If i can single out the best 3 games ever made, the list will definitely contain Heroes of Might & Magic 3. It's such a perfect mix of cleverly made challenges that always kept me on my toes requiring careful planning strategy and optimizing combat effectiveness to beat the game (which I must say , I haven't done till this day :). It's no secret for me that King's Bounty : TL/AP feeds on the ideas used in Heroes of Might and Magic and the similar games, but actually the game is a spiritual sequel on the 1990's game King's Bounty (which I've never played). King's Bounty : The Legend also introduces some modification of the game segments that improve the overall player's experience.
King's Bounty : The Legend , and Armored Princess have too much similarities for me to make separate reviews for both games so whatever i say here goes for both games.
The player takes control of a hero general who explores the map in real time, and if a combat situation arises the time is stopped and combat is done in turn based manner. The combat itself can be easily described like some sort of modified chess version where the hero's troops take on the ones of the enemy. Of course, there's a billion things to take into account beside the raw combat stats of the unit, the unit's morale, the leadership of the hero, the special powers, strengths and weaknesses of the units, various magic and also randomized combat terrain with power up objects... The mechanism is not really that complicated, but it requires careful planning to make the most of the battle. The units can be of various appearances mostly represented by creatures from various mythologies, divided into several categories/races (Humans, Animals, Demonic, Elves...) but after the first encounter with them it's relatively easy to get to know their ability. That's basically combat mechanics 101. The fun part kicks in when the superb AI shows up. It is so cleverly done that it's designed to react differently to a different approach, so the battles are NEVER boring. Yes, in The Legend the enemy armies were largely consisted of same class (depending of the world/map the battle is taking place), so it's kinda lame to fight the same enemies over and over but it's corrected in Armored Princess.
Army management is just part of the story. The strategy part. The other one is the RPG. The hero can gain experience and level up, gaining talent points in 3 different trees magic, mind and might, each giving bonuses in different categories. The hero can also wear gear that improves his basic attributes (Attack, Defense and Knowledge) delegating the attack and defense benefits to it's commanding troops, and the Knowledge directly influences the effectiveness of the magic the hero uses in combat. Customizing specific gear to fit specific fighting styles or even single battles can be sometimes annoying but it's always fun to beat a challenge using your own intellectual prowess which is actually is a significant part of what gaming means.
This game is definitely among my top 10 games I've played, and I'm not sorry for every minute I've spent. If you're into RPGs and turn based strategies this one will definitely win you over. Just be sure to have some work vacation days available :)