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Download and conquer: the best strategy games for Android

War. War never changes. But wargames do. Strategy games on Android have become more impressive and complex over the years. The conquest of the world lies in the palm of your hand, if you can outsmart your enemies. We've picked out the best strategy games on the Play Store for you to test your tactical mind.

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The Battle of Polytopia

The Battle of Polytopia is a charming combination of strategy and adventure that has you assume the role of a tribal leader, on a quest to explore and conquer new lands. Naturally, there are rival tribes out there in the world who will challenge your supremacy. The cute, blocky graphics are attractive but also undemanding, which helps this game run smoothly on most devices.

The choice of tribe determines the type of adventurer you start with at the beginning of the game, but you can new abilities and units can be researched along the way, so you have a lot of flexibility to develop your strategy. 

Procedurally generated maps and a variety of tribes and environment helps keep gameplay fresh, and while Battle of Polytopia isn't as dense as a fully-fledged Civilization-type game, this is an advantage if you want to get on with the action in a short play session without fiddling with too many numbers for trade or diplomacy.

Battle of Polytopia has no ads, but there are in-app purchases to unlock additional tribes to play as. Nonetheless, even the free content contains hours of strategy goodness.

  • App version: New World
  • App size: 29 MB
  • App compatibility: Android 4.0 and up
  • Price: Free, in-app purchases

Heroes of Might and Magic III

This popular turn-based fantasy strategy game of yesteryear got a high definition remake in 2015, including a port to mobile devices. Originally released back in 1999, the original Heroes of Might & Magic III captured my young self for hours, days, weeks at a time. 

The good news is that the HD remake has all of the addictive qualities of the original game with crisper, more polished graphics. You build your city and raise armies of fantasy creatures (knights, orcs, elves, dragons, undead, demons, you know the drill) to explore a world map filled with treasure and monsters, and eventually conquer your enemies' domains.

With 8 different factions, 7 campaign scenarios, and 50 standalone or 'skirmish' maps (many of them, which will take hours to complete anyway), there's a lot of content to get through for your ten bucks, even if not all the expansions from the original game made it into the HD remaster. 

The dense and detailed fantasy maps look great in on a decent-sized phone or tablet. It's worth noting that this game is pretty picky about compatible devices, however. The select, point and click gameplay also takes some getting used to on a touchscreen, especially if you're used to more 'native' mobile titles. Stick with it though, and you won't regret it.

For the price, Heroes III is one of the more expensive, yet most complete, strategy games available on Android. For the $9.99 price, hours of of fantasy exploration, battle and conquest can be yours.

  • App version: 1.1.6
  • App size: 1.14 GB
  • Compatibility: Android 2.3.3 and up
  • Price: $9.99

RedSun RTS

Anyone remember the old Command and Conquer real time strategy games from back in the day? Well, Russian app developer Digital Garbage certainly does. And thankfully, its attempts to recreate the old-school RTS experience on Android don't live up to its "garbage" name.

Depending on your perspective, this game is a loving tribute to or shameless rip-off of Command and Conquer: Red Alert, complete with a Tesla Tank-touting Soviet Union. The developer also offers Expanse, another RTS that draws inspiration from the classic Dune strategy game.

Both games follow the classic RTS format: build your base, harvest resources and train ever-more powerful units in order to amass your army and destroy the enemy base. You can do this as one of several factions each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and flavor.

At first there's quite a steep learning curve: there's no hand-holding to explain the controls or units, the tutorials are just maps where the enemy is passive enough to let you learn by playing around and figuring it out on your own.

However, once you've got the hang of the basics, RedSun plays really well. Some stuff can still seem obscure though, such as the fact that some units can change into alternate forms, which you'll only find out by double-tapping on them.

Although fine micro-management of units is tricky on the touchscreen, the games handily have buttons that allow you to select all of a certain troop type (infantry, armor, air) at once, allowing you to get a bulky army on the move quickly while also being able to control individuals or small groups.

RedSun is available in both a free (ad-supported) and premium paid version. It's also possible to make IAPs to buy certain special units, but they don't seem to be necessary for victory, as in my testing I've handily been able to stomp the AI with the regular units. If offing bots isn't your thing, it's also possible to go head to head with human commanders in multiplayer matches over Wi-Fi.

  • App version: 1.0.915
  • App size: 64 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.0 and up
  • Price: Free with ads or $1.99

Templar Battleforce RPG

Wait, RPG? Don't worry. While there are role-playing elements and a great story in this game, the heart of Templar Battleforce is in squad-based tactical strategy combat. In a similar way to how RedSun is a knockoff of Command and Conquer: Red Alert, Templar Battleforce is 'inspired' by Games Workshop's classic board game Space Hulk.

You control a squad of elite troops known as Templars, specialist soldiers encased in hulking suits of armor that are tough enough to clear out entire armies of savage aliens using melee weapons and heavy duty firepower. Remind you of anyone?

While the concept isn't exactly original, the execution is fantastic, with well crafted maps and scenarios presenting a challenge for the mind. Clearing out room after room of Xenos with your squad while always facing the tension of what's around the next corner is extremely satisfying, and with so many options to customize your units, you'll get to know your Templars as individuals (and despair when they die).

It's a smaller, more intimate scale than the continent (or galaxy) conquering games on this list, but no less tactical and engaging. The full game comes with over 50 levels for $10, but there's a demo of the first 4 levels available for free, so you can try before you buy.

  • App version: 2.6.57
  • App size: 72.38 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 2.3 and up
  • Price: $9.99

Uciana

A space 4X game for Android? As if I wasn’t spending enough time already on Endless Space 2 and Stellaris on PC, now I can be a galactic space emperor on the subway, too. Uciana is a new indie game that delivers a fantastic amount of depth for your $0.99. There’s no IAP either. What you get is effectively a mobile game version of sci-fi Civilization descendants, such as Master of Orion 2.

There are several distinct spacefaring civilizations to choose from. Good ol’ humanity is an option, but I’m a fan of the more exotic types, with the crab-like Sothren Federation being my current favorites. Through the graphics are basic, each comes with distinct bonuses and ship design to give them a different flavor.

The goal is galactic conquest, which is accomplished via exploration, expansion, economic growth, technological research, and of course, diplomacy and war once you start bumping in to your rivals. Right now, it's only possible to 'win' the game by conquest but the developer has mentioned adding in different victory conditions further down the line.

Although the turn based system makes the controls easy enough on mobile, this isn't a casual game. Uciana doesn't dumb down the 4X genre at all, and you'll struggle at first to keep track of all your resources and statistics, and what exactly they mean. Though there are a couple of tutorial videos from the devs up on YouTube, mostly you'll be learning through trial and error in game.

Nonetheless, once you've spent time getting the hang of it, Uciana stands out as one of the best strategy games out there on mobile that isn't tarnished by pay-to-win monetization or predatory IAP. Given that it's early days yet for the game, it has great potential.

  • App version: 1670
  • App size: 39.04 MB
  • Compatibility: Android 4.2 and up
  • Price: $0.99

Have you tried any of these great strategy games on your Android device? Are there any more you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!

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