If you love turn-based strategy games and you’re itching for something new to try, check out these twenty games. We’ve divided them up according to turn-based 4X strategy games like the Civilization series and turn-based Squad Strategy games like XCOM.
Table of Contents
- Turn-based 4X Strategy
- Turn-based Squad Strategy
Turn-based 4X Strategy
4X games get their name from some of the chief gameplay concepts players will exploit. Those include exploration expansion, exploitation, and extermination.
These games are typically played on a large map with players controlling a single faction vying for dominance against others.
1) Civilization VI
Civilization is the granddaddy of all turn-based 4X games. Every single game on this list in the 4X category draws inspiration from this series. The most recent installment is Civilization VI, and it is the most beginner-friendly version of Civilization released to date.
New expansion packs and DLC are being released for the game at a consistent rate. If you prefer a complete experience, try Civilization V.
2) Endless Space 2
Endless Space 2 combines the turn-based strategic gameplay of 4X games with real-time space battles. The result is a hybrid game that encompasses the best of turn-based and real-time strategy games.
Players can lead one of eight civilizations to victory with eight different playstyles and unique story quests.
If you prefer your turn-based strategy games to come with a heaping helping of story, start with Endless Space 2. Endless Space is similar in vain, but its sequel is more refined and features a better user interface.
3) Endless Legend
From the same studio that created Endless Space, Endless Legend is a 4X game set in a unique fantasy setting. Players can lead one of eight civilizations in the base game, though several more options are available as DLC.
The world is randomly generated, and each faction plays differently, so there is lots of room for replayability here. If the space opera setting of Endless Space 2 sounds unappealing, then give Endless Legend a shot.
4) Age of Wonders III
The game features a single-player story-driven campaign that is playable on both sides of the conflict. It also features a random map generator and multiplayer battles with up to 8 other players.
Stellaris is considered the best of the space opera-themed 4X games and for a good reason. Paradox Interactive has released several DLC packs for the game that drastically overhaul many core features while adding new ones. If you like to play a game that grows over time, Stellaris may be the best choice for you.
6) Europa Universalis IV
Europa Universalis IV is the fourth game in the installment. This game follows the same trend of the previous installments by giving you control over a nation in order to eventually turn it into a global empire.
However, this newer installment brings more features than ever before. This game features an all-new trade system that adds more flexibility to how you gain influence by ensuring the wealth flows through your nation.
There is also a brand new system of monarch power that makes your decisions have much more impact than ever before.
With the new gameplay mechanics, your tactics, choices, and everything leads to a much more strategic and tactical experience that far exceeds other games of the same genre.
7) Galactic Civilizations III
In Galactic Civilizations III, you are put into space only to find out that humans aren’t alone in the galaxy.
You are tasked with choosing your own race and leading your civilization to glory. This happens to be one of the biggest 4X strategy games to ever exist.
The game offers so many different options to the way you set it up that you can play the game countless times and never have the same experience.
This makes this one of the most replayable games in the genre, by far. It provides the ultimate sandbox experience with multiple paths to victory no matter what your preferred playstyle is.
You will be able to take part in the huge story-based campaign or play with your friends online in the multiplayer portion.
8) Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
In this game, the Fallen Enchantress is looking to complete annihilate civilizations that have managed to survive from the Cataclysm.
Because you have become famous, many heroes have joined you on your crusade. You will be tasked with using your new alliances to battle all kinds of enemies including brood hunters, banshees, and more.
You will be tasked with creating an entirely new empire in a world that is full of magical creatures and those looking to keep you from succeeding in your efforts to rule the world.
This edition comes with brand new monsters, more spells to choose from, larger maps, and a brand new leveling system that allows you to tap into whatever hero you want to become.
Also, it features a brand new updated graphics engine that makes the game incredibly visually appealing.
9) Master of Orion 2
In Master of Orion 2, you are looking to forge an empire in a universe that is experiencing exponential population growth which is causing the entire world to be stripped of essential resources.
You will be tasked with colonizing brand new and undiscovered planets and trading with other races that you come across to gain knowledge.
You will be looking to conquer the alien star systems in order to gain access to the critical resources that are being depleted in order to further your efforts to become the master of the universe.
Throughout the game, you will be tasked with fighting the evil Antarans who are looking to get their revenge on you.
The entire game is full of addictive gameplay loops and there are all kinds of fun gameplay elements including tactical ship combat advanced diplomacy, and more. It is one of the most unique and best 4X games ever put out.
10) Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
In Alpha Centauri, you are tasked with colonizing space. There is one planet with seven different factions and you will be tasked with leading one of them.
First, you will have to establish a base on the unexplored world and you will be tasked with balancing priorities and developing technology in order to prime your faction for expansion.
Each faction is known to have its own unique goals and agenda. You will need to play to your faction’s strengths and figure out your enemy’s weaknesses on your quest to rule the future.
It features one of the strongest narratives not only in the 4X strategy genre but also in the sci-fi genre. It may look like a typical Civ game, but it features new and unique gameplay elements that turn it into a game that can stand head and shoulders completely on its own.
Turn-based Squad Strategy
Turn-based strategy games aren’t always about conquering a large map. Sometimes the best turn-based strategy gameplay comes from managing a small squad. Check out these squad-focused, turn-based strategy games.
11) XCOM 2
After the successful revival of the series with XCOM in 2012, XCOM 2 is more refined. The game takes place 20 years after the first game where world leaders have surrended unconditionally to the aliens. Players take control of a freedom force leading a global resistance to alien domination.
12) Into the Breach
If bite-sized turn-based strategy is more your thing, then Into the Breach is perfect. From the creators of FTL, Into the Breach plays out like XCOM on steroids. Players control giant mechs to defend small portions of land. Enemy attacks are telegraphed in turn-based combat so that you can plan the perfect counters.
Wargroove follows the Advance Wars formula to offer turn-based tactical gameplay to Nintendo Switch and PC owners. Players help Queen Mercia defend her home and gather allies in the fight for the Kingdom of Cherrystone.
A rich campaign mode offers hours of entertainment, but the game also includes a level editor that allows players to share their creations.
Players command a squad of mechs in the year 3025, in a galaxy locked in a cycle of perpetual war. Outfit mechs and pilot them as you establish yourself as a major player in this brutal stellar civil war. Battletech also has some 4X elements in that players can upgrade their base of operations, negotiate contracts, and repair and maintain their fleet of mechs.
15) Disgaea Series
The Disgaea series has historically been a console-exclusive turn-based strategy series, but Disgaea 5 recently debuted on PC and PS4. Players take control of Killia and lead a party of heroes down a path of revenge and rebellion.
While Disgaea 5 is the penultimate release that is available cross-platform, several of the other games are worth checking out on a console. Especially Disgaea 3 and Disgaea 4.
16) The Banner Saga series
The Banner Saga series is a set of turn-based strategy games where every decision you make matters. When your characters fall in combat, they are gone forever. With three games in the series, players guide a party of Vikings on a massive caravan across a harsh landscape.
Saves between the games can be carried over to preserve all of your decision making, so make sure you play all three games on the same platform.
The tactical gameplay in The Banner Saga is more about wounding your enemies and setting up combos rather than outright eliminating them.
17) King’s Bounty Collector’s Pack
King’s Bounty is a series that draws heavily on the old Heroes of Might and Magic games. Since those aren’t being made anymore, King’s Bounty is the closest you’ll get to tactical fights with a story and kingdom management baked into one.
The King’s Bounty Collector’s Pack will get you started with four games including Armored Princess, Crossworlds, The Legend, and Warriors of the North.
King’s Bounty: Dark Side is not included in this collector’s pack and is the most recent game in the series. It is not as well regarded as the others and can be skipped.
18) Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark is still in Early Access, but what has been shown off appears to be a successful marriage of gameplay mechanics from Disgaea and Fire Emblem. The game is set in a fantasy world with a touch of steampunk. Players control Arbiter Kyrie, who is tasked with preserving stability and order throughout the land.
The game currently has over 40 story encounters that feature a classic take on turn-based combat. There are more than 20 classes and over 200 abilities to master. The game also lets you customize the appearance of all of your characters with over 240 pieces of equipment.
19) Fire Emblem series
There are over fifteen Fire Emblem games available across a wide variety of Nintendo consoles. If you’re a turn-based strategy fan, you should definitely check out this series. Traditionally characters would die when lost on the battlefield, but Fire Emblem: Awakening introduced a new casual mode to make the game more accessible.
The series perfectly marries character-based interactions with turn-based strategy. The Fire Emblem series also tells some of the most compelling stories in gaming.
20) Total War: Warhammer II
We have written extensively about the best Total War Games and have ranked them from best to worst. WarHammer II is the refined version of the original game and has been embraced by gamers all over the world.
As you can see, there are a variety of turn-based strategy games available on both PC and console. Most of these game series have multiple entries, so even if you don’t like one game, you might like others.