The best strategy games on PC | PCGamesN

The best strategy games on PC

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What is the best PC strategy game? Some would say StarCraft II, others Civilization VI. Join us, as we list the genre’s greatest hits, featuring the biggest Steam games available.

Fun fact: the strategy game genre was first invented back in 1938, when Winston Churchill looked out an aeroplane window over France and thought, "Hey, this would make a really cool video game, whatever that is." Probably.

Don't have a strategic bone in your body? Then stimulate your fingers with the best FPS games on PC.

Since then, there have been about a hundred million different strategy games, simulating about as many different kinds of fighting as we humans have had reasons to fight one another. From the all-encompassing broad strokes of the Civilization series to the individually rendered blades of the Total War games, not to forget the far-flung fantasy tech of StarCraft - strategy games are as diverse as they come.

But which are the absolute top strategy games on PC? Well, just drag a selection box over our bodies and right-click on the horizon, and we'll all be on our way to finding out.

Here are the best strategy games on PC:

Offworld Trading Company

Best strategy games Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is right at the other end of the strategy games spectrum from Civilization, though its designer, Soren Johnson, also worked on Civ IV. While Civ spans the history and some of the future of humanity, chronicling the progress of mankind, Offworld Trading Company is all about making a fortune by exploiting our little red neighbour, Mars. 

It's an RTS without micromanagement, and in which victory is not achieved through throwing tanks at enemies or demolishing their bases. Instead, your weapons are resources and cash, which you will use to manipulate the marketplace not just to simply get rich, but to completely screw over your competitors. That is if you haven't made a temporary alliance with one of your rivals, of course - though you might end up closing deals with one hand while holding a dagger in the other. 

You might not expect an economic strategy game to be very aggressive, but Offworld Trading Company encourages you to be just as hostile as a warmonger. When you're eyeing up menus and planning what to build next, what to sell, if it is time to start a hostile takeover of another company, it is easily as thrilling as when you're sending infantry across artillery-pummelled fields or launching sneak air attacks against an enemy stronghold in Company of Heroes or StarCraft II. Post-launch, new Offworld Trading Company DLC has really given the game a boon, too. 

And remember Baba Yetu? Probably the greatest piece of music in strategy games? Well its composer, Christopher Tin, created the soundtrack for Offworld Trading Company. And yes, it is really good.

Total War: Warhammer 2

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With Total War: Warhammer, the iconic strategy series dipped an experimental toe into fantasy. The joyous fun of dragons and magic (not to mention a popular licence) made for mass appeal and record sales, but Creative Assembly did not forget how to make a good strategy game. The character of Warhammer’s factions was channelled into engaging campaign mechanics that varied for the first time, encouraging replayability, and unit rosters that enabled a better Lord of the Rings battle simulator than any other game out there.

All of that is even more true in the sequel, as our TW: Warhammer 2 PC review points out. This time out, CA go even bigger, making it one of the best strategy games in recent years. Again though, this ambition is tempered with craft: the new Vortex victory condition may seem like fantastical indulgence, but it serves the game by keeping the pressure up right to the end, when you would previously be cruising to an easy win. The factions are richer and more vibrant than ever, yet mastering more vanilla classes - using our TW: Warhammer 2 High Elves guide - adds common sense amid all the bombast. So don't be fooled by the dragons and dinos - this is the best Total War has been by the old, analytical metrics, as well as the flashy new fun ones.

Civilization VI

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If Civ V was the most streamlined the series had ever been, Civilization VI is the most celebratory - a 25th anniversary iteration that sheds the sterility of previous entries in favour of a stirring soundtrack and brave new (cartoonish) look. It finds Firaxis remembering that the power of a 4X game lies as much in its atmosphere as its systems.

It is testament to the attentiveness of Sid Meier and his studio, however, that they have not neglected those systems either. Civilization VI has exhumed several of the best additions from its predecessor’s Community Balance Patch, while pushing onwards and upwards with some offbeat new ideas - builders that expire after three turns, for instance, and cities that spread across several tiles.

Is that not what Civ is all about? Pushing onwards and upwards, reaching for the stars? Firaxis will surely continue to do just that, building on these strong foundations with balance patches and DLC like the Civilization 6: Rise and Fall expansion. And players will do the same as they conceive game-changing Civilization 6 mods. But even the game that exists now is a classic Civ. Not just a wonderfully colourful introductory experience, but also an intriguing twist on some of the series’ most deeply rooted mechanics that will keep veterans coming back for one more turn.

Stellaris

Best strategy games Stellaris

Paradox’s 4X grand strategy hybrid makes space surprising again thanks to event chains that are, at first, evocative of Crusader Kings II, but end up going much further. In Stellaris, expect mutant uprisings, robotic rebellions, and the discovery of alien texts that make your citizens question their place in the galaxy. 

It is not just a 4X game; it is a galactic roleplaying game and empire sim, bestowing a vast array of options upon players, allowing them to create unique, eccentric space-faring species. You can play as a fundamentalist society built on the backs of slaves, or hyper-intelligent lizards that rely on robots whether they are fighting or farming. The robust species creator and a multitude of meaningful decisions mean that you can create almost any aliens you can imagine.  No wonder we awarded it 9/10 in our Stellaris PC review

And underpinning all of that is the game’s focus on exploration. While most space 4X games stick with one method of interstellar travel, Stellaris gives you three to choose from, each with their own strengths and counters. In one game, the galaxy might be a network of hyperlanes, but in the next, you might find yourself building wormhole stations and blinking across the galaxy.

Stellaris multiplayer is not to be overlooked either, transforming decent human beings into Machiavellian alien tyrants at the drop of a hat. It is easily one of the best strategy games of recent years.

XCOM 2

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XCOM 2 is one of the all-time greats of the tactics genre. Already. Spoiler: we gave it a really good score in our XCOM 2 PC review. It takes the best bits from the series so far - the savage struggle, the ragtag group of heroes, the devious aliens, the tight tactical battles - and throws improvement after improvement on top. 

Once again, XCOM 2 has you sending up to six soldiers into the breach, but this time as a group of struggling survivors fighting against a tyrannical alien regime. It is all guerrilla tactics, covert missions, and dissidence. You need to learn to make sacrifices, leaving men and women behind so you can save the rest, and you need to learn to swallow loss and failure. 

The battles are challenging and varied, full of horrific adversaries with tricky, surprising abilities, but the biggest changes are found at the strategic layer - why else would it be on a list of the best strategy games on PC? You will travel all over the world, setting up cells, infiltrating black sites, hunting for more resources so you can field more powerful weapons and tools - it is compelling, rather than an afterthought.

And XCOM 2 mods are great. You can download a corgi gun. A corgi gun.

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault

best strategy games Company of Heroes 2 Ardennes Assault

Company of Heroes 2 was great but it did not quite match the magic of its predecessor. Then Ardennes Assault came along; one of the best RTS games that helped consolidate the series’ place at the forefront of the genre. The US forces and German Oberkommando are fighting over control of the Ardennes, in a campaign inspired by The Battle of the Bulge. hat sets it apart from both Company of Heroes and the sequel is the non-linear campaign that plays out across a strategic meta map. The Germans are dynamic, being reinforced by retreating forces, changing the challenges posed by both story missions and the dynamic skirmishes.

While the campaign is only played from the American point of view, the US forces are split into three companies, all with unique specialities covering air, support, and mechanised roles. These companies all have special officer abilities and upgrade trees, and any can be used to tackle a mission. Even if you focus on one, the other two will still be on the map, and can provide assistance by blocking the enemy retreat out of a captured province. 

This is the first time the battles in Company of Heroes have had real weight. Previously, winning was all that mattered. Finish the mission and you move on to the next one, starting fresh. Ardennes Assault is a persistent campaign, though, and losses in battle can bring down a company's veterancy and manpower. There is even a risk of it being wiped out entirely, leaving the other two companies to face the Germans alone.

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak

best strategy games Homeworld

Blackbird Interactive have done the seemingly impossible with Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak: transpose the elegant, minimalist space wars of the original Homeworld games to a single planet, making one of the best RTS games in the process. Somehow it works. Really well. 

It is a journey, across a never-ending desert, on a mission to save a civilisation. Each battle is connected to the last as well as the ones yet to be played. Every unit that survives will live to fight another day in another mission in a persistent war for survival.

Kharak itself, despite just being a giant desert, is a fantastic planet-sized battlefield. The addition of terrain and elevation replicates the three-dimensional battles of the previous games, with the sand dunes providing cover, hiding spots, and high ground from where you can unleash devastating attacks. 

Like its predecessors, the game is blessed with some of the best art design you could hope to find in an RTS, meaning you can take beautiful Homeworld screenshots. Add in incredible sound design, and a genuinely interesting narrative, and Deserts of Kharak is a classic.  

Endless Legend

best strategy games Endless Legend

Whenever Endless Legendcomes up in conversation, it is hard not to gush about it, which is what we are about to do here. It easily earned itself a place as one of the best strategy games of 2014

In our Endless Legend PC review, we gushed over a game that blends fantasy and science fiction seamlessly, throwing stranded spacemen against magical dragon people in absolutely the most striking hex-based world. Diverse, gorgeous, it looks almost tangible, like you could reach out and pick up one of the elaborate cities and cradle it in your hands. "Don't worry, citizens. We won't let the horrible man-eating insects devour you and your families." 

What makes it most notable are the fascinating factions that vie for dominance over the pretty but slightly apocalyptic world, each blessed with unique and interesting mechanics that set them apart and inform how they're played. You have got the horrible aforementioned flesh-eating insect race, the Necrophage, for instance, who are so foul they cannot make alliances with other factions, forcing them to always be the opposition. And there is the bizarre Cultists, a faction of peculiar zealots that can only construct one city, and must rely on swallowing up other factions if they want to expand.

Surprisingly, it is also blessed with a strong narrative that lends the game a tangible sense of place. Every faction has a unique set of story quests that will inform a lot of your decisions without backing you into a corner, and there is an abundance of side-quests and stories that makes it feel like you are managing a world where a roleplaying adventure is taking place.

Crusader Kings II

best strategy games Crusader Kings 2

Talk about a murderous bastard of a grand-strategy game. In Crusader Kings II, you play a medieval ruler trying to gain more power, influence, and territory in a historically authentic medieval Europe. It is a game of intrigue, war, politics, and religion, played out on a stunning, detailed map of the known world and in countless, complex menus. Really, though, Crusader Kings II is a strategy game about people: your dynasty, your vassals, your lovers, enemies, and family members. 

It is this personal element that makes Crusader Kings II so compelling. You are in charge of a family, not an abstract nation. You will marry and have kids, you will die, and then your heir will take over and the whole thing begins again. In between all this, you can use intrigue or brute force to increase your holdings, but the key is that you develop a real personal connection with your characters, your avatar. You will mourn their death and cheer their every triumph. And this drama has only been expanded with the likes of the Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon DLC

Usurp thrones, create politically advantageous marriages, murder your wife, and if it all gets too much for you, there is always the occasional jousting tournament or day of hunting to keep you in good spirits. As long as they do not kill you.

StarCraft II

best strategy games StarCraft II

What's not to love about a game that pits armoured cowboys against xenomorphic aliens and space elves? Starcraft II is also a classic base-building RTS where you gather resources, build armies, and kill your enemy before they kill you with quick decisions and even quicker mouse clicks.

Online is a huge part of Starcraft II, and this RTS is actually one of the best multiplayer games on PC. Your enemies are human; they will be able to click faster than you, issue orders quicker than you. You will probably lose a lot, but you will get better the more you play, making this one of the best RTS games if you have a competitive streak in you - or if you would rather watch there is a small but dedicated competitive player-base at the e-sports level.

The PvE campaign is also interesting - Blizzard have combined frantic action with an RPG-like backdrop as you follow the exploits of Terran mercenary Jim Raynor. You will fight through a series of missions, many of which will have unique objectives - like trying to harvest resources on a map that periodically fills up with lava, or defending against waves upon waves of Zerg for a set period of time. In between missions you will explore an RPG-ish hub, where you can talk to people, research new techs, and decide where your next destination will be. Story is hard to do in RTS games, and many resign themselves to cutscenes or in-mission dialogue, but StarCraft II actually makes you interact with the world outside combat, and so it is a more interactive story.

2015 saw the game conclude with the launch of Legacy of the Void, one of our best RTS games of the past few years, so if you want the whole experience, you'll want to get all three entries in the series.

Supreme Commander

best strategy games Supreme Commander

Back in the day, Supreme Commander was the game that broke PCs, such were the demands it placed on processors. This future war robo-RTS simplifies resource management and focuses more on creating the perfect war machine. You start off with a single irreplaceable command unit, and from there you build factories that will churn out units to wage war on your enemies.

Nothing genre-breaking, but it's the sheer scale that puts Supreme Commander up there with the best RTS games - years later, Supreme Commander doesn't so much break PCs anymore as it breaks minds. A player’s army can potentially reach up to 1,000 units separated out into land, sea, and air. You have to orchestrate a careful ballet of production, movement and attack, grinding down your opponent while keeping your command unit safe, and your factories powered and supplied so that they can create more machines of death. It is brilliant and mind-boggling all at once.

This was one of the few games at the time to officially support dual monitors, which means you can have a zoomable map up on the second screen. It’s a godsend, as it allows you to keep an eye on the big picture a lot easier. Few games are blessed with the same scale as Supreme Commander, and when you take the war online that's where the real challenge begins.

Titles like StarCraft demand quick thinking and quicker reactions, but they only deal with a couple of dozen units at most. Supreme Commander demands all of that, and deals in the thousands. Compared to many upcoming PC games, this RTS may look a little creaky around the edges, but it still offers a supreme slice of strategy. 

So there are the best strategy games on PC. While you’re here, why not check out the best PC MMOs for similar life-swallowing experiences. And if you’re after the very cream of the crop, check out the best PC games of all-time. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to defend our bases/save humanity from alien annihilation/wage global war. Phew, this strategy stuff sure is stressful.

 

 

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Chris Evans avatarunwanted avatarTim Edwards avatarrobzacny avatarDog Pants avatarsubedii avatar+47
lotrfan45 Avatar
9
3 Years ago

Command and Conquer helped create the modern strategy game, I would say that makes the game relevant, and should have a spot on this list

5
MrAptronym Avatar
361
3 Years ago

I think the list is more "What is the most fun right now.", they say "Here are the 15 best strategy games that I think you should all play right now." I love command and conquer but I don't think it has aged as well as some other titles.

Nothing wrong with lists of the most important titles, I just don't think this is that kind of list.

4
Dangerosul Avatar
1
2 Years ago

He is right, you know. The title of the article says "The best strategy games on PC" so i think C&C quialifies. Certainly not all of them are great and some have dated gfx and gameplay but the one i would definitely put on this list, and the best in the series, is C&C 3. Great gfx, gameplay, 3 playable factions, awesome superweapons and ALIENS that invade teh Earth. What more could you want in a sci-fi RTS?

1
Scar1976 Avatar
2
3 Years ago

Nope Dune brought it to life but the real player in land based rts was total anhilation, wich set a milestone wich games based on till this day

1
MyGunGoesBoom! Avatar
1
1 Year ago

Although, Dune came before C&C.....

1
brmorgen82 Avatar
58
2 Years ago

There were these games called Dune 2 and Warcraft, young fella. But keep spewing garbage, it's what you do best.

0
Chris Evans Avatar
136
4 Years ago

No love at all for any Commander and Conquer games makes me sad...but I can understand why. It is a series that hasn't really been relevant since Red Alert 2, and some would say Tiberian Sun was the last great C&C. Also some might say that the strategy is thinly veiled as you can just churn out masses of units and steam-roll the enemy for the most part. Lacks the nuance of Starcraft.

3
Rob Zacny Avatar
101
4 Years ago

Joe tried to add a C&C game. Can't remember which, I think it may have been Red Alert 2. Or maybe it was whatever was the most recent. I vetoed it for the reasons you list, and because we already had RTS games well-represented here.

I loved C&C when the series was young, but it just failed to grow. It loved its own campiness too much, the designs got more and more over the top, and yeah, that core game didn't really get more interesting. SupCom ate its lunch from the visual spectacle standpoint, and it really wasn't a good enough RTS to stand alongside any of its contemporaries.

2
Punishersfury Avatar
1
3 Years ago

i been playing rts games for a long time to not have WC3+exp nor ANY command and conquer games is a massive slight to rts hell they didnt eve mention dune between dune and c&c thats the heart of rts. now to be fair the last goood c&c game was c&c 3 tibrium wars as much as i love geerals i still have to say c&c 3 was my fav but its such a hard choice i was i could say there where both the best

1
Antonius Avatar
80
2 Years ago

No love for Homeworld(s), GalCiv or Masters of Orion?

Homeworld redefined RTS for 3D space and the GalCiv games are solid, worthy 4X.

Haven't played a MoO since MoO 3 though. That was dense as **** to get into…

1
Julian Benson Avatar
181
4 Years ago

For me, the series peaked at C&C: Generals. They moved away from the kitsch videos (which I did love in the original games but the sheen wore off when they started spending so much on producing B-movie cutscenes) and simply created a fun, explosive RTS.

I'm hoping the C&C Victory Studios are working on taps into the Generals style of game.

2
Dusty Avatar
3
3 Years ago

i must say that even though this is an "old post"

there is 1 game i miss on the list..

Total anihilation.

one of the very first RTS games, along with C&C that defined RTS games

even though games like Dune 1 came back in 1992.

i would trade WiC for total anihilation or the original C&C :D

but thats just me.. im old enough to remember the good old games

to bad the newer computers are to "heavy" to play the old classics

3
Empyre Avatar
268
2 Years ago

Satiellite Riegn sould be in here.

3
AnAuldWolf Avatar
872
2 Years ago

Does Armello count? No? I'm terrible at this, as I have been with every other list.

I'm not so good at strategy, really. Glad those games exist though as it can be a joy to watch someone play them, and sometimes you have to have a mind like steel tacks to outwit the AI or whomever you're playing against. And when such a person is a good winner/loser on top of that? Well, you're probably looking at quite the admirable human being.

I never could get anywhere beyond the likes of Shining Force, FEDA, and Vandal Hearts. Or was it Vagrant Story? I always get those two confused. No, pretty sure it was Vandal Hearts. Terrible at Disgaea, though, but I find it so engaging as I'm fond of NIS's sense of humour. The only developer to have made a visual novel that I not only completed, but played more than once.

If you've not heard of it, look up Disgaea Infinite. It's a PSP game, but you people seem too civilised to go for all that 'console peasant' brainrot. Good for you!

Ah, Shining Force. It had an armadillo in steampunk powered armour. Unforgettable. We need a Shining Force remake that's actually good, so I can vote that in for one of these articles. Though it might not end up on PC, so I'd probably fail at the whole concept of these lists all over again.

3
unwanted Avatar
789
4 Years ago

It's almost like someone seen me talk about this.

2
Tim Edwards Avatar
522
4 Years ago

We aim to please. 

2
subedii Avatar
753
4 Years ago

I can jibe with this list.

 

Personally I'd remove World in Conflict and replace it with Dawn of War 2. Because for me, WiC is better covered by Airland Battle if we're talking cold-war RTS, and DoW2 is probably the RTS I've played most of over the years. Probably the first RTS to REALLY suck me into playing online.

 

With regards to Supreme Commander, it still has an active community given that Forged Alliance Forever dropped a few months ago. Probably more active than SupCom 2. And all in all, it's still conducive to some epic large scale battles. I'd recommned Gyle's casts if you want to check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/user/felixlighta/videos

 

 

2
xNuke Avatar
513
3 Years ago

I miss Stronghold: Crusader from this list :( With it's HD remake it's playable and Crusader 2 is about to release in 3 weeks time. It's meant to stay true to the original.

Either way, the first one should've made it to the top 20 list

2
Turrican Avatar
33
3 Years ago

This is a great list:

I would personally add, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Homeworld and these days I'd rather have Rome 2 or Attila over Shogun.

2
Dog Pants Avatar
1389
4 Years ago

Regarding Empire at War, I recall the reviews of the time giving me the impression that the ground battles were pretty terrible. Can I assume from its entry here that they're not as bad as I thought? I've not played a decent strategic Star Wars game since Supremacy so my interest is piqued.

1
Joe Robinson Avatar
7
4 Years ago

The ground battles arn't great, although I personally feel the more scripted engagements in the single-player are alright. Considering Supremacy/Rebellion didn't even have ground battles though, it's a step up from that.

If you liked Supremecy, you should like this. It may not be the best RTS ever as far as mechanics and design (again, re ground battles), but it's a pretty kick-ass star wars game. You get to summon in Star Destroyers and see them blast away, the expansion adds in the SSDs, you can build and use Death Stars... it's an experience, and not one to sniff at. That's why I included it, anyway.

1
Shriven Avatar
3493
3 Years ago

I never would have thought about saying this 6 months ago, but Rome II has been polished up so well its better than Shogun for combat and depth. But the Shogun era is much more fun just to bask in.

It deserves a revisit.

1
Njoy420 Avatar
7
3 Years ago

One of my personal favorite strategy game is Lord of the rings: Battle for middle-earth 2 :P

1
Saiph Avatar
43
3 Years ago

It's a shame someone hasn't updated Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour so that it can be played on Windows 8.1. It's a classic game, and deserves to be mentioned in this list IMO. I used to love playing the GLA and steamrolling over the Americans *evil laugh*! ("Thank you for the new shoes!" :-D )

Another game that I bought only four days ago is Rise Of Nations, and I'm really enjoying it. It's great fun to start a game with spearmen and slingshot warriors, and end up planning missions using fighter and bomber aircraft. And of course if you want to go really crazy, you can develop nukes too. Great scope for varied strategy and tactics.

Apart from those omissions I think this list is very interesting. I own 10 of the 20 games mentioned, so there are a few that I'll be checking out and possibly buying, especially if they're in a Steam sale. Thanks for updating the list!

1
Fraser Brown Avatar
960
3 Years ago

When I was updating the list, I actually had a chat with Rob in regards to Rise of Nations, especially since there's the Extended Edition now. But having not played the new version, and since it's been many, many years since I played the original, I decided that I wasn't as comfortable adding it to the list as I was with the other new additions.

Of course, we'll no doubt be updating the list again at some point, and by then I might have had time to play the Extended Edition. So it could appear down the line.

1
Embed Avatar
1
3 Years ago

Don't know how about you, but I have C&C Generals: Zero Hour on Origin and it works fine on Win 8.1.

1
a_tiny_child Avatar
17
3 Years ago

No love for the Dominions series? For shame.

1
[Q]uik Avatar
2
3 Years ago

The fact that neither Victoria nor Hearts of Iron made the list, but CK2 and EUIV (EU being the worst of them..) did, makes me quite damned sad.

that said, for the most part it's a good list.

1
[Q]uik Avatar
2
3 Years ago

Wasnt World in conflicts multiplayer shut down?

Shouldnt that be stated in the "buyers guide"?

1
Tonton Avatar
1
3 Years ago

Where the f is Homeworld?

1
BraveToaster Avatar
326
3 Years ago

I'm really happy to see Starcraft 2 isn't on here. That boring trash killed the RTS genre. Blizzard is good at killing genres

1
Tovias Avatar
1026
3 Years ago

No Mount and Blade? Really?

1
Fraser Brown Avatar
960
3 Years ago

Mount & Blade: Warband is in both our top sandbox and top RPG lists.

2
Tovias Avatar
1026
3 Years ago

You know what? I also missed the strategy part in the title, my bad.

A lot of "The Best" lately.

1
TsunamiWombat Avatar
722
3 Years ago

I feel like Dawn of War 2 should be on here as well, it was different from the original but good - well, alright, I feel like the last expansion fell flat.

Other than that, perfect list.

I also feel like SupCom should be on the list twice. Just because.

1
Fraser Brown Avatar
960
3 Years ago

SupCom really is brilliant.

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Dawn of War 2, though. It can be fun, and the progression of your squad is neat, but as a strategy game I think it's severely lacking. We're also picking the best from franchises rather than listing the franchise or listing them separately, and I think most would agree that the original is still the best.

1
TsunamiWombat Avatar
722
3 Years ago

Me, I really loved DoW2's squad level control. It made perfect sense with the context of Space Marines. Sadly, they never got terribly creative with the level or mission design, but moving from one end of the map to the other setting up kill zones and dealing with enemy units in different ways was fun enough, almost like a RTS'y X-Com (Nu-Com). No other game has quite emulated it's style and thats a shame.

1
subedii Avatar
753
3 Years ago

This comments section is getting confusing. I would recommend simply starting a new post come 2015 instead of continuing to update this one.

.

Glad to see Infested Planet make the list. It’s a pretty awesome strategy game, and very different from most other RTS's. You regularly see yourself battling back and forth with the bugs on each map, losing the advantage one minute and being pushed back, then suddenly having a breakout moment as you adapt and change to the circumstances, or pull off a risky raid that takes the pressure off your flank, or even just remember an ability you had been forgetting about until now.

.

There’s a heavy emphasis on on-the-fly strategy, with the battles ebbing forwards and backwards as you advance, gain ground, the aliens adapt, force you back, and you desperately try not to loose too much whilst they counter-attack and frequently circumvent your previous strategies. You can gain momentum, but so can the enemy, and the game has a lot of scope for turn-arounds from dire circumstances with the right play (which applies just as much to the enemy).

.

All in all, I definitely recommend it, especially if you’re looking for something a little different from the standard RTS or squad level tactical game.

1
Matanuska Avatar
96
3 Years ago

I'd personally put Men of War: Assault Squad 2 on this list. Sure it's rough around the edges but it has a certain charm for a WW2 RTS I haven't felt since the late 90s/early 00s.

1
Techguy10110 Avatar
1
3 Years ago

Has no one mentioned Age of Mythology?

1
tomstubbs951 Avatar
2
3 Years ago

I've only played two of these games: Civilization V and Age of Empires. I really liked both of them, so maybe I'll have to try these other games. What's age of mythology? Is it more like civilizations, but with added mythological creatures. That sounds like a pretty interesting game. http://www.gameofwarrealtips.com

2
arkons Avatar
1
3 Years ago

I will always maintain, that Warcraft 3 is one of the best strategy games ever made, and it does deserve a place on this list. A game that's only downfall wasn't even in the gameplay, but it was let down by the devs, who left it in the mercy of hackers. A HD remake with cheat-secure official servers would put it back on the map, even after 10+ years. Also, I agree with some of the comments here about the C&C series, my vote would go to Generals, that was a lot of fun to play, both the core game and the expansion, Zero Hour.

1
marcusb1976 Avatar
1
3 Years ago

Home World or one of the 2 Home World sequals along with Command and Conquer or one of the 16 Comand and Conquer sequals should have a right to be on the list;)

1
fizicro Avatar
1
3 Years ago

The Emissary should be on the list to , I play it for days ( not that I recommend it ) , it's available for free ( I played it on Linux )

Check it out here http://stratmontclanstrategies.blogspot.com/

I agree on Command and conquer , spent days on it

1
Sir Killalot Avatar
1
3 Years ago

I can't believe this list doesn't have Warcraft III...

1
.The_Crow Avatar
1
3 Years ago

I would make a list as well, I can respect most. See the supreme commander as the revival of total annihilation :) the old dune and Warcraft are pas their prime but the only title I am really lacki is any title in the heroes of might and magic series?

1
Mctittles Avatar
160
2 Years ago

If you haven't played it I recommend A.I. War which is absolutely the best co-op strategy game I have ever played. Nothing else even comes close.

1
Turrican Avatar
33
2 Years ago

Great list. However, Endless Legend and Homeworld would be on my list also.

1
Droniac Avatar
117
2 Years ago

There's a few games I want to comment on:

World in Conflict - multiplayer may be shut down, but its singleplayer campaign is so good that it should probably be mentioned regardless. It's one of few strategy games that I'd point to as having good singleplayer campaigns.

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War - I think you should make this more specific and point directly at Dark Crusade. It's easily the best version of that game.

Dawn of War 2 - is underrated. The singleplayer is only fun if you enjoy clicker-RPGs like Diablo, but multiplayer is surprisingly good. Team matches in particular are very fun and different from the norm.

Best licensed strategy game - should still be Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, but Empire at War is a great second ;)

Best strategy game campaign - where is it?

I get that CoH 2: Ardennes Assault has a nice dynamic campaign, but that's all it is: interestingly dynamic. To be blunt: CoH's mission design is terrible, its storytelling is weak, it doesn't have much variety and its presentation is poor.

There are strategy games that do try to tell a story and actually manage to present it rather well and within an interestingly varied, but structured, campaign. Think of the C&C games, StarCraft 2, World in Conflict, Battle Realms, Homeworld, etc.

Strategy games may not traditionally be the best vehicles for story, but World in Conflict outshines most story-driven shooters and Battle Realms likewise trounces most fantasy RPGs. As for StarCraft 2: that presentation, that mission design, wow.

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Irritant Avatar
1
2 Years ago

A good test for RTS games is to think how popular or enjoyable the game would be if it had basic graphics (think 1995). In some cases (like Civilization or Starcraft) it would be just as good, in other cases (like the XCOM remake) it would make it pretty obvious that they're just a basic RNG hiding behind pretty 3D models. To call that thing a strategy game is an insult to the word "strategy". At best it involves some tactics, and (given how bad the AI is) you don't even need much of that.

1
Raith Avatar
1
2 Years ago

Look, I LOVE Sins of a Solar Empire, I do...buuut I don't think it's better than Homeworld or Galactic Civilizations 2.

1
Vinu Avatar
1
2 Years ago

What about Warcraft?

1
JeezusJessie Avatar
1
2 Years ago

SWEAW is definitely a good one, but I didn't like the population cap on it though - especially in space skirmishes. Still, glad it's here.

1
Duderonamy Avatar
4
1 Year ago

Master Of Orion not in here?

1
RedFirkked Avatar
1
9 Months ago

FYI the concept of a war game was concieved by H.G. Wells in his 1913 guide "Little Wars" for use with toy soldiers.

1
cpt.fantastic Avatar
252
6 Months ago

I could argue that C&C isn't one of the best strategy games, not anymore: Slow gameplay, bad AI, spam to win and so on.

I also don't get it why people feel entitled to add their own favorites to other peoples lists?

1
AndroidGigs Avatar
1
4 Months ago

Civilization is best from this list according to me

But I think you should also mention Lords of Midnight.

1
Jezcentral Avatar
537
3 Years ago

I know this is an update, but don't forget XCOM now has an expansion, Enemy Within. It's a cracker, and I would recommend people get that, rather than "just" the vanilla game.

God, I was so happy it was so good. (Do you see my avatar? DO YOU?)

0
aevansjr35 Avatar
3
2 Years ago

I do NOT recommend war game series. Horrible quality. T-55 tanks can take out M1A2's with no issue while M1A2's can sit their and shoot and do no damage, vehicle and weapon models are just bad. Game play is closer to arcade then it is strategy.

0
Turrican Avatar
33
2 Years ago

Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun has a special place in my heart.

I think Age of Wonders III is a great game.

There are just too many unbelievably good games out there now and with XCom2 and Warhammer on the horizon, the dilemma of what to spend precious time on is only going to get worse.

0
aevansjr35 Avatar
3
2 Years ago

I wouldnt consider the wargame series strategy games.. more like arcade RTS. Not even close to realistic.

0
Vinu Avatar
1
2 Years ago

What about Warcraft?

0
aevansjr35 Avatar
3
3 Years ago

wargamer is one of the worst wargames out their. Unrealistic and unfair scenarios its easy to play and beat but its far from being realistic and thats what kills it.

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