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15 Great Games Like Age of Empires You Should Check Out

Age of Empires is one of those rare game series that really fires on all cylinders. Each individual element (including gathering resources, winning battles, and managing your empire) is outstanding on its own. Put it all together and you get a game that most fans think is like nothing else.

Fortunately for fans of the franchise, that’s not true at all. There are many great games like Age of Empires. If you’re not sure where to get started, check out our awesome list.

Age of Mythology

It's mostly hit or myth

You know how it works: while there are plenty of Age of Empires like games, some are going to be more like AoE than others. If you really want a similar experience, why not look to other games put out by AoE developer Ensemble Studios?

Age of Mythology is basically a spinoff from Age of Empires. Instead of focusing on historical armies and events, this series focuses on mythology. It offers a new spin on familiar gameplay, and the ability to play as Greek, Egyptian, or Norse forces adds to the replay value.

Where to play it: Download on Steam


All strong, no bad

Despite the name, building your stronghold is only one element in Stronghold (and its sequel, Stronghold 2). You must also balance delicate economics with military prowess in order to keep your corner of the Middle Ages safe.

Like many of the best games on this list, it’s very easy to dive in and enjoy these games. But it will take a long time for you to master everything that the Stronghold franchise has to offer. By the time you’ve mastered the first game, you’ll be ready to tackle the sequel.

Where to play it: Download on GOG

Rise of Nations: Extended Edition

Nations, rise up!

Rise of Nations is fairly ambitious as strategy games go. It lets players choose from 18 assorted civilizations spread across eight unique periods of world history. It’s very easy to mix and match things to change up your gameplay whenever you get bored.

The game throws a few fun curveballs at players, including the fact that you’ll spend more time managing extraction speeds than the resources themselves. If you’re more into clashing giant armies together instead of resource management, you’ll find the combat very exciting and familiar.

Where to play it: Download on Steam

Sid Meier’s Civilization VI

So uncivilized.

Sometimes, players looking for games similar to Age of Empires are also looking for a challenge. They want a title that really stretches their strategic skills to the limit. If that sounds like you, then Sid Meier’s: Civilization VI is the game you’ve been waiting for.

To succeed in this game, you need to be as skilled in diplomacy and espionage as well as resource management and combat. While that adds to the legendary challenge of this title, it also makes your eventual victories feel that much sweeter.

Where to play it: Download on Steam



If you’re a fan of RTS games, you’ve probably already spent some time with the Starcraft series. Whether you’re new to the franchise or a returning veteran, it’s worth returning to this Blizzard franchise for their trademark blend of oddball characters and intense action.

Starcraft II arguably improves on the original in every way. As an added bonus, the first installment, Wings of Liberty, is now free to play. That makes it one of the best free games like Age of Empires that you can play!

Where to play it: Download from Blizzard

Warcraft 3

Point, click, stab

As long as we’re on the Blizzard train, it’s worth discussing Warcraft 3. This game refined the RTS elements from the first two games in the franchise while adding the MMO building blocks that eventually led to World of Warcraft.

The campaign is riveting and the online play is intense. If you’re worried about how rough the old graphics look, you can always play the graphically-updated Warcraft 3: Reforged and see how Blizzard brought this Age of Empires-style game back to life.

Where to play it: Download from Blizzard

Command and Conquer: Tiberium Alliances

Gotta see that C&C

Speaking of RTS games with MMO elements, Command and Conquer: Tiberium Alliances is one of the best entries in the entire series. If you’re looking for Age of Empires-style gameplay with a more modern focus, this is a great choice.

If you use Origin, you can actually download this solid title for free. It’s another one of the best free games like Age of Empires and an unforgettable RTS title that helped redefine the entire genre.

Where to play it: Download on Origin

Age of Wonders

Wonderboy, sitting oh so proudly

We’ve focused a lot on real-time strategy games on this list. What if you want a turn-based game with rich strategy and combat? In that case, you should check out the Age of Wonders series.

Your ultimate goal in this veteran 4X franchise is to create the most powerful military in the world. If that sounds one-dimensional, keep in mind that you must balance exploration with extermination. This offers a powerful incentive to keep expanding the boundaries of your empire.

Where to play it: Download on Steam

Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2

Nobody waltzes into Mordor on YOUR watch

Thanks to the immense success of Peter Jackson’s film trilogy, the Lord of the Rings franchise has many different games. For better or for worse, the majority of the most memorable titles are simple “hack and slash” affairs. Then there’s Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2.

This is the rare RTS title that you can enjoy on both PCs and consoles. By focusing on different characters and adventures than the core Fellowship, this game helps you further explore Tolkien’s rich world.

If nothing else, this is the only game on this list that lets you summon a Balrog into combat.

Where to play it: Download on Old Games Download

Empire Earth

Empire Earth strikes back

Empire Earth was highly inspired by Age of Empires, and it shows clearly in the design and gameplay. This is another addictive RTS game in which you guide your forces over multiple civilizations of technological development.

Fortunately, Empire Earth adds a few new ideas into the mix. This includes the need to manage army morale and also create hero units that keep your main forces alive. If you want an AoE clone with some great twists, this makes for a solid choice.

Where to play it: Download on GOG

Total War

Not just a little war

Some people love real-time strategy and some people love turn-based. What if you could have it both ways? That’s basically the driving force behind the Total War franchise.

You spend a fair amount of your time completing turn-based strategies to try to outmaneuver your opponents. Actual combat switches to real-time strategy, letting you micromanage everything to your heart’s content.

If you fall in love with this unique style of gameplay, there are many Total War variants. These include Shogun: Total War and Total War: Warhammer (great for fans of the Warhammer tabletop game).

Where to play it: Download on Steam

The Settlers

Wait, this isn't Catan!

Many gamers often fret about how powerful their rig is. The big question is always, “can my computer run that game?” In the case of The Settlers, you have one of the free games like Age of Empires that you can run right in your web browser.

While it will try to tempt you with microtransactions, it’s possible to enjoy this blend of RTS and MMO elements without spending anything. The ability to successfully build and manage a medieval kingdom from any computer will definitely help you kill time at school or at work.

Where to play it: Download from the official site

GoodGame Empire

Keep it nice and simple

GoodGame Empire is a game whose philosophy is encapsulated by the title. Just as this game’s title is simple and “no-frills,” the actual gameplay is all about returning to the basics. If you’re an Age of Empires veteran, the basics will seem very familiar.

Success is all about building, fighting, trading, and gathering resources. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s also completely satisfying. The game itself is free via GoodGame.

Where to play it: Download on GoodGame

Homeworld Remastered

This is not a space of honor

Aside from Starcraft and Command and Conquer, this list doesn’t have a lot of sci-fi on it. If you’re a sci-fi fan looking for an Age of Empires kind of experience, Homeworld: Remastered is a perfect choice.

Despite the intergalactic setting, the basics of gameplay are nice and easy. You must gather your resources, build up your forces, and fight back the enemies who plan to turn you into just another body in the void. This game was a mega-hit when it first arrived on the scene, and the remastered version makes it look better than ever.

Where to play it: Download on Steam

Bad North

Not to be confused wit Bad Wolf

Most of the games on this list share one flaw, mild as it may be: a lack of definite style. While designs from companies like Blizzard stand out, plenty of historical strategy games have little in the way of memorable visuals.

Bad North is a game that set out to change all of that. The game blends a cartoon aesthetic and chill music, so you might be fooled into thinking this will be a calm and casual experience. Once you start defending your island from invading Vikings, you’ll see just how insane this game can be!

If you want more wrinkles than AoE without the complexity of a game like Civ, this is a nice compromise.

Where to play it: Download on Steam

Games Like Age of Empires: Final Thoughts

You may never find another game that is 100% like Age of Empires. By playing through these games like Age of Empires, you can enjoy the best parts of your favorite franchise while experiencing something new.

What happens, though, when you make it through the entire list? Be sure to bookmark SideGamer and check out more of our gaming lists. It’s the best way to find out what you should play next.

Written By

Chris Snellgrove is a professional nerd turned nerdy professional. After completing a PhD in English, he started teaching by day and writing by night. Despite the manic schedule, he finds plenty of time for books, comics, movies, and video games. Ultimately, he lives his life by the philosophy of the Rocky Horror Picture Show: "don't dream it!"

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