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Wargamer’s videogames of the year 2023

The team at Wargamer look back on a year packed with great RTS games, RPGs, turn based strategy, and tabletop adaptations, to find the best.

Wargamer's videogames 2023 - photomontage with an Ork, a dark-haried elf holding a strange artefact, a blue-armored Space Marine, super-imposed over a scene of a medieval village

2023 has been an absolute feast for gamers, whether you’re a fan of strategy, role playing, or action. The Wargamer team has cast our collective minds back over a packed year, and after careful consideration, we’ve picked our favorite videogames of the year 2023 – the games that took our breath away, kept us awake at night, or floored us with depth, spectacle, or sheer thrills.

Our decision process for this list was very simple: everyone in the team tried to think of games that were as good as Baldur’s Gate 3. When we realised that was impossible, we tried to remember any other games we had played this year which that hadn’t been blasted from our memories by Baldur’s Gate. Anything that could emerge from the shadow of Larian’s behemoth rightfully earns a place on this list.

  1. Baldur’s Gate 3 – best DnD videogame of 2023, and all time
  2. Warhammer 40k Boltgun – best Warhammer 40k game of 2023
  3. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin – best RTS
  4. Xenonauts 2 – best turn-based strategy game of 2023
  5. Crusader Kings 3: Tours and Tournaments – best grand strategy release of 2023

Videogames of the year 2023 guide - Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot showing Gale and a tiefling bard ,overlaid with a tag reading "best DnD game"

1. Baldur’s Gate 3

The best DnD game of 2023, and all time.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is the best DnD game ever (sorry Planescape Torment), and the best CRPG ever (sorry Disco Elysium). We’ve never felt more confident in a review score than the slam dunk 10/10 attached to our Baldur’s Gate 3 review.

The game engine somehow crams a complete immersive sim under the hood of an open-world RPG. Combat tunes up the DnD 5e rules to produce a flexible and fast-moving turn-based strategy game, which works just as well in BG3 co-op multiplayer as in single-player.

Then there’s the brilliant story, enlivened by the lovable disaster bisexuals who make up the BG3 companions, brought to life by stupendous voice acting. It’s simply the closest experience digital gaming can offer to playing DnD with a human Dungeon Master.

Sometimes it’s better than that; we’ve yet to meet the flesh-and-blood DM who can craft an adventure this epic and this detailed, and somehow keep their cool when we spend forty-five minutes moving explosive barrels into position to blow up a plot-critical NPC. This is a game that’s tempted our editor back to DnD after five long years in exile.

We could go on, but at this point everything you could say about BG3 has already been said, and the best we can do is gesture at it and simply say “Just look at this thing!”.

Videogames of the year 2023 guide - Warhammer 40k Boltgun screenshot showing a blue Ultramarines chainsword cutting down into a Black Legion Chaos Space Marine

2. Warhammer 40k Boltgun

The best Warhammer 40k game of 2023.

Warhammer 40k Boltgun mashes up the heavy metal excess of 90s FPS games, and the heavy metal excess of 90s Warhammer 40k, to create a game so retro it feels like it fell through a time rift. This is a game about going fast and shooting things until they explode, and boy does it feel good when you do it.

Our Boltgun review called out some absurd spikes and troughs in game difficulty, but these were patched soon after launch. There’s still plenty to challenge hardened boomer shooters, but the ride isn’t quite as bumpy for everyone else. Even on lower difficulties, zooming around levels and reducing enemies to showering gibs is a sheer delight.

If you’re bummed out by the Space Marine 2 release date getting pushed back into late 2024 and haven’t tried Boltgun yet, this is a must play.

Videogames of the year 2023 guide - Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin screenshot showing Kruleboyz fighting Stormcast, overlaid with a tag reading "best RTS"

3. Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin

The best RTS of 2023.

We expect that this will make some people very irate, but we stand by everything we said in our Realms of Ruin review – this is a superb RTS. Specifically, it’s a tactical RTS in the mold of Dawn of War II or Company of Heroes.

There’s minimal base management, with the focus firmly on the front-lines. If you don’t enjoy RTS games without the option to base build and turtle, look elsewhere than Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin.

Go into the game prepared to judge it for what it is, rather than what it isn’t, and you’ll find a deeply enjoyable test of skill. Where other tactical RTS (and even some traditional RTS) may be painfully focused on micro-management, the combat system – which locks engaged units into a fight until they die or retreat – limits the scope for manoeuvre and frees up your attention to consider your objectives across the battlefield as a whole.

There’s plenty of strategy too, determining when to invest in resource-intensive upgrades or structures, and what units or upgrades to prioritize in response to your opponents’ choices. It feels clean and modern, and with the characterful single-player narrative, it’s a strong digital entry-point to the Age of Sigmar universe.

Videogames of the year 2023 guide - Xenonauts 2 screenshot showing units entering a house through an exploded wall, overlaid with a tag reading "turn based strategy of the year"

4. Xenonauts 2

The best turn-based strategy game of 2023.

What can we say – we’re suckers for the classics. Xenonauts 2 iterates on the foundation of 2014’s Xenonauts, which was itself a very close reimplementation of 1994’s X-COM: UFO Defense. No surprises, then, that you’ll find it on our guide to the best games like XCOM.

Those familiar with the genre will find everything they could expect; you’re in charge of a global anti-UFO agency, managing its facilities and finances, and commanding squads of all-too-fragile soldiers as they engage the aliens on the ground.

Xenonauts gives the player huge amounts of control, from minute tweaks to your marines’ loadouts, to the precise layout of each base, to numerous difficulty sliders for the campaign.

Xenonauts 2’s changes to the formula are almost all quality of life improvements and modernisations. The new, 3D game engine isn’t visually striking, but it makes lines of sight easier to judge. Nested tooltips, and a solid tutorial, make understanding systems far easier. The ability to preview a unit’s accuracy from a given map square before you commit to moving it makes combat a little easier to predict.

Nothing revolutionary, then – but that classic X-COM formula was already near perfect. See our full Xenonauts 2 review for more.

Videogames of the year 2023 guide - Crusader Kings 3 Tours and Tournaments DLC screenshot showing a narrative event for a south asian leader, overlaid with a tag reading "grand strategy of the year"

5. Crusader Kings 3: Tours and Tournaments

The best grand strategy release of 2023.

While last October’s Victoria 3 was the bigger grand strategy release, the Tours and Tournaments DLC for Crusader Kings 3 made far more of an impression. Though the base game initially felt a little barren compared to its DLC-blessed predecessor, Crusader Kings 3: Tours and Tournaments more than remedies that.

It particularly beefs up the roleplaying side of the game. Tours now see your ruler head out on the road, where a wealth of different encounters and decisions await them. Your Regent will watch your throne in your absence, though not necessarily with your best interests at heart.

Tournaments are packed with roleplaying encounters. Your ruler can compete in a tournament, spectate and gossip in the stalls, or host their own tourney; that in turn lets you determine what different events will be on offer. It’s a system that both allows you to advance your own schemes, or see them hilariously derailed by a twist of fate.

The only real issue we picked up in our Tours and Tournaments review is that it’s very hard to determine what content you get in the DLC itself, and what comes in the free patch that released at the same time. But if you’ve not played with Crusader Kings 3 since the Spring, Tours and Tournaments is a perfect reason for you to jump back in.

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If those titles somehow haven’t sated you, we’ll send you off with some honorable mentions:

  • The Warhammer 40k Darktide patch 13 update that dropped in October turns it into the game it should have been on launch, a compelling co-op shooter with a fun end game, and one of the best Warhammer 40k games on PC or console.
  • Grand strategy / RTS hybrid ‘The Great War: Western Front’ is a rare WW1 game, and a strong one at that, with an emphasis on the interplay between machine guns, trenches, and artillery and death tolls in the thousands even after a victory.
  • Our Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader review is still in progress, but we’ve spent more than enough hours with Owlcat’s CRPG. It has faults – but does an admirable job of making the huge scale of the 40k universe believable and approachable.
  • Company of Heroes 3 is a continuation of the Company of Heroes 2 design, rather than a revolution, but that’s honestly no bad thing – see our Company of Heroes 3 review for our full thoughts.

And if those don’t float your boat – why not check out the Wargamer team’s favorite games of 2023, or perhaps our rundown of 2023’s best new MTG cards.