Ah, strategy games. Sometimes you need your brain to feel the heat and make some tough decisions. Whether you get to do it at your own pace in a turn-based setting or real-time on the fly decision making, strategy games are a cascading branch of small decisions and decision loops that consume hours of time.
Into the Breach
This year there was a fever running through social media and friend groups thanks to Subset Games’ Into the Breach. Just like FTL, this game required multiple playthroughs. Unlike FTL, your chance of success was a margin higher, if you played your turn right. Using a turn-based system and clever unit movement, you could bump, pull, collide with or drown most of the enemies you faced, which outnumbered or outgunned you. The ability to see what they would do next allowed you to do some clever manipulation to destroy enemies with friendly fire, or make them shoot at empty space. Even with that power there were times when you would fail and you would abandon that timeline, trying to find one where humanity survives. The game even spawned a player-made notation for clever plays, like how chess players can use notation to recreate a clever coup de grace.
Honourable Mentions: BattleTech, Valkyria Chronicles 4