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Download and conquer: the best strategy games for Android and iOS

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Tablets and smartphones are the ideal platforms for strategy games. Fortunately, there are many excellent titles from this genre to keep you occupied for hours on end. In this list, we'll introduce you to a slew of fantastic strategy games for Android and iOS.

Strategy game fans, listen up! Our list of the best strategy games has gone through a purge, and we took this opportunity to remove some of the outdated information while throwing in a bunch of newer titles that are making waves in the gaming market. New to this list are the first five games listed. As with our recent gaming list updates, we have also opened the doors to iOS gamers, listing down the Apple App Store links for your convenience.

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Since gaming preference is a very personal thing, this is a highly subjective list. We are always open to hearing other recommendations from our readers. If you happen to be a strategy game aficionado and are dying to share a title that we have missed out on here, let us know! All right, enough yapping for now, check out our recommendations below.

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Bad North: Jotunn Edition

Bad North: Jotunn Edition is a strategy game where you have to quash evil that is spreading across multiple islands simultaneously. This iOS and Android game will require you to defend islands against the bloodthirsty Viking hordes that arrive in waves from time to time, and it is up to you to use the different terrain on the islands to your advantage.

As with games of this genre, you will have to ensure that your troops get upgraded from time to time, in addition to clever deployment for maximum effect. With the inclusion of unlockable upgrades, even the most inept island inhabitant will eventually end up as a useful warrior.

  • 4.4 stars on Google Play / 3.1 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $5.49 (Android), $4.99 (iOS)
  • In-App purchases: No

Card Thief

Card Thief is probably the closest thing that we have to a hybrid card and strategy game. The aim of the game is to not only steal riches as a master thief but also to go about doing your job undetected by guards and other security apparatus. Sounds like an interesting take on the old PC game Thief! In order to go about your task, there is a random pile of cards at the beginning and you will have to fulfill your task based on the hand that has been dealt. Needless to say, a good hand will make life much easier for you in disappearing with the loot safely.

Each round will last only two to three minutes each, making the game perfect for moments when you are waiting for the bus or train, or other similar situations. While the iOS version has no free version, Android offers you a free version that is full of ads. Needless to say, paying for it will remove the ads and unlock the full game.

  • 4.3 stars on Google Play / 4.5 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: Free with in-game ads (Android) / $2.99 (iOS)
  • In-app purchases: Yes (Android) / No (iOS)

Pocket City

You know that Pocket City owes its existence to the grand-daddy of all city simulation games, SimCity, right? Here, you'll be building a town, making sure that shops, private homes, and factories are all properly set up to get the city rolling. In addition, it is your role to ensure that all of your citizens are kept happy. Recycling this old game concept makes Pocket City feel like a clone, but the basic game mechanics continue to inspire and entertain you so many decades later with this city simulation game.

Nice: You pay once Three Fuffzich and are then through with the theme - no microtransactions that go on your nerves and to the wallet.

  • 4.0 stars on Google Play / 4.5 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $2.99 (Android) / $2.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: No

The Escapists 2

The Escapists 2 lives up to its name, as this title, is all about escaping. Unlike the aforementioned Card Thief, however, here you're not breaking out of the home where you have carted off all its valuables, but busting yourself out of jail. Also, this strategy game requires you to act as inconspicuously as possible in a clever manner.

As you are already an inmate, it makes perfect sense for you to make yourself scarce as getting caught would mean extra time behind the bars. Increase your chances by buying, bartering, or even beating your way out of prison! A nice touch is the ability for this game to be played locally with up to four people simultaneously.

  • 4.4 stars on Google Play / 4.7 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $6.99 (Android), $1.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: No

The Banner Saga

With The Banner Saga, we're diving deep into Norse mythologies with a game that carries both strategy and role-playing themes. You can probably guess who the poor sod is that goes out into the world to save your clan against an insane number of enemies? That's right, it is you, the game's protagonist on both iOS and Android platforms.

A turn-based combat system with 25 playable characters at your disposal makes for a compelling argument. Every decision you make alters the course of the game, and this includes dialogues and battle outcomes. The game hasn't been updated in a few years now, but still obtains consistently good reviews. If you are already hooked by the game, why not check out the second installment of the series?

  • 4.2 stars on Google Play / 4.7 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $9.99 (Android), $9.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: No

Strategy game for dictators: Tropico

Tropico should be familiar to many of you. After all, the strategy game has been available on the PC for a long time now. In principle, it's about managing an entire country. But in this case, you run your very own Caribbean island as a dictator, carefully balancing both ruling and living it up. Build military bases and schools, industries, and farms, all on your own island. Oh yes, and do your best to avoid any uprisings or rebellions along the way.

  • 4.3 stars on Google Play / 4.7 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $11.99 (Android), $11.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: No

The graphics are certainly not the best, but it is the strategy part that remains compelling. A tutorial will help you learn everything you need to know before getting started. Your advisors will also help you keep an eye out for any issues or potential problems. It's up to you whether you take a more moderate approach or decide on a heavy-handed approach!

Strategy game for alien fans: XCOM: Enemy Within

XCOM: Enemy Within is an impressive title as it proves just how exciting turn-based strategy games can be. The story unfolds around an alien invasion on Earth. The reason why you are rooting for your soldiers is partly due to the challenging enemy AI, which often places you under a lot of pressure. One small mistake can be fatal.

On the other hand, the XCOM fighters grow on you in the course of the extremely very tactical battles, as they collect better equipment and hone their abilities. The gloomy atmosphere of XCOM: Enemy Within pulls you into the game's universe. The multiplayer mode is also very well executed. Some moves trigger cutscenes - showcasing really excellent graphics on a mobile device.

  • 4.2 stars on Google Play / 4.5 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $4.99 (Android), $4.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: No
xcom enemy within
XCOM: Enemy Within / © Screenshot: NextPit

Battles in Ancient Rome: Rome: Total War

The Total War game library is a well-known strategy series on the PC, famous for immersive combat, historical accuracy, and having large numbers of soldiers flood your screen in engaging, heated battles. Such strategy battles are now possible on Android and iOS devices, sporting new controls that were optimized for touchscreens.

As the name suggests, you'll find yourself in ancient times, with a strong focus on the Roman Empire and its famous legions. But you'll also be fighting against/as various other ancient armies from 19 other factions. With fantastic graphics and top-notch gameplay, Rome: Total War is well worth the hefty price tag. However, it is best to get a high-powered smartphone to enjoy this title to the fullest, so make sure you don't install this on any entry-level smartphones!

  • 4.5 stars on Google Play / 4.8 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $9.99 (Android), $9.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: No

Strategy game for mages: Chaos Reborn: Adventures

Chaos Reborn: Adventures is a challenging strategy game based on the idea of X-COM creator Julian Gollop. It is worth exploring, having been set in a fantasy universe where two wizards face off in an enchanted battle map. You have the power to summon creatures and cast spells, doing so to defeat your rival.

Chaos Reborn is a premium game that is also available on the PC, making this one of the pricier titles on the Android and iOS platforms. However, for $10, you get an exciting strategy game that will captivate you. The learning curve can be a bit steep, taking a fair amount of time to pick up, but once you get the hang of the game mechanics and options, it is a real mind-bender pulling out all the stops in defeating your enemy.

  • 4.0 stars at Google Play / 5.0 stars at Apple App Store
  • Price: $9.99 (Android), $9.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: Yes

Strategy game for robot fans: Gladiabots

Gladiabots is a fun strategy game that pits teams of robots against each other. There is one catch: These robots are autonomous, so you can't control them directly. However, you can influence the way they behave by following the AI  that you have pre-programmed. But you don't have to take a programming course beforehand, although you can get a peek into artificial intelligence while playing.

You key in programming instructions for your robot team using simple flowcharts, where you specify actions and conditions while hoping these are enough to obtain victory. The game teaches you the basics through a well-designed tutorial and introduces you to various step-by-step concepts.

  • 4.6 stars on Google Play / 5.0 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: Free (Android) / $4.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: Yes

Strategy game for medics: Plague Inc.

Plague Inc. is already a few years old, but it hasn't lost any of its appeal because of the passage of time. Whether it is morally reprehensible to spread a plague all over the world and thus wipe out the earth's population is something everyone must decide for themselves.

The fact is that Plague Inc. is an excellent strategy game on both Android and iOS platforms, where the player is given many tactical options to...unleash an unstoppable plague upon humanity. Chilling, considering the times we live in!

By doing so, you'll be introduced to a comprehensive tutorial that will help you in your quest to infect over 50 different countries using 12 different types of diseases. Along the way to rapid and widespread infection, you'll have to make different decisions to have it spread faster. It's exciting, tricky, and a hell of a lot of fun. Here's a hint: Opt for cold resistance to grab Greenland!

  • 4.5 stars on Google Play / 4.7 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: Free with in-game ads (Android) / $0.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: Yes

Strategy game for gardeners: Plants vs. Zombies

The Plants vs. Zombies title was already a respectable success on the PC and also happens to be one of the more unique titles to fly the Tower Defense flag on smartphones and tablets. You don't really defend a tower or castle, but your home, against zombies. Your weapon of choice? Plants and all things green!

On 5 x 9 tiles that resemble a large playing field, you "plant" a diverse range of botanical wonders, from energy-giving sunflowers, pea shooters, and even flesh zombie-eating plants. With these, you try to hold off the oncoming zombie horde that consists of transformed football players, newspaper-reading grandpas, and crazed gardeners. It's both challenging and fun at the same time.

  • 4.3 stars on Google Play / 4.7 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: Free
  • In-App Purchases: Yes
plants vs zombies ea 02
The zombies are coming! / © EA

Strategy game for fans of isometric puzzles: The Battle of Polytopia

The Battle of Polytopia is a well-made free-to-play game and a welcome challenge; especially when you crank up the difficulty and number of enemies. Not many turn-based strategy games offer such a unique combination while enchanting you with its graphics at the same time.

The story goes like this: you represent one of the many different tribes who sharing a square board, separated into grids. At first, everything is covered in ice and snow, so you can't immediately tell what's hiding under the white, soft snow. Each of the playable tribes will have different special abilities at the start. However, these can also be learned from the other tribes, so they are not a limiting factor.

You take turns to explore the board, learn new skills, turn settlements into a part of your empire, and pursue one of the game goals of which you chose earlier on. In Classic mode, the average game lasts up to 30 rounds, where victory will depend on the number of points you picked up through the past 30 actions. Domination mode will see the game go on until only one tribe remains.

There are in-app purchases for additional tribes, which can then compete as your AI opponents. However, this additional variety is not meant to have a significant impact on the game's fun, but more of a bonus.

  • 4.4 stars on Google Play / 4.7 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: Free
  • In-App Purchases: Yes

Strategy game of the mushroomy kind: Mushroom Wars 2

In this real-time strategy game, Mushroom Wars 2 will see you command tiny armies of mushroom soldiers in a beautifully crafted landscape and thought-provoking gameplay. You must strategically maneuver your soldiers across the map, capturing mushroom huts and other important points, as well as fending off your opponent's attacks while launching strikes against them simultaneously.

The goal is to achieve total domination and become the most mushroom-dominated warlord in all of Mushroom Kingdom.

There are four different mushroom tribes to choose from with complete campaign episodes, which are quite extensive on their own. Of course, the real action starts in PVP against other players. In PVP, you'll need to keep a cool head even more than in single-player mode as you balance your troops, morale, and use of special abilities to secure victory.

  • 4.1 stars on Google Play / 4.5 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: Free with in-game ads
  • In-App Purchases: Yes

Strategy game for war heroes: Epic Little War Game

Epic Little War Game is a game that pays homage to games of the same genre, and does so in a very respectful manner. Not only that, Epic Little War Game builds on the strengths of its predecessors: being a beautifully animated war game whose comic book-style graphics are very much in line with other titles that came before it. Like the other games in the series, it's a turn-based strategy game.

A single-player campaign is used to learn and master the game mechanics. What is the maximum movement for a particular unit? Which unit is more effective against a particular enemy? This knowledge is useful against the rather placid AI, but it is absolutely indispensable against other players, because Epic Little War Game has a multiplayer mode where you can compete against friends or other players.

  • 4.3 stars on Google Play / 3.7 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $5.99 (Android) / $4.99 (iOS)
  • In-App Purchases: No
epic little war game
Best Strategy Games: Epic Little War Game / © Screenshot: NextPit

Strategy game for AoE fans: Forge of Empires

The goal of Forge of Empires is a classic one: build your own city from ground up, starting with the technologically backward Stone Age all the way to the Modern Age - and beyond. By constantly expanding your building area, you can transform a few small huts into a sprawling city complete with pubs, churches, gardens, and of course, the classic industrial buildings like the mill, sawmill, etc.

In the course of the game, you will unlock more and more goods with which you can trade for and further unlock additional technologies. You can also expand or speed up your advancement by going to battle with your units in a turn-based chessboard battle to obtain new resources and bonuses.

It should be said that Forge of Empires, just like other strategy games, is not meant to be played for long stretches at a time. You will have to wait until a certain time is elapsed to gain new resources or have existing ones replenished.

  • 4.3 stars on Google Play / 4.6 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: Free
  • In-App Purchases: Yes

Strategy game for space fans: Battlevoid Harbinger

Battlevoid: Harbinger brings you to a not-too-distant future where humanity has mastered intergalactic space travel. You first command a spaceship, where you will later progress to be in charge of an entire fleet. The goal is to protect humanity from three hostile alien civilizations.

Space battles happen in real-time but are not too hectic - and sometimes, they even end up a little lengthy. Going on missions will get you the necessary resources to upgrade your fleet. Battlevoid Harbinger plays best on a large smartphone display or even a tablet.

  • 4.5 stars on Google Play / 4.6 stars on Apple App Store
  • Price: $0.99 (Android), $2.99 (iOS)
  • In-App purchases: No

Those were our recommendations of the best strategy games for Android smartphones and tablets. What are your picks for strategy fans?

As usual, this list is a mix of personal recommendations from the NextPit editorial team, your recommendations, and a look at the app store charts, updated periodically.

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Nicholas Montegriffo

Nicholas Montegriffo

A cyberpunk and actual punk, Nicholas is the Androidpit team's hardcore gamer, writing with a focus on future tech, VR/AR, AI & robotics. Out of office, he can be found hanging around in goth clubs, eating too many chillies, or at home telling an unlucky nerd that their 8th level wizard died from a poisoned spike trap.

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  • 1
    jhone vick Sep 29, 2021 Link to comment

    Try this.

  • marychap 5
    marychap Jul 5, 2021 Link to comment

    I`ve Android OS, so thx for article of the best strategy games. I like them.

  • 25
    Deactivated Account Oct 12, 2018 Link to comment

    Very nice article. ❤️❤️Thanks

    • 1
      Tiago Gomes Oct 10, 2019 Link to comment

      Hi there maybe you guys could try this one out!

      World War Online is an international strategy war game where you fight for your country in a Championship played on a real world map. Players from around the world take the role of commanders by building their army, forging alliances, fighting epic battles and conquering enemy countries in a competitive international championship.
      At the end of each Championship, lasting 4 months, the top 5 Squads earn the honor of raising the flag of their country on the podium and are rewarded with real-life medals.
      Fight for your country in a Championship played on a real world map. Conquer countries through epic battles and strategic alliances!

  • 2
    Joey William Oct 11, 2018 Link to comment

    Thank for the information, Nice article

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