[Top 10] Best Total War Games To Play Today

Best Total War Games
Ten games vs one? A good start for the day.

No, it's not a fight between your favorite whole grain cereals, it's Total War. Don't cry over spilt milk!

Ancient Rome, China, the Medieval kingdoms of Europe - just like the empires they represent, the Total War series covers a lot of ground; but as Caesar, Ghengis, or any great conqueror can tell you, there’s always more territory to conquer. 
Total War’s grand campaigns, rpg elements, and the huge and inimitable tactical battles have been the backbone of the award winning series, and these top 10 games offer new and unique takes on many of the same great elements. 
If you like the Total War series but want to explore beyond the frontiers, this list is for you.

10: Scourge of War: Waterloo

"Taxi! Waterloo please." "The station?" Well I'm bit late for the f***king the battle!"

While we don’t always see swords and cannons sharing a battlefield, sabre-wielding cavalry charging against guns and artillery have become definitive scenes of the Napoleonic Wars.
Scourge of War: Waterloo covers this era masterfully with extensively researched and historically accurate units, generals, and battlefields, as well as the massive scale of the armies.
While the game lacks the campaign map of TW games, the tactical map operates in much the same way. One key difference is the chain of command system, which forces the player to request reinforcements from commanders via a courier, instead of just directly controlling units.
The battles are immense, realistic, and although the graphics aren’t great, give it a break; it’s from the 1800s!
One for the strategy gamer as well as the history buff, Scourge of War: Waterloo is a welcomed addition to other TW-esque games.

9. Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients - Longbow Digital Arts

"Think they'll attack us?" "Nah, they don't have the Gauls."

If you’re looking for a mix of grand strategy and real-time tactical warfare set in the pre-Roman Mediterranean, look no further; if you just want to play a great game, then this is a happy coincidence.
Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients is the latest installment in the Hegemony series, sl it's a great place to start playing.
Like TW in many ways, but battles are streamlined with the strategy map instead of being closed encounters, and unique features like the realistic nature of supply lines is just one of the many refreshing mechanics that make this game worth a play. 
Choose from dozens of unique factions including ancient Greek, Gallic, and Latin peoples, and get to uniting those tribes, by any means necessary!

8. King Arthur- Developer: Neocore Games

A legendary tale retold in grand strategy style.

In this rpg style grand strategy, control mythical heroes like Lancelot, Merlin and many other heroes of Arthurian legend as you campaign across Britannia. 
King Arthur plays like a grand strategy, with empire management properties such as research, civics, diplomacy and politics, but also has rpg elements such as levelling up and learning special abilities. 
Heroes act as generals and can be warlords, champions, or sages, bolstering your army, fighting in the front, or casting powerful spells, respectively. 
Diplomacy, economy, and politics play important roles in managing your empire on the strategic map, and battles revolve around capturing strategic choke points on the tactical map. 
Very similar to TW games, but the added fantasy and hero element make it stand out from the rest like the mighty Excalibur. 

7. Warhammer: Mark of Chaos/Battle March - Black Hole Entertainment

Goblins, demons and goblins, oh my!

If you’re new to the Warhammer universe, imagine a Lord of the Rings theme with a Warcraft III aesthetic. 
While lacking a grand strategy map like other games on the list, Warhammer: MoC features many elements of battle that are similar to that of TW titles. 
Choose from distinct races like the bow wielding High elves, gun-toting Humans, the demon-summoning Horde, and the rat-like Skaven. 
Heroes can learn special abilities to bolster your troops or just mow down your enemies. 
RPG elements allow units and heroes to level up, making the battles not just about tactics but about veterancy. 
Battle March, an expansion to MoC, adds many new features, including new playable races like Dark Elves and Goblins. The Brute strength of the Horde, the gunpowder tech of the humans, or the zerg-rushing of the ravenous Skaven, how will you crush your enemies?

6. Star Wars: Empire at War - Petroglyph Games

A  sci-fi game in an article almost exclusively about medieval and fantasy games? To be fair, it took place a long, long time ago. It's not a Jedi mind trick; it's Star Wars.

I know it’s a bit of an odd-ball on this list with games from a (mostly) realistic past; Caesar never had a giant planet-killing space station to work with, and if he did, he probably would have used it. Star Wars arguably puts the “grand” into grand strategy (galactic conquest encompassing just a bit more than the Mediterranean,) and Empire at War shows it off with a sandbox campaign across planetary systems. 
Controlling either the Rebel or Imperial faction, you must eliminate the opposing faction, faction leader, or respectively, destroy or protect the Death Star. 
Battles take place both in space and on land, using different troop and ship types and heroes like Vader and Obi-Wan in tactical combat. 
If you prefer historical/fantasy genres, EaW feels different in its theme, but familiar in its spirit: protect or destroy, sword or lightsaber, the choice is in your hands.

5. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord - TaleWorlds Entertainment

Ever wonder what it's like to be one of the many soldiers on the battlefield? Welcome to Mount&Blade.

If you’re new to the Mount and Blade series, Bannerlord would be an excellent place to start.
Taking part on the fictional continent of Calradia, the story arc of the Calradian Empire is themed to be historically similar to the rise and fall of Ancient Rome. 
The games are completely sandbox, and work like an action/strategy/rpg, where you create and level up a character, who can then go on to own land, lead troops, and progress in any way you choose. 
Think of the generals/governors from TW, but you play and fight directly alongside your troops as that general throughout the game. 
While the action/rpg aspect may seem out of place when compared to TW, the game strikes a wonderful balance between its rpg, strategy, and action elements, giving it a refreshing level of depth and immersion. 

4. Knights of Honor - Developed by Creative Assembly Sofia

Chivalry isn't dead: KoH set the pace for a march into KoH2.

Aesthetically similar to Age of Empires, Knights of Honor is a tactical/grand strategy game which spans across Medieval Europe and sports its own unique charm.
One of the most immediately noticeable things are the sheer number of factions you can choose from, each with its own unique units. KoH reminds me of a real-time Civilization with gameplay reminiscent of TW games. 
Rebels can take over a city and create a new nation, diplomacy mechanics are complex and dynamic, and spies have almost limitless potential, even infiltrating, rising in rank, and usurping rival kingdoms! 
Check out this great contender in the realm as KoH2: Sovereign is slated for a late 2020 release.

3. Europa Universalis IV - Paradox Development Studio

What? Games with no battle maps? How is this like Total War? Well voice in my head, allow me to explain...

Set between the 15th and early 19th centuries, EU IV is Paradox’s “long renaissance” grand strategy game. 
Based on historical events, you can control one of 500 factions (yes, 500) all competing over the 3,633 provinces (yes) and their empire’s place on the strategic map. 
If you’re not familiar with Paradox games, battles take place through a simple yet in-depth system considering many factors which impact battle outcome; a unit's flanking range, for example, indicates how far they can go to flank an enemy, while a unit’s discipline raises the army’s overall effectiveness.
As with the other games from the developer - diplomacy, commerce, and character development all have significant roles in gameplay, and despite having no tactical battle system, EU IV is a great TW contender.

2. Crusader Kings 3 - Paradox Development Studio 

Remember the crusades? No? How bout kings? No? Huh... anyway here's Crusader Kings.

The newest edition to the CK series: Crusader Kings 3, had much to aspire to in the footsteps of its much-acclaimed predecessors. 
If you’re not familiar with the series, Crusader Kings is a grand grand strategy simulator set in the middle ages with a strong focus on empire management, which of course means diplomacy...which of course means war.
Like other Paradox games, CK3 has no in-game battle mechanics; think of the “auto-battle” in TW, but with a more in-depth system that considers all the factors you would have to face in a real time battle. 
Maintaining RPG elements from the previous games, things like personality traits influence the characters and situations they find themselves in, and genetic traits in the royal families can be passed down to later potential leaders who will influence your empire.
If you’re new to the series, CK 2 is free-to-enjoy on Steam, and Crusader Kings 3 has, in only a few short weeks of release, shown itself to be every bit a worthy successor to the throne.

1. Ultimate General: Civil War - Game-Labs

How to make a great Civil War game: 1 part Union, 1 part Confederacy, and 1 part Total War mod creator. *Warning: never mix with political propaganda.*

What happens when one of the most respected modders for the Total War series creates his own game? 
Just ask Nick Thomadis, creator of the “Darthmod” TW AI mods. Using his extensive experience in the modding community, Nick designed the Ultimate General series, and while the game does not have a complex grand strategy system such as resource gathering or empire building, it's more than enough to get your tactical battle fix. 
Playing as either Union or Confederate armies, replay historical battles or manifest your own destiny in the campaign.
Only effective troop formation, adequate supplies and rations, and superior tactical skill can destroy or route the enemy on the battlefield; can you achieve victory as the Ultimate General?

If you liked this article, you might also like these:

Best Total War Games To Play In 2016

A Total War Saga: TROY reaches 7.5 million players after 24 hours

Total War Warhammer Review: Is It Worth Playing?

Do you agree with this author's choices?

Register here and let us know!

 

More on this topic:
Whether it's the Fire Keeper, The Greybeards, or even a lil winged ball of light named Navi, every hero needs a guide. You dear gamer, you are the hero, and I am here to guide you.
Gamer Since: 1994
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Dragon Quest XI
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Civilization IV, Dark Souls 3
This article makes me feel:

More Top Stories