Checkmate, Reality: The Top 12 Strategy Games That Will Devour Your Time and Brainpower
Strategy games have been a beloved genre of video gaming for years, providing gamers with the chance to showcase their decision-making and planning abilities. Over the years, numerous strategy games have been released, but some stand out from the rest. In this article, we’ll examine the top 12 strategy games of all time, spanning multiple eras and platforms.
1. Civilization IV
Developed by Sid Meier and released in 2005, Civilization IV is widely considered one of the best strategy games ever made. The turn-based game enables players to lead their civilization from prehistoric times to the space age. Civilization IV boasts a deep tech tree, engaging diplomacy mechanics, and various victory conditions, ensuring endless replayability. The game has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Civilization IV Random Trivia: Legendary game designer Sid Meier actually has a degree in history, which likely helped him to create such historically accurate and engaging games.
2. Starcraft II
This real-time strategy game was released in 2010 and remains a fan favorite among competitive gamers. With three distinct races, fast-paced gameplay, and deep unit customization, Starcraft II provides a challenging and rewarding experience. The game has sold over 11 million copies worldwide.
Starcraft II Random Trivia: To bring the game’s characters to life, the voice actor for the Terran ghost unit actually performed the dialogue while lying down to simulate the feeling of being in a space suit.
3. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Released in 2012, XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a turn-based tactics game where players take command of a global anti-alien defense force. The game demands strategic resource management, research of new technologies, and tactical battles that may result in permadeath. XCOM: Enemy Unknown has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown Random Trivia: The game’s developers added a special “Ironman” mode as a tribute to a fan of the original X-COM game who had passed away.
4. Age of Empires II
Age of Empires II, released in 1999, is a classic real-time strategy game that remains popular today. In the game, players build and run their civilizations while also battling their opponents. Age of Empires II offers various game modes, multiple playable factions, and endless replayability. The game has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
Age of Empires II Random Trivia: The iconic “wololo” chant performed by the game’s monks actually originated from a bug in the game’s code.
5. Total War: Rome II
Released in 2013, Total War: Rome II is a real-time tactics game set in the Roman Republic era. The game presents gamers with command over armies and engages them in large-scale battles. Total War: Rome II boasts a detailed campaign map, an intricate economy system, and diverse factions, providing gamers with an immersive experience. The game has sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
Total War: Rome II Random Trivia: The Roman general unit “Hastati” is named after the actor Richard Harris, who played the character of Marcus Aurelius in the movie Gladiator.
6. Company of Heroes
Developed by Relic Entertainment, Company of Heroes is a real-time tactics game set in World War II. Players command their own army and engage in tactical battles across a variety of maps. Company of Heroes focuses on squad tactics, realistic physics, and destructible environments, making for a unique and engaging gameplay experience. The game has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.
Company of Heroes Random Trivia: In order to make the game’s explosions and destruction as realistic as possible, the developers actually went out to a field and blew up a variety of objects, including cars, sheds, and even a full-sized house.
7. Warcraft III
Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Warcraft III was released in 2002 and is a real-time strategy game that introduced the popular hero unit mechanic. In the game, players lead their army and heroes to victory while managing their base. Warcraft III features a memorable campaign and a thriving modding community, making it a beloved classic. The game has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.
Warcraft III Random Trivia: The game’s voice actor for the undead hero unit Arthas, Justin Gross, also provided the voice for Captain America in several Marvel animated TV series.
Stellaris, released in 2016, is a real-time grand strategy game set in space. Players manage their own empire and explore the galaxy while encountering other alien civilizations. Stellaris boasts a deep diplomatic system, intricate ship design mechanics, and a procedurally generated galaxy, offering a unique and expansive gameplay experience. The game has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Stellaris Random Trivia: If you name a planet “Do Not Land Here,” the game will generate a unique event where your ship actually crashes upon landing.
9. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Released in 2000, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is an alternate history real-time strategy game where players command various units to take down their opponents. The game boasts a cast of characters such as Boris, Tanya, and Yuri, providing players with a range of options to explore. The game also includes a secret “bears” cheat code that turns all the game’s infantry units into bears. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 Random Trivia: The developers included a secret “bears” cheat code that would turn all the game’s infantry units into bears.
10. Europa Universalis IV
Developed by Paradox Development Studio, Europa Universalis IV is a grand strategy game that puts players in the role of a nation’s leader, starting in the late Middle Ages and continuing through the early modern period. The game has a steep learning curve, but once mastered, players can enjoy managing their empire, engaging in diplomacy, warfare, and trade while encountering various historical events. The game has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
Europa Universalis IV Random Trivia: The game’s developers included a special “El Dorado” achievement for players who manage to find the mythical city of gold, which has an extremely low chance of appearing in the game.
11. Rise of Nations
Released in 2003, Rise of Nations is a real-time strategy game that combines elements of traditional strategy games with city-building games. Players lead their civilization through different ages, from ancient times to modern times, and build up their cities, economies, and armies. Rise of Nations also includes a hidden “Big Head” cheat code that gives all units, including buildings, comically oversized heads. The game has sold over 2 million copies worldwide.
Rise of Nations Random Trivia: The game’s developers included a hidden “Big Head” cheat code that would give all units, including buildings, comically oversized heads.
12. Plants vs. Zombies
Released in 2009, Plants vs. Zombies is a tower defense game where players must protect their home from waves of zombies using a variety of plants with unique abilities. The game’s charm lies in its cast of hilarious plants and zombies, as well as its addictive gameplay. The game also includes a secret code that turns all the zombies into versions of Michael Jackson from his Thriller music video. Plants vs. Zombies has sold over 300 million copies worldwide across all platforms.
Plants vs. Zombies Random Trivia: The game’s developers included a secret code that would turn all the zombies into versions of Michael Jackson from his Thriller music video.
In conclusion, strategy games are like a delicious buffet – there’s something for everyone, and you can’t stop once you start. From building empires in Civilization IV to blasting aliens in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, these games offer endless possibilities and hours of entertainment. So, whether you’re a seasoned strategist or a newbie to the genre, dive into these games and let the fun begin! Just be warned: once you start, you may find yourself saying goodbye to the real world for a while. Happy gaming!