5 best turn-based strategy games from the 2010s (and 5 best real-time strategy titles)

Whether real-time or turn-based, strategy games never fail to challenge players (Images via 2K Games/Xbox Game Studios)
Whether real-time or turn-based, strategy games never fail to challenge players (Images via 2K Games/Xbox Game Studios)

After enjoying considerable attention on the PC platform, the strategy game genre enjoyed eventually made its way to consoles, especially with the recent boom featuring newer entries in both the turn-based and real-time tactics genres. However, the 2010s also featured many iconic strategy games, some of which are popular even to this day.

Although both sub-genres have their own niche, the former is generally more popular across all platforms. The article below will list out five of the best turn-based games as well as five of the best real-time strategy games.

These turn-based strategy titles are a must-have for any fan of the genre

1) Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definitive Edition


Players will have to ascend to Godhood and defeat the evil Void in Larian Studios' acclaimed 2017 CRPG. Divinity Original Sin 2 is a name that often pops up when RPGs allowing freedom of choice are brought up because every facet of the title's gameplay adheres to that mantra. From deeply customizable RPG mechanics/skill combinations and tactical combat to engrossing exploration and engaging side-quests, the world of Rivellon is overflowing with many wonders for RPG fans to discover.

2) XCOM 2

Calling all Commanders! The XCOM 2 Collection is now up to 60% off for the Nintendo Switch until Dec. 3! Pick up a copy today and help reclaim Earth.

The ultimate amalgamation of the series' iterations, XCOM 2 from Firaxis Games is arguably genre-defining. After aliens take over the Earth, a resistance group of the XCOM forces must strike back against their tyrannical rule. The core isometric, cover-based, and turn-based shooter combat is present in full effect, alongside plenty of quality-of-life improvements and additions to make this the most immersive XCOM game yet. Squad management, rewarding upgrades, challenging on-field combat and much more offers a level of strategy that few other games in the genre dare offer.

3) Sid Meier's Civilization V


Become the ruler of the world by establishing and leading a civilization from the dawn of man into the space age. Players will have to wage war, conduct diplomacy, discover new technologies, go head-to-head with some of history’s greatest leaders, and build the most powerful empire the world has ever known. Yet another Firaxis title, 2012's Civilization V is arguably the best entry in Sid Meier's legendary 4X strategy franchise. It encapsulates everything great about the series and polishes them to a fine sheen, ranging from tactical resource management for healthy growth of players' civilizations to careful interactions with other nations' leaders.

4) The Banner Saga


The indie scene is certainly no slouch when it comes to mermerizing strategy games, and The Banner Saga is no exception. Stoic Studio's 2014 isometric RPG is an epic role-playing Viking saga where players' strategic choices directly affect their personal journey. Make allies during travels with a caravan across this stunning yet harsh landscape. Carefully choose those who will help fight a new threat that jeopardizes an entire civilization, especially thanks to its challenging grid-based and turn-based battles. Every decision made in travel, conversation, and combat has a meaningful effect on the outcome as your story unfolds as well, ensuring that no playthrough is the same.

5) Into the Breach


A unique combination of turn-based strategy and tower-defense, Into The Breach is perhaps the most innovative game on this sub-list. Developed by Subset Games of FTL fame, players command mechs in turn-based battles against insectoid monsters that have emerged from underground. The core gameplay does not just revolve around eliminating the threat, but also defending vulnerable structures that are key to powering the mechs. It results in a thrilling risk vs reward experience that focuses on thinking several steps ahead of the enemy.

Micromanage to your heart's content with these RTS (Real-time strategy) games

1) Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition


The beloved management strategy title receives an incredible overhaul with Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition. Relive historical moments through humanity as players establish communities, gather resources, and wage wars. With several civilizations to advance and grow through, each featuring its own set of challenges and objectives, AOE2 definitely has endless replay value. Add in brand new content for the remaster with updated visuals, and it is a true classic that will be remembered for years to come.

2) Desperados III


The latest offering from Mimimi Games is Desperados III, the biggest entry in the isometric Wild West RTS title. With isometric gameplay similar to Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, fans will feel right at home with the stealth and micromanagement elements as they eliminate foes in a variety of ways including exploiting rooftops, vision cones, and shadows. The game features unique characters, different gameplay scenarios, and expansive sandbox environments to cause chaos in. Overall, it is a superbly designed experience that is both complex yet intuitive.

3) They Are Billions


Set in a post-apocalyptic future overrun by zombies, the last few remnants of society are holed up in a bastion for survival. Numantian Games' offering allows players to build structures to sustain what remains of life and command units to defend against the onslaught of a sea of undead. In fact, there are literally thousands of zombies flooding the screen at once and it can become a terrifying race against time when gearing up for defense. But how did the apocalypse begin? This question is also explored in We Are Billion's campaign set across 40+ missions.

4) Total War: Warhammer II


The Total War series is renowned for its large-scale battles and 2017's Total War: Warhammer II does not disappoint. Set in the New World of the Warhammer universe, Total War: Warhammer II allows players to pick from several factions to wage massive wars to decide the fate of the world. Governing literal armies is made further intimidating by the vast campaign as well as the array of mechanics at hand, allowing players to refine their strategy as they see fit.

5) Company of Heroes 2


Released back in 2012, Company of Heroes 2 is Relic Entertainment's last World War 2 themed RTS. It depicts the Eastern Front and features events revolving around the Soviets as a playable faction. While the (admittedly controversial) campaign is a neat introduction to the game's mechanics, the PvE and PvE multiplayer battles are the meat of the game. With battles set as Axis vs Allies, players command various units, ranging from infantry that captures territory and fights enemy soldiers to heavy tanks and support units to fend off opposing waves. It captures the chaos of war, despite its arcade-like nature in a fashion that is hard to put down once it clicks.

If you like taking time to think through and plan your strategy and tactics, we’re happy to introduce you to Full Tactical Pause ⏸️ in #CoH3. Play at your own pace by pressing the space bar to enable a full tactical pause at any time!

With Company of Heroes 3 set for release later this year, fans finally have something new to look forward to.

This article reflects the personal views of the author.

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Edited by Atul S
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