The Best Easy Strategy Games For Beginners

Looking for easy strategy games to cut your teeth on as a beginner? Hopefully we can help.

Strategy games test your mind by requiring you to outwit your opponent with tactics rather than toughness. But to the uninitiated, they can sometimes be a little overcomplicated. If you’re new to the genre, then you may want to start out with easy strategy games. 

Many gamers have never dipped their toes into strategy games. It’s a shame, because these games boast some of the most incredible experiences that you can sink your teeth into. The best strategy games implore you to take such care in the management and style of your faction that you become one with your chosen team. You will experience every sweet victory and bitter defeat as if you were there yourself.

Unfortunately, some of the best examples of this genre are nearly impossible to dive into without hours of tutorials, which is not ideal for newcomers. But that’s not to say there aren’t some excellent easy strategy games, perfect for beginners. We’ve rounded up the best of them right here.

1. Civilization V: Brave New World

  • Available on PC

The big daddy of 4X games, Civilization V has you control an empire right from its conception through to the modern day. Any Civilization game is a must-play for any strategy game enthusiast — the series boasts some of the best 4X games out there — but we’ve chosen over the latest release. Why? Well, its two DLC packs refine the game to be much more balanced and fun to play. Brave New World in particular heightens Civilization V to be one of the best easy strategy games for beginners.

You go from researching pottery to stockpiling nukes in your quest to be the best civilisation there ever was. You can legitimately play to any number of different strategies:  will you opt for a military campaign, or will you peacefully turn your direction towards the arts and culture? The choice is yours.

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2. Rome: Total War Remastered

Rome Total War Remastered Easy Strategy Games for Beginners

  • Available on PC

Not all of us want the broad spectrum of playstyle options that Civilization offers up. Sometimes we just want blood, blood and more blood!

If you want to play a war strategy game, you do not need to look further than the Total War series. It has been consistently brilliant, with its games giving you a compelling overworld campaign that focuses on creating and maintaining cities and armies while letting you dive deep into the battles in real time.

For strategy game beginners, we recommend the original Rome: Total War that has recently been lovingly remastered. The gameplay, thrilling and fast-paced, is just as enjoyable as it ever was. It has a lot of different nations that you can play as, all of which offer unique units and ways to set up your army. It also offers a compelling tutorial campaign that introduces you to all the fiddly parts of the UI. The agent cut-scenes are also a laugh and a half.

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3. The Banner Saga

  • Available on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC, iOS

The Banner Saga is not your usual strategy game. It isn’t multiplayer-focused, it doesn’t dwell on usual resource gathering, and it has beautiful hand drawn animation that recreates its enchanting Norse setting in stunning detail.

But this break from the usual formula makes it one of the best easy strategy games for beginners. For those who are used to role-playing games, The Banner Saga will feel more familiar as story takes a front seat. There are lots of interesting decisions that can change the world, shaping the story dramatically. But this focus on story does not diminish the chessboard-like strategy that is truly engaging to play.

You won’t forget this game in hurry, as you’ll find yourself acting out moves in your head, The Queen’s Gambit style.

Read our review of The Banner Saga

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4. Galactic Civilizations III

  • Available on PC

If you want a game where you explore the galaxy, colonise new worlds and fight aliens, Galactic Civilizations III is the way to go. It’s another 4X game — but this time with all the novelty of space. The astronomical setting means that there is a lot more weird and wacky mechanics; growth is dependent on your type of species, for example.

Galactic Civilizations III offers a great starting point for beginners as one of the best easy strategy games. That’s largely thanks to the vast array of customising options available. Want to create your own species of people? Okay! Want to customise the way they approach the universe and the names they use? Sure! Want to design your own spaceships and their functions? Go for it!

Read more: Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade Expansion is Great For Those Who Get Stuck In

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5. Slay the Spire

  • Available on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, PC, iOS

Slay the Spire blew up when it was released and has basically created a genre of its own. That genre being a roguelike card-based dungeon crawler. If you’ve recently played a game where you progress through levels, building a deck as you go, you have Slay the Spire to thank for it. What makes this indie gem most appealing, though, is how basic the premise is: simply survive!

It is an easy strategy game for beginners as it is quick to pick up and play. You will make mistakes, but you’ll just attempt the dungeon again, pick different options, play different cards. It’s a roguelite for those who don’t have hand-eye coordination, instead focusing on strategy, surveying your opponent’s next move and using your deck to the best of your abilities. Honestly, we can’t get enough of it.

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6. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

  • Available on PC

For a game that was originally release was over 20 years ago, Age of Empires II has stood the test of time. Not only is it a perfectly balanced real-time strategy game, it is also getting new updates and DLC regularly, meaning that getting invested in this masterpiece will be repaid with new content.

The game revolves around foresting for resources, building an army and crushing your opponent. The strategy involves making sure you get the right balance of villagers and armies and making sure you counter their units in rock, paper, scissors style.

The simplicity of the game makes it one of the best easy strategy games for beginners. But there is so much depth and meta-strategy that you can improve endlessly without the frustration of losing repeatedly. And if you are finding it hard, you can always enable the old school cheats!

Read our review of Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition

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7. Football Manager 2022

Football Manager 2022 easy strategy games for beginners

  • Available on Xbox, Switch, PC, iOS

First things first, Football Manager 2022 is not a typical strategy game. This is purely a management sim based on a real-life sport. However, the Football Manager series has been excellent for years, providing an easy gateway into strategy games for footy lovers. Where other football games may focus on the spectacle of the sport, Football Manager explores the heart and soul of the game, putting you right in the middle of make-or-break management decisions. You get to suffer the glory and heartbreak of the real thing as only your tactics have an effect on the game.

The series is so influential that its scouting is referenced by many sporting news channels and is beloved by many journalists as well as casual fans. Football Manager 2022 also has an enhanced multiplayer mode for draft picks, making strategy gaming with your friends more thrilling than ever. If you love your football, then strategy games for beginners don’t come much more appealing than this.

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8. Halo Wars 2

  • Available on Xbox and PC

A pure real-time strategy game filled with Halo lore, what could be more fun? Not much, if truth be told. Halo Wars 2 takes you back into the world of the Spartans (no, not those Spartans), but this time hands you the keys to their entire arsenal. You get to play with all the scorpions you could dream of.

If you love Halo, then this will be an easy transition into strategy for you. Halo Wars 2 is extremely easy to pick up and play, seemingly designed for newcomers to the genre. Thanks to its simplified control scheme in order to work seamlessly on Xbox consoles, it may not be as deep as veterans would like, but is perfect for a beginner.

Read our review of Halo Wars 2

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9. Crusader Kings III

  • Available on PC, PS5, Xbox Series X

Crusader Kings 2 was the furthest thing from easy you could possibly get. The UI was dense, the gameplay was confusing, and there was no real aim to the game. It required patience, dedication and a fair bit of sadomasochism to get into. Crusader Kings III, on the other hand, is the perfect introduction into the series.

It solves a lot of the introductory problems the previous entry had. Firstly, the UI is much more user-friendly, using more visual clues to help you quickly realise what is going on. Secondly, the added RPG elements to the characters you control gives you some direction in how to play. This is all while keeping the intrigue and depth that the original fans loved.

If you are a beginner it is still necessary to play the tutorial; this is still a complex strategy game, but it’s now much more accessible to beginners. And once you’ve got to grips with it, it’ll be hard to tear yourself away. 

Read our review of Crusader Kings III 

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