Strategy games are one of the most favorite genres in gaming, especially for PC players and since the Steam Deck is a portable PC, these games are finding their new home on the handheld console. Of course, some strategy games are very PC-centric owing to their elaborate controls and detailed playstyle but there are many gems out there that are perfect for the Steam Deck.
This guide discusses some of the best strategy games Steam Deck owners can install and enjoy on their handheld.
Strategy Games For The Steam Deck
The 11 best strategy or turn-based games to play on the Steam Deck are:
- FTL: Faster Than Light
- Disco Elysium
- Into The Breach
- Darkest Dungeon
- Gears Tactics
- Wasteland 3
- Divinity: Original Sin 2
- Banner Saga
- Persona 4 Golden
We will be covering a bunch of different strategy games and styles in this article so there is something for everyone here!
FTL: Faster Than Light
A well-made strategic indie game that lures you in with its simple design but underneath it all is a competent spaceship management and battling sim where you end up investing hours by building your vessel for the sole purpose of watching it being destroyed. That’s how this game is.
However, you will be forced to begin again and again because of the game’s pleasantness and adrenaline burst. The game is available for an insanely low price, so all of you with a dream to have your own Enterprise, Serenity or Millenium Falcon should purchase this one.
Disco Elysium wants to get you in touch with the voices in your head. This detective RPG calls back to the old Infinity Engine games like Baldur’s Gate, but it put a unique spin on everything. With a beautiful oil painting aesthetic, it also features a system that treats your skill like additional party members, each with their own opinions on your actions.
It is a game for those who are looking to let go of a traditional gameplay loop and are willing to embrace the text-heavy deep narrative-based side of gaming.
Into The Breach
Unlike many games that have big ambitions and big budgets, only to falter at the most fundamental level, Into the Breach under-promises and over-delivers. Its modest look and surface simplicity belie an addictive and satisfying gameplay loop that is deep without being overly complicated and rewarding in perfect, bite-size moments. An almost perfectly formed strategy game, that hides near-infinite variety and depth beneath its deceptively simple presentation.
Wildermyth is one of the best turn-based strategy games out there, and also a great RPG. Wildermyth substitutes a traditional unique big campaign with a rather small set of stories that aren’t even that tied together, but smaller episodes could be more attractive to a casual audience.
Artistically beautiful to the eyes, with a very particular style, capable of keeping you glued to the monitor for a long time, although there isn’t that much to do when we aren’t engaged in turn-based combat. It is recommended to be played at a high difficulty level which turns the game into an epic chess battle.
At its core, Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based RPG, governed by a brutal RNG/dice roll system where everything has a cost. Darkest Dungeon is an unrelenting adventure as well as an intricately designed puzzle.
Swiftly punishing foolhardy players while rewarding the cautious, it hammers home the message that risk is not always worth the reward. Knowing when to fold your cards is the key to triumph, even if doing so means abandoning your loyal followers and slipping further into amorality.
Gears Tactics is a solid turn-based strategy game that has something for genre veterans and newcomers alike. The faster pace and more aggressive style of the game will appeal to fans of the franchise, while the tweaks to established elements, like action usage and overwatch, will also pique the interest of strategy fans.
The brutal difficulty may be par for the genre, and while the lack of multiplayer will turn off some players, the strong campaign and post-game skirmishes will keep others interested for quite some time.
If you are a fan of XCOM then Wasteland 3 is a brainer choice of turn-based strategy game for you. It offers a great and compelling story with twists and choices that matter. The characters are robust and the gorgeous artwork that is Colorado helps to bring everything to life.
The combat is great and works well without feeling tedious at any point. The skill system offers a depth of choice for making characters and brings some interesting aspects to the game. Wasteland 3 is everything one could wish for from a post-apocalypse turn-based combat game. There is even a Frozen Ferret Launcher in this game!
Temtem is a treat for Pokémon fans on the Steam Deck, innovating the formula in meaningful ways while staying close to its roots. That’s not always good, as Temtem has a lackluster story and an endless churn of wild battles that feel inherently Pokémon, but it’s still the best take on the genre in a long time.
The game also has a bunch of mechanics that fans of the Pokémon games are always complaining about. Temtem is continually getting newer updates so there is no shortage of content and monsters to collect. And although the monsters do feel like Pokémon rip-offs, the game has a distinct style to them that separates them from cheap imitations.
Divinity: Original Sin 2
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is simply the pinnacle of the CRPG genre. It offers a campaign with memorable characters, interesting role-playing options, and excellent systemic strategic combat. The environments are beautiful and the soundtrack is solid.
All of the above alone would put it at the top of the class, but then Larian added offline and online coop, a PVP arena mode, and Game Master mode, the greatest throwback to the Dungeons & Dragons pen-and-paper games that underpin the entire genre. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the greatest game of this genre and a must-buy for fans of CRPG strategy games.
The Banner Saga is somewhat halfway between the classic The Oregon Trail and Kingdom of Dragon Pass, mixed with tactical turn-based combat and a story that covers the epic feats of the Norse gods. It is an epic example of the beautiful level that indie developers continue to achieve, overcoming the problems that arise from orthodox major game designs.
From its humble mechanical and its simple-but-stunning visual style, it is a solid, exciting, and unique title in its genre supported by an interesting plot line that offers decisiveness. There are 2 other sequels to this game that are similarly great so you can have yourself a grand adventure among the 3 games.
Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 Golden is slowly starting to show its age in the gameplay department, but that doesn’t detract it from being one of the best RPG strategy experiences you’ll find. The lovely cast of characters and the goofy, yet shockingly serious story will keep you at the edge of your seat for the 100+ hours it has to offer. This insane game time is perfect for the Steam Deck’s portability.
The PC/Steam Deck port itself is also well optimized; it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles most PC titles come with, but considering this is a remaster of a handheld port of a PS2 game, there’s more than even anyone would have expected. Persona 4 Golden is an absolute must for all JRPG fans and the PC version only highlights this further. Even if you owned it on PlayStation Vita, this is a tale well worth experiencing again at a higher resolution and 60fps.
Traditional strategy games like Age of Empires are very much playable on the Steam Deck but the way they are designed is very counter-intuitive to the Steam Deck hence it is best that you play more turn-based strategy games on the go. You can however play games like Civilization on the Steam Deck but you will have to opt for a desktop setup with an external screen rather than rely on the built-in controller.