When it comes to game genres, strategy gets tagged on to a lot of games — almost like a prefix. Adventure, RPG, puzzle, you name a genre, and I'm sure someone has stuck the word strategy in front of it.
One thing is for sure; the best strategy games require you to think critically and always be two steps ahead of your opponent, making you use serious brain power to complete your objectives.
While it's near impossible to round up a perfect list for a genre as big as this one, here are some of my favorite strategy games for iPhone and iPad.
- Invisible Inc.
- Star Wars: Force Arena
- Clash of Clans
- The Elder Scrolls: Legends
- Plague Inc
- Fallout: Shelter
- Ticket to Earth
Invisible Inc. was a game that took me by complete surprise. Considering this game relies on being sneaky, I suppose that means the jokes on me.
This turn-based stealth game randomly generates levels that you need to make your way through to complete objectives and avoid enemies. You can control ten unique characters through the perilous missions, and each of them has loads of customization options, making sure characters never get stale.
The gameplay is complex, and it does take awhile to get used to the in-and-outs, but once you do I promise you hours of fun await.
Note: Invisible Inc. is an iPad only game.
- $4.99 - Download Now
Star Wars: Force Arena
I know someone named Luke recommending a Star Wars game may seem cliché, but even I was skeptical of Star Wars: Force Arena when it was first released. However, after playing it — a lot I may add — it quickly changed my mind.
The objective in Star Wars: Force Arena is pretty straightforward. Using a deck of six different cards — plus one leader — you spawn different units onto the battlefield in hopes of taking down your opponent's "towers" — three turrets and one shield generator. Each round lasts three minutes and whoever takes out the most towers wins, unless someone takes out the opposing shield generator, which causes them to win the match, regardless of how many turrets the have destroyed.
The leader cards are all important characters from the Star Wars universe — Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Jyn Erso, and Orson Krennic to name some — and they truly give this MOBA a different flavor than you find in other titles.
With a ton of different cards that you can power up and a vast amount of leaders to choose from, you can have hours and hours of fun regardless of what side of The Force you prefer to use.
- Free - Download Now
Clash of Clans
The goal of Clash of Clans is to be the biggest, baddest township in the land. You build up a fortified stronghold, where you mine for gold and health elixirs. Then, you train up an army and invade the outlying goblin outposts. The more you destroy, the better it is for your livelihood. But, don't think that just because you have killed off neighboring goblins, you are safe. They come from all over to try to steal your gold. You can form an alliance with other real-life players to create an unstoppable clan, or fight against them to steal their trophies.
Free - Download Now
The Elder Scrolls: Legends
The Elder Scrolls: Legends offers a fantastic experience for both people who are new to the strategy card games, and seasoned veterans who love the genre.
What makes The Elder Scrolls: Legends stand out from other games like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone is it's two-laned battlefield. Each battlefield is split into two lanes and creatures in those lanes can only attack the opponent's creatures in the same lane. The lanes can also have different effects that affect the outcome of the battles going on in that lane.
As I former Magic the Gathering player, I found it hard not to compare The Elder Scrolls: Legends to one of the most popular strategy card games of all time, and I am pleased to say that it held up very well. Bethesda did an excellent job making this game equal parts challenging and rewarding, making it very easy to avoid spending money to get better cards. Something I could not say for some of the Magic the Gathering apps we've seen over the years.
Note: The Elder Scrolls: Legends is currently and iPad only game, but Bethesda does plan to launch it for iPhone in the fall of 2017.
- Free - Download Now
What do you get when you mix Tinder with the King of the fictional kingdom? The wonderfully sadistic choose-your-own-adventure game Reigns.
Reigns will crown you a king and then force you to make decisions by swiping left or right (thus my Tinder quip), that almost always lead to your untimely death in increasingly interesting ways. Doomed to repeat his life over and over while attempting to find a way to lift a curse, you'll have to balance the needs of your kingdom with those of the church, military, and your greed.
Your first playthrough will probably leave you a little dejected, but there is good news: You can do it all over again times infinity!
Plague Inc is a bit of a twist on the survival strategy genre, and by that I mean it's actually an annihilation strategy game.
You play as a deadly disease, and your goal is the complete wipeout the human race on planet earth! You earn DNA points for infecting humans, and those points can be used to upgrade your disease. This is where the strategy comes in, as you must choose your upgrades wisely.
Of course, the world doesn't sit idly by while your disease is spreading, the medical community will become aware of the disease and research how to destroy it. This means you have to plan to invade the cities centers, to kill off their doctors and scientist to hinder their efforts. If you manage to kill all humans before they discover a cure, you've won.
- $0.99 - Download now
Bethesda knocked it out of the park when they made Fallout Shelter, and it's a game I keep coming back to time and time again.
You're in charge of a Vault — an underground bunker built to protect people from the nuclear war — and the future of the community of people in your vault depends on your decisions. You'll need to keep people happy, but also safe, in this crazy post-apocalyptic world.
One of my favorite things about Fallout Shelter is Bethesda's continuing support for Fallout Shelter. The game launched in 2015 and it's still receiving updates, special events, and new content from the developers, making the game stay fresh for the players you have been playing from the beginning.
If you're a fan of the Fallout series of video games, Fallout Shelter will reward your knowledge with familiar names, jokes, and events; however, this game offers plenty of excitement and challenge to newcomers as well, making it a fantastic game for everyone.
- Free - Download Now
Ticket to Earth
Ticket to Earth is an incredible game and is a must-download for gamers everywhere, and I can't recommend it highly enough!
The story is littered the surprising plot twists, impactful characters, and a well-written narrative that will keep you invested in the rich world of New Providence and the people who populate the planet.
Beautifully designed graphics that blend the manga/comic book style artwork with brightly colored backgrounds and landscape make Ticket to Earth pop off the screen in a delightful burst of colors, which never gets old.
An original battle system that breathes new life into the strategy RPG genre, the Movement system offers an incredibly deep and complex combat experience that never goes stale, as there is always new powers and abilities to acquire. It's refreshing to see a strategy RPG that heavily relies on the strategy part of its genre. Ticket to Earth will kill you if you're not careful, you must examine the map carefully and choose your action wisely, or you'll be doomed to repeat the same mission over and over again. It can be mildly frustrating as you're still learning the game, but it's wildly entertaining the whole time.
- $3.99 - Download Now
Which strategy games are your favorites?
I know this list couldn't possibly cover all the fantastic strategy games lurking about on the App Store, and that's why I want to hear from you! Tell me about your favorite strategy games for iPhone and iPad by leaving a comment down below or hitting me up on Twitter.
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