In a world where power brings you success and riches, there’s only a tiny group of people who ever get to experience such a thing. Thankfully, the gaming world has given us plenty of opportunities to gain our own power, found our own kingdoms and lead them to success thanks to some of the best empire building games ever created. Whether that be raising our civilization out of the stone age and into the modern era to conquering the world with an army of Huns, there are endless possibilities and a whole host of great empire building games to satisfy your conquesting itch.
What are the Best Empire Building Games to play in 2021?
Hearts of Iron IV allows you to take control of any nation that existed in 1936 as you prepare for the inevitable second world war that is just around the corner. Players must build up their equipment stocks, improve infrastructure, build facilities and factories for your war effort as well as researching new weapons, armor, planes, and ships. At its heart (no pun intended), Hearts of Iron IV is a complex strategy game that allows you to change the course of history and ensure that your country is victorious.
Whether you want to play as Germany, the Soviet Union, Great Britain or any number of smaller nations including Romania or Hungary, the choice is yours. If you’re looking for an empire building game that takes place in more modern times, Hearts of Iron IV is for you.
Release Date: 2016
Want to buy Hearts of Iron IV? Click Here.
Civilization is considered one of the best strategy franchises on PC and Civilization 6 takes the series to new heights improving on what was already a well-executed formula.
Rather than being an RTS, Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game and allows you to choose from a number of different factions and cultures to begin your conquest with. As the ruler of your civilization, you must lead them from the start of human history into the space age. There are numerous ways to win the game, whether that be a technological, economic or diplomatic victory. Or you can conquer the world the good old fashion way by waging war.
Release Date: 2016
Want to buy Civilization VI? Click Here.
Veil of Crows takes place in a huge sandbox world as players begin their journey as an insignificant and powerless character. It’s a mix between a real-time strategy game and an RPG and it is your job to build an empire and conquer new land as you strive to become the most powerful ruler around. Players must also form armies where you can battle in real-time with fully destructible castles and walls with hundreds, if not thousands of troops fighting on screen all at once.
When players aren’t battling other lords, you can build up your settlements, trade with other kingdoms and raise a prosperous and stable empire.
Release Date: 2018
Want to buy Veil of Crows? Click Here.
Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare is a unique game as it combines a sandbox strategy game with a first-person shooter. You begin the game as the leader of your own faction and must go about conquering new cities while earning as much money as possible. What you do with that money is up to you, but you can use it to build your army or improve your settlements and cities as you look to conquer the world. Once you have an army, you can engage with the other factions or bandits. This is where the first-person shooter element comes into play as you take part in the battle yourself alongside your soldiers who you can also give orders to. Anyone familiar with the Mount & Blade series will feel comfortable with Freeman: Guerilla Warfare so if you’re looking for a similar experience but one that takes place in the modern era, this game is for you.
Release Date: 2018
Want to buy Freeman: Guerilla Warfare? Click Here.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is the long-awaited sequel to Warband and has been well received by fans of the franchise since it release into Early Access earlier this year. The Mount & Blade series is popular for its empire building mechanics and real-time combat and Bannerlord improves and builds upon these features further by allowing players to create their very own medieval kingdom. In Bannerlord, players play as one single character in a vast sandbox world. From here, it is up to players to forge their own destiny, whether that be living life as a mercenary for hire, trying to become a vassal of a powerful lord or, if you so desire, forming your own kingdom by conquering land and building up your empire. Featuring more in-depth sieges, improved economic features, crafting and character management, Bannerlord is sure to be one of the best empire building games for a long time to come.
Release Date: March 2020
Want to buy Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord? Click Here.
If you’re in the mood for conquering space and pitting your civilization against a host of different human and alien factions in one huge universe, then Stellaris is the game for you. Stellaris is one of the largest space strategy sandbox games that has been made and discovering new galaxies and civilizations forms a key aspect of Stellaris. Once discovered, it’s up to you to decide though how you handle the new species and factions you’ve come across. Players must grow their civilization both from within and in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Construct ships, build space stations, research new technology and control your population as you see fit. Will your empire be one of co-operation and freedom or will you opt to be an oppressive and brutal ruler who only cares about advancing their own empire? The choice truly is yours.
Release Date: 2016
Want to buy Stellaris? Click Here.
Imperator: Rome is the latest game by Paradox Interactive who is known for creating some of the best empire building games currently available. In the game, you take control of a nation in the years following the collapse of Alexander the Great’s empire. From your small roots, you must expand and conquer as you build an empire strong enough to survive centuries of warfare and turmoil. Not only is Imperator: Rome a perfect example of a map-painter if ever there was one, but there’s also a lot to do when you’re not busy conquering your neighbours. The game has taken aspects from all of Paradox’s most popular games and while that has created a game that includes managing characters, populations as well as having an in-depth trading and resource management system, it has left Imperator: Rome feeling like it’s a jack of all trades but master of none. Still, don’t be put off by the reviews on Steam as there’s an enjoyable empire building game here and Paradox are already addressing fans concerns with the game.
Release Date: 2019
Want to buy Imperator: Rome? Click Here.
To be honest, any Total War game could have featured in this list although then it would have been a Total War list rather than giving other games a chance to shine. While no longer the latest entry in the Total War series, Attila arguably offers for the most variation when it comes to how you build and manage your empire. For those who are looking for stunning graphics and huge battles, Attila will quench your thirst for power and blood. Allowing players to conquer land and increase the power of their faction, Total War: Attila is one of the best empire building games money can buy.
Taking place during the collapse of the Roman Empire, Total War: Attila allows you to take control of a number of factions including the Western or Easter Roman Empires as well as the Huns themselves. You must guide your civilization through one of the most turbulent periods of human history in a battle for survival. No longer is your goal to conquer the world. Instead, it is a case of survival of the fittest. The weakest fall while the strong get stronger.
Attila introduces a whole range of new features including the option to become nomadic and travel across Europe, wreaking havoc as you go without a permanent home. Equally, your only means of survival may be to abandon your settlements and resettle in an entirely new part of Europe as you battle against the elements and other factions.
Release Date: 2015
Want to buy Total War: Attila? Click Here.
Total War: Three Kingdoms is arguably one of the best games released in the Total War franchise to date. A big part of that is due to the game’s complexity and depth away from the battlefield which makes you really feel like your trying to build a thriving empire as you attempt to become the dominant force in 190CE China. The real-time strategy combat in Three Kingdoms is exactly what we’ve come to expect but it’s more fun than ever to build up your settlements as you manage the needs of your empire, whether that be ensuring there is enough food being supplied to keeping your citizens happy and under control. You’ll have to manage all aspects of your empire, ranging from the loyalty and satisfaction of your generals and government ministers to creating a strong and robust economy. Diplomacy and trade are also crucial elements and all help to create the feeling of being a true emperor.
Release Date: 2019
Want to buy Total War: Three Kingdoms? Click Here.
Crusader Kings III combines RPG elements and RTS to provide a truly unique experience that makes it one of the best empire building games around. The game plays very similar to Europa Universalis IV, except in Crusader Kings III you must create your own character and attempt to make your dynasty as powerful and successful as possible.
If you have an interest in playing as a medieval lord or noble and gaining power and riches from your enemies while creating a dynasty which your heir will inherit, Crusader Kings III will be right up your street. Crusader Kings II also includes online competitive multiplayer where you can face off against 32 other players to establish your dominance across Europe and its borders.
Release Date: 2020
Want to buy Crusader Kings II? Click Here.
Europa Universalis IV is an empire building game that is hard to beat. If you really want to build an empire, there’s not really much better, other than our number one choice! If there is one game which is extremely in-depth, allows for a lot of customisation and gives you the chance to build your empire and attempt to rule the world, then it is Europa Universalis IV. The game is an RTS and allows you to pause the game and change the speed of time. EUIV is a very accurate and realistic simulation and with the huge range of expansions which have been released since its release, there are hundreds of hours to be had in this game.
You can choose to take control of one of the hundreds of empires available to you as well as having the option to create your own country and empire from scratch using the nation editor which came as part of the El Dorado expansion. The game starts in 1444 and plays out over the course of just under 500 years, although with basic modding these can be changed. Europa Universalis IV has it all from exploration, trade, diplomacy, and warfare to managing your own affairs within your country, improving the buildings in your regions and raising your armies.
Release Date: 2013
Want to buy Europa Universalis IV? Click Here.
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