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The best strategy games you can play right now

Best Strategy Games

The idea of the best strategy games isn't entirely straightforward, as it’s technically a huge umbrella term that by now houses several sub-genres. Mainly at home on the PC, you’ll find many strategy games on consoles by now, and currently, lots of long-running series such as Total War and XCOM, which were all the rage several decades ago, are experiencing a renaissance. Everyone plays some type of strategy game, and our list of the best the genre has to offer reflects that.

There’s always lots to do – from managing civilisations and dealing with politics to planning out battles turn by turn, strategy games deal with both peace and conflict and make responsible for many virtual humans. Whether you’re into round-based combat, real-time management or grand strategy, on this list you’ll find only the best strategy games to play right now.

25. Offworld Trading Company 

(Image credit: Stardock)

As the name suggests Offworld Trading Company focuses on the production, refinement and trading of the kind of resources you generally need to keep a colony alive. Where in other games you just harvest what’s available, here you need to work the market – discourage competitors, buy surplus cheaply and sell what’s in demand expensively. Offworld Trading Company makes you one of the worst forces of capitalism, a stock broker on Mars. If you like juggling numbers and working against the clock in order to make a sale, this is the game for you. In a lot of ways, it’s just like leading a large skirmish, only for cold, hard cash to replace swords. When you get to build in OTC, each building acts like a powerful skill in an RPG, giving you new means to beg, borrow and steal. Victory is never sweeping, so if you enjoy meticulous work that isn’t represented by piles of bodies on screen, play Offworld Trading Company.

Available on: PC

24. Northguard

(Image credit: Shiro Games)

If you’ve ever played a strategy game, you’re probably familiar with the Age of Empires-type RTS that has you build a civilisation from nothing in order to eventually lead it into war. Northgard is this, but with Vikings. Vikings aren’t just a replaceable people – Northgard is special because of them. You need to deal with the harsh weather in Scandinavia as well as its dangerous wildlife. Clans have different skills and war chiefs, and thus play differently, but this isn’t a game just about war. You’re asked to gather fame by making discoveries and helping your clan grow, and you can win just as easily by trading and making your clan indispensable to the Viking economy. Thus, Northgard is both a homage to famous RTS games, and an evolution of their systems.

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

23. Battletech

(Image credit: Paradox Interactive)

Despite its technical clumsiness, Battletech, based on a popular tabletop game, takes a novel approach to round-based mech combat. It’s not enough to simply hit your opponent, instead you have to disable specific limbs, something that due to the game’s random number generator is often down to luck. While gameplay can veer between annoying and really exciting that way, what makes Battletech stand out in particular is its story, which isn’t only great for a genre that doesn’t always put a lot of stock in its narratives. Thanks to a lot of effort put in the general presentation and idea, Battletech is a truly unique game you should definitely give a chance.

Available on: PC

22. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden 

(Image credit: Funcom)

If you like XCOM, there is really no reason you wouldn’t like Mutant Year Zero. It’s the same brand of round-based tactics, with a dash of post-apocalyptic weirdness in the form of your usual broken-down city environments and… anthropomorphic animals? Yes, Mutant Year Zero’s absolutely unique selling points are its mutated protagonists, who can learn new skills through further mutations, and who drive the interesting story. Add to that a good (and at times absolutely necessary) stealth system and you get a game that successfully combines old and new. It’s also a real challenge, mildly unfair at times, but definitely worth a try for all who already know XCOM like the back of their hand. 

Available on: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch 

21. Phoenix Point

(Image credit: Snapshot Games)

It’s not surprising to find  many similarities between XCOM and Phoenix Point once you know the latter has been designed by Julian Gollop, the mind behind the XCOM brand of turn-based tactics. Phoenix Point isn’t just another XCOM, however. While the central conflict is one again one between humans and aliens, Phoenix Point refines XCOM’s systems by giving you more control over your shots, loadouts and recruits. Sometimes you just get a lot of detailed info without really being able to use it, but it does make systems more understandable and winning feel less like sheer luck. It’s an effort to add more systems and gameplay elements to XCOM – not everything works, but it’s a great alternative all the same.

Available on: PC

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After trying to get into the industry for a number of years, I eventually landed my dream job as a full-time staff writer at GamesRadar+. You'll see all sorts of articles from me here including news, reviews, previews, and features.