Strategy games come with a rich history, one that’s filled with a number of long-running series that have stood the test of time. However, for every longstanding series, there’s a new contender looking to throw its hat in the race and offer players a new experience.
Here, we’ve highlighted the best strategy games to play in 2019, with an emphasis on recent releases. We’ll be updating this list in the future, so make sure to check back. Lastly, if you’d like more gaming recommendations, consider reading through our other curated lists:
- Best Upcoming Games of 2019
- Best PC Games
- Best Nintendo Switch Games
- Best PS4 Games
- Best Xbox One Games
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the latest entry in Nintendo’s long-running fantasy strategy-RPG series. In it, players take on the role of a professor at a prestigious academy located in the heart of Fódlan, a massive continent comprised of three rivaling nations.
After swearing allegiance to one of three factions–the Black Eagles, the Blue Lions, or the Golden Deer, players begin training students out in the field while also managing their daily activities and interactions. In many ways, the game harkens back to the series’ roots, with weapon durability, permadeath, and combat arts making a return alongside updated visuals.
SteamWorld Quest (Switch, PC)
SteamWorld Quest is card-strategy RPG developed and published by Swedish developer Image & Form, best known for the SteamWorld series, with Quest taking place in the same universe. The game has you guiding a party of courageous heroes through a hand-drawn world where you’ll encounter fierce enemies and make startling discoveries.
Along the way, you’ll build a deck from over 100 unique cards that can be used to deal damage, perform spells, and affect the flow of battle. The turn-based game wonderfully blends Image & Form’s staple steampunk aesthetic with traditional fantasy elements, making it stand out visually.
Jupiter Hell (PC)
Developed by ChaosForge, Jupiter Hell harkens back to classic ’90s shooters while incorporating turn-based strategy and Roguelike mechanics. Set on Jupiter’s moons, the game sees you as a stranded space marine tasked with defeating droves of demonic enemies.
Each run sees you blasting your way through a variety of procedurally-generated military space bases and mining colonies brimming with demons and useful gear. Although the game is more action-focused than most strategy titles, enemies only move or attack when you do, giving you the option to stop and carefully plan your next move.
Phoenix Point (Xbox One, PC)
Phoenix Point is a turn-based tactics game developed by Snapshot Games, creator of X-COM, which the game is a spiritual successor to. Set in the future during the year 2047, it sees the human race on the brink of extinction following an alien invasion on Earth.
Players are tasked with defending military bases as hordes of aliens approach from every angle. While a majority of battles see you engaging in small skirmishes with the enemy, giant bosses can also appear, posing a much greater threat and often complicating your original strategy.
Wargroove (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Wargroove is a turn-based tactics game developed and published by Chucklefish that heavily draws inspiration from the Advance Wars series. The 2D game takes place in a fantasy setting and sees players taking control of one of thirteen unique commanders, each with their own campaign, motivations, and personality.
Every commander also has a special move called a “Groove”, which can be activated when a meter is completely filled. Every Groove is unique and alters the battlefield in different ways, making for some interesting battles. Aside from a campaign mode, the game features the ability to craft custom maps, cutscenes, and scenarios using an in-game editor.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is the latest entry in the long-running tactical RPG series developed and published by Sega. It’s played in the same style as the first two games while introducing some new features. Among these is a new soldier class known as the Grenadier, who can fire mortar rounds at enemies.
Additionally, the game introduces a new system called “Brave” which, when triggered, allows players to either restore one Command Point and increase the ability of a nearby ally, or restore Action Points to that unit and allow it to move and attack once in an invincible state.
Into the Breach (Switch, PC)
Into the Breach is a strategy game developed and published by Subset Games, and the second title to come from the studio, their first being 2012’s FTL: Faster Than Light. The game is set in a far future where humanity is fighting against an army of monsters known collectively as the Vek.
Gameplay has you engaging in turn-based battles through the use of soldier-operated mechs that can be equipped with a variety of weapons and armor. Similar to FTL, the game is split up into sequences that take place across a number of islands, each with their own procedurally-generated mission scenarios.
Slay the Spire (PS4, Switch, PC)
Slay the Spire is a Roguelike card-strategy game developed by American studio MegaCrit and published by Humble Bundle. At the beginning of each playthrough, the game has you select from one of three predetermined characters, each with their own starting conditions that affect the quantity of health, gold, and cards players begin with.
The goal of the game is to make your way through several levels of a spire, with each level having a number of potential encounters determined by a branching path and culminating in a boss battle. During each run you’ll come across campfires that allow you to heal or upgrade cards, shopkeepers that offer cards you can buy, chests with random loot, and random choice-based encounters.
XCOM 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
XCOM 2 is a turn-based tactics game and the sequel to the 2012 series reboot, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Set 20 years after the events of Enemy Unknown, it sees you controlling an army of military rebels as they defend themselves from the aliens. New for the sequel is the Avenger, a mobile base that’s used to give out commands to squad members in battles and conduct research between missions, uncovering new gadgets, weapons, and technologies.
The game also includes customization tools that allow you to rename units, tweak certain soldier personality traits, and change the appearance of guns/armor. An expansion called The War of the Chosen was released in 2017, adding new enemies, hero characters, and mission modifiers to the base game.
Civilization VI (Switch, PC)
Civilization VI stands out among its predecessors for managing to build on the best parts of Civ V without losing focus of the series’ core principles. As with other iterations, the player’s goal is to lead their fledgling civilization from an early settlement through many millennia to become a world power and achieve one of many victory conditions.
Among Civ VI’s changes is a shift in art style, resulting in leaders that appear more vibrant than in previous games, as well as the ability to “unstack” cities in order to reduce crowding on maps. The game is highly regarded for its breadth of content and deep gameplay mechanics, with its latest Gathering Storm expansion adding in-game natural disasters as a new obstacle for players to tackle.
Invisible, Inc. (PS4, PC)
Invisible, Inc. is a turn-based tactical Roguelike developed by Canadian studio Klei Entertainment. The game has you play as a remote operator for an espionage agency that has come under attack. The operator’s role is to direct agents on stealth missions, acquiring resources and support that can be used to save the agency within a limited window.
On each playthrough, players are given three days to prepare for their final mission. This is done by completing missions across the globe, retrieving information, valuables, equipment, all while factoring in time constraints. Mission details and map layouts are procedurally generated and vary each run, offering a lot of variety in terms of challenge.
Mutant Year Zero: Road To Eden (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden is a turn-based strategy game adaptation of a pen and paper Swedish RPG of the same name. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic future where most of the population has died from a nuclear war, with those who remain turning into mutants.
You take control of a small band of explorers, called Stalkers, whose members include a clever duck-man and a steadfast boar-man. Gameplay is split between real-time exploration, which allows you to scavenge for supplies and position your team for battles, and turn-based combat.
Total War: Warhammer II (PC)
Total War: Warhammer II is a turn-based, RTS game developed by Creative Assembly. Set in a tabletop Warhammer fantasy universe, the game has you choose from four distinct factions and embark on an adventure where decisions you make can either save or destroy the world.
Its content is split into two different modes, one being a turn-based open-world campaign, and the other a series of tactical real-time battles. The game features the option to create customized scenarios, as well as compete against other humans in online multiplayer. Additionally, players who own both Warhammer I and Warhammer II are granted access to the expansive Mortal Empires campaign.
Whether its PC or console, AAA or Indie, New-York born and raised Justin has a natural curiosity to seek out hidden gems and share them with other gamers. He also maintains his own YouTube channel in addition to writing and managing the social media profiles for GamingScan.