June 4, 2023

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15 Best Space Strategy Games of All Time

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Space strategy games are far more numerous than you might think. Plus, fans love diving into them to see how well they can do. Here are 15 great examples of the subgenre.

#15 Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth

The Civilization franchise is known for its quality, depth, and love for history. But in Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth, you will take a different track. Instead of being on Earth and trying to grow a civilization on it, you’ll lead a newly developed nation into the depths of space to attempt to rebirth humanity.

Go to alien worlds and do your best to colonize them. Expand your technologies to make life there more accessible, and fight the native creatures that will resist your colonies.

Will you be able to take humanity to the stars? Or will you be the next cautionary tale of how not to go into space?

#14 Dyson Sphere Program

Dyson Sphere Program puts a fun twist on the space strategy formula by having you create an actual Dyson Sphere to power a supercomputer so you can become an advanced society. Does that sound fun to you?

Once the sphere is up, you’ll have near-limitless energy to build whatever you want to make your spacefaring empire. As you build up your colonies on other planets, you’ll need to harvest them for resources so you can continue to build! Make pathways between your outposts so they never get lost, and you always have what you need!

Then, when you want to start over, the system will respawn utterly differently, so you’ll have a fresh experience!

#13 Battletech

In Battletech, you’ll find yourself in a galaxy at war. A bunch of “noble houses” are using advanced technology in the form of mechs to try and take down their rivals. You aren’t a part of those houses. Instead, you’re a part of a mercenary group trying to make their way through the galaxy.

You’ll take contracts with the warring factions and complete them to get money to up your capabilities. For example, you can outfit your home base to be better or upgrade your BattleMechs to do more damage on the battlefield.

Either way, take to the field and get the win so you can get paid.

#12 Age of Wonders: Planetfall

What happens when a galactic empire falls, and its dark shadow remains? Simple, the people who remain will rebuild and try to do better. Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a title that does just that.

Amid a fallen empire, you’ll pick one of six unique factions and use them to try and rebuild your home planet in the “proper way.”

Oh, and the “unique factions”? We weren’t kidding about those. You can be a military faction or a faction of Amazons who ride dinosaurs, or maybe you want to be zombie cyborgs! Each faction has its own tech, units, and story to unfold. So pick the one you like the most and see where your path leads you.

#11 Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2

The Warhammer 40K tabletop game has inspired numerous video game titles. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 is one of them, focusing on the space battles that happen in the universe.

Adding to the scope, all the factions in the tabletop game are here. Through them, you’ll go through a deep story set within the “Eye of Terror” and attempt to achieve victory over enemy forces. You can pick three different story campaigns from three sides of the conflict. Pick the one you want, and then go to war with various units and ships to achieve domination for your race!

Then, go online and test your skills against other players!

#10 Terra Invicta

In an alternate future, humanity has learned that aliens do exist and that they’re making their way to Earth. What happens next is up to you.

Humanity won’t unite on this issue, so multiple factions rise up for control. Each faction has its ideology and way of doing things. Some will wish to wipe out the aliens before they reach Earth. Others will desire peace with them and seek to communicate.

Pick the faction you feel best suits you, then get to work. First, investigate a mysterious probe that landed on the Earth from the aliens. Try to ascertain their goals, or refuse to care and build up your forces against them.
But before you fight the aliens, you must beat the other factions.

#9 Planetary Annihilation: Titans

Planetary Annihilation: Titans is an expansion of the original title and takes the game to a new level.

The hook of the standalone addition is the massive super-class ships known as TITANS. You can use five different ones; once you build them, they’ll devastate the enemy forces. But, even without them, you can partake in battles with thousands of units clashing against one another.

Plus, you can have an AI take over some of your forces and give simple commands to ensure your fleet does what you want.

If you want to put a capper on things, you can blow a planet if you win a fight.

#8 X4: Foundations

As you’ll see as you make it through this list, many space strategy games have you starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top. X4: Foundations is one such title. You won’t be a random person in space, though. Instead, you’ll pick a character with a specific role. Then, you’ll venture out to be whatever you want in the universe.

Just as important, you can tailor your character to be whatever you want over time. That includes changing their class if you wish. The more you do in space, the more you can level up your craft. You can even rule a whole empire if you do certain things. So pick your starting spot, then see where you end up.

#7 Oxygen Not Included

You need specific amenities to survive when trying to live in the depths of space. You know, like oxygen?

Oxygen Not Included puts you in charge of a group of people as they attempt to live within the depths of an asteroid. It’s not an impossible task, but you’ll have to be on guard for it because things will go wrong.

You’ll control the entire colony from top to bottom. So you must keep an eye on your people and the tech they use to ensure everything goes smoothly. Then, when something happens, get your people to safety and fix the problem.

If you’re good, you’ll be able to make life within the space rock pleasant.

#6 Endless Space 2

How many games do you know that call themselves a “space soap opera”? Well, you know one now! Endless Space 2 puts you in a universe where an ancient known as “The Endless” had godlike power, yet they vanished. Only the ruins of their civilization remain, as well as the “near-magical substance” the people call Dust.

As a spacefaring people, you’ll go into the universe and try to learn more about it, colonize it, and harness what it offers. Along the way, you’ll learn more about The Endless and encounter other beings you can fight or befriend.

A deep story and epic combat await you. So don’t be afraid to try out this title.

#5 FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL: Faster Than Light

If some of these titles feel “too big” for you, try out FTL: Faster Than Light, as it boils down the strategy and space elements a bit.

In the game, you won’t command a fleet of ships but instead, control one ship via its crew. That ship is trying to save the galaxy, but it won’t be easy. Your ship is constantly under attack and facing hardship. It’s your job to keep it functional and save it from sure destruction.

One of the best parts about the game is that you can pause it mid-crisis and think out your plan before you enact the next step. So take your time, save the ship, and save the galaxy!

#4 Surviving Mars

Mars is humanity’s current destination for expanding our reach across the stars. Surviving Mars will give you one version of how that might go. You’ll start at the beginning of the process by picking a space agency to work with to attempt to reach Mars. Once you get there, you’ll begin building domes to house colonists and then do your best to keep those people alive.

The more you expand, the more you’ll need to monitor. So keep your resources coming, ensure the safety and happiness of the people, etc. Grow your technology base to help fulfill more needs, and explore Mars to see what secrets may lie under the surface.

#3 Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion

The continuation of the previous title, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion, puts you back in the seat of a galactic war. But there’s a twist. The fight almost came to an end, but then the dominant parties started to fracture within one another. The power vacuum caused new factions with differing ideals on what to do.

Some fight for isolation and endure whatever the war throws at the universe. Others want total domination, while another faction seeks assimilation.

Pick the side you want to fight on and see where your path takes you. With new technologies, ships, and battles to be had, the fight for the galaxy isn’t close to being over.

#2 Stellaris

Stellaris is a game that prides itself on variety with every new campaign you start. No matter what species of being you choose to be, you’ll start your run leading a civilization as they venture into space. Start small by exploring your nearby systems. Then, find resources to expand and build up your fleets of ships.

How you govern your civilization determines what it will be. Do you wish to explore the far reaches of the universe to gain all sorts of knowledge? Or will you seek out other species to make exchanges with them? Would you prefer to dominate the entirety of the universe? You have the freedom to do what you want with each campaign, and the galaxy will randomize each time to give you different experiences.

#1 Eve Online

If a developer is bold enough to tell you that you have the “#1 Space MMO” in the world? Then you better pay attention. Eve Online lives up to that hype in multiple ways, not the least is that it’s free to play.

The game will put you in an expansive universe with over 7000 solar systems to explore. What you do in these places is entirely up to you. But know that what you do will affect everything. Players have been changing the universe for over twenty years, and you can be the next one to make the next domino fall.

Travel the stars, be a part of massive battles, whatever you want, you can do here.