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11 Games Like Civilization - Best Turn Based Strategy Games
Are you a fan of the Civilization game series? Looking for other games like it? There are many great strategy games (turn-based and real-time) available across multiple platforms.
Recently the turn based strategy genre has declined in popularity, and the number of game releases has slowed making it difficult to find good games ones. Civilization is definitely one of the best turn based strategy games available but there are still a few other standouts worth playing.
I've spent a long time compiling this list and I'm very happy with the games I've managed to collect on this page. Some of the games on this page are more similar to Civilization V while others are more similar to earlier installments. Regardless of your preference you will find a game that suits your style.
Be sure to let me know what you think about the games on this list and and don't hesitate to recommend another game in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Check Out My Two Top Picks From This Page
Most fans of the turn based genre can trace their love back to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and I am no exception.
I love older games and Alpha Centauri has always been one of those older games that gets re-installed on a yearly basis. Best of all because its an old game it means that it is dirt cheap.
I accidentally stumbled upon Endless Space one day when I was searching for a strategy game on Steam.
After making my purchase decision I wasn't disappointed. The game lives up to its name and truly is an endless experience. There is countless things you can do in the game world so make sure you load this one up when you are in the mood to sit down and give it the time it deserves.
Games Like Civilization
The Best Turn Based Strategy Games
1 - The Anno Franchise
A Large Series of Games Like Civilization
Anno is a large collection of games that are from medieval times to the current day and even into the future.. Players must establish their own city, develop technologies, build structures and grow an army to attack other players.
It's a game franchise that definitely focuses on the economy side of gameplay rather than combat, which I really enjoy and is guaranteed to hook many other strategy fans.
Players start as a leader of their own city and from there give instructions to their population on how to gather and spend resources. Players can then focus on building their economy, completing fun quests, or building up an army with a mixture of foot troops and siege weapons to explore, defend, and attack.
2 - The Settlers Online
The Settlers Online builds on the foundations of the popular Settlers strategy series and is perfect for fans of the originals and newcomers. Playable in your browser and for free, the game features some nice-looking graphics and a level of depth not usually offered in a browser based experience.
The games focus is definitely on the city-building elements, but there is still plenty of combat as you complete quests by taking out bandit camps or challenging other players. Of course, along the way, you'll find plenty of different strategy paths to go down thanks to the large selection of technology, units and buildings that the game has to offer.
If you're on a tight budget or a long-time Settlers fan you can't afford to not try The Settlers Online and the strategic experience it has to offer.
3 - Tribal Wars 2
Tribal Wars 2 is a new online game that is set in medieval Europe. Players must build up their kingdom, develop their economy, and create a strong military to attack other players.
Players start out as a king and are given the duty to develop their kingdom after returning home from the Crusades. There is a great variety of buildings and military units available in the game and players can even team up with others to form alliances for fun and interactive team based play.
This browser based game like offers that classic strategic gameplay that fans of Civilization will love. It might not have all the depth of a full blown game but for a browser option, the realism and well crafted game elements more than make up for it.
4 - Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC) takes places in a science fiction setting and features the 4x turn-based strategy that Civilization fans know and love. The game is often considered to be a 'sequel' to Civilization II and contains many of the same features (just in a different story and setting) making it a great option if you are looking for a similar game.
The game starts with players landing on the planet Chrion in the 22nd century. From here the player must choose their faction (each with their own characteristics and ideological goals). The game features social engineering, weather, native alien life, customizable units and a varied number of ways to win.
The game is highly praised with the only thing standing in its way being outdated graphics, but true turn based strategy fans will instantly be able to look beyond this and enjoy the game immensely.
5 - Total War (Series)
The Total War series is one of the highest rated strategy games and combines deep turn-based combat with resource management aspects.
Players take on several roles (leaders, generals, mayors etc.) within a civilization (depending on the game). From there, the player manages land and armies in a turn-based style while battles take place in real time. Players must effectively manage their settlements, military production, economic growth and technological advancements.
The game series began in 2000 and has quickly expanded to include six more.. Players are taken on journeys through Japan, medieval Europe, Rome and many others. The games all feature high scores on Metacritic and even have some demos available through Steam, allowing you try before you buy.
The standout game of the Total War series for me was definitely Total War: Shogun 2, which holds a very high score of 90 on Metacritic.
6 - Space Empires (Series)
A Space Game Like Civilization
The Space Empires game series is one of the longer lasting 4x turn based strategy games available. The series started back in 1993 and has since grown to five different games, with the latest one being released in 2006.
Players take control of a civilization that has only recently unlocked space technology.
Players start out with minimal options for their ships but eventually advance to build ships far superior (and larger). Diplomacy (or lack of) also plays a large role in Space Empires as players encounter other races.
The only real complaint from critics was that the game is very complex and sometimes features too many options. Space Empires is best avoided if you are new to turn-based strategy games but die hard fans of the genre will enjoy every minute.
7 - Galactic Civilizations (Series)
Galactic Civilizations is a series of turn-based strategy games released in 2003 and 2006. The goal of the games is to dominate the entire galaxy through war, culture, diplomacy or technological advancement. The game series has been praised for its solid computer AI that has multiple personalities and routines, making each play significantly different.
The games focus on campaign and sandbox style gameplay modes and do not offer multiplayer. The game does however allow modding which has created lots of extra content.
The second game in the series offers players nearly a dozen races, a rock/paper/scissors style of ship building, moral choices and even random events that can alter the course of a game dramatically.
Galactic Civilizations II earned Editor's Choice awards from IGN, GameSpot and GameSpy shortly after its release and has received overall highly positive reviews, holding a score of 87% on GameSpot.
Players looking to get into the series should look into Galactic Civilizations II and its two expansions (Dark Avatar and Twilight of the Armor).
8 - Master Of Orion (Series)
Master Of Orion was one of the original 4X strategy games and was released in 1993 (two years after Civilization).
Two sequels were also released, one in 1996 and another one in 2003.
The games have players face off against computer controlled opponents for galactic domination. Players start off on a single planet with limited ships and must explore and expand from these humble beginnings.
Victory can be achieved by either eliminating all enemies or reaching a peaceful resolution. Players have complete control over technology, ship building, combat and diplomacy.
If you are interested in purchasing Master of Orion, I strongly recommend buying from Good Old Games (GOG.com) to prevent any issues as newer computers and operating systems often create compatibility problems for older games.
9 - Age of Empires (Series)
While Age of Empires doesn't involve turn-based combat it is still a great game like Civilization. The game series offers great single player campaigns along with strong multi player gameplay.
The first title int he series was released in 1997 and since then has grown into a popular gaming franchise and even includes an online version.
The game titles follow historical events across Europe, Asia and Africa and involves time periods spanning from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. In total, the series has been a success commercially selling over 25 million copies.
10 - R.u.s.e.
While R.U.S.E. doesn't offer turn based gameplay, its interesting real time elements still earn it a place on this list. It is also one of the few on this list that is also available on console (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360).
The focus of the game is more geared towards global strategy as opposed to micro management which will either appeal to you or not depending on your personal preferences.
R.U.S.E. offers great gameplay and re-playability through the number of different ways to beat campaign levels and the inclusion of multiplayer options(complete with many possible game modes).
I always liked the R.U.S.E games although they often get less praise than they deserved (like many games before them). I encourage you to check them out and see if they suit your real time strategy style.
11 - Endless Space
Endless Space is a turn based strategy game like Civilization that features the 4X gameplay that Civilization fans love.
The game is one of the most recent turn based strategy games to be released, meaning it offers both outstanding graphics and deep strategic gameplay. In Endless Space you can choose from one of eight distinct space civilizations and battle the computer or other players in randomly generated maps (that support up to 8 players).
Winning is determined by a predetermined objective which can be military, economic or diplomatic in nature. The game uses a unique combat system that is simple to learn but is deep enough that you won't be shying away from combat.
If you are looking for a modern game like Civilization that you can't look past Endless Space.