There weren’t many great strategy games this year! It was really hard just finding five of them that were worth Game of the Year for Strategy. I had to resort to nominating expansion packs! What makes a great strategy game is great tactics, that is the core component. A solid UI that isn’t confusing, great AI, and even great multiplayer. Graphics usually come last, as well as a story, but they help.
This probably doesn’t surprise anyone, XCOM was really the only anticipated strategy game this year. The UI is very streamlined, nearly revolutionary, and the small squad allows for some intense tactics. The research you do is really helpful, but the game’s only fall back is that it is relentlessly difficult. The deep tactics, and the comeback of a 10-year-old game win it over the others.
Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai
Civilization V: Gods & Kings