10 Best Tactical Strategy Games, Ranked


Games have always been associated with action, being seen as mindless fast-paced fun from the arcade days to even now. This isn’t helped by the majority of games being about combat which naturally has to be fast-paced or the very least requires a lot of quick thought.

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Enter tactical strategy games. The games of war and battle played out turn by turn, these games swap out that fast-paced rush for a more strategic and intellectually challenging experience as you manage anywhere from a team of heroes to an entire battlefield. There’s a lot of variety within this somewhat niche genre.


10 Blood Bowl

Tactics games are very similar in their theming compared to other genres, usually always focusing on war whether modern or ancient. But occasionally you have a game that truly branches out into new territory like… Football? Blood Bowl is a spin-off game for Warhammer, seeing you pick a team to reenact the Blood Bowl, a horrific and violent version of American football.

While it looks like a sports game with a silly theme to it, Blood Bowl actually is a deep strategy game with some unique mechanics. The game works like any other game of football as you have to retrieve the ball and score with it, but more strategy is added due to being able to take out members of the other team to clear a path and strategizing around that aspect of your players. And the game always remains exciting due to everything being up to dice and you having to make the most of a situation. It’s strange but hard to not love.

9 Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids

Remember how we said strange ideas could still make excellent tactics games? Well, that sentiment gets cranked up to 11 when it comes to Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Mario + Rabbids sees Mario and friends having their world invaded and fused with Rabbids, causing chaos that forces them to team up with strange Rabbid versions of themselves to stop it.

Despite its strangeness, Mario + Rabbids acts as an excellent first tactics game as its mechanics are easy to understand, while still offering quite a bit of depth. The character options give plenty of room for different strategies, and the levels are designed as excellent little puzzles. Plus, the game more than makes up for any lacking aspects with the sheer amount of charm. Despite the weirdness, it’s a wonderful time the whole way through.

8 FTL: Faster Than Light

Enemy crew aboard ship in FTL

One thing that can make tactical strategy games hard to get into is how long they can take sometimes, being either single drawn out matches or very long campaigns, but FTL: Faster than Light gives a bite-sized taste of the strategy experience. FTL sees you take control of a ship and its crew as you have to outrun an enemy fleet in order to save the Federation, picking up materials and weapons to prepare for your last stand.

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FTL gives you both long-term strategy as you collect materials and specialize your ship’s build and so many bite-sized battles that usually only last about a minute, yet it all manages to feel like a special little puzzle. Runs of FTL usually only last about an hour. The game makes up for it by making the game utterly brutal with having to manage thin resources and every ship being a fight to near death. Finally reaching the end is quite the challenge.

7 Advance Wars

Advance Wars

Strategy games have a habit of being hard to get into as they bombard the player with complexity and so many numbers; it can be hard to find an easy starting place. Luckily, the Advance Wars series is a great classic to start with. Advance Wars sees you taking control as a commanding officer in a sudden worldwide conflict, having to command over the battlefield.

Whereas other strategy games have complex stats for units, terrain, and the goals, Advance Wars keeps things very simple with small numbers and an easy-to-understand troop size system, along with every mission having the capture goal. But, this simplicity gives into complexity once the player understands it, taking into account troop movement, funding, and terrain types — all the things to make for a wonderful brainteaser of a battle.

6 Civilization


On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, some players adore the complexity and sheer long-term strategy of these games. For them, Civilization will always be king. Sid Meier’s Civilization sees the player take control of a historical civilization from their origin, progressing into the modern day with the hope to control the entire world by the end.

Civilization is complexity incarnate, with so many resources to keep track of and so many potential strategies. Players will have to balance resource management, economics, diplomacy, expansion, and war all at the same time to remain on the world stage. But, with this complexity, the game is able to offer so much player freedom in how they build and run their civilization, making it hard to not love once you learn it.

5 Into The Breach

Into The Breach

Sometimes simplicity is key with strategy; too many choices, and you can find yourself unable to make a smart decision, but just a few leaves you thinking over them carefully — this is the thing that Into The Breach understands. Into The Breach sees you commanding a squad of pilots and giant mechs as you travel back in time over and over, trying to save humanity from an invasion of giant monsters.

Into The Breach is incredibly simple with its combat, having tiny grid arenas and each mech is incredibly specialized with only a few things they can do, same goes for the enemies. But, the game balances this simplicity with sheer brutality; battles are hard-fought, and trying to save both your pilots and the buildings of civilians at the same time while completing the objective is extremely difficult. It’s a game that beats you down, so every victory feels extra sweet.

4 Wildermyth


While some games try to focus on only the most strategic of combat, others leave it more simple to focus on other aspects such as the stories of Wildermyth. Wildermyth is a game that sees you taking control of a team of adventurers on a D&D type adventure, watching as they grow and go through their own randomly generated stories as the years go on.

The genius of Wildermyth is those stories as the small choices and events give the player just enough about these characters that their mind rushes to fill in the blanks to make it far richer and detailed than it actually is. It makes for unforgettable experiences that more than make up for the somewhat simpler and not that strategic gameplay.

Banner Saga

If you want a strategy game with a deep, rich fantasy story that still has deep and complex strategic mechanics and better combat, The Banner Saga is the perfect match. The Banner Saga is set in a Norse myth world, seeing you caring for a caravan of people as they have to flee from a world-ending threat known as the Dredge.

The Banner Saga is a deeply strategic experience in many ways, having tight combat that asks for real strategies. It also brings in a unique system of armor and health that will have you slowly chipping away at armored enemies and trying to keep yourself safe; the lower your health, the worse you perform in combat. It makes for really thoughtful combat, and when you throw on a story that offers you plenty of tough choices and engaging characters, you have a classic on your hands.

2 Fire Emblem Series

Fire Emblem

While most strategy games seem to flip between focusing hard on gameplay and focusing more on a good story, few try to bring the two together as well as Fire Emblem. The Fire Emblem Series is a tactical RPG series that sees you put into a different fantasy story where you have to control a team to do battle all while experiencing a traditional RPG story.

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Fire Emblem is a series beloved for how it merges story and strategic combat by having those you put into combat being the characters you get to know. What happens in battle will affect them in story, even allowing them to die permanently. Between simple but extremely tense strategic gameplay and the captivating story, Fire Emblem is the perfect blend.


Strategy games have seen somewhat of a revival in recent years, finally stepping into the mainstream through the help of one series’ success: XCOM. The XCOM series sees you commanding a small squadron of soldiers trying to defend against an alien threat, having hard-fought battles where your men can die for good.

While XCOM doesn’t do anything too innovative with the genre, it has its fundamentals polished to a shine with interesting mission objectives that change how you think, plenty of types of aliens to strategize around, and a wealth of options with upgrades to play how you want to play. XCOM also offers an extremely challenging experience for those who want it, with no undoing turns and featuring permadeath for your soldiers.

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