If 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 in games like Age of Empires to those in the distant future. Classic 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 is some top tier RTS games to test your battle readiness in:

Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition

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

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.

Extend the reach of your empire on Xbox Game Pass!

Gears 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.

Purchase Gears Tactics

Desperados III

Release Date: Available now

The storied franchise returns offer 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.

Purchase Desperados III

Minecraft Legends

Unlock the secrets of Minecraft Legends, an upcoming action strategy game themed after the global gaming phenomenon Minecraft. Rally your troops to protect the Overworld from the menacing piglins with epic battles! Collect resources, build up your forces, and expand your reach brick-by-brick. Explore the world to uncover secrets and hidden treasures and become an unstoppable legend!

Play Minecraft Legends

Pikmin 4

Release Date: Out now

Embark on a grand adventure on a strange planet with Pikmin 4. You will lead a team of tiny creatures called Pikmin, each with their own abilities and unique traits. Red Pikmin are immune to fire, Ice Pikmin can freeze foes and objects, and there are many more types to discover. Use your Pikmin’s skills and your own strategy to explore the mysterious world, fight enemies, and collect treasures. Pikmin 4 is a real-time strategy game that will challenge your creativity and problem-solving skills against a beautiful colourful world.

Buy Pikmin 4

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 Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: Available now on Nintendo Switch

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.

Buy Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

Release Date: Available now on Nintendo Switch

This action-packed Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes for Nintendo Switch involves advanced fighting skills and expertise in warfare of each character in massive battles. Step into the shoes of Edelgard, Dimitri, Claude and other Fire Emblem characters as they return to war-torn Fodlan. Wield the powerful weapons of each character to decimate innumerable enemies and save Fodlan.

Purchase Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Release Date: Available now

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! It’s time to rewrite history!

Buy Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

Relive the thrilling combat of join up forces with Mario characters in the Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope for Nintendo Switch. You will explore planets throughout the galaxy as you unearth mysterious secrets and compelling quests. As the journey unfolds, you will beat a malevolent entity and save your Spark companions from the dark forces.

Purchase Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

Marvel’s Midnight Suns

It’s time to unleash Marvel’s darker side in Midnight Suns as you battle among legends as The Hunter, a supernatural warrior with a mysterious past. After centuries of slumber you rise to lead a team of dangerous and conflicted heroes. With hundreds of combinations of characters and skills, build your own unique version of your very own superhero.

Pick-up Marvel’s Midnight Suns 

Fire Emblem Engage

Release Date: Out now

Summon valiant heroes and defeat ancient threat in Fire Emblem Engage for Nintendo Switch. In a war against the Fell Dragon, four kingdoms worked together with heroes from other worlds to seal away this great evil. One-thousand years later, this seal has weakened and the Fell Dragon is about to reawaken.

Purchase Fire Emblem Engage

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

Release Date: Available Now
Relive the thrilling combat of both Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising with Advance Wars 1 + 2 Re-Boot Camp exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. Play across the land, sea, and air with Andy, Max, Sami, and other Commanding Officers, or switch over to Versus Mode and engage up to four players in intense combat to find the ultimate victor among your friends.

Buy Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp

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 are 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, instagram @dapper_tux.


  1. I lost so many nights to Age Of Empires and Civilization. Total War was fun as well because as well as strategy you could get into the mud and command the troops on the battlefield.


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