Strategy games are full of variety, whether it is tactics based, world building, resource management or any number of subgenres; the Strategy game genre has plenty to offer hardcore AND casual players.

In order to shine a light on some of the more popular strategy games in this vast genre here is a list of what we consider being the best strategy game franchises that are available today. There are undoubtedly many more strategy games that could have made this list so if we have missed any then be sure to let us know what your top 5 strategy games are below.

The Civilization Series

screenshot of civilization 5 battle

Developer: Firaxis Games (Currently)
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy

In 1991, Sid Meier teamed up with a developer called Microprose, in order to create the first Civilization strategy game, which held similarities to the 1980’s board-game of the same name. This began the popular turn based game series of city building and civilization building games that are still popular today. Concepts like diplomacy, land expansion, deals with other countries, and outright military warfare are common in the Civilization series, enabling you (in current installments) to play with friends or AI opponents to fight for technological or military supremacy.

Warcraft Series

warcraft 3 gameplay

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Turn-based Tactical Role Playing

Before World of Warcraft became an MMO giant, the world of Azeroth began in 1994 with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. The Warcraft real-time strategy series grew in popularity, and two more games, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos were created, ultimately also leading to the creation of the third series on this list. Warcraft paved the way for World of Warcraft and many other elements of the gaming industry we know well today. Additionally, Warcraft was the key in proving to gamers that multiplayer was an important part of the gaming experience.

The Starcraft Franchise

battle in star craft 2

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Genre: Real Time Strategy

Beginning with StarCraft in 1998, Blizzard Entertainment created a Real Time Strategy franchise that captured the attention of millions. It along with the Diablo franchise became synonymous with the Blizzard brand, and led to expansions and even an eventual Starcraft sequel that released in 2010 (which is still being updated and worked on.) The Starcraft series is known for unique races, the sci-fi world where said races are fighting for supremacy, and intense offline and online gameplay that requires quick thinking and strategic planning in order to succeed.

The X-Com Franchise

xcom 2 battle gameplay

Developer: Firaxis Games and 2K Games (currently)
Genre: Real Time Strategy

Originally created by Microprose under the title of “UFO: Enemy unknown” The X-Com series began a rise in popularity thanks to its strategic gameplay and squad based tactics. After the release of X-Com: Enforcer in 2001, the series wasn’t seen again until 2K games acquired the rights and released X-Com: Enemy Unknown as a reboot in 2012 in conjunction with Firaxis games. Since then the X-Com series has exploded with newfound popularity, praising the ironman mode, and a variety of difficulty settings to enhance or ease the difficulty depending on the player’s skill level.

Age of Empires Series

civilization built in age of empires

Developer: Ensemble Studios
Genre: Tactical Role Playing

Along with the Civilization series, when people mention the best strategy games many often think of the Age of Empires as a definitive franchise. The first entry in the franchise was Ensemble Studios’ first game, and released on October 26th, 1997 and was one of the first history-based strategy games ever made. As the player, you are given a choice between 12 different civilizations to rise through the Stone age into the Iron age. Years ago it was described as a mix between Civilization and Warcraft, creating a definitive experience that appeals to a variety of people. Sadly, as of 2009 Ensemble games no longer exists; there have been spin-off Age of Empires games created by third parties, but as of yet it is unknown as to whether a new Age of Empires game will ever be released.

There you have it folks! If you are looking for a strategy game to sink your teeth into, this list has a variety from Real-Time, to Tactics based, and even Squad Based strategy to fit whatever you are in the mood for.  Unfortunately, we were limited to our top 5 strategy games, but the Command and Conquer franchise is another noteworthy addition had this list of strategy games been any longer.