Strategy gaming is one of the most popular game genres that emphasizes thinking skills and planning over impulsive or direct action to secure a victory. Although several video-based games contain elements related to strategy gaming, as a genre, strategy games are defined as those with a primary focus on high-level logistical and resource management. Generally, they are divided into two subcategories: turn-based and real-time. However, other cross-strategy genres such as tactical, diplomatic, economical, and explorative also exist.
Strategy games involve careful and precise thinking. They are great for building general knowledge and for developing management skills. Unlike pure action games that may become repetitive after a while, strategy-based games give greater pleasure when one manages to put together the pieces of the puzzle. Given below is a list of the top 10 best strategy games of all time.
Note: 6 out of these 10 games (Crusader Kings 3, Warhammer 3, Civilization 6, Endless Legend, XCOM 2, Warhammer 2) can be played on the Playstation or Xbox as well. The other 4 may arrive on these home video gaming consoles in the near future.
Best Strategy games for PC
Here are the top 10 strategy games in 2022:
- Crusader Kings 3
- Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
- Total War: Warhammer 3
- Civilization 6
- Endless Legend
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
- Starcraft 2
- XCOM 2
- Total War: Warhammer 2
- Invisible Inc.
Crusader Kings 3
Developer: Paradox Development Studio, Lab42.
Available on Steam: $49.99
Players get to live the life of various medieval rulers in this people-playing strategy game. You need to increase your family power and reputation through generations. When a ruler passes away, they will be replaced with a successor who could have a completely different set of motivations, which could force you to adjust your strategy.
Players can choose a royal or noble house from several realms on a map that stretches from Iceland to India and from the Arctic Circle to Central Africa. They can become holy kings who call the religious powers to their side or have the option to design their religious faction and earn abundant fame or incessant damnation.
Thanks to plenty of in-game guidance and a useful tooltip system, it is also extremely easy to pick up this game. The game has a brilliant flow, and users will always find constant challenges. One can always expect to face plenty of wars, trysts, and interpersonal battles.
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
Developer: Blackbird Interactive
Available on Steam: $49.99
Homeworld involves a journey across a vast desert, with the mission being that the player needs to save the civilization from utter ruin before time runs out. The innumerable battles are connected, and one does not get bored despite playing multiple rounds. The game has great art and sound design and is considered a timeless classic.
This Homeworld game was anticipated with skepticism, considering the previous installment. The last game in the series was released over a decade before ‘Deserts of Kharak;’ and had spaceships in the game. In addition, this new installment had tanks combatting each other in a ground-based RTS. However, this strategy game has exceeded our expectations. While it sets itself apart from the rest of the series’s games, it is an excellent reinvention that is also extremely engaging.
Total War: Warhammer 3
Developers: Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive
Available on Steam: $59.99
In this turn-based game, players need to move their armies across the map and maintain their settlements. They will go up against AI-controlled armies and factions, and can also engage in diplomacy to prevent conflicts. Players can also create their own real-time battles in the custom battles mode.
The game is tough to pick up for newbies, as it can be rather hectic to manage multiple actions in real-time. However, the tutorial has a detailed guide that lessens the complexity of the game. The game has plenty of depth, thanks to its several campaigns and quests. The splendid graphics are also noteworthy.
Warhammer 3 is also different from its two prequels, as it allows gamers to leave the sandbox to visit the ‘Realm of Chaos’, where the domains of the Chaos Gods exist. In addition, there are huge, highly intriguing survival battles. Players will always be on the edge of their seats while battling against waves of enemies.
Developer: Aspyr, Firaxis Games.
Available on Steam: $59.99
This list would be incomplete without including a game from the civilisation series. The best strategy game in this series would be Civilization 6, which has also had the most expansions. The district system is a standout feature of this new installment, as it helps users unstack cities in the district system. There are also more specialized areas present in the cities.
Additionally, the game expansions include the concepts of the Dark and Golden Ages. Players will have to deal with environmental and climate conflicts, but they will have bonuses to combat the changing tides. Finally, civilisation 6 is a must-have strategy game. There is some debate within the gaming community about which installment – Civilization 5 or Civilization 6 – is the superior one. While both are great, the ‘Gathering Storm’ expansion for the latter version makes Civilization 6 the better game.
Developer: Amplitude Studios
Available on Steam: $29.99
The Endless Legend strategy game is set in Auriga, with a detailed layout of lands and ecosystems being introduced randomly in each game. They are represented on a map made up of a hexagonal grid. The map is populated with a variety of terrain, each made up of biomes within the world that affect the player’s units.
The world map of Endless Legend comprises separate regions. Once a city has been established within the borders of a region for the first time, the entire region becomes part of a faction’s territory and control. Each faction begins with a settler unit to establish its first city and region at the start of each game. Regions can only host one city each within their borders.
Endless Legend is an unusual yet worthy addition to the best strategy games list. There are multiple factions based in this game, and they have their unique traits. The game has one of the best faction designs, and there are 13 of them! This game has multiple story quests that will always keep the player on their toes.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Developer: Westwood Studios, EA Pacific
The main objective of the Command & Conquer sequel is to defeat the enemy’s commanders by destroying their established bases. They could be either human or Artificial Intelligence opponents. Players need to defend their bases to maintain their ability to produce money and create units since these are essential in achieving the primary objectives. Once all enemy commanders have been successfully defeated, the one true winner is declared.
Command & Conquer’s entire list of games is fantastic, but Red Alert 2 is the standout game of the series. It has the best maps, great campaigns, and some of the most interesting units. The Soviet Squids and Allied Dolphins are distinct combatting factions in this game. Another great feature of the game is that cutscenes are highly engaging yet simultaneously funny.
The game has solid strategy-based campaigns. Players are allowed to play from the democratic American perspective and the Soviet Union perspective. The game has a great multiplayer offering with a couple of endlessly engaging modes.
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Price: Free to play (Blizzard.com).
Starcraft 2 has several versions. In StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, three extraterrestrial groups from the original game – Zergs, Protoss, and Terrans – make their return. Captain Jim Raynor is the central character in the Terran missions. In a departure from previous Starcraft editions, the campaign is non-linear, with Raynor taking jobs for money and using that money to buy additional units and upgrades. Although each playthrough will vary, the result remains consistent, keeping the storyline linear.
Meanwhile, there are several role-playing elements in the Heart of the Swarm installment. The Kerrigans, led by Sarah, are the Heart of the story, which revolves around the possibility of the latter’s redemption. The Legacy of the Void is the third expansion, in which the Protoss aliens attempt to reunite their tribes to stop the fallen lord, Amon.
Starcraft is one of the most popular games in this series, and its sequel is easily one of the best RTS (real-time strategy) games currently in existence. It allows for intense fight sequences, and there is more detail to various types of creatures and players than one possibly expects in such a game. Different sets of strategies need to be engaged while combatting scenarios such as lava floods on planets and the zombie attack segments.
While its game developer Blizzard has announced that there will be no new additions coming to the game, its competitive scene is still thriving. As a result, it has one of the top single-player campaigns for players. One of the standout features of this game is its PvE (Player vs Environment) mode, where you get to encounter an array of different creatures. In addition, starcraft helps players interact with their surroundings even outside of combat.
Developer: Feraxis Games, Feral Interactive
This strategy game has some of the most well-designed creatures, including some of the hardest boss fights in PC strategy games. XCOM’s sequel relies heavily on decision-making, and impulsiveness could greatly cost a player. At any point in the game, players will have only six scan sites to choose from while fulfilling tasks such as recruiting rookies, building comms facilities using engineers, and using alloys for weapon building.
Pro Tip: We would recommend getting the expansion packs for seasoned gamers, as they feature more frightening enemies and additional challenges that will leave you spellbound. The game has some of the best elements in the series, including but not limited to struggles against savage monsters, tight tactical battles, and multiple improvements over its predecessor.
Total War: Warhammer 2
Developer: Creative Assembly, Feral Interactive
In Total War: Warhammer 2, players move their armies all over the map and take care of their settlements in multiple turns. They engage diplomatically and fight against Artificial Intelligence led factions. Whenever the armies face each other, they battle in real-time. Additionally, the Warhammer sequel has a custom mode where players can co-create customized real-time battles.
While the final part in the Warhammer trilogy is probably the best, the second installment easily warrants a place in the top 10 list of the best strategy games. Many players consider it the most creative game in the series, though the tactical elements sometimes fall a little short.
The Mortal Empires’ expansion to this game elevates to a greater level. The game has also inspired more content, including the Warhammer: Total War series. Considering the trilogy’s great reviews, it would be best if players could lay their hands on the entire set of games.
Developer: Klei Entertainment
This list would be incomplete without the addition of Invisible Inc., an exceptional stealth game developed by the company Klei. The cyberpunk-styled corporate-based espionage game is a thrill, where players need to swing by multiple corporate strongholds while completing a set of tasks and avoid not getting caught.
In this game, players will work as agents, who undertake several covert missions over a span of three days to retrieve valuable information and personnel. The player will need to select up to 2 agents. These agents will need to execute actions such as knocking out guards silently, taking steps, and performing several actions. The objective is to fulfill the required missions and to unlock new characters and new equipment for future missions.
Additionally, the game is the cheapest on our list. While difficult, it is also highly customizable based on a player’s needs. If a beginner focuses only on the main objectives of the game, then they can complete it within 7 hours, whereas a person that wants to try out all aspects of the game with varying difficulty will take up to 75 hours for completion. In case players want to give it a try before purchasing it for their PC, then they can download it for iPads from the App Store for just $4.99.
So, there you have it! The top strategy games of all time! Do let us know in the comment section which is your favorite strategy game.
Strategy Games – FAQs
The average price currently hovers at around $60.
Some highly anticipated games in the ‘PC strategy’ genre are Terra Invicta, Homeworld 3, The Settlers, Sanctuary, and Dune: Spice Wars.
The first Starcraft game from Blizzard Entertainment holds that record, as it has sold over 11 million copies as of July 2013.
The average cost to build a strategy game for PCs is approximately $500,000.