Major leap in presentation and depth from its predecessors.
Developed by Evryware and published in 1984. Ancient Art of War introduced a whole slew of innovative features that now accompany most of today’s RTS games. It featured a scenario list of maps, each with its own objective. You could choose which leader to face against, from characters like Athena, or the challenging Sun-Tzu (writer of the Art of War). Even including a map editor for making custom scenarios. It truly broke away from the arcade design principles that plagued many early strategy games in the early 80’s.
You have 11 campaign scenarios to choose from. Each one might have different starting conditions and objectives. Some matches require you to capture a flag, others, to destroy the enemy forces. Each one would also start you off with different units, in different terrains, which might include forts, towns, hillsides, etc… Beyond that, you can also set custom rules for them like supply-line length.
Gameplay consists of a mix of styles. You start with a global view of the map, where you can order individual units to move (units are grouped together like in Company of Heroes or Total War). If two opposing units meet, you can decide to zoom in and control the actual battle itself. The game then switches to a side-view of the two opposing groups, each starting at opposite ends.