Upcoming Strategy Games 2020 - A Complete(ish) Guide

By Jack Trumbull 16 Mar 2020 2

2020 is here! To ring in the new decade, we’ve compiled a list of strategy games coming out this year. This isn’t completely comprehensive, and all of the release date information is subject to change so expect to see this list updated over the course of the year. Please consult the comments if you want to keep track as to what's changed between updates. I'll be keeping a change-log there.

Header image is from Iron Harvest.

Upcoming Strategy Games Releasing in 2020

  • Panzer Corps 2
  • 1971 Project Helios
  • Empire of Sin
  • Iron Harvest
  • Age of Empires 4
  • Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition
  • Wasteland 3
  • Gears Tactics
  • Command & Conquer Remastered Collection
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Total War Saga: Troy
  • King's Bounty 2
  • Starship Troopers - Terran Command
  • Humankind
  • Knights of Honor II: Sovereign
  • Stronghold: Warlords
  • Per Aspera
  • Shadow Empire
  • Circle Empires: Rivals
  • Dominus Galaxia
  • Terra Invicta
  • Xenonauts 2
  • A Game of Thrones: The Board Game
  • Imperiums: Greek Wars
  • Stellar Warfare
  • Desperados 3
  • Spacebase Startopia

This is looking to be a huge year for strategy games. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

Stellaris: Federations

Release Date: March 17th, 2020

Stellaris has, over the course of the last several major updates, reworked combat, trade, and the infrastructure of your intergalactic empires. This latest major expansion seeks to bring some much-needed love to the diplomacy system, adding new types of relationships to have with other empires, as well as adding a galactic senate where you can vote on resolutions. Coupled with new 'Origins' for your space-faring people, Federations looks to be essential for Stellaris owners.

Total War: Three Kingdoms - A World Betrayed

Release Date: March 17th, 2020

This one won't be on for long, but just wanted to leave a quick note reminding everyone that the A World Betrayed Chapter Pack for Total War: Three Kingdoms is releasing on Thursday. This new expansion adds a new start-date around 20 game turns on from the original start date, and showcases new primary characters and factions, as well as making the southern side of the map a bit more relevant. It also comes with a pretty decent free patch, too.

Panzer Corps 2

Release Date: March 19th, 2020

Panzer Corps 2 War Game

Billed as “The ultimate Second World War Strategy Game!” Panzer Corp 2 promises a perfected and proven Panzer General successor with a staggering amount of content. Every major European power, over 1,000 unique units, a 60 scenario branching campaign, a comprehensive multiplayer suite, and a detailed editor. Panzer Corps was quite the hit, and so far its sequel looks to be following in its footsteps.

Pre-orders are now available at a 15% discount vs. the full retail price for the 'Field Marshal/ edition, which comes with a bunch of goodies as well as a chance to try out the game early for 48 hours next week! Read here for more details.

Gears Tactics

Release Date: April 28th, 2020

XCOM seems cool and all, but why can’t I play with a squad of massively muscled supermen chain-sawing aliens? - Everyone

Good news for those of you who had that thought, Gears Tactics comes out this year. Set in the Gears of War universe before the first game, you lead a squad of soldiers through alien-controlled territory to stop a maniacal Big Bad Evil Guy who creates some of the worst monsters. The game seems to take heavy inspiration from XCOM in terms of combat mechanics and soldier levelling, so we might see the crown of squad-based tactics passed to Gears.

Wasteland 3

Release Date: May 18th, 2020

Wasteland 3 is set in a similar fictional universe to Fallout, a future America that has faced nuclear annihilation. This Tactical RPG sees the player lead a band of post-apocalyptic types to free Colorado from some corrupt post-apocalyptic government types in turn-based combat with a large amount of character customization. Also, you can put guns on your truck that you travel around in, so that’s very cool.

Stellar Warfare

Release Date: June 1st, 2020

stellar warfare release date

A new RTS along the lines of the Sins of a Solar Empire games, Stellar Warfare sees the player customizing a fleet of ships and throwing them into the enemy in an effort to command the solar system. There are also layers of resource collecting and base-building, so this seems to hearken back to the days of the “traditional” RTS, but just in space instead of a 2D land map.

Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection

Release Date: June 5th, 2020

We left off the Command & Conquer remasters initially because nothing really new had been said at the time of writing, but last week saw a new announcement that means it's back on the menu. Both Command & Conquer Command & Conquer: Red Alert's HD remakes are releasing together in June in the 'Remastered Collection'.

This collection also includes the Covert Operations expansion for C&C, and Counterstrike plus The Aftermath expansion for Red Alert. The basic digital edition will cost $19.99 but there are super-duper physical editions you can also pre-order, if you want to.

Iron Harvest

Release Date: September 1st, 2020

A Company of Heroes inspired RTS, set in the fictional 1920+ universe, imagine a WW1/WW2-esque setting but everyone has mechs. It looks exactly as awesome as it sounds. Be on the lookout for this one, but unfortunately, September 1st is a long time from now. Fortunately, Iron Harvest has had a few rounds of betas go out, so you might get lucky if you back the project.

Circle Empires: Rivals

Release Date: Early 2020

Corners are for squares. Circle Empires: Rivals is a follow up to 2018’s Circle Empires, expanding the unit and building roster, but the skeleton of the game remains the same. The world is made of circles, and your job is to send troops into adjacent circles to capture them. The big new addition to this game is the inclusion of multiplayer, so we can't wait to see how that pans out.

Imperiums: Greek Wars

Release Date: Spring 2020

Imperium Greek War Release Date

Developed by (more or less) the same team behind Aggressors: Ancient Rome, Imperium takes place several hundred years earlier than Aggressors, set in southeastern Europe and southwest Asia. In this 4X title, you can play as Philip of Macedon, the fine folks of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, and other notable sorts. A fun quirk of Aggressors is that you could set out to build your society from the ground up in a random world - we will likely see a return for Imperium.

Desperados 3

Release Date: Summer 2020

desperados 3 release date

Now, who doesn’t want to be a cowboy? The team behind Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is working on bringing their expertise in real-time stealth tactics to the Wild West™. Players control a gang of 5 characters, all of whom get very different abilities, from a traditional gunslinger, to a sneaky bounty hunter with knockout gas, to a big guy with an axe. Timing is key in these games, so being patient and waiting for the release is training for when Desperados 3 finally releases.

Realpolitiks 2

Release Date: Fall 2020

For those who are after something with a more political spin, global politics simulator Realpolitiks is getting a sequel this Fall. It's looking to double down several aspects concerned with governing a country in modern times, while also revamping the methods for 'conflict' - espionage, cyber-warfare and a new tactical battle interface.

The original didn't get great reviews, so we're hoping Realpolitiks 2 manages to turn things around.

Empire of Sin

Release Date: Fall 2020

Can't beleive we forgot about this one when we first created the list. One of the big strategy hits of this year is undoubtedly going to be Brenda & John Romero's Empire of Sinwhich seeks to merge a Prohibition era Gangster RPG epic with the management and tactical engines of XCOM. If you ever played Kalypso's Omerta: City of Gangsters, this feels very similar, just with a much higher budget and more rooted in real historical characters and events.

Dominus Galaxia

Release Date: Beta out now, full release likely in 2020

Dominus Galaxia release date

Dominus Galaxia is another space-faring, turn-based 4X, emphasizing active strategy rather than managing build queues. This seems to go against the very nature of 4Xs, but it seems to be working well for the team so far. Dominus Galaxia also features some solid hex-based ship combat, along with a customizable fleet, which is always great fun for those who love to conquer galaxies.

Starship Troopers - Terran Command

Release Date: TBA 2020

Who's have thought we'd get a new Starship Troopers game? And an RTS of all things! The chaps over at Slitherine managed to nab the license from whoever it is looking after the fort these days and are coming out with Starship Troopers - Terran CommandThis is a real-time tactical game where you take charge of the Mobile Infantry as they try to defend a Human colony world form the Arachnid threat. The aesthetic is very much the style of the primary movies, and it will feature a dynamic campaign, realistic terrain mechanics, tech trees and lots of different unit types. It's being made by the same people who made Order of Battle, but the visuals remind me of Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach, also from Slitherine.

Battle Brothers - Blazing Deserts DLC

Release Date: Q2 2020

Another exciting bit of DLC news, seems Overhype isn't done with Battle Brothers just yet. Not only are they bringing the game to Nintendo Switch, but they're also releasing a new expansion that will expand the game's southern regions and add in more factions inspired by Middle Eastern culture. Blazing Deserts will add in new factions, new locations and monsters, as well as some ancient ruins to a past civilization. They'll also be plenty of new swag to kit out your troops.

1971 Project Helios

Release Date: Q2 2020

1971 Project Helios

This is a new one that sprang out of nowhere, so all we can do for now is share the PR copy: This a turn-based strategy game which combines modern warfare military tactics and close combat. Firearms and vehicles are scarce, conflicts and hostilities have no end, and the terrible freezing cold annihilates friends and foes in its path. Eight characters have to join forces for a common cause: find an important scientist kidnapped by a massive stratocracy. Along their way they will have to avoid raider attacks, investigate military headquarters, and infiltrate into the territory of a dangerous anti-technological religious sect.

Spacebase Startopia

Release Date: Q3 2020

space base startopia strategy games 2020

Kalypso Media seem to be digging into the vaults for new hits this year - we won't dwell on the Commandos 2 and Preatorians remakes, but it's not the only classic the company has up their sleeves. Startopia is an RTS/Management game from the early 2000's where you're tasked with rebuilding a number of derelict space-stations that are all that's left after a major apocalyspse. The denizens of the universe have nowhere else to go, so it's up to you.

Aliens will come and live on your stations and gets jobs, but from what we can tell this is more of Majesty or Tropico style hands-off directed experience. Starbase Startopia looks to capture some of the original's charm and bring it into the 21st century. New graphics, new engine, the whole shebang. We'll have to wait till later in the year to see if it pays off.

Europa Universalis 4: Emperor DLC

Release Date: TBA 2020

Considering EU4 didn't get a single expansion release in 2019, it's good to see that something is on the cards. Between this expansion and the free update that will come alongside it, Europe is getting a big overhaul. There are rumours that this might be the game's final expansion, in the same way Holy Fury was for CK2. Only time will tell on that one, and we'll need to wait a bit longer before we hear about a concrete release window.

Humankind

Release Date: 2020

Humankind is a new 4X game in the vein of Civilization, with an interesting focus on historical cultures. Over time, you can choose to emulate dominant cultures that were prominent in the period, such as the ancient Egyptians, then later the Romans, etc. This leads to an empire with modern buildings next to Pyramids. There’s not a ton else we know about it at the moment, but it sure does look nice.

Age of Empires 4

Release Date: 2020

Age of Empires is back! We don’t know too much so far, admittedly, but what we do know is that Relic, developers of Company of Heroes, are working on the project along with another studio. We did see units from many different periods of time in the trailer, from Roman legions to British redcoats, with the noted inclusion of Native American warriors and Japanese samurai, so we can assume that the game is going to take place over a long stretch of time, with plenty of factions to choose from.

They also noted that they’re doing something “special” for the campaign, and they also managed to nab the composer for The Witcher 3, so there’s a lot to be excited for… sometime this year hopefully.

Age of Empires 3 - Definitive Edition

Release Date: 2020?

Speaking of Age of Empires, Microsoft still have one game left they haven't given the 'Definitive' treatment yet. Beta testing for the AoE 3 DE started last month, so we're reasonably confident this is coming out this year. We imagine they may want to get it done before Age of Empires 4 comes out, so there's no pesky 'old timers' stealing the new kid's limelight. Details are scarce on this one, but then again it's only another HD remake, so there's not much to tell. 

Crusader Kings III

Release Date: Latter half of 2020

crusader kings 3 henrik as king

It’s no Victoria 3 (Paradox please!), but Crusader Kings 3 looks to re-work the systems that made Crusader Kings 2 so beloved by the grand strategy community. Now, there’s deeper intrigue in the form of Hooks and 'secrets', with which you can blackmail other characters, more depth to the dynastic system, and a new warfighting system that places emphasis on professional soldiers and knights, to name but a few of the new features coming. The game is marked for release this year, but will unfortunately likely release towards the latter half. For a lot of us, it can’t come soon enough.

Read everything we know about Crusader Kings 3 here.

Total War Saga: Troy

Release Date: 2020

Based on the Illiad (you might have heard of it), Total War SAGA: Troy takes us to the set of the hit Brad Pitt film, where you can lead factions from Greece or Troy in combat against one another. Hero units seem to be taking the stage this time around, so expect more of Three Kingdoms and Warhammer –esque fights between demigods in the middle of a scrap. Creative Assembly also promises attention to the myths that inspired the tale, so we may see some gods and monsters thrown into the mix.

King's Bounty 2

Release Date: 2020

Kings Bounty 2 Release Date

An interesting genre split game, we see half of the game in a 3rd person perspective, following our chosen hero around their fantasy medieval land, performing general RPG-tpye things, whereas the other half of the game takes place in turn-based hex combat. King’s Bounty 2 is certainly a nicer-looking game, and we’re quite interested to see where it goes.

Knights of Honor II: Sovereign

Release Date: 2020

Knights of Honor II Sovereign release date

Another grand strategy game, Knights of Honor II: Sovereign puts the players in the shoes of a kingdom in the middle ages. Interestingly, the game is real-time, much like Paradox’s titles, but with RTS battles as well. The game also promises multiplayer and an 'accessible grand strategy' layer. We’re curious to see how the two game modes mingle with each other, as this seems to be an ambitious project.

Stronghold: Warlords

Release Date: 2020

We haven’t seen a new Stronghold game for a while, so the announcement of Warlords was welcome news to many. The castle-sim/RTS is back, this time with a focus on the ancient & medieval empires of Asia. Featured in Warlords is the inclusion of gunpowder, which will certainly shake up the traditional play of sieges in Strongholds games. There are also some cool strategic mechanics, such as minor AI powers that you can compete for influence to win them to your side.

Per Aspera

Release Date: 2020

Per Aspera Release Date

Per Aspera is one of the few games on this list without combat, instead focusing on braving the harsh reality of setting up a colony on Mars. Per Aspera is a base-builder with the intent of eventually terraforming the entire planet of Mars. A daunting task, to be sure, but the boys back down at Houston will help you throughout the game. There are also important decisions to be made about the direction of your work that can affect the end-state of your terraforming efforts.

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game

Release Date: 2020

Set to release sometime this year, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game: The Digital Game seeks to be a faithful adaptation of the source material, which by all accounts, is a pretty solid board game. Through a mix of warring and politicking with up to 5 other players, you try to seize the Iron Throne. There’s tons of backstabbing in this one, so it’s a good fit for a rowdy party online.

Shadow Empire

Release Date: “When the stars align”

Shadow Empire Release Date

Shadow Empire sees a planet after a disaster that left the planet splintered and divided. As the leader of your people, you’ll look to conquer the world back, through direct war and diplomacy. There’s a great deal of attention placed on combat here, with over 100 different types of formations and even more vehicles that can be researched and brought into the field. You’ll need to be careful though, as the leaders on your side can be untrustworthy and leave you, as if you were playing Crusader Kings 2, but in space (but on a planet).

Terra Invicta

Release Date: Maybe 2020?

There’s not much public news about this one, but the team behind the well-praised Long War mod for the original XCOM are making their own game about fighting off an alien invasion with squad-based tactics. If anyone knows how to make squad-based tactics fun with a strategy layer, it’s these guys. Unfortunately, that’s about all we know for now, but if their development history means anything, this could be a classic.

Xenonauts 2

Release Date: TBD 2020

Another XCOM-like, we thought this one might turn up last year, but the developer has had a couple of changes in direction on a couple of features and is otherwise taking their time. This will be the sequel to 2014's Xenonauts, which was a re-imagining of the original X-COM. More modern, but just as hardcore. Xenonauts 2 is less of a direct sequel and more of a '2.0', with some additional features and goodies they couldn't fit into the first game. We believe it's due to hit Early Access before it goes on general sale, and we're hoping that premium beta release will be sometime in 2020.

Exciting Simulation & Management Games 2020 

Distant Kingdoms

Release Date: 2020

Distant Kingdoms Release Date

Another builder, Distant Kingdoms is set in a medieval fantasy world. The player seeks to make their mark by building up cities that will form a civilization, made up of several fantasy races. In a rather unique gameplay mechanic, the player can form Tabletop RPG-esque adventuring parties out into the world for rewards for your people. Individual citizens also have their social status mapped out, along with a path of upward mobility, meaning that you can track a lowly peasant orc’s journey to becoming a nobleman. There’s quite a bit of depth here, it’s one to keep your eye on.

Port Royale 4

Release Date: Q3 2020

Port Royale 4 Release Date

Port Royale 4 is set in the 17th century Caribbean, with the player leading either the English, Spanish, French, or Dutch colonies through time. Expect to see emphasis on trade and production in your colonial cities as you seek to export goods back to Europe. This installment also includes turn-based ship battles, because where there are features about the 17th century Caribbean, there are pirates.

Kerbal Space Program 2

Release Date: 2020

Kerbal Space Program was one of the most impressive games released last decade, featuring fully modelled spacecraft, designed by the player, intended to eventually reach the moon and beyond. The second game will feature colony building on those planets you manage to fly to, interstellar flights, and most excitingly, multiplayer. Now you get a chance to horribly fail to create a functioning spaceship in front of your friends!

Dwarf Fortress (Steam)

Release Date: Time is Subjective

dwarf fortress steam release date

Dwarf Fortress is a game near and dear to my own heart, and as such, it is bittersweet to see a Steam release for it. Good, because with the steam release, we get several huge quality of life improvements over the free version, such as enhanced graphics, better controls, and easier modding support. But it’s bad, because it only exists because the developers need to cover their medical bills (thanks US). Even while the game existing creates a mixed feeling, what you shouldn’t be conflicted about is the game itself. It may be the most in-depth modelling of a world ever created, and each new game in the management sim creates an entire world, mythologies, languages, music, etc. from scratch. It’s fantastic, and we’re eagerly awaiting a solid release date.

We've finally reached the end of our list. We imagine there's a lot of more indie releases especially we haven't spotted yet, so feel free to let us know about cool upcoming games in the comments - we're going to keep this list updated every month so we'll make a note for the next run.

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