[Top 15] Best Grand Strategy Games That Are Fun

best grand strategy games, grand strategy games, grand strategy games that are fun, strategy games
Just European wars. No big deal.

What are grand strategy games? Well, that depends on who you ask, but for most people, those are games that include controlling land, waging war, and engaging in diplomacy.

While this is a very broad definition, it's the only one that encompasses all the games below. It separates it nicely from base building RTS games and city builders.

The purist might say that if the game contains too many other mechanics than the ones listed above, or if it's not real-time that it isn't a true real-time strategy game, and to that, I say this would be a very short list if we followed those standards.

Anyway, if you enjoy making a large empire and roleplaying as a ruler, then these games are for you.


15. Europa Universalis 4 (PC)

Probably the best example of a grand strategy game, a paradox classic. In Europa Universalis, you take control of a single nation, and as is tradition for these games, the rest is up to you. There are no victory conditions, you set your own. Want to conquer the world? You can do it. Want to become the biggest colonial empire? You can do it. You will lead your chosen nation from the end of the medieval ages, all the way to the beginning of the industrial revolution. Declare wars, conquer lands, quell rebellions, forge alliances, and more, so much more. There are so many systems in Paradox games that it can be overwhelming, especially with the number of DLCs, but don’t worry the base game is very fun and well worth overcoming the steep learning curve. 

14. Crusader Kings 3 (PC / macOS / PS 5 / X Box series X/S)


Do you like intrigues? Are you a fan of the medieval period? Do you have no problem with assassinating children? Well, have I got a game for you. Paradox’s Crusader Kings series is essentially an RPG cosplaying as a grand strategy game. No, that’s not a bad thing. In Crusader Kings 3 you control a character, who is part of a dynasty, which you also indirectly control. Also, everybody else is a simulated character, impressive right? The game is set during the medieval period. Expand your lands from a humble county or a tribe to a mighty emperor or caliph, make decisions that will affect what kind of a character you are. Unlike in other Paradox games you are not tied to a country or culture, but rather to your character who can have claims on different titles, based on marriages and other familial connections. So you can essentially start a game as a duke in Ireland and end up as the Caliph. The possibilities are endless.

13. Crusader Kings 2 (PC)


If you’ve read what I wrote about Crusader Kings 3 there is not much more to say, Crusader Kings 2 is that, but older. Ok, to be honest Crusader Kings 3 is a better game, which focuses slightly more on the RPG elements. But Crusader Kings 2 is still loads of fun and with all the DLCs it had it feels more complete. The best part of Crusader Kings 2, and the reason it made it onto the list even though Crusader Kings 3 is on it, is the fact that the base game is free to play. So if you are unsure whether this type of game is for you, you’re now able to try it beforehand. 


12. Victoria 2 (PC / macOS)

Victoria II is another example of Paradox Interactives' magic. Don’t let the look of the game fool you, while the map is similar to EU4 the underlying gameplay mechanics are completely different. While EU4 is much more focused on building up a nation, conquering lands, and so on, Victoria II focuses on actually managing your nation’s society during the industrial revolution, from 1836 to the beginning of the 20th century. Generally speaking, Victoria II places a higher emphasis on diplomacy and managing the economy compared to EU4.

11. Hearts of Iron 4 (PC / macOS)

Sometimes it seems that Paradox Interactive are the only ones making grand strategy games, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hearts of Iron 4 is yet another Paradox game, which means it has the classic Paradox look of a world map divided into provinces, but once again the mechanics and setting are completely different. This time you’ll control a country during World War II and your focus will be on making factories, producing troops, and waging war. Waging war, tactics and strategic commanding of your armies are the focus of this game. If you’re a fan of WWII and grand strategy games, then Hearts of Iron 4 is a tailor-made game for you.

10. Stellaris (PC / macOS / X Box One / X Box Series X/S)

Another Paradox game, you know the gist, but this time it’s in space. Joking aside, Stellaris is an amazing game, and probably one of the best space strategy games out there. You control a civilization that just discovered faster than light travel, and the rest is up to you. Are you going to be a basic human civilization or a hive mind that seeks to incorporate all life forms into itself? One of the unique things about Stellaris is that you can design your civilization from the ground up, making for some great, albeit sometimes overpowered combinations. It might be too late for your dream of being an astronaut to come true, but it isn’t too late to make a galactic empire for yourself.

9. Imperator: Rome (PC / macOS)

You know how the last game was a Paradox game but in space. Well, this is a Paradox game but in ancient times, specifically during the Roman period. It’s definitely the weakest entry, at least in my opinion, but if you’re a fan of classical Rome it might still be fun for you. The gameplay is decent, it’s mostly based on Europa Universalis 4 but with a touch of Crusader Kings’s character management. 

8. Age of History 2 (PC / Android)


Age of History 2 is the definition of a grand strategy game. Take control of a nation throughout history and using superior military tactics and diplomacy lead it to victory. While it's definitely much simpler than Paradox games, do not let that fool you, it’s still fairly hard to master.  Age of History 2 is a good jumping-in point if you’ve never played a grand strategy game, both for its simplicity and for its price.


7. Empire: Total War (PC / macOS)

 While not the best Total War game out there, I already featured the better ones in a recent list, so here’s this one. I have a soft spot for it having played it as a child, but even I can see it’s definitely rough around the edges. Like all grand strategy games, there is an overworld map, wars, diplomacy, etc., but unlike the previous entries, it’s not real-time (depending on what you think that might disqualify it from the list). It’s set in 18th century Europe, so as the name implies, you’ll be leading your chosen empire to victory. One distinct advantage it has over the newer Total War games is that it’s much more affordable. 

6. A total war saga: Troy (PC / macOS)

A total war saga: Troy is a spinoff of the Total War series that focuses on the Troyan war from Greek mythology. The gameplay is pretty standard Total War, but what’s truly unique about the game is that it tries to rationalize the more mythological elements of the story, for example instead of Minotaurs it has large ax-wielding men wearing Bull skins. Honestly, in recent years I’ve slightly cooled down on the whole Greek mythology thing, but for a teenage me this game would have been a godsend. 

5. Supreme Ruler: Ultimate (PC / macOS)

Supreme Ruler: Ultimate is what you get if you distill the grand strategy game to its basic elements. Set in the period from WWII all the way into the future, take control of a nation, manage its economy in a detailed system, build your armies and wage war against other nations. It's essentially somewhere in between Europa Universalis 4 and Age of History 2 in terms of complexity.

4. Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion (PC)

Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is a sci-fi real-time grand strategy game with some 4X elements, the developers refer to it as RT4X. It's a standalone expansion for Sins of a Solar Empire. Assume control of one of three races, gather resources, and conquer planets, all in a fully realized 3D environment. The rebellion aspect adds two factions to every race, rebel, and loyalist. While the game doesn't feature single-player campaigns, you can still play offline against AI players in sandbox mode. While it's a little old and lacking in certain features of the other games, it's still very fun to play

3. Sid Meier's Civilization VI (PC / macOS / Switch / PS4 / X Box One / iOS / Android)

While the purist might not consider this a grand strategy game, here is a tip, just ignore them. Civilization has all the hallmarks of grand strategy games, gathering resources, building a nation, waging war, using tactics and diplomacy, so what if it’s not real-time rather than turn-based. Anyway, Civilization VI is a great game, take control of a civilization from the stone age all the way to the modern era, and beyond. Achieve victory through science, culture, religion, or plain old conquest, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

2. Age of Wonders III (PC)

If you're more interested in fantasy then Age of Wonder III is for you. It's set in a high fantasy world, where you, as is standard, wage war and engage in diplomacy between different factions and races, expanding your lands and managing your empire. Overall a very solid turn-based grand strategy game.

1. Endless Space 2 (PC / macOS)

Finally Endless Space 2, another space-based grand strategy game, but this time it's turn-based. It's set in a universe that was dominated by a powerful race. Thousands of years after their fall you take control of one of twelve factions, each with its own gameplay mechanics, storyline, homeworlds, spaceships, heroes, and technologies.  Will you be the one who imposes his will over the stars?

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Gamer Since: 2003
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Battlefield 1
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