It's an old school turn based strategy game with a small but intense fan base, and chances are, you've never even heard of it. It's called Dominions, designed by Illwinter. Though the series has been around for awhile, the reason I'm bringing up Dominions now, is because the latest game, Dominions IV has just been pre-released in a beta form on Desura. The last game, Dominions 3, was published in 2006 by Shrapnel games, who's famous for the Space Empires series. Probably another game you've never heard of. In any event, the release of Dominions IV was a bit of a shock to the fan base of Dominions. We only were informed by Illwinter at the beginning of August. Even those close to the Illwinter staff had no clue of it's inception. Everyone was under the impression that the Dominions series was dead and gone forever, fortunately, this is not so.
The game takes place with mythology, unit's are designed with that in mind. You have Minotaur's, Cyclops, dragons, ect. Each nation is unique, and fields many unique units and spells that you can cast. You start off by designing a pretender god, and your goal is to trump other pretenders and become a true god. You can do this in various ways, with priests, using Thrones of Ascension, spells, or the most common, Military to conquer other territories. If it sounds too simple, that's because I'm simplifying it. It's a bit more complex than just, take over territory with overwhelming force, or just Ascend x number of thrones. There's magic spells to research, items to forge and equip on your generals, a vast tree of spells to cast, military units to be recruited, and priests to be used as Prophets.
Let's not forget the vast different military units there are in this game. Some are just hulks, like Elephant Riders, they take a lot of resources to build, but are worth it. The Elephant Riders trample over everything in their path... However, this comes with a cost of it's own, if they get low in moral, they become frightened and stampede in the opposite direction... Towards your own units... and squish them to get away from the battle. There's Spider Cavalry, which uses web's to freeze enemy units, the troops on the spiders have spears to stab opponents while the spiders use their fangs, it's a double threat. Yet again, there's a downside, most spider riders use light armor, so... the rider usually dies, BUT the spider usually still survives and is trained to kill your enemy's even after the rider is dead. (COOL HUH!?!)
There are many other unit's like this, such as the C'tis faction, which has a mix of light and heavy units. Since the faction is Lizards, all their units look like walking lizards. With the C'tis Faction, they have Death, Nature, and some Astral as their main source of magic. They have chariots but the bulk of the military is in Infantry which are effective at what they do, and are quick to build, for the most part. This is a good example of different race's built in the game.
Chances are, this is the best turn based strategy game, you've never heard of, and the downside is the graphics, which... are still done in old school pixels. Let's also not forget that Dominions IV is still in BETA, sooo... every update with probably kill any saves you have. Still, the game is addicting as hell, and I'd play it any day over the number of high end RTS games we have now.
LINK ON DESURA BELOW