11 Games Like Age of Empires: Popular Real Time Strategy Games
Are you a fan of the popular Age of Empires (AoE) game series? Looking for a similar games? This page features a collection of other impressive real time strategy game options that will take you through history and into the future.
AoE has been one of the most commercially successful franchises within the strategy genre and is often considered to be one of the best in the genre, with active communities still available for each title despite the age of the games. Age of Empires is also credited for influencing many games in the genre, and for developing it into its current state through its gameplay innovation.
The original AoE introduced me to the RTS genre. I spent most of my time with AoE2 though, playing with friends in huge, eight-player death matches which were always lots of fun and demanded an ever evolving strategy to be victorious.
This popular genre now contains many other games like Age of Empires which combine different themes and mechanics to offer a unique title. Stop by the comments section to share your own favourite from this list or one not featured here.
All images on this page have been provided by publisher media departments for the purpose of critique.
Which Age of Empires Title Is Your Favourite?
History of the Age of Empires Franchise (Main PC Titles Only)
|Release Date||Main Games||Expansion Packs|
Age of Empires
The Rise of Rome
Age of Empires II
The Conquerors, The Forgotten, The African Kingdoms
Age of Empires III
The WarChiefs, The Asian Dynasties
1. The Anno Series
A Popular RTS Game Series With Economic Focus
The Anno series of games offer a great mixture of city building and gameplay. The most recent game in the series is The Anno Online, which is a free-to-play strategy game that can be played in your browser.
There are a number of Anno games available, each offering similar gameplay mechanics and features. Each game in the series focuses on a particular year or period in history.
These games all feature similar gameplay, with the main change being the year in which the game takes place. The games focus on the economy of the settlements that the player creates, with stronger economies leading to more successful settlements.
In each Anno game, the player starts as a small unknown country that must develop and expand within the world while protecting itself from various rivals.
Anno Release Summary (Main Games Only)
|Game (Year of Release)||Platforms||Metacritic Score (PC)|
1602 A.D. (1998)
1503 A.D.: The New World (2003)
Anno 1701 (2006)
Anno 1404: Dawn of Discovery (2009)
Windows, Nintendo DS
Anno 2070 (2011)
Anno 2205 (2015)
ANNO 1701 A.D. Trailer
2. The Settlers Online
A Free and Online Game Option
The Settlers Online brings many real-time strategy elements into the online space, creating a fun, free, and unique game.
In The Settlers Online you can create your empire from humble beginnings, build structures to grow your empire, and eventually conquer the world. The game starts you off with only a small camp and a handful of villagers as you collect resources, complete missions, and eventually start to build your large empire.
The game has ties to the popular Settlers series but brings the game into the freemium and online realm in an impressive way. With plenty to unlock, lots of levels to advance through, bandit camps to defeat, and other players to befriend (or fight), it's a great free-to-play strategy game.
The Settlers Online Gameplay
Another Online Strategic Game
Empire offers an MMO-style of gameplay that is free to play. It's available across a large range of platforms, including browser and smart phones under the title of Empire: Four Kingdoms.
As far as free-to-play online strategy games go, Empire is one of the better medieval options out there. You'll take your little settlement from its very early days to becoming a powerful empire that no other player will dare to challenge.
If you've played a game in this genre before, you'll pick up most of the basics quickly and appreciate the minor details that separate it from others in the genre (such as the good mix of PvP and PvE and the way combat works). New players will have an equally enjoyable experience though, with systems that are easy to learn and well-designed.
With complete control over your units, building placement, and combat strategy, players will enjoy the good amount of depth that Empire works into a free-to-play strategy game.
GoodGame Empire Trailer
4. Age of Mythology
An AoE Spin-Off Title
Age of Mythology is a spin-off of the original Age of Empires series, and was developed by the same people. The game is available on PC and Mac, scoring a high 89% on Metacritic.
In Age of Mythology, players build towns, gather various resources, develop an army, and ultimately destroy their enemy (or achieve some other objective). Like the Age of Empire games, players advance their civilization through several ages with each unlocking new technologies.
Age of Mythology offers three unique civilizations for players to experience: Greek, Egyptian, and Norse. Each civilization also has three different major gods that the player can select (each offering different abilities to the player). As players advance through the ages they also gain access to minor gods that offer similar advantages (both defensive and offensive).
Age of Mythology: The Gold Edition
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition Gameplay
5. Rise Of Nations
A Well-Rated RTS Game That Takes You Through The Ages
Rise of Nations is another popular real-time strategy game that was released in 2003. Despite the age of the game, it is still a great RTS experience, mostly thanks to the lead game developer Brian Reynolds (also behind the likes of Civilization and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri).
In Rise of Nations, players can choose from 18 different civilizations and guide them through eight different stages of world history.
Rise of Nations uses a territory-style concept in its gameplay (much like that of the Civilization series). This system dictates that areas near the player's settlement are their territory and that they are the only places that the player can construct buildings. By expanding cities or building forts, the player can expand their territory and borders.
Rise of Nations has some other unique RTS gameplay elements, including auto citizens (resource-collectors) that automatically look for tasks to perform after creation (if not already set by you). The game also features infinite resources instead of focusing on a maximum collection rate cap (which can be increased by technology upgrades).
Rise of Nations boasts strong reviews, receiving perfect scores and many rankings in the 90s, and currently holds a 89% score on Metacritic.
Rise Of Nations - (Gold Edition)
Rise of Nations Gameplay
6. StarCraft 2
A Space-Focused RTS Title
StarCraft 2 is the second instalment in the StarCraft series and is one of the most popular modern real-time strategy games available. The game follows the journey of three races: the Terrain (humans), the Protoss (an advanced alien race), and the Zerg (a ruthless biological alien race).
The StarCraft 2 series is split into three games, with each offering a different campaign along with new units: Wings of Liberty (Terrain), Heart of the Swarm (Zerg), and Legacy of the Void (Protoss).
StarCraft 2 offers a great single-player campaign and also has a vibrant multi-player community, thanks to the in-game ladder and matchmaking system. As such, StarCraft 2 will especially appeal to those who are after a competitive RTS game.
The game has received very strong reviews (currently holding a score of 93% on Metacritic) and is praised for its deep gameplay, new RTS features, and storytelling methods. The game also holds the title for the fastest selling RTS game of all time.
Starcraft 2: The Current Games in the Series
StarCraft II Trailer
7. Empire Earth (Series)
Another Historical Orientated RTS
Empire Earth (EE) was released in 2001 with sequels in 2005 and 2007.
The series follows the standard RTS formula of collecting resources, constructing buildings, and military production to ultimately conquer opposing civilizations. The original Empire Earth spans 500,000 years of world history, beginning in the Prehistoric age and ending in the Nano age, by installing the expansion pack (The Art of Conquest), you can ultimately advance to the Space age.
The game's unique features include a morale system that impacts individual unit statistics and a hero system that lets you create heroes to buff your troops, demoralize the enemy, or gain a powerful tactical advantage in the field. Empire Earth offers a variety of campaign modes and multi-player options making it great as a single-player or multi-player experience.
I recommend purchasing this game through Good Old Games though (especially 1 and 2) to prevent compatibility issues.
Empire Earth Release Summary (Main Games Only)
|Game (Year of Release)||Platforms||Metacritic Score (PC)|
Empire Earth (2001)
Empire Earth II (2005)
Empire Earth III (2007)
Empire Earth III Trailer
8. Stronghold (Series)
An Older RTS Game Franchise
The Stronghold series began in 2001. The game focuses on a historical setting (Medieval England) and has an emphasis on conquest. It is another great game that will appeal to fans of the war side of the RTS genre.
The game does still feature an economic side and even features two separate campaigns (one economic and one military). Other game modes include one-off missions (both combat and economic) where players must complete specific goals, a siege mode, and free-build mode.
Along with many strong reviews from critics, the game also boasts a large community that creates content through the various scenarios and map editors. While the original Stronghold series received great praise, its sequels have not received the same good reception. Your best bet is to start with the original and slowly (and cautiously) branch out from there.
Stronghold Release Summary (Main Games Only)
|Game (Year of Release)||Platforms||Metacritic Score (PC)|
Stronghold 2 (2005)
Stronghold 3 (2011)
Stronghold 3 Gameplay
9. Command & Conquer (Series)
A Large Series of High Quality RTS Titles
While the Commend & Conquer series focuses more on combat than city-building, it is still a fun game (especially if you are a fan of the war and battle aspect).
The first game of the Command & Conquer series was released in 1995 and was one of the first games in the RTS genre. Since then, the series has grown rapidly under a number of different publishers.
A staple component of Command & Conquer games is the use of parallel storylines about various factions in the campaign mode. The games also feature side bar navigation control, as opposed to other titles that feature navigation bars at the bottom.
Command & Conquer offers players infantry, vehicles, and aircraft following a standard rock-paper-scissors style of combat found in most RTS games. Scores for Command & Conquer vary depending on the on the game, but average the mid 80s on Metacritic.
Command & Conquer Release Summary (Main Games Only)
|Game (Year of Release)||Platforms||Metacritic Score (PC)|
Command & Conquer (1995)
Windows, Mac, PlayStation, N64, PlayStation Network, Sega Saturn, DOS
Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996)
Windows, PlayStation, PlayStation Network
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun (1999)
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 (2000)
Command & Conquer: Renegade (2002)
Command & Conquer: Generals (2003)
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (2007)
Windows, Mac, Xbox 360
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (2008)
Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight (2010)
Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances (2012)
Command & Conquer E3 Trailer
10. Warcraft 3
A Great RTS Experience That I've Played Countless Times
The Warcraft 3 fantasy real-time strategy experience was released in 2002 by Blizzard Entertainment.
The game was a hit, with its single-player campaign and multi-player version (although you'll find it difficult to find a multi-player game these days). I find myself re-installing the game from time to time to re-experience the game.
Warcraft 3 features four different races with campaigns available for each. These campaigns follow the journey of the Orcs, the Humans, the Undead, and the Night Elves. As you would expect, each of these races has its own unique units and motives so the campaigns all feel like a separate game entirely.
Some of the more unique gameplay mechanics for the game include hero characters that follow you through each campaign and collect items throughout the journey to improve their stats. Warcraft 3 also makes great use of side objectives to add life to the game world, rather than just dry additional objectives.
I loved everything in Warcraft 3 and I know other fans of real-time strategy games will love it also.
Grab the Battle Chest: Original Game, Expansion, and Strategy Guides In One
Warcraft 3 Trailer
11. Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War
A Unique RTS Alternative
Dawn of War is one of my all-time favourite strategy games. It would have been featured higher up, but its unique approach to the genre might not appeal to some. The game was released back in 2004 with a sequel in 2009. A number of expansion packs in between each add new campaigns and available races to the gameplay.
Personally I prefer the original game, since the second game moved away from the RTS formula and didn't really appeal to me.
Dawn of War is set in the Warhammer 40k franchise (a tabletop war game, for those who are unfamiliar). The game features many of the same units and races as the tabletop game, so it appeals to Warhammer fans. I had never played the Warhammer tabletop games and still loved Dawn of War for its strategy gameplay.
Gameplay focuses on capturing and holding key points across a variety of maps that provide resources to build additional units.
Unlike other RTS games, units are split into squads and take orders as a team. Squads start with a small number of units but can eventually grow to 10. Players also have the option to attach special units or leaders to these groups to provide additional benefits.
Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War
The Warhammer 40k Trailer for Dawn of War
Which Game Like Age of Empires Is Your Favourite? Do You Know Another Option Not On This Page?
Mr. Coldfire on September 30, 2017:
R.I.P. Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds. You never get mentioned.
bzbz on August 04, 2017:
I loved Universe at War so great and unique
Scribbling Geek from Singapore on May 14, 2016:
I love Empire Earth. Sadly it was so ... glitchy.
greek on March 24, 2016:
cant beat age of mythology....
max anik from usa on November 30, 2015:
flint3099 on March 08, 2015:
Fantastic list. I didn't get to play Starcraft 2 all that much so I would like to give it another try. I loved the original. I would like to do a mention of Empires Dawn of the modern world. It didn't turn out to be a great game but it was worth playing if you like Age of Empires.
serbonero on January 21, 2015:
Stronghold was one of the first strategy games that I have ever played and I loved every second... Also played C&C and it has definitely earned its place among the best strategy games... Actually, I am on some kind of quest for my next challenge and your article has has given me some ideas what that might be. Thanks
philly fox on January 08, 2015:
found this topic very good i am a big fan age of empires and age of mythology also so will surely look into some of these other games thanks for the info
CrazyWolfy from Pirot on December 25, 2014:
The first game i ever played was the Age of Empires, and since than i have always loved the strategy games, and the last one i have played is the Anno 2070 and it was great!
Scott A. Butler from England on July 26, 2014:
A great list here, thank you. Really enjoyed the AoE series and creating my own custom levels for others. :)
alfnexus4 on July 20, 2014:
Kings bounty saga are also great
smarterdigital on April 24, 2014:
Ah... AoE2... Memories. Have you tried AoE online?
dmhonz on April 15, 2014:
Looks like I wanna try Anno from reading your Lens its get me a trill to try it. thanks for sharing and maybe you can give a tricks in that games.
tomasokalno on February 20, 2014:
Strategies have always been my favorite. I still have Anno 1701 on my PC :)
anonymous on February 13, 2014:
Some excellent titles here. I used to love Age Of Empires II - Was by far my favourite of this kind of game.
BattleBuilder on January 15, 2014:
I feel a sudden urge to play Age of Empires again, but perhaps now is time to dwell into Anno, because I've wanted to play it for a looong time, but still haven't.
Aladdins Cave from Melbourne, Australia on October 14, 2013:
Rise of Nations
Cheers from DOWNUNDER
Aladdins Cave from Melbourne, Australia on September 06, 2013:
Love Age of Empires. Lost many days of my life playing it. Also like Zork Nemesis, but I never clocked it, to hard. Cheers from DOWNUNDER
Lietuviz on August 20, 2013:
I like all strategy games . But my favorites are medieval age games so i very liked AOE and Stronghold.
anonymous on August 14, 2013:
I played Age of Empires and then went onto the great "Cossacks" games and "Sudden Strike". If you enjoyed AOE you'll love these.
seodress on June 25, 2013:
Love these games.
anonymous on June 18, 2013:
Hey guys try stronghold 1 then you will know of the strategy game are what and stronghold 3 is my best.
Yoursanity on May 14, 2013:
I have played so many of these games! Brings back so many memories.
anonymous on May 01, 2013:
JimmPlus on April 26, 2013:
I am a great fan of Age of Empires. After reading this lens and realizing that there are so many similar games, my hands are itching to play them again.
360xbl on March 28, 2013:
Awesome thank you for the list of awesome strategy games
MexicoTravel on March 21, 2013:
Age of Empires 2 with the Conquerors expansion is my best. The wonderful music on the CD still plays in my hearth.
anonymous on March 08, 2013:
Age of Mythology is excellent.............
Stickypony LM on March 06, 2013:
Age of Empires 2 is my favorite! But I guess it because I play it as a kid.
JessStone on February 27, 2013:
AOE series is the best!!! My favorite games hands down!
anonymous on February 23, 2013:
Age of Empires 2 is my all time favorite! I still play it to this day!
Samuel Franklin (author) on February 15, 2013:
@carny: I am a sucker for that one as well, I used to have some epic deathmatch battles with my friends and it is still my favourite.
Andrew Po on February 15, 2013:
Age of Empires 2 (yes the old one) is probably still my favorite.
anonymous on February 14, 2013:
All of them are great games, I think the one I like the most is Age of Mythology.
But my favourite strategy game is Civilization (even when is not a real time strategy game)
PS. Excellent lens!
wordpress-guru on January 31, 2013:
i like starcraft 2 ... too bad blizard is acting all commercial like , f*ing-up the games ...
Samuel Franklin (author) on January 26, 2013:
@anonymous: Thanks for comment, Empire Earth 1 was definitely the standout in this game series. It's sad when a new series shows good potential only to be ruined in future installments.
anonymous on January 26, 2013:
Age of empires 3 is my all time fav, though i love age of mythology and its EXP. Empire Earth is not as good as Aoe as this game stretches micro management, age/era, concepts and other gaming factors too far but its not done perfectly and so it fails badly. The interesting factor is that Empire Earth series starts with a good game (empire earth I) but starts to show its weakness with the expansion as there is nothing to expand and further more it fails badly with the 2nd of the series and with the 3rd one no one cares about the series as the Empire Earth 3 was the worse RTS or such game i had ever played and to speak frankly i uninstalled the game just after 30 mins or so for everything was between bad and worse in this game starting from movements, commands, input method and such a terrible graphic....
ThanhQuach on January 20, 2013:
AOE series are my favorite games forever, especially is AOE III
anonymous on January 14, 2013:
@anonymous: THANK YOU. At least one other person remembered that game.
anonymous on January 10, 2013:
MoreBetterThings on January 04, 2013:
The Age of Empires series are among my all-time favorite games. This is a great list with some good options for AOE fans!
srsddn lm on December 31, 2012:
A great lens.
Thatoneguyoverthere on December 29, 2012:
I can't describe how much I loved AoE, great lense Sam.
anonymous on December 24, 2012:
age of empires: forgotten empires coming soon. the unofficial expansion
forextrading2000 on December 16, 2012:
Thanks for sharing your ideas and tips. This is a fantastic lens! Keep up the great work.
anonymous on December 07, 2012:
Tzar is the best look alike game, maybe even better
victoriuh on October 31, 2012:
Age of Empires is probably my all time fave game of this type, but I also enjoyed Age of Mythology a lot. They are so similar, so that makes sense.
Susan R. Davis from Vancouver on October 16, 2012:
Command and Conquer
Samuel Franklin (author) on October 07, 2012:
@naskobl: Thanks for your feedback!
naskobl on October 07, 2012:
I think Star Craft and Tiberian Wars doesn't meet this category. All of them are RTS yes. But the genre of playing a whole lot different. It would be better title if it was. Real Time Strategy Games Like AOE
anonymous on September 26, 2012:
RON is my favorite
Alenkita1 from Slovenia on August 08, 2012:
Nice list, Rise and fall civilizations at war is also one of them!
InterwebzShopper on August 04, 2012:
This was actually a really good read. RTS games never really came naturally to me though... Maybe I'll pick it up again some day =P SC2 anyone?
ascotto on August 04, 2012:
C&C: Tiberian sun reminds me to the old good days..
WNJ631 LM on August 03, 2012:
Good picks- Age of Mythology & SC are some of my all time favorites!
JoshK47 on July 28, 2012:
Some of my all-time favorite games here - my favorite is probably StarCraft II - blessed by a SquidAngel!