In a lot of real-time strategy games I've played (Age of Empires II, Warcraft III, and StarCraft II come to mind), some of the levels of the single-player campaign usually involve you controlling a handful of units and achieving your objective without managing a base. Typically these levels are laid-out linearly, with a set path or series of paths for you to follow until a pre-defined endpoint. The game will also usually give you more units along the way as a means to replenish your army. There is no base building or economy management involved the level, though occasionally you might get access to a few unit-production buildings to also replenish your army.

These levels seem like such a common occurrence in RTS's that I'm wondering if there's a term for them? "No base building" seems like a bit of a clunky name for it.

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    I've heard a guide for Warcraft 3 call it a "dungeon crawl", which works perfectly well for those levels, but not so well for games like Age of Empires, where its more like a "map crawl". Mar 14, 2016 at 22:20
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the only allowed terminology questions ask to define a gaming-related term, not to find a noun that describes some gaming-related feature. May 2, 2019 at 10:19
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    @Wrigglenite gaming.meta.stackexchange.com/a/11472/127901
    – Dragonrage
    May 2, 2019 at 16:24
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    @Powerlord Yes, the terminology tag wiki. May 2, 2019 at 17:24
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    It's disingenuous to say it's always been that way when the relevant excerpt edit was made less than a year ago without community consensus (not even suggestion), and the full tag history has never mentioned this.
    – Schism
    May 4, 2019 at 19:40

2 Answers 2


I would think the term RTT (real time tactics) would be a good fit. It is a sub/related genre to RTS, and is "focused on tactical and operational aspects of warfare such as unit formations or the exploitation of terrain for tactical advantage" as opposed to the "logistics and production".

I have also heard the terms non-base building used fairly frequently. Alternatively, I've heard the term "Call ins" used to refer to games where you simply call in the troops you need to fight with as opposed to building them.


Years ago, these were called installation missions. Some Google searching suggests that this term probably isn't in common usage at this point. You can find it in some walkthroughs or reviews of the original Starcraft.

I believe this term is in reference to the Jacobs Installation mission, which was the fourth mission in Starcraft, and the first one without any base building.

  • Command and Conquer (1995) had these kinds of missions before StarCraft (2000) did, so I'm pretty sure StarCraft wasn't the origin of the name for these kinds of level missions. Mar 23, 2017 at 8:44
  • @MarkRipley Were they called "Installation" missions in C&C?
    – DCShannon
    Mar 23, 2017 at 18:02

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