The Top 13 Games Like Age of Empires

From left to right: a viking warrior, a valiant knight, and a fearless samurai

Age of Empires

Age of Empires is a fantastic strategy game. The series has been very well received as seen from the various additions added to it over the years. It is a fantastic experience as the player is able to take the role of various famous leaders and conquerors throughout history, leading armies in some of the most famous battles in history. If that doesn't appeal to you, you can always try your hand at leading your armies through the ages against other players online even. The object of the game is to construct buildings and build up your army with resources you can gather to conquer the rest of the map.

So, the question to ask is...what else is there to play to give you that same feeling? Here will be a list of some great games that are similar to Age of Empires in genre.

13) Cossacks 3 (2016) [Upcoming]

Cossacks 3 trailer

Cossacks 3 is a remake of the original Cossacks, allowing the player to take part in battles throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Players can control any of the original 12 factions include England, France, Russia, and Prussia, though there are certainly more available. Five campaign missions are included, allowing the players to take the role of specific nations during particularly turbulent periods for their people.

This series is a great addition to the genre. With 12 nations to play as, there is a large amount of variability to the way any one match could go. Not only that, the scale is huge, being stated to have more than 10,000 units on the field of battle at once. This will allow for some very intense battles as these huge armies clash. Unfortunately, it falls low on the list due to it not being out quite yet.

Preparing to attack

Armies defending the castle

12) Sid Meyer's Civilization 6 (2016) [Upcoming]

Sid Meyer's Civilization 6 trailer

Probably one of the most iconic games in the genre, Civilization 6 is the epitome of the historical strategy game. While it may not be among the RTS genre, the value it has as a turn based strategy game does not change. Taking the role of a nation with one of their great leaders as the figurehead, the player's only goal is to build their civilization and conquer the world. However, where many of these can be done by militarizing your entire nation, this offers many different ways to go about it. Perhaps you have had enough of war and want to become an economic power. You could even convince the other nations to simply submit without lifting a finger against them, earning yourself provincial states to pay tribute to you. It is by far the most in-depth turned based strategy games one could find and a true test of one's skill in the genre.

Once again, the only reason it has to be placed so low on the list is due to the release date. Having not been released at the time of this article's posting, it cannot, in good faith, be offered the rating it surely will deserve.

The kingdom prospers

The face of true evil

11) Knights and Merchants (2013)

Knights and Merchants trailer

Knights and Merchants had another chance to offer a simulation of the middle ages. Unlike the other games on this list, though, the player does not take the role of a major general or ruler to command the armies of the kingdom. Instead, the player is placed as the captain of the Palace Guards, tasked with defending one of the royal provinces. This province is the last of the royal province, the kingdom shattered into multiple provinces and fiefdoms. The goal is to conquer all of the provinces back for your king.

This game is interesting due to the change in pace it offers. The player is not this grand ruler, conquering the armies that oppose him or her, but instead, the player is a common soldier, tasked with a difficult mission against great odds. It is truly a great pick for a simulation of these turbulent times.

Raiding a settlement

A large-scale battle

10) Rise of Nations: Extended Edition (2014)

Rise of Nations trailer

Rise of Nations is a game that expands on the scope of most RTS games. Where many on this list will be confined to one time period and restrict how far a group of people can advance, this game allows the player to start from the very beginnings of history to modern day. The player has the ability to start in ancient times with swords and spears, advancing all the way to the era of tanks and battleships. The timeline allowed is by far one of the largest on this list. The campaign is, however, lacking. The campaign mode is simply known as Conquer the World, or CTW. The goal is to conquer the world amid a very Risk-like battle system of moving troops between nations and trying to open talks through diplomacy with those you do not wish to fight.

While it may not be as historically accurate or reliable as the other entries, this is a good chance to really test the strategic mettle in trying to make your people last from ancient times to the modern era.

Defense of the city

Modern metropolis

9) Total War: Rome II – Emperor Edition (2013)

Total War: Rome II trailer

Being part of the Total War franchise, it is almost a given that this needed to be on the list. It is part of one of the most well known series when it comes to historical RTS games. The player takes the role of the ruler of war, working to unify the empire under his banner and crush any who would oppose them.

This one is unique in the method that one can use to conquer their foes. The diplomacy takes much more strategy than Age of Empires, offering many more options in how to work with the other factions around you. Besides simply allying with another faction, this game offers more options in how to define the alliance. It allows for defensive alliances or non-aggression pacts or the player can simply strong arm the other factions into joining their empire. It allows for many more options in defeating your enemies during the mission.

The nomadic herd charges

Hannibal's forces gathering

8) Total War: ATTILA (2015)

Total War: ATTILA trailer

One of the latest additions to the Total War franchise, it adds new mechanics to the ordinary warfare waged across previous games. One of the campaigns of Age of Empires actually follows Attila, but this one gives a more in-depth view of how warfare was for these nomadic people. True to history, as you command the troops to raid through most of the Asian and European countries, you take your base of operations with you. This gives a true feeling of the nomadic life these people led.

This game allows for a more in-depth experience into the battles that could be fought in Age of Empires. With the added experience, it's possible to really get a feel for how these people fought and managed to conquer such a large portion of land.

Campaign map 

The horde attacks

7) Thea: The Awakening (2015)

Thea: The Awakening trailer

Unlike other entries on the list, Thea: The Awakening has almost no historical accuracy. That does not mean it should be overlooked, however. Inspired by Slavic mythology, the player is put into the role of a survivor of the apocalypse. Darkness has engulfed the world and the only objective you have is to survive. That strikes another difference from the other games on this list. While it may be an RTS, the goal is not to conquer the enemy. It is a survival RTS, urging the player to simply survive the insurmountable odds they are up against.

It is a truly interesting adaptation of the genre, allowing the players to test their skills against odds that they should not win. There are no heroes to save you from the darkness, you simply have to try to fumble your way through to the next day.

Avoiding the dark

Venturing into the wildnerness

6) Banished (2014)

Banished trailer

Another interesting adaptation to the genre, Banished gives the player control of a group of settlers, banished from their kingdom and trying to make a life for themselves. The player is not attempting to war against other nations, like in most of the games on this list, but are instead just trying to build their civilization and survive.

Probably the most interesting aspect to this game is that the settlers themselves are treated as a resource. Unlike most RTS games where workers and soldiers live forever, the people in this game age and die as any person would. Similarly, they have children to repopulate your land. It is an interesting concept that is not often explored in this style of game.

Winter descends on the settlement

Growth of the settlement

5) Medieval II: Total War (2006)

Medieval II trailer

Another Total War title, but still much different than the previous one mentioned. This one has a much larger scale to it. Where you may be fighting across a specific nation, Medieval II spans across the entirety of Europe and parts of the Middle East and Africa. This is a representation of warfare during the medieval times rather than only having a few separated campaign modes. The scale more closely resembles Age of Empires, but with the same formatting as any typical Total War game.

Armies align for battle

Clash of nations

4) Crusader Kings II (2012)

Crusader Kings II trailers

This is truly a great choice in terms of depth and control over what is going on in the kingdom. From assassinating your enemies to marrying off your children to forge alliances, there are many paths to choose from as you attempt to maintain your kingdom and conquer your enemies. The game even takes into account the idea of a lineage, being able to inherit the lands of your father or siblings, should anything unfortunate occur to them.

Crusader Kings II is a fantastic choice if you want to experience a real simulator for the time period. Intrigue plays as great a role as combat, working from the shadows to secure your position, even as your armies march to your whim.

Planning the next move on the map

Commanding the forces

3) Stronghold HD (2001)

Stronghold HD trailer

Stronghold HD is an interesting addition to the genre. The setting of the campaign is set in time when the king has marched his troops deep into enemy land. Several upstart lords move to take the throne during his absence. It is the player's duty to find those who are still loyal to the crown and defend the king's throne from the upstarts. While armies and battle do play a major role in this game, the focus shifts more to your castle, or stronghold. The player builds up his own castle and is tasked with managing that castle. The objective is, of course, to destroy the enemy castle, but the upkeep is more in-depth than managing the resources in Age of Empires.

While it is the same objective, the format of how you gather your resources and the way your settlement is formed differs greatly. With several game modes, this is another must play for any who are interested in the historical RTS genre.

Defending against a siege

Assembling the stronghold

2) Age of Empires II HD (2013)

Age of Empires II trailer

The second installment in the series, Age of Empires II HD expands on the success of the previous game. It offers new campaigns with new nations to control. The players goal is the same as always, conquering the nations before them while defending their own kingdom. If you liked Age of Empires, this is definitely a great game to play. It has similar gameplay, but has improved in its scope, allowing for larger battles. Along with that, some of the expansions including in the HD collection have added more impressive campaigns while allowing for more challenging battles

Preparing for defense

Naval warfare

1) Age of Mythology: Extended Edition (2014)

Another addition to the Age of Empires series, this one takes the route of myths and legends rather than history. Playing as the ruler of Atlantis, the player is sent into various missions through various mythologies. The game extends through Greek, Egyptian, and Norse mythology, allowing the player to choose which gods to follow and even call upon legendary heroes from this age. It is a fantastic adaptation of the genre, replacing the likes of Joan of Arc and Julius Caeser with Hercules and Ajax.

Wrath of the Gods

Titan assault

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