Developed by MicroPose back in 1991, Sid Meier’s Civilization is a turn-based strategy video game. It was first developed for MS-DOS, and due to its massive popularity – and to keep up with advancing technologies – it is now available on several platforms; it has undergone a series of revisions, too (six primary entries since it first debuted, to be exact).
The game involves directing a wide variety of complicated systems within a single board in order to ultimately lead a civilization to peace.
Considered one of the most critical board strategy titles, Civilization has long been a fan favorite.
If you are one of the game’s countless fans and you’re looking for another title that offers a similar experience, you’re in luck, because there are plenty of options to choose from. Keep on reading to find out our top picks for games that are like Civilization.
The Civilization Series Game Features
|Release Date:||September 1991|
|Platforms:||Amiga, Atari ST, SNES, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Nintendo DS, N-Gage, Windows Phone, Facebook Platform, PlayStation Vita|
|Genre:||Turn-based strategy, 4x game|
| Game Modes:||Single Player|
Starting out our list of games that are similar to Sid Meier’s Civilization is Stellaris. A massive popular and super-expansive 4X game, the only game like it that’s more popular is Civilization VI. This title was developed by Paradox Development Studio and was published by Paradox Interactive.
It was released in the spring of 2016 on macOS, Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and Linux. As mentioned, it’s a massively expansive game, but thankfully, the developer is highly supportive of the title, as they offer free updates, as well as paid DLCs. In fact, since it’s 2016 release, there have been more than a dozen updates, and each one have further expanding and upgraded the title’s overall experience.
In Stellaris, the objective is to maintain several elements of the empire that you control. These elements include things like exploration, discovery, research, construction, economy, construction, and government. A grand-strategy game, as Stellaris evolves, the complexity intensifies. The board is a solar system and a group of ships serves as your civ.
There’s a plot to adhere to with this campaign. The game starts with a civilization unveiling space travel. Using your ships, as well as your technologies, you’ll need to complete several quests in order to discover bizarre worlds, odd stories, and extending, as well as branching paths.
These paths occur as a result of the extensive freedom the game affords. Firstly, the title’s engine will generate the races and places at random that you’ll find throughout the galaxy. You have the ability to customize all of your traits, your evolutions, your ideologies, your limitations, and a whole lot more. You can use violence, diplomacy, and trading to interact.
Another focal point of this game is interstellar combat. You’ll be able to customize and advance your ships using gears and capabilities. Combat occurs between other ships, which can amount in the dozens, in the thousands, and even up to the hundreds of thousands.
With that said, when battles occur, you won’t be able to control anything during the battles; instead, you will watch the battles – and all of the stunning visuals they contain – unfold.
2. Crusader Kings 3
Next up on our list of games that are similar to Civilization is Crusader King 3. The title was developed by Paradox Development Studio, published by Paradox interactive, and was released in the fall of 2020 on Windows, macOS, PS5, Xbox Series, and Linux.
It’s not only a 4X game, but it’s kind of like grand-strategy and RPG titles all in one, and the gameplay is turn-based. Furthermore, there aren’t any victory conditions; rather, you play through a medieval-based family lineage throughout multiple centuries.
The first thing you need to do is select a noble house, which you’ll direct through the Middle Ages. The game is played on a board and in order to manage multiple aspects of your dynasty, you’ll need to use a collection of complex mechanics.
A single-family leader and his heirs serve as the ruler, and the characters can die. In a nutshell, you’ll need to manage your empire’s politics, diplomacy, and economic system; additionally, you’ll manage military units throughout the map, directing them to travel across the world and take control of other cities.
The map is completely visible from the start; however, you still need to traverse the land in order to access other civilizations.
Furthermore, you will have to manage members of your family, and you’ll use a variety of role-playing systems in order to do so. The world in Crusader Kings 3 is very immersive and diverse, as it features characters from all walks of like, such as peasants, knights, courtiers, jesters, kings, queens, and more.
You can incorporate the most meaningful NPCs into your plans, too; for example, you can have romantic relationships with them, you can betray them and they can betray you, you can execute them, or you can become allies with them.
3. Endless Legend
Developed by Amplitude Studios and published by Sega, Endless Legend was released in September of 2014 on Windows and macOS.
Of all the 4X titles, Endless Legend might just be the most beloved game among fans of this genre. It’s relaxing, totally satisfying, and we’re giving you fair warning, it’s kind of addictive. You’ll play with turns throughout the board as you make your way through this 4X fantasy-strategy game.
Taking charge of Auriga, a fictional world, is the objective of this game, and you’ll need to use one of the distinctive 8 races in order to do so. You can achieve your goal and ultimately win the campaign via exploration, war, diplomacy, and technological supremacy.
With that said, every civ has a unique storyline, as well as unique gameplay. The map is randomized on each new game and showcases a hexagonal grid. Various biomes, factions, and resources populate the terrain; specifically, every biome and terrain has specific effects on your units.
You’ll start the game with a settler, who you’ll use to establish your very first settlement. After you’ve created a city in a region, the whole biome will become a part of the faction. After you’ve built a city, you’ll then need to successfully manage its trades, industries, economy, magic, science, military, exploration, wealth, leaders, faction perks, and more.
The game also features a combat system, and your units have the ability to engage with other military squads, and doing so will open up a turn-based battle system. You can then use the gears, terrain, and abilities of your unit in order to win the battles that you come up against. You can zoom-out of battles whenever you want to in order to take care of other parts of your empire.
4. The Battle of Polytopia
Next up on our list of games that are like Civilization is Polytopia. The title was both developed and published by Midjiwan AB and it was released in February of 2016 on Linux, macOS, Steam OS, Windows, iOS, and Android.
This game is a lighter 4X title, but it’s just as incredible as Civilization. When it originally debuted, this grand strategy title was only intended for mobile; however, it has since evolved and is now available on PC. At the time of writing, there are more than 12 civs, several procedurally generated maps, and all of the elements that you would expect from this specific genre.
The developers of the title release free updates all the time, which further evolves the game. For instance, new maps, new factions, balance patches, and performance fixes have all been released. You can play the game solo or with a team of up to 8 players. As a turn-based civilization management game, you’ll select one of the 12 tribes, and each tribe has a unique culture, nature, and attributes.
You’ll then explore, cultivate the land, build structures, conduct research, gather resources, and conquer other settlements. There are five different types of maps in the game, which range from petite to expansive. In addition to that, you have the ability to configure your own map, and you can play in three distinctive game modes.
The game is set on the planet Square, which is home to the Polytopians. The map consists of a block-like landmass, which drift in space in an alternate dimension. Here, you will meet tribes that are simplistic and charismatic, who are vying for control of the entire planet.
5. Old World
A historical 4X grand strategy game, Old World was developed by Mohawk Games and was published by Hooded Horse, and it was released in the summer of 2021 for macOS and Windows.
In this game, you’ll direct an empire across several generations in order to develop a long-lasting legacy. The game features a collection of mechanics that make it different from other titles that are like Civilization, and that are featured on this list.
Firstly, you only play through classical historical era with some of the greatest civilizations, such as Rome, Carthage, and Assyria. Secondly, you have the ability to issue orders with each turn you take. Thirdly, some of the characters in the game just might determine the fate of your entire empire. Unlike most of the other titles in on this list, rather than industry, Old World features wood and stone, and the tech trees are randomized.
As you can probably guess, the setting of the game is historical; however, the events are fictional. In other words, it’s an historical fiction game. Because of the era the game takes place in, you manage all politics, marriages, heirs, familial relationships, and other similar matters.
You’ll also play as one of the seven kingdoms that are available, with each one offering characters that have benefits for your cities. Moreover, there’s a strong focus on family ties in this title. All of the in-game events, as well as the actions, will require you to make decisions in order to make them happy or to defeat them.
To illustrate, if the you make the family members too powerful, that can end up being a serious risk. With that said, there are a lot of characters and lots of personalities that can have a direct impact on your politics, as well as your empire as a whole.
Finally you’ll need to handle diplomats, spies, spouses, governors, and personality traits. In regard to combat, you will need to use diplomacy or battle to interact with other tribes, factions, and barbarians on the expansive world.
6. Warlock: Masters of the Arcane
Warlock: Master of the Arcane is a fantasy 4X strategy game. It was developed by 1C Ino-Co Plus, published by Paradox Interactive, and released in May of 2012 for Windows.
This title debuted as a competitor for Civilization V, but it gained so much traction and become even more popular than the developers imagined it would when it was released. In fact, it was so popular that the publisher created a sequel: Warlock 2.
What really sets Masters of the Arcane apart from Civilization, as well as other games on this list, is how your armies can access portals to other maps, and how they can access dimensions with monsters and rewards. Moreover, you have the ability to colonize these strange, otherworldly areas, to expand your empire, and to exploit your resources.
The objective of the game is to build your own empire that spans across a world that is generated at-random. As the game progresses, you’ll gain control of numerous systems, you’ll research spells, and you’ll conquer your enemies. You’ll also play as a Warlock, who is on a quest to become the ruler of the fictional world of Ardania.
Battles occur in turns across the same board as the map. You’ll largely rely on your spells in order to defeat your adversaries; however, you can win by using diplomacy or magic, as well. Additionally, the majority of the combat takes place automatically.
Finally, there are various parts to the campaign. You can play on the side of any of the eight gods, and each one has specific quests to complete, and these quests are centered on spreading temples across the map.
Humankind was developed by Amplitude Studios and was published by Sega. It was released in the summer of 2021 on Windows, MacOS, and Google Stadia. It’s a quintessential 4X game, and you play through a board, across millennia, with a total of 14 different cultures, or a civilization that you can combine 60 different cultures in order to customize. This oddity makes Humankind different from Civilization; however, the two titles are still relatively similar.
In Humankind, you’ll play across several historical eras, from Ancient Times to the Modern Age, starting out as a Neolithic tribe. In brief, you’ll play across six eras of human civilization, and you’ll expand and evolve civilization by using a variety of systems.
The final coal of this game is reaching the Moon or Mars. You can play the game either alone, in co-op mode, or against 7 other players. Gameplay is all about developing cities and creating technological advances along with military units, interacting with other civs on a virtual planet.
The board represents the complete virtual civilization of that the game generates for you, at-random, on does so on every new game.
As you progress through the game, you will need to acquire new resources that your city can use. This includes gold, influence, industry, science, and fame. Fame is your victory condition; however, you can acquire fame in a variety of ways, such as via wealth and conquest, research, diplomacy, and other methods. Finally, you’ll take part in combat with other armies.
You’ll play these scenarios using a turn-based system, commanding your military. The battles are certain turn umbers, depending on the type of combat you’re partaking in. For the fastest resolution, you can use “insta-resolve’, which will allow AI to figure out who the winner will be.
8. Ages of Wonder 3
The third installation of a long-running turn-based fantasy 4X grand strategy game, Ages of Wonder 3 was developed by Triumph Stones, was published by Paradox Interactive, and was released in March of 2014 on macOS, SteamOS, Windows, and Linux. The game combines the formula that Civilization with a touch of fantasy, as well as a turn/grid-based content.
The game begins on small map in a small settlement. As you’d expect, you take charge of various systems in order to build your own fantasy empire. The elements that you control include diplomacy, the economy, military, the research of technology, hero units, and spells.
The campaign does feature a story, and you have the ability to play on either side of the conflict. There’s a separate tactical battle mode, too, and your turns take place on a standard turn-based grid system, and are comprised of which moving, using your abilities, and attacking.
Additionally, when the game first starts, you’ll choose one of the six available races to play as. To illustrate, Dwarves are one of the available races, and they begin with an underground settlement. Likewise, you’ll select a hero unit from the six RPG-like classes.
You’ll then play the campaign however you would like; however, the goal is always to expand by using tech, diplomacy, or conquest. Another key difference between Age of Wonders 3 and Civilization is that you have the ability to fortify your positions by constructing forts and outposts.
The game also features a magical system that you can make use of in tactical battles, or that you can use via a board interface. An in-game editor creates and shares the maps.
9. Distant Worlds 2
Next up on our list of games that are like Civilization is another title that is sequel: Distant World 2, which is the sequel of a critically acclaimed space 4X grand strategy game. The title was developed by CodeForce, published by Slitherine, Ltd., and it was released in March of 2022 on Windows.
Distant Worlds 2 features a new and improved engine, as well as new 3D graphics; however, the mechanics and interfaces remain similar. With that said, this title features a cartoon style, which is similar to the style used in other games that are featured on this list.
In this game, 4X mechanics with turn-based management and real-time combat are mixed. The setting of the game is very deep and highly detailed, and the world is super-immersive and captivating, and the mechanics are more challenging than the vast majority of the titles in this genre.
Essentially, you’ll play in large galaxies that are procedurally generated. These galaxies can be comprised of countless planets, solar systems, moons, and asteroids. You can explore and exploit anything you encounter via mining, conquest, and diplomacy. There’s a collection of complex and evolving systems to manage, too.
You’ll then select one of the seven base factions that feature unique storylines and gameplay. It has an open-ended campaign, as the foundation of the game is impacted by how you interact with other colonies, monsters, alien races, traders, and pirates.
You can customize the kind of gameplay that you want to experience, which means that you can tweak the amount of control you want to have over your civilization. There’s a built-in game engine that generator that creates and edits your galaxy.
10. Endless Space 2
Wrapping up our list of games that are like Civilization is Endless Space 2, which was developed by Amplitude Studios and published by Sega, and it was released in May of 2017 on macOS and Windows. It’s the sequel to Space, the name of the first title in the series, and it debuted after Legend, but it’s the same genre.
It starts out by selecting one of the 12 races or by creating a custom race. You then control your empire and can expand it using diplomacy, conquest, exploit, etc. There are several procedurally generated systems, and each one has five planets.
You can explore the plants to collect resources, or to explore anomalies. You can colonize environments, and you can acquire perks by capturing planets. Building certain things give you perks to the empire, which depends on your research, too.
If you’re a fan of the 4X turn-based strategy game, Civilization, and you’re looking for other titles that will offer a similar experience, check out some of the great options on our list. All of the titles we’ve included are fantastic, and will be sure to keep you entertained.