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11 Games Like Age of Empires: Real-Time Strategy Games

Updated on January 30, 2016
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11 Games Like Age of Empires: Popular Real Time Strategy Games

Are you a fan of the popular Age of Empires (AoE) game series? Looking for a similar games? This page features a collection of other impressive real time strategy game options that will take you through history and into the future.

AoE has been one of the most commercially successful franchises within the strategy genre and is often considered to be one of the best in the genre, with active communities still available for each title despite the age of the games. Age of Empires is also credited for influencing many games in the genre, and for developing it into its current state through its gameplay innovation.

The original AoE introduced me to the RTS genre. I spent most of my time with AoE2 though, playing with friends in huge, eight-player death matches which were always lots of fun and demanded an ever evolving strategy to be victorious.

This popular genre now contains many other games like Age of Empires which combine different themes and mechanics to offer a unique title. Stop by the comments section to share your own favourite from this list or one not featured here.

All images on this page have been provided by publisher media departments for the purpose of critique.

Which Age of Empires Title Is Your Favourite?

Vote For Your Favourite AOE Game (Main Titles Only)

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History of the Age of Empires Franchise (Main PC Titles Only)

Release Date
Main Games
Expansion Packs
1997
Age of Empires
The Rise of Rome
1999
Age of Empires II
The Conquerors, The Forgotten, The African Kingdoms
2005
Age of Empires III
The WarChiefs, The Asian Dynasties

11 Games Like Age Of Empires

Popular Real-Time Strategy Games

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Anno 1701Anno 1503Anno 1404Anno 2070Anno 2205
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Anno 2070
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Anno 2205

1. The Anno Series

A Popular RTS Game Series With Economic Focus

The Anno series of games offer a great mixture of city building and gameplay. The most recent game in the series is The Anno Online, which is a free-to-play strategy game that can be played in your browser.

There are a number of Anno games available, each offering similar gameplay mechanics and features. Each game in the series focuses on a particular year or period in history.

These games all feature similar gameplay, with the main change being the year in which the game takes place. The games focus on the economy of the settlements that the player creates, with stronger economies leading to more successful settlements.

In each Anno game, the player starts as a small unknown country that must develop and expand within the world while protecting itself from various rivals.

Anno 1701 A.D. (GOG)

Anno Release Summary (Main Games Only)

Game (Year of Release)
Platforms
Metacritic Score (PC)
1602 A.D. (1998)
Windows
N/A
1503 A.D.: The New World (2003)
Windows
74
Anno 1701 (2006)
Windows
78
Anno 1404: Dawn of Discovery (2009)
Windows, Nintendo DS
82
Anno 2070 (2011)
Windows
82
Anno 2205 (2015)
Windows
72
Metacritic scores are for Windows only, refer to Metacritic.com for other platforms
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ANNO 1701 A.D. Trailer

The Settlers Online
The Settlers Online

2. The Settlers Online

A Free and Online Game Option

The Settlers Online brings many real-time strategy elements into the online space, creating a fun, free, and unique game.

In The Settlers Online you can create your empire from humble beginnings, build structures to grow your empire, and eventually conquer the world. The game starts you off with only a small camp and a handful of villagers as you collect resources, complete missions, and eventually start to build your large empire.

The game has ties to the popular Settlers series but brings the game into the freemium and online realm in an impressive way. With plenty to unlock, lots of levels to advance through, bandit camps to defeat, and other players to befriend (or fight), it's a great free-to-play strategy game.

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Empire Goodgame
Empire Goodgame

3. Empire

Another Online Strategic Game

Empire offers an MMO-style of gameplay that is free to play. It's available across a large range of platforms, including browser and smart phones under the title of Empire: Four Kingdoms.

As far as free-to-play online strategy games go, Empire is one of the better medieval options out there. You'll take your little settlement from its very early days to becoming a powerful empire that no other player will dare to challenge.

If you've played a game in this genre before, you'll pick up most of the basics quickly and appreciate the minor details that separate it from others in the genre (such as the good mix of PvP and PvE and the way combat works). New players will have an equally enjoyable experience though, with systems that are easy to learn and well-designed.

With complete control over your units, building placement, and combat strategy, players will enjoy the good amount of depth that Empire works into a free-to-play strategy game.

GoodGame Empire Trailer

Age of Mythology
Age of Mythology

4. Age of Mythology

An AoE Spin-Off Title

Age of Mythology is a spin-off of the original Age of Empires series, and was developed by the same people. The game is available on PC and Mac, scoring a high 89% on Metacritic.

In Age of Mythology, players build towns, gather various resources, develop an army, and ultimately destroy their enemy (or achieve some other objective). Like the Age of Empire games, players advance their civilization through several ages with each unlocking new technologies.

Age of Mythology offers three unique civilizations for players to experience: Greek, Egyptian, and Norse. Each civilization also has three different major gods that the player can select (each offering different abilities to the player). As players advance through the ages they also gain access to minor gods that offer similar advantages (both defensive and offensive).

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Age of Mythology: The Gold Edition

Age of Mythology Gold Edition - PC
Age of Mythology Gold Edition - PC

Age of Mythology Gold gives you the original game along with the The Titans expansion pack. The gold pack allows you to get your hands on these games for a great bundle price.

Play through the 36-mission singleplayer campaign, experience the life-like terrain, and wield the incredible powers of the Gods.

 

Age of Mythology: Extended Edition Gameplay

Rise of Nations
Rise of Nations

5. Rise Of Nations

A Well-Rated RTS Game That Takes You Through The Ages

Rise of Nations is another popular real-time strategy game that was released in 2003. Despite the age of the game, it is still a great RTS experience, mostly thanks to the lead game developer Brian Reynolds (also behind the likes of Civilization and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri).

In Rise of Nations, players can choose from 18 different civilizations and guide them through eight different stages of world history.

Rise of Nations uses a territory-style concept in its gameplay (much like that of the Civilization series). This system dictates that areas near the player's settlement are their territory and that they are the only places that the player can construct buildings. By expanding cities or building forts, the player can expand their territory and borders.

Rise of Nations has some other unique RTS gameplay elements, including auto citizens (resource-collectors) that automatically look for tasks to perform after creation (if not already set by you). The game also features infinite resources instead of focusing on a maximum collection rate cap (which can be increased by technology upgrades).

Rise of Nations boasts strong reviews, receiving perfect scores and many rankings in the 90s, and currently holds a 89% score on Metacritic.

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Rise Of Nations - (Gold Edition)

Rise of Nations Gold - PC
Rise of Nations Gold - PC

Rise of Nations is one of the older RTS games that I've enjoyed, but it won't appeal to everyone because it is an older game. Personally, my favourite feature is the varied civilizations.

Rise of Nations: Gold Edition offers a great RTS game experience with the original Rise of Nations as well as the acclaimed expansion pack, Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots.

Rise of Nations gives you to the ability to control 24 different nations across 5 campaigns and 130 game scenarios.

 

Rise of Nations Gameplay

Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty

6. StarCraft 2

A Space-Focused RTS Title

StarCraft 2 is the second instalment in the StarCraft series and is one of the most popular modern real-time strategy games available. The game follows the journey of three races: the Terrain (humans), the Protoss (an advanced alien race), and the Zerg (a ruthless biological alien race).

The StarCraft 2 series is split into three games, with each offering a different campaign along with new units: Wings of Liberty (Terrain), Heart of the Swarm (Zerg), and Legacy of the Void (Protoss).

StarCraft 2 offers a great single-player campaign and also has a vibrant multi-player community, thanks to the in-game ladder and matchmaking system. As such, StarCraft 2 will especially appeal to those who are after a competitive RTS game.

The game has received very strong reviews (currently holding a score of 93% on Metacritic) and is praised for its deep gameplay, new RTS features, and storytelling methods. The game also holds the title for the fastest selling RTS game of all time.


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Starcraft 2: The Current Games in the Series

Starcraft II: Battle Chest - PC/Mac
Starcraft II: Battle Chest - PC/Mac

As far as the real-time strategy genre goes, I've never been more impressed with a game than I am with StarCraft 2. Get your hands on the best modern day RTS game that takes place in our very own galaxy.

I found the Wings of Liberty campaign in particular (the first campaign which follows the Terran race) to be the best RTS campaign I have ever played. There are also endless multiplayer features, if you'd rather take your skills to the online environment.

Take control of one of three available unique races and battle against other players through the Blizzard Battle.net service, complete with competitive features, ladder systems, replay functions, and matchmaking.

 

StarCraft II Trailer

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Empire Earth III

7. Empire Earth (Series)

Another Historical Orientated RTS

Empire Earth (EE) was released in 2001 with sequels in 2005 and 2007.

The series follows the standard RTS formula of collecting resources, constructing buildings, and military production to ultimately conquer opposing civilizations. The original Empire Earth spans 500,000 years of world history, beginning in the Prehistoric age and ending in the Nano age, by installing the expansion pack (The Art of Conquest), you can ultimately advance to the Space age.

The game's unique features include a morale system that impacts individual unit statistics and a hero system that lets you create heroes to buff your troops, demoralize the enemy, or gain a powerful tactical advantage in the field. Empire Earth offers a variety of campaign modes and multi-player options making it great as a single-player or multi-player experience.

I recommend purchasing this game through Good Old Games though (especially 1 and 2) to prevent compatibility issues.

Empire Earth (GOG)

Empire Earth Release Summary (Main Games Only)

Game (Year of Release)
Platforms
Metacritic Score (PC)
Empire Earth (2001)
Windows
81
Empire Earth II (2005)
Windows
79
Empire Earth III (2007)
Windows
50
Metacritic scores are for Windows only, refer to Metacritic.com for other platforms.
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Empire Earth III Trailer

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Stronghold 3

8. Stronghold (Series)

An Older RTS Game Franchise

The Stronghold series began in 2001. The game focuses on a historical setting (Medieval England) and has an emphasis on conquest. It is another great game that will appeal to fans of the war side of the RTS genre.

The game does still feature an economic side and even features two separate campaigns (one economic and one military). Other game modes include one-off missions (both combat and economic) where players must complete specific goals, a siege mode, and free-build mode.

Along with many strong reviews from critics, the game also boasts a large community that creates content through the various scenarios and map editors. While the original Stronghold series received great praise, its sequels have not received the same good reception. Your best bet is to start with the original and slowly (and cautiously) branch out from there.

The Stronghold Collection (Kinguin)

Stronghold Release Summary (Main Games Only)

Game (Year of Release)
Platforms
Metacritic Score (PC)
Stronghold (2001)
Windows
81
Stronghold 2 (2005)
Windows
63
Stronghold 3 (2011)
Windows, Mac
47
Metacritic scores are for Windows only, refer to Metacritic.com for other platforms.
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Stronghold 3 Gameplay

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Command & Conquer

9. Command & Conquer (Series)

A Large Series of High Quality RTS Titles

While the Commend & Conquer series focuses more on combat than city-building, it is still a fun game (especially if you are a fan of the war and battle aspect).

The first game of the Command & Conquer series was released in 1995 and was one of the first games in the RTS genre. Since then, the series has grown rapidly under a number of different publishers.

A staple component of Command & Conquer games is the use of parallel storylines about various factions in the campaign mode. The games also feature side bar navigation control, as opposed to other titles that feature navigation bars at the bottom.

Command & Conquer offers players infantry, vehicles, and aircraft following a standard rock-paper-scissors style of combat found in most RTS games. Scores for Command & Conquer vary depending on the on the game, but average the mid 80s on Metacritic.

Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Edition (Kinguin)

Command & Conquer Release Summary (Main Games Only)

Game (Year of Release)
Platforms
Metacritic Score (PC)
Command & Conquer (1995)
Windows, Mac, PlayStation, N64, PlayStation Network, Sega Saturn, DOS
94
Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)
Windows, PlayStation, PlayStation Network
90
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (1999)
Windows
N/A
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 (2000)
Windows
84
Command & Conquer: Renegade (2002)
Windows
75
Command & Conquer: Generals (2003)
Windows, Mac
84
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (2007)
Windows, Mac, Xbox 360
85
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (2008)
Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
82
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (2010)
Windows
64
Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances (2012)
Browser
N/A
Metacritic scores are for Windows only, refer to Metacritic.com for other platforms.
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Command & Conquer E3 Trailer

Warcraft 3
Warcraft 3

10. Warcraft 3

A Great RTS Experience That I've Played Countless Times

The Warcraft 3 fantasy real-time strategy experience was released in 2002 by Blizzard Entertainment.

The game was a hit, with its single-player campaign and multi-player version (although you'll find it difficult to find a multi-player game these days). I find myself re-installing the game from time to time to re-experience the game.

Warcraft 3 features four different races with campaigns available for each. These campaigns follow the journey of the Orcs, the Humans, the Undead, and the Night Elves. As you would expect, each of these races has its own unique units and motives so the campaigns all feel like a separate game entirely.

Some of the more unique gameplay mechanics for the game include hero characters that follow you through each campaign and collect items throughout the journey to improve their stats. Warcraft 3 also makes great use of side objectives to add life to the game world, rather than just dry additional objectives.

I loved everything in Warcraft 3 and I know other fans of real-time strategy games will love it also.

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Grab the Battle Chest: Original Game, Expansion, and Strategy Guides In One

Warcraft III Battle Chest - PC/Mac
Warcraft III Battle Chest - PC/Mac

If Warcraft 3 sounds like an RTS experience that you might like, then grab the Battle Chest edition.

Why the Battle Chest? Because you'll get the expansion pack (Frozen Throne), which adds a whole new layer of content and improvements on a variety of game mechanics.

I wouldn't consider playing the game without the expansion. Since it only costs an extra dollar or two, this is a great deal.

 

Warcraft 3 Trailer

Dawn of War
Dawn of War

11. Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War

A Unique RTS Alternative

Dawn of War is one of my all-time favourite strategy games. It would have been featured higher up, but its unique approach to the genre might not appeal to some. The game was released back in 2004 with a sequel in 2009. A number of expansion packs in between each add new campaigns and available races to the gameplay.

Personally I prefer the original game, since the second game moved away from the RTS formula and didn't really appeal to me.

Dawn of War is set in the Warhammer 40k franchise (a tabletop war game, for those who are unfamiliar). The game features many of the same units and races as the tabletop game, so it appeals to Warhammer fans. I had never played the Warhammer tabletop games and still loved Dawn of War for its strategy gameplay.

Gameplay focuses on capturing and holding key points across a variety of maps that provide resources to build additional units.

Unlike other RTS games, units are split into squads and take orders as a team. Squads start with a small number of units but can eventually grow to 10. Players also have the option to attach special units or leaders to these groups to provide additional benefits.

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Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War

Warhammer 40K: Dawn Of War Platinum [Download]
Warhammer 40K: Dawn Of War Platinum [Download]

Dawn of War is one of my favourite strategy games. I particularly like the squad-based battles and the removal of resource-gathering.

I also really love the science fiction setting and how the storyline mixes in all of the races. I originally avoided the game, as I have no interest in the tabletop game. If you're like me, you will still enjoy the gameplay of Dawn of War very much.

Grab the platinum edition of this unique sci-fi RTS. Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War is definitely one my favourite strategy experiences, although it steps outside some of the core RTS features and might not appeal to everyone.

You'll command squads of units in Dawn of War and won't have to worry about collecting resources. Instead you'll focus on capturing points, using strategic positions, and matching the right units against enemy units to succeed.

I really loved Warhammer and it is on my regular re-install shelf for good reason. You don't even have to care about the tabletop game to enjoy it (like myself).

 

The Warhammer 40k Trailer for Dawn of War

Which Game Like Age of Empires Is Your Favourite? Do You Know Another Option Not On This Page?

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    • CYong74 profile image

      Cedric Yong 11 months ago from Singapore

      I love Empire Earth. Sadly it was so ... glitchy.

    • profile image

      greek 13 months ago

      cant beat age of mythology....

    • aniktm profile image

      max anik 17 months ago from usa

      awesome games

    • flint3099 profile image

      flint3099 2 years ago

      Fantastic list. I didn't get to play Starcraft 2 all that much so I would like to give it another try. I loved the original. I would like to do a mention of Empires Dawn of the modern world. It didn't turn out to be a great game but it was worth playing if you like Age of Empires.

    • serbonero profile image

      serbonero 2 years ago

      Stronghold was one of the first strategy games that I have ever played and I loved every second... Also played C&C and it has definitely earned its place among the best strategy games... Actually, I am on some kind of quest for my next challenge and your article has has given me some ideas what that might be. Thanks

    • profile image

      philly fox 2 years ago

      found this topic very good i am a big fan age of empires and age of mythology also so will surely look into some of these other games thanks for the info

    • CrazyWolfy profile image

      CrazyWolfy 2 years ago from Pirot

      The first game i ever played was the Age of Empires, and since than i have always loved the strategy games, and the last one i have played is the Anno 2070 and it was great!

    • Scott A Butler profile image

      Scott A. Butler 2 years ago from England

      A great list here, thank you. Really enjoyed the AoE series and creating my own custom levels for others. :)

    • profile image

      alfnexus4 2 years ago

      Kings bounty saga are also great

    • smarterdigital profile image

      smarterdigital 3 years ago

      Ah... AoE2... Memories. Have you tried AoE online?

    • profile image

      dmhonz 3 years ago

      Looks like I wanna try Anno from reading your Lens its get me a trill to try it. thanks for sharing and maybe you can give a tricks in that games.

    • tomasokalno profile image

      tomasokalno 3 years ago

      Strategies have always been my favorite. I still have Anno 1701 on my PC :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Some excellent titles here. I used to love Age Of Empires II - Was by far my favourite of this kind of game.

    • profile image

      BattleBuilder 3 years ago

      I feel a sudden urge to play Age of Empires again, but perhaps now is time to dwell into Anno, because I've wanted to play it for a looong time, but still haven't.

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Rise of Nations

      Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Love Age of Empires. Lost many days of my life playing it. Also like Zork Nemesis, but I never clocked it, to hard. Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image

      Lietuviz 3 years ago

      I like all strategy games . But my favorites are medieval age games so i very liked AOE and Stronghold.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      I played Age of Empires and then went onto the great "Cossacks" games and "Sudden Strike". If you enjoyed AOE you'll love these.

    • seodress profile image

      seodress 3 years ago

      Love these games.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Hey guys try stronghold 1 then you will know of the strategy game are what and stronghold 3 is my best.

    • profile image

      Yoursanity 3 years ago

      I have played so many of these games! Brings back so many memories.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      empire earth

    • profile image

      JimmPlus 4 years ago

      I am a great fan of Age of Empires. After reading this lens and realizing that there are so many similar games, my hands are itching to play them again.

    • profile image

      360xbl 4 years ago

      Awesome thank you for the list of awesome strategy games

    • profile image

      MexicoTravel 4 years ago

      Age of Empires 2 with the Conquerors expansion is my best. The wonderful music on the CD still plays in my hearth.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Age of Mythology is excellent.............

    • Stickypony LM profile image

      Stickypony LM 4 years ago

      Age of Empires 2 is my favorite! But I guess it because I play it as a kid.

    • JessStone profile image

      JessStone 4 years ago

      AOE series is the best!!! My favorite games hands down!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Age of Empires 2 is my all time favorite! I still play it to this day!

    • SimilarSam profile image
      Author

      Sam 4 years ago from Australia

      @carny: I am a sucker for that one as well, I used to have some epic deathmatch battles with my friends and it is still my favourite.

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      carny 4 years ago

      Age of Empires 2 (yes the old one) is probably still my favorite.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      All of them are great games, I think the one I like the most is Age of Mythology.

      But my favourite strategy game is Civilization (even when is not a real time strategy game)

      PS. Excellent lens!

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      wordpress-guru 4 years ago

      i like starcraft 2 ... too bad blizard is acting all commercial like , f*ing-up the games ...

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      Sam 4 years ago from Australia

      @anonymous: Thanks for comment, Empire Earth 1 was definitely the standout in this game series. It's sad when a new series shows good potential only to be ruined in future installments.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Age of empires 3 is my all time fav, though i love age of mythology and its EXP. Empire Earth is not as good as Aoe as this game stretches micro management, age/era, concepts and other gaming factors too far but its not done perfectly and so it fails badly. The interesting factor is that Empire Earth series starts with a good game (empire earth I) but starts to show its weakness with the expansion as there is nothing to expand and further more it fails badly with the 2nd of the series and with the 3rd one no one cares about the series as the Empire Earth 3 was the worse RTS or such game i had ever played and to speak frankly i uninstalled the game just after 30 mins or so for everything was between bad and worse in this game starting from movements, commands, input method and such a terrible graphic....

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      ThanhQuach 4 years ago

      AOE series are my favorite games forever, especially is AOE III

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: THANK YOU. At least one other person remembered that game.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Anno

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      MoreBetterThings 4 years ago

      The Age of Empires series are among my all-time favorite games. This is a great list with some good options for AOE fans!

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      srsddn lm 4 years ago

      A great lens.

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      Thatoneguyoverthere 4 years ago

      I can't describe how much I loved AoE, great lense Sam.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      age of empires: forgotten empires coming soon. the unofficial expansion

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      forextrading2000 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your ideas and tips. This is a fantastic lens! Keep up the great work.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Tzar is the best look alike game, maybe even better

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      victoriuh 4 years ago

      Age of Empires is probably my all time fave game of this type, but I also enjoyed Age of Mythology a lot. They are so similar, so that makes sense.

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      Susan R. Davis 4 years ago from Vancouver

      Command and Conquer

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      Sam 4 years ago from Australia

      @naskobl: Thanks for your feedback!

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      naskobl 4 years ago

      I think Star Craft and Tiberian Wars doesn't meet this category. All of them are RTS yes. But the genre of playing a whole lot different. It would be better title if it was. Real Time Strategy Games Like AOE

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      RON is my favorite

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      Alenkita1 4 years ago from Slovenia

      Nice list, Rise and fall civilizations at war is also one of them!

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      InterwebzShopper 4 years ago

      This was actually a really good read. RTS games never really came naturally to me though... Maybe I'll pick it up again some day =P SC2 anyone?

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      ascotto 4 years ago

      C&C: Tiberian sun reminds me to the old good days..

    • WNJ631 LM profile image

      WNJ631 LM 4 years ago

      Good picks- Age of Mythology & SC are some of my all time favorites!

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      JoshK47 4 years ago

      Some of my all-time favorite games here - my favorite is probably StarCraft II - blessed by a SquidAngel!

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