Top 12 Games Like Civilization 5 (Games Better Than Civ 5 In Their Own Way)

Games Like Civilization 5
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12. Imperator: Rome

Imperator: Rome Gameplay

Hannibal, the great general of Carthage famously said: “I will either find a way or make one.”  In Imperator: Rome, you’ll be given the opportunity to do just that, while strategizing your way through Classical antiquity.  This grand strategy game from Paradox will feature diverse populations, each with unique religions and cultures, battle tactics specific to each military, infrastructure and trade, and all-around empire building fun.  Maps are beautifully detailed, and the UI provides exceptional depth.  Your chance to conquer the Mediterranean, by either finding your way or making one, is set to arrive sometime in 2019.

Mediterranean Oyster: The world of Classical antiquity is your oyster in Imperator: Rome.

Mediterranean Oyster: The world of Classical antiquity is your oyster in Imperator: Rome.

LOD: A zoomed-in perspective reveals highly detailed maps and character models.
LOD: A zoomed-in perspective reveals highly detailed maps and character models.

11. Europa Universalis 4

 

EU4 Gameplay

Released in 2013, this grand strategy game by Paradox focuses on the Renaissance period.  The goal here is to survive.  To do so, you’ll have to master its deep strategic systems, and you’ll need to expect the unexpected, as random events can change the scope of your projected goals.  Europa Universalis 4 takes advantage of the period by placing several historical figures in the game, and it allows for the ultimate what-if scenarios to be played out.  Much in-line with the ideals of the time, you’ll be rewarded for your ability to think freely, and simply surviving until the end of your play-through is a satisfying experience indeed.

All the World’s a Stage: Your theatre encompasses the entire globe in EU4.

All the World’s a Stage: Your theatre encompasses the entire globe in EU4.

Dynamic Topography: EU4 features terrain that changes with the seasons.

Dynamic Topography: EU4 features terrain that changes with the seasons.

10. Crusader Kings II

Crusader Kings II Gameplay

If you’ve ever desired to play grand strategy in Medieval times, then Crusader Kings 2 is the perfect game for you.  You start the game in 1066 as a Christian noble, expand your lands, engage in diplomacy, war when necessary, and ultimately work toward becoming the ruler of all Europe.  Crusader Kings 2 makes use of a multitude of strategy systems, and at times they can become overwhelming.  However, when you master those systems and achieve the high score in 1453, you will know you are King; King of the Medieval world.

King of Kings: Several historical figures vie for these lands in CK2.

King of Kings: Several historical figures vie for these lands in CK2.

An Intolerable Yoke: England begins the game at the start of the Norman conquest.  Will you change the course of history?

An Intolerable Yoke: England begins the game at the start of the Norman conquest.  Will you change the course of history?

9. Age of Wonders III

Age of Wonders III Gameplay

Like Civ 5, Age of Wonders 3 is a 4X turn-based game using a hex style grid system for its map.  The key difference being that, AoW3 is set in a fantasy world with the races of draconians, dwarves, elves, goblins, humans, and orcs as its inhabitants.  You choose a leader from those races and then select a game-mode to suit your play-style.  There are also RPG aspects which allow you to customize your leader.  Age of Wonders 3 will feel very familiar to a Civ 5 player, and it’s an excellent game if you desire a Civilization approach with a fantasy twist.

RPG Style: AoW3 allows for the customization of your leader.

RPG Style: AoW3 allows for the customization of your leader.

To War: Tactical strategy is excellent, and it is very welcoming to experienced Civ 5 players.

To War: Tactical strategy is excellent, and it is very welcoming to experienced Civ 5 players.

8. Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia

Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia Gameplay

This TBS/RTS game is set in 878 Britannia; a pivotal time in history when control of the British Isles was up for grabs.  You will have the option to choose between 1 of 10 factions, and change the course of history through either defending your lands, or conquering what’s left of the fledgling isles.  Maps are exquisitely detailed, and new features such as soldier recruitment and estate management are crucial to your success.  Thrones of Britannia scratches an itch for strategy fans interested in this period, and the possibility to change the past provides an enticing experience for buffs of history.

Pick Your Poison: You can play as 5 cultures in Thrones of Britannia; The Viking Sea Captains, The Welsh, The English, The Great Viking Army, and The Gaels.

Pick Your Poison: You can play as 5 cultures in Thrones of Britannia; The Viking Sea Captains, The Welsh, The English, The Great Viking Army, and The Gaels.

Massive Scale: Command huge armies in real-time, manage resources, and research tech to gain the advantage.

Massive Scale: Command huge armies in real-time, manage resources, and research tech to gain the advantage.

7. Aggressors: Ancient Rome

Aggressors: Ancient Rome Gameplay

Aggressors: Ancient Rome is a turn-based 4X game similar to Civ 4.  Set in the era of Classical antiquity, you’ll have the option to chose between cultures such as the Romans, Greeks, and Carthaginians.  Your map covers the Mediterranean region, and a simplified graphics engine allows for fluid and quick decision making. The game contains deep strategic systems, and a lot of attention is given to historical accuracy.  If you’ve ever wanted to mix-it-up with Civs during the time of the Punic Wars, then Aggressors: Ancient Rome is an excellent choice for you. 

I Went to the Woods: The graphics are simple, yet the map is rich with detail.

I Went to the Woods: The graphics are simple, yet the map is rich with detail.

Familiar Mechanics: The hex-based grid is welcoming to Civ 5 players, and the game has a look and feel akin to Civ 4.

Familiar Mechanics: The hex-based grid is welcoming to Civ 5 players, and the game has a look and feel akin to Civ 4.

6. Dominions 5 - Warriors of the Faith

Dominions 5 - Warriors of the Faith

The much beloved Dominions franchise returned in 2017 with Dominions 5.  In what is arguably the deepest strategy game to ever grace the 4X turn-based genre, you’ll be playing as one of 86 factions, and your goal is nothing short of supreme divinity.  The amount of magic you can use is determined by the era you start in; high for early periods, and low for later periods. Victory is achieved by meeting 3 conditions:  capturing your opponent’s lands, eliminating them from the game, or claiming the Thrones of Ascension.  The game is so deep that after 500 hours you will have only scratched the surface, and it’s an excellent choice if you’re seeking the be-all-end-all experience in strategic gaming.

Strategic Overview: The simplified map is a godsend when strategy is this complex.

Strategic Overview: The simplified map is a godsend when strategy is this complex.

Sodom and Gomorrah: The mages here unleash a maelstrom of flame upon the battlefield.

Sodom and Gomorrah: The mages here unleash a maelstrom of flame upon the battlefield.

5. Hearts of Iron IV

Hearts of Iron 4 Gameplay

This RTS game from Paradox focuses on the WW2 era, and its strategy is grand.  With an extremely deep system, you’ll be managing everything from troop formations to trade routes, and your objective is to reach the end of the war with the highest score.  The tremendous freedom of the game allows for alternate histories, or you can play scenarios that closely mirror the events of the time.  Historical figures abound, and all weapons, vehicles, etc. are accurate to the period.  Not for the weak or faint of heart, but rather Hearts of Iron, this game requires a heavy investment of time, and your return is worth its weight in gold.

World War: Wage war across the surface of the Earth in HoI4.

World War: Wage war across the surface of the Earth in HoI4.

Operation Overlord: Laying plans for the largest amphibious assault in history.

Operation Overlord: Laying plans for the largest amphibious assault in history.

4. NOBUNAGA’S AMBITION: Sphere of Influence

Sphere of Influence Gameplay

This grand strategy game from Koei Tecmo is set in feudal Japan during the 1500’s.  It incorporates RPG aspects such as clan creation and officer creation, as well as several story lines related to the period.  You can also choose to play as an individual officer, yet the key objective is domination of the region through the power of your clan.  Similar to Total War, battles can be played in real-time, and they’ll encompass everything from siege battles to naval warfare.  With a slick UI and an excellent tutorial, Sphere of Influence is easy to recommend to anyone interested in the history of feudal Japan. 

Impressive: Sphere of Influence showcases an impressive lighting model.

Impressive: Sphere of Influence showcases an impressive lighting model.

Large Scale: The real-time battles take on a grand scale in this grand strategy game.

Large Scale: The real-time battles take on a grand scale in this grand strategy game.

3. Egypt: Old Kingdom

Egypt: Old Kingdom Gameplay

Egypt: Old Kingdom is a turn-based strategy game that begins in Memphis during the time of the old Kingdoms.  You start before the Archaic Period, then progress your way through the six dynasties and on up to the year 2140 B.C.  Your primary goal is to unite the people of Egypt, through your superior management of resources, and by constructing the Pyramids of Giza.  Civilization players will find many aspects of the game welcoming, yet there is a unique art style that works well with ancient Egyptian culture.  Egypt: Old Kingdom is an educational strategy game with a history lesson to learn in every turn.

Fog of War: A fog mechanic keeps undiscovered areas hidden, yet cloudbusting methods differ from Civilization games.

Fog of War: A fog mechanic keeps undiscovered areas hidden, yet cloudbusting methods differ from Civilization games.

Tears of Isis: The floodplains of the Nile yield a healthy bounty.

Tears of Isis: The floodplains of the Nile yield a healthy bounty.

2. Age of Civilizations II

Age of Civilizations II Gameplay

This turn-based franchise takes a scaled-down and simplified approach to the grand strategy genre.  With a philosophy similar to the Civ games, you start from the beginning of history and build a civilization to stand the test of time.  The basic political maps are less taxing on your hardware, and the clear and concise UI makes keeping track of your progress a breeze.  It also offers the ability to create your own civ, and it incorporates a neat feature that has modern day political leaders in charge of their nations.  Age of Civilizations II has plenty of depth, and the simplified approach keeps its price low, which makes this an excellent offering for players who are new to the genre.

Mobile Strategy: Age of Civilizations II has a clear and easy to read political map, which translates well to mobile devices.

Mobile Strategy: Age of Civilizations II has a clear and easy to read political map, which translates well to mobile devices.

Streamlined UI: The simplified UI provides all the necessary demographics for tracking your progress.

Streamlined UI: The simplified UI provides all the necessary demographics for tracking your progress.

1. Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Age of Wonders: Planetfall Gameplay

In contrast to other games published by Paradox, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, is a 4X turn-based game that takes place in a sci-fi universe.  New worlds, replete with science fiction lore will be at your fingertips.  In addition, you can develop colonies on alien planets and even construct your own house.  Through establishment of multiple colonies, you can build an empire, and victory will be achieved through conquest, diplomacy, or the discovery of new technologies.  The chance to strategize your way through this wonderous world, is coming sometime 2019.

Sci-Fi Strategy: Familiar map mechanics, in a not so familiar space

Sci-Fi Strategy: Familiar map mechanics, in a not so familiar space

Strangers in a Strange Land: It appears that the political negotiations have failed.

Strangers in a Strange Land: It appears that the political negotiations have failed.

Casey has been an avid gamer, and staunch defender of free-thinking NPC’s, ever since the year of Orwell’s dystopian fantasy.
Gamer Since: 1984
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Ace Combat 7, Red Dead Redemption 2, Dark Souls Remastered
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, Sid Meier's Civilization V, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine
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