Six dirt-cheap new Mac strategy games you should play this weekend

We understand that gaming budgets are tight these days: there isn't a single game on here that will set you back more than $15. But just because they're dirt-cheap, don't think they're lousy games - there's a lot of fun to be had here for very short money.

Anomaly 2

11 bit studios turned the venerable "tower defense" genre on its head with the original Anomaly Warzone Earth, which puts you in charge of the troops marching through a battlefield of tower-based weapons that want to destroy you. The challenge is in figuring out what route to take to prevent an ambush or a dead end; how to equip your advancing column; and how to use resources to get your troops repaired and through the thick of the battle.

Now they're back with Anomaly 2, which incrementally improves the single-player action, but adds a killer multiplayer mode that pits one player as the troops against another as the towers. Oh, and mechs. The game has mechs. Lots of 'em.

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FTL: Faster Than Light

Subset Games was inspired by tabletop games and the ancient computer game Rogue to create FTL, which they got the funding to make through a successful Kickstarter campaign. The game puts you in control of an interstellar spaceship with the goal of reaching your fleet while avoiding being destroyed by rebels.

As captain of this vessel, you're ultimately in charge of every aspect of its performance - piloting, engines, life support, weapons and the crew - and you have to keep everything working (and your crew alive) as you race to deliver your payload and achieve other goals along the way.

(As we're posting this, it's on sale on Steam for half off, a scant $4.99, but that deal will expire on Saturday, June 1st - so make sure to act quick).

Leviathan: Warships

Paradox Interactive teamed up with Pieces Interactive to come up with a ridiculously fun game that puts you in charge of seagoing fleets of armored warships. Build your fleet then engage in turn-based play in offline or online modes. Multiplayer is where it's at with this game, though - not only is cross-platform head-to-head multiplayer supported between Mac and Windows, but there's a co-op mode that lets you team up with up to three other players to complete missions.

Skyward Collapse

Ever since Peter Molyneux sprung Populous upon the world, "god" games have been a staple of the strategy genre. Arcen Games' Skyward Collapse offers an interesting variation on the concept, because in this game your goal is not to directly intervene in the affairs of men, but to maintain a balance.

Don't get us wrong, though - this isn't a peaceful exercise. The warring factions of men stir far below, and it's up to you to help them both. To that end, you can help them develop resources, intervene directly occasionally with mythical creatures, and counter the effects of lesser gods that occasionally meddle in the affairs of men.

Cubemen 2

This 3D strategy game puts you in charge of...well, cube men as you attack enemies and defend. Five different game modes will keep you busy, including capture the flag, skirmish, territory and rescue; there's single-player and multiplayer modes (with support for up to six players). Don't let the Minecraft look fool you - this is no Minecraft clone.

There is, however, a built-in level editor, so you can create your own levels to play, or download tons of user-built ones from the web.

Organ Trail: Director's Cut

This started life as an online game, but now you can download this new and improved version for your Mac. Remember the classic game Oregon Trail, which put you in a covered wagon during America's 19th century westward expansion?

Organ Trail updates Oregon Trail for modern sensibilities by putting you in a station wagon during the zombie apocalypse. You need to manage food, ammo, fuel, medkits and other resources as you make your way to safety.

The developers have kept Organ Trail ruthlessly retro, too - it looks like an Apple II game, and has the 8-bit sound effects and soundtrack to match. And yes, you can still die of dysentery.

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