One of the greatest modern independent games, Armageddon Empires is a hex-based trading-card strategy game, taking place in a beautifully realized post-nuclear scenario.
You play on randomly generated hex-maps, where you battle against one to three opponents. You compose your armies (decks of cards) out of a big pool of available cards, ranging from bland infantry, to hero units and even research academies/industrial complexes, which you can later place on the map. There are four factions (Mutants, Aliens, Machines and the "Empire of Man"), each with their own art and special focus.
After building a deck (there are also some default decks provided for beginners or quickstarters) you choose mapsize, armysize, number of opponents and you are ready to go. You then move your armies on the battlefield and try to take the starting sites of all the other factions to win. Battles between armies take place in TCG-style in an extra screen.
No matter what aspect of this game I look at, there has gone a lot of work into it, from the beautifully drawn artwork on the cards, to the maps (which include randomly placed specials like abandoned cities, recruitable mercenaries etc.), everything just oozes of style.
Ok, before I am getting too enthusiastic again, there *are* two things that bother me: The first is the rather cumbersome interface (composing&moving armies, research of tactics, construction of equipment is not done very intuitively) and the second is the woeful lack of multiplayer, which led me to move on after having a quite significant amount of fun. Nevertheless I recommend it to anyone with an even remote interest in the genre ("two thumbs way up!" :)).
You can buy the game on the developer´s site (http://www.crypticcomet.com) for a measly 30$ (Mac and PC), also, as of June 2009, there are 2 mini-addons available free of charge there, that add new rulesets, special events and cards. Also, there is a Trial-Version available.