Since the beginning of time, mankind has always desired to conquer nations and cities in battles of domination. We can’t help it. It’s mankind’s innate desire to reach greatness and bask in the glory forever. Fortunately, you don’t have to be part of an army to win a war. You can do so playing Civilization.
Created by Sid Meier, Civilization is a turn-oriented strategy game. It revolves around shaping a civilization from its simplest Stone Age form to the modern time. Each turn lets gamers move characters on the world map or forge alliances and build new cities.
A simple strategy involves teaming up with the strong to crush the weak. Gamers pick new technologies and research them. This represents the effect of civilization in society, which lets the gamer improve their cities or build new units. You can win the game by getting the highest score or through military conquest.
Civilization has given rise to 6 sequels (Civ games) —Civilization 1-6—with their own expansions. It’s carved out its own niche in turn based games, as well as inspired a horde of game developers to do similar. The following is an exhaustive list of exhilarating turn-based strategy games that feel just like Civilization.
This game has existed for ages. It has seen a series of expansions and, in the recent past, we’ve seen many sequels. However, none of them can hold a candle to the original game. For that reason, Microsoft has brought back a re-mastered edition of Age of Empires.
In this version, you’ll still be able to play the various themes of the original game—ancient Rome, Greece, and Mesopotamia. The second edition brings you fast forward into the Renaissance age. And lastly, there’s a third game, which is centered on conquest and exploring the world.
You might also be interested: Top 25 Best Games Like Age of Empires
2. Starcraft II
In this game, there are 3 races: the Zerg (a meat-eating alien swarm led by a hive-mind), the Protoss (an ultra-advanced psychic civilization tasked with defeating the Zerg and removing them from the galaxy), and the Terran (exiled humans who’ve settled in this area of the galaxy).
Each race is very different, with hardly any similarities in play styles. Picking your race is a vital exercise—it’s like choosing your favorite soccer team for life. Every race has its own story campaign: one chapter in an all-embracing epic drama, as well as its interesting and unique characters and leaders.
If you play real-time strategy games for their one-player campaigns, then the level of design in Starcraft is unmatched. If you love playing with pals, then you can play unique missions with a team of commanders in co-op mode. Then you can move up levels and earn new units and abilities.
And of course, the game boasts full-on unranked and ranked multiplayer feature. This is a fair but complex dance of tactics and strategy you can’t beat.
You’ve probably heard about Endless Space before. Well, the developers of the popular 4X Sci-Fi game have come up with another smash hit, Endless Legend. This game adopts a fantasy theme, placing you in a near Tolkien-like world.
Endless Legend features 8 factions you can play, but only 3 are in the Alpha build. The game combines aspects from RPG, RTS, and 4X games. But one of its highlights could be its stunning graphics and huge landscapes on which players will explore and do battle.
Crusader Kings II is a great 4X game, but it’s one of the most challenging titles on the market. In this game, you won’t guide your chosen country to victory. Instead, you’ll be conquering Europe via your own political empire, and steering your territory through the ups and downs that Europe experienced in the medieval era.
You’re free to conquer other countries through war, or seize them via other political means, including marriage, strongarming, and so on.
This game is like Crusader Kings II in the kinds of politics available, and the style of play is like that of Hearts of Iron.
Europa Universalis gives you the responsibility of guiding a nation for years with the aim of creating a dominant global kingdom. It’ll let you rule your country through hundreds of years—from the medieval era through to the renaissance age—and give historical accuracy and depth like never before.
You’ll be able to use your nation for trade, diplomacy, true exploration, and warfare.
Europa Universalis IV lets you take over one of Europe’s nations as you begin the quest to defend your borders and maintain the right to rule your kingdom. It succeeded 3 other games in the Europa Universalis series, namely Europa Universalis I to III.
This game is a must-play for those who love the Civilization franchise, as its amazing gameplay and graphics make for a fantastic re-creation of history narrated through different perspectives.
Like Civilization, this game also takes on a science fiction style “what if” history. It is set in 2225, as humanity’s domination has taken the war to the stars. Just like Civilization, you’ll employ unique mechanics like economics, colonization, diplomacy, and technology to fight the stars and take over space.
Galactic Civilizations contains loads of cute maps, technologies you can upgrade, and best of all, pals you can play with. Like Civilization, matches can be held for hours at a go, but there’s also a single-player mode.
One of this game’s highlights is Spacecraft Customization. It has lots of unique and good-looking models but players can also create their own spaceships within the game, and then send them to fight in the galaxy.
Galactic Civilizations II also focuses on Sci-Fi stuff, but it’s a bit different from the first version. This game lets you take charge of one out of five alien races and then lead them to battle against the other races in the galaxy.
It’s got a variety of sequels and expansion packs at hand, so it’s worth a shot if you’re into the Civilian series. The ultimate edition has many upgrades to the first one, including better graphics, an improved espionage system, diplomatic options, and extra characters for the game and the storyline itself.
For fans of Star Trek out there, you’ll love this Civilian-like game thanks to its similar gameplay and themes. It has a selection of 5 different races to pick from so you can conquer the whole universe.
It even boasts a sequel and ultimate edition. At the moment, it’s largely a Windows game but it’s impressive when it comes to the graphics and details.
As Galactic Civilizations III combines strategy and science fiction themes, it’s a treasure for followers of both. As this game is quite popular, it comes with multiple modes, including a Star Wars mode, a Star Trek mode, and many more.
10. Endless Space
If you really crave the 4X gameplay that diehard Civilization fans adore, then your best bet is Endless space. It lets you pick from 8 different civilizations that throw you into the depths of space to conquer and explore. Like Civilization V, it also has features like war, diplomatic, and economic victory options.
11. Endless Space II
In this game, you’re in control of one of many smart galaxy beings at the start of the space era. In a flash, you discover the relics of an earlier civilization known as Endless. Amidst their ruins, you find a matter known as Dust, which has amazing properties. It turns into whatever you think of, it makes dreams a reality…dreams that cause the end of Endless.
Since then, Dust became the most valuable matter in the universe, and thus the universal currency. However, in front of Dust’s power, it’s difficult even for the purest of souls not to fall for its charm.
In this game, you can enjoy an experience that stretches far beyond strategy. You’ll live your own space conquest story, with your own arbitrarily generated galaxy of civilizations, technologies, lifeforms, and unknown worlds to conquer.
12. Total War Series
This is another game for people who love the historical side of Civilization V, but are looking for a title that’s less complicated than Crusader Kings 2. While Civilization V puts a strong emphasis on empire and city-building, Total War focuses more on war.
Even though you can control battles in the field, you also can automatically end them if you simply want to commit yourself to expand your empire. The best part about the Total War series is that you can dive into just about any historical era throughout the series.
Napoleon: Total War, Rome: Total War, Shogun: Total War, Medieval: Total War and the rest let you jump into just about any era if you also add the plentiful, worthwhile downloadable content that’s available in each game.
13. Rise of Nations
While Rise of Nations is similar to some older Civilization games, it’s a crossbreed between Civilization and Age of Empire.
While you can develop your empire up to the Information era, the building options and technology tree are a little more restricted than Civilization V. However, you do have access to a wider variety of combat units. This is what Rise of Nations tends to focus more on.
14. Dominions 4
While Dominions 4 lacks the glitzy graphics associated with Civilization V, it effectively combines Warlock: Master of the Arcane with Civilization. You can play a pretender god that aims to become a full god, but must first prevail over all other pretender gods.
Each pretender god you choose has different powers, making each national feel exclusive. Moreover, Dominions 4 also lets you choose an era that has other pretender gods. This keeps each Dominions 4 game fresh well into the 50th playthrough.
15. Age of Wonders
Age of Wonders is quite similar to Master of Magic. It features 6 races to pick from, namely humans, dwarves, goblins, orcs, draconian, and high elves.
You can explore your world while you pick various allies and foil enemies trying to enter the castle door. Age of Wonders has spawned a couple of sequels, with its most recent release being in 2014. You had better try out this exciting game before it vanishes.
16. Frozen Synapse
Based on a dystopian future, you become a tactical commander, whose role is to lead troops in a battle against a corporate government that controls the people. Each player has their turn at planning out moves and directing soldiers to the right direction for action.
In single-player missions, the goal is to take out the other team, while multiplayer games include hostage extraction, area protection, and deathmatch.
Like Shadowrun on Super Nintendo Entertainment System, you play a Shadowrunner who attempts to achieve a mission from their accomplice.
With a mixture of cyberpunk and fantasy involved, you try to unravel the mysteries in the city as orcs, elves, and other similar creatures try to settle in the same place. You play to save man from the threat of extinction.
18. Free Mars
Set in 2077, man has for the first time in history begun colonizing another planet. Will mankind succeed in colonizing the new home Mars or will they not survive in the severe and inhospitable environment of the new planet?
The Free Mars turn-based strategy game revolves around colonizing Mars. Some of its features include turn-based strategy, single-mode, multi-platform, and Mars colonization setting.
19. Alpha Centauri
Like the Civilization series, Alpha Centauri is created by Sid Meier and features a more futuristic outlook on the Civilization titles originally released. It’s considered some sort of successor or sequel to Civilization 2 and is set on an unfamiliar planet rather than earth.
In Alpha Centauri, you can plan with more modern concepts and equipment apart from the usual earthly wars. It takes place under a new universe and language because of the intergalactic trait of the game. This makes it stick out as an excellent Civilization-like game.
You’ll like Alpha Centauri if you really love turn-based and Sci-Fi Civilian-like games and don’t mind dated graphic resources.
Clearly inspired by the game Master of Magic, this game was released back in 1995. In Heroes of Might & Magic, you’re a hero commanding your armed forces, exploring different areas of Enroth.
The game chronicles the IronFirst Dynasty’s legacy as people experience a series of mayhems in the kingdom. Heroes of Might & Magic spawned 6 sequels, so don’t miss out on anything in this successful series.
21. Master of Orion
Master of Orion is a science fiction-based strategy game that boasts 10 different races to play with. You pick one race to take over distant stars because your present planet has almost depleted its resources. You’ll make quick allies and explore distant stars while you race against time and space to prove your dominance in Master of Orion.
22. Rise of Venice
During the Renaissance, Venice reached the zenith of its powers and was considered a city of beauty, intrigue, and debauchery. Popular as Europe’s cultural center and the epitome of civilization, Venice was the number trading post between the Eastern strip of the Mediterranean region and Western Europe. It was also the hotbed of clandestine dealings and political corruption.
Your story begins here. As a young lad aiming for success, wealth, and powder, and with your family’s backing, you start to build a trading kingdom across Rome, Genoa, Alexandra, Constantinople, and Tripoli as well as many other major cities in the Renaissance era.
As you climb up the Venetian social ladder, increasing your influence with clever trading strategies and taking advantage of the odd favor, you can start to build up your team. With this, you’ll begin to set up new production plants and test yourself in testing sea battles in which you’ll take on political enemies and pirates to ultimately become the Duke of Venice.
23. Anno 1800
Anno 1800 welcomes you to the beginning of the industrial era. The path you take will determine your future. Are you an exploiter or renovator? Liberator or suppressor? How do you want the world to remember you?
In Anno 1800, you’ll take control of your own fortune as you navigate the swiftly evolving malevolent political and technological landscape of the 1800s in your quest to create an empire that’ll last ages.
Combining innovative gameplay with lovely features in an impressive new environment, Anno 1800 heralds the dawn of a new age for the Anno series.
Explore an enormous galaxy filled with wonder. Created by the makers of the Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings series, Paradox Development Studio, Stellaris is an upgrade of the grand scheming genre with a major emphasis on space exploration.
Featuring emergent storytelling, strategic gameplay, and a wide range of alien races, Stellaris boasts a very complicated system that celebrates interstellar exploration while you discover, traverse, interact, and know more about the hordes of species you’ll meet during your travels.
By uncovering entire civilizations and remote celestial outposts, your name is etched across the cosmos. Will you choose the diplomacy route or expand through war to achieve your aims?
25. Battle Brothers
This turn-based strategy and role-playing game combination have you in charge of a mercenary business in a low-power, gritty, medieval world of fantasy. You decide whom to employ or fire, where to go, what deals to sign, and how to equip and train your staff in a procedurally created open-world campaign.
Have you got what it takes to steer your team through deadly battles and ultimately to victory? Battle Brothers consist of a tactical combat feature and strategic world map. On the map, you’re free to travel to sign deals that earn you decent cash, find enemies worth pursuing, find places you can loot, or find towns to hire men at.
Also, this is where you equip, manage, and level up your Battle Brothers. When you engage an unfriendly party, the game switches to a tactical map in which the fighting actually takes place as full-on turn-based combat.
Wrapping Up Civilization-Like Games
To sum up, playing turn-based strategy games will improve your management skills as well as entertain you for hours on end. The elements of each game can be slightly different but the idea is the same—building and expanding your kingdom, empire, nation, or whatever cool name you call it.
These games may all be played on various devices, but they’re all very exciting once you start playing them.
If you enjoyed this article and you’re also a fan of other games, for example, Runescape, you can check out our Top 25 Runescape Like Games to Try