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The Best Strategy Games For Building Empires

Featured - Most Hardcore Grand Strategy Games

Grand strategy games allow players to create their own large kingdoms and battle against others in an extraordinary battle. While many of these titles allow players to take a trip into the past to control civilizations that have since been overrun such as Ancient Greece or the Roman Empire, some titles instead take on a more fantasy theme when creating their grand strategy title.




15 Most Hardcore Grand Strategy Games Ever, Ranked

There are plenty of grand strategy games on the market, but these titles offer a sure test of players’ skills.

Players can build their own fictional empire and watch it grow larger and larger until they are finally ready to take on the other possible empires available. With so many interesting grand strategy titles available, these are by far the best of the bunch that allows players to build their own fictional empires.

Updated on March 9, 2024, by Ritwik Mitra: Grand strategy games have become all the rage in modern times, with many people loving this complex gameplay and organic storytelling that the best titles in this franchise are known for. One of the biggest draws of any grand strategy game is the idea of changing history, shaping the future, or both. While it may be fun to recreate history, most games let players go off the books and create unique, fictional empires that either serve as a look at an alternate history or one of the many possibilities in a game that strives to do its own thing.

13 Star Trek: Infinite

Metascore: 65

Constructing buildings in Star Trek: Infinite

Star Trek: Infinite

October 12, 2023

Nimble Giant Entertainment

Starting off with a series classic, Star Trek: Infinite puts the player in control of one of the four main factions to create their own Star Trek story. It is up to the player how they wish to play and govern their faction as they have left to decide if they wish to use diplomacy, espionage, or warfare. In some cases, the best choice is to mix all three.

Any fan of the Star Trek franchise is sure to recognize some of the familiar faces they are likely to meet during their adventure as the story unfolds to create plenty of exciting encounters. Although the lowest of the list, Star Trek: Infinite makes use of the Stellaris system to create a well-put-together grand strategy title although simplified in areas.

12 Dune: Spice Wars

Metascore: 74

A player looking at a small settlement in Dune: Spice Wars

Dune: Spice Wars

September 14, 2023

Shiro Games

Another great grand strategy title that’s based on another piece of media is Dune: Spice Wars. Players must lead their faction to greatness and battle for control over the desert planet of Arrakis. Since being set in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe, Spice is by far the most valuable substance in the game and therefore players will be doing anything to get possession of it at all times.

Keeping alert to the movements of the other factions on the planet, it is once again up to the player to decide how they wish to stay in control and become the dominant presence on Arrakis.

11 Spellforce: Conquest Of Eo

Metascore: 77

A battle in Spellforce: Conquest of Eo

SpellForce: Conquest of Eo

February 3, 2023

Owned by Gravity

Not every game that allows the player to grow their own fictional empire needs to follow a sci-fi theme, others are heavily inspired by fantasy such as Spellforce: Conquest of Eo. Players are attempting to become the most powerful mage of all by collecting artifacts in the ever-changing world of Eo.


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Players will grow their armies by finding new units and collecting various heroes that will turn their army into an unstoppable force that will finally allow them to expand their domain further. Combining the typical grand strategy with an RPG makes for an interesting adventure that players will want to play again and again.

10 Stellaris

Metascore: 78

A map of the stars in Stellaris

Returning to sci-fi titles once more, Stellaris is the game whose system was used to create Star Trek: Infinite. While Star Trek; although great, was at the bottom of the list, Stellaris sits proudly in the center as the title possesses all the features that made it one of the most loved grand strategy games available on various platforms.

Instead of being directly set on one planet, Stellaris sees players attempt to take over the galaxy as one of the various alien species players are able to become. While exploring this beautiful world players will once again need to decide what sort of leader they are going to be if they choose to befriend other aliens or other throw them instead.

9 Star Wars: Empire At War

Metascore: 79

A ship exploding in Star Wars: Empire At War

Star Wars: Empire at War

February 16, 2006

Petroglyph Games

Star Wars: Empire at War may not look as pretty as Dune: Spice Wars or Star Trek: Infinite, but it’s still a classic grand strategy title that players still enjoy testing their luck with on PC. Players can take the role of the light or dark side as they either fight for the Empire or against it.


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Players not only get to control the typical foot soldiers of each side but also the well-known names that made the films so popular. Controlling the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi or even Boba Fett made Star Wars: Empire at War an incredible sci-fi strategy that many still consider to be the best Star Wars game created.

8 Endless Space 2

Metascore: 80

Ships flying past a sun in Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2

October 6, 2016

Amplitude Studios

Endless Space 2 is an incredibly addictive grand strategy, 4X title that has many players begging for just one more turn of gameplay before they need to log off. Like many other sci-fi grand strategy titles, the player is once again the leader of their own civilization and must lead their people to greatness in the hope of making a life for themselves among the stars.

What makes Endless Space 2 so great apart from its unbelievable environments and space warfare, is the interesting story of a world the player is left to explore after the fall of the god-like creatures that first created it. With eight civilizations to control each with their own story, players will be able to put their vision into space no matter who they decide to rule.

7 Galactic Civilizations 3

Metascore: 81

A space battle in Galactic Civilizations 3

Galactic Civilizations 3

May 14, 2015


Galactic Civilizations puts a heavy importance on building a fictional empire that will stand the test of time, in an intense sci-fi world. Like many other sci-fi titles, there are countless alien races for players to attempt to survive in a violent galaxy.

Galactic Civilization 3 makes it a priority that not one game will be the same for the player as each new save gives players countless options to customize what their next empire will be like. While also being a 4X title, Galactic Civilizations created a new standard for games of that genre.

6 Age Of Wonders: Planetfall

Metascore: 81

People on dinosaurs in Age Of Wonders: Planetfall

Age Of Wonders: Planetfall

August 6, 2019

Triumph Studios

From the creators of the Age of Wonders series, came an all-new sci-fi warfare title for 2019. Combining empire-building and turn-based combat, Age of Wonders amazed players back in 2019 with this all-new grand strategy title.


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Players who enjoy a dark and gritty world in their grand strategy games should give the following titles a try.

Each of the six factions had their own interesting quirks from the dinosaur-riding Amazons to the odd cyborg zombies of the Assembly. Alongside these factions are various paths to victory allowing players to either take the role of a diplomat or invest time into technology that is sure to bring doomsday.

5 Endless Legend

Metascore: 82

A piece of land in Endless Legend

Endless Legend
Microsoft Windows , macOS , Xbox One

September 18, 2014

Amplitude Studios

Created by those who made Endless Space, Endless Legend is a grand strategy title that takes place on land instead of exploring the galaxy. By helping one of the eight civilizations to grow, players can make their own legend in a beautiful fantasy world filled with wonder and magic.

Although the sci-fi nature of Endless Space 2 is impressive, Endless Legend sticks out for its fantasy roots that many grand strategy games appear to neglect to focus on military technology instead. That’s not to say that there isn’t any technology as the player can lead their civilization to evolve in ways that see them learn new things.

4 Total War: Warhammer 3

Metascore: 85

A creature leading an army in Total War: Warhammer 3

Total War: Warhammer 3

February 17, 2022

Out of all the available grand strategy games available Total War: Warhammer 3 is by far one of the greatest of all. Heavily placed in a fantasy world, players have all sorts of units to recruit to make the perfect army for themselves to use against others. With ten Lords to choose from, players are sure to find the perfect hero they hope to control during their warfare.

This military magical sandbox gives players the freedom to truly unleash Total War as they raise their mighty army and give into the mayhem as they take their battle to the Realm of Chaos.

3 Europa Universalis 4

Metascore: 87

Europa Universalis 4 - Best National Ideas

Europa Universalis 4 is an excellent video game that lets players take control of a powerful nation or a modest province during the time when the world is transitioning from the Late Middle Ages to the Napoleonic Era. It’s a complex video game with a steep yet rewarding learning curve.


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Trade Nodes are a key way to build massive wealth in Europa Universalis 4. These are the Trade Nodes that players should try to control.

After taking things slow and steady, a seasoned Europa Universalis 4 player can dominate other nations, turning their empire into a superpower that conquers everything through a mix of diplomacy, trade, and old-fashioned warfare.

2 Sid Meier’s Civilization 6

Metascore: 88

An image of Civilization 6: Temple Of Artemis

Sid Meier’s Civilization 6

October 21, 2016

The Civilization series is one of the most popular grand strategy video games of all time. The charming take on establishing empires coupled with the many iconic leaders players can assume the role of during their campaign makes each playthrough wildly different and engaging in its own way.

Players can try out one of the many unique maps in this game, trying their hardest to take control of as many valuable resources as possible. Warfare and diplomacy play an equal role in ensuring that players can become the top dawg in each session and become a superpower that everyone can only look at and admire from afar.

1 Crusader Kings 3

Metascore: 91

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Crusader Kings 3

September 1, 2020

Crusader Kings 3 is one of the greatest video games ever made. For a grand strategy game that’s as complex as can be, it’s genuinely impressive to see the sheer amount of effort put into making this title as accessible as can be.

It’s easy to see why this game has sold a ton of copies already, with new features being added all the time. Players can go out of their way to create a custom ruler and nation to establish a brand-new, original legacy that will be immortalized forever if they play their cards right.


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