Civilization 6 easily takes the crown for one of the most complete strategy games in the market. It is the brainchild of famed game design Sid Meier with the original game released in 1991. Since then, the franchise has grown by leaps and bounds becoming one of the few to establish the 4X genre (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate). This approach opens up the platform with numerous gameplay options that range from sustaining an economy to waging war.
Civilization 6 will easily keep you occupied for quite some time. As impressive as the game is, you can't help but wonder if there are other games out there like it. Lucky for you, there are. Here are some of them.
The development of Freeciv is more of a fairytale. It started as a hobby among three students back in 1996. Weirdly, the game gained a solid player base which has kept it alive to date. It's a free, open-source game that you can customise giving players a source of fun and multiplayer alternative. It's a hassle-free game which is why it is on the top spot on this list.
This is also a great game to consider for gamers who are new to this game genre and want to wet their feet first before spending money on the premium option.
From the moment you start playing Freeciv, it feels like a carbon copy of Civ 6. Some of the game mechanics like the layout and how you build the army are very much like Civ 6. However, the design and visuals are slightly different. Freeciv has a darker theme that focuses on your territory’s details.
You can see your soldiers' location and their activities inside the game, and the map also tells you of possible attacks coming your way. You may have to sacrifice on the storyline and the action-packed and vivid graphics you’ve grown accustomed to on Civ, but the striking similarity makes the game worth a try.
At first glance, Endless Legend looks like a misfit in this list because its storyline features things and events you haven’t seen on Civilization. These include mystical palaces, tons of guards who are out for your blood and a throne room.
But it's not. The game requires you to plan escape strategies which makes the idea behind the game similar to that of Civ 6.
While playing the game, you have to try and sneak through the streets and also smuggle your squad inside the kingdom who will act as your bodyguards. But you can't let anyone know what you're trying to do. Otherwise, you will be killed.
Choosing the right faction in the game is vital. Each faction has different stats and behaviour. The battles in the game happen without direct intervention based on the strategy you plan at the beginning of the game. There are minimal opportunities to make changes forcing you to be uncompromising in your play-style.
For adrenalin junkies, the game can be slightly boring to watch and play. But the planning aspect will easily get you coming back.
Europa Universalis 4
Three Kingdoms restricts itself to China, Europa Universalis keeps the theme of the game in Europe and focuses on the conflicts that exist between the member nations. The factions of the game start in different conditions, but the overall gameplay is more or less the same as Civilization.
What you’re going to find very impressive on this game is the decision-making which is on a more granular level.
The game's graphics appear more two-dimensional, but it makes up for that by having an exceptional storyline. Most players that have had a crack at this game confess that it is one of the longest games they have played without getting bored.
The planning and strategizing in this game is on another level, and the characters are well detailed even though there's no certain end game which weirdly makes the game that much more riveting.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
The Age of Wonders Series was first released in 1999. The idea behind the game was to take 4X game away from historical conflicts on earth and add a whimsical twist to the storylines.
The first release of the series had a high classic fantasy setting that included orcs, elves and other races. Planetfall, as the name suggests, is set in space. You get a chance to lead a team of beast-like creatures as you take down various opponents. With lots of strategizing to launch the best offensive attacks, the work of developing your squad according to the strength or weaknesses of your enemies is cut out for you. Keep in mind that some of your opponents’ strategies can lure you into traps.
Although there is a notable difference in the combat system, Civ and Planetfall are similar in many aspects.
In Planetfall, there are more battles making it necessary for the game to run on a turn-based system that delivers more fun. In this regard, the game features XCOM-style ground battles. For gamers that want to take a break from crunching numbers, Planetfall is the perfect alternative.
The game is available on various platforms including PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One allowing you to enjoy the futuristic graphics, realistic sound effects and life-like dinosaur creatures with flames in their mouths.
Total War: Three Kingdoms
With Civ 6, the focus is on the growth of the people. The game’s primary challenge is providing your squad with enough food and weaponry to defend the land.
Total War: Three Kingdoms throws most of the caution to the wind and goes all out on the anarchy. Your priority is still on building a squad to defend your land. But there’s a lot more fighting in this game.
It helps that the game has spectacularly realistic graphics that make you feel like a scene from a movie for that immersive gaming experience. This game is perfect for blood-thirsty gamers looking to take centre stage in battles.
Three Kingdoms brings the action back to earth, rolling back the hands of time to the Three Kingdoms era in China. With the game, you can take command of some of the best-known armies from Napoleon to Attila.
Like Age of Wonders, This game is also more about real-time battles with the different armies clashing. The generals in the gameplay a more prominent role, allowing you to interact with the characters on a more personal level.
Rome: Total War – Barbarian Invasion
Barbarian Invasion is a follow up to another Rome sequel: Total War. Both games were created by Assembly's Classic, and the latter was a hit on the iPad.
The game is set three centuries after the events in the Rome: Total War campaign. The Roman Empire, which is now overstretched, faces a showdown with warlike tribes breathing down its boundaries.
Your job is to put together an army in your capacity as a Barbarian commander who is determined to see the once majestic empire on its knees. You can also switch roles and become the Roman General looking to fight and extend the civilisation into a new age.
The game keeps the events grounded on earth and provides you with the opportunity to become a hero or a villain.
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri
Sid Meier has carved his name in stone as one of the premier strategy game designers as the original designer of Civilization. Considering another one of his action-strategy games comes as a no-brainer.
The gameplay here is a bit different, but the layout and the graphics are somewhat similar, especially in terms of strategy and timing the attacks. But as you would expect, Alpha Centauri has a slight edge over Civ.
A lot of effort has gone into the storyline of the game, and it literally tugs at your heartstrings. The game is even more interesting because of the voice over. For a change, you get to solve the problems that humans might face in the future building strategies that will help prevent some of the life-threatening issues that threaten to wipe out mankind from the face of the earth.
The most interesting aspect of the game is dealing with the morally unchartered territory making this an excellent narrative for a strategy game. You wouldn’t expect any less from the great Sid Meier.
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War
The 40k universe has plenty of turn-based strategy games. Gladius is the only one taking the bold step to add 4X into the games.
The combat of the game is terrific, which makes the game feel like it should be about war. But there are also other elements like resource gathering, but it's not as pronounced as combat. Truth be told, most of the mechanics on this game are best for entry-level players.
However, the graphics are commendable and feel like they are out of The Scorpion King movie. You have to come up with improvised strategies for every attack on the game, which is what makes this a thrilling game. The attacks are sudden and in quick succession, making it hard to react. So you have to be at your best at all times.
Not the best Civ 6 alternative but a good option for entry and mid-level gamers looking for something less challenging but just as immersive.
The publisher of Stellaris Paradox Interactive is a fierce competitor to Firaxis, which published Civ 6. The two franchises are known for releasing the most strategy and 4X games. With Stellaris, the publisher hit the jackpot. The game has a deep space theme and a grand strategy, everything you would ask in a Civ 6 alternative.
It is one of the few games that allows you to meet well-dressed alien races to foster peace before breaking into an all-out war. There is no doubt that Stellaris was aiming for engaging and challenging gameplay by awarding players with an opportunity to explore, traverse and discover.
Your goal is to build a galactic empire by colonizing remote planets and integrating alien civilizations. What most strategy games don't give you is the opportunity to build your empire and achieve your goals on your terms through diplomacy or taking a kill first ask questions later kind of approach.
If you love what Stellaris offers, you will be happy to know that the fun doesn’t end there. The game has 11 DLCs and content packs that include species and story missions where you can carry one with the action among other expansion packs.
Sigma Theory has the most weirdly amazing graphics you have seen in a long time. When you first open the game, it gives you that extraterrestrial feeling like you've landed on another planet and everything looks so digital.
The character in the game looks real, but sound like robots. The buildings cities, stores and streets all look like digital blocks. The graphics have been best described as "oddly interesting."
The storyline pits your nation in a quest to prove your supremacy against other nations. In this case, you’re not building a squad of soldiers, but instead, a team of undercover agents trained to steal intelligence and the secrets of other nations. Using this information, you can strategize your next move.
The catch is, other nations shouldn’t know about your intention. You should do all the espionage work while maintaining diplomatic relations with the other nations. Although the concept sounds simple, finding the right strategies to execute your plans will be difficult.
Whether you’ve been playing Civ 6 long enough to master all of its challenges, or you’re just looking to distress from a level that won't give you peace, these ten games are a great choice. Featuring everything from historical conflicts, futuristic themes and even extraterrestrial settings, there’s no doubt you will find a game that will renew your passion for strategy-based games.
We even threw in a couple of options that are perfect for newbies and mid-levels gamers that will help sharpen your skills and prepare you to take on Civilization 6 in case it has been frustrating you.