Top 15 best free strategy games for Android phones and tablets
As one of the most enduringly popular and diverse genres on mobile, we've covered the finest Android strategy games quite often.
But the thing with the biggest and best strategy games is that they tend to be extremely meaty, dare we say 'hardcore' experiences. And those tend to cost money.
So what about those Android strategy games that don't (or needn't) cost you a penny? That's what this list is dedicated to.
Naturally, in-app purchases play a part in the following strategy games. Some will only grant you the full package when you pay up. But all of these strategy gems will provide you with a satisfying strategy experience for no upfront fee.
Is there a free Android strategy game that you feel should be on this list? Let us know in the comments below.Original article by Jon Mundy, updated by Pocket Gamer staff.
The Battle of Polytopia
Polytopia ticks all the boxes for the 4X strategy genre - explore, expand, exploit - whilst brilliantly distilling the formula for mobile.
Plague Inc. totally flips the usual heroic script of saving lives, and instead asks you to wipe out vast swathes of humanity. It's no psycho-sim, but rather a darkly alluring tactical war room simulator all about forming and spreading viruses.
An addictive city builder that captures that classic isometric SimCity magic, but with the speed and intuitiveness you'd hope for in a mobile game.
Crush Your Enemies
Crush Your Enemies simplifies the RTS essentials almost to the point of ugliness, with its garish dual-toned battlefields. But the delicate push and pull of its territory-based gameplay is almost perfectly judged.
Clash of Clans
The very presence of Clash of Clans on this list may make strategy game die-hards vomit with rage. But its brand of casual city building has been hugely influential, and rarely matched. We have talked a lot about hacks in Clash of Clans, and if they are real. Players are really interested in how they can get ahead of their adversaries, so it's only natural. If you've already tried the game, and you liked it, you should really take a peek at the list of games like Clash of Clans.
Guide a pint-sized Spartan warrior through hex-based gridded levels, out-manoeuvring foes with a small but diverse range of abilities. Hoplite is one of the purest strategy games on mobile.
Just like Clash of Clans, Clash Royale rarely gets the purist vote, but it's been hugely influential. Part tower defence, part MOBA, part card battler - all entertaining strategy game.
Players that are interested in the game should first take a look at which cards to collect, so they won't waste any valuable resources. Our Clash Royale tier list will help you pick the right cards that suit your playstyle.
This speedy, streamlined RTS mixes a little MOBA magic into the equation, along with an appealingly clear art style. It's not big or particularly clever, but Battleplans sure is fun.
Star Trek: Fleet Command
A 4X mobile strategy game without the hardcore demands on your time, Star Trek: Fleet Command makes brilliant use of its sci-fi license for a deeply immersive tactical experience.
For the fans of Star Trek, this should be a no-brainer. They will find good use of our Star Trek Fleet Command best crew combinations guide, so there will be no mistake of who owns the space!
Mixing tense Rock Paper Scissors battling with a refined JRPG universe and a real time PVP mode, Langrisser Mobile covers a number of bases. It's packed full of tactical content.
The stakes might be relatively low on Motorsport Manager - you're managing an F1 team, not conquering a country - but the strategic action is no less tense or cerebral for that fact.
Command & Conquer: Rivals
OK, so Command & Conquer: Rivals isn't the epic RTS game that you might remember of the brand. But it is a finely honed-for-mobile take on the genre with a deceptive level of depth.
The Lord of The Rings: Rise to War
If you're a fan of LOTR, your stomach is already tingling. Yes, this is a free to play Android strategy game, where there are seasons after which all of the progress resets and you get to start over again. We have to state this as an important factor because not everyone looks favourably to the progress resets.
Other than that, you'll pick a starting faction (race) and you won't be able to pick the units from other factions for a while, so pick carefully. Some of the most beloved characters in the franchise are chosen as the army leaders, and each one favours a different playstyle. You'll expand your kingdom and fight monsters as well as other players. You can read more in the Rise of War guide that we made, it covers the essentials perfectly.
Dawn of Titans
Warriors with shields meet the direct fight with the enemy, spearmen come in from the flank, and archers are about to launch a hail of arrows into the air - this is what the gameplay of the epic strategy Dawn of Titans looks like. There are also titans, which need to be leveled and upgraded to win.
But before that, you will have to choose your titan by contacting the temple. There are already more than a hundred titans in the game, each has its own class and abilities that affect the tactics and style of combat. Moreover, some titans are rarer and more powerful than others, and it is they that all players desire to receive. This process is complemented by MMO elements such as upgrading your own castle, alliances, and battles with other players.
Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade
Strategy for Android in the best traditions of Clash of Clans, but with a historical twist. The player gets a settlement on the global map, which has to be rebuilt and developed in every possible way. There are no isolated battles on separate maps. In this game, units march and fight in real-time, and the camera moves freely from a bird's eye view to a distance that allows you to distinguish the uniforms of the soldiers.