The other day on @keithburgun 's stream, I mentioned to him that my biggest problem with the current build of PTL is that the tactical layer is so emphasized. I thought it was obvious that tactics should be minimized in a strategy game, so I was surprised when he responded that the tactical focus of PTL was actually intentional, and that PTL was supposed to be a hybrid tactics-strategy game. Before continuing, I want to clarify what exactly I mean by "tactics", because I think there are two different common definitions here that I don't want to confuse. First, "tactics" can refer simply to decision-making at the lowest level of abstraction in any game. Under this definition, "tactical" decisions deal with small-scale, detailed considerations, often on narrow parts of the gamestate, while "strategic" decisions deal with more abstract, general, large-scale considerations. Second, tactics can refer to the type of gameplay that Auro is composed of: calculation-heavy, low generalizability, puzzle-like gameplay. The definition that I am using for this conversation, and the one that I believe Keith was using when I talked to him during the stream (Please let me if I'm wrong, Keith), is the latter. Under the first definition, ALL games have to include a significant tactical layer, since by definition the tactical layer is just the least abstract layer of strategic consideration, the layer right at "what inputs do I make this exact moment in this exact situation." Under this definition a "hybrid tactics-strategy game" is redundant, since all strategy games include tactics by definition. What I object to is a hybrid tactics-strategy game under the second definition of the term, or in other words, a game with interesting long-arc decisions with plenty of room for the player to learn on the strategic scale, but with gameplay that resembles a puzzle game (or something like Auro) on a moment-to-moment scale. My first objection to this is that I just don't see what value tactics adds to a strategy game. Tactics really is more similar to a puzzle-game than it is to a strategy game, and so, going by the four-forms framework, the value that tactics adds to a game is actually a completely different thing ("solving") than what a strategy game normally offers ("understanding"). So if tactics does add any value to a strategy game, it isn't really the type of value we want in a strategy game. In fact, I think that having tactics actually detracts from understanding-value a game normally provides, because if the player is spending mental resources doing tactical calculations, they don't have as much to put into postulating and testing heuristics, which is what provides understanding-value. One could object to this by claiming that hybrid tactics-strategy games are looking to provide both solving-value and understanding-value, but to that I would simply ask, why would you want to do that? I think the standard argument for purity of forms works here, i.e why not just make a strategy game and a tactics game, instead of a strategy-and-tactics game? That way, you could really maximize each value in an environment that isn't held back by the other consideration. If you try to combine the two, you'll have a much harder time making something that satisfies each value as well as if you had just made an individual game for each one. My second objection is, thankfully, more concrete: If the tactical layer isn't there for it's solving-value, but is instead included because it holds some understanding-value, then I think the player will exhaust the value in the tactical layer before the strategic layer, leaving a distracting husk of calculation behind. Keith has argued before that you actually don't want too much depth on the tactical layer in a strategy game, because you don't want the player to be able to focus exclusively on improving in the tactical layer without considering the strategic layer. Assuming this argument is true, and that the tactical layer needs to be significantly shallower than the strategic layer, the player will solve the tactical layer before they get close to solving the whole game. When that happens, the player will cease getting any understanding-value from the tactical layer, but they'll still have to trudge through the tactical calculations to be able to gain any understanding on the strategic layer (Which, since we are presuming here that the tactical layer is not there for it's solving-value, is self-evidently bad). It may be true that all strategy games need to have some amount of tactics/calculation, but the idea that we should actually seek to add more is what I find objectionable. I feel strongly that tactics should be minimized however possible, so I don't see why a hybrid tactics-strategy game is desirable.