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turn based strategy gameIf there’s one thing that I don’t like about real-time massively multi-player online games is that some players live their entire lives on some of those games. If you’re a newbie and just testing the waters, you’re lucky to survive for five seconds. Unless I’ve had a lot of time to practice the game offline, I tend to shy away from MMOGs.

Still, sometimes it’s fun to take a break from work and enter into some kind of online competition with a bunch of other players online. One type of game that I enjoy a lot are turn-based strategy games, because they require more careful thought than just quick fingers. This also makes turn-based games a little bit boring at times, because they’ll move a lot slower than real-time war games or shooters.


Recently, I discovered an awesome turn-based strategy game called Darkwind that combines many of the elements of turn-based strategy with real-time action. The game’s logo is War on Wheels, and for good reason. Essentially, you strap yourself to a high-powered vehicle that has machine guns and rocket launchers mounted on the front, and you take part in insane races against other drivers, literally going to war against the competition.

Choose Your Wheels & Go To War!

Learning how to play this game will take you no longer than thirty minutes to an hour. After you sign up for an account, just install the game and when you launch it, you’ll see all of the information you need on the main screen. This includes a chat room and server information.

turn based strategy game

At the lower part of the main screen you’ll see all active users, as well as all upcoming events. You can also watch any ongoing live events if you want to sit back and be a spectator. There are constantly events going on that you can jump into – at least every ten to thirty minutes.

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free turn based strategy game

Before you dive into playing with other players, take the thirty minutes or so to run through the tutorial. You’ll quickly learn how to choose the direction and speed for your car to travel during each turn, as well as how to use your weapons, and also how to change the view so that you can see what’s going on from all angles.

Darkwind turn based strategy game

Depending on what the event is, you may face obstacles or a track to navigate through. The tutorial has you manage a couple of jumps and also shows you how to approach and fire upon a truck.  Driving your car isn’t a whole lot unlike other racing games you might have played, but it requires a little bit of careful planning. Depending on how you place your car, and what speed you choose, you could send the car sliding right off the road, or slam it directly into a concrete wall.

free turn based strategy game

The game makes you think about the physics of how a car behaves at a certain speed and direction. When you get good, you can cut corners on a race track by sliding through it rather than trying to cut to the inside like everyone else is trying to do. Or carefully plan how you land after a jump so that you get the speed and direction advantage over other drivers.

strategy games turn based Darkwind

Your car also comes with a weapon system that you can arm and target at any time during a race or an arena combat event. The tutorial shows you how to select, arm, target and fire the weapon while you’re driving the car turn-after-turn.

strategy games turn based

Firing on other vehicles is a matter of keeping them within the “firing zone” and having your weapon repeat-fire. If you incorrectly plan your speed and direction, the other driver may escape your firing zone and then spin around to place you inside theirs.

strategy games turn based

So, once I got the hang of handing the car in the tutorial, I decided to try the real thing. Looking through the upcoming events I saw a deathrace coming up. This is basically a race a few times around the track while shooting at others and dodging missiles. So, I registered and waited the 5 minutes until the match started.

Darkwind

I have to say, game play might be turn-based, but it’s still fast paced and very fun to play. The list of players names go green whenever they’re done planning their next move.

Once all players are ready, all cars move through their current turn. The clock has a limit per turn, so no one can hold up the race.  Another cool thing about Darkwind is that anyone can create a match. From the main screen, just click on “custom event” and you can create a race or combat arena using whatever parameters you like.

turn based strategy game

Overall, I’d say that it’s probably one of the more fast-paced turn based games I’ve ever played. Obviously, not as heart-pounding as Big City Racer Big City Racer - A Free Multiplayer Racing Game Big City Racer - A Free Multiplayer Racing Game Read More or some of the other cool online racing games MUO Games - The Best Free Online Racing Games MUO Games - The Best Free Online Racing Games Read More Simon wrote about, but with the combination of turn-based strategy and a fast-enough pace to get you sitting on the edge of your seat, it’s a game that can easily keep you up into the early hours of the morning trying to win your war on wheels.

Give the game a shot and let us know what you think. Do you prefer this turn-based game over other real-time racing games? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

  1. Purplemonke6575
    March 4, 2011 at 12:20 am

    y'all are all nerds for playin these dumb games

  2. goat_starer
    February 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Been playing this game for over 3 years now... still not exhausted it. For the artistic the ability to skin vehicles, create maps and generally get involved (and a developer who will accept help readily and pays in potatoes) is a great thing. I love this game... as you can see by the posts here it has a great community of loyal fans. Come and join them.

  3. Benipal
    February 26, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I'd surely give it a try. Btw I think the most popular online RPG is Runescape

    http://www.Dumbeagle.com

  4. Benipal
    February 26, 2011 at 6:41 am

    I'd surely give it a try. Btw I think the most popular online RPG is Runescape

    http://www.Dumbeagle.com

  5. Crazy AL
    February 25, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Just came up on my 3 year anniversary and re-upped. If you liked Car Wars, you'll love DW. For a bargain basement price, you get more than adequate graphics, superior vehicle physics, gang & character depth, thoughtful gang management and an awesome community.

  6. Juris
    February 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    Good article but you just scratched the surface. DW is more than a tactical vehicle vs. vehicle turn based videogame. Its also a strategy game where you manage your own gang in a post-apocalyptic world. There are many different ways to make a living, and the rewards are all the sweeter because the game is so brutal and unforgiving, with permanent death and injury for your characters the result of bad decisions or just plain bad luck. Not a game for the faint of heart, although the DW community is extremely welcoming and helpful.

    • Anonymous
      February 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks Juris - I agree...there was a lot more to this game that I wish I could have covered in just one article. I have to admit that I'm now a huge fan of Darkwind. I think it's probably one of the best online games I've discovered in a long time. It's very cool to get feedback from all of the long-time players too.

  7. Darth Spanky
    February 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    I too looked for the last several years to find a car wars experience. Twisted metal was too "arcade" and other games just didn't capture the feel of auto dueling. UNTIL i found this game. Love it! It is the only game I play online anymore.

  8. Cadimus
    February 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I stumbled across Dark Wind a little over a month ago when I was looking for a new MMO to play that wasn't fantasy based. The turn based system is a bit slower paced than the typical button mashing that combat in other games can become and I find it gives you those few extra seconds to take a breath and get that excitement under control and plan your moves.

    I can't say enough about the community. They've been very helpful when I've had questions and were quick to help me out at the start to get me started exploring the wastes outside of town.

    If you're looking for a break from the typical hack and slash MMO, give Dark Wind a try.

  9. Garyhorder
    February 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Long term play ability is the key, coming up to my third year as a daily player and Marshal. Extremely helpful and hopefully friendly player base ;) with an older average age than most mmo's.

  10. GC
    February 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I've been playing this game for close to three years now, and it is the only MMORPG that has managed to "scratch that itch". The gameplay is fluid and immersive. You might have doubts about the excitement a turn-based car game can provide: I suggest you give it a try and see for yourself whether it gets your heart pounding or not. It certainly does it for me!

  11. Kornkob The Dude
    February 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I was an avid Car Wars player years back and loved that game, when I had the time and energy to devote to an afternoon of vehicular mayhem with my friends. I loved too, the careful building of cars, balancing performance/firepower/armor in an attempt to make a vehicle that would survive the rigors of combat.

    But now I have a family and a job and a house that suck up my time. So when I found Darkwind it was a wonderful thing. It managed to reproduce a similar game play feel without having to suck up a large chunk of time. One can pop in, roll out on an event to shoot up some cars and roll back without having to devote a whole day to the enterprise.

    But that's not the best part.

    The best part is the community of helpful people who try to build up the game by giving feedback, discovering and suggesting fixes for bugs and, most importantly, shepherd new players through heir early events and mentor up-and-comers as they find their place in this wonderful example fo what an MMO community can be.

    • Aibek
      February 28, 2011 at 8:13 am

      thanks for the feedback

  12. Cadimus
    February 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I stumbled across Dark Wind a little over a month ago when I was looking for a new MMO to play that wasn't fantasy based. The turn based system is a bit slower paced than the typical button mashing that combat in other games can become and I find it gives you those few extra seconds to take a breath and get that excitement under control and plan your moves.

    I can't say enough about the community. They've been very helpful when I've had questions and were quick to help me out at the start to get me started exploring the wastes outside of town.

    If you're looking for a break from the typical hack and slash MMO, give Dark Wind a try.

  13. Karzymaster
    February 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Another long time Darkwind player here! I've already passed my 4th year mark. Sure it's not perfect - lorries sometimes behave like rubber balls, the interface is rickety, and there's still a lot of room for improvement in general.

    But I'll be damned, this is one addictive potato! Want to be an established businessman in a post-apocalyptic world? Go ahead. Want to be the best racer Evan has ever known? No problem! New features are also constantly added. We even have a quest creator which the community can use to write their own missions! Sam (the developer) is really open to feedback. The best part is, Sam plays the game quite frequently too, so if you don't like him, you can always take the chance to get a crack at him in a competitive event :D

    I'm playing less these days, but only because I have to concentrate on school work. God forbid that I should resume my former raider-hunting activities and screw up my GPA again :(

  14. JA
    February 25, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Remember when games were one man(or small team) labours of Love? They are back in PC Gaming with games like this. There is a lot of living in the past with this game (car wars fans, Turn based nostalgia and many olde school gaming features), however Sam has created some Amazing AI with how his NPCs play. Basically I consider every clain that AI is hard to produce from the big team game makes complete B.S after what I've seen Sam do in this game.

    Having said that, I play this game for the PvP. PvP with perma death, perma loss perma adrenalin, yes Turn-Based, yes Adrenalin. Fear not carebears! Very easy to coast through this game without ever shooting a shot in anger against someone with a real brain on the other side...just Sam's amazingly coded AI. Very PvE friendly. You will still get your ass handed to you by NPCs.

  15. Kornkob The Dude
    February 25, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I was an avid Car Wars player years back and loved that game, when I had the time and energy to devote to an afternoon of vehicular mayhem with my friends. I loved too, the careful building of cars, balancing performance/firepower/armor in an attempt to make a vehicle that would survive the rigors of combat.

    But now I have a family and a job and a house that suck up my time. So when I found Darkwind it was a wonderful thing. It managed to reproduce a similar game play feel without having to suck up a large chunk of time. One can pop in, roll out on an event to shoot up some cars and roll back without having to devote a whole day to the enterprise.

    But that's not the best part.

    The best part is the community of helpful people who try to build up the game by giving feedback, discovering and suggesting fixes for bugs and, most importantly, shepherd new players through heir early events and mentor up-and-comers as they find their place in this wonderful example fo what an MMO community can be.

  16. JA
    February 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Remember when games were one man(or small team) labours of Love? They are back in PC Gaming with games like this. There is a lot of living in the past with this game (car wars fans, Turn based nostalgia and many olde school gaming features), however Sam has created some Amazing AI with how his NPCs play. Basically I consider every clain that AI is hard to produce from the big team game makes complete B.S after what I've seen Sam do in this game.

    Having said that, I play this game for the PvP. PvP with perma death, perma loss perma adrenalin, yes Turn-Based, yes Adrenalin. Fear not carebears! Very easy to coast through this game without ever shooting a shot in anger against someone with a real brain on the other side...just Sam's amazingly coded AI. Very PvE friendly. You will still get your ass handed to you by NPCs.

  17. Anonymous
    February 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    And the Dev doesn't get any punches pulled, if anything he gets hammered harder when he joins in a race. :) We love our dev Sam, you can tell by the attention his car attracts (Missile magnet!). The game also has Leagues, Ladders, solo missions(assasination, convoy protection, courier, etc.), real death, mutant creatures to fight, mutant players with high skills but shorter lives, etc. so so much more. You have control as to how much single or multiplayer the game is for you, pvp is optional controlled by a flag you can set.

  18. Rev. V!
    February 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Played Car Wars in the early 80's, but as others have said....fun game..wayyyy too complicated.
    Went looking for an online version about 8 months ago and found DW.
    I'm BEYOND hooked on this game.
    The developer updates the game regularly and is involved with community discussions on rules, game mechanics, etc.
    And, the online community there is great!!!!

  19. Rev. V!
    February 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Played Car Wars in the early 80's, but as others have said....fun game..wayyyy too complicated.
    Went looking for an online version about 8 months ago and found DW.
    I'm BEYOND hooked on this game.
    The developer updates the game regularly and is involved with community discussions on rules, game mechanics, etc.
    And, the online community there is great!!!!

  20. Rezeak
    February 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I've been playing the game for about a year and a half now. This is the only game with enough depth and entertainment to keep me interested for so long.

    The community is the best I've ever experienced, anywhere on the internet. You always feel like you're playing with mature adults and almost everyone is willing to help out 'the new guy'.

    In short. This is the best game. In the world.

    • Aibek
      February 28, 2011 at 8:09 am

      thanks for the input

  21. Rezeak
    February 25, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I've been playing the game for about a year and a half now. This is the only game with enough depth and entertainment to keep me interested for so long.

    The community is the best I've ever experienced, anywhere on the internet. You always feel like you're playing with mature adults and almost everyone is willing to help out 'the new guy'.

    In short. This is the best game. In the world.

  22. JD_Basher
    February 25, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I searched for 15 years for a "car-wars" computer game like this... I found it with Darkwind! This game has EVERYTHING "car-wars" TRIED to have but could not accomplish with 'board-play'...... Sorry.... I meant BORED play.

    The board game was too tedious.

    Darkwind removes all the tedium of moving car chits around a board and adding or subtracting armor and weaponry on paper to a simple point and click system where you see and HEAR every shot made. ALL while your car may be skidding around the track or maneuvering over sand dunes trying to keep your opponent from breaching the last bit of armor you have left before your gangers "decide" they have had enough of the fight and bail out on you!

  23. JD_Basher
    February 25, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I searched for 15 years for a "car-wars" computer game like this... I found it with Darkwind! This game has EVERYTHING "car-wars" TRIED to have but could not accomplish with 'board-play'...... Sorry.... I meant BORED play.

    The board game was too tedious.

    Darkwind removes all the tedium of moving car chits around a board and adding or subtracting armor and weaponry on paper to a simple point and click system where you see and HEAR every shot made. ALL while your car may be skidding around the track or maneuvering over sand dunes trying to keep your opponent from breaching the last bit of armor you have left before your gangers "decide" they have had enough of the fight and bail out on you!

  24. NetSchemes RPG
    February 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    I need more players for my game! Check it out, it's FREE to play. http://www.NetSchemes.com

  25. Randy Addison
    February 24, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    It looks like Twisted Metal but looks more like red Alert with only cars as your units. BUt this seems to be a great game. I will definitely check it out.

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