Mobile gaming offers a plethora of strategy games. The best strategy games on mobile operating systems like Android or iOS, range from quick rounds in Clash Royale to the more in-depth sessions in Plague Inc. The genre is well-suited for touchscreen controls on modern phones, making it a popular choice. Even older devices can handle these games due to their simpler graphics and animations.
The best mobile strategy games strike a delicate balance between tactical depth and bite-sized missions. Players often seek titles they can enjoy during short breaks while on the move or waiting in line. Thus, pausing and resuming at any moment is crucial in mobile gaming.
With various captivating designs, mobile strategy games provide a unique mix of entertainment and strategic challenge. Whether fantasy, sci-fi, or war games, players can embark on epic adventures, build kingdoms, and engage in battles with creatures and other players worldwide.
Best Strategy Games on Mobile
These easily accessible strategy games entertain and help improve planning, decision-making skills, creativity, and overall mood in a fun and enjoyable way. So, here are the best strategy games on mobile.
10. Into the Breach
Subset Games, well-known for their space combat roguelike FTL: Faster Than Light, brings us Into the Breach, a turn-based tactics game. Inspired by Fire Emblem and Advanced War, this title introduces a rogue-lite twist, wherein players can send help back in time to an alternate timeline after being defeated, making subsequent attempts slightly easier.
The mobile version of Into the Breach is accessible to Netflix subscribers without extra charges, although it cannot be purchased separately. While this is advantageous for streaming service subscribers, those without a Netflix subscription still have various alternative options for their mobile strategy gaming needs.
9. Clash of Clans
Clash of Clans stands as one of the most popular mobile strategy games, offering players a vibrant and colorful world that delivers a fun and addictive gaming experience. Its engaging strategic gameplay enables gamers to relish in extensive customization options and explore a battles-filled world where they can engage in combat against players worldwide.
The game’s high competitiveness allows for real-time battles between players. However, they must also take charge of designing their own bases, upgrading structures, and training unique troops with various abilities, among other tasks. Clash of Clans caters to strategy gamers of all levels and also serves as an enjoyable choice for couples seeking engaging strategy mobile games.
8. Door Kickers
While not THE best strategy games on mobile out there, Door Kickers and Frozen Synapse stand out from other strategy games, and among the two, Door Kickers emerges as the more comprehensive and polished product. The gameplay resembles the planning phase found in older Rainbow 6 titles, where players use a bird’s eye view of the action zone to strategize the movement of a SWAT team.
Developed initially as a PC game, Door Kickers offers a diverse array of weapons, gadgets, and characters to unlock and experiment with. Its mix of bite-sized missions and multiple approaches to tackle them makes it an engaging strategy game ideally suited for mobile gaming.
7. The Battle For Polytopia
The Battle for Polytopia shares similarities with Civilization, offering a turn-based strategy game where players expand their empires and strive for economic or military victories, with unique features and twists. Players can invest points earned from prosperous cities to enhance their abilities.
Investing points in different areas, such as warfighting with archers and knights or expanding borders through farming and fishing, can profoundly alter the gameplay. Additionally, The Battle for Polytopia provides a multiplayer option, accessible by purchasing one of the premium civilizations, with the most affordable option priced at approximately one dollar.
6. The Battle for Wesnoth
Originally released as open-source for Linux machines in the early 2000s, The Battle for Wesnoth is a relatively old game. As a result, it is less demanding compared to many other mobile ports and offers almost endless expansion possibilities through years of custom content.
Taking inspiration from the Advance Wars series, Battle for Wesnoth incorporates a hex grid and a fantasy theme instead of a cartoony modern war setting. The game’s significant innovation lies in allowing surviving units to be recalled from previous battles, a more cost-effective and faster method for leveling them up compared to recruiting new units.
At first glance, Partia resembles a Fire Emblem game with a lower art budget than its counterparts. This impression remains even as players explore its various systems and progress further into the game.
Partia’s design caters to nostalgic fans of the Fire Emblem series, despite lacking specific details like the rock-paper-scissor combat mechanics, where spears trump swords and swords trump axes.
One factor that might have contributed to Partia’s extensive homage to Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is the popularity of GBA emulation on mobile devices, especially of Fire Emblem. Although Partia is an outstanding Tactics RPG, its competition on mobile includes some of the best games in the genre.
4. Final Fantasy Tactics
Many consider Final Fantasy Tactics to be one of the best entries in the tactics-based RPG genre. Despite sharing its name with Square Enix’s JRPG saga, the game is quite distinct. When the spin-off was initially released in 1997, Final Fantasy started gaining popularity in the Western gaming market.
Final Fantasy Tactics closely resembles other tactics RPGs in terms of gameplay and visuals, but it stands out with its strong emphasis on storytelling and highly customizable characters. The mobile port is based on the updated version called War of the Lions, initially developed for PSP, and it’s definitely one of the best strategy games on mobile platforms ever. This edition includes new cutscenes, characters, events, and an improved translation.
Similar to Chucklefish’s Wargroove, Warbits takes inspiration from the core gameplay of Advanced Wars but introduces a unique twist. The concept of this cute iOS exclusive is relatively straightforward: instead of engaging in actual war, why not simulate war as a game within the game? This approach may sound playful, but it addresses a genuine issue.
By framing the war in Warbits as an in-universe game, much of the uneasiness surrounding the depiction of modern battles, similar to Advanced Wars, is alleviated. Additionally, Warbits is a remarkably polished mobile-only game, featuring beautiful artwork and a distinctive presentation. Including asynchronous multiplayer further enhances the experience, allowing friends to play together without needing to schedule their gameplay sessions in advance.
2. Clash Royale
Clash Royale stands as one of the most popular mobile games to date, and it has earned this acclaim for good reason. As a multiplayer-only game with a history spanning over five years, newcomers might discover that it takes a bit longer to get accustomed to compared to most single-player titles. The gameplay in Clash Royale revolves around bite-sized sessions, where two players engage in three-minute-long matches.
Combining elements of deckbuilding, tower defense, and real-time strategy, players must strategically use the units and spells in their deck to defend their side of the field and take down the enemy’s towers. While Clash Royale may sometimes be repetitive, it is a great experience nonetheless, and one of the best strategy games on mobile.
1. Plague Inc
Plague Inc, a hit game from 2012, remains just as captivating today as it was a decade ago. In this disease management game, players take on the role of a virus, skillfully managing its mutations to create a deadly and highly infectious pandemic. Despite its simple presentation, the depth of the pandemic simulation in Plague Inc still stands unparalleled in the realm of mobile gaming.
The premise of guiding a deadly pandemic to conquer the world might have transitioned from darkly humorous to actively off-putting for many players. However, Plague Inc is more akin to the satirical tone of Don’t Look Up rather than the bleakness of Contagion. It allows players to explore how safety systems can falter in the face of historical events while spreading an infectious horde akin to vampires to new continents through bird migration.
Best Strategy Games On PC
Within the strategy game umbrella, various sub-genres exist, ranging from turn-based to real-time gameplay, and from grand strategy to tactical RPGs. In one game, players can take charge of an entire space fleet, while in another, they can give orders to soldiers engaged in battlefield combat as magic fills the air.
Due to the wide variety of strategy games available, this list of the best strategy games on PC will remain as comprehensive as possible, similar to our selection of the best building games. Together, we’ll delve into a curated collection of the genre’s greatest hits, featuring both newcomers and classic titles.
10. Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Firaxis, renowned strategy game developers, have created Midnight Suns, a game that offers a perfect blend of turn-based combat and deck-building mechanics. In this game, players take on the role of the Hunter, a mysterious hero who had been deceased for centuries. They must now confront their mother, their ultimate adversary.
The combat in Midnight Suns is both engaging and visually impressive. With the incorporation of deck-building elements, each encounter becomes a puzzle to solve rather than a straightforward battle. The game’s friendship mechanics also add depth and uniqueness to the gameplay. Additionally, the story of Midnight Suns is compelling, making it a standout title of the year.
9. Offworld Trading Company
Soren Johnson, who also worked on Civ 4, designed Offworld Trading Company, a strategy game that starkly contrasts with Civilization. While Civilization spans the history of humanity, chronicling its progress, Offworld Trading Company focuses on exploiting the resources of Mars to amass a fortune.
In this game, you’ll experience a unique blend of real-time strategy and the complexities found in top management games. Instead of achieving victory through military force, your weapons are resources and money, which you use to manipulate the marketplace and outmaneuver your rivals. Offworld Trading Company encourages aggressive tactics, even in an economic context.
As you plan your next moves and decide what to build, what to sell, and which company to take over hostilely, the excitement is on par with traditional warfare games like Company of Heroes or StarCraft 2. The strategic gameplay and economic warfare create a thrilling experience that rivals conventional combat-oriented games.
8. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2
Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 delivers awe-inspiring cosmic battles. The game offers three vaguely 4X-like campaigns centered around the Warhammer 40K factions: The Imperium, Necron Empire, and the menacing Tyranid Hives. However, if you prefer, you can disregard the campaigns and jump straight into intense skirmishes where space cathedrals clash with enormous tentacled leviathans.
The real-time tactical combat remains thrilling, even when commanding slow-moving armadas. As you manage your fleet, facing broadside attacks, boarding actions from enemies, and the possibility of mutinous crews, the excitement never wanes. Additionally, including all tabletop factions allows for experimenting with numerous fleet configurations and utilizing an array of peculiar weapons.
7. Total War: Warhammer 3
Total War: Warhammer 3 surpasses Total War: Warhammer 2 in terms of sheer scale. It incorporates all the fantastic elements that made the previous game great and brings the 15 core races of the tabletop game to life with stunning visuals. With a new five-hour tutorial prologue, it serves as an excellent entry point for newcomers to the Total War series.
The essence of the game is that once you begin playing, you’re likely to continue the same campaign for at least a year and still be delighted by the discovery of new features.
6. Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection
Command & Conquer Remastered is a highly enjoyable RTS game with a lot of personality and charm, featuring corny FMV cutscenes and quirky secret levels. The collection includes the original Command & Conquer, where the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and the Brotherhood of Nod battle over the valuable energy resource, Tiberium, in a near-future setting. Joseph D. Kucan reprises his role as Kane, a timeless character from the 1990s.
The other game in the collection is Command & Conquer Red Alert, which takes place in an alternate history where the Allies and the Soviet Union fight for control of Europe. The asymmetrical gameplay in both games adds depth, with the Allies having access to aerial weapons and space lasers, while the Soviets boast Tesla Coils and powerful Mammoth Tanks.
5. Crusader Kings 3
Unsurprisingly, Crusader Kings 3, the best strategy game of 2020, has taken its predecessor’s place on the list. This grand strategy RPG is much larger, more refined, and visually appealing than the venerable CK2. While it may appear somewhat familiar at first glance, a stronger emphasis on roleplaying and simulating the lives of medieval nobles, along with a wealth of new and reconsidered features, make it a compelling choice to transition to the latest version.
CK3 is a continuous storyteller supported by numerous intricate systems that must be explored and adjusted. Fortunately, understanding the game is significantly easier this time, thanks to a helpful nested tooltip system and ample guidance. The dynastic drama unfolds with a brilliant flow, captivating and involving players. Even without a grand plan, you can navigate life and find yourself embroiled in numerous intrigues, wars, and romantic affairs.
4. Company of Heroes 3
Every Company of Heroes game deserves your attention, but we’re highlighting the latest installment because it boasts an expansive gaming experience and showcases the series’ most impressive battles. With two campaigns, four factions, and 14 multiplayer maps available at launch, there’s already plenty to explore, and the game is likely to expand further.
Although Relic’s attempts with its dynamic campaign haven’t yielded the desired results, as the Nazis don’t put up much resistance when you liberate the map of Italy, the turn-based campaign still offers considerable enjoyment. However, the true allure lies in exceptional, explosive, and diverse real-time battles.
From executing surprise paratrooper attacks behind enemy lines to enveloping battlefields in smoke for stealthy trench charges, and from executing terrifying tank assaults to unleashing artillery, air strikes, and naval bombardments that drastically reshape sleepy Italian towns and desert warzones—every moment is a glorious cacophony of chaos.
3. Wargame: Red Dragon
Eugen Systems first ventured into historical strategy design with RUSE before exploring the WWII setting a second time with the Steel Division series. However, their real breakthrough came with the Wargame series, set during the Cold War. In Red Dragon, players find themselves amidst a Cold War gone hot, witnessing a heated conflict spreading across Europe, Scandinavia, East Asia, and the Pacific (a scenario that regrettably echoes some contemporary geopolitical tensions).
Wargame shares many strengths with Steel Division 2, including a prototype version of the latter’s campaign system. However, what sets them apart is the setting. Wargame becomes all the more captivating due to the inclusion of helicopters, jet aircraft, and deadly long-range weapons. The sheer number of units available is overwhelming, and players can immerse themselves in the intricate deck-building system. Ultimately, the Wargame series represents, to some extent, the future of real-time strategy gaming.
2. Civilization 6
No best strategy games list can be complete without including some Civ. Our current favorite in the series is Civilization 6, especially with the addition of a few expansions. The most significant change this time is the district system, which, much like its predecessor unstacked armies, now unstacks cities. Cities have evolved into sprawling entities with specialized areas that demand careful consideration for future development of tiles.
The expansions have introduced some innovative twists that have been warmly received, although they stop short of completely revolutionizing the esteemed series. They introduce concepts like Golden Ages and Dark Ages, offering bonuses and debuffs based on your civilization’s development, climate change, and environmental disasters. Civilization 6 is a forward-thinking, modern take on the classic Civ experience.
1. XCOM 2
XCOM 2 stands out as one of the finest turn-based strategy games, incorporating the best elements from the series – intense struggles, a diverse group of heroes, cunning aliens, and tightly-woven tactical battles – while continuously introducing improvements.
It’s a close call between XCOM 2 and the War of the Chosen expansion in terms of objective superiority, but numerous outstanding XCOM 2 mods can elevate the vanilla game to a similar level. Both options offer distinct yet equally rewarding gameplay experiences. Additionally, a variety of other XCOM 2 DLC is available.
The battles present challenging and diverse scenarios, featuring formidable adversaries with unexpected and intricate abilities. However, the most significant enhancements are evident on the strategic layer. You’ll traverse the globe, establishing cells, infiltrating black sites, and gathering resources to equip your forces with more potent weapons and tools – a compelling aspect rather than an afterthought.
Best Strategy Games on Consoles
It’s important to mention that many of the best strategy games we introduced in the PC section can also be experienced on consoles as well. However, the below list will try its best to be consisted of games only experienced on consoles despite some obvious overlap between the platforms.
Paradox Interactive has created another remarkable title in the form of Stellaris, a sci-fi grand strategy game that immerses players in a world of intergalactic politics and treachery. Stellaris’ gameplay systems are truly exceptional, constituting one of the most enjoyable aspects of the gaming experience, and enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to role-play as a specific race and strive to elevate their galactic empire to new heights.
Players must navigate their race’s natural traits, deciding whether to annihilate all sentient life or coexist harmoniously. The vast array of choices available to players is genuinely astounding, and the game’s successful console port three years after its PC release attests to its enduring popularity and triumph.
9. The Lord Of The Rings: Battle For Middle Earth 2
Electronic Arts first released The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2 on PC in February 2006, followed by a few months later release on Xbox 360.
This real-time strategy game fulfilled the desires of Lord of the Rings fans, providing a diverse selection of factions to command, including Gondor, Mordor, and Men of the West. It featured iconic locations such as Helms Deep, Isengard, and Minas Tirith as playable maps and allowed players to summon famous Heroes like Legolas, Gandalf, and Aragon.
Battle for Middle Earth 2, like its precursor, offered two campaigns, the Good Campaign, and the Evil Campaign, along with the option for players to craft their custom battles in Skirmish mode.
8. Pikmin 3
Originally released in 2013 exclusively for the Wii U, Pikmin 3 later received an enhanced port on the Nintendo Switch, following the trend of many Wii U games.
Unlike other games in this list that primarily involve controlling massive armies for epic battles, Pikmin 3 places players in charge of the charming and colorful creatures called Pikmin. Players must guide these adorable creatures to assist in various tasks and solve challenging puzzles.
7. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars
The strategy genre recognizes the Command & Conquer series as one of its prominent names. Starting in 1995, the franchise continuously delivered new entries almost every year until 2012. After that, it saw a free-to-play mobile game called Command & Conquer: Rivals and a remastered collection.
In 2007, Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars made its debut on PC and Xbox 360, introducing an array of impressive new features to the well-established series, including unit upgrades and faction-specific special powers.
6. Gears Tactics
Several imitators followed the impressive commercial success of XCOM 2, with Gears Tactics being one of the most notable examples. The game can be described as a blend of the Gears of War and XCOM series.
While the Gears IP is a major selling point for Gears Tactics compared to XCOM 2, it’s essential to recognize that Gears Tactics is more accessible to beginners. Although the game is challenging, developers Splash Damage and The Coalition deliberately aimed to make Gears Tactics a viable option for casual strategy gamers, a group that was largely deterred by the unforgiving difficulty of XCOM 2.
In 2019, Frostpunk: Console Edition was released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, following the PC original by a year. Despite the “Console Edition” label, this PC port maintains its challenging and unforgiving nature.
Frostpunk stands as one of the most contemplative strategy games ever created, forcing players to wrestle with their conscience while striving to ensure their town’s survival. Unlike typical games in this genre, the primary threat faced by the player is the weather and the devastating ailments it brings.
4. This War of Mine
This War of Mine remains highly relevant to this day as it delves into the lives of ordinary civilians caught in the midst of a horrifying war. The game is not for the faint of heart, but playing it provides valuable insight into the profound impact of war on the lives of all those involved.
At its core, the game revolves around the survival mechanics that focus on the characters’ well-being. Players must address various needs, such as food, water, shelter, and warmth, while also providing emotional and psychological support to cope with the crushing despair caused by the elements, interactions with others, and internal struggles. Moreover, This War of Mine defies the expectations of traditional simulation wargames, offering a unique and captivating experience that sets it apart as one of the most thought-provoking and vital pieces of strategy gaming media to date.
3. Halo Wars
Xbox Game Studios’ Halo Wars fulfilled the desires of many fans who longed for a real-time strategy game set in the Halo universe, just like the original Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth did for its fans.
Initially released exclusively on the Xbox 360 in February 2009, Halo Wars later arrived on PC and Xbox One in December 2016. Developed by Ensemble Studios, the game brilliantly catered to Halo enthusiasts while also standing as a robust strategy game in its own right. Notably, the game was specifically crafted for the Xbox 360, rather than being a mere port of a PC title, making it a standout and one of the finest strategy games available to console gamers.
2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses stands out as one of the best strategy games of all time by skillfully blending the calculated decision-making aspects with a compelling narrative that revolves around characters. The game masterfully places character relationships at the forefront, providing context for its tactical battles and enhancing engagement as the lives and success of your people hang in the balance.
The depth of Fire Emblem’s content allows players to immerse themselves in endless activities to improve relationships with characters and optimize builds for various engagements. The vibrant, colorful, anime-inspired art style contributes to a more fantastical world and distinct character portrayal. Moreover, the game offers numerous engaging side activities that allow further investment in your characters, adding to the overall enjoyment of the experience.
1. Battle Brothers
Battle Brothers, the best strategy game of all time, seamlessly combines high levels of challenge, freedom of action, emergent storytelling, near-perfect balance, and a visually fitting style. Set in a low fantasy medieval-inspired world, players take command of a mercenary company aiming to achieve fame and prestige in this wondrous realm.
The path to fame and glory lies entirely in the players’ hands, but they must be prepared for a demanding journey. Battle Brothers can swiftly turn against them, leading to moments of sweat, tears, plenty of screen-shouting, and the valuable lessons learned. While no single game on this list is flawless, Battle Brothers comes closest to attaining that elusive Holy Grail of perfection, primarily due to the cohesive interaction of its systems, creating an incredibly satisfying strategy experience. Don’t miss out on this exceptional game.