Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
There was no need to plan your RTS purchases carefully in 2006, because several of the choices were no brainers. That is, until you opened the boxes and installed the games, at which point things got very brainy, and by brainy we mean addictively fun.
Developer: The Creative Assembly
In no other game is the thunderous clash of armies so... clashy. Rewrite history from the dark ages to the discovery of the new world in Medieval II: Total War. With an overland campaign as deep as Civilization, and real time battlefields with literally thousands of soldiers, Medieval II easily takes the strategy game of the year award, probably by cutting off the head of the 2005 winner and mounting it on a pike as a warning to other games.
Relic flexed their unique talents on the tired World War II setting and brought it to life (followed quickly by mass death) with the gritty Company of Heroes. From the fully destructible environments to the historically accurate campaign and lightning fast RTS gameplay, this war always had us coming back for more. Oorakasha!
In possibly the best PC game deal of the year, Relic crammed this so-called ‘Expansion pack’ with complete standalone functionality, two new factions, and new campaigns for each of the seven total factions - for only thirty dollars. If you’re still not convinced, get this: one of the two new races is made of evil-space-zombie-robots. Trust us, resistance is futile.