Similar to the role playing game genre, the strategy genre is one of the broader categories in the video game industry. It covers classic turn-based strategy, real time strategy, and tactical war games. Even old chess-like games like Archon would be considered part of the genre. If you enjoy any games in the genre and like playing games on your PC, Good Old Games (GOG.com) is one of the best sites for finding older and classic strategy games. In fact, the site sells hundreds of them. That is a lot of games to dig through, but the following are the top five best strategy games available on GOG.com.
5. Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri – This game is essentially the spiritual sequel to Civilization. If you ever achieved a science victory in Civilization, you know the game ends by sending a space craft to Alpha Centauri. Arguably, this game takes off where that game left off. Using the same game play engine, Alpha Centauri adds dozens of refinements, including faction special abilities, unit design mechanics, a hostile environment, and the ability to change your government paradigms on the fly. The graphics are very outdated, but the game play is still worth the pittance this game will cost on GOG.com.
4. Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic – This game is essentially a modern version of classic game Master of Magic, which was, in turn, a fantasy version of Civilization. A full campaign and a role playing game style story make this game shine among all of the Civilization clones on the market. Diverse magic and a ton of units give the game a high degree of replay value. Finally, despite the age of the game, the graphics are still rather impressive.
3. Jagged Alliance 2 – The Jagged Alliance series took over where the X-COM series left off. The plot is much less fantastical than a story of an alien invasion, but it is just as exciting, and even better developed. And, unlike the X-COM series, Jagged Alliance 2 has a ton of side stories and optional missions that build a much more realistic world. Great voice acting, spectacular weapon physics, and an intricate character advancement system makes this one of the best tactical games available on any system.
2. Heroes of Might and Magic 3 – The flagship game of the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise only requires one warning: The game is brutally difficult. Even on the normal difficulty, you will lose more often than you win, all too often within moments of starting your game. Luckily, the game has two easier difficulty settings if you simply wish to enjoy the grandeur without the heartache. Heroes of Might and Magic 3 combines a role playing game style campaign with resource based strategy and full tactical battles. The full campaign allows you to play as heroes from nine different settings, each of which uses different troops, spell, and artifacts. It doesn’t have the best replay value, but it is a game that is hard to stop playing once you are engaged.
1. Master of Orion 1+2 – Master of Orion 2 is easily the best turn based strategy game ever released for any console or PC. Certain aspects of game play, like worker management and research are reminiscent of the Civilization series, but the overall combination of mechanics clearly makes it a very unique game. There are numerous pre-set alien races and you can create your own custom race as well if you wish, with an astonishing number of options. Ships can be customized in such a variety of ways that it is easy to get lost in that small portion of the game. Combat is actually akin to real time strategy, allowing you to truly take advantage of your custom ship designs. The game is one that you will always want to play one more turn and then you will want to play one more game after you are done.