Turn-based strategy games are one gaming genre that scares many players away due to their sheer complexity. That’s right, the intellectually thought-provoking games come with a lot to chew on. That’s why, when looking for a game to start with, it can be a little overwhelming considering the many aspects at play. However, once you’ve mastered the basics, turn-based strategy games can be among the most enjoyable and time-consuming of all genres.
That’s why if you’re more eager than ever to take the plunge, these are the five best turn-based strategy games, we’d recommend to beginners. That’s not to say their strategy elements aren’t still perplexing, but their in-game controls are a bit more straightforward than others. Making them simple to pick up and easy to sink into. So you don’t have to pull your hair out trying to figure out which command to give, and when to give it. Instead, you can rely on these turn-based strategy games to show you the ropes, so you’ll be dominating the battlefield in no time.
5. Total War: Three Kingdoms
The Total War series is the most prominent name when it comes to turn-based strategy games. And it can be overwhelming when you take a glance at the series long roster of spin-offs that take the battle to different time periods. However, one of the best titles in the series, Total War: Three Kingdoms is a good place to start. This game is set in Ancient China, and the three kingdoms, one of which you control, are competing to be the new ruling power of the land.
The Total War: Three Kingdoms storyline will show you the ins and outs of its turn-based combat. It will also teach you the fundamentals of the game’s strategy to assist you in making strategic decisions. It’s a painfully long tutorial, but it’ll get you started on the right foot. Plus, it doesn’t bite off everything at once, only the essentials. Then, as you progress through the plot, you’ll discover new strategies to siege and conquer. So you can start unraveling its gameplay mechanics gradually.
4. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is another well-known name in the turn-based strategy genre. This entry, which resurrected the series in the modern era, was named strategy game of the year in 2012. As a result, it’s a safe bet for those who are new to turn-based strategy games. The game places you in command of the secret paramilitary unit known as XCOM. Your battalion’s mission is to stop the alien invasion by managing resources, developing technologies, and commanding units of soldiers.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is great for beginners because, instead of large-scale battlefields with a lot at stake, the sample size for turn-based strategy is much more bite-sized. That is, you are frequently only controlling one soldier or a unit of soldiers in a smaller close-quarters combat arena. Because the tools at your disposal are more refined, the gameplay is much easier to digest. Overall, it should do an excellent job of introducing you to turn-based strategy games on a much smaller scale.
Othercide is a gothic-themed turn-based strategy game that debuted in 2020 and made a big impression in the genre. If you like the Souls series, this game is similar in terms of its dystopic setting, but instead of quickly parrying attacks, you’ll be taking your time to actively seek out the best decision utilizing your cast of characters.
Othercide sees you leading a team of “Daughters” in smaller arenas against demonic-type creatures. Again, relying on a smaller scale turn-based strategy setting. As a result, you typically only have to worry about your team of Daughters and one or two enemies.
Furthermore, Othercide is ideal for beginners because there are two difficulties to choose from. So you can learn the ropes on a low difficulty level, then put your knowledge to the test with a higher skill gap. Surely after you’ve mastered this game, you’ll be craving for more of a challenge from larger-scale turn-based strategy games.
2. The Banner Saga
The Banner Saga is a fantastic turn-based strategy game with a strong emphasis on role-playing. And it’s a great pick for beginners of the genre because its turn-based combat is a rather straightforward process. It’s a grid-based layout with basic attack options for each character. So you’re not overwhelmed with options, making the turn-based combat easy to pick up. When it comes to strategy, however, there is a catch, and it is found in the role-playing and story aspects.
You’ll meet warriors along the way who you can choose to accompany you on your journey and aid you in battle. The people you choose to help you and keep alive along the way have a direct impact on the outcome of your story. So, rather than the turn-based gameplay being strategy-heavy, the majority of the strategy is found in the outcomes of your in-game decisions.
That makes it an excellent introduction to turn-based combat with a strategic and immersive story to carry you through. What’s more, the game is a trilogy, and the outcome of your story carries over to the next two installments, creating a truly unique adventure from player to player.
1. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI
Another godfather of turn-based strategy games is the Sid Meiers Civilization series. And the pinnacle of the series for many falls on Sid Meier’s Civilization series VI. In this game, you select a civilization to build from the ground up in a rat race against other civilizations. All with the same goal in mind: to rule, conquer, and have the most prosperous empire on earth.
So, will you concentrate on the military, technology, or science? Which political party will be in charge of your civilization? The goal of the game is to build a civilization from the ground up, building and burning bridges along the way. Sid Meier’s Civilization VI can be overwhelming at times, but it does an excellent job of introducing new players to the game. It’s also great for beginners because it prepares you for larger turn-based strategy games.