Best Building Games to Play in 2017

Part of a long line of beloved building games, Civilization VI was released just this October, 2016.

The Best Games for Players Who Love to Construct

A wave of “building” games has hit the market in recent years. These days, even games that are not building games might have a building feature. Fallout 4 comes to mind, with its main plot and cast of definitive characters—plus an optional “settlement” element in which you can choose to manage, construct, and provide for a struggling band of wastelanders.

Whether you are looking for a more building-centric game or a game with building elements, 2017 offers a lot to choose from as far as construction.


The developers' website says to think of it like Mad Max with samurai.

This single player sandbox game released in Alpha by Lofi Games is a completely open, “Sword Punk” style survival experience in a post-apocalyptic setting.

Kenshi’s has some construction elements that will most likely be expanded in later updates. For those of you who don’t choose to drift the sands like an, ahem, lone wanderer, there’s the option of trying to build a settlement. Defend it from bloodthirsty raiders, mercenaries, and other unsavory types who might stumble upon your sanctuary in the sands.

If you like a challenge, Kenshi’s worth picking up. There are tutorials on YouTube to help beginners on the learning curve of Kenshi’s unique gameplay.        

7 Days to Die

7 Days to Die dishes out a pretty intense serving of zombies alongside its building elements.

For a different flavor of building game, you might try out 7 Days to Die, a post-nuclear survival horror for players who want to face off against irradiated zombies.

Your main focus in this game by The Fun Pimps is to stay alive as long as possible. In particular, players are challenged to survive through the nights, with the days as reprieves in which players can prepare for the next wave of horrors.

There you are chopping firewood for long winter, when one of these pops out. 

The building features in 7 Days to Die are geared toward survival. Since the zombies in this game do more than just shamble, even climbing and digging to get to their prey (that’s you), the player must build a fort with traps and strong walls.

You can also craft weapons, but beware! 7 Days to Die features object degradation, so reinforce those doors… or the creepies might come crawling.


Just you and a shelter against the wide, wild world.

Facepunch Studios’ survival game has a unique feature: it’s multiplayer only. You can choose to wander alone, but the old saying about safety in numbers applies in Rust’s harsh wilderness. There’s strong incentive for players to band together with their fellows to protect from bears, wolves, and—even more dangerous—other players.

Rust has been compared to Minecraft crossed with DayZ—makes sense, since Rust was originally created as a clone of DayZ with some added crafting elements. Originally, the game had zombies, but they were replaced with more conventional forest beasts during development.


Shield your family from the elements of this harsh nuclear world—including other people.

Much like other games on this list, Sheltered by Might and Delight studios is a survival game with strategy. Sheltered differs a bit, though, and not just in its appearance of pastels and pixels.

Instead of protecting yourself or other players, Sheltered supplies the player with a family in a nuclear bunker. The player must protect their family by considering all the various dangers of a nuclear holocaust.

The 2D and the gentler colors make for a different tone than some of the other choices on the list.

For one, the shelter will break down over time, so you must rebuild and supply materials to maintain it using a crafting system and work bench.  And second, you and your family are not alone in this world. The remnants of the nuclear apocalypse roam outside your shelter, and you have to be smart to keep them out.

You can play Sheltered passively or aggressively, in a range of different ways—whatever it takes to keep your family alive.


There’s something to be said for Hurtworld’s name representing its content. Multiple platforms describe it as a “hardcore multiplayer survival FPS” set in a grassland that looks a bit like the Australian outback.

Hurtworld is geared more toward the challenge of staying alive. Exploring deeper into the world’s maps yields better resources for crafting and conquering the big bad world—like vehicle parts and weapons upgrades—but it also yields stronger and more terrifying foes.

Players might choose to group and fight the challenges of this hurtful world together—or they might choose to turn on each other for profit and, just maybe, some fun.

Stardew Valley

Just how far will you go… to farm?

The best part of this “country life simulator” from indie developer concernedape is constructing your perfect farm. The game features an extensive array of crafting options for various purposes, whether to light up your landscape at night or turn eggs into mayonnaise. 

In common with the others, Stardew Valley has RPG elements—a flexible character creation menu, for instance, and an action-RPG combat system. The game features colorful, original art, and music composed by concernedape.

Enlist the local carpenter to upgrade your house, beautify the family farm, and make friends with a unique cast of characters in this dreamy village by the sea.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Hearthfire

Hearthfire is the second DLC installment for the open-world action RPG Skyrim, released by Bethesda originally in 2011.

If you liked Skyrim but felt it was missing something, you might be pleased by the Hearthfire expansion. As implied by the name “hearth” and “fire,” your adventurer can now have a place to hang his hat at the end of the day: a home, sweet home that can be built with an added construction and crafting system.

Now, you can build one of several types of houses and have children. You can also populate the home with furniture created at the carpenter’s bench.

Hearthfire received mixed reviews upon its release, but the modding community leapt into action and released mods such as “Hearthfire extended,” which allows players to build and place furniture everywhere instead of in only fixed locations.

Players might also hire guards to protect their assets or take on different types of servants to care for the grounds. Among other features, “Hearthfire extended” offers an expanded basement, honey-giving beehives, milkable cows, and the construction of structures such as windmills and wells.

However you choose to play, Hearthfire could be the added spice to a tired Skyrim routine.

Prison Architect

Since being developed by Introversion Software and published by Double Eleven on October 6, 2016, the hit building simulator Prison Architect has sold over two million copies.

Prison Architect features a top-down 2d view of a private prison, which you build from the ground up and manage.

Players must build cells and facilities for their prisoners, the population of which will grow daily. Other features include planning and enabling utilities, hiring staff like workers, guards, and wardens, and setting prisoner schedules to encourage an orderly atmosphere free of contraband and riots.

Are you interested in rehabilitating offenders or ruling your prison like a true dictator? You have the choice to decide in this decidedly darker-flavored building sim.

Cities: Skylines

Released by Paradox Interactive in 2015, Cities: Skylines is familiar as a city-building simulator but adds many interesting features other games of its genre fail to deliver.

In Cities: Skylines, players start with just an area with an exit to the highway, and they build from there. Players will manage their city’s budget, population, various forms of pollution, taxes, laws, public transit, building schools and fire stations and hospitals, water sanitation, infrastructure, and much, much more.

You can play a more goal-oriented game mode where features unlock as you advance, or you can choose the sandbox mode that unlocks all milestones and leaves you free to muck about as you please.

Craft The World

In Craft the World, gamers start with a single dwarf with the intention of accumulating an entire band of dwarves. Once you have your dwarves, you will build a fortress for them, allocating different dwarves to different forms of resource collection—mining, fighting, building, and more.

Craft the World has a much more user-friendly crafting system than others on the list (looking at you, Kenshi), with harvestable blocks to craft with and enemies to defend against at night—much like Minecraft, if that appeals to your building game sensibilities.

An example of a fortress from Craft the World.

Craft the World can be classified as an RTS, a building simulator, and a tower defense game with some magic thrown in for fun.

Once players have dominated their first world, they can open portals to new worlds with new terrain and new weather—will you get an icy mountain range or the unforgiving desert sands?

Sid Meier’s Civilization® VI

This latest installment in the long-running Civilization series contains many familiar elements, especially from its predecessor, Civilization V.

How will you choose to direct your empire? Religion? Culture? Warfare?

If you liked Civilization V but felt it had some flaws, there’s a good chance you’ll like Civilization VI. The developers targeted features in Civilization V many saw as flawed in order to make improvements. For instance, the map has changed in important ways, such as city features being spread out and organized into “districts”—rather than stacked as in Civilization V.

A number of other features have been improved, including more elaborate technology trees. And if that phrase does not make sense to you, I suggest you give Sid Meier’s Civilization VI a shot.

You May Also Be Interested In:

11 Awesome Building Games to Play in 2015

11 Best City-Building Games to Play in 2015

Cities: Skylines: 10 Awesome Facts About This Awesome City-Building Game

Mackenzie enjoys playing League of Legends in her spare time but makes sure she doesn't miss out on big RPGs like Sykrim and Dragon Age too.
Gamer Since: 1999
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: League of Legends
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Walking Dead, Fallout: New Vegas