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Top 10 strategy games for iPad

Tactical master strokes

Top 10 strategy games for iPad
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You might think that you don't like strategy games. But really, every video game is a strategy game.

Whether you're figuring out how to defeat that towering boss in Zelda, how to topple that tower in one shot in Angry Birds, or how to relay a tricky phrase to your friend in Draw Something, all require a modicum of tactical thought.

But we're here to talk about those games that wear their strategic hearts on their sleeves - probably as a decoy while an ally sneaks around back and takes out a generator.

We've picked out ten games that often look and play quite differently from each other, but which are joined by a commitment to rewarding careful planning and clever forethought.

These are the strategy games that are really floating our battleships right now. What are yours?

Battle of the Bulge
by Shenandoah Studio - buy on iPad

Battle of the Bulge is a painstakingly accurate historical turn-based strategy game that adheres reverently to the landscape, strategies, and scope of one of World War II's most dramatic and decisive battles. It's also a real challenge for hardcore strategy nuts.

Total War Battles: Shogun
by The Creative Assembly - buy on iPad

Already the king of strategy on PC, The Creative Assembly took on the task of translating its mastery over to iPad. The developer has managed it with gusto, wisely stripping away the more fiddly aspects of the real time strategy genre while retaining an admirable level of depth and sophistication.

RAD Soldiers
by Warchest Limited - buy on iPad

Well, whaddaya know? A freemium strategy game that doesn't sell its tactical soul to the devil of commerce. RAD Soldiers focuses on the online multiplayer side of things, but it also packs in some finely judged turn-based squad mechanics and some killer stylised 3D graphics.

Kingdom Rush
by Ironhide Game Studio - buy on iPad

Tower defence is pretty much its own genre these days, and it's one that can attract a little sniffiness from hardcore strategy nuts. But it certainly deserves representation on this list, and for my money Kingdom Rush is the best tower defence game on the App Store.

That's thanks to its finely balanced tactical gameplay, imaginative unit progression trees, and fabulously compelling campaign mode.

Sid Meier's Ace Patrol
by Firaxis - buy on iPad

Sid Meier is the confirmed grandaddy of virtual empire building, but Ace Patrol shows off his team's stripped-back strategy skills.

It sees you indulging in turn-based aerial warfare as you command a squadron of World War I fighter aces. The physics of flight are brilliantly incorporated as you climb, bank, and loop around to your opponent's six.

Hunters 2
by Rodeo Games - buy on iPad

This 2D top-down turn-based strategy game puts you in command of a team of mercenaries, and throws you into an in-depth campaign mode with impressive scope. It also features an extremely well-considered character progression system and effortlessly slick mobile controls.

Leviathan Warships
by Pieces Interactive - buy on iPad

Appropriately enough, Leviathan Warships is an absolute monster of a turn-based strategy game. Featuring two-stage nautical plotting as deep as the Atlantic Ocean and cross-platform multiplayer capabilities that allow you to play against hardened PC strategy nuts, this is serious business.

Autumn Dynasty
by Touch Dimensions - buy on iPad

Bringing RTS mechanics over to the all-touch iPad is not an easy matter, which is one reason behind the rise of streamlined sub-genres like tower defence.

Autumn Dynasty manages it, though, thanks to an intuitive interface and some beautifully simplified (but faithful to the feudal Chinese setting) visuals. Sun Tzu would be proud.

Summoner Wars
by Playdek Inc. - buy on iPad

Whilst Summoner Wars is technically a deck-building card game, it also boasts an intriguing strategy element to it.

Besides the usual top trumps and random dice-roll elements, the game requires you to carefully position your playing cards on the battlefield, adding all kinds of tactically clever permutations to its gameplay.

Unstoppable Gorg
by Futuremark - buy on iPad

Less tower defence and more planetary defence, Unstoppable Gorg is all about establishing a solid network of orbital weapons to fend off an alien attack.

With the need to shift your defences around to cover all angles and the campy '50s B movie vibe, Unstoppable Gorg is certainly the quirkiest strategy game on this list.