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The best Xbox strategy games

Xbox is bursting with strategy games, but amongst the long list, here are some of the best Xbox strategy games that should soak up your time.

best Xbox strategy games: a futuristic soldier in Xcom2 readies his gun in battle

What are the best Xbox strategy games? Once upon a time, it was almost impossible to play good strategy games on consoles. They definitely existed – and some of them even became classics of the genre – but often hardcore strategy gamers were turned off by console’s controllers, under-performing graphics, and user interfaces which felt at best tacked on, and at worst deliberate impediments to playing the game.

But times have changed. Console strategy games are everywhere and the consoles themselves can match some of the best graphics from mid-range PCs. If you are a strategy gamer thinking about colonizing the Xbox space or are just interested in what is available on Game Pass, this article is for you. Here are the best strategy games you can play on your Xbox console.

The best Xbox strategy games are:

  • Nowhere Prophet
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Wasteland 3
  • Bad North
  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator
  • Halo Wars: Definitive Edition
  • Halo Wars 2
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Wargroove
  • Banner Saga (series)
  • Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
  • Gears Tactics
  • Age of Empires 1 & 2
  • Into the Breach
  • Space Hulk: Tactics
  • Pandemic: The Board Game
  • Stellaris
  • Northgard
  • Achtung! Cthulu Tactics
  • XCOM 2

Xbox strategy games: A screenshot of Nowhere Prophet

1. Nowhere Prophet

A recent addition to Game Pass, Nowhere Prophet is a rogue-like strategy card game where you’re the head of a caravan of followers trying to get to some kind of promised land. The world is post-apocalyptic and inspired by Indian culture, and along your journey you’ll face random encounters, and may even need to fight.

The catch is though that your cards are also your people – if they fall in battle, they’re gone forever. You will meet new people along the way and can tailor your follower ‘deck’ as your card pool expands. It’s pretty interesting, and well worth checking out.

Xbox strategy games: Several units fight each other in space in Age of Wonders Planetfall

2. Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Age of Wonders has long been a staple in the hero-style, hex-based, faction-heavy TBS field, and Planetfall appears to be a more than worthy successor.

It brings the game into the science-fiction future while retaining the hero focus and turn-based tactical scale battles. It looks really good and could continue to crack open the Xbox ecology for serious strategy games

xbox strategy games: Two ships dock at a castle in Bad North

3. Bad North

A ‘micro’ strategy game that involves real-time tactics, some puzzle elements, and rogue-like progression, this is a wonderful blend of strategy staples distilled to a pure, slightly alcoholic state. You control a small army of troops and must defend islands of varying size and topography from waves of Viking attackers. There are different types of troops, and a rock, paper, scissor-like mechanic exists, but it’s not just about beating type.

You have to make sure your troops are in place ahead of time to get the full effect. Planning and positioning are the real Gods of the Norseman, and if you curry their favor you will win the day.

Xbox Strategy games: A dead player in a battlefield, next to a mammoth in totally accurate battle simulator

4. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

This is technically a ‘Game Preview’ game as it’s still technically in a pre-release state, but this wonderfully bonkers title is now available to Games Pass subscribers on both Xbox One and PC.

It’s more simulation than strategy but offers a uniquely fascinating combat simulation that allows you to pit vastly different types and numbers of troopers against each other. It’s not grounded in reality at all, but it’s still fun to play around with

Xbox strategy games: unites fight on the ground in Halo Wars

5. Halo Wars & Halo Wars 2

While real-time strategy games have been a little thin on the ground lately, the console revolution has given them new life in many cases. Halo Wars is one of the older RTS which has seen considerably more discussion and play since it has been available on Xbox. Upgradeable units, a relaxed pace, and a great setting definitely make it of interest to those in the know.

You can’t keep a good franchise down and Halo Wars 2 proves that. Taking up the story from the end of Halo Wars and popping in a time skip, you are dropped into a fight made of strategic units, heroes, and radial menus. While some of the original handling of DLC was unfortunate, that’s no longer a problem.

Xbox strategy games: A lively street in Shadow Tactics

6. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

At one point in the not-too-distant past, stealth-strategy games were all the rage. Maneuvering a group of characters across the map, trying not to raise an alarm, killing only those who need to be killed, and coming out the other side with no one the wiser – that was a good play.

Shadow Tactics plays to that directly. As usual, this kind of game is almost as much a puzzler as it is a strategy, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Xbox strategy games: A desert in Wargroove

7. Wargroove

The most modern game in this bunch while simultaneously being the most retro, Wargroove borrows a lot from older properties. If you enjoyed the pixelated wonder of Advance Wars then the light-hearted approach to strategy and tactics here is going to tickle your fancy.

Gameplay doesn’t stop at the end of the campaign because a map and mission editor can extend your enjoyment, as long as you’re feeling creative.

Xbox strategy games: A hog, a person, and a duck in Mutant Year Zero

8. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

One of the modern innovations in turn-based strategy has been to couple it with a deep story and RPG-style character development. Mutant Year Zero takes that and runs with it, mating an XCOM-style TBS with an RPG-style story and unit development architecture to turn out something that may not be the best TBS available, but it will keep you coming back for more because the story itself is so interesting.

Xbox strategy games: Gears tactics gameplay

9. Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics surprised us when it was released in early 2020. It’s a better spin-off title than we could have hoped for and is actually a pretty decent turn-based tactics game to boot.

It lacks the full-featured design of XCOM 2, but it’s got some interesting twists on the formula and preserves the feel of the original Gears games quite well. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.

Xbox strategy games: Age of Empires 1 definitive edition shows a desert with various units on it

10. Age of Empires I & II: Definitive Edition

The late 90s are thought of as the origin of the real-time strategy genre by many, as some pivotal games came out of that period, including both Age of Empires 1 and 2.

20 years later, we have remasters of the originals with slightly improved graphics but exactly the same gameplay. If you look back on these games as part of your seminal introduction to the genre, you probably want these.

Xbox strategy games: A mech stands on a cliff overlooking a ruined city in Into the Breach

11. Into the Breach

The world of indie game development is, by necessity, more limited in what they can do than AAA developers. The best of them turn the limitations into inspiration.

The same team that had a huge hit with FTL returned to give us an extremely tight almost-puzzler where you command giant robots to protect the Earth from alien invasion. Its execution is not bleeding-edge, but it can still give you a serious case of ‘ah, just one more turn.’

Xbox strategy games: Space marines line up ready to go in Space Hulk Tactics

12. Space Hulk: Tactics

Games Workshop deserves an absurd amount of praise for the number of digital translations of games they have allowed over the years. While the quality has been inconsistent, there have been so many that good ones are inevitable. SH:T is one of the best digital versions of Space Hulk to date.

The graphics are clean and clear, the interface is relatively intuitive, and it just works. If there’s a drawback, it’s the RNG, clunky Space Marine movement, and the moments of unfairness that stem from that.

Xbox Strategy Games: pandemic board game showing various strings across the world

13. Pandemic: The Board Game

If you’ve played board games in the last several years, odds are that you have played Pandemic, and know it’s not about opposing the other people at the table but about figuring out how best to cooperate with them to take out the plague which is destroying humanity.

Balancing your limited resources and your limited area of effect (since you can’t be everywhere at once) is the real meat of the game. It’s tense, it’s challenging, and it’s on the Xbox.

Xbox strategy games: a Stellaris screen showing a senate in session and the voting happening

14. Stellaris: Console Edition

If you’re an avid strategy game fan, you’ll probably have heard on the grapevine that Stellaris is an absolute belter. Create your own species along with its government, expand from your home world, conquer, trade, and connive in order to be the most powerful space Empire in the galaxy – and along the way, try not to get killed by older, more powerful things from beyond the rim.

Xbox strategy games: A northgard settlement on a coast

15. Northgard

This is a very cool RTS that’s recently made the jump to consoles (as well as the Nintendo Switch). It’s a curious blend of things like Tropico, or perhaps Stronghold, and Warcraft, with the principle mechanic a kind of ‘guided’ control/automation. You have villagers, and you can assign villagers to different buildings for specific jobs. Those newly kitted-out villagers will generally start doing their job automatically. It’s not quite as harsh as games like Majesty, where you can’t give any direction to your units, only incentives – you can click on any villager and send them to a specific place, but you don’t assign actions to them directly by and large.

Each game of Northgard is set on an island that you must slowly explore and expand into – clearing out hazards and eventually running into other players. There’s been loads of free updates, and new modes added for free, with DLC coming in the form of new clans.

Xbox strategy games: a Nazi solider minature points his gun in Achtung

16. Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics

The default time period for most of the Cthulhu mythos literature has always been the 1920s, but ACT skips forward a couple of decades, placing us firmly in World War II and providing what is really more of a turn-based experience inspired by XCOM but with more focus on longer-term preservation of units.

After all, these are people with wants, dreams, and often supernatural powers. While it’s not necessarily canon Cthulhu, it’s enough to jazz with.

Xbox strategy games: A soldier points his gun in Xcom2

17. XCOM 2

It’s just not a real roundup of strategy games on platforms if there is no XCOM. Luckily for us, here it is, available for console players to really sink their teeth into it and have one of the best (and occasionally most frustrating) TBS/TBT experiences available in the genre right now.

That’s it for our list of the best Xbox One and Xbox Series X strategy games. Hopefully, you’ve found a couple of new games to blitz through, but if not, give our best Xbox Game Pass games list a going over too.