The 7 Best Turn-Based Strategy Games To Play In 2021

Turn based strategy games

If you’ve been the victim of one too many headshots from a sniper that you never saw and are ready to leave the world of first-person shooters behind, then I happen to have the genre for you – turn-based strategy games. Turn-based strategy games replace the twitch reflexes needed for an FPS with a more cerebral challenge, giving you time to formulate and execute your plan of attack. Whether it’s squad-based action or total world domination you’re after, our list of the best turn-based strategy games will give every armchair general a run for their money.

7 – Invisible, Inc.

  • Release Date: May 12, 2015
  • Developer: Klei Entertainment
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

It’s all about the sneaky sneak in Invisible, Inc. With only 72 hours before the battery backup on your omniscient AI dies, you must not only recover from the devastating attack on your secret HQ but also breach and pilfer enemy compounds to procure the goods needed to perform a counterattack on your enemy’s HQ. With plenty of roguelike elements and procedurally generated maps, each replay of Invisible, Inc. will be filled with new challenges and ways to overcome them.

6 – Gears Tactics

  • Release Date: April 28, 2020
  • Developer: The Coalition
  • Platform(s): PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

The Gears of War franchise has always featured a slower-paced third-person cover shooter experience. With Gears Tactics, developer The Coalition takes it even slower by switching to turn-based combat while still giving you the same gore and guts you have come to expect out of a Gears game.

5 – Total War: Three Kingdoms

  • Release Date: May 23, 2019
  • Developer: Creative Assembly
  • Platform(s): PC

The Total War series may attract lots of gamers with its real-time battles, but Total War: Three Kingdoms requires just as much strategy off the battlefield as it does on it. Starting with a single faction, it will take all of your wit, cunning, and possibly a few assassinations if you plan to unite all of China under your rule. Or, if you prefer a more fantasy setting, be sure to check out Total War: Warhammer 2 for a more monster and magic-filled world.

4 – Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden

  • Release Date: December 4, 2018
  • Developer: The Bearded Ladies
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Tell me if you’ve heard this one – a mutant duck, warthog, and cyborg walk into a bar…

Taking the exact opposite approach found in Total War: Three Kingdoms, Mutant Year Zero has real-time exploration followed by turn-based battles. It’ll take strategic use of cover and height, along with a few mutant powers, to gain control of the battlefield if you want to survive the perils of the Zone as you search for Eden, a mythical land where humanity could start anew.

3 – BattleTech

  • Release Date: April 24, 2018
  • Developer: Harebrained Schemes
  • Platform(s): PC

Unlike the MechWarrior line of games that drop you into the cockpit of an 80-ton robot and send you onto the battlefield in first-person combat, BattleTech takes a more grassroots tabletop approach to mech warfare. You aren’t just a pilot in BattleTech, you are the leader of a mercenary company. That means you not only have to worry about winning a fight, but you also have to keep the lights on in the process.

2 – Civilization VI

  • Release Date: October 21, 2016
  • Developer: Firaxis Games
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch

Sid Meier graced us with the original Civilization all the way back in 1991. The latest in the 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) strategy series, Civilization VI, has been keeping armchair emperors busy since 2016. Just like how the civilizations you’ll rule in-game evolve through the ages, Civ6 and its multiple expansions make the original game look like it was from the stone age, and has expanded from its humble PC beginnings to all modern consoles.

1 – XCom 2

  • Release Date: February 5, 2016
  • Developer: Firaxis Games
  • Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

XCom 2 is one of those games that got everything right. Off the battlefield, XCom 2 has a solid base-building component where your utilization of the limited resources at hand truly impacts your preparedness for battle. And when it comes to the squad-based fights, XCom 2 brings the goods. XCom 2 rewards thoughtful, cautious exploration of the battlefield but also forces your hand by adding a countdown timer at just the right moment to ensure that you’re never perfectly set up for the impending battle.

Written by
Old enough to have played retro games when they were still cutting edge, Mitch has been a gamer since the 70s. As his game-fu fades (did he ever really have any?), it is replaced with ever-stronger, and stranger, opinions. If that isn't the perfect recipe for a game reviewer, what is?

1 Comment

  1. Nice list, one that can never miss is Battle Brothers. While, from 2021 releases i will add Field Of Glory II Medieval and Gem Wizards Tactics and one that can never miss is Battle Brothers.

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