Top 10 Best Sci-Fi Strategy Games

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
SPACE BATTLES! GIANT ROBOTS! SPACE MARINES! FRIGGING STAR WARS! That's the stuff you'll find in some of the best real time strategy games out there with that futuristic, science fiction heavy, far out there concepts. We had about 40K entries – many of them Warhammer related - but we've finally got the best ones out there, ranked. Planets will blow up, galaxies will be explored, homeworlds will be discovered, total annihilation will be achieved, the light speed barrier will be shattered, you'll achieve the rank of supreme commander and Star Craft is totally gonna be on here... ENGAGE!

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Top 10 Sci-Fi Strategy Games

Sometimes, a bigger gun just doesn’t cut it. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our Top 10 Sci-Fi Strategy Games.

While many people consider science fiction and action to be a match made in Heaven, we feel that a game only truly becomes special when we get to put our minds to work. For this list, we’re focusing on those titles that in their gameplay require quick thinking, deft reflexes and, above all else, encourage a heavy use of strategy.

#10: “Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War” (2004)

The classic tabletop franchise comes to life thanks to Relic Entertainment’s sci-fi epic. Controlling your squads of Space Marines through the Orc camps is as visually impressive as it is satisfying, requiring a quick mind and strategic thinking. While only four of the universes factions are playable in this first iteration of the series, the gameplay remains varied and interesting throughout, and never feels as limiting as we might have thought. Base building tends to take a backseat to the combat through the games relatively simple single player campaign, but after seeing how satisfying gunning down the enemy with our squads can be, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

#9: “Star Wars: Empire at War” (2006)

Anyone who’s ever wished themselves a part of science fictions most celebrated franchise would do well to take a good hard look at this entry. Set during the Galactic Civil War with gameplay focused on large, epic space battles, it’s easy to see why this ten year old classic has continued to stay relevant in modern gaming. Planning out attacks on different planets through the galaxy and executing them with proper tactics and a string of well-timed reinforcements feels as epic as any of the battles from the movies, and impresses us every time we come back to this gem. As good as the franchise that inspired it, this is one game that can get by on its own merit.

#8: “Sins of a Solar Empire” (2008)

While perhaps underrated when going against the established titans of the genre, we feel that this hybrid is well deserving of a spot on this list. When it comes to sci-fi, a sense of scale is crucially important and Sins of a Solar Empire has that in spades. With the ability to zoom in and out at will, inspecting anything from a small segment of a battle to the vast reaches of your empire truly immerses you in the universe that you’re creating. Taking the best parts of the RTS and 4X genres and throwing them together into an engaging end product, this is one game that definitely punches above its weight class.

#7: “Total Annihilation” (1997)

While Supreme Commander is a great game in its own right, we feel that its predecessor is a little more deserving of a spot on this list. Featuring massive battles that take place throughout the entirety of the map, and all the resources you could ever need to support it, this entry gives you the keys to the general’s quarters and lets you go nuts. Disappointed at first by the simplistic resource management, once the battles kicked in and got more and more hectic, we quickly grew thankful that we had one less thing to worry about. With gameplay focusing on the big picture instead of small, menial tasks, it’s strategy, not hand speed, that’ll get you through the missions.

#6: “X-Com 2” (2016)

X-Com: UFO Defense set the standard for the long running alien invasion series, but X-Com 2 takes everything together into what we feel is the best entry of them all. Expanding on the hit 2012 reboot of the original, this sequel provides improvements everywhere. There are more mission types, more weapons, more interactions on the battlefield, a faster pace of play, and of course, infinitely more frustration when your best soldier gets taken down by a lucky critical. Keeping the core elements of the series intact and cranking everything else up to 11, this is one game that continues to take entire weekends away from our lives.

#5: “Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri” (1999)

Civilization: Beyond Earth got a lot of praise for taking the classic formula into a bold, new direction, but this cult classic by the same company did it all sixteen years earlier. Right from the get-go we were thrust into a world where exploration, discovery, and strategy would be the only pathways to victory. The eerie setting of a planet cloaked in shadows does a great job of setting up the story, and had us wary of running into the Progenitors at every turn. While the gameplay elements aren’t quite as refined as we’ve come to expect from its sister series, they remain complex, engaging, and worth a look to anyone who hasn’t experienced it.

#4: “Homeworld” (1999)

Requiring honing different skills in order to conquer the game, this entry has plenty to offer anyone looking to flex their mental muscles. Taking place entirely in 3d, navigation and combat are some of the most engaging we’ve seen in a strategy game. Whether it’s individually harvesting minerals from a nearby asteroid, or executing an attack with a large fleet, we always felt that success or failure rested entirely on our shoulders, and not on spotty AI decisions. Adding strategic depth to a potentially sparse setting by including environmental factors that can play havoc with ship movement, this entry infuses a breath of fresh air to a genre that can be guilty at times of a lack of innovation.

#3: “Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2” (2000)

While Command and Conquer: Red Alert may be the better game, we feel that the follow up has stronger sci-fi elements that earned it a place in the top 3 of our list. Whether it’s the Chrono Legionnaires, Psi Commandos, or Cosmonauts, the available arsenals to both sides of the conflict are extremely diverse, and very high-tech even by today’s standards, let alone the game’s 1972 setting. In an alternate timeline where the Cold War escalated and heated up significantly, both the Soviet and American campaigns provide everything we expect from our science fiction, including the cheesy voice acting.

#2: “Dune 2” (1992)

The archetypal real time strategy game, this forefather of the genre laid the foundations for almost every example that followed. Based upon the film adaptation of the book, Dune 2 gives you control of one of three houses in your quest to control Arrakis. The foundations may not be as polished as we’ve come to experience in the decades that followed, but for their first ever implementation in a video game, we would have expected far worse. While the purists might not like the inclusion of non-canon lore to the game’s story, without this time-tested gem this list just might not have even existed at all.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:

“Galactic Civilations II: Dread Lords” (2006)

“Stellaris” (2016)

“Haegemonia: Legions of Iron” (2002)

“Masters of Orion” (1993)

#1: “Starcraft” (1998)

Starcraft 2 may have brought the lore to a whole new generation of gamers and sparked an interest in e-sports in the West, but none of it would have been possible without the first entry in the series. Immersing us in a bleak world populated by three unique, memorable races, Blizzard’s smash hit is one of those legendary games that we just keep coming back to. Meticulously balanced to make each race feel different, challenging, and above all, fun to play, gameplay has endured as some of the most rewarding in the history of the genre. Requiring a quick mind and even quicker hands, this titan of sci-fi is deserving of its place atop our list.

Agree with our list? Have any other favorite sci-fi strategy games? For more fun top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to