Best entry level strategy games?

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Jan 14, 2020
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After giving it some time, I thought of a few more excellent examples of (turn-based) strategy games that have a low barrier to entry, are relatively bite-sized and easy to parse. That they are as fun to look at as they are to play doesn't hurt either.


First on the list is Wargroove, the latest game by Chucklefish. It's an indie adaptation of the classic Advance Wars formula, a series of games that were at the height of their popularity in the days of the GBA and the Nintendo DS. This game sort of plays like chess with a rock-paper-scissors element to it, in that every unit is particularly strong against some other units but extra weak against others. For instance, pikemen are a hard counter to mounted units, but get destroyed by axemen. Catapults wreak havoc on cities but are literally defenseless against air units, etc.

The game's got a lengthy and fun campaign (soon with co-op), scenarios, a map editor, robust online multiplayer and even works cross-platform. I own it on Switch and play with my brother who's on PC!


Next is Into The Breach, the glorious roguelite strategy timebender from the creators of FTL. This game is brilliant in its simplicity. You are the commander of a squad of three mechs, trying to fend off an increasingly overpowering kaiju invasion. It's turn-based Pacific Rim, basically.

The gimmick here is that you can always predict accurately what your opponents are going to do, as they telegraph their moves and attacks. The game then becomes less about trying to predict their next move while constantly second-guessing yourself, and more about trying to make the best of a bad situation. You will only ever be a squad of 3, and enemy numbers are usually vastly superior. Moreover, mech pilots can level up and gain new abilities over the course of a run, but when they die they're gone for that run.

What's also pretty clever is that you can reset time after a failed run and start back at the beginning to try again. There's even multiple squads to unlock, and later in the game you will get to use mechs that turn the game into an extremely complex but super satisfying puzzler.


Last on my list of recommendations is Invisible, Inc. Just the title alone makes me want to play it again, it's so incredibly clever. I don't remember the specifics too well, but basically it's a roguelite turn-based stealth action game where you play as a small group of highly skilled hackers and infiltrators, trying to thwart dangerous corporations in a futuristic cyberpunk setting.

The different agents you have at your disposal all have very different abilities and therefore offer completely different playstyles. What's most fun about this game is that as you take longer to achieve your objectives, the game's enemies start becoming more aware of you and will eventually close in on you if you take to long. You're no soldier, and enemy contact will almost certainly spell doom for you. You will constantly be battling the clock to get in and out as quick as you can, while collecting as many goodies and clearing as many objectives as you can manage. This one can be a real heart-pounder and it's all the better for it.

There's many more games I can think of, but these in particular stand out to me as perfect introductions to one of the oldest and sometimes most complex genres in gaming. Into the Breach in particular is practically a must-play for every gamer and it's dirt cheap to boot, so there's no real excuse not to try it!

This is a good post. Tks for writing.
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Feb 10, 2020
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Got 430 hours clocked into Crusader Kings 2. The Paradox Grand Strategies are glorious and wonderful, but goodness, not entry level. Unless you want to kill OP! Wrangling the feudal obligations of a series of dukes and barons while juggling dynastic heirs and the nuances of cognatic primogeniture? Perhaps not on the first toe-dip into strategy!

Civ might be a good bet, too. A little bit more simple and straightforward. Endless Legend or Endless Space 2 if you want to rev up some of that old Master of Orion feel without getting buried in eyeballs-deep in Stellaris. RimWorld if you're looking for something truly punishing, and Dwarf Fortressy. You will lose, but half the fun is how horrific the loss is.
I got this game free but have been afraid to try it out. I don't think I ever played this type of strategy game.
I had a lot of fun with Dawn Of War 2 and the expansions. The absence of base building and the priority on managing the positioning of just three or four firesquads really streamlined things for me, it would probably make for a smoother transition from action genres.

Theres also really cool loot and customisation options for your squad leaders, campaigns for multiple factions and I believe the Retribution standalone expansion has something like a freeform campaign mode for more replayability. Highly recommended by someone who doesn't play a lot of strategy games.

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World in Conflict. One of my fav RTS games ever as its very accessible. Your army will probably consist of 10 units or less for the most part. There's very few keys to memorize, resource gathering is automatic, the game mechanics are easy to understand and you spend your time doing the exciting stuff instead of doing research or resource gathering.

Plus it helps that its a damn good game to play. Most missions take less then an hour to play so it doesn't get tedious and best of all, it feels like you're playing with super weapons as you spam artillery strikes, call in daisy cutters and even nukes to destroy the enemy.

The only draw backs is that the game is quite short. Even the gold edition which adds maybe 6 or 7 additional missions to few in the main game. There isn't a skirmish mode as such, i couldn't get a game going and the multiplayer is practically dead and the few that are around are apparently full of elitism so not exactly noob friendly.
Feb 15, 2020
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Its probably been mentioned already but Civilization V is a classic. Turn based strategy, easy to learn, hard to master. If you are looking for something more violent, Men of War Assault Squad II is a very good title. If you have ever heard of Company of Heroes, its basically a more hardcore version of that. Company of Heroes is also a good title.
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Mar 2, 2020
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I like "Vietnam ‘65 ". It has a more or less board game feel to it and at the same time plays a lot like an RTS with control points and such. It's a solid strategy game (and the sequel "Afghanistan '11") that can be played in short doses.