So...i was wondering what non-RPG/mass market games you all play.
I've recently gotten myself addicted to Hearts of Iron II - Doomsday (Doomsday is an expansion that pretty much takes the game into the Cold-War era and adds a bunch of new tech and other features) where, as Italy, i am allied with Germany, Slovakia and...Romania i think. Its 1939 and i control southern Spain (Barcelona to Valencia) which i took during the Spanish Civil War. I also won the easy way against Ethiopia (annexed them) along with Albania (what army?). Thats since 1936 - when the game starts. Of course, Germany invaded/annexed Poland and the Allies are at war with us now. Surprisingly, the lazy Krauts have only helped me defend territories that i have taken. Having that base in Southern Spain definately helped. The Germans still haven't crossed the French border (or Belgium, or the Netherlands) so i am not sure what they are up to. So far i have taken about half of France.
In Africa, my Ethiopian Armies were cut off from supplies due to the Suez Canal so they got their butts kicked. I have sinced marched from Libya and taken the Suez canal and all coastal towns. Those Ethiopians got resupplied and for the most part, revenge on the Brits and Frogs down there. I've also marched from Libya through Tunis and into French Morocco. The sneaky Brits managed to land some troops in Tunisia (nuisance more then anything) so i had to pull some troops from France to reclaim Tunis which allowed the French to launch their first succesful attack and reclaim one of their territories before being thwarted by my repositioned troops combined with the German Panzers that decided to join me.
My Navy is slowly dwindling too due to the confrontations with mainly the British, ocassionally the French, and yes, even the All Blacks - New Zealand! I've definately sunk my fair share of shipping too- lots of convoys!
You can also play as any country in the world that existed in 1936. Whether that country makes an impact on the world or not is entirely your decision. Nothing like playing as Communist China and taking out the Nationalists, and then become involved in a bloody war vs. the Japanese.
A nice feature of the game is the events engine. Some events are rather obscure that you've probably never heard about. They usually give you an option -which decision to go with- and it will tell you what each choice means. You also have Relations with other countries that can range from +200 to -200. Doomsday allows you to spy on other countries (its the Cold War after all), assassinate ministers, steal tech, sabotage, pay rebels, etc. You also monitor production of Goods (for the people), supplies for the troops, production of new units, reinforcements, and upgrades. Tech is also signed to teams that research it. I suggest checking out the website for a much better list of game features.
Another game i have gotten into is World War II Online: Battleground Europe which is surprisingly for me a pay-by-month game. Its lots of fun though. You play as Army (All Infantry + Tanks + AA + ATG + Vehicles), Air Force (Fighter + Bombers + Transports) or Navy (Ships of all sorts). You gain ranks my making kills which then allow you to use better equipment. For instance, starting off you can only be a Rifleman. Level 3 opens up SMG, LMG, ATR, and Sapper. Level 5 allows you to be a paratrooper (which seems to be a combination of all the positions - plus a parachute). The levels also allow you to use better tanks and guns. Once you enter the game world, you can literally travel from London to the German border if you chose to. Its a 2:1 scale. Its pretty awesome. All three branches take part on the same maps...as a tank or in a city you will get bombed by the airforce, and can watch dogfights from the ground. The navy can also help support attacks on rivers/coastal areas. I wont go into details about capturing Cities and the like, but its definately a really awesome game.
On the way - via Amazon - is Europa Universalis III which is the third game of a series that share its name. Its also made by the produces of Hearts of Iron / II / Doomsday and uses the same game engine. EU III, however, is set during the Medival Time Period. It allows you to play as any of the 250-odd 'Countries' that existed at the time (Yes, you can play as the Zulu if you wish) though for obvious reasons you might not want to do this. Makes for a nice change of pace from your typical game. I've played EU II and enjoyed it so on to EU III it is for me.
Another game i love is Medieval 2: Total War. I think the name is pretty explanatory and if anyone is familiar with Rome: Total War or any of its predecessors you know what i am talking about. Pretty much takes place in Europe, North Africa, Turkey, and parts of Russia. You pick your country and go from their. Total War is very fitting as you can control up to 1000 units on the battle maps (i believe) and the battles and seiges can be epic! One of my favorite games out of the last 6 years (its recent release).
I am also a big fan of the Combat Mission: series: Beyond Overlord, Barbarossa to Berlin, and Afrika Korps. Google the names to go the website. Very realistic combat, good graphics, and can be played on squad-to-division scale.