Version Reviewed: 3.1
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With the arrival of the big, bad iPad and the super sharp iPhone 4 with its retina display, it's becoming harder and harder to find apps that are just plain simple. This is for a different article altogether, but the app store is quickly going the way of the console in that even the most simple of games are becoming so graphically advanced that they have lost their simplicity. Anyways, Strategery is a simple strategy game with simple graphics, but with a ton of fun to be had.
The best way to explain Strategery is to compare it to the old board game Risk. You get a map, units get placed on the map, and you attack neighboring territories to go about your "world domination". Unlike Risk, the world is more like Pangaea, and you get your troops based on the amount of adjoining territories you own rather than the continents that you acquire. Each territory has a set amount of pegs in it signifying the amount of troops that you can place, and each troop equals one six-sided die in combat. That's it... so now you can go and take over the world.
The great thing about Strategery is the amount of customization that can be done. There are 4 map sizes to choose from, 4 difficulty levels, options on how your armies get placed, starting setup, battle type, color, and even who moves first. You can also choose from playing the game solo against a bunch of computer players, pass and play with up to 4 friends, or online against your friends elsewhere.
As for the game play, Strategery is extremely... fair. Never do you feel like the game is cheating you, but on the hardest difficulty it does try to punish you for taking risks. The problem with the computer at times is that each "bot" has a different personality. There is usually a conservative bot that doesn't attack much, a few semi-aggressive bots, and then a bot or two that just attack unmercifully. None of them wins more than the other, as each game is wildly different from the other, but it does make game play challenging.
On an "epic" sized map, I can usually win a game on the "brutal" difficulty by avoiding the over aggressive bots like the plague. On a small map though, it's almost impossible to win (at least for me), because after the first turn I'm usually toast. I've also heard rumors that the dice roll less in your favor in the harder difficulties, but I honestly think that some people just can't handle the pressure.
I don't want to toot the games horn too much or anything, but there is definitely a reason that it won Macworlds 2009 App Gem Award for best strategy game. It's wildly fun and almost impossible to put down once a game is started. If strategy games are your thing, pick it up on any iDevice for $1.99. It works wonderfully on any generation iPhone due to its low graphics requirements, so don't be afraid to grab it no matter what device you use.