Strategy (both real-time and turn-based) is one of the most popular genre out there, as a lot of people just prefer being a tactician over waddling around in the midst of battle. Here are some of the best strategy games ever made.

10 – Faster Than Light

Ship to ship combat in FTL

A real-time strategy space ship simulator with roguelike elements, FTL would satisfy your thirst for the final frontier as you do your best Captain Kirk impression. In this game, you would control a spaceship on the run, with a hostile fleet on its tail. You would have to assign your crew to man the systems, fire your arsenals, repair systems and hull breaches, and fight against boarders. Your experience would vary wildly for each playthrough, as the events are random, and the ship's type, crew, and layout you pick would affect your run with unforeseen consequences. As you are under pursuit, you would have to juggle between continue exploring for resources and running away.

9 – Warcraft 3

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Orc vs Human in Warcraft 3 Reforged

The final game of the real-time strategy fantasy franchise Warcraft before everything from it was swallowed by its MMO version. The best part of Warcraft is probably its campaign – with amazing storytelling and creative map designs. Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne’s campaigns describe an epic struggle of various races against the forces of darkness that are trying to destroy Azeroth. While the core game of Warcraft 3 never matched Starcraft as an Esports, it's custom map scene did… and more. Amongst those maps is a custom game called Defense of the Ancients, which eventually given life to one of the biggest genre-defining games. Blizzard is currently remastering Warcraft 3.

8 – Age of Empires 2

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The Definitive version of AOE 2 looks really good

A classic in the genre, Age of Empires 2 has perfected the first game’s formula. In this game, you would take control of civilization, gather resources and build an army to conquer others. There are options to play the game both in single and multi – combine that with the number of maps, campaign and custom maps support, the replayability of this game is pretty much endless. The developer still releases new content and balance changes very frequently to keep the multiplayer’s meta fresh.

7 – Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2

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Hero units would be a big part in Dawn of War 2' s combat

It is still unclear if Dawn of War 2’s approach to the combat of the 40k universe is better or worse than its predecessor, however, the game is definitely amongst the top RTS ever made. The gameplay in DoW 2 revolves around hero units and their elite squads, similar to Warcraft 3’s focus on heroes. It is vastly different from the first game, as you can’t just Zerg rush your way through everything. To beat the campaign, you would have to navigate and solve each individual levels with unique enemy placements. The multiplayer of the game isn’t nearly as good as the first one, however, it is still playable.

6 – Crusader Kings II

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Strive to unite all the territories in Europe

A completely opposite experience to other RTS games, there is little to none combat in Paradox’s political intrigue simulator. In Crusader Kings 2, you would be given control of a bloodline – your job is to use everything from political marriage to denounce or even assassination to get your heir inside the royal family and eventually become the king or even emperor. This game is a highly unique experience – it is based on real life. The way the story is told more or less shows you that it is not armies or flags or nations who shaped history. They are shaped by exceptional people. No two campaigns are the same, and with the modding system, replayability is pretty much endless.

5 – Company of Heroes

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Relive the most accurate depiction of World War 2

This game has managed to capture the brutal aspects of the war with some of the most innovative methods of the time. They were amongst the first to remove resource collection, as you would gain various resources by combat and capture points. The cover system added yet another depth to the game, as you have to either work with existing covers or build one for your army to actually function. The armies are mostly symmetrical, however, there are subtle differences that make every faction unique to each other.

4 - Rome: Total War

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Real-time combat in Total War Rome

The most iconic Total War game – it marks the full transition of the series to 3D along with the gradual increase in complexity. The simple and compelling image of one of the most interesting eras in history was rebuilt very faithfully. The gameplay was a hybrid between turn-based and real-time – it would switch back as soon as any combat happens. Rome is also pretty good if you want to learn more about history.

3 – XCOM 2

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XCOM 2's refined tactical fights

XCOM 2 is the latest game in the XCOM reboot franchise, and it is definitely amongst the best reboots in the genre for the last few years. The turn-based combat of the game is deep and impactful, with a great many factors that you would have to take into consideration. While the tactical base layer is rather bare-bones and could use some work, it can more or less be fixed by a series of mods called The Long War. XCOM 2 has taken every great aspect from the first game and expanded on it – the classes are actually distinctively unique with their own skill trees now.

2 – Civilization V

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Civilization 5's core gameplay involves turn-based combat

The best Civilization game ever made – CIV 5 even outshined its newly released sequel. In this game, you would take control of civilization from the beginning of everything to the space age. Become the leader of the world by either peaceful or warlike means. You would get to compete for face to face with some of the most famous leaders of the ancient world in a game of “4X”: explore, expand, exploit and exterminate.

1 – StarCraft: Brood War

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Starcraft is amongst the biggest Esports title of all time

After all these years, no other game of the same genre has been able to surpass Blizzard’s epic sci-fi RTS. The masterfully crafted balance between the three races of the game is pretty much the epitome of video game balancing. Along with Counter-Strike, the game has shown the world that Esports is profitable – it has definitely paved the way for various later products. The campaign also included some of the best writings in video games as well.