Looking for great strategy games on PC

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#1 Posted by Giant_Gamer (762 posts) -

I have bought a new PC a month ago and now since steam are having summer sales i thought that i should fell my cart with some strategy games. I'm into most of strategy games with the exception of strategy games that don't have base building like company of heroes. I'm currently planing to buy the games below:

1- Grey Goo

2- Civilization V

3- Total War: Shogun 2

4- Halo Wars

Any suggestions?

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#2 Posted by deactivated-5b6374a416885 (23 posts) -

I remember liking Star Wars Empire at War back in the day. Age of Empires 2 is another one I would recommend. Also the Command and Conquer franchise might be worth a look.

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#3 Posted by noblenerf (730 posts) -

Battletech and Total War: Warhammer 1 + 2 are a real good time. Stellaris too. There's some light base management in all of them, but nothing worse than what's in Shogun 2.

Enjoy, OP!

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#4 Posted by dgtlty (1243 posts) -

XCOM 2 with the expansion

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#5 Edited by North6 (1158 posts) -

I'd say Battletech, but you said "Base building" so...

Left field picks -

I put a decent amount of time in Thea: The Awakening. It's card battle with a Civ type (base building) metagame.

Fallen Enchantress - also Civ like metagame, with hero units. Both games probably real cheap with these sales, and I'd play more of both if there weren't a million other games. That said, I'm a big fan of people putting weird twists on the Civ genre, as I've always felt that it could use more complexity.

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#6 Posted by Giant_Gamer (762 posts) -

@michaelkennedy: Age of the empires, C&C (any entry prior to RA3) and Warcraft are a must for anyone looking for a classic realtime strategy game.

@noblenerf: i didn't know that Shogun doesn't have base building as i have never got a chance to try a total war game, should i scrap of the list and buy Warhammer instead?

I will look into Battletech and Stellairs, thanks!

@dgtlty: Thanks, XCOM games are great but i believe that they are Tactial RPG games.

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#7 Edited by Giant_Gamer (762 posts) -

@north6: Thea: The Awakening and Fallen Enchantress added, thanks! Yeah, this is why i made this thread so that when i buy something that doesn't suit my taste i won't feel bad for it.. Because i bought it on sale.

Playing a whole game where you are controlling a limited number of troops in each mission doesn't feel like a strategy game to me even some missions have bases that generate troops, the feeling remains the same.

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#8 Posted by superpow (276 posts) -

Depending on how much learning curve you can stomach, Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis are games that will take away your life.

They are grand strategy games, so you're controlling a nation over a period of centuries rather than individual units. It's not everyone's cup of tea but goddamn if I can't get enough of them.

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#9 Edited by Eroq (91 posts) -

I'm a big fan of the first Dawn of War with all of its expansions. There is base building, but the resource gathering is a little different in that you capture and build on nodes to accrue the resources. I'd say give it a shot if you're willing to try something from 2004, and are into the WH40k aesthetic.

Age of Empires II is a must play. Though, I kind of grew up on it so I'm a little biased.

edit: Oh yeah, check out Rise of Nations as well. That game was cool.

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#10 Posted by FacelessVixen (2668 posts) -
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#11 Posted by ArbitraryWater (15748 posts) -

@north6: Thea: The Awakening and Fallen Enchantress added, thanks! Yeah, this is why i made this thread so that when i buy something that doesn't suit my taste i won't feel bad for it.. Because i bought it on sale.

There's also the steam return feature if you figure out if you don't like something within two hours. Obviously, that's... kinda less useful for strategy games, but it's something to consider nonetheless if it doesn't immediately grab you. I'll also echo Fallen Enchantress as a neat dark horse pick. It had a couple of quirks that prevented me from playing it for super long, but I don't regret the time I spent with it, if that tells you anything.

Not quite sure if it's what you're looking for, but my favorite turn-based strategy game of recent memory is Age of Wonders III, which is more on the wargame-y than 4X side of things but still has a decent amount of city building and expansion aside its tactical combat. Just be warned that you'll probably learn better playing skirmishes against the AI on lower difficulties than you will trying to get through the (surprisingly tough) campaign past the tutorial mission.

I think the other thing in that vein I'd recommend is the Heroes of Might and Magic series, though I believe the only (good) one you can get on Steam instead of GOG is Heroes V. Similar fantasy wargame, tactical combat sort of thing, but with even more streamlined building than something like Age of Wonders. I could honestly recommend a few more, but I dunno how deep you want to delve into *old* stuff, which is where I feel like the vast majority of my weird strategy game knowledge comes from.

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#12 Posted by clagnaught (2140 posts) -

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is a flippin' great, in my opinion.

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#13 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4452 posts) -

Check out Endless Legend. It’s 4x strat and tactics all in one. It was a bit too much for me when i first tried it cause I didn’t have time to commit to learning all of its ins and outs, but I think it’d be great for you.

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#14 Posted by Jaqen_HGhar (1373 posts) -

@facelessvixen: Wait, there's base building in this? I grabbed it to have it last night, but if there is some sort of base building component then I'll play it sooner than I though.

@giant_gamer: It seems the good old base building RTS has gone and died for the most part, but I had some fun with the 8-Bit games a while back. There are three of them, Armies which is like C&C, Horde which is like Warcraft and Invaders! which is like Starcraft. Very simplified though, and as the name implies very blocky graphics. Still, very fun with actual base building and such.

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#15 Posted by ninnanuam (584 posts) -

I like almost all the total war games.

I probably have 100s of hours in Shogun 2.

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#19 Edited by The_Greg (548 posts) -

Is Starcraft 2 F2P any good? Been considering downloading it but I never get around to it.

I'm not a massive RTS player, so don't want anything too intense or with a steep learning curve.

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#20 Posted by superslidetail (454 posts) -

If you like old games, Total Annihilation is pretty good too.

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#21 Posted by FacelessVixen (2668 posts) -

@jaqen_hghar: None that I know of, but wanted to mention it since it's a type of strategy game that's free ninety nine until tomorrow.

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#22 Posted by MeMonk (324 posts) -

Jagged alliance 2 it is the best tactics game of all time.

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#23 Posted by Big_Denim (842 posts) -

I don't think enough people play and admire Endless Legend. It's a fantastic 4x strategy game that is still one of my go-to games. It usually gets a pretty good discount (as well as its DLC) during Steam sales too.

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#24 Edited by indure (104 posts) -

My suggestions:

If you are already thinking about getting Civ 5, I would suggest Endless Legends. In my opinion it is a better game due to better combat mechanics, hero units, and very distinct factions with great variety in playstyles. Endless Space 2 is also good and similar (a little more grand strategy than 4x).

If you are into Total War I would also look into Total War:Warhammer.

If you don't mind reading through a 100 page guide Crusader Kings 2 is one of the best grand strategy games I've played.

Rimworld is a great strategy game involving managing a colony on an alien world and fighting off raids/environmental disasters, but maybe not exactly the strat game you are looking for.

Pharaoh is more city building with light military combat if your looking for something like that.

Also might consider Creeper World 3, which is a cheap and light strat game.

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#25 Posted by Giant_Gamer (762 posts) -

@superpow:You don't say? i have just taken a look at Europa Universalis IV Steam and found that the "MOST HELPFUL REVIEWERS" have spent hundreds and thousands of hours in it. I will definitely will not beat it but will buy it, thanks!

A guy have spent more than one thousand hours in it, yet he chose to down vote it. Thankfully, i'm not the developer :)

@eroq: Rise of Nations is great indeed! I believe that i still have its DVD. Warhammer DoW added, thanks!

@jaqen_hghar: Shadowrun Returns isa turn based tactical game that plays a lot like XCOM and it is great!

I'm keeping the 8-bit games, as my last resort. Hopefully, i will find strategy games with more depth.

@ninnanuam: for a guy who never played a total war game, would Shogun 2 be a good start or is Warhammer?

@the_greg: It plays a lot like C&C and it is one of the best base building strategy games.

@superslidetail: Total Annihilation added, thanks!

@memonk: I heard a lot of good things about the game but it is a little bit too hardcore for me, as it seems that there are a lot of reason that you could miss an enemy like weapon jamming.

@big_denim: This is the first time i have honestly came across Endless Legend and it looks great, thanks!

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#26 Edited by Big_Denim (842 posts) -

@giant_gamer: You're most welcome! I love the soundtrack in the game too. Sometimes I'll even play it through Spotify while at work.

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#27 Posted by MeMonk (324 posts) -

@giant_gamer: it is a hardcore game but the weapon jamming is not a big deal. If you are interested in it i would recommend listening to the three moves ahead episode on it. https://www.idlethumbs.net/3ma/episodes/homage-to-arulco

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#28 Posted by Jaqen_HGhar (1373 posts) -

@giant_gamer: @facelessvixen: Got it! Still sounds good, but I am a sucker for building in any way possible, so I almost put it on the top of my "to play list" right there.
If you like the old C&C games the 8-Bit Army game isn't that far away really. It just doesn't have a story, and a weird way to unlock new stuff.

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#29 Posted by noblenerf (730 posts) -

@michaelkennedy: Age of the empires, C&C (any entry prior to RA3) and Warcraft are a must for anyone looking for a classic realtime strategy game.

@noblenerf: i didn't know that Shogun doesn't have base building as i have never got a chance to try a total war game, should i scrap of the list and buy Warhammer instead?

I will look into Battletech and Stellairs, thanks!

@dgtlty: Thanks, XCOM games are great but i believe that they are Tactial RPG games.

Sorry, I misread the OP. Total Wars have base building (or rather, town building), just not in the Starcraft way I thought you were trying to avoid. (I misread the OP as mentioned, whoops!) Total War is kind of like Civilization with pre-placed towns, and a much bigger focus on war & conquest. It's a wargame.

Another rec I have is Age of Wonders 3. This is a Civ-like game, but fantasy-themed and with greaaat combat.

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#30 Posted by eladren (350 posts) -

RTS: Age of Empires II is my favorite game ever, i love everything ensemble studios ever did. Red Alert II and Starcraft Brood Wars are classics; American conquest is great for XVIII century warfare, i remember celtic kings was pretty ok too.

Builder: the impression games city builder series is great, but i think Pharaoh is the best one, with Zeus being the most accesible.

Turn based Strategy: you cant miss with CIV III, IV, or V, another of my favorites is Disciples II: dark prophecy.

There seems to be a resurgency in rts in steam lately (northguard, they are billions, medieval kingdoms, ancestors legacy), but i havent tryed any of those, mainly beacuse i'm waiting for somebody else to be dissapointed first.

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#31 Posted by MeMonk (324 posts) -

Another great game is Majesty it is a very unique game that is a lot of fun. Also Heroes of Might and Magic 3 it is the best in the series.

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#32 Edited by NTM (11872 posts) -

Since I didn't see it but think it should be mentioned, it would be World in Conflict. That said, it doesn't have base building.

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#33 Edited by ninnanuam (584 posts) -


Total War Warhammer is pretty amazing especially playing the large mortal empires campaign, but I think its more complex than Shogun, the factions all operate really differently and mostly have different win conditions, the characters have story missions.

I mean you could get into Total War through them, I have friends who have only played Warhammer, But I think Shogun might be a more newcomer friendly.

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#36 Edited by Giant_Gamer (762 posts) -

@memonk:Looks like this game goes to interesting places. I got to a agree with one of the speakers, unlike today developers back then didn't have too many constraints when they are about implement their ideas which made their products more interesting and less predictable.

I went to steam add the game to my list but i found two versions of JA2 Gold and GA2 Wildfire which can be bundled with GA2 classic. Which one should i get?

Majesty added, thanks!

@jaqen_hghar: It looks a lot like C&C even the buildings structures looks similar. I'm buying the 8-bit collection eventually, i just want to bite some juicy games first like Grey Goo which was made by the same team and was targeting C&C fans.

@noblenerf: Yeah, discussing strategy games can be confusing sometimes. We have the war simulators like risk and we have battlefield simulators like Command and Conquer and there are some games that try to combine the two types. Age of Wonders 3 added, thanks!

@eladren: Now that you mention it, i think that i should grab Age of Empires HD and Starcraft remastered as i have never played the latter.

I'm glad that RTS are making a come back and i hope that they succeed. I have added Disciples II: Gallean's Return and Zeus + Poseidon, thanks!

@ntm: Great! i found World in Conflict at GoG, thanks!

@ninnanuam: I thought about it and i think that Total War: Warhammer will help introduce me to both franchises, then i will branch to them later on, thanks!

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#37 Posted by MeMonk (324 posts) -
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#38 Posted by Giant_Gamer (762 posts) -
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#39 Posted by dudeglove (13779 posts) -

Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is very enjoyable. It's kinda like "what if Hitman was a top down sort of RTS". I think the only issue they had (their load times due to lighting in unity) was recently solved too. There's a QL on the site too.

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#40 Edited by DodoBasse (112 posts) -

I would probably hold off on EUIV till you can get a massive discount. I think they sometimes pack up their games with DLC bundles. The price can get a bit oppressive.

Probably need a couple of the early DLCs at minimum. The base game was a little sparse. Also consider using an earlier patch, if you don't get certain DLCs. It's all a bit of a jungle, if you don't know what to look for.

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#41 Posted by Sin4profit (3501 posts) -

Prices based on current Steam Summer Sale

Base Building

Supreme Commander ($5 bundle) - The first SC is great, haven't played the second one that comes in that bundle.

Dawn of Discovery ($4 gold edition) - It's a 4X strategy game with a well implemented trading system. It's actually also known as Anno 1404 in some places and is part of the whole Anno series.

Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal ($9) - Instead of fighting enemy units, you are tasked with holding back "evil flood waters". Very unique and addictive game.

Battlezone ($5) - First Person perspective. Hover-tank combat. When you're capable of building a comm tower it can play like a lite top down strategy game. Overall it's a good time.

No Base Building (but still very good)

Unity of Command ($7.50 bundle)- i really enjoyed the, "cutting off enemy supply lines"mechanic in this turn based strategy war game. Despite not being that attracted to dry looking war games, i really enjoyed this one.

Frozen Synapse ($6.24) - Program your units in 5 second intervals (turns). This is maybe more tactics than strategy but it's a unique and very good game. It comes with a second copy to send to a friend. If you don't like the aesthetic there's a game called Tastee: Lethal Tactics ($4) that plays the same with a few mechanical changes.

Door Kickers ($3) - Great SWAT based real-time tactics game. Also a "programming game" of sorts, much like the planning phase of Rainbow Six. you can pre-program the entire run or you can slowly inch each unit to victory. Very good game.

Infested Planet ($5) - Surprisingly good game. Plays kind of like a horde/tower defense game. Thousands of enemy insects spawn out of hives and you must push back the flow in order to destroy the enemy spawn points. It's not really a tower defense game but there are similar mechanics, It's like Gauntlet meets Starship Troopers.

Shadow Tactics ($20) - A criminally overlooked game. This Stealth Strategy game plays like a modernized version of the Commandos series..if you haven't played the Commandos series...

Commandos ($2.24) - ...you can buy all of them in the super cheap pack on Steam.

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#42 Edited by lineman60 (2 posts) -

You may also want to look at 8-bit armies it's by some of the old west-wood fokes so it's got a C and C feel. Not a Great RTS but not bad,

There is Act of War it's an older one but you should be able to get it on the cheap. Also the Warhammer 40k games

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#43 Posted by Belegorm (1848 posts) -

I wanna second some lesser known picks, Pharaoh, Majesty, and Anno 1404 (Dawn of Discovery).

I had some really magical times with all 3 back in the day and with other games in their respective series.

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#44 Posted by ToTheNines (1672 posts) -

@memonk: hell yeah! Well only the first original x-com (1994) slightly edges it though.

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#47 Posted by isomeri (3125 posts) -

Thanks for all the recommendations. I've also been craving a nice new strategy game recently, and looking through this thread I realized that I own several of these recommendations but haven't booted them up yet. I might start with World in Conflict and even dip into the Europa Universalis stuff.

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#48 Posted by WeirdGuy (8 posts) -

The Lord of the Rings games