Gaming

The 10 Best Free Turn-Based Strategy Games to Play

Joe Keeley Updated 20-07-2020

Turn-based strategy games have a slower pace than real-time strategy games. But that’s part of their appeal. You can take your time to think and react to other player’s moves.

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If you want to play some fun turn-based strategy games, we’ve got you sorted. As these are some of the best free turn-based strategy games that you can play right now.

1. Freeciv

freeciv

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 the style of that game. It retains the older 2D graphics (though there is a 3D WebGL version) and many features, such as the simplified combat system.

This will be interpreted as advantages to some; the direction of the Civilization series since Civilization II isn’t universally loved.

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Are you a Civilization fan? Then here’s how to play Civilization on your smartphone 5 Ways to Play Civilization on Android and iPhone Here are several ways you can play the Civilization games on your Android or iOS smartphones and tablets. Read More .

2. Freeorion

freeorion

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 wobbled. It’s understandable then that a free project would begin.

Freeorion hasn’t been around nearly as long as Freeciv, 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. The graphics are better tailored for high-resolution displays and the menus are large and boast very crisp text.

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3. Megamek

megamek

This 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 at 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 board games, it could get bogged 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.

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4. Battle for Wesnoth

battle for wesnoth

Battle for Wesnoth is a free turn-based strategy game with a high fantasy campaign that spans many centuries, set across the land and sea and with quests like reclaiming a throne or uncovering magical jewels. Once you’re done with the game’s missions, you can download lots of community-created campaigns.

There’s also an excellent online mode, where you can choose between seven factions and battle friends and strangers in over 50 maps. You can even create your own map and take it online.

5. Colonist

colonist

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If you like turn-based strategy games, you’ve likely played the board game Settlers of Catan. Colonist is a free web alternative to that, built in HTML5 so it will work on your desktop, smartphone, and tablet alike.

In the game, you control a colonist and your aim is to build a civilization and expand your territory. Build settlements, gain points, and avoid attacks from enemies. You can either play solo against the computer, or battle it out against others online.

If you enjoy Colonist, here are some excellent Settlers of Catan sites and apps 5 Essential Settlers of Catan Sites and Apps for Tips, Tricks, Strategy, and More The Settlers of Catan is among the most popular new board games in the world. These sites and apps can make your next play more fun. Read More .

6. Geopolitics

geopolitics

Geopolitics is your classic real-time strategy game that is all about conquering the world. You begin with control of a capital which generates gold. You then need to use this gold to buy an army and occupy nearby provinces to expand your power.

Geopolitics isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s simple, fun, and has a nice charm thanks to its pixel art. As an added bonus, it can be run entirely in your browser and requires no downloads.

7. Remnants of the Precursors

Remnants of the Precursors is another free real-time strategy game that clones the features of the 1993 classic Master of Orion. This is a downloadable game that is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

In Remnants of the Precursors, you choose your alien race and then lead it to galaxy domination. You do this through developing technology, exploring space, and colonizing where you can. Come for the fun animal/space hybrid artwork, stay for the deep strategy.

8. RISK: Global Domination

risk global domination

The Risk board game has been around in various forms since 1957. RISK: Global Domination is a free-to-play version that you can grab from Steam. In case you don’t know, in Risk you need to control all the territories on the map and take down the other players as you do so.

This version features multiple modes, like single player and online multiplayer, over 40 maps, lots of scenarios, and various difficulty settings to adjust to your play style. It also links in with the iOS and Android apps.

9. Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena

tactical monsters rumble arena

If you’re after more of a lighthearted turn-based strategy game, then Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena is for you. It pits monsters like Medusa, Frankenstein, and Bigfoot against one another in matches that last between three and five minutes.

There’s an adventure mode that you can work through to unlock more monsters, which you can then unlock moves and skills for. There’s also a fun endless survival mode if you want to put your wits to the test.

10. Age of Conquest IV

age of conquest iv

Age of Conquest lets you control armies across the world and throughout history, like the Roman Empire, Chinese Dynasties, the Incas, and more. You must expand your nation while controlling diplomacy, finances, and resources.

When you get bored with the single-player campaign, you can hop online to challenge friends and foes alike. There’s also a great map editor so that you can build your own campaigns or download other people’s to create hours of endless fun.

More Free Strategy Games Worth Playing

There are lots of turn-based strategy games to buy, but why pay a dime when these free ones will keep you entertained for hours on end. And if you enjoy the strategy genre and want more free fun, check out the best strategy games for your browser The 6 Best Browser Strategy Games to Play for Hours The best browser strategy games are free, available to play on any web browser, and rival even the best console strategy games. Read More .

Related topics: Free Games, Game Recommendations, Multiplayer Games, Online Games, Strategy Games.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Rose West
    April 9, 2011 at 6:22 am

    itsyourturn.com for more traditional based games like chess, chinese checkers, reversi, etc

  2. Rose West
    April 9, 2011 at 4:22 am

    itsyourturn.com for more traditional based games like chess, chinese checkers, reversi, etc

  3. Horst
    March 30, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    crimson fields?

  4. Vitalogst
    March 29, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    If you have an Android phone, a really great sci-fi strategy game is Star Traders RPG by the Trese Brothers.

  5. Greg
    March 29, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Great games

  6. D00msay3r3
    March 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Do any of these support turn based play through email? I think that is a greatly overlooked way to play with our busy lives. I could be playing several games at once with friends and family.

  7. Zanderez
    March 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    You should include "Battle for Wesnoth" up there found at http://www.wesnoth.org/

    It is a free open source cross platform fantasy style game with an active community that creates a lot of user content in the form of additional units and new campaigns.

  8. Zanderez
    March 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    You should include "Battle for Wesnoth" up there found at http://www.wesnoth.org/

    It is a free open source cross platform fantasy style game with an active community that creates a lot of user content in the form of additional units and new campaigns.

    • Aibek
      March 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm

      thanks for the input, looks like a nice game