Top Strategy Games of All Time

Strategy games are the Great British Bake Off of the video game world. You need a modicum of intelligence and the ability to think ahead in order to perform to the highest level. You don't think Mary Berry simply bungs a load of eggs, butter, flour and sugar into a bowl and a beautifully decorated Prinsesstårta cake suddenly appears. No chance. The key to creating this wonderful Swedish layer cake is to plan ahead.

Many a strategy game begin with base building, but you need to know your build order to ensure your time on is used efficiently so not to give your opponents the upper hand. This process can take hours to master, often with the aid of a trusted notepad which lists in exact detail the order in which moves should be made.

Command & Conquer and StarCraft II are fine examples of where build orders are important, but even the likes of Total War and Civilization rely to a degree on making sure things are done in an order which works for your style of play.

So here are VideoGamer's Top Strategy Games of All Time.

Show me the best
games on
  • 30.

    Octodad: Dadliest Catch

    A rewarding, idiosyncratic romp imbued with nonsense, humour, and pathos. Although less convincing than a trenchcoated, bowler-hatted, fake-mustachioed comic strip schoolboy standing on a chum's shoulders, no one but the... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PS4, PC

  • 29.


    Calculords takes the turn-based card game and makes it its own. Many a time when I've been lying in bed, waiting for my body to enter a state of slumber, I often think to myself: 'Why isn't there a turn-based card game that... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: iPhone

  • 28.

    XCOM 2

    Vive la résistance! Is XCOM 2 good on consoles? XCOM 2: The Ballad of Warlord Kelly Some of the added mechanics in XCOM 2 mean Commander Alice get's heavily invested in her rag-tag team of guerrilla resistance fighters,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

  • 27.

    The Sims 2

    The Sims 2 is worth getting ahold of under any circumstances - though it's far more likely to get ahold of you somehow. And I warn you: it won't let go. People insist on telling me that The Sims was the most unpredictable... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC, Cube, PS2, Xbox

  • 26.

    Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising

    Advance Wars 2 is one of the greatest turn-based-strategy games ever made. If you own a GBA you really should own this game Advance Wars 2, the sequel to the excellent Advance Wars improves on its forerunner in almost every... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: GBA

  • 25.

    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

    So in conclusion, Dawn of War is a great game. Players who just wish to play single player should approach with caution, whereas online gamers should lap up this excellent title Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, known throughout... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 24.

    Rome: Total War

    A glorious balance of turn-based management and real-time combat. As good as historical RTS gets. With the second series of Time Commanders in full swing at the time of writing, now seems like an opportune moment to publish... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 23.

    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Winter Assault

    Genuine gaming additions such as the new tech-trees ensure that Winter Assault is just as essential an online experience as the original DoW. Winter Assault is not an expansion pack. That is to say, those gamers that own... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 22.

    Civilization IV

    An exceptional game that will keep megalomaniacs off the streets for months to come. Civilization IV showcases the very best that the turn-based strategy genre has to offer. War, huh? What is it good for? Well, winning games... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 21.

    Advance Wars: Dual Strike

    A mind-bogglingly addictive strategy game you can carry with you. Does life get any better than this? Think 'Nintendo'. Think 'handheld console'. Think 'sophisticated wargame'. Wait a second, there. It's not such a smooth... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: DS

  • 20.

    DEFCON: Global Thermonuclear War

    If you love strategy games or simply like interesting gaming experiences, this is for you. So, here's to Global Thermonuclear war. Who knew it would be so much fun? DEFCON was always going to be an easy sell for Introversion.... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 19.

    Company of Heroes

    Company of Heroes doesn't so much raise the bar for RTS games, but twists it into knots and blasts it into orbit. Company of Heroes is a game that I've had marked down as "a bit special" since I got to play the preview code... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 18.

    Supreme Commander

    With incredibly inventive mission objectives, a spectacular sense of scale and an overall feeling of strategy that puts other real-time strategies to shame, Supreme Commander is a classic. This one has been top of many people's... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 17.

    Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars

    Whether you're an obsessive fan or a newcomer making your first tentative steps into the RTS genre, Command & Conquer 3 should be in your collection. Few games hold as many fond memories as the Command & Conquer series but... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 16.

    World in Conflict

    Experts will tear through World In Conflict's campaign quickly enough, but it's just the starter, whetting the palette for the main course, a hugely engaging multiplayer extravaganza. Ever wondered what would have happened... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 15.

    Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions

    It might not have the best in-game graphics we've ever seen on the handheld, or the best multiplayer options, but few games have as much charm and tactical depth. First things first, Final Fantasy Tactics isn't for everyone.... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PSP

  • 14.

    Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization

    It's all a bit hectic, and at times it may all feel a bit much to handle - but then that's the challenge, isn't it? Some video games are all about quick, visceral pleasures: head-shotting an enemy from halfway across the... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 13.

    Empire: Total War

    Empire is without doubt or reservation the best Total War yet and is a game of unmatched scope and ambition, with its uniquely compulsive blend of turn-based strategy and real-time tactics. Preconception is probably the greatest... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 12.

    World in Conflict: Complete Edition

    If you've never sampled the wonder that is calling a nuclear strike down on your enemy in World in Conflict, then this Director's Cut is unequivocally worth forking out your hard-earned cash for. On the back of the World... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 11.

    Plants vs. Zombies

    With 50 levels, numerous unlockable modes that extend the lifespan significantly, stupidly addictive gameplay and fun-infused presentation you'd be a fool to pass up Plants Vs Zombies. It's not often a game completely exceeds... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 10.

    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising

    There's little wrong with Chaos Rising. In almost all respects, it's a better game than Chaos Rising, and from a campaign perspective, the best since Warcraft III. It is a problem that has befuddled RTS developers for years:... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 9.

    Might & Magic Clash of Heroes

    The combat system is almost flawless. Bar the odd insane difficulty spike, even the dreaded grind is pleasurable. It attains that holy grail of game design: easy to learn, but hard to master. Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes,... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: DS

  • 8.

    Plants vs. Zombies

    The basic gameplay isn't exactly original, but it's been executed so well on the Xbox 360 that it absolutely needs to be in your collection. PopCap Games should be a household name for gamers. If you haven't played Peggle... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360

  • 7.

    Civilization V

    Civilization V is the most playable Civilization game to date. Yesterday it got so bad I played Civilization V while eating breakfast and dinner; I swapped lunch for a few snacks so I could spend more time defending my western... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 6.

    Total War: Shogun 2

    Shogun 2 is a worthy successor to the original and shows that Creative Assembly has no desire to stop making great strategy games. The land of the rising sun holds a strange sort of fascination for westerners, more so than... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 5.

    XCOM: Enemy Unknown

    XCOM works best as a panic management simulator. To get the most enjoyment from XCOM: Enemy Unknown, name your squad. Whether you opt for philosophers, authors, members of your favourite band, or even your Twitter pals, it's... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

  • 4.

    StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

    A solo campaign that knocks the socks off the one from Wings of Liberty and a refined multiplayer mode are marred slightly by a reliance on the original game. In an era in which additional content can take so many different... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 3.

    Card Hunter

    Card Hunter is excellent. Card Hunter is a browser-based free-to-play game which surprisingly isn't total rubbish. After you've finished reeling, here's another shock: Card Hunter is excellent. Strategy card games are in... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC

  • 2.

    XCOM: Enemy Within

    One of the best games of 2012 is back, and it might be the best game of 2013. Enemy Unknown's replay value wasn't evident until you started playing Iron Man, a mode which would cruelly wipe you out and force you to start... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

  • 1.

    StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

    StarCraft II can be daunting, distressing and demanding but it's one of the richest and most expertly produced video games of recent years. When we left off, in 1998, the insectoid Zerg had just betrayed the technologically-advanced... more

    Reviewed on:   Platforms: PC