What games are like the Total War series? Creative Assembly’s seminal strategy series is a law unto itself, offering a rich, far-reaching turn-based campaign layer while also letting you load into a separate real-time tactical map where you can take your armies and fight it out for the glory of Rome, Sigmar, Troy, and so on.
In the pantheon of strategy games, few have approached Creative Assembly’s unique vision. This leaves us with much ground to cover without any obvious competitors when pinpointing the best games like Total War. There are more strategy games out there than we’ll ever remember, so we’ve decided to focus on some new titles, as the classics have been well-trodden by now. Here are five options that might scratch that Total War itch – enjoy!
Games like Total War
Here are five great games like Total War:
Real Warfare 2: Northern Crusades
The Real Warfare series is a relic from the 2010s when mid-tier publishers like 1C Entertainment were championing indie strategy projects across Europe. Some were interesting, others less so, but all of them tended to have the same issues of underdevelopment that you just wouldn’t be able to get away with today.
Real Warfare 2: Northern Crusades builds upon two previous alternatives to Medieval: Total War – Real Warfare 1242 and XIII Century. The only difference – and the crucial distinction that brings it to our attention today – is that Northern Crusades was the first to add in a campaign later. You would find yourself in control of an army, roaming across a map of north-eastern Europe, before loading into a separate real-time tactical layer.
It was pretty cool – like a hyper-focused Medieval 2 mini-campaign, except the campaign layer itself was also in real-time, which makes this also a bit like Mount & Blade or Heroes of Might and Magic. Sadly, the studio that created it is no more, and the game still has some lingering bugs, but it’s available pretty cheap on Steam if you want to check it out anyway.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a great 4X game that offers some cool and inventive twists on things you already know. The series has just as much in common with games like Civilization – and you’ll find Age of Wonders 3 on that list – but the newest entry has more in common with Total War. In fact, you could argue that Planetfall is to Age of Wonders as the Total Warhammer games are to Total War games at large.
Planetfall is set long after the collapse of a galaxy-spanning empire, with the survivors taking their first steps back into the universe to try and piece together what happened. Every game has you landing on a new planet, with a new story to unearth and other major and minor factions to contend with. The map is split into sectors, each one filled with mysteries and special dungeon-like zones for you to clear out and explore.
There is a tactical layer where you can fight out all your battles, although it’s turn-based instead of Total War’s real-time. Still, a great game that’s well worth checking out if you haven’t already.
Field of Glory: Empires
If you want something that reminds you of old-school Total War, then Field of Glory: Empires is an interesting one to check out. It’s a grand strategy wargame set in ancient times, and you can choose to play as many of the usual suspects – Rome, Carthage, Parthia, and others. It definitely reminds me of OG Rome: Total War vs. Total War: Rome II, but it’s got some unique mechanics that give it an edge.
It doesn’t technically have its own tactical battle engine, but you can give it one if you combine it with another one of Slitherine’s games – Field of Glory II. By porting the battle data from one game to another, you can play it out in full (although FOGII is a turn-based game, not real-time), then port those results back into Empires, and carry on as normal. A novel, if not the most efficient, uses two very different games.
Hegemony III: Clash of the Ancients
This one is probably the least like Total War out of the group, but it’s still pretty good and shares many traits that will draw you to it for the same reasons you like Total War games. Hegemony III is set in the Italian Peninsula long before Rome dominated the region. You can choose the city of Rome itself or a number of other factions from the period, and you must slowly expand and conquer the map.
It’s a wargame at heart, and a lot of what you’re doing is ensuring you’ve got enough food to feed your citizens during winter and your armies while they’re operating outside your territory. The map is littered with nodes where you can build forts and bridges – and you can set up supply lines to ensure there’s enough food to support an invasion of a neighbor.
It’s very indie but a fascinating take on ancient warfare that will keep you hooked for hours on end. Everything’s in real-time here, and this is the only RTS game on the list that doesn’t load you into a separate tactical battle interface – you fight it out on the campaign map whenever you encounter enemies.
Company of Heroes 3
Company of Heroes 3 returns in all its glory, but it’s now tied together with a campaign map that lets you move armies about as you fight over the Mediterranean during WW2. There’s no empire management, but you do need to take over towns, build up a logistics base, and make sure you keep your armies in good supply. The Mediterranean is a rarely covered WW2 theatre, and it’s great to see it brought to life like this.
Our Company of Heroes 3 review outlines what you can expect from this latest entry in Relic’s venerated series. If you want to brush up on your skills, our tips and tricks will benefit new and returning players. We’ve also got a Company of Heroes 3 missions list that outlines the main story missions, as well as how to unlock the Battle of Monte Cassino.
That’s our five best strategy games like Total War. If you’re looking for more lists in the same vein, we’ve got six strategy games like Age of Empires and the best medieval games on PC if you’d prefer to remain on horseback. Alternatively, we’ve got the best space games if you’d prefer to set your sights on traversing the galaxy – and I you want more military and strategic experiences, our list of the best war games may suit you well.