Best Games Like Civilization

Do you enjoy playing strategy games like Civilization? We sure do, so we created this list of the best games like Civilization to keep you entertained.

When it comes to the best strategy games, few series have as rich of a history as Sid Meier’s Civilization, which dates back to the early 1990s.

Although the series has become the go-to pick for anyone looking to tap into the 4X strategy genre, there are some Civ alternatives worth checking out.

In this list, we’ll highlight the best games like Civilization to play in 2021, including games similar to Civilization on PC and console.

We’ll be updating this list in the future with new titles, so make sure to check back and let us know if we missed any of your favorite games like Sid Meier’s Civilization!

Related:Best Civilization 6 ModsCivilization 6 Tier ListBest Upcoming Strategy Games 2021 (And Beyond)

Table of ContentsShow

Set during the Chinese Three Kingdoms period, Total War: Three Kingdoms has you playing as one of eleven rivaling factions as they battle to become China’s new ruler.

Whereas Civilization prioritizes growing and developing nations of people who need food, shelter, and protection, Three Kingdoms is more concerned with all-out warfare.

It makes several improvements to Total War’s UI and enemy AI behavior, resulting in immersive RTS battles with less time spent in menus and more on the actual battlefield.

If you’re a Civilization fan, chances are you’ll feel right at home controlling units and resources on the battlefield while spreading influence throughout China.

Released into Steam Early Access, Kingdoms Reborn is a medieval city builder inspired by the likes of Banished, Anno, and Civilization.

It offers challenging resource management gameplay that’s complemented by robust skill and upgrade trees.

You’ll be managing your people’s daily lives, sending them to work, making sure they eat and get enough rest to be productive members of society.

The game uses procedural generation to create its open world and offers seven distinct biomes with unique flora and fauna.

Sigma Theory has you controlling a nation battling with others for futuristic technology while trying to maintain diplomacy.

Doing so requires you to send out secret agents to gather intel and sometimes forge alliances with the very nations you’re trying to surpass.

This gives the game a constant ‘push and pull’ feeling that makes for exciting and emergent gameplay.

Much like Civ, the game tries to boil down many of its systems and concepts into more digestible tips that the average player can understand.

While there are plenty of Warhammer entries that stand out, Gladius inches its way closer to Civ through its dynamic 4X structure.

What you end up with is the refined combat of the Warhammer games and streamlined resource gathering.

The only downside is that it’s impossible to play the game diplomatically, with many scenarios requiring you to retaliate or initiate violence.

This may make it less appealing to 4X veterans but is perfect for novices looking to dip their toes in the genre.

Amplitude is nearly unmatched when it comes to challenging 4X gameplay with depth and variety, especially in the case of Endless Legend.

In it, you play as one of several factions looking to overthrow the current regime in power by sneaking into the kingdom and building an army before the leaders find out.

Units are assigned unique stats and behaviors, depending on the faction, however, you should know that combat in Endless Legend isn’t directly carried out by the player.

Instead, you pick your strategy at the beginning of a battle and watch it play out, which may not mesh well with every player.

Paradox Interactive is one of the most well-known names in the strategy genre and has published just as many, if not more 4X titles as Civilization publisher Firaxis.

However, the company’s most significant success to date would have to be the space-themed grand strategy game Stellaris.

Compared to most games that fall under the 4X umbrella, grand strategy prioritizes both combat and diplomacy but may also allow for other playstyles.

And just like with the Civ series, there’s no shortage of expansions and add-ons to keep the fun going once you’re done with the base game. 

Europa Universalis IV has a lot in common with Civilization, focusing on planning out strategies ahead of time to prevent your opponent from gaining a foothold.

Since the game is about overcoming historical imbalances, you’ll have to work tirelessly to keep other nations in check while still providing for your own people.

The campaign can be quite lengthy, giving you plenty of time to come to grips with its systems and figure out how to outsmart the AI.

Its scale is a bit more zoomed in than Civ and often requires you to micromanage units rather than issue general commands.

While not as popular Civ, the Age of Wonders series has always been an excellent 4X alternative that shifts its focus from Earth’s historical events to a high fantasy setting.

There’s no shortage of tactics to explore, and you’re free to approach things as aggressively or passively as you wish.

Additionally, enemies possess distinct strengths and weaknesses that must be dealt with accordingly.

With that said, Planetfall separates itself from the Sid Meier series by incorporating combat systems modeled after XCOM’s ground battles.

Based on a physical tabletop game, Scythe is a turn-based strategy game that transports you to an alternate version of 1920s Europa left in shambles by WWI.

You’re tasked with leading one of five factions on a quest to conquer territories and gain control over ‘The Factory.’

This coveted city-state is responsible for producing some of the best-advanced weaponry known to man, namely giant mechs that have begun shaping society’s future.

However, you’re not the only group vying for power as the remaining factions all have a stake in carving out their own empire.

Another physical board game adapted to digital formats, Gloomhaven is probably the most different compared to Civ, but we’ve included it for strategy fans who enjoy RPG mechanics and dungeon crawling.

The game takes place in a fantasy-themed world overrun with bandits, demons, zombies, and more, which have caused people to retreat to the safety of their homes.

Enter in you, the Guildmaster, the one who will reconnect the world and make a ton of money in the process by reopening trade routes and exterminating monsters.

There is a wide selection of recruitable mercenaries with unique abilities, upgrades, and perks to unlock by purchasing new gear for your party.

Amplitude’s next project is Humankind is a 4X strategy game that sees you rewriting history by establishing civilizations during 60 historical periods, starting with the Bronze Age through to the modern era.

Players will influence societies by making tough moral decisions, reacting to historical events, and spearheading scientific breakthroughs.

The game shares some obvious similarities with Civilization but seems to have a graphical leg up on the Sid Meier games.

And while we’re in no hurry to dethrone Civ, after 30 years of dominating the strategy landscape, it’s about time we saw a new contender throw their hat in the race.

While the original Age of Empires focuses on human history throughout the Stone and Iron Ages, later installments have shifted their focus to the Middle Ages.

Age of Empires IV will attempt to recapture the original trilogy’s magic while offering new experiences tailored for both veterans and newcomers to the series.

In it, players are tasked with managing their civilization’s workers and military units, eventually turning their small population into a mighty nation. 

The game will feature a lengthy campaign that sees you advancing through the ages as you collect resources, wage war with enemies, and unlock new technologies.

You Might Like These Too

Hardest Monsters in Monster Hunter Rise
Hardest Monsters In Monster Hunter Rise
Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

More About Justin Fernandez