Uncovering the Best Turn-Based Games to Play Today
In the past, some of the most played PC games were turn-based strategy games. They were limited on consoles because of the convoluted meaning and inputs. They have, however, recently begun to resurface. These games simulate realistic military strategies and combat.
Nowadays, the genre is less constrained than it once was. It has undergone numerous modifications and has undergone some inspiring variations. This ensures many enjoyable options for newcomers to explore and get involved with. The franchises listed below are some of the most well-known in this genre, and new players will have no trouble getting used to them.
A List Of Turn-Based Games
Here are some top turn-based tactical games for those looking for a simple way to get started with the genre. A list of Turn-Based games is as follows, check below.
Divinity: Original Sin
Many fans consider Divinity: Original Sin duology the best contemporary role-playing game ever. These games are jam-packed with information and a blast to play through from beginning to end. It is a role-playing video game that was produced and released by Larian Studios.
It is a prequel to the first game in the series, Divine Divinity, and the other main entries. In the Divinity series, it is the fourth main game. On June 30, 2014, Microsoft Windows received its initial release. The game, which Kickstarter partially funded, has an editor built, enabling users to make their own single-player and multiplayer adventures and share them online.
In 2015, the video game Divinity: Original Sin - Enhanced Edition was re-released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux, and OS X with an expanded plot and new gameplay options. Critics gave the game high marks for its ability to modernise the RPG subgenre.
Divinity: Original Sin II, the follow-up, was published in 2017. The second game, however, has a very high entry barrier that many players might need more preparation for. Thankfully, even though the sequel may be more technically advanced in many other ways, the first game does a better job introducing players to its gameplay mechanics.
An RPG set in the Divinity universe is called Original Sin. Two heroes are featured in Divinity: Original Sin. The game boasts cooperative multiplayer, an interactive world, turn-based action and adventure, and a modding tool for adding new content.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin II is a role-playing video game that Larian Studios produced. In addition to being released in August 2018 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in January 2019 for macOS, September 2019 for the Nintendo Switch, and May 2021 for iPadOS, the sequel to Divinity: Original Sin from 2014 was also released in September 2017 for Microsoft Windows.
A commercial and critical success, the game sold over a million copies in just two months and was hailed as one of the best role-playing games ever. The interactivity and complexity of the combat were praised. Similar to Divinity: Original Sin, players can play alone or in a party of up to three others.
The player has access to several pre-made characters with backstories. At the beginning of the game, players can create a custom character and select their stats, race, gender, and origin story. Unlike the original game, players can now make an undead character who belongs to one of the available races.
Although there are mods in the Steam Workshop that increase the maximum number of party companions, they can only enlist a maximum of three companions to help them. The player character's companions may interact with the environment and NPCs differently than they do. All companions are fully playable.
Splitting up and controlling individual party members allows for more complex battle strategies and role-playing opportunities. The game offers cooperative and competitive online and local multiplayer modes. Players can combine and alter their skills using a skill-crafting system. In the game's competitive multiplayer mode, players are split into two teams and engage in combat on an arena map.
One of the most underappreciated independent games is Wildermyth, which needs more attention. This game creates a role-playing experience, unlike anything fans have ever had by fusing the best elements of procedural storytelling and tactical combat.
The tactical role-playing video game Wildermyth was developed and released by Worldwalker Games. The game's full release for Windows occurred in June 2021 after its initial release in 2019. Currently, a version of the Nintendo Switch is being created. Upon its release, the game mainly received favourable reviews, with compliments on its use of procedural generation for storytelling.
Because every campaign is jam-packed with original plotlines, Wildermyth is consistently a classic story. The adventures of their heroes can occupy players for countless hours as they watch veteran characters die or pass the baton to younger ones. A tactical role-playing game is called Wildermyth.
The player will initially select a character from a variety of randomized options. These characters will gradually develop into battle-tested heroes and pick up new traits, opening up new narrative and gameplay possibilities. Additionally, these characters will grow older over time and build friendships or rivalries with one another.
The primary campaign still follows the main plot beats, but character development is based on a procedural generation system to ensure that each playthrough is distinct.
The grid-based combat system found in the XCOM video game series can be compared to turn-based combat. The campaign map asks the player to do more than just take action. For instance, players can choose to rebuild a village, but doing so may give them less time to prepare for another invasion event.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Firaxis Games and 2K Games 2012 released XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a turn-based tactical video game. The game is both a "reimagined" remake of the 1994 cult strategy game X-COM: UFO Defense and a revival of MicroProse's 1990s X-COM series.
In this video game, which is set in a 2015-based alternate reality, the player controls XCOM, a top-tier international paramilitary force, during an alien invasion of Earth. The player also oversees the expansion of XCOM's base of operations, the research and development of technologies derived from recovered alien technology and captured prisoners, manages finances, and keeps an eye out for and responds to abnormal activity between missions.
The player directs troops in the field in a series of turn-based tactical missions. The television series XCOM is pretty challenging. If viewers have grown attached to the characters they've controlled throughout the series, the threat of permadeath hangs over every encounter, making it all the more tense and exciting.
Of course, beginners can always play on a more straightforward difficulty to lessen the likelihood of losing their cherished squad members. Due to the story's inherent entertainment value, they can enjoy the combat without feeling overly intimidated.
To gain some protection, soldiers can hide behind surrounding walls and objects. Units can maneuver around enemies using active camouflage and suppressive fire to weaken them. Kill sequences and the use of special abilities are just two examples of thrilling gameplay moments highlighted by cutscenes and dynamic camera movements.
The game's tactical role-playing aspects allow the players' soldiers to develop skills as they win more battles. Between missions, the game's strategy component is active. The "ant farm" view shows the location of XCOM's underground headquarters.
From this vantage point, the player controls ongoing construction, manufacturing, and research projects, as well as how the scientists and engineers use materials acquired from mission spoils and donations from XCOM's backers. The "Geoscape," a holographic representation of the Earth, enables the player to monitor events globally, sending soldiers to battle aliens on the ground and ordering aircraft to intercept UFOs.
FTL: Faster Than Light
Independently created by Subset Games, the real-time strategy roguelike game FTL was made available for Linux, Microsoft Windows and macOS in September 2012. It is a game in which players control a single spacecraft while it is pursued by a sizable rebel fleet and en route to an allying fleet to deliver crucial information.
The player controls a spacecraft and must battle rebels and other hostile forces, appoint new crew members, outfit and upgrade their ship, and navigate the spacecraft through eight sectors, each of which contains procedurally generated planetary systems and events.
If the player's ship is destroyed or has all of its crew killed during pausable real-time combat, the game must be restarted with a new ship. The player selects a spacecraft at the beginning of the game, and each one has a unique layout and assortment of the crew, systems (such as piloting, engines, weapons, oxygen, etc.), and weapons.
Like roguelike games, the game randomly generates eight space sectors with about twenty waypoints (called "beacons") in each industry. The player must "jump" the ship between each waypoint to get to an "exit" point that leads to the next sector because they are typically unaware of what awaits them.
The player's ship can gather scrap (in-game currency), equipment (such as weapons, drones, and various ship augmentations), and additional crew members by increasing the number of beacons (and subsequently events/other ships) they visit.
However, each encounter has the potential to harm their ship and crew. The rebel fleet advances in each sector with each warp jump, slowly capturing more beacons despite the player's ability to return to waypoints.
Jumping to a beacon after it has been taken over will bring the player into conflict with a dangerous elite rebel fighter, who will only ever grant the player 1 unit of fuel upon defeat. The enemies are more challenging and have better equipment in later sectors, but they also offer greater rewards when defeated.
Red Hook Studios created and released the roguelike role-playing video game Darkest Dungeon. Following a year-long early access development phase, the game was first made available for Microsoft Windows and OS X in January 2016. It was released later that year for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Linux.
A port for iOS was made available in 2017, and by 2018, ports for the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch would be available. In the video game Darkest Dungeon, the player controls a team of heroes as they explore dungeons beneath a gothic mansion they have inherited.
The stress level of each hero rises with more exploration and combat; a character maintaining a high-stress level may acquire afflictions that will hinder or possibly improve their performance as an explorer. Darkest Dungeon is a real-time movement and turn-based combat game.
The game's logo also features the Stress Symbol or Iron Crown, a crescent with five inward-pointing spikes. The stress level of each hero rises with more exploration and combat; a character maintaining a high-stress level may acquire afflictions that will hinder or possibly improve their performance as an explorer.
Darkest Dungeon is a real-time movement and turn-based combat game. The game's logo also features the Stress Symbol or Iron Crown, a crescent with five inward-pointing spikes.
Final Fantasy Tactics
A 1997 tactical role-playing game called Final Fantasy Tactics was created and released by Square for the PlayStation gaming system. It is the first game in the Tactics series within the Final Fantasy franchise and the first set in the fictional world that would later become known as Ivalice.
Sony Computer Entertainment released it in Japan in June 1997 and in the US in January 1998. The story's protagonist is Ramza Beoulve, a highborn cadet caught in a military conflict known as The Lion War between two rival noble factions vying for the kingdom's throne.
Yasumi Matsuno, a newcomer who had developed the Ogre Battle series at Quest Corporation, started production in 1995. Matsuno wished for a playable tactical game with a plot that stressed class rivalry and the revision of history. Hiroyuki Ito designed the battles, Matsuno served as producer, and Hironobu Sakaguchi, Final Fantasy's creator, was the director and writer.
Several other staff members were Ogre Battle series veterans, including the creators Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata and the artists Hiroshi Minagawa and Akihiko Yoshida. Players in the tactical role-playing game Final Fantasy Tactics follow the adventures of Ramza Beoulve, the game's main character.
Battles and the world map are the game's two play modes. On three-dimensional, isometric battlefields, combat takes place. Character movement and action ranges are based on the character's statistics and job class on a battlefield of square tiles.
The terrain and weather on the battlefield also affect battles' strategic advantages and disadvantages. Battles are turn-based; a unit can act once its Charge Time (CT), a measure of time in battles, reaches 100 and once every CT unit, which is increased by a factor equal to the unit's speed statistic.
Every time a team completes an action in battle, it earns experience points (EXP) and job points (JP). Attacks can be made physically, magically, or by using an item. The player can see enemy units' hit points (HP), letting them know how much damage they still need to deal to a specific department (except for some bosses).
The Battle for Wesnoth
Turn-based high fantasy strategy video game The Battle for Wesnoth was created by Australian-American developer David White and first made available in June 2003. It is free and open-source. In Wesnoth, the player takes control of villages and kills enemies to gain experience assembling a solid army. The game is based on the Sega Genesis Warsong and Master of Monsters.
The Battle for Wesnoth shows how much gamers adore turn-based strategy games. This open-source, free game has a great fighting system and tons of content to keep players interested for days. A hexagonal map plays the turn-based wargame The Battle for Wesnoth.
The battle strategy aims to engage the enemy on the advantageous ground during a favourable hour of the day and, if possible, with solid or well-suited units. Other issues include controlling gold-producing villages for unit recruitment and positioning troops to impede enemy movement.
Wesnoth games are available as both multiplayer games and single-player campaigns. A hex-based wargame called The Battle for Wesnoth is played. The goal of battle strategy is to engage the enemy on good terrain at a good hour of the day and, if at all possible, with robust or well-suited units to the situation.
Other issues include capturing gold-producing villages for unit recruitment and positioning troops to impede enemy movement. Both single-player campaigns and multiplayer competitions are available in Wesnoth games.
The Banner Saga
A strategic role-playing video game called The Banner Saga was created by Stoic Studio and released by Versus Evil. In 2014, it was made available for personal computers and cell phones, in 2016 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.
The game, which takes place in a mythological Norse-inspired world, tells the tale of the player's caravan as they battle the Dredge, a warlike race that despises humans. Two playable characters are followed in the game, and their tales eventually converge. Depending on the choices made by the players, the interactive story changes.
Three former BioWare designers founded the studio that created the game called Stoic Studio. Through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, it was funded. The works of Don Bluth, Ralph Bakshi, and Eyvind Earle influenced the game's hand-drawn animation and visual design.
The Dallas Wind Symphony played the game's music, which Austin Wintory wrote. The Banner Saga: Factions, the multiplayer component, was made available as a free standalone game before the main game. The Banner Saga is an interactive story so that various things could happen or not based on the player's decisions.
The game follows two playable characters; each has a distinct plot that eventually combines into one. The game's main feature is a single-player campaign of turn-based battles modelled after Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force. The player controls and can assemble a party of characters with complementary skills.
The focus on a young, alone hero's story, looting and purchasing items, or loading a previously saved game state after a defeat are just a few of the conventions of action-oriented computer role-playing games that the game purposefully avoids. Instead, the designers wanted to tell the whole story of the player's caravan and inspire players to accept and deal with any defeats they might experience.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
A tactical role-playing video game called Fire Emblem: Three Houses was created by Intelligent Systems and Kou Shibusawa of Koei Tecmo, and Nintendo released it for the Nintendo Switch. The worldwide release date is July 26, 2019. The sixteenth game in the Fire Emblem series and the first for home consoles is Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, which debuted in 2007.
The three governing powers on the continent of Fódlan, where Three Houses are set, are currently at peace. A bridge between these nations is the Garreg Mach Monastery, which houses a church and an officer's school for students from each country.
Byleth, a new professor at the academy and a mysterious former mercenary, is the character that the player assumes. They must choose a class to guide and instruct their students through a series of battles. While keeping the turn-based tactical gameplay of the previous Fire Emblem games, the game also includes social simulation and time management elements.
Players control a player character in the tactical role-playing game Fire Emblem: Three Houses, whose gender and name are predetermined at the start of the game. The Garreg Mach Monastery, which serves as the focal point of the game's activities, asks the player character to teach there during its first few days of operation.
From that point on, the narrative is impacted by the decision of which house to teach. The player spends most of their time in Garreg Mach interacting with the staff and students and in story-based battles that advance the main plot.
The story jumps ahead five years and focuses more on the action, with the player confined to the house they made during the first half of the game, while the first half focuses on this school system.
Into The Breach
A turn-based strategy video game, Into the Breach, was created and released by the independent studio Subset Games, which comprises Justin Ma and Matthew Davis. After FTL: Faster Than Light, their second game is Into the Breach. Chris Avellone wrote the script, and Ben Prunty wrote the music.
It was released in February 2018 for Microsoft Windows, in August 2018 for macOS and the Nintendo Switch, and in April 2020 for Linux. Netflix released a version for iOS and Android mobile devices in July 2022.
In the novel Into the Breach, humanity faces off against a horde of enormous monsters known as the Vek. The player controls soldiers who pilot giant mechs that can be outfitted with various weapons, armour, and other gear to combat them. The game's turn-based combat system lets players plan how their team will react to enemy moves and actions that foreshadow their attacks.
The player will control three different mechs in the battle against the Vek, and each map's objective will have a set number of turns to be completed. Protecting civilian buildings that support the power grid that powers the mechs is the main objective of every map, but there may also be other goals.
The power grid is compromised if a civilian building is harmed or destroyed. With each turn, Vek forces will move around the board and engage in combat. The player can see the Vek unit's attack direction, number of possible moves, and remaining health. The screen also shows details regarding these Vek units.
A new Vek materialises after each turn. The player can then control each mech and use one of its weapons to either defeat the Vek unit, move the Vek out of the way of an attack, avoid an attack, stop a newly spawned Vek, or launch an attack on a structure housing civilians.
Mechs can only withstand a certain amount of damage in battle before becoming inoperable. While a player can have a mech idle for a turn to repair some damage, battle damage is otherwise fully repaired between maps.
Mech pilots gain experience points when they defeat a Vek, which they can then use to unlock new skills. Chess has been used to compare to Into the Breach's gameplay because it emphasises preserving positional control and unit sacrifices more than it does outnumber the opposition.
The turn-based 4X strategy game Sid Meier's Civilization VI was created by Firaxis Games, released by 2K Games, and sold by Take-Two Interactive. Aspyr Media published the Mobile port. A port of the most recent Civilization game was made available for Linux in February 2017 and iOS in December 2016.
The Nintendo Switch will be released in November 2018, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in November 2019, and Android in 2020. The most recent Civilization game was released on Microsoft Windows and macOS in October 2016.
While many returning civilizations have new rulers or capitals, the game includes several cultures that haven't appeared in previous iterations of Civilization. Avoiding having the player follow a pre-set path of advancements toward their civilization, as they had seen in earlier games, was a crucial design consideration.
Using districts outside the city centre to house most buildings is new to Civilization VI. For instance, a campus district must be created to house science-based facilities. A similar technology tree for cultural advancements, a more effective government civics structure for those pursuing cultural victory, and research on the game's technology tree based on nearby terrain are adding new features.
In the turn-based strategy video game Civilization VI, players compete against AI opponents controlled by computers to expand their civilization from a single tribe to dominate the entire planet over several eras of development.
To do this, one must fulfill one of several victory criteria, all of which are based on the four 4X gameplay pillars of "explore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate." Players manage a civilization of their choosing between the prehistoric era and the near future and advance its technology, culture, and governmental system.
In addition to exploring the randomly generated world and coming across other civilizations and barbarians, they discover cities and develop them by building mines, farms, and other improvements.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
A 4X turn-based strategy video game called Age of Wonders: Planetfall was created by Triumph Studios and released by Paradox Interactive. It has a sci-fi setting and is the fifth game in the Age of Wonders series. In August 2019, it was made available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
At launch, there were six distinct factions in the game, each with its units and gameplay. For instance, the Kir'ko are an insectoid species that primarily use melee combat, while the Amazon is an all-female human faction that uses dinosaurs as their mounts and weapons.
A customizable leader figure who can explore the planet, engage in diplomacy, support covert operations, and spying endeavors, and declare war is what the player controls as the commander of one of the factions. The procedurally generated world map is segmented into various categories.
Two distinct biomes in each sector can be used for production, food, research, and energy. These exploitations can be enhanced even more by putting iconic buildings in a biome. More cities will come under the control of the players as they grow, and each one can be managed independently.
Players can raid enemy camps to take their technology and scavenge resources on the map for research. Players will come across neutral factions on the map, with which they can join forces to gain more combat support.
The "Doomsday tech," a skill tree that eventually unlocks a weapon of mass destruction, is a concept that the game introduces. Players can also develop their faction's air force and navy fleets to increase their military might.
Developed by Amplitude Studios and released by Iceberg Interactive in September 2014 for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, Endless Legend is a turn-based 4X fantasy strategy game. The game's goal is to use one of the fourteen races or factions to conquer the Auriga world through either diplomacy or war while creating new technologies, exploring uncharted territory, and establishing new cities.
In the turn-based 4X strategy game Endless Legend, players command a fictional faction and attempt to build an empire through exploration, conquest, diplomacy, and research. The game is set in the country of Auriga, whose landmass and ecosystems are randomly arranged on a model-like map composed of a hexagonal grid for each game.
The terrain on the map is made up of different biomes from the world, each of which impacts the player's units. Each new playthrough creates a different playable world using randomly generated tiles and their arrangement.
The game's play area is covered in a fog of war, necessitating exploration by the player's units to locate resources, side factions, and races that they must use and exploit to advance their expanding empires. Endless Legend's world map comprises distinct regions, unlike other 4X games.
Once a city has been built within a region's boundaries for the first time, that faction gains control over the entire area. Each section starts the game with a settler unit to create its first city and region. Each region can only contain one town within its boundaries.
Video game publisher Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio created Stellaris, a 4X grand strategy title. In Stellaris, players are given control of an interstellar civilization and given the responsibility of colonising, exploring, and managing their sector of the galaxy on the galactic stage.
They might encounter other civilizations along the way that they can trade with, negotiate with, or even go to war with. A large portion of the game involves dealing with scripted and emergent events, through which new empires alter the balance of power, terrible crises threaten the galaxy, or event chains tell the story of forgotten realms.
On May 9, 2016, it was made available globally for Windows, macOS, and Linux. On February 26, 2019, Stellaris: Console Edition was made available for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Various future galaxy types are available in the real-time grand strategy game Stellaris.
Players assume the role of a species' government in the early days of interstellar space exploration following the development of faster-than-light (FTL) space travel, ready to stake a claim as one of "the species of the stars."
Depending on a number of variables, including the ethics of the civilization and the player's preferences, the empire's ultimate goal may range from galactic conquest, resource hoarding, technological superiority, to the peaceful coexistence with or eradication of all other sapient life.
Ships, such as those used for construction, science, and warfare, are under the player's control. Combat, which includes ground and space combat, focuses more on the big picture, planning, and strategy. Alliances and trade pacts with other races are additional diplomatic options.
Either choosing one of the premade empires or using an empire or species that the player has customized initiates the game. Making choices is a big part of the creative process. The first of these options entails choosing a combination of advantageous and disadvantageous traits ("Traits") that define their species. The player then tweaks their species' empire.
Turn-based tactical games might not be to everyone's taste, but dismissing them out of hand isn't a wise move either. After all, some games have such engaging gameplay that it doesn't matter how difficult it is to play them, while others pair their tactical combat with fantastic stories and incredible worlds that are a blast to explore.
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What exactly is a game with turns?
A turn-based strategy (TBS) game is where players alternate turns. These games are typically wargames, particularly strategic wargames, as opposed to real-time strategy (RTS), which allows for simultaneous play by all players.
How do games with turns work?
Time is treated as a distinct currency in turn-based games. It is presented in units, ranging from the straightforward "turn" to more intricate concepts like Action Points and phases. Players can use their real-world time carelessly to take full advantage of the game's turn-time.
Is the game of monopoly turn-based?
Four players take turns rolling two fair dice in the turn-based board game Monopoly, making decisions based on the squares they land on—the 40 square locations of the traditional Monopoly game board.
Are brain-healthy turn-based strategy games possible?
They enable the brain to function "sharper" to use a common phrase. This happens in every game that has obstacles to overcome. The constant need to balance systems and address multiple issues at once in games like strategy ones will help you become better at problem-solving.