Games Like Civilization

games like civilization
A benchmark in the 4x genre, the Civilization series has come a long way since its initial appearance in 1991. The games remain top sellers worldwide and always guarantee a solid experience. Regularly supported with DLCs and added content, the games have a reputation for scale that is mind-boggling.

Games like the Civilisation series have features that make the 4x genre what it is; immense depth and strategic choice. Perhaps they mightn’t have invented all the tropes but they certainly popularised many of them. The notion that there is more than one path to victory is still something that many modern games struggle with.

If negative reviews of the Civ VI put you off, try out Civ V until the teething issues and bugs are worked out. In time, it may prove to be one of the best 4x games of all time.

16 Best Games Like Civilization

Age of Empires Series
Though one of the more venerable games on this list, Age of Empires seems to have only grown in popularity since its release. The second game in the series received an HD update and has seen several fanmade expansions and campaigns released. The old favorites of Saladin, Barbarossa, Genghis Khan, and Joan of Arc; are joined by a legion of others, set in the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa.

The third game brings the timeline forward to the colonial era and has one of the best expansion packs in the series, Asian Dynasties, which adds Indian, Chinese, and Japanese civilizations to the mix, each with their own unique campaigns.

The games enjoy thriving multiplayer communities as well as numerous fanmade expansions and content available for free. No self respecting RTS fan can be without this game.

Age of Empires

Age of Empires preview

The purpose of Age of Empires is the development of the civilizations of Iron Age Empire. The player needs to work for that and collect the units and resources through the game. The players can choose between twelve civilizations and progress through the period of Stone Age, Tool Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age.

About the game:
Released: 15 Oct, 1997
Genre: Real Time, Strategy
Platforms: PC, Microsoft Mobile, Macintosh
Developer: Ensemble Studios
Publisher: Microsoft
Official Website: ageofempires.com
System Requirements:
  • OS: /
  • Processor: Pentium III or Athlon MP
  • Memory: 64 MB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 6200 LE or Radeon Xpress 1200 Series
  • Storage: 128 MB

Metacritic Rating: 83

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 21 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 34 Hours
  • Completionist 42 Hours
  • All Styles 29 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Action, Base Building, Building, History, Multiplayer, Real Time, Singleplayer, Strategy, Tactical, War

Age of Empires II

Age of Empires II preview

Enjoy over 20 historical campaigns and choose from over 30 civilisations in this timeless RTS classic. Guaranteed hours of play on and offline. Fight across a thousand years of history and annihilate your opponents.

About the game:
Released: 30 Sep, 1999
Genre: Action, Strategy
Platforms: PS2, PC, MacOS
Developer: Ensemble Studios
Publisher: Microsoft, Konami
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows 95/NT/98
  • Processor: Pentium III or Athlon MP
  • Memory: 32 MB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 6200 LE or Rage 128 Ultra with 16 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 250 MB

Metacritic Rating: 68

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 26 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 72 Hours
  • Completionist 105 Hours
  • All Styles 61 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: 2D, Action, Adventure, Base Building, City Builder, Classic, Co-op, Competitive, Historical, Isometric, Medieval, Multiplayer, RTS, Real Time, Singleplayer, Strategy, Tactical

Age of Empires III

Age of Empires III preview

This sequel brings forward the action a few centuries to the conquest of the New World. Take charge of mighty European powers as they vie for control of the Americas. Expansions let you play as Native American tribes and the eastern Asian dynasties and fight in their own struggles for power.

About the game:
Released: 15 Sep, 2009
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Platforms: Windows Mobile, PC, N-Gage, MacOS
Developer: Ensemble Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.0 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 64 MB VRAM NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or ATI Radeon X1300
  • Storage: 12 GB

Metacritic Rating: 81

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 14 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 20 Hours
  • Completionist 27 Hours
  • All Styles 18 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Action, Adventure, Base Building, City Builder, Classic, Co-op, Historical, Military, Multiplayer, Online Co-op, Open World, RTS, Real Time, Singleplayer, Strategy, War. Simulation

 

Endless Legend
Fans of Amplitude Studios first work, Endless Space, should love their second outing. But don’t let this game fool you, it’s not just Endless Space repackaged in a fantasy skin. Endless Legend stands on its own merit and you’ll see why as you strive to conquer the land of Auriga. The gorgeous visuals are combined with a rich and absorbing backstory.

The map is beautiful and this game combines aspects of RTS, RPG, and 4x games, in a manner that is truly spectacular. Battles take into account the abilities, equipment, and terrain, present to solve a clash. Randomise the map or design it to your specifications, the choice is yours.

Endless Legend

Endless Legend preview

Lead your civilization to victory on the world of Auriga. Survive cold dark seasons and evolve your race through the discovery of lost technology and power. Conquer or assimilate minor factions to bring them under your banner. Save your people and your planet.

About the game:
Released: 18 Sep, 2014
Genre: RPG, Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS
Developer: AMPLITUDE Studios
Publisher: Sega
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows Vista / 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10
  • Processor: 2.5Ghz Intel Core 2 Quad Q8300 or equivalent
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1 GB VRAM nVidia Geforce GT460 or equivalent, 500 MB VRAM ATI HD4850 or equivalent
  • Storage: 4 GB

Metacritic Rating: 82

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 13 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 22 Hours
  • Completionist 44 Hours
  • All Styles 17 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Adventure, Atmospheric, Exploration, Fantasy, Hex Grid, Indie, Medieval, Multiplayer, Open World, RPG, Sandbox, Sci-fi, Singleplayer, Strategy, Tactical, Turn-Based

 

Galactic Civilizations III
Sequel to two highly successful games, the third entry in the Galactic Civilizations series continues the epic saga after the genocidal Dread Lord onslaught of the second game. It brings forward the narrative some ten years after the previous game’s war, in a universe almost unrecognizable.

The sheer variety of customisation options and victory conditions means that you’re guaranteed a new experience with every playthrough. This is a game that is designed to be enjoyed again and again and again. Choose your map size, abundance of planets and resources, the frequency of events, and many more. Create your own history in this ultimate sandbox game.

Galactic Civilizations III

Galactic Civilizations III preview

Ten years after war with the Dread Lords, both the Drengin Empire and Yor reign. Most other races have been either conquered or exterminated. Earth prevails but is isolated behind a Precursor shield. In 2242, the Terran First Fleet returns, armed with advanced weaponry, determined to liberate Earth.

About the game:
Released: 14 May, 2015
Genre: Indie, Strategy
Platforms: PC
Developer: Stardock Entertainment
Publisher: Stardock Entertainment
System Requirements:
  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10 / 8.x / 7
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo / AMD K10 Dual-Core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM (AMD Radeon HD5x00 Series / Nvidia GeForce 500 Series / Intel HD 4000 or later)
  • Storage: 12 GB

Metacritic Rating: 81

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 18 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra / Hours
  • Completionist / Hours
  • All Styles 18 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Exploration, Grand Strategy, Indie, Moddable, Multiplayer, Open World, Sandbox, Sci-fi, Simulation, Singleplayer, Space, Strategy, Turn-Based

 

Warlock Series
Another fantasy entry for our list, Warlock differs from other 4x games in that it rules out the very possibility of a diplomatic victory. Here triumph is assured only by the annihilation and crushing of your enemies. As a Great Mage you are not just a talented general, you also can bring the power of your magical talent to the fray.

Taking place on a beautifully vibrant map, the game is a joyful romp that is faithful to its predecessor but also puts its own spin on things. And after all the diplomatic reasoning you’ve become immune to in other 4x games, it is enjoyable to just destroy your opponent.

Warlock – Master of the Arcane

Warlock – Master of the Arcane preview

Expand your borders and build an empire as a Great Mage, one of many warlords striving for power in Ardania. Master powerful spells, raise armies, fight your enemies across unique terrain. Manage your cities and choose from a pantheon of eight gods to strengthen your cause.

About the game:
Released: 8 May, 2012
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC
Developer: Ino-Co Plus
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows Vista, Windows 7
  • Processor: Dual Core CPU
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce GT240 512Mb or comparable
  • Storage: 4 GB

Metacritic Rating: 71

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 11 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 22 Hours
  • Completionist 43 Hours
  • All Styles 15 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Adventure, Fantasy, Hex Grid, Magic, Multiplayer, RPG, Singleplayer, Strategy, Turn-Based

Warlock 2: The Exiled

Warlock 2: The Exiled preview

Lead your armies into battle against rival Great Mages. The shattering of the world means your return to Ardania will be a vengeful one. Destroy all those who stand in your path as you reclaim your home and have your vengeance.

About the game:
Released: 10 Apr, 2014
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS, Linux
Developer: Ino-Co Plus
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows Vista 64-bit, Windows 7 64-bit
  • Processor: Dual Core CPU with 2,66GHz clock speed or higher
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce 8600 GT or ATI Radeon HD 6570
  • Storage: 2 GB

Metacritic Rating: 73

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 35 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 38 Hours
  • Completionist / Hours
  • All Styles 36 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Adventure, Fantasy, Hex Grid, Magic, Multiplayer, RPG, Singleplayer, Strategy, Turn-Based

 

Age of Wonders III
Making the series a trilogy, this entry in the franchise is one that should appeal to veterans of the game and newcomers alike. You can choose to immerse yourself in the vast singleplayer campaign, on either side of the conflict, or fight in one of the numerous standalone scenarios. The possibilities are endless.

Age of Wonders builds on its forebears in the series, improving the game mechanics and allowing for much more varied roleplaying when creating your faction leader. The different races have distinctive traits and personality while the diverse terrain you fight over can even be transformed by the magic your heroes wield.

Age of Wonders III

Age of Wonders III preview

Enjoy a mix of roleplaying, empire building, and warfare, as you lead one of six races to conquer. Get lost in a rich singleplayer campaign, on one of two sides. Wield destructive magic and crush your enemies using the unique abilities of your army. Explore a detailed and living fantasy world.

About the game:
Released: 31 Mar, 2014
Genre: RPG, Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS, Linux
Developer: Triumph Studios
Publisher: Triumph Studios
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.4 Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ @2.6 Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia 8800 / ATi Radeon HD 3870 with 512 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 10 GB

Metacritic Rating: 80

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 29 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra / Hours
  • Completionist / Hours
  • All Styles 29 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Action, Adventure, Atmospheric, Classic, Co-op, Fantasy, Female Protagonist, Grand Strategy, Indie, Moddable, Multiplayer, RPG, Singleplayer, Strategy, Tactical, Turn-Based

 

Rome: Total War
Rome: Total War is an undisputed classic of the strategy genre. It sets players in the Republic era of Rome, right before the Empire occurred. Players can command the mighty Roman legions, the fierce barbarians of Europe, the Greek city-states, and much more.

The strategic game has received praise for its complexity but it’s the tactical battles that the players come to Total War for. The sight of massed ranks of thousands is an unforgettable one, battles are a glorious and bloody affair. Elephants crash into serried ranks of hoplites while siege weapons rain death down.

The series shows no signs of stopping with Creative Assembly expanding and planning to release games set in more and more eras.

Rome: Total War

Rome: Total War preview

Rome, once a proud and mighty empire, is now falling around you as barbarians threaten to erase what is left of the empire. Assume control of one of the many feuding Roman noble families, unite roman by cunning or by force, and drive away the invaders to save the empire in Rome: Total War!

About the game:
Released: 22 Sep, 2004
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: iOS, PC, MacOS
Developer: The Creative Assembly
Publisher: Sega
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows 2000/XP
  • Processor: Pentium III 1.0 GHz or Athlon 1.0 GHz processor or higher
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 64MB Hardware Accelerated Video Card
  • Storage: 3 GB

Metacritic Rating: 92

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 36 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 65 Hours
  • Completionist 134 Hours
  • All Styles 53 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Action, Atmospheric, Classic, Historical, Medieval, Moddable, Multiplayer, RTS, Rome, Simulation, Singleplayer, Strategy, Tactical, War

 

Endless Space Series
A firm cornerstone of the Endless universe, the Endless Space games offer the amazement of a space opera in the form of a strategy game. Treading in the footsteps of a long forgotten civilization, you must build your empire upon the ruins of others.

A sheer sense of scale and wonder permeates the series. Each star system is different with its own resources and dangers to exploit and combat. You control everything, whether a planet is to be a utopian paradise or an impregnable fortress, it is up to you.

Saga is perhaps a word more appropriate to describe the experience you’ll get playing this. Every civilization has a story and uncovering these secrets and that of Dust will aid an empire builder in success.

Endless Space

Endless Space preview

Take charge of one of ten unique interstellar powers in 3000AD or choose to create your own! Guide your empire’s expansion over hundreds and thousands of years as you strive to dominate the galaxy. Choose to focus research on military, science, exploration, or diplomacy tech trees.

About the game:
Released: 6 Oct, 2016
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS
Developer: AMPLITUDE Studios
Publisher: Sega
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows (64bits only) 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10
  • Processor: Intel i3 4th generation / i5 2nd generation / A6 series
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000 / AMD Radeon 5800 series / NVidia 550Ti
  • Storage: 8 GB

Metacritic Rating: 77

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 13 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 43 Hours
  • Completionist 135 Hours
  • All Styles 29 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Indie, Multiplayer, Open World, Sci-fi, Space, Strategy, Turn-Based

Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2 preview

As the leader of a nascent empire, choose from one of several races, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Choose to ally, trade, or conquer, with rival empires. Recruits armies and fleets to subjugate the galaxy. Design ships and learn tactics to give you an advantage over your foes.

About the game:
Released: 18 May, 2017
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS
Developer: AMPLITUDE Studios
Publisher: SEGA
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows (64bits only) 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10
  • Processor: i3 4th generation / i5 2nd generation / A6 series
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD 4000 / AMD Radeon 5800 series / NVidia 550Ti
  • Storage: 8 GB

Metacritic Rating: 80

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 10 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra / Hours
  • Completionist / Hours
  • All Styles 10 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: 4X, Action, Grand Strategy, Great Soundtrack, Indie, Moddable, Multiplayer, Open World, Sci-fi, Singleplayer, Space, Strategy, Survival, Turn-Based, Turn-Based Strategy

 

Anno Series
The Anno series has games that are classic mixtures of simulation and strategy. From 1404 to 2200, it embraces a wide variety of eras from Venice in its prime to science fiction universes. You build a city, trading with rivals in a game that prizes economic success over military conquest.

The games are beautifully realized with the expansion of your city a joy to behold. For those tired of army builders, this is a welcome change of pace.

Anno 2070

Anno 2070 preview

In the year 2070, rising tides have damaged coastal cities while climate change has rendered whole swathes of land inhospitable. Face this new world’s challenges and choose to build efficiently and industrially as a Tycoon or sustainable and environmentally friendly as an Eco.

About the game:
Released: 17 Nov, 2011
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC
Developer: Blue Byte, Related Designs
Publisher: Ubisoft
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7
  • Processor: 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2 or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 512 MB VRAM DirectX 9.0c–compatible with Shader Model 3.0 or higher
  • Storage: 5 GB

Metacritic Rating: 83

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 26 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 47 Hours
  • Completionist 163 Hours
  • All Styles 44 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Building, City Builder, Co-op, Economy, Futuristic, Multiplayer, Online Co-op, RTS, Sandbox, Sci-fi, Simulation, Singleplayer, Story Rich, Strategy, Trading

Anno 2205

Anno 2205 preview

Venture into space as part of humanity’s next step into the future. Build a better tomorrow with glittering cities and glorious industrial complexes. Build your empire both on Earth and the Moon in race for resources and power. Enjoy a beautiful and immersive world full of wildlife and citizenry.

About the game:
Released: 3 Nov, 2015
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Platforms: PC
Developer: Blue Byte
Publisher: Ubisoft
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 (64bit versions)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 750 @ 2.6 GHz or AMD Phenom II X4 @ 3.2 GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GeForce GTX460 or AMD Radeon HD5870 (1024MB VRAM with Shader Model 5.0)
  • Storage: 35 GB

Metacritic Rating: 72

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 19 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 23 Hours
  • Completionist / Hours
  • All Styles 22 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Building, Casual, City Builder, Co-op, Economy, Futuristic, Multiplayer, RTS, Sci-fi, Simulation, Singleplayer, Space, Strategy

 

Crusader Kings II
Crusader Kings II is one of the most popular and complex 4x games on the market. Unlike the others in the genre, CK II doesn’t have you lead a nation to victory, it tasks you with leading a dynasty through the highs and lows of medieval Europe.

The game has a thriving modding community that has converted it for settings as varied as the Elder Scrolls, Game of Thrones, The Warlord Chronicles, and even science fiction adaptations. One of Paradox Interactive’s crowning achievements, it is one you cannot miss out on.

Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II preview

Lead your dynasty through one of the most turbulent periods of history in Europe. Survive the Black Death, religious warfare, treacherous vassals, and the Mongols. Manage a court of intelligent AI, courtiers, vassals, agents, and nobles, each with their own plots and agendas.

About the game:
Released: 14 Feb, 2012
Genre: RPG, Simulation, Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS, Linux
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Processor: Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz or AMD 3500+
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon X1900, 512 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB

Metacritic Rating: 82

How long to beat?
  • Main Story 68 Hours
  • Hours Main + Extra 159 Hours
  • Completionist 366 Hours
  • All Styles 118 Hours
  • Learn more
Tags: Character Customization, Co-op, Education, Grand Strategy, Historical, Medieval, Moddable, Multiplayer, Political, Politics, RPG, RTS, Sandbox, Simulation, Singleplayer, Strategy

 

Europa Universalis Series
When asked to give an example of a 4x game, one could do worse than to mention most titles by Paradox Interactive. Europa Universalis is an exemplar of the genre, letting you chart the course of a nation state from the Late Middle Ages through the early modern period, from 1444 to 1821 to be exact.

Trade, administration, war, colonization, and diplomacy, are all essential factors. The intelligent AI makes even singleplayer a challenge. One common option is to choose a minor out of the way faction and go away for a few hours to let the AI play against each other, returning to see how the map has changed.

The game lends itself to alternate history from plausible scenarios where the House of York won the War of the Roses to the outlandish such as Denmark and Ireland colonizing most of the New World. It’s no wonder it’s one of the best 4x strategy games on the market.

Europa Universalis III

Europa Universalis III preview

Guide one of 250 nations to victory over 300 years of detailed and accurate history. Decide the form of your government, mold society to your wish, employ historical personalities such as Newton, Mozart, or Descartes. Colonize far off lands.

About the game:
Released: 23 Jan, 2007
Genre: Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows 2000 (with Service Pack 1 or higher) or Windows XP (with Service Pack 2)
  • Processor: 1.9 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon processor or equivalent
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM (1 GB RAM is highly recommended)
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM with Hardware T&L and support for Pixelshader 2.0 or better
  • Storage: 1 GB

Metacritic Rating: 83

How long to beat?

Tags: Co-op, Diplomacy, Education, Grand Strategy, Historical, Medieval, Military, Moddable, Multiplayer, Open World, Political, RTS, Sandbox, Simulation, Singleplayer, Strategy

Europa Universalis IV

Europa Universalis IV preview

Lead a nation to become a global empire during the age of colonialism. Use trade, diplomacy, exploration, economics, and warfare to your advantage in this deep strategic game. Create your own history in a richly detailed word or mod it to your hearts content.

About the game:
Released: 13 Aug, 2013
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Platforms: PC, MacOS, Linux
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
System Requirements:
  • OS: Windows 7/Windows 8
  • Processor: Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz or AMD 3500+
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon X1900, 512 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 2 GB

Metacritic Rating: 87

How long to beat?

Tags: Co-op, Diplomacy, Education, Grand Strategy, Historical, Medieval, Military, Moddable, Multiplayer, Open World, Political, RTS, Sandbox, Simulation, Singleplayer, Strategy

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