Strategy Genre BannerIf you prefer brains over brawn in your approach to video games the strategy genre has a wide range of fun and appealing challenges. If you breakdown the core experience of this category it is essentially a game of chess. You need to carefully plan your next move to outwit your opponent on the battlefield. This “virtual chess board” comes in a variety of shapes and forms from ancient battle fields of games like Age of Empires to those in the distant future. Sci-fi military titles like Starcraft, are all about resource management and massing your forces.

Do you send out waves of early attacks, or bide your time and launch one massive offensive? The thrill of victory in battle awaits! If you enjoy carefully calculating your next move strategy games could be a great fit for you.

Strategy sub-genres: layers to the tactical experience

The strategy genre has multiple subcategories with the biggest being real-time (RTS) and turn based strategy (TBS) games. The key difference is real-time games unfold without any pauses or waiting for your next move, the action is instantaneous. Turn based encounters on the other hand, gives players the opportunity to pause in order to select their next move then watch the action playout.

Let’s explore some of the best RTS and TBS experiences out there.

Real-time strategy games

In an RTS game the battle evolves right before your very eyes. You need to gather resources, build bases, raise your army, upgrade them and indirectly control your forces. It’s a lot to manage at first, but once you understand the ebb and flow of battle the experience becomes both thrilling and rewarding. Here are some top tier RTS games to test your battle readiness in:

Age of Empires IIIAge of Empires III: Definitive Edition

Release Date: Available now for PC and via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
Full Preview

The real time strategy classic makes its return with a plethora of modes, unique civilizations, and deep strategy. The in-game assets have been rebuilt in 3D and now support 4K ultra-HD graphics along with a remastered soundtrack and audio effects. In addition, two new modes and civilizations are now included to expand your empire’s reach.

strategy Age of Empires

Extend the reach of your empire on Xbox Game Pass!

Desperados IIIDesperados III

Release Date: Available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Full Review | Overall Rating: 
4.3/5 (85%)

The storied franchise returns offering real-time gameplay with measured, methodical planning to help you stay alive in the Wild West. The game offers a brilliant blend of strategy and action as you work to assemble your gang of 4 heroes. You and your merry band fight against outlaws and corrupt lawmen on your road to redemption. The modern western classic combines stealth mechanics with deep strategic thinking, trend carefully and outwit your enemies in order to survive.

Strategy Desperados III

Purchase Desperados III on Xbox One

Pikmin 3Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Release Date: Available Now
Full Review | Overall Rating: 
4.1/5 (82%)

It’s a race against time as you strategize and command tiny plant-like Pikmin to explore a new world to find food for their home planet. Help the tiny creatures overcome obstacles, defeat hostile enemies and make it back to their ship before time runs out.

Pikmin 3 gameplayBuy Pikmin 3

Turn-based strategy games

If you like to have a little extra time to plan your next steps in battle, turn-based strategy games might be for you. These games offer pauses between action or battle sequences to allow players to strategize their next move. Here are some must play turn-based titles, good luck on the battlefield!

Fire EmblemFire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: Available now on Nintendo Switch
Full Review | Overall Rating: 
4.4/5 (88%)

The Fire Emblem series makes its HD debut in Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the Nintendo Switch. It is one of the best tactical role-playing games in recent memory with core gameplay improvements, which make the game accessible to both newcomers and veterans alike. The game’s 3 storylines offer a plethora of content, a story is full of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Fire Emblem GameplayBuy Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Gears TacticsGears Tactics
Release Date: Available Now

It’s Gears of War like you’ve never experienced before with fast paced turn-based action. Battle back the Locust Horde as Gabe Diaz, planet Sera’s last hope against a ruthless, unforgiving enemy. Customize and upgrade your squad’s skills and outfit them with loot collected on missions. Think fast and stay on your toes as a seemingly unstoppable, enemy emerges hell bent on humanity’s destruction.

Gears Tactics Gameplay

Purchase Gears Tactics

CivilizationSid Meier’s Civilization VI

Release Date: Available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Full Review (PS4) | Full Review (Nintendo Switch) Overall Rating: 
PS4 4.8/5 (95%) | Nintendo Switch 4.5/5 (90%)

The epic PC strategy game is available now on the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch with a near flawless translation to home consoles. In Sid Meier’s Civilization, you can change the course of history buy rewriting it with your own actions. The game allows you to explore new regions and clash with history’s most renowned leaders as you build the greatest civilization known to humankind!

Sid Meier CivilizationThe home console versions include additional content which adds four new civilizations, leaders, and scenarios: Vikings Scenario Pack, Poland Civilization & Scenario Pack, Australia Civilization & Scenario Pack, and Persia and Macedon Civilization & Scenario Pack. The base addition of the game is packed with content that will keep you busy for hundreds of hours.

It’s time to rewrite history!

Buy Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Get out there and conquer the world!

The vast and ever evolving selection of strategy games always has something new and interesting to offer. Whether on the go with your Nintendo Switch or playing at home on your Xbox, PlayStation or PC there’s always new conquests at your fingertips. I hope this rundown of strategy gaming helped you find a new adventure.

Let me know in the comments below what your favourite strategy game is, happy gaming!

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Matthew Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things tech related since the start of the digital era. He shares his passion for technology in his day job as a teacher and via multiple media platforms. As a long-time veteran of the video game and tech industry, he's covered interactive entertainment and esports on the web, in video series, podcasts, and on international television. You can follow Matthew's tech-venture filled lifestyle on twitter and instagram @dapper_tux

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