The Complete Guide to Buying Strategy Video Games

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The Complete Guide to Buying Strategy Video Games

Strategy video games offer complex and challenging gameplay. The term "strategy" is most often used to refer to a specific type of game. They are designed for players who prefer to use tactics and planning to accomplish in-game goals rather than physical reflexes. These titles allow the player to select a civilisation, tribe, army, or other group. Gameplay involves gathering resources and building structures, while increasing the abilities of the group. These abilities include new building techniques, firing military weapons, and even implementing government policies. The end goal of the game is to develop a group that is powerful enough to defeat other armies, or to make alliances that eliminate the need for war.

The strategy genre also includes simulation games, which often forego military actions in favour of creating and developing people, cities, and parks. These games can be played for extended periods of time without any in-game threats or a specified end goal. Strategy video games are available from game and electronics shops, as well as online retailers. Marketplaces like eBay also have a high number of listings for games on all platforms. Shop around to find the best strategy games based on personal interest.

Legendary and Fantasy Strategy Video Games

There are several prominent games and franchises in the strategy genre. Players should consider playing several of them to experience the range of gameplay types available.


Regarded as the real time strategy (RTS) game that brought the genre into prominence, StarCraft set a standard followed by other games subsequently released. The first entry into the legendary franchise was launched in 1998 for PC and Mac. Players choose from one of three races to control: the alien Protoss or Zerg, or the human Terrans. Players must gather resources, establish bases, and battle with opposing races to gain victory. In 2010, a long-awaited sequel was released, called StarCraft II. It is also available for PC and Mac. The game retains the three races of the original with many of the same gameplay mechanics, but with an updated interface, greatly improved graphics, and a new storyline. 


The original trilogy of WarCraft also contributed to the foundation of RTS games. Created by Blizzard, the same designer behind StarCraft, the series is considered the fantasy equivalent of StarCraft. The first two games preceded the release of the original StarCraft and served as a launching pad for the science fiction classic. Originally released in 1994, the first WarCraft focused on the battle between humans and orcs. It was followed by a sequel a year later that helped to cement the franchise's legacy. A third game followed in 2002. The trilogy is also the forebear of the immensely popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft. 

Empire Strategy Video Games

Empire strategy games allow players to build cities and develop empires. Some of the games are popular due to their historical accuracy.

Age of Empires

Noted for its historical accuracy, the Age of Empires series follows the same RTS formula developed by games before it, but allows players to control real civilisations from the past. Players are able to choose from several technologies to develop their civilisations and prepare for combat with neighboring empires. These technologies include the ability to build walls around the city or develop particular types of war machines used by the specific empire being played. Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings and its expansion, The Conquerors, are considered to be the best games in the strategy genre. A third game, Age of Empires III, was released in 2005. The first three games in the series were developed for both PC and Mac, and a portable version is available for the Nintendo DS.


As one of the earliest strategy games to find mainstream success, Civilization remains a pillar of the genre. Gameplay focuses on the construction of an empire that can last through multiple ages, from prehistory into the future. Players build cities and units, develop new technologies, and build alliances with other civilizations. The original entry in the Civilization series was released in 1989, and several sequels have been released in the years since. These include 1996's Civilization II, 2001's Civilization III, 2005's Civilization IV, and 2010's Civilization V. With the exception of the original game, each installment in the series has had multiple expansions.

Battle Strategy Video Games

Battle strategy games can be complex. They involve a combination of building, and military conquest through battling with enemies.

Halo Wars

One of the most notable strategy games for a console system, Halo Wars deviates from the first-person shooter style of the series' core entries to present a complex and rewarding RTS experience. Like other entries in the genre, Halo Wars focuses on gathering resources, building bases, and fighting enemies, though a greater emphasis is placed on battles. Players choose between the United Nations Space Command and the alien Covenant for their army, both of which can be upgraded and enhanced as the battle develops. Halo Wars is exclusive to the Xbox 360 console.

Fun and Social Strategy Video Games

Players looking for strategy games without military conquest have several to choose from, including the RollerCoaster Tycoon series. These games involve building fun and social spaces rather than fighting enemies.

Roller Coaster Tycoon

The RollerCoaster Tycoon simulates the creation and management of amusement parks. In addition to building rides, players are responsible for adding small touches to their parks like hot dog stands. The original game is the series is available for PC and Xbox. It has also been made available for Android and iOS. A successful sequel was released in 2002 for Windows, and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 is available for Mac and PC. A fourth game, RollerCoaster Tycoon 3D, is available for the Nintendo 3DS handheld system.


One of the most famous and well-respected strategy and simulation franchises in gaming history is SimCity. Since the release of the first game in 1989, the series has continued to develop its gameplay features and graphics. Modern installments in the series allow players to plan every aspect of their city, including taxes, transport, power, water lines, and even the terrain that the city is built on. Notable entries in the series include SimCity 2000 and SimCity 4. Several console versions have also been released, including SimCity SNES for the Super Nintendo. SimCity DS and its sequel, SimCity Creator, are available for the Nintendo DS platform. SimCity Creator is also available for the Nintendo Wii. In 2013, EA released SimCity, often called SimCity 2013, for PC and Mac.


Strategy video games appeal to players' sense of organisation, structure, and tactical forethought. Although typically associated with computers, many good quality strategy games have been developed for console systems. In addition to military strategy games, buyers can choose from a wide selection of fun and social titles that place an emphasis on building and developing cities, parks, and people.

Buyers who are new to the genre can find many great franchises to enjoy. Some of the most notable are StarCraft and its sequel, StarCraft II. Players who enjoy these games may also consider their fantasy counterparts from the WarCraft series. Age of Empires follows the same pattern of collecting resources, building structures, and attacking an enemy as many other strategy games, but adds a well researched historical context to the gameplay. Players looking for games without battles can shop for several types of fun and social simulation games. Two popular series are RollerCoaster Tycoon and SimCity. Both allow players to focus on building and customising to their own specifications without serious outside threats or a set time limit.

Strategy video games can be purchased from marketplaces like eBay, which has listings from a wide range of sellers. Consider all of the options to find the most enjoyable strategy games for a computer or console system.

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