How we pick our products
Strategy games are one of the most popular board game genres on the market. Each game is unique, with its very own theme and mechanics. A quality strategy game will capture your child’s attention while testing their intelligence, creativity and ingenuity.
The complexity of strategy games makes them ideal for children who are starting to outgrow their childhood toys, as well as for teens and adults of all ages. Their broad appeal makes them a great option for a fun night in with friends and family. This article will provide further information on the types of strategy games available and the ages they are suitable for. It will also offer some recommendations based on the best games currently on the market.
- 1 First things first
- 2 The best strategy games on the UK market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about strategy games
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
First things first
- The variety of themes and mechanics in the strategy game sector is extensive. Some genres – such as fantasy or war – dominate the market, but each game offers the player a unique experience.
- This type of board game is usually tailored for older children, starting from around 8 to 10 years of age. However, the very best games have no upper age limits and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
- The more intricate games immerse players in exciting narratives and fantastic worlds where a single stage or level can last hours or even days.
The best strategy games on the UK market
The variety of strategy games on the market is extremely broad. The theme and dynamics of each one make it a unique playing experience. This is why these board games are ideal for children, teenagers and adults alike. In the following section, we’ve included a selection of our favourite strategy games:
Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about strategy games
You may have difficulties differentiating between a standard board game and a strategy game. The latter game genre is quite specific in that it tests the intelligence of players and requires a high level of concentration. This next section will provide you with a better understanding of what constitutes a strategy game.
What are strategy games exactly?
Many games feature fictitious narratives or require players to take on specific roles. Participants employ their own tactics throughout the game while remaining attuned to the tactics of other players. These games range in difficulty from simplistic to complex and the latter ones can take a great deal of time to master and complete.
At what age can children start to play strategy games?
Are there different types of strategy games?
|Type||Game dynamics||Special features|
|Abstract games||These sorts of games don’t try to recreate reality but rather focus on the internal logic of the game.||The complexity of these games varies greatly. Their design tends to be minimalist and attractive.|
|War or military games||As implied, these games simulate wars and battles. They generally require players to develop a strategy throughout the game.||Each one can last a considerable length of time, even taking several days to complete.|
|Simulation games||These aim to mimic the decisions and processes that a person would undertake in a real-life situation.||Players usually take on a role and immerse themselves in a fictional narrative while playing.|
|Classic games||These are the original strategy games. They can be played with cards e.g. Poker, or with counters e.g. Ludo.||They are similar to abstract games but include fewer elements.|
The strategy genre is quite simply one of the broadest and most diverse board game categories. Every single game is unique, and you’ll find different themes, formats, levels of complexity and game dynamics. Here are some key aspects to consider when shopping for games:
Age of the child
Age is an essential factor when considering what type of game to purchase. Products designed for teenagers have more intricate themes and detailed plots, while games for younger kids are simpler, featuring attractive and colourful designs and more straightforward rules.
As older kids are the ones who will get the most enjoyment from these types of games, we encourage you to start with traditional board games if your child is younger than 6. From that age onwards, they can start experimenting with simple strategy games. Refer to the guide below for further details on this and some recommendations for each age group:
|Age group||Type of game||Examples of games|
|Children (6-10 years old)||Low complexity games, with attractive designs and colours, and clear themes. We recommend games that last less than one hour.||Liar and Labyrinth|
|Preteens (11-13 years old)||Games with more elaborate themes can be introduced, such as abstract strategy games. Games can last longer, as children of this age have a higher capacity for concentration.||Settlers of Catan and Express yourself!|
|Teenagers (13 years and older)||Adolescents will quickly grasp all the game mechanics. At this age, they are capable of working with more serious or complex themes, such as war or role-playing games.||Express yourself! and Risk|
As there is such a large diversity of themes in the strategy game genre, we encourage you to check with your child which ones interest him/her before making any purchases. It’s also useful to consider that many classic game creators have released new versions of their games based on popular movies or TV shows.
While fantasy is certainly a dominant theme in the board game sector, your child may also discover new interests by interacting with unknown and unusual themes. Some of these could even be of academic benefit. A game such as Risk, for instance, may lead to your child developing a genuine passion for history or geography.
Difficulty and duration
As previously established, the strategy genre offers a more complex experience than regular board games. These games tend to be longer, as players need time to develop their tactics and plan thoroughly. That being said, the difficulty of the game very much influences its duration.
More elaborate strategy games like Risk build a narrative as the game progresses, and the players are caught in a fictitious universe. These types of games involving fantastic worlds can last for hours or even days.
Certain brands – especially independent brands – design their games to be as visually appealing as they are entertaining. Attractive games with bright colours are particularly stimulating for younger children.
We recommend that you opt for abstract strategy games if aesthetics is important for you. They generally feature more eye-catching designs, as they don’t depict specific characters or real-life situations.
Strategy games provide designers with the possibility of offering very different mechanics to regular games. Certain games are constructed so that players must decipher enigmas, while others push them into misleading their opponents. Some games promote teamwork, others competition. While themes such as war and fantasy tend to dominate strategy games, the mechanics of each game can make it truly original.
If your child already has a broad collection of board games and you’re looking for something new, don’t hesitate to opt for a game with different mechanics to the ones they presently have. The market currently offers an incredible selection, so make the most of it. Remember that each game provides the opportunity for a new kind of adventure, and by adding variety your children will never get bored of playing such games.
Strategy games are the ideal form of entertainment for adults, teens, pre-teens and even younger children who have outgrown their childhood toys. These board games are designed to test ingenuity, analytical skills and planning ability. Find the right game and everyone in your household, children and parents alike, are guaranteed endless hours of fun.
The variety of themes and mechanics available today is considerable, with each game having its own unique style. Introducing your child to these types of games could result in the emergence of new and beneficial interests and a rather large board game collection! Just remember to always keep your child’s capabilities in mind when making your selection.
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(Source of featured image: Andrey Bortnikov: 10620532/ 123rf.com)