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Top 10 Turn-Based Strategy Games Of 2023

Written by Tominator2


Looking for something new to start the new year?  Was Lord of the Rings: Gollum not what you were hoping for? Did Hellboy: Web of Wyrd become Hellboy: The Uninstalled?  Are you tired of snarky rhetorical questions?

Then you have come to the right place. Any of the following 10 Turn-Based Strategy Games would make a worthy addition to your library and provide hours of entertainment. As in any top-10 list, you cannot please everyone, but you will certainly find something to like in this bunch.

SpellForce: Conquest of Eo

Spellforce Conquest of Eo Key Art
Release DateFebruary 3, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperOwned by Gravity
PublisherTHQ Nordic
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic,
Xbox Series X|S,

Another game set in the world of Eo, SpellForce goes for more strategy and 4X elements and fewer RPG mechanics. The result is a solid medieval/magic/melee turn-based strategy game. This is the sort of game that you can spend a long time with and still feel like you have not explored everything the game has to offer. Starting off, it is best to look toward balanced stacks. A mixture of melee and ranged troops is good, along with some healers. Do not forget to have enough gold to keep everything running while you research new spells and craft new items. The complexity of the game unfolds as it progresses, making for a nice learning curve.

The setting is not likely to provide any surprises – the standard orcs, dwarves, elves, and so on predominate.  But if you are looking for a comfortable title at a reasonable price, you cannot go wrong with SpellForce.

Galactic Civilizations IV: Supernova

Release DateApril 26, 2022
DeveloperStardock Entertainment
PublisherStardock Entertainment
Available OnSteam, Epic

Everybody likes Galactic Civilizations IV, right? No? It could have done a few things better? Well, Supernova is out to remedy that. Custom civilization creation has been improved with the addition of some spiffy new AI.  In fact, it has been improved to the point that creating your own civilization might be half the fun. The rest of the game is better, also, with interface improvements and changes to game pacing, particularly in the end game.

This is not an expansion that will completely overhaul the way the base game plays. GalCiv was, and remains, the space-based 4X standard (sorry, Master of Orion, but your sequels have not been great). Supernova fixes some of the problems with the base game, polishes some of the strong parts, and leaves GalCiv as the best all-around space-based 4X in town.

Revival: Recolonization

Revival: recolonization
Release DateJune 28, 2023 (Early Access)
DeveloperHeroCraft PC
PublisherHeroCraft PC, Gamersky Games
Available OnSteam, GOG

A 4X set in a post-apocalyptic world, R:R has a very “Civilization-meets-weird-medieval-stuff-and-robots” feel. It throws in some interesting additional mechanics, including distinct eras, emissaries, and methods to change the terrain and climate of the world itself. Still, in early access, this one is worth looking into as it continues to surprise during development (especially given the price).

Battle For Wesnoth

Release DateJune 18, 2003
PlatformsPC, Mobile
DeveloperThe Battle For Wesnoth Project
PublisherWesnoth Inc.
Available OnSteam, App Store,
Google Play

While technically not released during 2023 – the initial release was in 2003 – The Battle for Wesnoth has been regularly updated for the entire 18 years of its existence (including 2023). The granddaddy of free, open-source 4X games, Wesnoth is set in your standard high-fantasy realm: elves, dwarves, humans, orcs, undead, and dragons are standard denizens.

Graphics are basic but clear and functional. It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. A real strength of the game is its openness to being modded. As an open-source project, anyone can download the source code and make whatever changes they desire. If a mod is judged worthy, it can even be accepted as part of the base game. Wesnoth is fun as both a game and as an introduction to game development for the curious. Also, it is free, so the entertainment-to-price ratio is good.

Victoria 3

Release DateOctober 25, 2022
DeveloperParadox Development Studio
PublisherParadox Interactive
Available OnSteam

This one is a bit of a reach, as it is neither turn-based nor was it released in 2023 (it is continuous-time and was released in October 2022). It is included here because of how is played – there will be much pausing while you figure out what to do – and the release schedule – there have been several major releases this year that have changed important parts of the gameplay.

The basic conceit is that you are the leader of a country in the 1800s-1900s, roughly the period that saw the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and World War I. Your job is to industrialize your country by incorporating technologies such as steam power and railroads into your economy while maintaining and upgrading your military.

The biggest controversy surrounding the game is its abstract approach to military matters. For the most part, wars are a matter of throwing units into the fight until one side wins. Tactics are mostly absent. The important part of a war is everything that leads up to it; in particular, how can one build an economy that can train, equip, and supply a large modern military? It’s worth it for an interesting look at an underappreciated aspect of running a nation: getting everyone fed.

Master of Magic: Rise of the Soultrapped

Release DateAugust 28, 2023
DeveloperMuHa Games,
Eerie Forest Studios
PublisherSlitherine Ltd.
Available OnSteam, GOG, Epic

This is the remake, released in December of 2022, but with continued updates through 2023. It was initially intended as simply a graphical update of the 1994 original with minimal changes to mechanics. As such, many games have come out since 1994 that have improved on the basic premise, including SpellForce: Conquest of Eo and Dominions V. This does not make MoM a bad game, just that many of the mechanics will feel “old hat” to newer players.

The Soultrapped expansion shows that the MoM engine still has plenty of life in it. The Soultrapped is a new semi-steampunk race that slots right into the already-existing races. A new school of magic is added, along with new spells, wizard traits, dungeons, and many other features. For a game that prides itself on its variety, this expansion pack provides more, and there looks to be room for even more in the future. This is the sort of game that you can spend a great deal of time on and still not do everything.

Jagged Alliance 3

Jagged Alliance 3 Key Art
Release DateJuly 14, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox, PlayStation
DeveloperHaemimont Games
PublisherTHQ Nordic
Available OnSteamGOGXbox,

On the list of series that everyone likes is the Jagged Alliance franchise. Jagged Alliance 3 is a worthy addition to the franchise. Admittedly, it took 20-some years for it to be released, but better late than never, as the Victoria 3 developers say.

You are in charge of a ragtag group of mercenaries hired to rescue the kidnapped president of some obscure African country. You will have to hire some subset of a varied, individualistic group of characters, each with their own personality and abilities. These lovable (?) ruffians will engage in a series of tactical battles to accomplish various objectives.

The heart of the game is resource management: individual soldiers only have so many action points, ammunition is always at a premium, and everyone must be paid, or they will leave. Success requires thoughtful play.

The lamplighters League

The Lamplighters League Key Art.
Release DateSeptember 28, 2023
PlatformsPC, Xbox
DeveloperHarebrained Schemes
PublisherParadox Interactive
Available OnSteam, Epic, Xbox One,
Xbox Series X|S

This is a bit of a controversial choice as critical reception was mixed, and commercial reception was so poor it resulted in layoffs at the developer (who then parted ways with the publisher). Despite all the noise, the game itself is not bad – just overhyped. The bones of it are similar to X-COM: turn-based tactical combat with customizable agents.

A few new mechanics are thrown in: Before the battle starts, there is a real-time phase. There are random cards that can augment or hinder your agents, and you will need to manage their stress levels, among others. Not all of them work, but the 1930s adventure flavor and the “player against the world” feel carry the game.

Unity of Command 2

Release DateNovember 12, 2019
Developer2×2 Games, Croteam
Publisher2×2 Games
Available OnSteam

A definite improvement over its predecessor, Unity of Command 2 is a straightforward war game. Basically, if Victoria 3 works on the grand strategy level of controlling a nation and supporting a military, Unity of Command concentrates on controlling that nation’s military while at war.

You are in command of Allied forces on the western and African fronts of WW2. There is no option to make peace and nothing much in terms of advancing technology. Instead, as an operational-level game, the complexity lies in maintaining supply lines, hedging against bad weather, outmaneuvering the enemy, and all the other details that make for a successful campaign.

While this can sometimes devolve into puzzle-solving (looking at you, Unity of Command 1), UoC2 makes these issues feel like a natural part of being in command. You are not trying to figure out what the developers wanted you to do; instead, you are doing the necessary things to meet your objective. Definitely a must-have for computer wargamers out there.

Second Front

Release DateJanuary 31, 2023
PublisherMicroProse Software
Available OnSteam

Another WW2 game? While Unity of Command 2 is concerned with the operational level of a campaign, Second Front lives at the tactical level of battles: instead of battalions and corps, you get squads and individual vehicles. It is unashamedly a descendant of cardboard counter tabletop games, with obvious hexes and simple (yet informative) graphics.

The complexity is all in the combat simulation. Each unit has a long list of properties that affect its fighting ability. The are several phases during which different types of actions can be taken. There is a unit facing and flanking. Tanks can button up (but lose the ability to see much). Units can take cover and be dislodged. I could go on about the options available to the player, but you would be better off just buying the game and seeing for yourself.