With seven titles released, Age of Empires has been comfortably sitting on the throne when it comes to the Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games genre since 1997. The game covers the eras from the gritty Stone Age all the way to the ruthless Iron Age in various settings such as Asia, Europe, and Africa.
Age of Empires is all about the players forming their own army, managing resources, building their empire and waging a war against opponents to conquer them. The game allows a player all the freedom to walk their own path and decide how they want to conquer the in-game world. The smarter you are, the bigger threat you become to your foes.
If you have been looking to get into strategy games or simply are looking for a similar experience to sink your teeth into, then you are the right place. Here is our list of 15 cool games similar to Age of Empires:
1. Age of Mythology
Ensemble Studios, who created Age of Empires decided to make a spin-off series based on mythological beliefs. Unlike the Age of Empires, which is based on historical events, this game takes place in Atlantis and it focuses on the famous Greek, Egyptian and Norse myths and legends.
Much like the Age of Empires, the formula of building an army, managing resources and conquering the opposing civilizations remains the main focus of the game. The player has to choose and play from one of the three civilizations: Greek, Egyptian, and Norse. Each civilization has its own religion and culture. The game lets you choose your major God, based on your chosen empire and as you progress to the next age, you unlock minor Gods which grant special abilities to the players.
Availability: Steam ($29.99)
2. Anno Online
Anno online is a free to play browser-based real-time strategy game, created by Ubisoft that allows the player to not only build their city but manage its economic processes. The goal of the player is to build and expand their country and defend it against rivals when required.
Apart from building your own country from the ground up, the game also features other aspects such as combat, exploration, diplomacy, and trade. If you are a student of economics, you have a very good excuse to play this game before completing your assignments… for research of course.
Availability: Browser (Free)
3. Starcraft 2
Starcraft 2 is the second installment in the Starcraft series, a space-focused RTS game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game is set in a 26th-century science fiction universe, where the focus is on a galactic struggle between four different species for total universe domination. The game was split into three parts during development in order to tell a complete story.
It offers a non-linear gameplay, where the player chooses to play as one of the three species known as Protoss, Terran, and Zerg. The main game “Wings of Liberty” offers the story of Terran, whereas the two expansion packs offer the stories of Protoss and Zerg.
In the game, you assume the total control of your units and are required to come up with the best strategies with the given resources in order to survive this inter-galactic war.
Availability: Battle.net ($39.99)
4. Rise of Nations
Rise of Nations is developed by Big Huge Games and features 18 civilizations and 8 ages of world history. It is consistently ranked and considered to be one of the best games of all time in the real-time strategy genre.
The key element of Rise of Nations’ gameplay is focused on the concept of “territory”. The area near the player’s settlements is considered their territory, and players can construct different buildings only within their territory or their friends’.
The aim of the player is to progress and advance to the most modern age in order to gain access to better weaponry and attack their opponents more efficiently, to either conquer them or wipe them off completely.
Availability: Steam ($19.99)
5. Command and Conquer: Tiberium Alliances
Command & Conquer is based on the Westwood’s strategy game called Dune 2. The most important aspect of this series is its focus on the campaigns of various factions in a single central storyline.
Command and Conquer: Tiberium Alliances is a military strategy game with MMO elements. The player gets to choose their sector in the world to start in, from there they start to build and grow their military base. The game allows the player to construct buildings, gather resources and engage in battles against enemy camps in order to survive and flourish.
Availability: Origin (Free)
6. Empire Earth
Similar to the Age of Empires series, Empire Age is a history-based real-time strategy game. Spanning over 500,000 years of world history, the game begins from a pre-historic era and ends at the nano age. The game requires players to gather resources to construct buildings, populate their civilizations with citizens, and conquer opposing civilizations. The game also includes an extensive map editor for the players to create their empires in whatever design they wish to.
One of the most unique and innovative systems in the game is the “Morale’ system, which affects individual unit statistics. Another new concept the game offers is its “Hero” system. Heroes can be built at the town center or capital. There are two types of heroes, Strategist heroes who heal surrounding units and can demoralize enemy units while Warrior heroes give morale to surrounding units and have a greater attack power.
Availability: GoG ($5.99)
7. Warcraft III
Warcraft III is a high fantasy real-time strategy game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The game offers an extensive story campaign as well as a multiplayer component. The world map of Warcraft III has large fields, with beautiful terrains like mountains, rivers, seas, and cliffs.
Players are required to establish settlements in order to gain useful resources, defend against other players, and train units to explore the map and attack A.I enemies. There are three main resources in the game: gold, lumber, and food that players require in order to construct buildings and combat units.
Availability: Battle.net ($9.99)
Empire is a free to play, real-time strategy game with great multiplayer online game elements in it. The title developed by Good Game Studios is set in a medieval age, where the players slowly build their empire from ground up and turns it into a juggernaut that enemy players would think twice before attacking.
The aim is to build castles, trade with other players, raise an army and conquer your enemies. Keeping a full control over your units, building a position, coming up with the battle techniques and thinking your strategies for combat, is what Empire sets out to accomplish and succeeds at.
Availability: GoodGame (Free)
9. The Settlers Online
Developed by BlueBite, The Settlers is a free to play browser-based real-time strategy game which has a few in-game purchases. The Settlers Online introduces brand new additions and improvements to the genre. It features a world where players have to collect resources and complete in-game missions to build their own medieval kingdom where they can capture territories and explore.
The game is inspired by the famous Settlers series but the online realm and MMO elements add a whole another layer of depth to the concept. The game offers lots of content to unlock, tons of levels to progress through, various bandit camps to obliterate, and interaction with human players in the world, who we can either befriend or wage a war against.
Availability: Browser (Free)
Set in the futuristic universe where three different empires fight over the resourceful planets, which contain rich deposits of etherium, a highly powerful resource that every empire needs.
The game is developed by Tindalos Interactive and features both multiplayer and solo campaign modes for the players. The players can take control of any one of the empires of their choosing, to battle against other factions, in order to secure the total control of the mysterious etherium resource and build their empire to be the most powerful on the planet.
Availability: Steam ($14.99)
11. Stronghold Crusader
Even though the game follows the same pattern of gameplay as the first Stronghold game, unlike its predecessor, Stronghold Crusader is set in the Middle East during the Crusades and features new Arabian units.
Due to the Middle-East setting, farms can only be built on limited oasis grass, which ushers a rivalry among players who fight for the limited amount of farmland and resources. Other than farms, there are other resources to gather, like iron ore, quarry, and marshes. These resources are deposited in their reserves and players can either sell or use these resources for a better defense against attacks.
Availability: Steam ($49.99)
Homeworld is a real-time strategy game set in space and offers a story-heavy real-time strategy experience to the gamers. The game follows the story where the Kushan race is exiled from the planet Kharak, after the home planet is destroyed by their foes called Taiidan Empire in retaliation for developing hyperspace jump technology. In their quest to rebuild and reclaim their ancient homeworld of Hiigara from the Taiidan, the players encounter various pirates, traders, mercenaries, allies and rebels along the way.
The player has to gather resources, build a fleet and uses it to destroy enemy ships and accomplish different missions. The game includes the single-player campaign and multiplayer modes, as well.
The single-player story-driven campaign is divided into levels. We see highly artistic hand-drawn black-and-white cutscenes with voiceovers to support the story during all of the 16 levels that the game offers.
Availability: Steam ($34.99)
13. 0 A.D.
0 A.D. is a free, open-source, cross-platform real-time strategy game, which is still under development by Wildfire Games. The game is set between 500 B.C. and 1 B.C. for the first part, and a planned second part for the years 1 A.D. to 500 A.D
0 A.D. lets the players build their base and train their army. The game also features other elements such as combat and technology research. It offers twelve different civilizations, each of the civilization is represented at their best. During the game, the player will not advance through time, but from village phase over town phase to city phase. The phases represent the size of settlements in history. Every phase unlocks new units, buildings, and technologies.
Availability: Browser (Free)
Set in a fantasy world, MegaGlest is a free to play open source game in the real-time strategy genre.
The game is set in a fantasy world with seven factions: Magic, Tech, Indians, Egypt, Norsemen, Persian, and Romans, which together form the group called “Megapack”. Every faction comes with its own set of units, buildings, and upgrades, pros and cons. The element of mixing and meshing different elements in the game makes for variation in strategy and also does a really good job of keeping the gameplay well-balanced.
Because of the ability to mod the engine easily, MegaGlest can play games from a variety of player-created mods and total conversions, spanning very different themes.
Availability: Browser (Free)
15. Age of Wonders III
Age of Wonders III features the setting of a fantasy world, where the player gets to be the leader of a kingdom and explore the world while interacting with other kingdoms and different races. The player is supposed to tackle different situations either diplomatically or through warfare in order to lead the kingdom to prosperity.
Even though Age of Wonders is a turn-based strategy game, its amazingly detailed fantasy universe is worth getting into. Players have to explore the world map, slowly build their empire through colonization, and conquer through warfare and diplomacy against rival empires.
In addition to the meat of the game, which is its story-driven single-player campaign, the game also supports both online and local multiplayer modes as well as a really detailed and extensive level editor.
Availability: Steam ($29.99)
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Some amazing games similar to Age of Empires
All the games listed above are considered the best strategy games of all time. Each game offers a unique setting and/or gameplay elements, which makes them unique in their own right. These games not only contribute but have also helped revitalize the Real-Time Strategy genre, which deserves much more love and attention from the players. So, if you like Age of Empires, you are surely going to love these games.