Strategy games are among the most diverse experiences out there. You have real-time, turn-based, cooperative, competitive, card-based, head-to-head, narrative-based — the list goes on and on. Not to mention, strategy video games are just as storied and entertaining as their physical counterparts. I mean, just look at classics like Starcraft and Warcraft.
Unfortunately, strategy games can also be overwhelming, with hours to completion and loads of complicated controls. What if you’re looking for something a bit easier to play? Well, the best strategy games for Android are much more convenient, delivering your strategy fix in bite-sized doses. And, you hardly lose any of the excitement found in their PC and console brethren.
If you’re a fan of strategy titles and want a new game for your Android, this list of strategy games for Android is for you.
Top 10 Best Strategy Games for Android
You may be thinking that there’s no way a mobile game can reflect the complexity and ingenuity of strategy games. Luckily for you, many developers have found ways to bring console-level experiences to your phone. Here are some of our favorite strategy titles that you can currently play on Android devices.
10. Pandemic: The Board Game
- Developer: Asmodee Digital
- Release Date: October 2013
- File Size: 28 MB
Sometimes the best board games make for the best mobile games, which is precisely the case with Pandemic: The Board Game. If you’ve played any iteration of Pandemic before, then you know the gist: the world is facing a potential breakout of infectious diseases, and it’s up to you and your team to contain and cure it. A traditionally co-op experience that’s been translated into a challenging single-player adventure, it’s now solely up to you to compile a capable 2-5 person team and strategically move across the globe.
If you find yourself getting stuck or wanting to try different strategies, you can test out your mettle through different training modes. And if the regular difficulty just isn’t enough, you can adjust the difficulty to fit your desired challenge. You can even expand your play with DLC featuring scenarios from the “On the Brink” expansion.
It truly is a faithful and compelling interpretation of the incredibly fun board game, with a handful of features well suited for mobile play. The only reason it isn’t higher on our list is that recent updates have been riddled with bugs. However, with its dedicated development team, it will hopefully be back up to the same quality in no time.
9. XCOM Enemy Within
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Release Date: November 2014
- File Size: 21MB
You really can’t go wrong with XCOM. And thankfully, the granddaddy of turn-based strategy feels right at home on mobile. A mobile port of the incredible console experience from the PS3/Xbox 360 generation, Enemy Within showcases how turn-based strategy is perfect for touchscreens.
As the commander of an elite military organization, it’s up to you to direct soldiers against the alien threat. Secure alien technology to upgrade your squad with unique soldier abilities and take on increasingly challenging threats. Aside from traditional missions, you’ll also need to protect your base of operations at a moment’s notice, truly challenging your skills as a tactical commander.
With additional maps, soldier types, weapons, and expanded story experiences exclusive to mobile, XCOM Enemy Within is an AAA experience in a compact package. If you’re a fan of the series or turn-based strategy titles in general, it’s worth picking up.
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release Date: December 2014
- File Size: 13MB
Blizzard is no stranger to developing incredibly tight and addictive tactical titles. So it’s no surprise that when they branched into the collectible card battle genre, they were just as successful. Hearthstone hit that magical sweet spot where it plays incredibly well no matter what platform you choose, even on mobile.
Hearthstone takes the expansive lore found in World of Warcraft and adapts it into a stellar turn-based collectible card game. The rules are relatively simple: you and your opponent face off with your chosen deck of cards to diminish the other players’ health until it hits zero.
However, unlike traditional physical card games, Hearthstone is all about speed and strategy. You have automatic reactions set into the gameplay, a time limit counting down during your turn, and a limited pool of mana to make moves with. Each hero, minion, and spell costs varying amounts of mana, which encourages the player to strategize ahead at all times. The end result? An easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master masterpiece with endless action-packed excitement.
One of the original turn-based card battlers, Hearthstone has only expanded since it’s release. It now includes rotating challenges with specific deck requirements, a solo challenge mode, and an auto battler mode that has you recruit various cards throughout several rounds of gameplay. Even as Blizzard adds more cards and gameplay mechanics to the mix, Hearthstone remains one of the most consistent and well balanced competitive strategy games available today.
- Developer: Feral Interactive
- Release Date: May 2019
- File Size: 23 MB
Have you ever dreamed of owning an island? Well, that dream can now become a reality, both virtually and on the go, with Tropico. This strategic development simulator has a long-standing history in gaming, with the original title being released way back in 2001 on the PC.
Luckily, the mobile port retains the same level of quality and sandbox nature found in the original titles, with new quality of life elements exclusively for mobile. It condenses many of the onscreen notifications and menu items into a manageable taskbar but maintains the expansive visual fidelity that the franchise is known for. A rarity for mobile games, it even features top-notch voice acting that adds to the immersive management experience of running your island.
While not a traditional competitive strategy title, Tropico’s challenges come with decision-making and managing outcomes. Do you want your island to be a tourist attraction, a militant police state, or maybe a production powerhouse? It’s up to you to decide. But take heed, as you’ll also face the outcome of each path. Regardless of your decisions, Tropico is a unique title with hours of enjoyable gameplay.
6. The Escapists 2: Pocket Breakout
- Developer: Team17
- Release Date: January 2019
- File Size: Varies with device
Have you ever wanted to plan a prison break? With the mobile port of The Escapists 2, you can do just that (while on the go). Designed with mobile devices in mind, Pocket Breakout provides customizable touch controls to make planning a prison break fun and intuitive.
It includes 13 different prisons to buy, barter and beat your way out of, and features local drop-in-drop-out 4-player co-op. Start with a simple small-scale jail and gradually upgrade the challenge with supermax and other prison varieties. Now, it’s not as easy as just planning and executing an escape. You have to blend in and play out your day-to-day life within the prison. Work your job, train in the gym, or pour through books at the library to strengthen your skills and assist with your breakout plan.
Pocket Breakout is a genuinely unique sandbox experience that lets you make all the decisions on how you’d like to escape. Customize your inmate, try different methods to breakout, and team up with friends for a fun and infinitely replayable strategy experience. This is truly a title that was meant for mobile and may even be the best version available.
5. Dota Underlords
- Developer: Valve
- Release Date: February 2020
- File Size: Varies with device
This wouldn’t be a real ‘best mobile strategy games’ list without including a tried and true autobattler, AKA Dota Underlords. Autobattlers are the perfect type of mobile game, as they require some initial strategy and placement by the player before becoming entirely hands-off for the next few minutes.
With Dota Underlords, you have the traditional 8×8 chess match between players where you decide on team composition, position your team, and let them fight. As you play and gain XP and gold, you can work to upgrade your heroes and other units into more powerful iterations or potentially purchase more powerful units instead. You can take on opponents online with 1×1 battles or work together with a teammate, sharing items and health. And the development team at Valve didn’t stop there.
With the recent full release of the game, Valve launched a campaign mode and a battle pass that includes new boards, skins, and other cosmetic items. You can also participate in ranked play and even utilize cross-play to switch between PC and mobile gameplay whenever you want. It truly is a feature-rich and expansive autobattler that displays an exceptional level of investment by the developers.
4. Fire Emblem: Heroes
- Developer: Intelligent Systems
- Release Date: February 2017
- File Size: Varies with device
Nintendo has slowly but surely made Fire Emblem into a household name. Not only did the latest entry on the Switch, Three Houses, garner universal critical praise and surpass series and system sales numbers, but Heroes did the same for Nintendo’s mobile gaming arm.
Like a greatest hits album, Heroes brings in characters from across Fire Emblem’s expansive 25-year history, for a new and continuous tactical-role play story. You control up to 4 characters at a time to face a variety of enemies within an 8×6 grid. With traditional turn-based gameplay, a splash of rock-paper-scissors, and unique move sets and limitations depending on the character, you have a genuinely strategic title that requires planning and optimized teams to succeed.
Over the last few years, the developers have continued to support Heroes, adding additional campaigns, new heroes, and expanded gameplay elements to keep things fresh. You can even fight against other players in the Arena or take control of 8+ characters in Ather Raids for a bit of an extra challenge.
Like the latest core Fire Emblem title, Heroes embraces the history of the series and combines it with fun and enticing gameplay that is worth diving into (even if the microtransactions are a bit aggressive).
3. Bad North: Jotunn Edition
- Developer: Plausible Concept
- Release Date: October 2019
- File Size: 46 MB
Serene and gorgeous is the perfect way to sum up Bad North. The goal of the game is simple: keep your kingdom safe from Viking invaders and help your people escape unscathed. This visual wonder of a strategy game combines real-time strategy with rogue-like elements for a pulse-pounding and challenging experience.
Every move and decision has lasting consequences. If you position the wrong type of defensive unit or misplace a commander — and they end up being killed — they aren’t coming back. The good news? While you need to be cautious with how and where you position units, you don’t have to keep them in action. That’s because they’ll automatically take on the enemy, allowing you to focus your attention elsewhere.
And then there’s the brutal gameplay loop, AKA the added difficulty (and potential strategic benefit) of procedurally-generated islands. The random island designs mean you have no idea what to expect from each level. However, if you’re able to estimate the benefits of an island’s layout quickly, you can easily turn the tables on your enemies.
The game features both a normal and hard mode depending on your desired level of difficulty. And as an added incentive, the more you play and the better you protect your citizens, the more you’re able to upgrade and purchase unique units. This feature alone makes Bad North worth revisiting regularly. And if that’s not enough, the gorgeous, minimalist style will keep you coming back for more.
2. Legends of Runeterra
- Developer: Riot Games
- Release Date: April 2020
- File Size: 22 MB
When Riot Games announced they’d be creating new games within the League of Legends universe, they naturally followed Blizzard’s direction. And what were the first two games they released? An FPS hero shooter, VALORANT, and a turn-based card collection game, with Legends of Runterra.
Now you may be thinking: really, another turn-based card battler made this list? It sure did, and let me tell you — it’s one of the best iterations on the genre to date. Rather than simply sticking to what has made every other card collection strategy title work so well, the team at Riot expanded on and improved almost every facet of gameplay.
You still take on tradition 1v1 battles with a set deck of cards, and your goal is still to bring your opponent’s health, or nexus, down to zero. But it’s the presentation, balance, collection format, and availability of information that brings this game up a notch.
First off, the game looks just as good on mobile as it does on PC, and the character art and animations are just beautiful.
Second, the ability to collect and combine the different regions of cards and selectively pursue different regions in competitive play, makes the game addictive and rewarding.
Lastly, the fact that you can view opponent cards to see their actions, power level, and potential passive effects adds a whole other level of strategy to the mix. Gone are the days of guessing what could happen when facing an opponent. Instead, you must strategize around their active builds and find ways to think around their deck composition.
It would be easy to keep going on and on about it, but it’s best left to you experiencing the gameplay yourself. If you’re a fan of Hearthstone or Gwent, you’ve got to try Legends of Runeterra.
1. Banner Saga 2
- Developer: Stoic Studio
- Release Date: September 2016
- File Size: Varies with device
Banner Saga 2 is one of the most visually stunning strategy titles available on any platform, and the mobile version is no different. The hand-drawn 2D animation looks like it stepped out of a classic Disney cartoon that grew up and found a love for combat and long beards. And the strategy elements aren’t just limited to combat, but include additional RPG elements and building management as you advance your characters and caravan to survive the harsh journey ahead.
The Android version of Banner Saga 2 serves as a cinematic experience that retains the same level of quality found in the console versions. The graphics, gameplay, and soundtrack are lovely and entertaining as ever, and truly feel right at home on mobile. If you happened to play the original Banner Saga, you can even continue your journey and port decisions from the first game to start your adventure.
While the combat is nothing new, it’s the entire package that makes this game so great. Challenged by the threat of permanently losing characters, the game takes on a new level of immersion. You’re forced to make profoundly impactful decisions that affect not only the situation at hand but potentially the overall result of your campaign. It’s a deep, meaningful, and well-thought-out title that expands on every piece of the original.
With a focus on more intrinsic and challenging combat and diversity in narrative decision making, Banner Saga 2 is worth purchasing and exploring again and again. A perfect strategic title for mobile that deserves the top spot on our list.