The Stratagems is a gem of a game that may just consume your life

Prepare to be wowed, but not all at once. Joyfort has released one of the deepest, most complex games on Facebook, and though the learning curve is steep, the pay-off is grand. The Stratagems is absolutely one of the coolest games I’ve played on the platform, but it comes with the caveat of requiring patience, dedication, and a big block of your calendar.

The Stratagems is something of a strategy hybrid. The closest thing it could likely be compared to would be an obscure Nintendo DS title called Spectral Force Genesis, but Civilization fans will also find many of The Stratagems‘ elements to be quite familiar. The game is set in World War II, and you’ll play just one small part of this historical epic.

The Stratagems

Rather than presenting players with real-time action, The Stratagems plays out as a turn-based-management game. You’ll need to build all sorts of military structures in order to fuel the fires of war – everything from farms, oil refineries, and steel plants, to a military institute, an air force, and defenses for your cities. This is a big-time strategy game in every sense of the word, and it could quite literally eat up weeks of your life.

At the outset, the game will walk you through only the very basic fundamentals. After that, you’re on your own. Breathe easy, though, as rookie players are given a seven-day grace period during which no other players can attack you. It’s ample time to ready your war machine and study up on tactics.

The week you’re given will absolutely come in handy, as once the tutorial’s over, it’s up to you to figure out all the many intricacies of the game. This is where many players will undoubtedly find The Stratagems to be truly daunting. There’s a wealth of information available via the forums, and the community is generally very helpful. However, it’s ultimately up to you to educate yourself.

Players willing and able to push past the pain will find an addictive strategy experience that is completely free. Micro transactions never feel forced, and though the gameplay is slow going at the start, once The Stratagems gets its engines revved, there’s plenty of content to be consumed by.

The Stratagems

Just don’t expect a lot of fireworks when it comes to the game’s presentation. The visuals look about 10 years out of date, and there’s no music whatsoever. The graphics get the job done, though, and the Flash gameplay is very forgiving in terms of the machine you play it on.

The real boon for players is the game’s user interface (UI). Though the UI isn’t perfect, it’s one of the most well thought out system’s I’ve seen since Warcraft III. What the game lacks in technical panache, it more than makes up for with sensible, easy-to-use menu design.

Though The Stratagems comes with my highest recommendation, this simply isn’t a game for the casual audience. Newcomers to the genre will likely find themselves dumbfounded by the learning curve, and the visual presentation does little to help draw players in. That being said, if you have the patience, desire, and time to dedicate to a game that is almost a lifestyle, definitely give The Stratagems a whirl.