Strategy Games

Strategy is a video game genre that focuses on planning and long-term thinking. The strategy games genre is very diverse, as all the titles that emphasize strategic thinking and tactic can be put in this category. Let's check all its main features, sub-genres, and the most renowned releases.

  • Genre:Strategy
Number of products: 10 000+
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Squad EN Global Steam
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Total War: Warhammer III Global Steam
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Hell Let Loose EU Steam
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History of strategy video games

Strategy games derive from classic board games such as chess. Therefore, we can find examples of this genre in very early video games.

  • The 70s. A Magnavox Odyssey game called Invasion, released in 1972, is often cited as the oldest strategy title. Four years later, Microchess, the first virtual version of chess, hit the shelves. 1977's turn-based wargame Empire is another early strategy game worth mentioning. 
  • The 80s. This decade was marked by the dawn of other popular strategy game sub-genres, including city builders founded by Utopia in 1982 and god games established by the release of Peter Molyneux's Populous in 1989.
  • The 90s Thanks to the release of some legendary titles, such as 1991's Civilization, this period was a breakthrough for strategy games. Moreover, it was the time of the rise of real-time strategies that broadened strategies with elements of action games. Dune II laid the foundations for RTS games in 1992, while series such as Command & Conquer, The Settlers, Warcraft, and Age of Empires shaped this sub-genre. Players, who preferred turn-based combat to real-time skirmishes, got Heroes of Might and Magic in 1995 and its sequels soon after. The iconic third installment in the franchise hit the shelves in 1999.
  • The 2010s. The release of Blizzard's classic Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002) and Starcraft (2010) marks the peak of RTS stardom. With the development of mobile gaming, strategy games diversified into two categories: hardcore and casual. Another factor that changed strategy games was the introduction of an open-world concept in 2011 with Anno 2070.
  • Modern strategy games. The genre's popularity has not faded away, although some sub-genres are not as popular as before. On the contrary, today's strategy games are as varied and engaging as ever. Even new sub-genres, such as MOBA, have emerged.

Key features of the genre

Even though the genre is incredibly verified, there are some features that we can find in every strategy game.

  • Planning. The main characteristic of this type of game is that it requires players to think ahead and plan their actions. It doesn't matter if your goal is to manage a football team, lead an army, or run an entire nation; you have to carefully plan your actions and try to predict what your opponents might do.
  • Resources management. Most strategy games involve managing resources, including money, wood, buildings, and troops. You have to make sure that you are using them in the most effective way possible.
  • Upgrades. As you progress in the game, you should be able to upgrade your units, city, or team. In some games, you may even advance through the ages.
  • Nonlinearity. Strategy games are often nonlinear. It means that there isn't always a straight path to victory. Players must be creative and look for alternative solutions to succeed. Furthermore, you can try out another tactic if you get bored with the current one.
  • Adversities. Every strategy game has to test players' skills. This is why most releases feature combat against other players or AI-controlled opponents. In the case of manager games, matches replace battles. Furthermore, adversities may come in the form of natural disasters or time pressure.

Types of strategy games

Players, who want to play an outstanding strategy game, but don't know which title to pick, have to decide which sub-genre suits them the most. Here are the most popular types of strategy games.

  • RTS. Real-time strategy titles focus on quick decision-making as all players take action simultaneously. You have to construct buildings and harvest resources while facing the pressure of time. Usually, you need to build an army and use it to accomplish your goals.
  • Turn-Based. There are no time limits here because players make their actions one after another. Gamers have to think carefully about every move and analyze the situation before taking action.
    • Notable examples: Heroes of Might and Magic III, Marvel's Midnight Suns.
  • 4X. These games are often set in space or on distant planets. Players must explore the new environment, expand their presence, exploit resources, and exterminate enemies if needed. As a result, 4X games often require multiple playthroughs to fully understand all of the mechanics. 
    • Notable examples: Civilization VI, Stellaris.
  • Tower Defense. This strategy typically focuses on defending a specific point from waves of enemies. Players need to build and upgrade towers to survive. 
    • Notable examples: Plants vs. Zombies, The Riftbreaker.
  • Grand Strategy. These titles allow players to take control over entire countries or civilizations for hundreds or even thousands of years. Grand strategy games usually provide deep customization options and require players to analyze the political landscape and make crucial decisions. 
    • Notable examples: Europa Universalis IV, Crusader Kings III.
  • City builders. In city builders, players construct and manage entire cities. From creating residential areas and providing citizens with services to designing transport networks and managing the economy - it's all up to you. 
    • Notable examples: SimCity 2000, Cities: Skylines.
  • God games. These games put players in the shoes of a deity. They are usually tasked with creating and managing life forms, sometimes extending to entire civilizations. 
    • Notable examples: Black & White, Spore.
  • Managers. These releases let players run a sports team or a company. Gamers have to make all strategic decisions and set a development path. 
  • MOBA. Multiplayer online battle arena games revolve around two teams of players competing against each other in strategic battles, with the goal of destroying the enemy base. 
    • Notable examples: DOTA 2, League of Legends.

The best strategy titles you can play

The list of recommendation-worthy strategy games is exceptionally long. However, we have some titles that particularly deserve your attention.

  • Age of Empires IV. This most recent installment in the iconic real-time strategy series brings you to the Middle Ages, where you can control historical nations and forge your own path.
  • Marvel's Midnight Suns. Tactical games created by the renowned Firaxis Games studio let you build a team composed of Marvel heroes and use their skills in exciting turn-based combat.
  • Civilization VI. It's a timeless classic of the 4X genre, which allows you to create an empire from scratch and develop it through the eras.
  • Football Manager 2023. This most popular sports game allows you to manage clubs from all over the world. FM 2023 is an absolute must-play for every football fan.
  • Victoria III. A game set in the 19th century lets you experience the Industrial Revolution and become a political leader of a great nation.
  • DOTA 2. Valve's biggest and most successful MOBA title is a competitive game with millions of monthly players.