Thoughts on "strategy" and "tactics"
Periodically the subject of "strategy and tactics" comes up on BGG. I roll these ideas around in my head (I hope the rattling doesn't bother anyone...much). They describe kinds of planning.
At the most basic level, everyone agrees that tactics are at a "smaller scale" than strategy. In the military "tactical" considerations refer to small numbers of troops, and "strategic" considerations refer to large numbers of troops. My rough rule of thumb for wargames is that tactical games include line-of-sight, and strategic games include supply lines. Many euros offer multiple "paths to victory," and these can be considered strategic choices; while implementing your strategy, you will make numerous smaller, "tactical" decisions. In Princes of Florence, you might pursue a building strategy, and you will have to decide on individual turns how much to pay for various items. You choice of strategy will inform your tactical decisions. To win with a building strategy, you probably need 3 builders, and you just pay whatever the price required.
Chess and go have a rich literature on planning. Chess books describe things like knight forks (where a single knight move attacks simultaneously attacks two pieces) as tactics, and things like connected passed pawns are strategic considerations. Chess books also call these features positional advantages, and at the higher chess levels the game is all about these. Books on chess "strategy" focus heavily on positional play, assuming the player has already mastered tactics. After all, controlling an empty file doesn't do you much good if you drop your queen to a knight fork.
The examples of chess and go show there is another idea floating around here. Sometimes a particular game state or position has a meaning that transcends move-by-move (aka tactical) analysis. It seems this "higher meaning" is related somehow to "strategy," but perhaps not.
Another example from chess. Kasparov was defeated Deeper Blue, and he later commented on one of his games in Time. He described the end game where Deeper Blue made a brilliant pawn sacrifice that shattered Kasparov's position. Kasparov knew he was in trouble, but he didn't see any forcing lines, so he accepted the sacrifice and took the pawn. Deeper Blue went on to win the game. In post-mortem, it turned out the game tree had shrunk to the point that DB was able to compute all possible moves to the end of the game. To DB, it wasn't a sacrifice at all; DB knew it was a game winning move.
It seems strategy and tactics are closely related to intelligence and the ways that humans and computers "think."
Interesting stuff, IMO.