26 Jul 2021 10:13 AM +00:00

The Best Android Strategy Games

Looking for the best Android strategy games? You'd be wrong to think that all mobile strategy has to offer is Clash of Clans-style tower defence and formulaic base builders. Whether we're talking about iconic titles that have made their way to mobile, such as XCOM and CIV, smaller indies like Bad North and Crying Suns, or even those that started right here on the platform, as with The Battle of Polytopia, there are many great mobile strategy games to choose from.

This list rounds up our favorite Android strategy games. So if you're looking for 4X, turn-based tactics, RTS titles, or even something a little more unique to play, this should help give you some idea of what's available. After all, strategy is a genre rooted in simplicity, so what better place to play than your humble old Android phone? That said, if you're operating on a super-tight budget, we also have a handy list of the best free Android games for your reading pleasure.

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Here Are the Best Android Strategy Games

A map from The Battle of Polytopia
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The Battle of Polytopia

Traditionally, 4X is a genre that takes time, as you slowly spread out across the map, gathering resources, and consolidating your power. But mobile isn't well suited for these extended periods of gaming. That's where The Battle of Polytopia comes in.

This fast 4X streamlines the entire experience, as you choose one of 12 civilizations to explore the world with, expanding your empire and unlocking units with which to fight other nations as you go. Polytopia is a 4X made for mobile, offering a similar Civilization-style experience without demanding hundreds of hours of investment.

An island defence in Bad North
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Bad North

My personal favourite mobile strategy game, Bad North is a wonderfully simple roguelite tower defence title that sees you protecting islands from Viking invaders. As you hop from island to island, you use your units to fend off marauders trying to land and burn the local houses. For every house you save, you get gold that can be used to upgrade your units and unlock abilities.

But be warned: the Vikings also unlock units, making each new defence just that little bit harder. It's a great combination of real-time tactics and resource management, as you decide which islands to defend each turn and what units you can afford to risk. Bad North's islands are also beautiful. In fact, Oskar Stålberg (the developer) loves islands so much that he also made Townscaper, a game entirely about making them. Though, sadly, it isn't on mobile yet.

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A turn-based tactics battle in The Banner Saga
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The Banner Saga

This turn-based tactics game is perfect for anyone who likes a little more narrative with their strategy. The world is ending, the sun has stopped in the sky, and stone-armoured Dredge have invaded from the North, burning everything in sight. As the hunter, Rook, you must lead a convoy of survivors in search of safety while managing resources and fighting any enemies that threaten you in party-based isometric combat.

The Banner Saga is a game all about making hard choices and how far you're willing to go to survive. But most of all, it's about regular Norse folks dealing with the end of the world.

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A sniper leaning out of cover to shoot an alien in the XCOM 2 Collection
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XCOM 2 Collection

This classic aliens vs. humans tactics game is now on Android, ready to mercilessly punish you with RNG and kill off your favorite characters at the snap of a finger. But isn't XCOM 2 a little complex to play on a phone? Well, that's why Feral Interactive completely overhauled the command interface to make it work for touchscreen devices.

There are still a few issues here and there, but in the end, it's XCOM 2 on your phone, and that in itself is pretty crazy. Alongside XCOM 2: War of the Chosen, the collection also includes four DLC packs, adding new aliens, soldier types, and missions.

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A battle to destroy a portal in Kingdom Two Crowns
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Kingdom Two Crowns

A masterpiece of micro-strategy, Kingdom Two Crowns is a side-scrolling resource management game where you ride the length and breadth of the world, clearing forests, gathering subjects, and just generally building a kingdom. Every night monsters known only as 'Greed' come to steal your crown, so you must also build walls, hire soldiers, and ride out to destroy the portals granting them entry into your world.

Two Crowns is a game that teaches through failure as your crown passes from ruler to ruler, and though difficult, it's fun to learn more about the world as you travel to new lands, unlocking buildings, followers, and mounts over time. Two Crowns' side-scrolling layout and simple tap-based coin-pouch mechanic also make it perfect for mobile.

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The logo for Rebel Inc.
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Rebel Inc.

Created by the developer of Plague Inc., the popular pandemic-creating game, Rebel Inc. is an 'insurgency simulator' that centres around trying to stabilise a post-war country and prevent yourself from being overthrown. You balance military and civic needs, funding initiatives, and using governors and special abilities to turn the tide, all while fighting against an intelligent AI opponent who wants nothing more than to end your endeavour.

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A battle with soldiers and a tank in Company of Heroes
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Company of Heroes

Relic's classic World War 2 RTS game finally came to mobile last year, and even 15 years after its original release, it doesn't disappoint. Take command of two companies of American soldiers and fight through Nazi-occupied France, using strategy and squad-based tactics to overcome any and all obstacles in your path. As is usual for its mobile ports, Feral Interactive has optimised the interface for touchscreen. The DLC, Opposing Fronts, is also available for purchase in-game.

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Facing a decision in Reigns
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Reigns

This narrative strategy game is all about making tough choices; you are the king, after all. People from across the land come to seek your counsel, and you must balance benevolence and tough love as you try to keep them happy and prevent them from planting a knife in your back. Reigns' simplicity makes it perfectly suited for mobile, as you swipe left or right to make your choices. But choose wisely: who knows which decision might come back to bite you in the ass?

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A general raises his sword ahead of a cavalry charge in Rome: Total War
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Rome: Total War

That's right, you can even play Total War on mobile. For a lot of people, including me, Rome: Total War is where their love of real-time strategy began, and you can now revisit this classic on Android, conquering the known world for the glory of Rome on an overworld campaign map and in real-time battles. Rome: Total War's two expansions, Alexander and Barbarian Invasion, are also available, letting you play as the legendary general as he fights his way eastwards, or as a migrating barbarian horde during the decline of the Western Roman Empire.

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An overview of a mission screen in Crying Suns
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Crying Suns

Perhaps the closest you'll ever get to a mobile starship captain simulator, Crying Suns sees you travel a procedurally generated universe while making choices, picking up passengers, and exploring the remnants of a mysteriously collapsed space empire. It also has an excellent tactics-based battle system where you face off against other vessels, broadside-to-broadside, and send an assortment of fighter craft to blow each other up.

But perhaps the most strategic part of Crying Suns is deciding when to fight and when to turn tail, conserving your vital ships, characters, fuel, and resources so you can complete your journey in one piece. No matter if you don't, though, as when you inevitably blow up, your captain gets cloned and can start their adventure from the beginning, albeit with an added bonus or two.