Create empires, outwit your opponents and lose yourself in the complex world of strategy games, from management-focused 4X titles to RTS nail biters that’ll have your keyboard on its knees. Winning doesn’t come easy here, but if you’re able to think further ahead than the enemy then these games provide a better thrill than thrashing the computer at chess (or checkers).
Let’s look at the best strategy games you can sink your teeth into, from alien warfare sim XCOM 2 to the inimitable Civilisation series. Action games need not apply.
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The Best Strategy Games To Sink Your Teeth Into
1. Crusader Kings III – best strategy games
Guide your dynasty to greatness in Crusader Kings III, the meticulous strategy game where you rule over an evolving realm in a brilliantly realised medieval world. Part of the popular Crusader Kings series, this newest entry offers a larger, more detailed map than ever before, allowing players to start in two tumultuous periods – 867 or 1066, for the history buffs – creating a successful lineage in a variety of different cultures. Several expansions continue to breathe life into this grand strategy master, with a recent launch on consoles.
2. XCOM 2 – best strategy games
Earth has changed in XCOM 2, and it’s up to your resistance fighters to challenge the new alien world order in this excellent turn-based tactical RPG. Boasting procedurally generated maps for high replay value and a healthy amount of secondary objectives to challenge players, XCOM 2 shines in its willingness to build upon what made its predecessor great. The varying difficulty levels, timed missions and the unpredictable nature of some enemy types make for a tense but rewarding gameplay session. There are no perfect runs here, and that’s OK.
3. Stellaris – best strategy games
Interact with (read: conquer) aliens, explore the galaxy and expand your futuristic empire in Stellaris, the grand strategy game that puts you in control of an interstellar society on the cusp of greatness. Incredibly customisable with the ability to create a whole new species, this is one of the best strategy games for exploring the difference between peace and annihilation. As with all Paradox Interactive 4X games Stellaris is an evolving experience where it’s easy to accidentally set yourself at war with the whole of civilisation, but that’s half the fun.
4. Invisible, Inc.
Covert missions, surveillance manoeuvres and information extraction are the aim of the game in Invisible, Inc., a turn-based spy tactics game set in a future of megacorps and private armies. Bad moves or hasty decisions will cost your agents their lives, and with the stakes high and the profits higher, Invisible, Inc. offers a tense gameplay experience heightened by its random elements and customisable builds. The fully animated cutscenes and voice cast make each playthrough wonderfully immersive. Tactical espionage, without the action.
5. Endless Legend
A fantasy take on the empire-building genre, Endless Legend sets players in the lands of Auriga, a world on the brink of apocalypse with 14 factions who struggle to coexist in a harsh and beautiful reality. As with all the best strategy games Endless Legend tells a tale of either democracy or domination, and is widely considered one of the subtlest, most story-driven games amongst its peers. Both the tactical combat and management side of things are a dream to master even eight years after release.
Still looking for your new kingdom? Check out more of our recommendations for the best strategy games to sink your teeth into.