The Most Challenging Strategy Games for Hardcore Gamers

Strategy games are definitely not for the faint of heart. You need to have razor-sharp intellect, quick reflexes, extraordinary problem-solving skills, and a serious passion for gaming. With that said, hardcore gamers are always up for a challenge, and what better way to test your strategizing abilities than with some of the most challenging strategy games out there?

At, we’ve compiled a list of the most challenging strategy games for hardcore gamers across various platforms. These games require a lot of dedication, patience, and brainpower, but the rewards of success are always worth it. All that’s left is to grab your favorite controller and dive into the exciting world of challenging strategy games!

Into the Breach

This is a must-play tactical game of 2018 that’s just as challenging as it is addictive. Into the Breach is a turn-based strategy game that puts you in control of mechs defending humanity from giant monster invaders. You have to strategize every move as the game is unforgivingly difficult. Just one wrong move can have disastrous consequences.

The key is to focus on predicting your opponent’s moves and using your limited resources to your advantage. Each successful playthrough of Into the Breach garners greater respect for its ability to test a player’s tactical instincts.

Crusader Kings II

Looking for a game with plenty of depth and complexity? Look no further than Crusader Kings II. This grand strategy game lets you guide your dynasty through centuries of political intrigue, war, and diplomacy. The game gives you a lot of freedom to shape your strategy and as a result, it is very deep and very complicated.

You will have to navigate through various geopolitical variables like religion, caste, trade, and dynasty to emerge victorious. With a steep learning curve, Crusader Kings II will challenge even the most experienced strategy gamers. This is certainly not a game for beginners, but for veterans of strategy gaming who are looking for a challenge, Crusader Kings II is an excellent option.


XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy game that’s thrilling as it is nerve-wracking. In XCOM 2, you play the role of a commander of a military organization battling aliens. The game is designed to be challenging and make you feel like the underdog in every battle.

Pitting your squad against the alien threat is a complex task, and you'll need to have your wits about you to master the game's various features. You will have to scout for resources, upgrade your squad, research tech, and fight battles that will require elaborate tactical plans. With a seemingly infinite number of ways to play, XCOM 2 is a game that can hold your interest for a very long time.

Dota 2

Dota 2 is one of the most challenging MOBA games available. The game is played by two teams of five players, with each player controlling a hero with unique abilities. The objective is to destroy the enemy team's base while defending your own.

Dota 2 is a very competitive game and requires a great deal of strategic planning, quick reflexes, and coordination. The game has a steep learning curve, and you can expect to play for many months before you start to really feel competent. When it comes to esports, Dota 2 is a game that continues to draw in the best players from around the world.


RimWorld is a colony management simulator game that is difficult, complex, and immensely satisfying. You will guide your settlers, manage resources, prioritize tasks, and deal with all kinds of futuristic threats as you build the best colony possible.

With multiple scenarios and randomness at play, each time you play RimWorld is unique. The game also allows you to play in different styles: you can go for a cooperative experience or hold a tight grip on managing your people’s survival. Whether you’re learning to balance power production or maintaining relationships amongst your colony members, RimWorld keeps you on your toes.

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI is the sixth installment in the series and one of the most significant entries to date. It challenges you to build an empire, advance your civilization through the ages, and achieve victory over other factions.

Each game is different and you will have to make choices and decisions that will impact the outcome. The game has a steep learning curve, but once you learn its mechanics, it's extremely rewarding with endless opportunities to explore its rich depths of mechanics and strategies.

Starcraft II

Starcraft II is one of the most intense, hardcore strategy games out there, and for good reason. The game boasts an incredibly well-designed and balanced gameplay that’s perfect for the most hardcore players. With incredibly quick decision making required and action unfolding at a furious pace, Starcraft II is a game you’ll have to play for hundreds of hours to even feel competent.

The game is divided into three factions, and each faction has unique strengths and weaknesses. You will have to use these differences to your advantage, as you create a fast-paced, constantly-evolving playstyle.

Total War: Warhammer II

If you’re a massive fan of epic battles or complex, real-time strategy games, then Total War: Warhammer II is the perfect game for you. This game has dynamic gameplay and features a unique world built for the Total War universe.

As you play through the game, you will have to choose your faction and then build armies, capture territory, research technologies, and engage in complex diplomatic negotiations. Everything is at play; the world is filled with magic, mythical creatures, fearsome monsters, and fantasy identities that get more complex the more dramatic the battles become.

League of Legends

Last but certainly not least on our list is League of Legends. It’s one of the most popular MOBA games of our time, and it is very hard to master. The game is played in a 5v5 format where players select champions with unique abilities. The objective is to take down the enemy team’s base while protecting your own.

League of Legends requires quick reflexes, communication, and coordination. You will have to work closely with your team, make quick decisions, manage resources, and upgrade your champions to face tough challenges. With millions of active players and a thriving esports presence, League of Legends is a game that can hold your interest for years.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, these strategic games are designed to test even the most experienced gamers with their complexity and difficulty. They demand quick reflexes, strategic thinking, and patience, and they will push you to the edge. Each game is unique, but they all have the power to amaze and provide you with hours of fun and challenging gameplay.

So, whether you enjoy turn-based strategy games, MOBAs or real-time strategy, there is a challenging game for you on this list. Remember, persistence and dedication are the keys to success, and you can expect a wealth of rewards once you’ve conquered these challenging titles.

What do you think of our list? Do you have any other challenging strategy games that you would recommend to fellow hardcore gamers? Let us know in the comment section below.

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