For the uninitiated, ‘Civilization’ is a turn-by-turn strategy game which has made millions addicted to it, given its unique premise that gives the player immense control and powers, as if s/he were a God. Basically, that has always been the idea of strategy games from times immemorial – inundate the user in gameplay by allowing them to “create” something from scratch and let them play God for a while.
Sid Meier’s Civilization had a humble inception in the early 90’s up until the sixth series the game has entered into recently. For all the strategy games enthusiasts, ‘Civilization’ offers everything a typical strategy game can, and much more. The gameplay starts with you as a player choosing your empire (out of the options like Indian, Roman, Aztec, etc.), the historical figure (like a lord or a king or a chieftain of a kingdom you chose to play for) and the gameplay constitutes a turn-by-turn improvements that you choose to make over a period of time to take your civilization to newer heights and evolve.
After setting up cities on your own, resources are generated, like food resources, units, military, technological advances, currency, diplomacy and you as the leader of your civilization can attack other cities (of course by taking one turn at a time unlike ‘Age of Empires’) or build defences. Unlike other similar strategy games, the core idea of ‘Civilization’ is not to achieve supremacy by razing and plundering other civilizations, but by evolving on your own, improving your cities and try and achieve a diplomatic victory as well instead of the usual bloodbath. In my humble opinion, that’s what “strategy” is all about.
More often than not, ‘Civilization’ over the years has influenced a multitude of strategy games while improving on its own and it has attained sort of benchmark in its gaming genre. Here is the list of video games similar to Civilization that are our recommendations. You can play these games like Civilization for PlayStation 4, mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One and even online.
10. The Battle for Wesnoth
Perhaps the best highlight of ‘The Battle for Wesnoth’ is the fact that one can download and play this for free. The open source game resembles ‘Civilization’ at many levels – be it the turn-based gameplay, defending the civilization against mystical beings, gaining victory over the opponents, crushing the rebellions or claiming the throne. The gameplay consists of the same old turn-based approach, wherein, in a hexagonal grid, you can choose where to mount the units and how to build the defences. Though I did not like the graphics as much, which resemble a dated DOS-based game, the essence of the game is close to that of ‘Civilization’ which is why it made to the list.
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9. Master of Orion
‘Master of Orion’ is basically ‘Civilization’ taken to space, between stars, planets, asteroids, and galaxies. The gameplay consists of choosing one of the races of beings to start with, wherein every race has its own special powers, affinities and reservations against another race. As you start playing, with a mothership as your base and a few scout ships to explore the nearby regions, you can colonize planets, take down the hostiles by evolving in terms of technology, and also accomplish victory by taking over ‘Orion’, the master of them all. The premise is well thought through and is seemingly very exciting, but the experience is relatively slow as compared with others on this list. Still, it is the only space-game I’d speak for, as far as this list is concerned.
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8. Expeditions: Conquistador
‘Expeditions: Conquistador’ is almost identical to ‘Civilization’ in all the aspects, except that it is only limited to a niche gameplay and not as vast as the former. As a player, you’re essentially a conquistador, like an explorer of sorts whose sole roleplay rests in either of tactical and strategic planning, attacking and defending. The units consist of defence units, attack units, healers, scholars, and scouts, and all you have to do is delegate your expeditions to these units set in a hexagonal grid. The game simply feels like yet another version of ‘Civilization’ set in a relatively modern era. For the fans of ‘Civilization’ who want to branch out to a different kind of gameplay, this one could be a perfect match.
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7. Age of Empires
If one were to rule out the turn-by-turn gameplay, which is perhaps the core of ‘Civilization’, along with the hex grids, ‘Age of Empires’ and ‘Civilization’ have a lot to talk about over drinks. The gameplay is relatively simple and widely known, for I personally know a very few people who haven’t come across this ubiquitous strategy game – you guide your kingdom to victory by building up defences, utilizing available resources, training/adding military units and deploying them, while advancing through the ages viz Discovery Age, Industrial Age et al. ‘Age of Empires’ has seen an immense fan-following, despite the fact that it has been ages since we saw a newer version of the game after AOE III. There’s a rumour that ‘Age of Empires IV’ could be released this 2018, but regardless, this very strategy game has given us some of the best moments while growing up.
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A complicated, perhaps more matured version of ‘Age of Empires’ set in a Nazi Germany background, ‘R.U.S.E’ is all about the optimal resource utilization, if I were to sum it up. The backdrop is World War II, wherein it is the rift between the allied and the axis powers that counts. Enter tanks, battalions, spies and decoys and viola – the amazing strategy game is here. More or less, you end up controlling the numbers in ‘R.U.S.E.’ than anything else and at the end of the game, the victory is a mere combination of war tactics and the sheer number of units that would sail through some of the grueling battle scenes.
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5. Alpha Centauri
On the lines of ‘Civilization’ when Sid Meier’s ‘Alpha Centauri’ came out, it was received with rave reviews and was widely praised, also partly due to the fact that it picks on the positive notes of its close cousin that is ‘Civilization’. Alpha Centauri takes place in another solar system of the same name, in a planet called Chiron. Given the “alienated” premise of the game as opposed to ‘Civilization’ where we choose world leaders like Mahatma Gandhi etc., ‘Alpha Centauri’ features a set of fourteen such leaders across seven factions on the planet Chiron. Because the game is a good two-decades-old, the graphics component is seemingly lacklustre as per today’s standards, still, back in the day, ‘Alpha Centauri’ ruled our times.
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4. Warlock: Master of the Arcane
Another inclusion in the turn-based genre of strategy games, ‘Warlock: Master of the Arcane’ is, in my opinion, a notch closer to what ‘Civilization’ is and has been. All you’ve to do as a player is to manage your resources well (Gold, Food and Mana – for casting a spell), command a host of warriors, and gain access to new avenues, like maps, resources, and factions as you move on with the gameplay. There are predominantly three factions – the humans, monsters and the zombies or the undead. While human warriors and resources appear regular, the monsters are straight from a fairy tale that includes goblins, orcs et al. The undead includes the eerie fellas – bats, worms, skeletal people etc. In order to conclude a game, one has to set up the possible victories in the beginning, like a conquest or a holy victory. A great game for all the ‘Civilization’ buffs, with a magical retouch.
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3. Anno 2205
The futuristic ‘Anno 2205’ has been my all-time favourite strategy game for a while (only until AOE IV releases). You’re into the future and are a part of a thriving corporation whose sole job is to build world-class infrastructure and accomplish technological advancements earlier than your competition. The happiness quotient of the citizens matter in the game and as the metropolises grow and thrive, there’s a need to build better infrastructure by researching and also by colonizing newer places, the Moon for example. Though the game is essentially a city-building venture with a comparatively lesser number of battles, ‘Anno 2205’ is not only appealing in its visuals, it is also addictive and vast – just like ‘Civilization’.
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2. Age of Wonders
With multiple renditions and spin-offs bearing similar characteristics, ‘Age of Wonders’ has layered maps as opposed to the single-surface maps we’ve seen in the list so far. Though the caves are often an enthralling bit, I’d love to stick to the ground in literal sense whenever I play the game. The races are more or less similar to those in ‘Warlock: Master of the Arcane’ and many more, like goblins, elves etc. – basically ‘Lord of the Rings’ brought to life. Then there are non-aligned races, like sects which take sides depending upon other geographical or resource factors. Gold and Mana are also present as the only two resources and a player spends his gameplay in optimizing the resources, whilst dealing with other rival factions, diplomacy, superiority and evolution. ‘Age of Wonders’ is often regarded as the closest competitor of ‘Alpha Centauri’ and ‘Civilization’ and sometimes even turns out better in a few aspects.
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1. Total War: Shogun 2
A turn-based strategy game yes, but not limited to the hex grid, but rather to a piece of land earmarked for each clan, ‘Total War: Shogun 2’ is set in the 16th Century’s Kingdom of Japan where war has wrecked havoc and only a few factions are left in the aftermath, ultimately trying to wield power. The gameplay consists of a player alternating between a manager and a general in between each turn, planning tactics, managing armies and the allotted land, increasing resources and evolving in terms of technology. As the game progresses, depending upon which of the eight clans you belong to, based on your strengths and weaknesses, the game branches out to increase the clan divide and social unrest and as a player, you’ll have to assume control of things that might not be under yours after all. The battle scenes are captivating and a delight to watch, and so are the tactics. ‘Total War: Shogun 2’ is mindblowing, with an overwhelming graphical quotient.
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