Strategy games are one of the most popular board game genre on the market. Each game is unique, with its very own theme and mechanics. One great advantage of a quality strategy game is that it will capture your child’s attention while testing his intelligence, creativity and ingenuity.

Their complexity makes them ideal for children who tend to leave their toys aside. And they’re not only attractive for kids: they have also become a great option for parents and their evenings with friends and family. We designed this article to give you all the information you need to know about strategy games, and which are the best on the Australian market.

Key Facts

  • The variety of themes and mechanics in the strategy game sector is incredible. Some genres – like fantasy or war – dominate the market, but each game offers a unique experience.
  • This type of board games is usually tailored for older children, starting around 8 to 10 years of age. The best games have no age limit and can be enjoyed by the whole family.
  • The most complex games immerse players in exciting narratives and fantastic worlds, and one round can last hours, or even days.

Ranking: The best strategy games on the Australian market

The variety of strategy games on the market is extremely broad. The theme and dynamics of each strategy game make it a unique playing experience. This is why these board games are ideal to entertain children, teenagers and adults alike. In the following section, we’ve designed a selection of our favourite strategy games available out there, and we’ve got no doubt that you’ll find the perfect game for your children and yourself.

No. 1: Risk by Hasbro

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Hasbro is a world leader in the board game and toy industry, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see one of their games top our ranking. And we start off with an absolute classic: Risk is a game that was launched in 1957, but it’s still a fan favourite more than half a decade later. It is recommended for your child to start playing it around the age of 10.

The great news is that this is typically the kind of strategy game that the whole family can enjoy, and up to 5 players can take to it for hours of fun. The design of this game is updated to be more attractive to a younger audience, but the goal remains the same: take over the world at all costs. Risk is an absolute must-have.

No. 2: Mastermind Classic by Hasbro

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Here is another revamped version of a classic strategy game by Hasbro: Mastermind. We’re pretty sure most parents have played it before, and don’t think that this game has gone out of style. As a matter of fact, this game that was traditionally designed for two players only can now be played with up to five players!

The aim of the game is quite simple: crack your opponent’s colour code. We love this game because it is accessible yet challenging for children — who can start playing it around the age of 8, and it’s also a game that provides lots of fun for parents and teenagers, so you’ll definitely want to have Mastermind at home for rainy days and family evenings.

No. 3: Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle by The OP

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Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deck-building game by The OP, a board game company based in California. It has received several awards and is a great strategy game for anyone who loves Harry Potter – and we know there’s a few fans out there. According to the manufacturer, this game designed for 2 to 4 players can be played by children who are 11 and over.

One interesting feature is that the game is divided into 7 parts, each one getting harder as you advance through them. Acting as their favourite character, your children will have to save Hogwarts and learn to play as a team to achieve different goals. This is a great game to bring your kids closer to you and work together towards the same objective. Past customers love the fact that you can replay this game endlessly!

No. 4: The Settlers of Catan by Asmodee

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French company Asmodee has been in the board game business for almost 25 years, and they have already designed cult games for parents and children alike. The Settlers of Catan is one such game – a game that happened to have been inspired by Risk. Each round of this enthralling conquest game involves 3 to 4 players, lasting around 1 hour.

Designed for players aged 10 and above, this strategy game is a great way to familiarise your children with trade, as they explore the isle of Catan and try to take its full control. They’ll have to make use of their ingenuity if they want to beat you. The great thing about this board game is that even adults can have hours of fun playing it, and it’s another fantastic family game for rainy days!

No. 5: Othello by Spin Master

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Spin Master is a Canadian toy and entertainment company, and they deliver us their very own version of the great classic Reversi (also called Othello). The game in itself dates back to the 19th century, so you know we’re not joking around when we call this game a classic. What’s incredible is that it has remained so popular over the decades.

Designed for two players, one game can last anywhere between 5 and 60 minutes. While the concept is quite simple, it may take your children a few tries to get a hold of it. After that, it can be non-stop playing for days on end. In the same line as chess and checkers, Othello is a game that people of all ages can enjoy, and its quick setup makes it great for travelling.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about strategy games

You may have difficulties telling the difference between a standard board game and a strategy game. This game genre is quite specific, as it tests the intelligence of players and requires a high level of concentration. The next section answers the most frequently asked questions so that you can have a better understanding of strategy games.

Certain games involve deciphering riddles, while others of misleading opponents.
(Source: Andrey Kekyalyaynen: 28499026/ 123rf.com)

What are strategy games exactly?

They are a type of board game in which players must take decisions that will considerably affect the end results. Participants have to design their own tactic throughout the game, while remaining attentive to others’ decisions. Certain games are relatively simple, while others are very complex and last hours.

While many strategy games partially depend on chance, the majority prefer focusing on player decision. One’s intelligence, ability to plan and to analyse other players’ strategies are key elements to come out victorious.

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Many games feature fictitious narratives or require players to take on a role.

At what age can children play strategy games?

This genre is generally seen as one of the most complex amongst board games. The level of difficulty will naturally vary from one game to another, but even the easier ones require concentration. Each round also tends to be longer than average, which is another reason why it is recommended to introduce your child to strategy games around the age of 6.

As we mentioned above, each game will offer a different level of complexity, with the more difficult games also fitting for teenagers and adults. This is why they are ideal for children who reach an age when they’re starting to leave child’s toys behind. Strategy games are not only attractive for your child, but are also great for a fun family evening.

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 the capacity to spend hours playing a single round. Settlers of Catan and Express yourself!
Teenagers (13 years and older) Adolescents will quickly grasp all game mechanics. We recommend serious themes, such as war or role-playing games. Express yourself! and Risk

Are there different types of strategy games?

Of course! As we’ve mentioned earlier, each board game is unique. You’ll find an endless variety of themes and game dynamics in this category. You might be interested in knowing some of the subcategories available out there to help you make the right decision. Most strategy games fall within one of the following:

Type Game dynamics Special features
Abstract games They 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 you’ve guessed, they simulate wars or battles. They generally require players to develop a strategy throughout the game. Games can be considerably lengthy, even played over several days.
Simulation games They try to simulate the decisions and processes that a player would make in a real situation. Players usually have to 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, such as poker, or with chips, such as Ludo. They share similarities with abstract games, but include fewer elements.

Shopping Criteria

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 that we encourage you to evaluate when looking for the right strategy game for your children and yourself:

  • Age of your child
  • Theme
  • Difficulty and duration
  • Design
  • Game mechanics

Age of your child

The very first thing you should take into account when the time comes to buy a strategy game is the age of your child. Products designed for teenagers have more complex themes or fascinating plots, while games for younger kids are simpler and often easy to identify, featuring attractive and colourful designs.

As we explained in the previous section, older kids are the ones who will most enjoy this type of games. We encourage you to start with more traditional board games if your child is younger than 6. From that age onwards, they can start experimenting with simple and attractive strategy games, such as Liar.

This game genre is one of the most complex amongst board games. (Source: alvinge: 55426111/ 123rf.com)

Theme

There is a huge diversity of themes in the strategy game genre. We encourage you to check with your child which themes interest him before purchasing one. It’s also good to know that many classic games release new versions related to famous movies or series that your kids may love.

Fantasy is definitely a dominant theme in the board game sector. Your child may also find new interests by discovering unknown and unusual themes. These approaches are valuable and may even contribute to their academic development. A game like Risk, for instance, may lead to your kid developing a genuine passion for history or geography.

The variety of themes and game dynamics is incredible. (Source: Iakov Filimonov: 88128036/ 123rf.com)

Difficulty and duration

As you already know, the strategy genre offers games that are generally the most complex amongst board games. Each game tends to be longer, as players need the time to develop their own tactics and plan thoroughly. That being said, the difficulty of the game very much influence its duration.

More elaborate strategy games like Risk build a narrative as the game progresses, and the players are caught in a fictitious universe. This type of games – and more particularly those involving fantastic worlds – can be played over hours or even days.

Design

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, which is why you are encouraged to look for products with eye-catching designs.

The latest games tend to be minimalist and appealing. We recommend you to opt for abstract strategy games if you want aesthetically pleasing games. They generally feature eye-catching figures, as they don’t depict specific characters.

Many classic games have special editions related to famous movies or series for everyone to enjoy. (Source: jollier: 77310426/ 123rf.com)

Game mechanics

Strategy games give manufacturers the possibility to offer very different mechanics. Certain games are designed to make players decipher enigmas, while others push them into misleading their opponents. Some games promote teamwork, others confrontations. While themes like war and fantasy tend to dominate strategy games, the mechanics of each game make it truly unique.

If you’re looking for a new one and that your child already has a nice collection of board games, don’t hesitate to go for a product that works differently than the games he has. The market really offers an incredible selection, so make the most of it. Remember that each game is a new adventure, and your children will never get bored of them!

Summary

Strategy games are the ideal form of entertainment for children and pre-teens who are starting to leave their toys behind. These board games are designed to test their ingenuity, analytical skills, and planning skills. Find the right product and everyone in your household, children and parents alike, are guaranteed endless hours of fun.

The variety of themes and mechanics available is great, each game having its own personality. If your child is captivated by his or her very first strategy game, it could become the first one in a large board game collection. Remember to always have your child’s interests in mind when looking for the ideal product. And who know, they might even discover new passions!

If you liked our guide on strategy games, feel free to share this article on your social media. You can also leave us a comment in the section below, with any question or suggestion you may have!

(Source of featured image: Andrey Bortnikov: 10620532/ 123rf.com)

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