While you’ve probably played your fair share, did you know that turn-based strategy games make up one of PC’s most popular genre? Perhaps it’s the fact that as a gaming platform, PC started with a keyboard and a mouse. Or maybe it was PC’s ability to bring stronger processing power to games than consoles.
Whatever the case, here’s our line up of 21 of the best turn-based strategy games for PC you should play this summer! We’ve brought them to you in alphabetical order — brownie points if you guess “X”. (We’ve also got the season’s indisputably best deals in our Turn-Based Definitive Bundle!)
Despite a 10-year leave of absence, Age of Wonders came back into the spotlight in 2014 with a 3rd installment. It slammed the shelves as an instant hit. Age of Wonders III is a must-play for veterans of turn-based strategy games and newcomers alike. There are also two expansion packs if you’re looking for more gameplay hours.
Ash of Gods: Redemption is far from perfect but it’s daringly different. The game packs stunning animations and carries itself with a unique art style. GamingTrend says “it’s sure to capture fans of epic fantasy seeking to lose themselves in a huge world full of secrets, curses, and curious characters.” Ash of Gods: Redemption is also one of the newest games on this list — and an indie title at that!
Chroma Squad is a tactical RPG about five stunt actors who decide to quit their jobs and start their own Power Rangers-inspired TV show! Cast actors, purchase equipment and upgrades for your studio, craft weapons and giant Mechas out of cardboard and duct tape. If you haven’t tried it yet, Chroma Squad will bring a breath of fresh laughing gas to your turn-based strategy games collection.
A lot of critics have credited Endless Legend with masterfully remixing the 4X genre. In case it wasn’t obvious, the creators of this gem are also responsible for Endless Space 2 (below) and Dungeon of the Endless. Seems like they might have a thing for endless turn-based strategy games! You’ll probably want to take a peek at the other titles and DCLs in this series.
As far as sci-fi turn-based strategy games go, Endless Space 2 is a great place to start. It’s a traditional 4X TBS that allows players to take control of a would-be empire and expand its reach through space exploration, researching technological upgrades, and through diplomacy with other rival empires.
Since it’s a little more quirky, indie and crowdfunded, we couldn’t have it miss this list! For the King is a beautiful turn-based strategy game with rogue-like elements that features online co-op, a dynamic weather and event system, and weapon system that rewards proficiency and punishes lack of skill.
Frozen Synapse is also one of the unique turn-based strategy games. It allows players to carefully plan all of their moves at once, and then see how everything plays out versus the opponents. It features a distinct cyberpunk storyline. If you’ve enjoyed it, you may want to give Frozen Synapse Prime a try.
As summed up by Destructoid:
“Space has never looked prettier in a pixelated format, nor has the silliness of attempting to interact with alien races been quite as charming. On a minute-to-minute scale, it balances challenge and humor to make for a game that feels like a well-realized version of some long forgotten sci-fi TV show.”
Heroes of Might & Magic V has been compared to the third installment, arguably the top fan-favorite. While Ubisoft may never be able to recapture the magic of the older titles, this is a still a title for lovers of turn-based strategy games. You should also check out the other installments.
Jagged Alliance 1: Gold Edition is the PC port of a true classic. The Gold Edition includes the original Jagged Alliance plus the add-on Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games. Take a trip into retro land and learn why this is considered to be one the best turn-based strategy games of all times.
“A heady mix of expansive story, engrossing combat, and silky gameplay makes Knights of Pen and Paper 2 a must for RPG fans looking for adventures on the go.”
8.5 / 10 – GameGrin
Perhaps this little, inexpensive indie gem has been bundled up the wazoo but with good reason. In Reverse Crawl you have to lead your minions in tactical, turn-based combat against pesky heroes, and unlock a variety of evil powers. This is one of those fun titles that turns heroic protagonism on its head, and it does it delightfully well.
Runestone Keeper is simply another one of those classic turn-based strategy games. The game comes packed with everything that makes the genre great. Procedural generation keeps surprise in the mix so replayability is a strong factor. All you need to do is pick your weapons and gear and start your adventure!
Civilization V and VI really popularized the series, making it more streamlined, accessible, and visually appealing. While this is true, Civilization IV remains one of the series’ deepest and most complex games. If you’re looking for a challenge with lots of factors to consider, this is your title.
The most recent entry in the long-running classic turn-based strategy games, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI improves greatly on the flaws of V (improved diplomacy and army movements) while retaining its upgrades. Actually, it’s probably a good idea to have a look at all the Civ titles and DLCs for yourself.
Total War: SHOGUN 2 won the 2012 Strategy Game BAFTA and is widely regarded as one of the best Total War games of all time (and there are plenty). It’s a must-play for fans of the series or those interested in feudal Japanese history and warfare.
IGN Spain sums it up nicely:
“Total War: Warhammer II is the sublimation of both the Warhammer fans’ desires and the work in the previous game. With this second game, Creative Assembly is expanding its universe to a major scale. But we know that they can do it better (and they will with the next DLCs).”
9 / 10 – IGN Spain
The PS3 classic was ported to the PC early in 2017 and is one of the all-time great turn-based strategy games. A mix of tactical role-playing and turn-based strategy, Valkyria Chronicles features a heart-wrenching story, charming characters, deep strategy, and some of the most unique and beautiful art styles in any game.
Wasteland 2 is critically acclaimed for its versatility and is known for being one of the best crowdfunded turn-based strategy games. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland (as its name suggests), it provides over 80 hours of gameplay where choices matter. If for some reason you don’t have this in your TBS collection, grab it as soon as you can.
In 2012, Firaxis revived one of the best turn-based strategy games of all time. Even though XCOM: Enemy Unknown was an incredible game, the company trumped themselves once again in 2016 with XCOM 2. They added more customization options, mod support, and extremely difficult alien encounters that only the most skilled of PC gamers can hope to survive, let alone best with a perfect mission score. Think you’re up to it? You probably haven’t seen what else the franchise has to offer.
Looking for more Turn-Based Strategy Games?
If you’d like to get the biggest bang for your buck on turn-based strategy games, there’s simply no better deal this summer. Perhaps you’d also like to know that this bundle packs an exclusive coupon for BATTLETECH as a deal sweetener!