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Strategy and roguelikes: 7 great open source games

 We talk about projects that are supported and developed by communities

Today, when the number of options for buying games on a PC is limited, users are forced to look for workarounds, sort out the list of already purchased ones or turn to projects that are distributed freely. Open source games fall into the latter category. All of them are supported mainly by enthusiasts for whom development is a hobby and an opportunity to show off. We talk about the most remarkable and interesting projects that continue to receive updates.

Battle for Wesnoth

If you're into fantasy, Warlords-inspired turn-based strategy, and hard-boiled combat, Battle for Wesnoth is the place to be. Today it is a completely independent universe, which over the course of 16 years has acquired factions, heroes and stories spanning the past, present and future. The game has 17 story campaigns, including a tutorial (all in Russian), and dozens of modifications written by the community.

Like Warlords, Battle for Wesnoth has a very primitive economy. But in terms of battles, there is complete order. The player controls units of different types. Their speed and defense (the chance to hit a creature is the main parameter, but there are others) depend on the terrain and time of day. For example, the Knalgan Alliance faction is made up of gnomes, who are incredibly hardy in the highlands and not very reliable in open spaces, and bandits, who are extremely effective under the cover of night on the same plains, but otherwise not so impressive.

There are six factions in the game and about 20 races: elves, mermen, orcs, goblins, undead, dragons, griffins, nagas, lizards and many others. Each creature has its own attack types (six), weapon traits (twelve), and resistance options, which include many stats. And this is in addition to abilities, options for pumping and transferring the army from mission to mission.

Battle for Wesnoth is one of the most impressive and unique strategies today, which is still unparalleled.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup

One of the most developed roguelike games today, which can easily be put on a par with the legendary NetHack and Ancient Domains of Mystery. According to the laws of the genre, you choose the character's race (there are 27 of them, and they are all divided into categories: from simple to complex), class, and weapon. After the game will generate a map, and you will go to clear the dungeons from hordes of enemies, look for artifacts, equipment, and at the same time the mystical "Sphere of Zot".

However, the sphere here is not the most important, it rather acts as a MacGuffin. The main thing here is the process. The main advantages of DCSS are the depth of mechanics, a variety of tactical decisions, a perfect balance, and accessibility, which other representatives of the genre lack so much. So if you want to get acquainted with "bagels", feel the spirit of the old school, and at the same time appreciate ASCII graphics, do not pass by DCSS.



An economic simulator, a remake of the legendary Transport Tycoon Deluxe from Scottish game designer Chris Sawyer. The creators of OpenTTD not only kept all the best but also improved a lot of little things. So, for example, the game has a network mode, the ability to lay railway tracks on slopes, and also long trains with several locomotives, large maps, and customizable artificial intelligence.

The main essence of OpenTTD is the creation of a successful road, rail, air, and water transport network. Every time a player delivers cargo or passengers, he receives money for it. At the start (according to local chronology, in 1950), only the simplest locomotives and modes of transport are available to him. Over time, he discovers new types of equipment, improves transportation routes, and competes with other transport companies.

Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead

Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead

Survival simulator in a post-apocalyptic world with roguelike elements. As in the case of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, the game does not rely on fancy graphics, but on a complex device and the interaction of systems.

Most importantly, Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead has no ending or clear end goal. On the one hand, the user must entertain himself. On the other hand, all processes are arranged in such a way that the player has no options but to escape, survive and study the structure of the world. The latter, by the way, is described in detail in the design document, which is published on the project website.

Well, when you figured out all the basic tasks, Cataclysm turns into an amusement park. If you want, become a farmer and shoot zombies every day. And if you want, gather the survivors under one roof. There are a lot of scenarios in the game, and there is no one “correct” one among them. Everything depends on fantasy.

Beyond All Reason

A strategy inspired by the legendary Total Annihilation. The project is currently in alpha testing. But if everything goes according to plan, the launch will take place as early as 2022.

Only two of the four factions are currently available in Beyond All Reason. Each one has 50 combat units and various buildings aimed at extracting resources, producing equipment, and strengthening the base. Fights take place not only on land but also in the air and at sea. The landscape is incredibly important and has a great effect on the battle plan. For example, if you think that the edges of the hills do not need to be defended, you are mistaken - sooner or later the enemy will send spider walkers and blow everything to hell.

In general, there are so many different equipments and tactical possibilities in the game that it is often not even clear what to prepare for. On the other hand, Beyond All Reason is incredibly fun even now. It is all the more interesting that the authors will succeed at the launch.



Another spiritual heir to Total Annihilation, which initially completely borrowed the developments of the original, and then turned into an independent project. You start the battle when there is only one Commander under control - he is the builder and the player's avatar.

In the process, the robot receives improvements in the form of new guns and modules, and at the same time builds factories, plants, mining towers, and defense structures. The algorithm of actions depends solely on the chosen tactics and the landscape, which can be destroyed and changed to suit the needs.

However, if multiplayer battles aren't your thing, the game has a 70-mission story campaign that details how the world came to be like this and a well-written artificial intelligence.

Warzone 2100

Warzone 2100

A strategy that was not lucky enough to be released in the same year as Age of Empires 2, Homeworld, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, and numerous additions for Total Total Annihilation. And this is not counting the resounding success of Starcraft, whose achievements continued to be talked about even a year later thanks to eSports.

Pumpkin Studios' strategy didn't have perfect balance or multiple playable factions. On the other hand, the creators used unusual storytelling techniques, an advanced and well-thought-out technology system, and a unique unit assembly scheme. In fact, you decide what your tanks will ride on (wheels, tracks, air cushion), which hull to use and what type of weapons to fire (only the last two points apply to aircraft). There are quite a lot of variables, types of troops, and fortifications in the game, but they are all well interconnected.

And most importantly, the authors of Warzone 2100 showed long before Starcraft 2 how diverse missions can be in terms of tasks and setting. The map with the main base is constantly growing, and landing sorties do not let you get bored. No useless tanks and vehicles. Each species has its own goals on the field. And this is not to mention the enemy, who constantly finds a way to stick a knife in the back and makes him look for non-standard moves to solve problems.

Open source games are not that rare. However, they all live only thanks to enthusiasts and communities of people who not only regularly return to their favorite series, but also finance them. Unfortunately, many projects eventually stop receiving updates and are abandoned by their authors. But even today there are gems here.