Unfortunately, being niche means there are fewer free games to choose from, but some do exist. Let’s take a look at a few rare, free turn-based gems.
This flash-based strategy game pays homage to Advanced Wars, the simple but fun turn-based strategy game found on the DS. As such, Battalion: Nemesis betrays its very serious name and instead shoots for pure camp, with cartoony graphics and secret levels that feature popular gaming characters.
Serious and strategy don’t always have to go together, however. The strategy of Battalion: Nemesis often focuses on terrain and unit combinations, so you have to pay attention to what you’re placing on the field if you want to achieve victory.
Remember Heroes of Might and Magic? Although the recent renditions of that franchise have been less than amazing, playing the first few titles in the series as left me with an occasional, reoccurring itch for a fantasy turn-based strategy game. If you’re feeling that, Fantasy Kommander will likely be right up your alley.
The game is a bit thick on story for a Flash title, but you can skip the elaborate cut-scenes and get down to the meat of things easily. Once you do, you’ll find a deep game where unit combinations, unit type and terrain are all a major factor. There are also, of course, the appropriate fantasy units including knights, wizards and more.
Founded in 1996, the Freeciv project is one of the oldest and most well regarded free turn-based strategy games ever released. This is for good reason, as while most free turn-based games are flash based, Freeciv is a fully downloadable and incredibly complete game with features like multiplayer.
The project began in the same year Civilization II was released, so it’s little surprise that Freeciv largely replicates that style of game. It retains the older 2D graphics and many features, such as the simplified combat system. Still, this will be interpreted as advantages to some; the direction of the Civilization series since Civilization II isn’t universally praised.
If you’d like to know more, you can check out Ryan’s full article on Freeciv.
Obviously taking inspiration from Freeciv, Freeorion is a project that attempts to replicate the glory of the original Masters of Orion. While Civilization is a series that has moved on, Masters of Orion hasn’t. After the introduction of the universally panned third entry into the series, the franchise died. It’s understandable then that a free project would begin.
Freeorion hasn’t been around nearly as long as Freeciv, and it isn’t quite as feature-rich yet, but it’s still an excellent choice if you like turn-based space strategy games. The style is very reminiscent of the first two games, but it’s also evident that the Freeorion project is relatively new. The graphics are better tailored for high-resolution displays and the menus are large and have very crisp text.
Hopefully this freeware game will have a life as long and illustrious as Freeciv’s.
This java-based downloadable game is a recreation of the once popular Battletech board game, which is the inspiration for the Mechwarrior series. In Megamek, you command a number of huge, hulking warrior machines in battle against an opposing force of the same. You will have a number of lasers and missiles are your disposal.
Megamek includes an AI opponent for offline play, and it is reasonably competent, but the real fun of Megamek is the multiplayer. Battletech is fun to play, but like most complex boardgames, it could bog down under the weight of its own rules. With the computer handling the complexity you’re free to play the game and pay attention to your battalion of battlemechs.
These five turn-based strategy games are among the most popular I know of, but they’re certainly not the only ones available. If you’re having fun with a particular free turn-based title let us known in the comments. And if you’re not concerned about keeping in the turn-based genre, check out our recommendations of the 3 best strategy games.