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GamesRadar's potentially annual Platinum Chalice awards 2006

Typically, the first-person shooter dominates the PC gaming genre, like a giant, bazooka-wielding 800-lb gorilla. But even with shooters like Battlefield 2142, 2006 wasn't typical. Instead, this was the year that fantastic real-time strategy games swarmed onto store shelves like a herd of Zerg Hydralisks on a newborn Terran Marine.

Company of Heroes was the big gun in 2006, a gritty depiction of small-scale WWII action with fully destructible environments that's probably the PC game of the year. And Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade made a great RTS even better with the addition of new factions including a race of undead robots.

Tolkien lovers got not one, but 1.5 great games in Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II and its ring-tastic expansion Rise of the Witch King, while Medieval II: Total War redefined "large scale" with its vast-beyond-belief armies. Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs and Civilization IV: Warlords reminded themselves that empires are built with bloodied blades, and ParaWorld got prehistoric with it. Not only that, but two of the year's most promising titles moved to 2007 just to keep things spread out: the Red Dawn-style World in Conflict and THQ's Supreme Commander.

Good year? That's an understatement. This was a tank rush of RTS excellence with firepower on a scale that may never be seen again.

Typically, the first-person shooter dominates the PC gaming genre, like a giant, bazooka-wielding 800-lb gorilla. But even with shooters like Battlefield 2142, 2006 wasn't typical. Instead, this was the year that fantastic real-time strategy games swarmed onto store shelves like a herd of Zerg Hydralisks on a newborn Terran Marine.

Company of Heroes was the big gun in 2006, a gritty depiction of small-scale WWII action with fully destructible environments that's probably the PC game of the year. And Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade made a great RTS even better with the addition of new factions including a race of undead robots.

Tolkien lovers got not one, but 1.5 great games in Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth II and its ring-tastic expansion Rise of the Witch King, while Medieval II: Total War redefined "large scale" with its vast-beyond-belief armies. Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs and Civilization IV: Warlords reminded themselves that empires are built with bloodied blades, and ParaWorld got prehistoric with it. Not only that, but two of the year's most promising titles moved to 2007 just to keep things spread out: the Red Dawn-style World in Conflict and THQ's Supreme Commander.

Good year? That's an understatement. This was a tank rush of RTS excellence with firepower on a scale that may never be seen again.