This year, 2023, has seen the release of many good games across all the genres and platforms, including PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and Mobile. One genre that has really been brought into the mainstream this year has been turn-base games. Turn-based games are positioned in a unique place in the gaming industry because they fulfill almost all the desires players could want in a game. They can be played both casually – meaning played however a player would like to play it – and competitively – meaning it can be played with or against other players in tournament settings and/or be speed ran by players who want to take the game to its limits. Both strategy and skill are employed throughout the game; more experienced players will be able to clear the game faster, but new players are not hindered by their lack of strategic knowledge or skill. Finally, turn-based games can be played as a single player or in multi-player which offers a good experience for anyone who may want to play. Now, it’s time to get into the top 5 turn-based games/franchises out there today – starting from good to greatest.
5. Civilization 6
Also known as Civ 6, this game has over two dozen playable nations to use to shape history in your own vision. Civ 6 is the latest game of the Civilization franchise and it still had tens of thousands of players playing it today. Each turn equates to about 10 years of history and how you shape that history is completely different every game. Whether you conquer the world through strength, covert the world to your own custom religion, make your nation the most culturally attractive, or bring the world to its knees with scientific innovation, there is an infinite number of ways to play Civ 6 and each turn has the potential to bring an exciting new experience. Civilization 6 is available on all platforms other than on Mobile.
4. Competitive Card Games (CCG)
From the originals like Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering, and Pokémon to the newer card games like Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra, and Gwent, there is a card game for everyone out there. Competitive card games seem simple on the surface, but there is truly no depth you cannot dive into when it comes in the complexities of these games. Whether it is theory crafting the most fun deck to play or climbing the competitive ladder, card games allow players to show off their skill, strategic knowledge, and creativity all in one place. CCGs are generally available on PC and Mobile, but this depends on the game.
3. Honkai: Star Rail (HSR)
With new updates every two months, gacha games like HSR are a fun pastime for casual players. It has an extensive ongoing story that gets tougher to play through as you progress. Constructing team compositions and building up the power of characters to progress through the story is just part of the fun though. There are also dozens of puzzles to solve and mysteries to uncover throughout the game, with limited time events adding to this fun as well. HSR is available to play on Mobile, PC, and soon, PlayStation.
There are dozens of games turned-based Pokémon games currently on the market. Whether playing through the main games like the latest Scarlet and Violet, trying a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, or testing one of the hundreds of fan-made Pokémon games, knowledge of Pokémon weaknesses, team compositions, stats, and more are fundamental to beating the game and defeating these games. What makes Pokémon so special is that it is easy to understand but incredibly hard to master. This is why there are millions of players across the work that play and compete in Pokémon games, a feat very few gaming franchises can say after nearly 30 years of existence. What is more exciting is that generation 10 of Pokémon is likely to be announced in early 2024. There are Pokémon games available on Mobile (Pokémon GO) and PC (fan-made games), but they are mainly available on Nintendo Switch and older Nintendo platforms like the DS.
1. Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3)
There is no other game in existence that would be able to make the top of this list other than Baldur’s Game 3. It may not only be the best turn-based of all time, but it is also probably the best RPG of all time. While it has only been on the market for about one month, it is by far the best game currently on the market based on player sentiment, purchasing statistics, cumulative time played, and more. BG3 incorporates strategy, skill, luck, and story-based decisions all into one turn-based game. Unlike nearly every other game, BG3’s difficulty is not completely a linear game. It can be made difficult starting from the earliest parts of the game, then become easier as it progresses, or vice versa, which is great for players who enjoy a challenge and players who are just trying the game for the first time. The biggest draw to the BG3, the story, is also non-linear – how the story progresses is completely up to the player and every play through has the potential to be completely different from the last. BG3 is by far the best game on the market currently and is very likely to win game of the year for 2023. It also happens to be an epic turn-based game with tons of skill expression and strategic planning involved. Baldur’s Gate 3 is available on PC and Xbox, with the availability to play with up to three other players.
This list is by no means an exhaustive list of all the turn-based games on the market right now, but it is what I have had time to play. There are probably plenty of other good turn-based games out there, but I am glad these games are representing the turn-based genre so well.