The Best Strategy Games of 201902 Jan 2020 3
2019 is over, 2020 is here. We've had a pretty interesting year as far as strategy games go. Everything from board game ports, to indie hits and new AAA releases have flown the flag of our favourite genre, and while it wasn't a break-out year it was still something to be proud of. This list was originally created to keep track of what strategy games were due to arrive during the 2019 calendar year.
Now that that the year is gone, we're doing one final update to recap what our favourite strategy games of 2019 have been, as well as any last minute news on those games that never made their release windows.
What Are The Best Strategy Games of 2019?
- Phoenix Point
- Crying Suns
- Unity of Command 2
- AI War 2
- John Wick Hex
- Fantasy General II
- Age of Wonders: Planetfall
- Raiders of the North Sea
- Field of Glory: Empires
- Total War: Three Kingdoms
- Fort Sumter
- Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark
- Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2
- Jon Schafer's At the Gates
- Tropico 6
- Anno 1800
Missing Strategy Games 2019
Not everything that gets announced gets released, and games being delayed or missing their release windows is pretty common. Now that that year's over, let's look at the games we were expecting, but never showed up.
Auto Chess PC
You may have seen us talk about Auto Chess a fair bit this year - with the breakout success of the DOTA 2 Mod now apparent, everyone's looking to get involved in this new emerging sub-genre of turn-based strategy (if you want to get technical, Auto Chess-like games could be described as 'WEGO', like BSG Deadlock). The original Auto Chess creators have been spending most of their time porting the mod to mobile in a more legitimate form. With that done, the team are now planning to come back to PC with a more souped-up version of the game made in the Unreal engine.
Since the PC version is an Epic Store exclusive, we've note kept as close an eye on it as we perhaps would like - it's something we'll remedy in the New Year. As far as we know, the beta is still on-going, so while the 'full' release probably was never planned for 2019, I would be surprised if it doesn't release an official 1.0 version this year.
The official grand-daddy of sim/management games, Dwarf Fortress is finally coming to Steam in a bespoke, premium version aimed at offering a more accessible version for new audiences. It's a bit of a bitter-sweet event - the joy of many being able to dabble in a legend in way that doesn't involve looking at ASCII code (although there are skin-pack mods available for the free version) is mitigated somewhat due to the fact that the only reason we're getting this is because the developers are being let down by the US Health System.
It was perhaps a bit optimistic of us to think the game would be releasing in 2019 - the devs work to their own schedule and arn't even close to committing to a release window just yet. Might appear in 2020, might not.
There's more than one contender for X-Com's throne. While the original creator was busy with Phoenix Point, anyone who wanted a more modern X-COM experience and didn't want to have to deal with 2K's mainstream offering had Xenonauts to scratch that itch. The sequel, Xenonauts 2, is not a direct follow-on more an updated portrayal of the same events using a different scenario. Alien interference has prevented the end of the Cold War, and you're tasked with heading up a clandestine organisation charged with combating the alien threat and holding the world together by any means necessary.
At the time of writing X2 is currently running through its sixth Beta version and developments seems to be progressing nicely. We listed this game here as we were expecting the general 'Early Access' release in 2019, but it's most definitely slipped into 2020 now.
The creators of the rather excellent real-time tactical game Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun are working on the third instalment of the Desperados series. Desperados 3 will see you take control of up to five desperadoes as you go on an epic journey through 1870's America. Missions can be approached from multiple angles, and there are lethal and non-lethal ways of dealing with anyone who gets in your way.
We quite enjoyed Shadow Tactics, so we're very much looking forward to seeing Mimimi's new game, although your mileage on the theme may vary. This was originally slated for a Summer 2019 release but clearly that didn't happen. At the time of writing, the Steam Page still just says '2019'. Clearly it slipped, although we're not sure when it's expected to release now.
Stellaris finally has a new expansion officially on the cards. Federations is the 'diplomacy' update, and will focus on making the Federation mechanic more meaningful, as well as introducing a new 'Galactic Community' mechanic that revolves around a Senate and passing resolutions.
A release window was never given for this so we weren't actually expecting it in 2019, however the development team confirmed just before Christmas that this would be a 2020 release.
A cross between Phantom Doctrine and XCOM, this squad/turn-based tactics game puts you in charge of a mercenary outfit hunting down terrorists in a fictional war-torn country. It's got an open-world strategy layer with all the trappings of modern XCOM, coupled with a free-form approach to goals and objectives. It was supposed to launch into Early Access sometime in 2019, but at the time of writing it just says 'Coming Soon'.
What were your personal highlights of 2019? Any other games you were expecting that didn't show? Let us know in the comments!