Strategy Mode is one of Thrive's three gameplay modes. In Strategy Mode, the player controls multiple individuals at once with an RTS-like interface. Like all modes, Strategy Mode is accessible within all game stages. It becomes more important later on in the game, however: while the player rarely has to control more than a few individuals before sapience, later stages (starting at the Society Stage) involve warfare between large groups of individuals that are better controlled as military units. Some helpful game mechanics that are implemented to make Strategy Mode better for the player are:
- The Nation Editor, which controls the entirety of the player's controlled nation.
- Society Centres, which allow high-density population management without flooding the player.
- Military Centres, which are useful for war and military unit management.
- Squads, which reduce micromanagement in large scale conflicts and allow effective and realistic tactics.