Real Time Strategy is a genre of CategoryComputerGames, where the player controls his loyal minions, usually battling against foes, controlled by other players or by an AI. Examples include StarCraft, WarCraft, TotalAnnihilation, Homeworld,the CommandAndConquer series, DungeonKeeper, AgeOfEmpires? etc. Usually includes an element of ResourceGathering? and EmpireBuilding? - often including some form of tree progression and almost always including choices of which units to create. Crucially, as might be hinted at by the name, these games are active - even if you don't do anything the game proceeds without you.
Turn Based Strategy is a genre of CategoryComputerGames - but very directly evolved from BoardGames?. Usually, but not always, the aim of the game is to gather resources, build units and crush your enemies (who may be human or AI) Examples include Shogun and its successor, Medieval:Total War, BattleIsle, FinalFantasyTactics, the XCom series and also games such as Civilization (though that is part of the FourX? or EmpireBuilding? SubGenre?) Generally the tree progression is emphasised more and the tactical area is smaller - either individual orders tend to do more or the battle itself is smaller.
TBS games are often played multiplayer - various solutions have been used to overcome the non-concurrent nature of play such as time limited turns, 'simultaneous turns then execute' and just playing exceedingly long games (VGA-Stars, for example)
RTS games, on the other hand, can be said to suffer from FranticClicking - the player with the better reflexes can often win against the player with the better plan. Of course, some people see this as an advantage - valuing the skill of reacting to a situation well enough and quickly more highly than the skill of eventually reacting correctly.
Both genres, as pure genres, are perenially said to be 'on the way out'. Then a game like FinalFantasyTactics or KnightsOfTheOldRepublic?(Hang on, KOTOR? As an exaple of an RTS?! It's a first person shooter with stealth and RPG elements! Anyone got a better "rts aren't on the way out after all" example?) comes along and flattens that view. Perhaps these should be regarded as game mechanics, or viable subsystems of games rather than as full fleged game genres in themselves?
Hang on. KnightsOfTheOldRepublic? an RTS or TBS? Surely it's a CRPG, using WizardsOfTheCoasts? d20 system for StarWars? A damn fine game, mind, together with its sequel. --CH
I think that was the point - CRPG is said to be on its way out, then something re-energises it. As FinalFantasyTactics arguably did (I personally think AdvanceWars? did more, it's the "Short and on a handheld that was crucial, not the game itself) for TBS. --Vitenka
Pallando hopes that someday someone will create a four layer game.
Layer 1 - economy and research. Players would control corporations that can invest in ventures, trade and start businesses in different towns and countries. These coorporations pay taxes in return for which they expect services and support for various policies or stances from the politicians, else they will vote with their feet and move elsewhere.
Layer 2 - alliances, roleplay, diplomacy and espionage. Players form clans that can buy their way to higher status in various alliances of cities that form 'nations'. These nations make laws, treaties, and grow on the products and research produced by layer 1. Occasionally diplomay fails and war is declared. With luck and good generals the nation may gain. With poor generals, they may decide to sue for peace before their losses become too great.
Layer 3 - a turn based strategy game. Players control generals in charge of a campaign with a fixed objective (beat size X) and resources (this is what our nation's coorporations have available for you). They decide what troop mix to recruit and arm and train, where to send each army each season and what task to give it. From time to time, armies from opposing sides will meet, leading to battle.
Layer 4 - a real time strategy game. Players log into a server and see what battles are going on. They can take over running one of the sides.
A major problem with multi-layer games has, traditionally, been that either the more-abstract layers are unimportant (and thus ignored) or are completely vital, and those playing the real-time layers stop playing unless their side is winning. (Leading to 'everyone is on one team, game over') You'd also need a huge player-base, to have even a slight chance of there being real live players in your nations battles. --Vitenka