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9 Video Games that Exercise Strategic Thinking

Can video games really help you exercise strategic thinking? While they may seem like an unlikely source to hone a core leadership skill, according to HBR, they do! Research shows that the genre of strategy games (known as real-time strategy) have an important place in cultivating strategic thinking capabilities.

To help you build that capability and enjoy some downtime, we curated a list of 9 video games to help you level-up your strategic thinking.

Disclaimer: Before we dive into our list, please note that we assume our readers are 18+ due to age restrictions in some of these games.

Virtonomics challenges you to formulate effective strategies and adapt to market dynamics. You'll be making decisions that cover production, marketing, finance, and innovation. To succeed, you'll start to analyze market trends, allocate resources smartly, and come up with growth strategies that ensure your virtual business thrives.

Virtonomics hones your ability to evaluate risk, plan for unforeseen circumstances, and formulate strategies that ensure your virtual business thrives.

In Sid Meier’s Civilization VI you utilize diplomatic, cultural, and military strategies to guide your civilization through the ages. You'll manage diplomacy, military actions, scientific discoveries, and cultural achievements. Each choice you make affects your empire's growth, stability, and relations with other civilizations.

Civilization VI hones your ability to assess complex situations and execute plans for the greater good of your organization.

In StarCraft, you try to outmaneuver your opponents, control resources wisely, and adapt to changing circumstances on the battlefield. One study states that playing it can increase your cognitive flexibility. This game demands split-second decisions that impact your entire campaign. You analyze your opponent's strategies, anticipate their moves, and devise counter-strategies in real time.

StarCraft cultivates rapid decision-making, resource allocation, and multitasking.

Cities: Skylines lets you create a well-balanced city, manage resources efficiently, and respond adeptly to unexpected challenges. Balancing the needs of your citizens, infrastructure, and economic growth requires thoughtful planning and foresight. Deciding where to place residential, commercial, and industrial zones, as well as managing traffic and public services, necessitates strategic thinking.

Cities: Skylines empowers you to make decisions that promote long-term sustainability.

Success in Anno 1800 hinges on your ability to manage resources wisely, establish profitable trade routes, and navigate international relations skillfully. The decisions you make impact the growth of your empire and its ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Anno 1800 develops your ability to analyze trade-offs and devise comprehensive strategies to thrive in a complex and evolving environment.

In Hearthstone, constructing a winning deck and outplaying opponents relies on strategic card selection and timing. Assessing your opponent's potential moves, predicting their plays, and adapting your strategy accordingly are essential for victory.

Hearthstone enhances your ability to anticipate your adversary's choices, plan ahead, and make calculated decisions.

7- Command & Conquer: Red Alert

Command & Conquer: Red Alert demands effective resource management, strategic positioning of units, and decisive actions on the battlefield. The game requires quick thinking to deploy units strategically, plan attacks, and defend against enemy forces. To top it off, the alternate history storyline adds an element of decision-making that impacts the outcome of battles.

Red Alert sharpens your strategic planning, adaptability to changing situations, and decision-making under pressure.

8- World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft calls for teamwork, efficient resource management, and strategic coordination during quests and battles in the expansive online realm. Players need to make decisions about character customization, skill allocation, quest priorities, and team dynamics. Engaging in raids and dungeons requires coordination, adaptability, and the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your team and enemies.

World of Warcraft enhances your strategic coordination, and the ability to manage various in-game resources effectively.

9- League of Legends

League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena where teamwork and strategic coordination are the keys to success. As a player, you're tasked with selecting and mastering a champion, each with unique abilities, and collaborating with your team to defeat the opposing side. Victory hinges on precise decision-making and map awareness.

League of Legends sharpens your strategic coordination, teamwork, and adaptability in the face of a dynamic and ever-evolving arena.

These games offer an engaging way to enhance strategic thinking. With each gameplay, you're refining skills that leaders might face such as resource allocation and skill-building.

Stay tuned for more strategy insights as we unveil details about our upcoming Cosmic Conference.


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