17 Best Turn-Based Strategy Games Worth Playing in 2017

Bring out the strategic genius in you through these games…
Bring out the strategic genius in you through these games…

The Best Turn Based Strategy Games To Play Right Now

turn-based strategy (TBS) games are sometimes considered as being too slow compared to its RTS counterpart. While they are slower, they are very far from being boring.

In reality, turn-based strategy are closer to chess than to other games with strategic elements, requiring patience and foresight. They are never about rash and mindless action and force players to plan how best to defeat their foes. 

Turn-based strategy games have been around for some time and they have cemented themselves in the modern gaming industry as a pillar genre. Many developers are turning to making Turn Based Strategy games due to its knack to draw in players and challenge them.

Built around epic stories, players are forced to survive in a world , through their decisions and choices. In fact, the choices players make in these games are far greater and profound than those found in AAA RPG games.

1. Divinity: Original Sin 2

Divinity: Original Sin 2 Gameplay Preview

When Bishop Alexander The Innocent declares that all sorcerers are evil, its is up to you and your fellow sorcerers to team up and defeat him.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 has a high bar that it must meet, and fortunately, it has lived up to expectations. The introduction of turn-based combat was an instant hit with fans, giving a greater meaning to otherwise mundane player actions.

Players can choose between 5 races: Human, Elf, Dwarves, Undead and Lizard. They can also choose between various origin stories for their character.

The combat has been balanced with small tweaks that allow players to further use their environments to their advantage. Similar to the previous installment, each character has a fixed number of action points that can be spent on moves, attacks and spells. This allows for a more decisive and controlled gameplay that allows players manipulate their characters into realizing the true extent of their abilities.

A world where even battles require thinking ahead.

2. Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

Civilization VI: GAMEPLAY

Every Civilization game has brought something new to the table and Civ 6 is widely accepted as the best one yet. This empire building game is more addictive and engrossing than previous entries and promises hundreds of hours of exciting gameplay. Just like previous entries, the art style is colorful and vibrant, giving the player a sense of exploration with its cartography-inspired look.

It has everything, from espionage, religion, law, trade and famous personalities. The depth of Civilization VI can be a little intimidating but extremely fun when you get the hang of it.  

Unlike previous installments, Civ 6 doubles down on the certain city-building features while increasing the variety in customization options. This gives players everything they need to build their own empires in any way they see fit.

If you are looking for a great turn-based strategy game, then Civ VI is one of the greatest to come out in recent memory.

Experience the game that first brought life to the genre.

3. Darkest Dungeon

Let's Play Darkest Dungeon - Episode 1

In Darkest Dungeon, players will find themselves leading a band of mercenaries to defeat evil forces that threaten their very existence. This refreshingly new take on the dungeon-crawling formula presented in Darkest Dungeon came as a great surprise. This 2D turn-based game is made of two parts: exploration and combat.

The further you are pulled into the game, the more demanding and dark it gets. Your team of explorers and warriors will be put in a myriad of impossible situations, that could cost you your squad of worse, their sanity.

The dungeons are entirely randomized, forcing players to be on their toes the entire time. That, along with the difficulty spikes may seem to be too much for a player to handle, but it only gets better as you get used to it. The turn order is also completely randomized, further increasing the difficulty while at the same time, can produce amazing moments. When you are not exploring dungeons you can let your characters let off steam by praying, sleeping or other mundane activities, while at the same time removing potentially harmful perks gained while adventuring.

Darkest Dungeon is definitely a must-play for hardcore gamers, with its foreboding hand-drawn art style and depressing but entertaining gameplay.

Hopefully, you won’t get attached to your friends, you won’t be with them for long in Darkest Dungeon.

4. Thea: The Awakening

Thea: The Awakening - First Impression Review

Though many may call it a Civilization clone, Thea: The Awakening is much more than that. Instead of focusing on exploration and expansion, Thea is mainly about survival. Based on Slavic mythology, you are a fallen god embodying the villagers of a struggling town. By using the town and its inhabitants, your mission is to regain your power and dispel the darkness that’s spreading around Thea.

In some aspects, Thea does feel like a CIV game. You are surrounded by fog that hides resources and opportunities, while at the same time may have threats. The combat and other interactions are tackled using a card battling system designed specifically for the game. This is what makes it stand out as the card system is a little complicated and requires all of your attention and patience. Each card is a character from your village with unique skills and attributes.

The permadeath feature also forces you carefully evaluate and strategize every encounter. In a game that is centered around survival, your actions and mistakes will be judged with a heavy hand. Further stressing on the fact that Thea: The Awakening is a game that deserves your attention.

Play a god in his rise back to divinity and omnipotence.

5. Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2 [Early Access] - Let's Play

A game still in early access, Endless Space 2 definitely promises to live up to its predecessor. Endless Space 2 is a 4X turn-based strategy, referring to 4 principles that this genre is built around: explore, exploit, expand and exterminate. This game doesn’t get too serious on the details and instead, is all about the macro-management of your growing empire. This provides for some smooth and streamline gameplay, that is easy to learn and master.

You can take control one out of the six available factions, which might not be a lot but has an impressive level of diversity. For instance, the United Empire is a powerhouse intent on universal domination, The Vodyani require the life essence of other beings to survive, The Lumeris are a people dependent on trade while The Sophons are intellectually motivated, The Cravers and The Horatio are the most intriguing, the former being an insectoid hive-race that devour everything and the latter being a population of the clones of one man.

The sheer variety of the faction types alone is enough to entrap anyone in this mysterious universe. Endless Space 2 is full of novel ideas and features that are simple but elegant and addictive.

A novel look at the possibilities of interstellar travel.

6.  XCOM 2

Official XCOM 2 E3 2015 Gameplay

It’s been almost 20 years since the end of the war. Mankind has fallen and has remained in the shadows for far too long while the aliens reign supreme. XCOM 2 brings a unique sense of dread and desperation as you are no longer fighting to protect, this time you are fighting to take back your planet from the extraterrestrial invaders.

You are given control of a customizable six man squad and put in increasingly difficult scenarios, and the only weapon that’ll decide the outcome of these scenarios is your ability to anticipate and out-think your foe.

Mankind is out-manned and out-gunned in every way. The scenarios that the players will face are intense and will require thinking and gambling. This is the highlight of the game. Are you prepared to gamble the safety of a character who you have grown so close to for an advantage or are you prepared to risk the entire mission in favor of your squad?. The stakes feel very real and are as high as they can get. XCOM 2 is a game that delivers pulse-racing and action-packed turn-based experience, and is a must play for fans of this genre.

In XCOM 2, a single bullet can literally decide the fate of your squad.


7. The Banner Saga 2

Let's Play The Banner Saga 2 Gameplay

Banner Saga 2 is a beautiful game that puts you in a Viking Scandinavia, filled with roving bandits and other beautiful designed characters and locations. Watching your band walk through the beautiful hand-drawn 2D world gives a certain sense of epicness and adventure. You are put in charge of this band, meaning that it’s up to you to make sure you all get through this alive. You will be presented hard decisions that will impact your overall journey.

Banner Saga does a great job easing you into the game as the decisions you face at the beginning are limited to, maybe deciding whether to let a lonely adventurer join your band and grow in magnitude to ones like deciding whether to burn a bridge down, risking the breaking of the treaty with another faction.

The combat will be familiar to turn-based strategy veterans. You are given the opportunity to choose the heroes you wish to take into battle, as you must consider everything from armor points to special features. You must also consider the careful usage of the resource called the willpower, that allows the use of attack powers and movement choices.

You won’t realized how much your ox means to you until you have to loose him in Banner Saga.

8. Age of Wonders III

Age of Wonders III: Theocrat Gameplay (GDC 2013)

AoW III brings its signature world map and tactical battle gameplay to this generation. The world of AoW is greatly detailed and filled with things to do, as expected from an AoW game. Every aspect has been polished and revamped, from city building, the RPG elements to the epic battles and exploration.

You start off by picking a hero from any of the fantasy classes like dwarves, orcs, elves, men or draconians. Even the turn-based combat has been improved upon to provide a fast and enjoyable experience. Every encounter feels fresh due to variety in the enemies and their powers along with all the huge map filled with cities and dungeons to loot. Your city based upgrades now draw from the empire pool instead of the treasury of that city. In addition, buildings take fewer turns to be completed, making rapid expansion easier to attain.

The turn-based veteran has come back to conquer out hearts and lives.

9. Blackguards 2

Blackguards 2 - Softpedia Gameplay

Unlike its predecessor, Blackguards 2 brings players back into the familiar world with a darker, grittier storyline based around a single character instead of a customizable one. Your character, Cassia of Tenos can be molded into any type of character as you want. A hero, anti-hero or a villain of your choice. There isn’t any fixed classes either and lets players craft Cassia into a hybrid of mass destruction.

Battles, this time actually have a permanent effect on the world map. You can also capture new territories, upgrade them and bolster your forces there or hire mercenaries to protect your cities. The tactical maps are highly attractive and replayable, with the added bonus of the improved hit/miss ratio, which makes almost all your attacks meet their target, unlike in the previous game.

Watch the consequences of your decisions unfold in this dark and gritty turn-based adventure.

10. Invisible, Inc.

Invisible, Inc. - Gameplay Overview

Invisible Inc. Does something different by bringing a sense of urgency to its turn-based gameplay and does it well. Though it doesn’t have much in the way of innovative gameplay, it does excel in its execution of traditional turn-based gameplay.

The game sees you controlling a team of spies, between two to four characters and puts you in a time-sensitive global heists. The gameplay is simple but can be tense and challenging.

From the very beginning you must take into account every small detail, from the subtle changes in AI behaviour to your environment. The risk of failure will continue to grow with the passage of time and a simple mistake can and will cost you your game. If you are looking for something unique and different from the usual turn-based games, Invisible Inc provides you with just that.

How good are you at commanding your own squad of spies?

11. Xenonauts

Xenonauts Gameplay (PC HD)

Xenonauts is the follow-up to X-COM that we all deserved way back in the day. This indie game started out as a re-imagining of the classic game. Every aspect of the old game, including the addictive gameplay mechanics has been improved upon to give it a sense of depth while at the same time making it appealing to newer audiences.

The world of Xenonauts works independently of the player and the results and terror of the alien invasion can be felt at every turn. You start off by placing your base on the world map and then starts the defense of mother earth.

Your mission is to destroy any UFOs that enter your airspace by sending squad of fighter jets for interception. This part plays out in a turn-based scenario where you try to outmaneuver your enemy and destroy them. The game then allows you to send a squad of soldiers to kill the survivors aliens at the wreckage. These classic aspects of the game have been revamped especially for newer audiences and the older ones. If you love the old X-COM games, then you’ll love this too.

A proof that old school games can never get old.

12. Shadowrun Returns

Shadowrun Returns Gameplay 1080p

When Monika, your teammate dies due to an overwhelming neural feedback during a telepathic hack gone wrong, something feels awfully wrong and it’s up to you to figure out what really happened and who was responsible.

Shadowrun Returns is a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid, something that we don’t see everyday. This isometric RPG brings players a short but amazing story about murder and conspiracy. This is a world inhabited by fantasy races elves, dwarves and trolls, but the refreshing take on these races comes with the setting. You are no longer in a medieval world, instead, you play in a futuristic cyberpunk setting.

The game has been designed in the style of the classic fallout games, with exploration being the main focus. The combat plays out as you would expect in any turn-based RPG and along with a complex and interesting RPG leveling system, Shadowrun Returns is worthy of your attention.

Uncover a murder conspiracy in this hybrid world of both science and fantasy.

13. Duelyst

Duelyst - Gameplay Trailer

Duelyst is a collectible card game that feels a lot like a hearthstone clone, but proves to be anything but after a few minutes of gameplay. You are a warrior out on a journey to the monolith, a mystical structure which can only be accessed for a limited time. The success of your mission is the only thing that can save your people but it won’t be easy, not with all your enemies wanting the same.

While Duelyst may come off as a simplistic card game, you’ll soon come to realize that it is full of tactical depth. The gameplay is an amazing blend of card-play and turn-based tactics. Unlike most CCG (collectible card games), The cards in your hands have physical counterparts as pieces of a board game. Any move you make will be visually represented in front of you. This allows players to read and react to situations in a more hands-on manner. Despite it borrowing certain elements from industry titans like Hearthstone, Duelyst is a visually stunning game that has a surprising sense of depth and strategy.

Placement and timing are key elements of strategy…

14. Armello

Armello - Usurpers Launch Trailer

The king has succumbed to a mysterious disease called the rot and has descended into madness. Armello sees players take control of warriors from various factions in order to take over the throne and keep the kingdom from falling into chaos.

Armello gives the players an opportunity to experience a unique virtual board game experience with cards. But has enough novelty to be fresh. Even though the gameplay can seem a little cluttered with cards, dice, boards, coins and stats, but this is easily resolved in the first moments of the game.

You are given eight playable characters to choose from, each with different skills and powers. You spend the rest of the game completing quests that permanently affect your skills. You can even activate special cards on your character or your rivals’ or even a specific tile. Armello is a game that will make all board or turn-based game fans wow and should be on the list of your must-plays.

Experience a board game epic in Armello.

15. Wasteland 2

Welcome to the Wasteland - Ep. 1 - Wasteland 2 - Let's Play

Wasteland is a game that really lives up to its name. The world has ended and there’s suffering and pain everywhere and there’s nothing you can do about it. You are part of the Desert Rangers, a group of militia who serve the people of the wasteland. Your quests and decisions will leave you in places that force you to make impossible decisions. Saving one life can kill another, saving one settlement can decimate another and the repercussions of these choices will be felt through the entire game.

This game emulates exactly what it might be to live in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, from the dangers to the emotions, you will experience everything. Morality, love and loyalty means nothing in this forbidding and dilapidated world.

You control a squad of carefully customized characters, who you can shape from the bottom up, from religion, look and skills. You can also craft their own backstories through the game.   

If you missed the old school Fallout, well, now you have wasteland.

16. Gwent

Gwent Gameplay Trailer: Gwent Trailer

Gwent is card game originally featured as a mini game in the Witcher 3, and thanks to CD Projekt Red, Fans will be playing this game far sooner than anticipated.

Who knew a mini-game from the Witcher 3 could be so addictive? So much so that some fans stated that it was, even more, fun than the RPG itself. Though still in its beta stages, the game has had a great first impression on all those who played it, and some even going as far as to name it the king of card games, dethroning Hearthstone.

The gameplay is more or less the same from the Witcher 3 with a little tweak in the design. Instead of relying on sheer luck or force, Gwent takes a more tactical and calculating approach. The game is incredibly balanced, there are no costs of mana or points to play a card as you can only play one card during a turn. Gwent is hands down the best card game to come out in recent years and deserves at least a single try from gamers of all kinds.

No more blood and monsters, sit down and enjoy a real Witcher adventure in Gwent.

17. Endless Legend

Endless Legend Gameplay - The Forgotten #1

Endless Legend is another Civilization clone, but with a lot of interesting twists and innovation. Yes, we have city building, exploration and resource management, all the usual parts of a 4X game, but it does everything so differently that it feels so new. Similar to Age of Wonders, you have heroes who you can grow into absolute powerhouses.

It also brings to players a world that is of both fantasy and technology, and this can especially be seen in the races. For example, The Vaulters are a Viking-like race who are survivors of a crashed spaceship and specialize in science, and the the Wind-walkers are elf-like, but have chosen to abandon the surreal forests to pursue a future in construction. Endless Legend does bring much in terms of innovation but the subtle twists on all the familiar features of this genre are something that is worthy of being experienced, especially if you love games like Civ or AoW.

A perfect mix of magic and technology, Endless Legend promised to be new.


Turn-based strategy games have received a bad rep for being slow, hard to master and plain.  As you’ve read above this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The variety and innovation being made in this genre is promising to draw in a newer audience. If you really want to experience something different and satisfying, then have a go at the above games and I promise you won’t regret it. If you have other games or if you’d like to share your opinions on the best turn-based games, feel free to comment below.

You may also be interested in:

21 Best Strategy Games Released in 2016 

11 Best Turn Based Strategy Games to play in 2015

10 Best Turn Based Strategy Games to Play in 2015



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