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There is a wealth of free online strategy games available. However, most of them are in the tower defense genre. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you want to play a free online strategy game which isn’t about tower defense your pickings are slimmer. But never fear – I’m about to highlight three great free strategy games which you need to check out and which don’t have a thing to do with defending towers.
Steambirds is a funny game. It covers a set of historical battles set in an alternative universe where old-school dogfighting never gets old. Dogfighting doesn’t immediately fire up images of strategy – usually quick reflexes dominate such encounters – but Steambirds defies all expectations and manages to provide a convincing turn-based strategy experience.
Flight in Steambirds is a 2D affair, which isn’t surprising considering that it is a flash based game. The strategy of the game comes from figuring out how to best maneuver the aircraft under your command so that they can take out enemy fighters without taking damage in return. Different aircraft have different weapons and can turn at different rates, and figuring out how to maneuver your fighters is quite challenging.
The game’s campaign consists of sixteen missions. They are very easy to begin with, consisting of dog-fights between fighters which can shoot targets ahead of them. However, enemies quickly become more difficult, adding turrets and poisonous clouds to their arsenal. You’ll have to think hard about your strategy in order to defeat the last few levels.
A long time ago there was a game called Stars! – yes, the exclamation point was part of the name. Stars! was not a free online strategy game, but rather a great space strategy game which abstracted empire-building. Ships could be customized, but were represented only by numbers on-screen, and planets only had a few resources and a few buildings which could be constructed. This simplicity made grand strategy the game’s focus, and diplomacy also was of critical important in the game’s email-based multiplayer mode.
Neptune’s Pride is a modern rendition of Stars! which provides a new coat of paint and a vastly improved multiplayer mode. It isn’t exactly the same – ship customization is out, for example, and there are only two resources rather than four – but Neptune’s Pride remains a grand-strategy game which focuses on diplomacy. Defeating your enemies is difficult if you go it alone. Alliances are created and fall apart as the game progresses.
There are many free games available in Neptune’s Pride which you can join any time you’d like. You only have to pay if you want to create a custom game type. You can also avoid paying even when hosting custom games by winning free games – you will be awarded credits which can be used to create custom games.
Infectonator: World Dominator
You’ve fought zombies in countless games. You’ve beat in the heads of the undead thousands of time with crowbars, pipes, shovels and all sorts of other weapons. But what if you were the undead – and evil mastermind plotting to take over the world with your own zombie minions?
That is the premise of Infectonator: World Dominator. It is a fun one, and is reinforced by a 8-bit graphical style which sets the game apart from many other less well developed free online strategy games. The gameplay of Infectonator is frantic, and focuses on how your position your zombies. They are spawned by setting of a zombie virus which infects people, and those people turn into zombies and then infect other people. You don’t control the zombies individually, but your decision of who to infect, when to infect them, and where to infect them controls the final outcome. Your goal is to destroy a town by killing everyone in it, but the population won’t go down without a fight once you progress past the first few levels.
As you defeat towns in Infectonator: World Dominator you gain money which can be used to buy upgrades for your zombies or to purchase special zombies. The special zombies are what really make Infectonator one of the best free online strategy games. They have special powers which will change the outcome of an invasion, and you’ll have to learn their strengths in order to defeat the biggest, toughest towns in the game.
Free online strategy games are a bit rarer than shooters, tower defense and role-playing games, but these three games prove that there are good free strategy games available. Best of all, these games have a lot of life, so they should keep you busy for weeks if not months.
If we have forgotten any other good free online strategy games, do let us know about them in the comments.