on the issue of the Dungeon Master client. Plus I’ve been hearing unsavory things about the system requirements and the toolset’s ease of use. Brett Todd did a better job than I could of voicing the concerns of many observers in his October CGM column.

EDIT: Dominions 3 is another major strategy gaming that will arrive in people’s homes sometime this week. Shrapnel says it started shipping on September 29 though the release date is October 2, so we’ll be getting reports on it soon enough. Since Dominions is such a strange little series in so many ways, I’ll be reserving a lot of commentary for when I have more to say. I’ve added the game to the October list thanks to a perceptive commenter. Thanks hoo.


4 Comments so far ↓

  • hoo


    No mention of Dom III? I pre-ordered my copy after reading some tidbits by you and Bruce on the Dom series. Looking forward to getting my copy this week.


  • Troy

    I can’t believe I would miss a title like that either. So I checked my sources and the lists I’ve been using all have the game as a September 29 release. Even Shrapnel has that date since that’s when they began shipping.

    And of course, I still missed it in my September post because I thought it would be slipping till October. I’ve edited my post to reflect this correction. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Alexey

    Sorry for posting this here, but I couldn’t find your email anywhere. The RSS feed at is actually for comments, not for entries. Could you please set it up correctly?

    Also, what other blogs and sites are good for strategy games?

  • Troy

    Email is in the about me thing. It’s broken up to avoid the spambots.

    The feed link should be:

    http://flashofsteel.com/?feed=rss2. The link at the bottom of the page should work.

    You can also use the feedburner link if you’ve got that.

    There aren’t many other strategy game only blogs out there. Geryk’s blog, linked to the right, is highly recommended though he hasn’t updated in a while. As for sites, Tacticular Cancer is a great news site, though it doesn’t have a lot of original content.