[Top 15] Games Like Total War (Games Better Than Total War In Their Own Way)

Warhammer 3 capture, a clash between chaos warriors and ogres.
Total War offers real-time battles at a huge scale, could other games match its grandness?

If you're a fan of the Total War franchise and crave more immersive strategy games and engaging battles, you're in for a treat! In this article, we'll explore fifteen outstanding games that capture the essence of Total War's grand battles, intricate politics, economy management, and immersive gameplay. Each of these titles offers a unique experience, allowing you to embark on epic conquests and shape the destiny of empires. Get ready to dive into the world of these captivating strategy games! 


1. Mount & Blade: Bannerlord – 2022 (Windows, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)

"Imagine a king who fights his battles, wouldn’t that be a sight?" spoken by Achilles, these words will come to mind when you play Bannerlord. You get to become someone—a mercenary in a lord’s army, a legendary gladiator, or even the king of your fledgling little kingdom. Whatever it is, play to your heart’s content, plus you’ll get to fight your own battles right in the thick of it. 

Similar to Total War, you’ll get to command an army and explore a strategic map in real-time rather than turn-based. Same principles: do some quests, earn money, level up your character, expand your army, and get renown. But what makes this game great is the sandbox aspect of it; you’ll definitely sink a lot of hours into this game.

Any fan of Total War games will definitely enjoy this game as you immerse yourself in your character, deploy strategies to win, and fight battles that will shape the ever-changing world of Calradia.

Fun Factor Score: 94/100

"Khuzait horse archers counter a Vlandian shock cavalry charge, bearing the brunt of it." 

2. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign – 2022 (Windows)

Imagine a love child between Total War and Crusader Kings; that’s what Knights of Honor II is. A grand strategy from THQ Nordic, it brings you to medieval times and lets you play a kingdom from that time period. Navigate the medieval world as you build your economy, forge alliances, and conquer other kingdoms. Grand in terms of scale but complex in gameplay, it offers tons of ways you can manage your kingdom and tip-toe your way to victory, as winning in this game is not just about conquering or annihilating, but also about building a bountiful economy and forging solid allianceswith other factions.

Unlike Crusader Kings, the Total War aspect of this game lies within its real-time manual battles that you can play by yourself, when you are not confident in the auto-resolve function. Playing manual battles is a way to get yourself unstuck in situations where you are outnumbered 2-to-1. Overall, a solid game.

Fun Factor Score: 86/100

"Manage your kingdom with an aesthetically pleasing view and refreshing scenery." 


3. Europa Universalis IV – 2013 (Windows, macOs, Linux)

"Empires will rise and empires will fall", one of Paradox’s popular grand-strategy, Europa Universalis IV, takes you through four centuries of discovery, enlightenment, and conquest. Similar to Total War in empire building, diplomacy, and economy management. You get to play as any nation as long as it exists in the time period; when I say "any," I literally mean any nation, from the Shoshone tribes to the Mali kingdom and even the Ming dynasty in the far east. With unparalleled historical accuracy and gameplay freedom, you get to do whatever you envision your empire to be. Strengthen your dominion via diplomacy, espionage, religion, or warfare; the possibilities are endless.

Deep in terms of gameplay and grander in terms of scale than most Total War games, the game does not feature real-time field battles; however, the dynamic maps and visuals provide great immersion in play.

Fun Factor Score: 92/100

“A Minutemen battalion unit repelling General Cornwallis advance against the Colonists”


4. Ultimate General: Civil War – 2017 (Windows, macOS)

Experience the bloodiest war on US soil, take charge and command of a field army, test your mettle and strategic thinking as you make difficult decisions to win the war. Brilliant and engaging, this game will always keep you on edge, challenging, and innovative. Though linear in campaign and lacking the strategic depth of Total War campaigns, where this game truly shines is in its innovative real-time battles and army management. Engage an AI that is actually challenging — an AI that can recognize your traps and attack your weak points, furthermore, while also managing your resources and supply as you organize and deploy your army.

A less commonly known fact is that one of the lead developers of this game is the legendary "DarthVader," a well-known Total War modder known for his DarthMods which are well loved by the Total War community. If you want to try an American Civil War game, I recommend this one.

Fun Factor Score: 91/100

"Union troops engage Confederate rebels across the river in a small town." 


5. Age of Wonder IV – 2023 (Windows, PS5, Xbox Series X/S)

Jump into this fantasy turn-based 4X strategy where you play as any of the typical roster of fantasy races, like dwarves, orcs, humans, elves, and more. But what makes this game really cool and unique is the ability to customize your own race. Via the Empire Creation Tool, you can create magical orcs, forest dwarves, tunnel-dwelling humans, whatever that comes into your imagination, and it balances it well to not make your abominations too overpowered. Similar to Total War, the strategic layer is turn-based but features a randomly generated map. Engage in field battles via the turn-based mini-battles that will determine the fate of your empire and also be immersed in the story-telling event system that is featured in this installment of AoW.

Launched in 2023, this game is already well received, with mostly positive reviews on Steam. Well known for its iconic empire-building, role-playing, and warfare, this surely must not be missed.

Fun Factor Score: 90/100

"Goblin raiders besieging a magic-wielding orc settlement" 


6. Rising Lords – 2020 (Windows, macOS)

Another medieval-based entry in our list, Rising Lords is an economy management and kingdom building game where you play as a noble lord who must do what he must to protect his realm and preserve his family’s name. Nurture your peasants so you can use them to build your economy and todefend your realm against other noble lords who will grow jealous of your upward rise. 

This game covers strategic map-based gameplay and features turn-based battles that are somewhat similar to Total War but differ in execution. With customizable gameplay and engaging battles, this game will not disappoint.

Although still in early access, this game is promising and has continued to gain popularity and a solid following throughout the previous years.

Fun Factor Score: 84/100

"Armies engage in tactical battles with fun card game mechanics that are reminiscent of the old cardboard strategy games." 


7.Steel Division II – 2019 (Windows)

When World War II meets Total War, you get Steel Division II. Play as either the Wehrmacht or Red Army and take command of multiple battle groups as you partake in one of the bloodiest theaters of WWII, the Eastern Front. Manage your army in a strategic layer and pick your battles as you engage the opposing army in a real-time tactical battle as you control parts of the map and deny your opponent advantageous positions that will be a thorn in your campaign. The gameplay revolves around the player’s campaign map maneuvers, and the battle outcomes are determined by real-time battle engagements that are somewhat similar to Total War.

Developed by Eugen Systems, the same developers behind Wargame, Act of Aggression, and R.U.S.E., this entry ups the ante from its previous popular release, Steel Division: Normandy 44.

Fun Factor Score: 86/100

“Soviet tanks engage German defensive positions in Belarus”


8. Endless Legend – 2014 (Windows, macOS X)

A purely turn-based 4X strategy that is set in a randomly generated fantasy world where you play as one of eight mythical races. Expand your realm, forge alliances, and wage wars to consolidate your dominion. 

Even though it is a 4X game, it has similar strategic themes that play like Total War, from diplomacy to resource management. Each of the playable races has different gameplay mechanics, and that’s what makes this game unique on its own. Fans of both Total War and fantasy would definitely like this game.

Plus, Amplitude Studios did put a lot of effort into making this game aesthetically beautiful; from the design of each race, character, and terrain, it really is an "eye-candy", with a minimalistic UI, making it a highly recommended strategy game for beginners who want to delve into the genre.

Fun Factor Score: 85/100

"Engage in fast-paced turn-based battles against other unique factions." 


9. Fire & Manuever - 2023 (Windows)

Popular YouTuber The Armchair Historian brings us a turn-based strategy set in the Victorian Era. In a world of rapid modernization, one thing remains constant, and that is war. You get to play different and interesting Victorian empires, take part in campaigns at different conflicts around the world, and engage in turn-based tactical battles. Similar to Total War in execution, with a turn-based campaign map and empire management, you engage in battles reminiscent of Total War battles but with a twist. Battles happen in phases; you must anticipate your opponent's movements, issue commands to your troops, and see the execution unfold in simultaneous time.

Created by avid history buffs with splendid artwork and game design from the Armchair History Team, the game is surely made with passion. If you are a fan of Total War and Victorian Era battles, could you, please? With a cherry on top, try this game out.

Fun Factor Score: 83/100

“Two infantry units engage one another in a table-top battle.”


10. Old World – 2022 (Windows, macOs, Linux)

Be immersed in the ancient era as you build your mighty empire through shrewd diplomacy, aggressive expansion, and bountiful trade. Character-driven as you build a dynasty that will have different stories and will influence your gameplay; also, a unique tech tree that is randomized, feeling fresh with each playthrough. I know what you will say, "But this game feels more like Civilization than Total War." That is where you are wrong; in fact, playing this game is like being a post-graduate of Civilization; it lies between Civilization and Total War, where the game took inspiration from what the best both could offer.

An underrated entry, but surely a well-made game. Challenging and superb in different ways, you’ll be surprised that the AI can actually wage war. To describe it briefly, it has tons of depth and tons of replayability.

Fun Factor Score: 82/100

“Build a bustling metropolis while you carve out the land and leave your mark in history.”  


11. Age of Wonder: Planetfall – 2019 (Windows, PS4, Xbox One, macOS)

Another Age of Wonder entry, and you’ll be wondering, "Isn’t it just the same game as the other one?" Oh boy, you are wrong—this one is Age of Wonder, in space! kidding aside, I know it is a sci-fi variation of the AoW series, but this game offers a new perspective as you build your empire on a randomly generated planet in the outer rims of the galaxy, fight for every inch of land and resources, and meet odd aliens that could be a potential ally or a terrifying foe. Unlock new technologies that will improve your army’s combat effectiveness, from laser weapons to biochemical warfare, psionics, and entropy.

A staple in the AoW series are the narrative quest lines that definitely add flavor to your playthrough, making each new campaign special and rich in story. If you like the fantasy AoW, I highly recommend you try this one too.

Fun Factor Score: 87/100

“Human soldiers engage in combat against cybernetic humanoids in an ancient interstellar ruins.”


12. Crusader Kings III – 2020 (Windows, Linux, macOS, PS5, Xbox Series X/S)

Another entry from Paradox, it’s a sandbox medieval empire management game. Unlike EU IV, this game places a huge emphasis on dynasties and family trees. This is a character driven grand-strategy game. The gameplay freedom this entry offers makes it highly popular; you can literally do things that are common in the medieval era, like incest (I know, disgusting right?) just to preserve the bloodline, arrange marriages to solidify your dominion, and conductassassinations to protect your throne; it’s like every medieval role player's wet dream. No wonder this game spawned a lot of memes in the strategy gaming community.

If you love kingdom management with unrestricted freedom, give this game a try. It lacks the real-time battles of Total War, but the family management is much deeper in this game than the Total War family tree.

Fun Factor Score: 89/100

"Armies square off against each other on a highly detailed world map." 


13. Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients – 2015 (Windows)

Taking you centuries back to the founding of Rome, manage your empire’s humble beginning and carve your way to being the true master of the Mediterranean. Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients is a unique game; I have seen none quite like it. Similar to Total War, as you engage in real-time field battles. 

Manage your resources and people carefully, defend your land, and raid your enemy’s farms and supply lines to weaken them before launching an all-out assault, all happening in real-time. The game offers a rich and immersive experience as you navigate the complexities of ancient warfare, diplomacy, and resource management.

Characterized by its emphasis on supply lines, realistic terrain, and strategic maneuvering. Battles are tactical and require careful planning, making each encounter feel like a puzzle to solve. The historical accuracy and challenging nature of the game make it a compelling choice for strategy enthusiasts.

Fun Factor Score: 78/100

“Italian Hoplites heroically hold their position against Gallic tribesmen.”


14. Dawn of War: Dark Crusade/Soulstorm – 2006/2008 (Windows)

"In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war." Set in the Warhammer 40k universe, the game features a deep campaign mode, allowing you to lead your chosen faction to victory through strategic decision-making and epic battles. featuring numerous unique units, devastating weaponry, and diverse factions, creating an ever-dynamic battlefield. Similarities of this game to Total War lies in its turn-based strategic campaign, where you plan out your conquest on a strategic map and engage in real-time battles that are explosive and fast-paced. Dark Crusade and Soulstorm are two different expansions that offer the same gameplay feeling; the only differences are the additional factions, features, and narrative they contain.

Although pretty much old by this time, you will be surprised that DoW games still have a solid following, and the majority of them hail this game as a classic and nostalgic, referring to it as "Old but gold".

Fun Factor Score: 90/100

"Imperial Guardsmen fearlessly fight off a Necron abomination in the Tomb World Kronus." 


15. Battle Brothers – 2017 (Windows, Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S)


This is an odd entry, but it deserves to be here. Most of the previous entries were about building and managing an empire; this one takes a different approach as you take charge of a ragtag mercenary company. 

Battle Brothers excels in its tactical turn-based combat and deep character progression. Unlike in Total War games, you would not feel much when a unit is destroyed as of course, you can still replace them, but in Battle Brothers, you build a roster of promising mercenaries; you’ll rely on them, grow confident of their abilities, and some will be legends. You’ll feel attached to your men, but that’s when reality hits you, because the truth is, some of them will not be able to see the end of the journey that banded them together.

Overall, this is a really fun game. Explore the randomly generated and dynamic world; you’ll get to do quests, fight different kinds of monsters, raid treasure troves, and get renown as your mercenary company gets better. A must-play for those who want to play Total War on a smaller scale

Fun Factor Score: 92/100

"A mercenary company courageously fights off a dangerous Orc warband."



Jack of all trades, master of one, constantly evolving and seeking knowledge. On a quest to discover the Elixir of Life, the quencher of unquenchable thirst, but for now, a writer that writes.
Gamer Since: 2007
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Deep Rock Galactic
Top 3 Favorite Games:Sid Meier's Civilization V: Brave New World, XCOM 2, Total War: Rome II

More Top Stories