10 Great Mobile Strategy Games For iPhone And iPad

Talk to enough developers and you'll hear the same line: Apple users pay more for stuff than their Android equivalents. As a result, there's a ton of games that gets developed for iOS first, or iOS exclusively.

So if you have doubled down on the Apple ecosystem: good news, because there's some solid strategy games that Android fans don't have just yet. Here's ten.

Frozen Synapse

Here's an example where Android users don't quite get the full experience. The original Frozen Synapse is available in all its glory on iPhone and iPad, but Android users have to settle for the inferior Frozen Synapse Prime. Prime does look a little better, but it's less charming, clunkier, and the UI isn't helpful.

Fortunately, Apple users can simply buy the original. It works just fine on phones, but the tablet offers the best experience by far.

Agricola

If you're on Android, you can get a version of Agricola, but it's not the proper thing. Agricola: All Creatures Great and Small is a two-player version of the classic worker placement game, while the iOS version of Agricola is the real deal, with solo series play and online modes.

Invisible, Inc.

Klei's turn-based spy roguelike is only available on iPad, and absolutely not available on Android. Which is a shame, since it's a fantastic mix of XCOM, Splinter Cell and roguelikes, with some great difficulty customisations.

Beyond that, it's everything you would expect from the PC version. It's only $8 as well, which is an insane bargain given what you're getting.

Puerto Rico

Image: Board Game Geek

While you can get the card game inspired by Puerto Rico on Android, the original board game (or at least a HD version) is only available on iOS. Which is weird, given that the developer of Puerto Rico HD is the same team responsible for San Juan, but anyway.

Puerto Rico on iPad has a relatively crisp interface, a reasonable tutorial for those who need a ctach up and pass and play modes, as well as AI if you don't or can't play online.

Civilization VI

It's the most you'll pay upfront for an iPad game, and it'll never appear on sale as frequently as its PC brethren. But as far as board games go - which you could class Civ as these days - it's the best title you can get on iPad.

The developers announced that they were looking at "other platforms", which could have possibly meant the Kindle or Apple TV, but don't expect an Android port any time in the future. You'll also get a slightly better experience with a stylus, although I don't blame you if you feel like you've donated enough to the throne of Apple already.

Rome: Total War

I wouldn't try playing this on an older device, but if you've got one of the more recent iPads then you can have a full Total War experience - rather than the Total War Battles game on Android which doesn't really play out like a Total War game at all.

The one kicker is that the touch controls take a little getting used to. The game is optimised for the 5th generation of iPads as well, if you own one of those, although it will run on any iPad Pro or any iPad mini 2 or newer.

Armello

The Aussie-made crowdfunded board game, after years on PC and consoles, has finally made its way to its natural home. It's not on Android, and it's best played on the larger screen of the iPad.

It looks smashing on the higher end iPhones though. The only kicker is that the game's IAP model might turn some users off - board game players tend to prefer to buy everything upfront. But the low barrier for entry is great if you're looking for a bunch of new games before going on a flight or a long trip.

Warlock of Firetop Mountain

Warlock of Firetop Mountain comes courtesy of Tin Man Games, the Aussie studio responsible for translating Fighting Fantasy and other gamebooks into video games. Warlock hit Steam a couple of years ago, and Tin Man brought Warlock of Firetop Mountain to iOS earlier this year.

I'm calling Warlock of Firetop Mountain out because it adds extra layers that you don't normally get from a digital gamebook. There's turn-based combat and an isometric perspective that adds a board game feel, although the crux of the game is a choose-your-own-adventure.

Just beware that the game has a bit of a Dragon's Lair element: you will die, and you're supposed to. Know that going in, and you'll have a much better time. (As an aside, Warlock of Firetop Mountain will come to Android eventually, but for now you can only get it on iOS and PC.)

Lost Cities

The card game about profiteering from archaeological expeditions, Lost Cities found its way to iOS five years ago but its developers have steadfastly refused to bring the game to Android.

"We love what we do and we do what we love. And that's developing for iOS and OS X," TheCodingMonkeys wrote on their website.

The game has four different AI opponents if you can't find someone online, and online matchmaking isn't region locked to make finding opponents easier. Beyond that, it's a clean adaptation of the two-player classic, with a straightforward interface that works well on phones or tablets.

Warlords Classic

I never played Warlords Classic back in the day - I was only a couple of years old, and when I started getting into strategy games it was the era of C&C, StarCraft and Total Annihilation. But gamers from a generation past can relive a bit of nostalgia with Warlords Classic, which runs very nicely on an iPhone or iPad.

This isn't the kind of game you could fly through on the toilet: full matches of Warlords can take a few hours. But if the slow strategic pace is your cup of tea, you can enjoy Warlords in all its glory on the couch - which is a much nicer experience than mucking about with DOSBox.


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