Ready to get geeky with it? Strategy-based online multiplayer games are one of the best ways to bond with your squad while flexing those brain muscles and enjoying endless hours of fun. However, not all strategy games are created equal. If you want to experience the best of multiplayer entertainment, check out our top picks first.
Factorio is one of those profoundly complex, slow-burning games you can play for years. It presents a standard premise, as players have crash-landed on a far-off planet and must somehow escape. But once you’ve moved past the intro, Factorio becomes a beautifully intricate and surprisingly difficult strategy game—one where you have to build up all the processes required to make yourself a new ship.
Your tasks include everything from smelting ore to wiring circuits and managing the factory supply chain. Somewhat predictably, you’ll also be defending your setup against the inevitable scourge of aliens. But we can forgive the game for that, as it adds an extra element of excitement into the mix.
The best part about Factorio is that you can play with all your friends in multiplayer mode, which has recently been upgraded to reduce latency and fix bugs. You can also play with complete strangers, as the game allows for up to 500 players in a single game—and once you realize the sheer magnitude of what you need to achieve, you may actually decide to go down this route.
What about if you’re searching for a less elaborate multiplayer? Online poker puts you on a different wavelength entirely. A turn-based tactical game relying on a specific set of rules, poker allows players to develop an in-depth strategy without as much variance in conditions. Unlike other online games, poker has been around for centuries.
Though it may be the oldest game on the list, poker has certainly never gone out of style. It’s remained a favorite of gamers across the globe, with traditional table play giving way to web-based gaming in recent years. Nowadays, enthusiasts can play poker online from home or while on the go, and it’s caught the eye of many multiplayer fans who want to test their strategy skills.
You can play with a PC or mobile device, and it’s possible to play using console controllers like Xbox as well. You’ll have the chance to log on and play with friends or sit at virtual tables with strangers, so sessions don’t require much planning. They don’t have to require much time either, as you can opt to play a few short hands or a days-long tournament.
Stellaris has drawn in thousands of die-hard fans since its humble beginnings in 2016. This real-time 4X strategy game is set in the far reaches of a distant galaxy, where you and yours will play a group of alien greenhorns as they embark on a mission to explore, conquer, or simply gather as many resources as possible.
Stellaris lets you choose your own mission, and tailoring it to your unique interests is one of the best things about the game. Stellaris has only gotten better with regular expansion packs, and multiplayer has recently gotten a facelift as well. The enhanced multiplayer version premiered in August of 2021 and is now powered by Nakama, eliminating issues like desyncs and allowing the coveted cross-platform multiplayer mode to become a reality.
The console version of Stellaris is available on PlayStation and Xbox. As unnatural as it may seem to play a strategy game on a console, Stellaris makes it pretty seamless. The controls translate well, and you’ll have the added bonus of watching your personal empire grow with gorgeous graphics on a big screen.
Ready to get the gang together? Now that you know which strategy games are best for groups of geeks wanting to work that grey matter, you’re one step further towards the fun. Whether you’re looking for a space odyssey or a thrilling game of cards, the controls are waiting for you.