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Best Turn-Based Strategy Games for Veterans and Newcomers

By 

Certified Awkward Tech Guy™

Last Updated 20 Oct 2021


Being forced to stay at home can open up opportunities to find new ways of entertaining yourself. Playing the best turn-based strategy games can provide you with intricate challenges to help you stave -off boredom. So whether you are an avid gamer or want to experience formulaic fun, we have you sorted. Check out our favorite strategy games and learn more on what to look for in the detailed buying guide below. 


Best Turn-Based Strategy Games


1. Gears Tactics

75%
Gears Tactics - Xbox Series X & Xbox One
558 Reviews
Gears Tactics - Xbox Series X & Xbox One
  • Immersive and character-driven story: play as the defiant soldier gabe diaz,...
  • Customizable squad and equipment: prepare your troops to face tough enemies,...
  • Aggressive gameplay: command your squad in fast-paced, turn-based battles,...
  • Massive boss battles: defeat towering deadly bosses that defy your strategies...

The Gears of War series is famed for requiring players to formulate smart tactics by understanding the battlefield to find the best way to overcome the enemy with capable weapons. Gears Tactics, a spin-off from the franchise, borrows heavily from the source but converts the gameplay into one of the best turn-based strategy games. Everything from the play mechanics to the aesthetics dominant in the series merges perfectly into this genre of games.

Gears Tactics requires you to immerse yourself in the chaos of open combat in a formulaic way, which changes your mindset from a soldier to an army commander. Every turn gives your four characters the ability to act by moving, shooting, or using their special abilities (unique to the different classes) three times. Your job is to ensure that the waves of enemy hoards, which always threaten to put your team out of commission, are not successful.

Scour abandoned cities and dilapidated factories and find the best offensive and defensive positions as you explore tactical options to defeat the enemy. Although not tightly bound to the plot, the strategic game features a lengthy campaign mode that can take more than 35 hours to complete. In addition, the missions of the tactical gameplay are sprawling with different secondary objectives and modifiers that make it seem like you are playing a randomly generated challenge.

  • Pros
  • The strategic RPG stays faithful to the Gears of War franchise.
  • The campaign mode will last more than 35 hours.
  • Plenty of freedom to develop and customize characters.
  • The turn-based tactical battles add flair to the RPG trope.
  • Cons
  • The plot is not the focus of this strategy game.
  • You can strengthen up to 20 characters, but you can only carry a standard squad of four to each mission.
  • Missions are not as diverse are some players would like. 

2. XCOM 2 on PS4

XCOM 2 (PS4)
190 Reviews
XCOM 2 (PS4)
  • RESEARCH, DEVELOP AND UPGRADE: Configure and build rooms on the Avenger to give...
  • EACH MISSION IS A UNIQUE CHALLENGE: Go on missions around the world, from...
  • ENGAGE IN HEAD-TO-HEAD MULTIPLAYER: Mix-and-match squads of humans and aliens...

XCOM 2 throws you into the thick of turn-based tactical combat, where you will feel like you are always running out of time. Take on the cerebral challenge of training soldiers and placing them into a glorious and grueling fight for the future of humanity. Make the punishing battlefields and extensive fantasy world map your home as you struggle to command earth's resistance against the Advent, the alien threat that has occupied the planet for 20 years.

Unlike its predecessor, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, you are tasked with taking the fight to the enemy. But, of course, the typical battle preparation still applies in this strategy game where you are required to create an army and research innovations to help you turn the tide in the brutal struggle for control. As a result, the missions are geared towards crippling the enemy instead of directly facing off against them.

Nevertheless, each campaign's point feels vital to ensuring a successful outcome since the plot and gameplay gel perfectly together. Compromising the control of the Advent can lead to exciting firefights where turn-based tactics are essential for ensuring victory. Moreover, you will get a new randomly generated challenge that makes the strategy game more dynamic and interesting.

  • Pros
  • Greatly improves on the original game in turn-based combat.
  • The strategic layer is still as exciting as the battles.
  • The plot is a driving part of the entire game.
  • You can explore different tactics that make the game feel different even when replayed.
  • Your soldiers can build personal connections.
  • Every choice made carries weighty consequences.
  • Cons
  • The enemy does not always follow the tactical rules.
  • Cinematic scenes stutter due to issues in the game's performance.

3. Sid Meier's Civilization VI Anthology Edition for PC

50%
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Anthology - PC [Online Game Code]
1 Reviews
Sid Meier’s Civilization VI Anthology - PC [Online Game Code]
  • The ultimate entry point for any gamers new to the greatest strategy game series...
  • The package includes the Sid Meier’s Civilization VI game, six DLC packs*, the...
  • Save vs buying DLC packs a la carte. Individual DLC and Expansions may be sold...

Civilization has been one of the best strategy games since it came out in 1991. However, it has evolved from an arms race that features resource management to Sid Meier's Civilization VI, an engrossing turn-based tactics game. Themes characteristic of the title persist in this modern anthology but have a twist that gives the strategic layer more meat.

You can decide to pursue different avenues like domination, religion, culture or science, in your quest to create a sustainable civilization. But, of course, conquest is still a major part of the turn-based tactical game where exploration, expansion, exploitation and extermination are part and parcel of the involving gameplay. After all, building a successful society means dealing with civil unrest, fostering flourishing trade and managing diplomatic affairs.

This new iteration of the well-known Civilization tactics games allows built cities to sprawl outwards to give players access to resources in the surrounding area. Also, the previous success metrics have been changed to make each turn essential to achieving your overall objectives. Consequently, you get to experience one of the most tedious yet exciting, turn-based games available.

  • Pros
  • Cities in the game can now take advantage of resources in their neighboring vicinities.
  • Exciting improvements in diplomacy, research and civics.
  • Each turn carries more weight.
  • A faithful adaptation of the original with lots of improvements.
  • Cons
  • Aspects of the gameplay like tourism and missionaries are not clear.
  • Some unnecessary notifications pull your attention away from the action. 

4. Total War: Three Kingdoms

Total War: Three Kingdoms. Für Windows 7/8/10
21 Reviews
Total War: Three Kingdoms. Für Windows 7/8/10
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/14/2019 (Publication Date) - Koch Media GmbH (Publisher)

Dive into the world of intrigue, romance and brutal battles that highlight the perks of Total War: Three Kingdoms turn-based-strategy game. This title puts you squarely in the skirmish-filled period of Chinese history running from 169-to-280 AD, where you lead a vengeful campaign against the widespread corruption in the land. However, it would be preferable if you were not afraid to get your hands dirty and make tough decisions as the game leaves no saint unstained.

Total War: Three Kingdoms is an intense real-time strategy game that employs the formula of turn-based gameplay to give players a unique look into the turbulent period in history. The Creative Assembly studio responsible for the Total War games allow you to follow key figures as they go up against all the factions in the battle to free China. Plus, managing your resources is an integral part of beating your enemies to the punch.

Take part in real-time battles in stunning details owing to the gorgeous environments, everchanging weather and lighting that create a stimulating backdrop to the fighting. In addition, the clean UI gives you plenty of details and options for viewing or hiding. Finally, players get lots of information to use in strategizing for the next meeting on the battlegrounds.

  • Pros
  • The strategy game has involving gameplay of different stories and characters.
  • The story campaign relies on history.
  • The romance mode inclusion makes for a fast-paced game.
  • The Chinese voice acting serves to immerse you further into the world.
  • Cons
  • The narrative may push you towards conflicts you do not want.
  • Its tutorial is too intense. 

5. Banner Saga Trilogy for Nintendo Switch

11%
Banner Saga Trilogy - Nintendo Switch
607 Reviews
Banner Saga Trilogy - Nintendo Switch
  • Beautifully hand drawn combat sequences and animations, accompanied by an...
  • Choose from 48 playable characters from 4 different races and 40 classes, each...
  • Strategic combat with consequences where victory or defeat and even the...
  • Your role in building and managing your caravan as you travel the vast landscape...

One of the best turn-based strategy games is the Banner Saga Trilogy which brings the popular series to a close. Other games in the line-up focussed on fighting wars, then finding refuge. But, the last entry in the Banner Saga sheds light on the desperation that ensues when you are engaging in a satisfying and all-consuming turn-based combat scenario.

Choose between following a clan under refuge in the Arbberang city or a mercenary company heading into the heart of the darkness. The trilogy's ending is a change from the previous iterations as there is no single clear-cut enemy to fight. Instead, the world presents high stakes for the players since the infighting among the survivors takes center stage.

You may be skeptical about starting the series at the end. However, the first 20 hours of the gameplay helps you get reintroduced to the characters and their intricate relationships. Furthermore, the compelling and high-stakes fighting will soon pull you into the fantasy setting, where decision-making drives the game forward.

  • Pros
  • The time element creates a fast-paced experience.
  • The tension is always turned up to eleven thanks to the wave-battles and carefully woven plot.
  • Decision-making yields substantial consequences.
  • The audio and hand-drawn design choices make it involving and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Cons
  • Veteran players will enjoy it most as knowledge of previous games is essential.
  • Tiles may become cluttered or obscured when playing. 

Things to Consider When Looking for Turn-Based Strategy Games

a). Platform

Before you start looking for a turn-based strategy game, you need to figure out if you are on the right platform. Some titles are exclusive to specific consoles, while others allow players to save their progress remotely and continue on any device. As such, you need to find the right fit for your gaming needs.

When it comes to PC gaming, the capability of your computer is a significant factor in the kinds of games you can play. If you are interested in having a more vivid gaming experience, you may need to go for more recent titles and get a beefy machine to run them on. Otherwise, you may experience delays, especially if you are playing real-time strategy games.

b). Number of Players

If you are interested in playing solo, you need to find games that offer randomly generated maps or skirmish modes to keep you entertained. Alternatively, you can find a title that allows you to take up arms as a group and go against enemies. The choice between the two often boils down to personal preference as some people may prefer to either do world-building independently or as a team.

In any case, look for turn-based combat with a chunky campaign mode gameplay. After all, it would be anticlimactic if you were done with everything about the title after playing it for a week. However, it might be more engaging to build characters and join your friends in taking on the enemy.

c). Themes

If you are looking for turn-based combat games for your kid, it is critical to find out if there are adult themes in them. One such game that has restrictions for children under the age of 16 is Warhammer 2 for PC. But, admittedly, any Total War game may carry the same rating.

If you are not worried about age, you should consider the theme of the game. A title may choose to focus on World War II, follow some historic conflict or build a fictional realm where the action takes place. Depending on what tickles your fancy, you should look for a title with an attractive overarching plot and rich lore.

On the other hand, the stylistic choices in rendering the game may be an essential consideration. Different gaming studios employ unique designs to bring their fictional worlds and characters to life. So whether you want photorealistic graphics or cartoon-themed settings, the decision may affect how well you enjoy the title.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Turn-Based Strategy Games

1. Which title ranks among the best strategy games?

Gears Tactics offers numerous challenges and opportunities to utilize intelligent strategies and to set long-term plans in motion. In addition, the game is immersive, and the campaign more will last for more than 35 hours. Finally, the turn-based style employed in the title is a pleasant departure from the tired RPG trope found in some games.

2. What makes a good turn-based strategy game?

A terrific strategy game should give you enough room to make mistakes while you make plans for your future turns. Furthermore, the odds should not be overwhelmingly in your favor as this can make the match-ups boring, especially if you have been playing the title for a while. Finally, the game should challenge your thinking and planning abilities to solve complex problems instead of rushing head-first into every conflict while coming out unscathed. 

About the author

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

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