The Definitive Guide to Turn-Based Strategy Games

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Are you looking for a way to challenge your mind and hone your tactical skills? Then turn-based strategy games are perfect for you! Turn-based strategy games are a great way to test your skills in critical thinking, problem solving, and strategizing. Whether you're a beginner or a more experienced player, turn-based strategy games offer an engaging and rewarding experience. In this definitive guide to turn-based strategy games, we'll walk you through the best titles in the genre, how to get started, and why they're so popular. Turn-based strategy games are unique in that they allow players to take their time to plan and execute their moves. This means that they can think through their decisions carefully and come up with a strategy that will give them the best chance of success.

As such, these games require thoughtfulness and planning, which can be quite rewarding. Furthermore, turn-based strategy games can be highly competitive and require players to employ a variety of tactics in order to win. In this guide, we'll provide an overview of turn-based strategy games, including what makes them so popular and how to get started. We'll also discuss some of the most popular titles in the genre, as well as tips for finding the right game for your skill level. So whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, this guide has everything you need to get started in turn-based strategy gaming. Turn-based strategy games are a type of video game where players take turns to make decisions and move pieces on the game board.

Unlike real-time strategy games, where players have to continuously make decisions and react quickly, turn-based strategy games offer a slower, more deliberate style of play. This allows players to carefully consider each move and strategize accordingly. At its core, a turn-based strategy game is about making decisions, managing resources, and predicting your opponent’s moves in order to win. This makes them incredibly popular with gamers who want to think through their moves and figure out the best way forward.

Turn-based strategy games can be divided into two main categories: 4X (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) and tactical. 4X games focus on world building and resource management, while tactical games involve more direct combat with individual units. There is also a third category of strategy games that combine elements of both 4X and tactical games, such as the popular Civilization series. The turn-based strategy genre has a long history, starting with early board games like chess and go.

However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that the genre really took off with the release of classic titles like Civilization and XCOM. Since then, turn-based strategy games have become increasingly popular as developers have experimented with different mechanics and ideas. One of the main reasons why turn-based strategy games are so popular is because they offer a unique challenge. Players must think ahead to anticipate their opponent’s moves and plan accordingly.

This requires careful consideration and planning, which can be incredibly rewarding when done correctly. Another reason why turn-based strategy games are so popular is because of the replayability they offer. Unlike some other genres, turn-based strategy games can be played again and again as the player continues to learn new strategies and develop their skills. Some of the most popular turn-based strategy games include Civilization, XCOM, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Endless Legend.

These games all offer unique takes on the genre, blending 4X and tactical elements in different ways. Civilization is one of the most iconic turn-based strategy games of all time. In this game, players take control of a civilization and must manage resources while expanding their empire. The game features deep systems for researching technology, diplomacy, and warfare.

XCOM is another classic turn-based strategy game that challenges players to defend Earth from an alien invasion. Players control a squad of soldiers in tactical combat missions where they must manage resources and make difficult decisions to survive. Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a newer take on the genre that blends elements of roleplaying games with tactical combat. Players must manage their troops in battles while navigating complex relationships between characters.

Finally, Endless Legend is a fantasy-themed 4X game that challenges players to build an empire on a mysterious planet called Auriga. Players must explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate their way to victory in this deep and complex game. The turn-based strategy genre shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Developers continue to experiment with new ideas and mechanics while pushing the genre forward. Upcoming releases like Hades’ Star and Deep Sky Derelicts promise to expand upon the genre even further.

The Best Turn-Based Strategy Games

Civilization is one of the most beloved turn-based strategy games of all time.

Developed by Sid Meier, it offers an incredibly deep and complex strategy experience. Players take control of a civilization and must manage its growth, research, and military to become the most powerful in the world. With dozens of nations to choose from, every play-through is unique and challenging.


is a sequel to the critically-acclaimed XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It features a unique mix of turn-based tactics and RPG elements.

Players must manage a base, equip and train their troops, and then take them into battle against an alien threat. With four different classes of soldier and a range of difficulty levels, XCOM 2 offers a unique and challenging experience.

Fire Emblem

is a classic series of turn-based strategy games. Players take control of a group of characters and battle their way through an epic story. Fire Emblem games feature deep tactical gameplay, with players able to customize their characters with a range of weapons and spells.

With its unique setting, Fire Emblem offers an engaging and immersive experience.

Total War

is one of the most popular strategy franchises on PC. It features a unique mix of real-time and turn-based strategy elements. Players take control of a nation and must manage its economy, research technology, and build an army to conquer their enemies. The Total War series has been praised for its level of depth and complexity, making it an excellent choice for strategy fans.

Why Do People Play Turn-Based Strategy Games?

Turn-based strategy games offer players a unique blend of challenge, strategy, and replayability that is highly appealing.

Players enjoy the depth and complexity of the games, as well as the ability to make thoughtful decisions on their turn. The strategic nature of the games allow players to plan ahead, anticipate their opponent’s moves, and make use of various strategies to come out on top. In addition to the tactical challenge these games offer, they also have a great deal of replayability, as players can explore different strategies to see which works best. Moreover, turn-based strategy games are often set in historical or fictional settings, giving players an immersive experience and the opportunity to learn about the world they are playing in. Turn-based strategy games also have a strong sense of community, with many dedicated fans creating blogs, YouTube videos, and forums around them.

This makes it easy for new players to find helpful advice and connect with other players who share their love of turn-based strategy games. Finally, turn-based strategy games often require minimal investment from the player compared to other genres, making them more accessible for those who don’t have access to high-end gaming hardware or large budgets. In short, turn-based strategy games offer a unique mix of challenge, strategy, and replayability that make them an incredibly popular genre of video games. With a wide variety of different titles available and a dedicated fan base, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

What Are Turn-Based Strategy Games?

Turn-based strategy games are a type of video game that involves taking turns while playing. Players take their turns in a predetermined order, usually one at a time, and each turn has a limited time limit.

This allows players to plan their moves carefully and strategize for the best outcome. During a player’s turn, they can perform actions such as moving units, attacking, and using special abilities. At the end of each turn, the next player takes their turn. The goal of the game is usually to defeat all opposing players or to complete certain objectives. Turn-based strategy games require players to use their strategic thinking skills in order to come up with the best plan of attack.

Players must consider the strengths and weaknesses of their units, as well as the terrain and enemy positions, in order to make the most effective decisions. Since it’s possible to pause and save the game in between turns, players are able to take their time and think carefully about their next move. Turn-based strategy games have been around since the 1970s, but they have become increasingly popular over the last few decades. Games like Civilization, XCOM, and Fire Emblem have become some of the most beloved titles in the genre. Fans of these games appreciate their deep strategy elements and engaging storylines.

Turn-based strategy games are perfect for those who want a challenge without having to worry about fast reflexes or multiplayer competition.

The Future of Turn-Based Strategy Games

Turn-based strategy games have been around for decades, but they show no signs of slowing down. With the advent of digital platforms, the genre has experienced an unprecedented expansion in recent years. With new titles in the works, from classic turn-based strategy franchises to innovative new IPs, the future of turn-based strategy games looks brighter than ever. Upcoming releases in the genre are set to bring new levels of complexity and challenge. Games like Civilization VI and XCOM 2 will offer deeper strategic systems with intricate diplomatic systems and branching story paths.

Meanwhile, games like Battletech and Mutant Year Zero will introduce new concepts and mechanics, allowing players to explore the genre in entirely new ways. As the genre continues to expand, it's also becoming more accessible. Titles like Into the Breach and Wargroove have simplified the core gameplay mechanics, allowing casual players to join in on the turn-based strategy fun. At the same time, titles like FTL and Invisible, Inc. have shown that a deep strategic experience can still be achieved even with a streamlined control system. Finally, the genre is also embracing new technologies.

With virtual reality, augmented reality, and other cutting-edge technologies on the horizon, it's only a matter of time before turn-based strategy games take advantage of these advances. The future of turn-based strategy games is bright. With both classic franchises and innovative new IPs on the horizon, there's something for everyone. From deep strategic experiences to accessible entry points, there's something for everyone. Turn-based strategy games offer a unique mix of challenge, strategy, and replayability that has kept players coming back for decades. Whether you’re a fan of classic titles like Civilization or newer releases like Fire Emblem: Three Houses, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

As long as developers keep pushing the boundaries of the genre, turn-based strategy games will continue to be popular for years to come.

Emily Harris
Emily Harris

Lifelong beer maven. Extreme web trailblazer. Pop culture buff. Typical bacon maven. Subtly charming social media scholar.