Posted by: duskfire | June 4, 2011

Strategy games for Linux, part 2

As you look over these games, and my previous list, you’ll notice 2 things – first, many of these games are inspired by older popular games that were commercially sold for Windows. That doesn’t mean they are bad games, because in most cases, the new ones seem fairly well done (considering they aren’t commercial endeavors).  Second, a few games either lack content or make it complicated to add content to the basic game. That is a shame because you never want to make players take extra steps before starting to learn your game, if you don’t have to.

Freeciv (W) – One of the bright stars among Linux games; unless you can’t stand the Civilization series this is a must-have game. It is of course turn-based, and has retained the look of Civilization 2, but has lots of customization features. Opens windowed but maximized. You can switch to full screen if you prefer.

Boswars (W) – A futuristic RTS game. You can play against the computer, or vs. other humans online. There are 16 maps and 2 campaigns, one of which is the tutorial. The options screen has a wide variety of resolutions you can choose (the game starts windowed but you can play full-screen), and adjustable music/effects volume. Also, you can play in one of over 8 languages. The only way to join a multiplayer game is to know the server name – you don’t get a list to choose from. However, the FAQ on the website states that a lobby/metaserver is a planned feature addition. This looks pretty good.

Megaglest (W) – This fantasy real-time strategy game is a fork from Glest (which hasn’t been updated very recently). It features 2 sides, Magic and Tech [actually, 7 factions – not just 2 sides]. [There are 20 scenarios included, and good support for “mods”]. The resolution is set rather low by default, and you have to configure it then restart the game. Graphics and sound are rather good, however the font used in the game isn’t the best. It is difficult to read, and puts me off. [in fairness, I must mention that after posting this, I found an option to tweak the font, and that did improve readability.]

There are 3 tutorials,  2 basic and 1 advanced. Many language options, and strong modding ability make this a very interesting game. I don’t know how good the AI is, but if the font could be improved it looks pretty good. The game window is “always on top”, which makes it difficult to use the main menu [this only happened once, actually].

(EDIT: see one of the comments below, from a developer of MegaGlest – he clarified a couple of points for me.)

Hedgewars (W) – Bright and cartoon-style graphics shows you this game doesn’t take itself seriously. Music and sound effects, and voice acting. you can move the visible area all over the map to see the entire picture. Options are single player, mutliplayer online, or hotseat. You can also play against the computer AI. Give this one a try for some fun.

Warmux (W) – Excellent graphics, 2 dimensional, but some are quite small. Also worth your time.

Attal – A generic fantasy strategy game. Poor graphics, 2 dimensional, and synth music. Very little content and bare-bones story setting make this one just not worth your time at the moment.

Crimson Fields – A modern-day tactical wargame. Although the graphics are small, they are not bad, and there seem to be 15 skirmishes plus 2 campaigns. You need to run this from the terminal – it doesn’t get added to the Games menu on installation. Recommended.

Widelands (W) – This one seems fun, if you don’t mind the graphics, which are functional but not crisp. There are wildlife sound effects, and the trees sway as though in a breeze. The website has a lot of info and a forum. Based on the gameplay in Settlers 1 & 2. Definitely recommended.

(Apparently the version in the repositories is one behind the current one. You can add the PPA for widelands if you like, but they do caution you about potential problems. The newest version is available for Windows, though.)

Globulation 2 (W) – This game is a bizarre RTS original with some interesting ideas. A tutorial is available to get you started, and if you want to play a single player game, you select from over 15 in the Custom Games area. This game features 4 different AI styles, with descriptions of their difficulty so that you can pick the challenge that is appropriate for you.

LGeneral – This is a clone of an old game, Panzer General. Graphics are nice, but tiny. It opens in a window. The main problem with this game is that although the main website offers quite a few scenarios to download for content, the instructions on how to insert them into the game are incorrect. By searching online, I did find instructions that worked. If you prefer modern era hexagonal wargames, you will probably enjoy this one.

Coming up next: rogue-like role playing games. I’ll cover the ones that are available for Linux in one article, then a second one discussing good ones that have to use Wine because they have no Linux version yet.



  1. Thanks for your nice MegaGlest review!

    We have not been very happy with the font system either (for both the looks and lack of Unicode support), so improving it is actually in the works now.

    Three more things I wanted to point out:

    * MegaGlest actually comes with seven factions pre-installed: (and you can add more on the Game mods menu)

    * The game window being always on top is new to me, I haven’t heard of this before – it might be specific to your Desktop configuration / Linux distribution.

    * On Linux, you can always use Alt-Enter to switch back and forth between windowed and full screen modes.

  2. Hi Duskfire,

    Good post on RTS game options for Linux (Debian and Slackware user here).

    Just wanted to mention that MegaGlest 3.12.0 was released last week. I’ve been playing it and have found it to be very stable.

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