After listening to Scrym trash PC gaming yet again in their Wesnoth episode of Geeknights, I got the distinct impression that they have had rather limited experience with the current face of strategy gaming on the PC.
I don't know if I'm the first person to bring this up, but I'm new to the forums and I'm going to do so anyway.
After digging through the old archives for a bit I've heard them mention the board game Shogun on numerous occasions. I don't know if you are aware of this fact, but back in 2000 a videogame adaptation of that board game entitled Shogun: Total War was released for the PC.
While the game now seems somewhat dated, it was revolutionary at the time for various reasons. The game was really two games in one, broken down between the campaign map and the battle map. On the campaign map the game was essentially Civilization confined to one era of history. It's turn based, you manage your cities, build structures, upgrade your tech, build/move/combine armies, conduct diplomacy with neighboring factions, invade territories, etc.
However, once your units actually invade an enemy province the computer doesn't simply calculate the results of the battle, but instead you enter the battle map. The battle map is a 3d real-time interface where the armies that engaged are rendered down to the individual soldier. That is to say thousands of units are visible on the battlefield and are given orders and handle much like your typical RTS unit. Strategy actually matters; you position your archers in the back, your swordsmen in the front, and your spearmen and cavalry at the flanks. You can pause the action at any point to issue complex orders and are treated with epic lord of the rings type melee battles that are as much fun to watch as they are to play. Your units suffer from morale, and will retreat if they see no possibility of victory despite the protests of your general. There is also absolutely no building of units of structures on the battlefield, whatever units your army contained prior to entering the battle is what you've got.
Of course I can't forget the ninjas, you can build in your cities a ninja unit that can travel unseen throughout the map and assassinate the generals, daimyos, emissaries, etc of your rivals. This is done through terrific little CGI cut scenes that appear in a window on the campaign map and show the success or failure of your ninjaâ€™s assassination attempt. The odds of your ninja's success are determined by the experience and skill of your ninja and the type of target you have selected for assassination. For instance, a general is far harder to assassinate than an emissary.
Shogun: Total War has spawned a series of sequels each more awesome than its predecessor. After Shogun came Medieval: Total War, Rome: Total War, and recently Medieval II: Total War. The later games add a ton of new features to the model of the original and upgrade the graphics significantly. You need a fairly serious gaming machine to play Medieval II.
Shogun however is fairly easy on your system resources and the warlords edition(which contains the game and Mongol invasion expansion) can probably be found for about 10 bucks in your local EB's bargain bin.
If you havenâ€™t experienced this series, I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys war gaming, and would even venture to say that this series is perhaps the ultimate in video war gaming. Perfectly blending turn based and real time elements, you would be remiss if you cheated yourself out of this awesome series.