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 IPAD Top List

Top 25 best strategy games on iPhone and iPad

25 essential games to have in your iOS collection
Product: Best iPhone games | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: iPhone, iPad
Updated July 13, 2018: New entries added

Strategy games. They're for hardcore PC gamers, with their mice (mouses?) and large screens and permanently furrowed brows. 

Making any such claim would be a serious strategic blunder, for on the App Store right now there are dozens of top notch strategy games that play beautifully on mobile devices.

And these big-guns have serious range: we've got epic historical strategy, squad-based sci-fi strategy, stripped-back abstract experiments, and massively multiplayer social city builders.

We haven't even included the compelling tower defence sub-genre, which deserves its very own top 25 list.

So, sit back, engage the strategic part of your brain, and start planning which of these games you're going to buy next.

#1 Sid Meier's Civilization VI

Product: Sid Meier's Civilization VIFormats: iPad, SwitchPublisher: Aspyr

Sid Meier's Civilization VI
It's Civilization VI on your iPad. Like, the actual Civilization VI, not some streamlined approximation. It's nothing less than one of the best and deepest strategy games on any platform.

#2 XCOM: Enemy Within

Product: XCOM: Enemy WithinFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, SteamPublisher: 2K GamesGenres: Strategy

XCOM: Enemy Within
XCOM has a reputation for being one of the finest squad-based strategy games around, with tense turn-based battles rendered in glorious 3D. This iOS conversion brings it to mobile without compromise.

#3 FTL: Faster Than Light

Product: FTL: Faster Than LightFormats: Android, iPad, SteamDeveloper: Subset GamesPublisher: Subset GamesGenres: Strategy

FTL: Faster Than Light
FTL tasks you with running your very own spaceship, allocating resources to the departments that need it most. But the real thrill is that you have to do this while fleeing through a hostile star system.

#4 Iron Marines

Product: Iron MarinesFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Ironhide Game StudioGenres: Strategy

Iron Marines
The maker of the peerless Kingdom Rush series proves that it can do classic RTS as well as its does tower defence. Iron Marines is brilliantly balanced, great to look at, and generally quite special.

#5 Banner Saga 2

Product: Banner Saga 2Formats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Stoic StudioGenres: RPG, Strategy

Banner Saga 2
Banner Saga 2 is such a brilliant genre mash-up, it's both a top RPG and a top strategy game. This beautiful Norse fantasy game features tense tactical turn-based battles and agonising strategic decisions have meaningful repercussions.

#6 SteamWorld Heist

Product: SteamWorld HeistFormats: iPhone, iPad, 3DS, PS VitaPublisher: Image & FormGenres: Adventure, Platform, Puzzle

SteamWorld Heist
SteamWorld Heist demonstrates that strategy games can be a zoomed-in, action-packed and even funny. This brilliant 2D squad-based game as you taking on robotic pirates with expertly placed ricochet shots.

#7 Invisible, Inc.

Product: Invisible, Inc.Formats: iPad, SteamPublisher: Klei EntertainmentGenres: Stealth, Strategy

Invisible, Inc.
Klei combines turn-based strategy with high-tech stealth in this beautiful isometric cyber-punk adventure.

#8 Kingdom: New Lands

Product: Kingdom: New LandsFormats: iPhone, iPadGenres: Adventure, Strategy

Kingdom: New Lands
This side-scrolling adventure is one of the most delicate, unassuming strategy games you'll ever play. Building your medieval kingdom and strengthening your defences is as simple as trotting left and right on a horse.

#9 ROME: Total War

Product: ROME: Total WarFormats: iPadPublisher: Genres: Strategy

ROME: Total War
One of the greatest and deepest real time strategy games ever made makes its way onto iPad, and it works shockingly well. ROME: Total War is the real deal.

#10 Warbits

Product: WarbitsFormats: iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Risky LabGenres: Multiplayer, Strategy

It doesn't look like we'll ever get Advance Wars on mobile, but Warbits is as close as it gets. This is colourful, intuitive turn-based strategy with a surprising amount of tactical depth.

#11 Templar Battleforce

Product: Templar BattleforceFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: Cory TreseGenres: Card/board game, RPG, Strategy

Templar Battleforce
Templar Battleforce takes the hardcore boardgame tactics of Space Hulk and expands it out into a brilliant mobile turn-based strategy game.

#12 Sid Meier's Starships

Product: Sid Meier's StarshipsFormats: iPad, SteamPublisher: FiraxisGenres: Strategy

Sid Meier's Starships
Sci-fi strategy on a grand scale, Sid Meier's Starships has got interplanetary diplomacy, deep space exploration, and plenty of pew pew laser battles.

#13 Crush Your Enemies

Product: Crush Your EnemiesFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadPublisher: GambitiousGenres: Strategy

Crush Your Enemies
Pocket real time strategy in its purest form, Crush Your Enemies whittles things down to a series of feisty minutes-long battles. It's just not a sharply-made RTS, but a funny game filled with foul-mouthed, half-drunk barbarians.

#14 Hero Academy 2

Product: Hero Academy 2Formats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: Robot Entertainment

Hero Academy 2
Hero Academy 2 starts slow, but blossoms into a brilliantly tactical turn-based experience. It's also an extremely polished, layered affair.

#15 Plague Inc.

Product: Plague Inc.Formats: Android, iPhone, iPad, SteamDeveloper: Ndemic CreationsGenres: Simulation, Strategy

Plague Inc.
We're all used to defending life in our strategy games - Plague Inc. tasks you with destroying as much of it as possible by spreading and mutating a horrible virus. It's dark, man.

#16 Frozen Synapse

Product: Frozen SynapseFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, PS Vita, SteamPublisher: Mode 7 GamesGenres: Strategy

Frozen Synapse
Some strategy games simulate the big, the epic, the expansive. Frozen Synapse goes in tight, letting you plan the individual seconds of a frantic gunfight between computer simulated warriors.

#17 Nobunaga’s Ambition

Product: Nobunaga’s AmbitionFormats: iPhoneDeveloper: Koei TecmoPublisher: Koei TecmoGenres: Strategy

Nobunaga’s Ambition
Strategy isn't all about the battlefield - it can also include diplomacy, subterfuge and logistics. Nobunaga's Ambition rolls all these elements into one ambitious but simply-presented package.

#18 Clash of Clans

Product: Clash of ClansFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: SupercellGenres: Strategy, Tower defence

Clash of Clans
Oooh, controversial pick. But there's no denying that Clash has done something super interesting with the strategy genre, making it truly social and accessible, and making defence as important as all-out attack.

#19 Battleplans

Product: BattleplansFormats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: C4M ProductionsGenres: Strategy

Battleplans is a thoroughly modern mobile strategy game hybrid, blending RTS, MOBA and base defence elements into a gloriously colourful whole.

#20 The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands

Product: The Bonfire: Forsaken LandsFormats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: Xigma GamesGenres: Strategy

The Bonfire: Forsaken Lands
An engaging and intuitive strategy game that offers genuine consequences for your decisions as you strive to keep your village alive and thriving. It's also beautiful, in its own sparse way.

#21 Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions

Product: Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the LionsFormats: Android, iPhone, PSP, iPadDeveloper: Square Enix Publisher: Square Enix Genres: RPG, Strategy

Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
Ignore the Final Fantasy branding - this is a deeply tactical squad-based strategy game with tense turn-based battles and a daunting number of variables.

#22 Rymdkapsel

Product: RymdkapselFormats: Android, iPhone, iPad, PS VitaPublisher: GrapefruktGenres: Strategy

An RTS stripped down to the bare essentials. Stuff like enemies, resources, and units get boiled down into basic shapes and colours, allowing you to concentrate on the game's taut and elegant strategy mechanics.

#23 First Strike

Product: First StrikeFormats: Android, iPhone, iPadDeveloper: Blindflug StudiosPublisher: Blindflug StudiosGenres: Strategy

First Strike
Strategy games don't need to be ponderous and small scale. First Strike concerns a global nuclear conflict, and each battle can be swept through in frighteningly quick time.

#24 Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?!

Product: Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?!Formats: iPhone, iPadPublisher: Daylight Studios

Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?!
Like the style of FTL, but find it a bit too hardcore or dry? Holy Potatoes! We're in Space?! is your midcore alternative, completr with cheeky humour and lovely cartoon graphics.

#25 Frontline: Road to Moscow

Product: Frontline: Road to MoscowFormats: iPhone, iPad, SteamPublisher: Slitherine SoftwareGenres: Hardcore, Simulation, Strategy

Frontline: Road to Moscow
Frontline: Road to Moscow is just one of several highly accomplished historical strategy games from Slitherine. Like the others, it's hard as nails, yet surprisingly accessible thanks to a streamlined interface.


Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy 16 October 2018
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