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Best Free Turn-Based Games On – December 2023

Written by Harry Ted Sprinks

Best Free Turn-Based Games

Despite Steam being a more popular platform choice for video games, Itch is a brilliant way to find and support lesser-known indie games. Thanks to the abundance of game jams hosted on the website, along with how easy Itch makes it to upload games, developers are releasing fresh new turn-based games all year round.

Better yet, at the time of writing, each game on this list can be played for free. However, some of these games are still in the form of jam entries, demos, and alpha builds.

Metal Mode

Best Free turn-Based Games
PlatformsWindows, HTML5
AuthorDevious Oatmeal
Made WithGameMaker
TagsStrategy, Tower Defense,

This turn-based strategy game is a well-polished jam entry that feels similar to the turn-based roguelike, Mainframe Defenders, with its mech theme and turn-based combat.

Metal Mode’s gameplay is fairly basic, but it features a unique mechanic that allows players to switch between two modes for their units, each of which has unique stats and movement patterns. However, Metal Mode is in an extremely early state, having only released in December of this year as an entry to the Big Mode game jam. 

Slipways Classic

Best Free turn-Based Games
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, HTML5
AuthorJakub Wasilewski
Made WithAseprite, PICO-8
Tags4x, Economy, Space

Slipways Classic is the original, smaller version of the Steam game, Slipways, that was released in 2021. Slipways Classic was developed in the lo-fi game development tool, PICO-8, and features a delightfully crunchy pixel art aesthetic accompanied by music reminiscent of old-school science fiction games.

While the Steam version of Slipways is undoubtedly more polished, there’s still plenty of fun to be had from playing Slipways Classic. Although the game is more of a puzzle game than a strictly turn-based game, with each action the player takes instantly passing a month of in-game time, fans of turn-based strategy are still likely to find fun in this game’s intricacies. 

Folder Dungeon

PlatformsWindows, HTML5
Made With
TagsStrategy, Dungeon Crawler

This unique roguelike dungeon crawler was made in a week for the Brackey’s Game Jam in 2023. Folder Dungeon tasks players with dungeon-crawling in traditional turn-based roguelike fashion, only instead of wandering through a procedurally generated dungeon, players click their way through a file explorer.

As its title suggests, Folder Dungeon represents game elements like doorways and corpses as folder icons. Other elements, like gold, enemies, and items, are represented with unique icons within folders. What makes Folder Dungeon so great is not only its unique aesthetic, but the fact that the game is played entirely with mouse clicks.

Titan Tactics

Free Tactics Games
StatusIn Development
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux
AuthorsTeam Potatocassioamara
Federico Calcherasimster
Made WithFL Studio, Godot, Aseprite
TagsRoleplaying, Retro, Tactical RPG

With clear inspirations from the original PlayStation game Final Fantasy: Tactics, Titan Tactics manages to recreate the visual style of 90s tactics games. The game features an isometric perspective, classic tactical gameplay, and presentation that remains faithful to its influences.

Titan Tactics is best played with a PlayStation controller, as the keyboard controls leave much to be desired at the time of writing. However, for fans of Final Fantasy: Tactics, Titan Tactics is a pleasant and nostalgic trip down memory lane.


PlatformsWindows, Android, HTML5
AuthorWired Dreams Studio
Made WithGameMaker
TagsStrategy, Roguelike, Grid

This turn-based roguelike features classic gameplay that has players spending action points to move around small grids, battling enemies and utilizing various abilities while avoiding enemy attacks. Undergrave features a solid pixel-art visual style, a simple roguelike structure, and a unique game mechanic that allows players to throw their swords.

Undergrave is currently a simple demo, but it’s already a game worth playing. The various abilities that Undergrave grants the player, combined with the easy-to-learn and hard-to-master gameplay, make it one of the more accessible – and unique – tactics games on Itch. For those who want a more fleshed-out version, Undergrave is also available on Steam.

Paper Soldiers

PlatformsWindows, HTML5
AuthorsAndriy Bychkovskyicaiabresebun
Made WithUnity
TagsStrategy, Deckbuilding, Low-poly

Created for the Global Game Jam in 2022, Paper Soldiers is a tile-based strategy game focused on playing cards and building a deck. The game’s low-poly 3D game board and the cartoon visuals of the cards make Paper Soldiers a joy to look at and perfectly complement its light-hearted gameplay.

Paper Soldiers features a typical fantasy story of leading a rebellion against a tyrannical leader, though the story is more of a set dressing than a focus. Paper Soldiers is easy to learn, primarily focusing on resource management and tactical choices. The game also adds a simplistic twist in which each card can be flipped, giving everything two purposes and ensuring that players always have a choice to make.


Made WithAdobe Photoshop, REXPaint, 
TagsStrategy, Procedural Generation,

Developed by the creator of the hit modern-classic roguelike, Cogmind, POLYBOT-7 was created for the 7DRL (seven-day roguelike) challenge back in 2018. POLYBOT-7 plays like a traditional roguelike, with turn-based movement and combat that plays out on a grid. Despite POLYBOT-7 and Cogmind sharing a similar presentation style and gameplay structure, POLYBOT-7 is a distinct experience.

Although POLYBOT-7 lacks the depth and variety of Cogmind, it’s still a well-polished experience with plenty of tactical choices to make. In POLYBOT-7, players take control of a robot that automatically attaches stray parts to itself, so long as there’s room. Players will constantly have parts shot off of them during a run, but destroying enemy robots allows players to replace their parts with ease. Because parts attach automatically, much of the strategy in POLYBOT-7 comes down to tactical positioning.


Made WithPICO-8
TagsStrategy, Dungeon Crawler,

This traditional roguelike was developed with PICO-8 and features near-monochrome pixel art visuals, challenging turn-based combat, and a classic dungeon-crawling structure. Due to Porklike’s clear inspirations from traditional games like Rogue, it can be a fairly unforgiving game. The gameplay is almost entirely focused on tactical positioning, but Porklike makes itself distinct with its unique item system.

In Porklike, players can collect items that give them limited-use abilities, each of which requires good timing and positioning to use effectively. Porklike also makes a unique choice not to include a wait button, meaning players must always be on the move. This often results in the player accidentally putting themselves in danger as they try to maneuver through multiple enemies at once.


PlatformsWindows, macOS, HTML5
AuthorBeardy Bard
Made WithUnity
TagsStrategy, Simulation, War

For those that prefer grander strategy, Geopolitics offers a turn-based war game on a global scale. Geopolitics features a highly simplistic aesthetic and gameplay that revolves around occupying enemy provinces using a combination of armies and gold. Players gain gold through their provinces, so it is integral that gold-generating provinces are protected. This leads to a game that focuses heavily on territory control and resource management.

Furthermore, losing control of all gold-generating buildings results in game over, meaning players have to carefully balance their focus between offence and defence. For players who enjoy grand strategy games and wide-scale tactics, Geopolitics is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Tanks of Freedom

StatusIn Development
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, 
Made With
TagsStrategy, Retro, War

This turn-based tactics game features old-school pixel art, vibrant colors, and a full campaign in which players battle against AI opponents. Tanks Of Freedom focuses on an action-point system, but with certain buildings that can grant additional action points, allowing players to build momentum throughout a mission.

Tanks Of Freedom also lets players use specific units to take over enemy buildings, allowing players to make risky pushes for tactically positioned buildings. As its title suggests, Tanks Of Freedom’s combat is heavily focused on trading fire with hulking tank units. Combat is extremely simple in Tanks Of Freedom, focusing more on tactical positioning than granular mechanics.

Solus Sector: Tactics

StatusIn Development
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, 
Made WithPhaser
TagsStrategy, Pixel Art, Tactical

This single-player tactics game has players progressing through a storyline, maneuvering fleets of spaceships across space battlegrounds against various enemies in fast-paced combat encounters. Solus Sector: Tactics feature simultaneous turns, meaning players have to think ahead and plan against their enemies in order to succeed.

Despite the game’s Steam page promising a full linear story, the small build available on Itch only features five missions. However, this free alpha build is worth playing in itself and helps give players a good idea of what the full game might be like.

Bumpers And Broadswords: Tournament

Made WithAdobe Photoshop, 
Audacity, GameMaker
TagsRole Playing, Retro,
Deck Building

This Yu-Gi-Oh! Inspired turn-based RPG looks and plays similar to classic top-down Pokemon games but with a unique twist. Bumpers And Broadswords features fast-paced, tactical combat that revolves around hurling units at enemies in order to bump into and damage them. This uniquely action-packed gameplay feels great to play, and keeps the turn-based structure from bogging down the game.

Bumpers And Broadswords: Tournament features a city to explore, a variety of different ‘Bumpers’ that encourage a variety of play-styles, and even an endless mode for players to enjoy once they’ve beaten the game. Bumpers And Broadswords: Tournament’s beautifully-realized GameBoy Color presentation also helps to support its wonderfully nostalgic gameplay.


Although many great turn-based indie games are released every year on Steam, the brutal algorithm and sheer saturation of the market make it hard to find unique titles. While not every game on this list may be a fully realized product with polished gameplay and high-budget presentation, there’s an abundance of charm and ingenuity to be found in smaller, free games available on platforms such as Itch, and these games are just a handful of needles in the haystack.

If there’s a well-made, free game available on Itch that didn’t make it to this list, be sure to let us know on Discord, Twitter, and on our YouTube channel.


Photo of author

Harry Ted Sprinks

With a deep love for strategy games that began when he first played Stronghold as a kid on his parents’ home computer and a passion for linear narrative games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead and old-school shooters like Blood and DOOM, Harry loves video games of all shapes and sizes. His knowledge of games new and old is broad, but Harry’s biggest passion is indie games, which he loves to champion in his writing. Harry’s favorite games include old-school rogue-likes like Caves Of Qud, older RTS titles such as Red Alert 3, modern classics like Halo 3, and survival-horror games like Resident Evil. When he isn’t writing or playing games, Harry can likely be found developing small games of his own or making music. Although Harry enjoys the occasional AAA game, his attention is primarily focused on representing indie games.