Great Games That Teach Strategy

Plenty of games let players take on the role of a general leading troops into battle. Others let gamers develop tactics to advance a civilization's growth across a plain or even across the expanse of space. There are even board and card games that can be used to strengthen a player's skills to think multiple steps ahead. Below, we've gathered a list of games that help teach tactics and strategy to players, getting them to see that planning ahead will help them reach their goal faster and easier. If you're interested in games with more fast-paced action, check out our Best Action Games for Kids list. If story and adventure are more to your liking, check out our Adventure Games for Kids list.

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Bakugan Battle Brawlers: Battle Trainer Game Poster Image
Toy-and-cartoon spinoff provides surprisingly brainy fun.
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
(2010)
(2010)
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Monopoly Family Fun Pack Game Poster Image
Fun version of the iconic board game -- with extra modes.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
(2014)
(2014)
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Zubo Game Poster Image
Pokemon-like battle game is funnier, with less violence.
Platforms: Nintendo DS
(2009)
(2009)
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Re-Mission 2 Game Poster Image
Six fun games turn cancer treatment into a winnable battle.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2013)
(2013)
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Style Savvy Trendsetters Game Poster Image
The focus is on looks, but business strategy makes the game.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2012)
(2012)
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Build-a-lot Game Poster Image
Accessible building sim both challenging and fun.
Platforms: Windows
(2008)
(2008)
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Defense Grid 2 Game Poster Image
Terrific strategic tower defense game has mild violence.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2014)
(2014)
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Gamestar Mechanic Game Poster Image
Grand adventure teaches you to design your own games.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2010)
(2010)
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Hearthstone Game Poster Image
Popular card game shuffles fun with amusing turn-based play.
Platforms: Mac, Windows, iPhone
(2014)
(2014)
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Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Game Poster Image
Madcap, must-have strategic adventure for Nintendo fans.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
(2017)
(2017)
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Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes Game Poster Image
Puzzles meet strategy in fun fantasy for older kids.
Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
(2009)
(2009)
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Pikmin 3 Game Poster Image
Fun and colorful strategy/puzzle game is a Wii U must-have.
Platforms: Nintendo Wii U
(2013)
(2013)
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Stellaris: Utopia Game Poster Image
Civics takes to the stars in deep space strategy expansion.
Platforms: Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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FTL: Faster Than Light Game Poster Image
Innovative space strategy game rewards thoughtful play.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2012)
(2012)
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Into the Breach Game Poster Image
Deceptively complex strategy game vs. bugs rewards failure.
Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
(2018)
(2018)
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The Political Machine 2012 Game Poster Image
Kids experience civics by building a dream candidate.
Platforms: Windows
(2012)
(2012)
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Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World Game Poster Image
Brilliant expansion makes Civ V more edifying than ever.
Platforms: Windows
(2013)
(2013)
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Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings Game Poster Image
Fab expansion to historical sim adds religion to the mix.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2012)
(2012)
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Spore Game Poster Image
This exceptional evolution sim is a masterpiece.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2008)
(2008)
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Antihero Game Poster Image
Sly, sticky-fingered Victorian strategy makes thievery fun.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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Brass Tactics Game Poster Image
VR strategy delivers fun, accessible robotic combat.
Platforms: Oculus Rift
(2018)
(2018)
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Endless Space 2 Game Poster Image
Deep galactic empire simulation demands strategic thinking.
Platforms: Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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Fable Fortune Game Poster Image
Engaging card-game battle set in Fable's fantasy world.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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Age of Empires: Definitive Edition Game Poster Image
Updated historic strategy has great tactics, bloody combat.
Platforms: Windows
(2018)
(2018)
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The Banner Saga Game Poster Image
Great strategy game with rich fantasy mythology.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2014)
(2014)
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Card Hunter Game Poster Image
Cross-genre tactics game has Dungeons & Dragons charm.
Platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows
(2015)
(2015)
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The Elder Scrolls: Legends Game Poster Image
Strategy card game is fast-paced, fun for fans.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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The Escapists 2 Game Poster Image
Prison escape strategy sim returns with a breakout hit.
Platforms: Linux, Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Game Poster Image
Deep, strategy-focused RPG has violence, skimpy outfits.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2017)
(2017)
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Halo Wars 2 Game Poster Image
Strategic sci-fi war game solves problems through violence.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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History: Legends of War: Patton Game Poster Image
World War II simulation focuses on history, strategy.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Xbox 360
(2012)
(2012)
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Plants vs. Zombies Adventures Game Poster Image
Campy zombie game adds new twists, more waiting.
Platforms: Facebook
(2013)
(2013)
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StarCraft with Brood War Expansion Game Poster Image
Fantastic, and now free, sci-fi strategy game for teens.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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Woodland Heroes Game Poster Image
Cute and compelling mix of Risk and Battleship on Facebook.
Platforms: Facebook
(2011)
(2011)
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XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Game Poster Image
Extremely tough strategy game with lots of bloody combat.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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Culdcept Revolt Game Poster Image
Fantasy game fun, engaging for card battle fans.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
(2017)
(2017)
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Disgaea 5 Complete Game Poster Image
Strategy adventure bursts at seams with loads of gameplay.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
(2017)
(2017)
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Lost Dimension Game Poster Image
Strategic game with compelling story, memorable characters.
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita
(2015)
(2015)
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Massive Chalice Game Poster Image
Epic game of tactics that spans (and spawns) generations.
Platforms: Windows, Xbox One
(2015)
(2015)
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Napoleon: Total War Game Poster Image
Strategy game with some profanity, violence, & open chat.
Platforms: Windows
(2010)
(2010)
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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Game Poster Image
"Stellar" sci-fi strategy expansion wows fans of the series.
Platforms: Mac, Windows
(2013)
(2013)
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Steel Division: Normandy 44 Game Poster Image
Complex but rewarding visit to brutal battles of WWII.
Platforms: Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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Total War: Rome II Game Poster Image
Compelling war strategy game combines brains with brawn.
Platforms: Windows
(2013)
(2013)
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Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun Game Poster Image
Brutal strategy game is gory, tough, yet hard to put down.
Platforms: Mac, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2017)
(2017)
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Tropico 4 Game Poster Image
City building game offers tyrannical options.
Platforms: Xbox 360
(2011)
(2011)
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Total War: Warhammer II Game Poster Image
Steep learning curve leads to epic violent fantasy battles.
Platforms: Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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The Council Game Poster Image
Thrilling tale is blend of intrigue, careful conversations.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
(2018)
(2018)
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Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III Game Poster Image
Difficult yet rewarding RTS tailor-made for 40K experts.
Platforms: Windows
(2017)
(2017)
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