@shingro One of the biggest surprises of the year, ol’ Shogun 2. Best described in two parts – with the strategic mode being a province management game (developing your infrastructure, research, trade, diplomacy, recruiting armies etc.) and the tactical mode (throwing huge armies at each other, totally real-time tactical, so no base building within this mode).

It’s actually Creative Assembly’s return to form after Empire bit off a little more than it could chew, and definitely something I read came about after the studio learned to reign it in with Napoleon. @bowlisimo could speak more to that, as he’s in the thick of Empire/Napoleon. The strategic mode doesn’t feel anaemic, to the point where I’d even prefer to do away with the tactical battles and simply enjoy the grand strategic side of things. It’s no Paradox title, but it’s certainly on par with a Koei game…even if there’s a little less emphasis on historical characters.

If you nab it, kick off a campaign as the Shimazu. Geographically, they were well positioned. Stable, had early access to the arquebus, have great commanders at their disposal and you’re so far from Edo that Kyushu is yours to play with unless some other clans make hasty alliances with the Honshu mobs.

But to surmise your initial question of what exactly is Shogun 2/a Total War game…

…I’d say a game/series that offers the biggest tactical army-based real time strategy without abstraction, with a good and relatively uncomplicated strategic/management mode to govern the parameters of the encounters.

Also, cheers for your theme submission. A tasty one! Room to move, space to shout, so to speak.