Turn-based tactics games used to be some of the most popular games on PCs back in the day. The complex menuing and inputs ensure that they weren’t very popular on consoles. However, they have been making a comeback in recent years. These games include stop-action simulation of believable military tactics and warfare.
The genre nowadays is not as restrictive as it used to be. It has gone through a multitude of changes, and there have been inspiring variations. All of this ensures that there are a lot of fun options for newcomers to dive into and explore. The following are some of the most popular franchises in this genre that new players will have no problem getting used to.
10 Civilization 6
The Civilization series is one of the most beloved turn-based strategy games out there, and for good reason. The first game was released as early as 1991 for the MS-DOS, and the latest entry in the franchise is Civilization 6 in 2016. In its course of 25 years, the franchise has achieved tremendous success and has established itself as THE turn-based strategy game to play.
Players looking to get into this genre can pick up any of the available parts of the franchise. Or, you can directly pick the latest entry that is Civilization 6. Whichever game you pick, you will have a conquest to remember.
9 Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is the fifth installment in the Age of Wonders franchise. The game features a Sci-Fi setting, which should interest players who are looking for a change of pace. It has a beautiful user interface that is very approachable. The player can choose from six available factions. Each of these factions has a distinct playstyle and strategy. Your role as the commander for your faction is to lead your faction to victory in the ensuing conflicts. The game offers an interesting mix of complex variety and approachability, and it is a good entry point into the genre.
8 Total War: Three Kingdoms
Total War: Three Kingdoms is the 12th mainline installment in the long-running series. The players have control of one of the twelve factions that the game has to offer. Your goal as one of the warlords is to destroy other factions and unite China, becoming the ultimate ruler.
The gameplay features a siege-style battle in which the player destroys the opposing colonels. Occupying important areas in the city is important, and your use of territory is very important. The game’s campaign provides the player the ability to form meaningful relationships with the characters met in the game. The nature of these relationships directs the game’s direction, which adds quite a bit of depth to the gameplay.
Freeciv is an open-source free-to-play strategy game inspired by the Civilization series. Much of its UI still based on Civilization 2. The game is based around the tribal groups which existed in 4000BC. The players are tasked with leading these tribal groups through the centuries alongside gathering new technologies and expanding the tribe’s units. The concept of the game is pretty similar to Civilization games. The world goes through changes across centuries, and the tribe has to evolve with it. The end goal is to either rule the world or colonize space.
6 Europa Universalis 4
If you’re a sucker for medieval European political fantasies, Europa Universalis 4 is the game for you. Most strategy games have two aspects to their strategy; resource management and battle strategy. However, Europa Universalis aims to simulate a kingdom in medieval Europe, and with that are a lot of concepts.
EU4 involves complex politics, inheritance, economic relations, alliances, and blocs. You are in control of this nation, and you can take whichever approach you’d like to rule over all that surrounds you. Whether that is through economic warfare, political underhandedness, or good old-fashioned battling, is your choice.
Stellaris is set in a distant space-faring future. Players are given control over a species and a government, in an interstellar setting. The game is set in a time after the discovery of faster than light travel, which allows for a giant playground. “Winning” isn’t as clear-cut as other titles and many things can determine how well a player does in the world of Stellaris.
Players can become king of the universe, collect as many resources as possible, or simply exist as a beacon of peace. Players also have the option of creating a backstory for their empire, which allows for a lot of depth in the story of the game.
4 Endless Legend
Endless Legend is a fantasy tactical game, created by the studio behind Endless Space. The goal of the player is to dominate the world of Auriga with one of the available 14 races. The player can use either diplomacy or war while simultaneously developing new technologies, exploring new lands and cities. A big part of the strategy in the game is controlling territory. Setting up cities in the optimum areas is a very important part of the strategy of the game. The variety of methods through which the game can be approached makes it a very immersive experience.
3 Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
Alpha Centauri’s story picks up after the events of Civilization 1 and 2. The game borrows from Civilization 2 in the gameplay aspect but ever so slightly tweaked. The gameplay is based around squares, which are occupied by players or machinery. Terraforming is another mechanic, which lets you modify each map square for movement, combat, and resources. The player has a variety of useful resources to either feed population, construct units or control the energy supply. The game offers both single-player and multiplayer game modes and offers a lot of versatility to the player.
2 Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War
Gladius – Relics of War is one of the first strategy games set in the Warhammer 40k universe. Its 4 iconic factions each offer a unique playstyle. This game’s setting is highly agressive mostly because it is a Warhammer game. There are no diplomatic options in this game unlike some other games on the list. War is the only answer. There are a variety of gameplay mechanisms through which the game can proceed. The player can construct cities, buildings, and fortifications in order to expand their empires. They can recruit hero units that possess distinct special abilities. These heroes can also be equipped with powerful relics. Each faction has a different storyline on the gladius prime and only one faction can emerge as dominant.
1 Sigma Theory: Global Cold War
Sigma Theory is a futuristic punk strategy game. In this world sigma is a skill tree for which research has to be done. The factions in this world are battling over this new power. The main goal of the game is to complete sigma research before others. Whether that will be done through chummy diplomacy or filthy espionage is up to the player.
The player proceeds with the research by employing scientists who go ahead with researches and double agents in order to extract other’s research and implement it on your own. The agents in this game can use the player’s research against them. They can also infiltrate other bases to acquire data, and ultimately use such data for either furthering the research or hampering with other’s research.