|play in browser (archive.org)|
|past years||2020: #25, 2019: #28, 2018: #27, 2017: #23|
Looking over my list, it is clear that I am a fan of strategy/tactic games (among others). Jagged Alliance is pretty old, but it still is unmatched in some qualities.
The game had you as an organizer of mercenary services and your client was a scientist who developed a cure from some mutation some trees on the island of Metavira were showing. But a former partner of him had sabotaged his work, stolen stuff and had gained control over the island besides a small corner left. So he hires you to get things back on track. And you go on a satellite phone app (or something) to hire mercenaries from an organization that offers people that are willing to shoot first and ask questions later.
And with that interface to A.I.M. (Association of International Mercenaries) the game starts showing it's uniqueness that I haven't seen in this combination in any other game I know. The mercenaries are all different, have all theirunique abilities but also quirks. And most just aren't working for an unknown client, you have first to successfully finish a few missions, before they are willign to join your team. But that is not all. Some mercenaries hate other and will only work for you if you fire the other first. Or let him die in the field. But too many deaths or too much hire-and-fire is also a reason they don't want to work for you.
In the field they are also showing their personality. Some might be more than willing to shoot the other guy they hate in the back. They have their unique way on commenting about the missions and what is happening. And sometimes they do what they want and aren't follow you command. Say someone is in a shooting duel with an enemy and you want to order him to a better position, they might stay were and keep shooting. This is happening not often, but it happens. More professional mercenaries abstain form such behaviour, but they ask for a much, much higher salary too.
So you start taking over the map sector by sector, managing the income of harvesting the trees, guarding sectors you have taken over from enemy attacks and slowly advance towards the enemy headquarters. But things can go wrong fast. Your mission might go well, but then suddenly something goes wrong. Your guy doesn't disarm the bomb and it goes off. One or two enemies are seemingly bullet-proof and just keep hitting your guys. Learn to save often.
Gog and Steam both offer this great game. So it is easy to try out. It works well in DosBox. Or you can play for free in the browser at archive.org.