Strategy games are characterized by the game mechanic of manipulating a large number of characters, data, or other objects like buildings to reach objectives. They involve making use of data by planning and organization. Two classic examples are Rise of Nations (Big Huge, 2003) and Age of Empires (Ensemble Studios, 1997).
When playing a strategy game, the player needs to create the largest number of units (generally soldiers or other military units) in a short amount of time and coordinate them to attack their opponent by making a viable plan. Thus, the players need to use and will be developing when playing skills related to resource optimization, organization, and in the case of real-time strategy games, time management.
A subgenre of strategy games is turn-based strategy, in which time is non-continuous, and the game flow progresses in turns. Just like chess!
Games, 2010). The objective in Civilization V is to manage a civilization, from its emergence to the space age or the point of conquering the entire planet. This results in games of very long durations.
The other subgenre of strategy games is real-time strategy, in which time flows continuously. This is why time management skill is generally of extreme importance.
A typical example is StarCraft II (Blizzard, 2010). The action is observed frA typical example is StarCraft II (Blizzard, 2010). The action is observed from an aerial perspective, and the player guides their armies to dominate the map. The achievement in this game includes those that require completion within a limited time (which is tight). To achieve this kind of achievements, organizational and time management skills must be utilized. And thus, these games develop mentioned skills.
Skills Linked to Strategy Games
- Logic and Reasoning
- Problem Sensitivity
The ability to recognize when something is wrong or is likely to get wrong
- Monitoring Self and Others
Monitoring and assessing the performance of oneself and others, and organizations to improve them or take corrective actions
- Organizational Skills
The ability to use oneself’s time, energy, and resources effectively to achieve objectives
- Time Management
Being aware and able to keep track of and utilize time
Problem sensitivity in video games like Starcraft is crucial. The player has to be very accurate in making decisions about which buildings and troops you spend their resources and time for. For example, it will not be wise to have many combat units if there are only just a few units to collect resources present. Problem sensitivity is also important since the player has to be aware the first moment they receive attacks, where the attack is happening, and what way and to what the harm is being done, quantify that damage and recognize how much time and resources it will cost repair everything. Depending on this monitoring and the number of resources available, the player also needs to determine how long to wait until their next action of spending resources. This skill is present throughout the game and consumes cognitive processes constantly.
The complexity of games of this genre makes them effective and complete tools of cognitive stimulation, since as seen in the examples described, the player has to evoke a variety of skills for a good performance in the game.