Top 23 Best Turn-Based Strategy PC Games
Take the helm of command.
Turn-based strategy games have plenty to offer for those patient enough to spend the countless hours required to learn all their little intricacies. Even though it’s often seen as a very time consuming and difficult genre to get into, it also offers some of the vastest and most complex worlds found in gaming. That’s not to say that all TBS games are good time sinks, mind you, but the ones we’re going to talk about today are definitely worth clearing your schedule for and is one of the best turn-based strategy games. Just make sure you have hundreds of hours of free time on your hands before jumping into any of these ten gems.
Best Turn-Based Strategy Games for PC
1. Galactic Civilizations III
While it’s true that Galactic Civilizations III wasn’t the best in the series right off the bat, a number of subsequent updates and improvements have since transformed the third installment into a very solid 4X turn-based strategy game for the PC and is one of the best turn-based strategy games.
2. Age of Wonders III
The long-running series came back into the spotlight back in 2014 with a third installment after more than a decade of absence. Despite the long hiatus, Age of Wonders III is a great sequel to the original two games and a must-play for veterans of the series and newcomers to the genre alike and is one of the best turn-based strategy games.
3. Endless Legend
This fantasy turn-based strategy game is a sort of love letter to the people who enjoy the gameplay of the Civilization series but aren’t necessarily all that thrilled with the historical setting. In a sense, Endless Legend did something similar to Beyond Earth by replacing the setting and leaving most of Civilization’s core mechanics intact, however, in this case the changes actually worked out for the better and is now one of the best turn-based strategy games.
4. Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria
While not as well-known nowadays, Steve Fawkner’s Warlords was at one point one of the most popular turn-based strategy franchises, with the fourth installment arguably being the pinnacle of the series. Unfortunately, Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria also marked the end of the series as we knew it, as Fawkner eventually decided to move away from TBS games in order to focus on other projects but still it’s one of the best turn-based strategy games.
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery and that is definitely true in the case of Xenonauts. The game is considered by many to be the best re-imagining of the original X-COM and manages to give even the highly praised XCOM: Enemy Unknown a run for its money. Despite the similarities between the two franchises, however, Xenonauts is fully able to stand on its own as a very good and is one of the best turn-based strategy gaes.
6. Disciples II: Dark Prophecy
Though not many people might remember this title, Disciples II: Dark Prophecy remains a cult classic that managed to leave a lasting impression on pretty much everyone who played it. In terms of gameplay, Disciples II is highly reminiscent of the Heroes of Might & Magic series, however, the dark tone and unique art style truly set it apart from any other turn-based strategy game and it’s one of the best turn-based strategy games
7. Total War: WARHAMMER
Total War: Warhammer brings together two of the most beloved franchises and creates a mash-up that can only be described as a wet dream for any fan of strategy games. Admittedly, Total War: Warhammer combines aspects of turn-based and real-time strategy games but the overall macro management and progression systems are definitely much more akin to a traditional TBS than an RTS and is one of the best turn-based strategy games.
8. Heroes of Might & Magic III
Even though the folks over at Ubisoft did their best to recapture the magic of the older titles, none of the more recent efforts even comes close to what Heroes of Might & Might III represents for the series and the turn-based strategy genre in general. The graphics definitely look a bit dated by today’s standards but the gameplay continues to be just as good as it was back in 1999.
9. Valkyria Chronicles
The PS3 classic was ported to the PC early in 2017 and is one of the all-time great strategy games of all time. A mix of tactical role-playing and turn-based strategy, Valkyria Chronicles features a heart-string pulling story, charming characters, deep strategy, and some of the most unique and beautiful art style’s in any game to-date.
10. XCOM 2
Back in 2012, Firaxis managed to surpass all expectations by successfully reviving one of the best turn-based strategy series of all time. But even though XCOM: Enemy Unknown was an incredible game, earlier this year the company found even more ways to improve upon the tried and true formula by adding a lot more customization options, mod support, and extremely difficult alien encounters that only the most skilled of PC gamers can hope to survive, let alone best with a perfect mission score and it’s one of the best turn-based strategy games.
11. Blood Bowl 2
While it may have its flaws, Blood Bowl 2 is a game with a passionate following that is certainly a change of pace of many of the historical themed turn-based games on the list if you’re looking for something different.
12. Frozen Synapse
Frozen Synapse is another unique change of pace turn-based strategy game that allows players to carefully plan all of their moves at once, and then see how everything plays out versus the opponents over a striking blue “frozen” backdrop. It features a distinct cyberpunk storyline which again, is different than most of the historical games you’ll find on this list.
13. Sid Meier’s Civilization IV
While Civ V and VI made the series more streamlined, accessible, and visually appealing, Civilization IV remains one of the deepest and most complicated games in the Civ series for those looking for a challenge with lots of factors to consider.
14. Total War: SHOGUN 2
Critically acclaimed and widely regarded as one of the best Total War games of all time (and there are plenty) Total War: SHOGUN 2 is a must play for fans of the series or those interested in feudal Japanese history and warfare.
15. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
The most recent entry in the long running classic turn-based strategy games, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI improves greatly on the shortcomings of V (improved diplomacy and army movements), while retaining the visual upgrades and streamlining achievements that V made.
16. Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri might be old and a bit dated, but it’s regarded as one of the greatest turn-based strategy games of all-time for a reason. It took the Civilization games into the stars and far future, and gave players new science focused achievements to consider and a dramatically different setting and plot to play through.
17. Steamworld Heist
One of the most popular indie franchises ever also happens to be one of the better turn-based strategy games in recent years. Steamworld Heist combines classical TBS gameplay with a little bit more action with the ability to aim/control shots and attacks.
18. Divinity Original Sin 2
Although stretching things into the realm of RPGs a little, Divinity Original Sin 2 has all of the deep strategy that fans of the genre could ask for in a turn-based RPG setting. Plus you can reap the benefits of everything else that is awesome about Divinity Original Sin 2 such as its hundreds of hours of quests to complete (with varying ways to complete them) and the creative Game Master mode.
19. Endless Space 2
There’s plenty of high fantasy abound on this list. If you’re looking for something more sci-fi, Endless Space 2 is a great place to start. It’s a traditional 4X TBS that allows players to take control of a would-be empire and expand its reach through space exploration, researching technological upgrades, and through diplomacy with other rival empires.
20. Total War: WARHAMMER II
Total Warhammer 2, among our picks for the best PC games of 2017, is the follow up to the excellent spin-off game. It contains all of the RTS-TBS hybrid gameplay fans of the long running Total War games are used to plus it adds a deep, plot-driven campaign and new controllable factions.
Armello is a healthy mix of table-top style strategy, turn-based games, and RPGs, and is one of the better recent games to come out for PC in the genre. Armello features rival animal clans fighting for a crown. Keep in mind that like other table-top style games, dice and playing cards factor heavily into Armello’s gameplay.
22. Atlas Reactor
If you’re looking for a free-to-play TBS game, Atlas Reactor is another newer game that is worth picking up. Gameplay is split up into two phases: Decision Mode, where you coordinate and plan out your tactics, and then a more complex Resolution mode, where your actions play out over a few distinct phases. Critics have been kind, and it should please fans of XCOM that are looking for a competitive punch.
23. For the King
Looking for something a little more quirky, indie and crowdfunded? Give For the King a shot. For the King is a beautiful turn-based strategy game with rogue-like elements that features online co-op, a dynamic weather and event system, and weapon system that rewards proficiency and punishes lack of skill.