Most people play video games to forget about their troubles or temporarily cure boredom. Others want to see how far they can push their computer in terms of computer-generated graphics. Or, they just want to get their adrenaline pumping through action-adventures or first-person shooter games. However, sometimes you need to relax and get your brain working instead of using brawn and an arsenal of weapons. In our case, leading an entire kingdom, you’ll have others be warriors under you, and it’s up to you to be the best emperor they’ve got. Here’s our pick of best kingdom games for PC to get your puzzle-solving part of the brain activated.
1. Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of the newest additions to the world of kingdom games. Instead of being a king, you’ll be a son of a blacksmith in 1403, named Henry. Your goal is to reinstate the rightful king to the throne of Bohemia. It is a hardcore, brutal, and unforgiving singleplayer game, so expect plenty of killing and fighting. And don’t think you’ll always come out as a winner, the opponents are tough! Furthermore, every choice you make affects the timeline and storyline, so chose wisely whether to stealth and avoid or go in guns blazing.
2. Civilization VI
One of the best-known strategy games for PC and its 6th iteration has a cult following already. The name says it all, this game is a realistic simulation of the rise and fall of many societies, including Greek, Macedonians, Egyptians, Incas, Mayans, Colombians, Romans, Spanish inquisitors, and more. Add to that various historic combat events and even a special DLC, Beyond Earth, which deals with space colonization, and you’ve got a winner. Best of all, instead of being a follower, you are given the reins to lead those civilizations to ultimate victory or failure.
3. Crusader Kings II
Although not the most eye-pleasing in terms of graphics, Crusader Kings II is a free to play RPG strategy. Because it was released back in 2012 and still has a steady fanbase, they have been forgiven in that department. It deals with Europe during The Dark Ages and you will start playing at any point between the years 1066 and 1337. This gives you a chance to take control and lead your kingdom up to the year 1453. You also get to pick one Christian lord and start a dynasty. Then, through descendants, vasals, and allies, and possibly even bishops, lead your way to victory against enemies.
4. Age of Empires II
This is by far one of the best-rated strategy games of all time and one of the most widely known older games. Through the base game, expansions (The Age of Kings and The Conquerors), and the DLCs, you’ll experience a large part of human history. Pick one of the civilizations you want to see succeed. Then, lead it through millennia of lack of resources, conflicts, peace, all-out wars, famine, happiness, and disaster, and see it through as victors. The game isn’t pretty, we’ll be honest, but it also has low system requirements. This is good news for history enthusiasts on a budget. You can also play it as an online game and compete against other players.
5. Ashes of the Singularity
Just like most of the games on this list, Ashes of the Singularity is a 3D game. But it simply can not be compared when it comes to the beauty of those graphics. This real-time strategy is an epic game that is often used as a GPU stress-test because it drains every atom of its power. And, because you are tasked with controlling thousands of units across a large map, it is also very CPU-demanding. If budget is of no concern to you, then this is, as they put it, a perfect “planetary warfare on a massive scale”.
6. Total War: Warhammer II
This mix of fantasy and turn-based strategy games extends far beyond the concept of a kingdom. It has multiple races, and plenty of dragons, and magic. Additionally, four new factions to battle or befriend are present – Skaven, High Elves, Dark Elves, and Lizardmen. Also, there are four new continents and a new singleplayer campaign. The graphical and AI improvements are also apparent, which makes the game worthy of the AAA title. And while it will shape you into a master detective and a military strategist, the game is very CPU intensive. So, be prepared to upgrade to a beefier processor if you get addicted.
7. Total War Battles: KINGDOM
This free to play game has a unique feature that players love. It is the ability to play it cross-platform – on PC, smartphones, or tablets. The progress is carried over from one device to the other. With that in mind, you can build a base kingdom, and expand it through quarries, farms, blacksmith, and other buildings. You can also alter the land by creating mountains, lakes, and rivers, to get a tactical advantage when you take your entire army to a battle. Best of all, the game has a multiplayer mode.
8. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
If you wanted to be amazed by the graphics, look no more, this game is it. The main focus is on roleplaying and on developing a character into a hero. But, you can’t deny the immersive open-world around you, all part of, you guessed it, Kingdoms of Amalur. Add a never-ending war, your immortality, well-developed storyline, detailed lore, countless cities and villages to explore, magic, earning armor and weapons, scripted combat and swordsmanship, and you’ll feel like a soldier in a medieval kingdom.
9. Hearts of Iron IV
Although it includes concepts of diplomacy, this game doesn’t lack violence and horror. It has a modern take and is set in the middle of World War II. The game allows you to pick any nation across the globe. Then, you are forced into conflict against the leading forces, the Allies, or the Axis. You can also pick the ideology (democracy, fascism, communism) or decide to be non-aligned. Besides hours of fun, the game works on older computers, and won’t cost you more than a few dollars to purchase digitally.
10. Endless Legend
A seamless blend of fantasy, roleplaying, and strategy is a game named Endless Legend. Set in an apocalyptic world with the presence of magic, this is a beauty to behold in terms of graphics. There are multiple factions in the game, such as Necrophage and Cultists. Each has a deep, detailed backstory and limitations in-game. For example, members of Necrophage are unable to forge alliances. Don’t worry, there are plenty of main story and side quests that will guide you through the game and help you make educated decisions.
11. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
We remember when Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 was one of the most awaited upcoming games of 2008. Since then, it became an RTS and tower defense classic and has reached legendary status. The premise is simple, you start with just one building and a few vehicles. But, it quickly expands into an entire kingdom of interconnected infantry, personnel, buildings, vehicles, and you struggling to feed the growing army. You’re soon visited by nearby enemies trying to scavenge or destroy your hard work, and it only goes up from there. In our opinion, it is one of the most liked paid games out there.
Although it’s officially a singleplayer city-building emulator, that city quickly develops into a force to be reckoned with. The player is in charge of a group of travelers who are trying to turn over a new leaf in their lives in an unknown land. Manage the first generation and their descendants, keep them fed, motivated, healthy, and with something to do, and the houses will start multiplying. And, besides houses, you need to raise livestock and plant and reap crops to keep things progressing. An interesting thing is that there are no skills or money, only resources.
13. Tropico 5
Ever wondered how it feels to be a modern age dictator or king? With Tropico 5, you’ll experience exactly that. You start with an initial quest – to build a city on an island. Then, you are tasked to improve and maintain infrastructure and economics, keep the population happy, wage war or strike a truce, or even declare independence from other islands in the vicinity. This is possible in a solo campaign, LAN co-op with friends locally, or in a multiplayer mode. The latter option provided hours of fun for us. While the AI in the singleplayer mode is fun, the real challenge is rushing to build, attack, or defend your city against real players close by.
14. Rise of Nations
Can there be a more fitting name for a kingdom game? You’re not only witnessing a rise of nations but taking an active part in the progress. Start by creating forts and smaller cities. Then, by collecting information, learning how to improve technology, and amassing resources, you can develop those cities into things to be revered. Furthermore, there are more than 100 units you can build. They span from the Ancient Age warriors and cavalrymen to the Information Age airplanes, missile silos, siege and automobile factories, shipyards, and barracks.
15. Offworld Trading Company
Do you wonder about space colonization and starting from scratch in a harsh environment? While the real thing will be a challenge, you can simulate the experience with Offworld Trading Company. In it, humanity has just arrived at the red planet, Mars. You are asked to manage the entire process, and start building a base as well as a plethora of tanks. Start attacking enemies and their bases, and gathering money and resources to keep growing. Forging alliances is possible, of course, but don’t expect things to remain calm for long, because everyone wants to dominate. Think of the game as a space tycoon simulator.
16. Total War: Rome II
If you ever wanted to make a man out of a boy and also teach him history, there is no better choice than Total War: Rome II. The campaign is set in the year 272 BC, will take you both on a journey of the rise and fall during the next 300 years. You can choose to exceed that limit, too. Compared to older games, combat is improved and AI is far from dumb and clueless. You can even try and sort things out through diplomacy instead of drawing blood. If that fails, large scale fights are always an option and the highlight of the game.
The base game, released in 2002, is pretty old and disappointing in terms of graphics and what it can do. Luckily, Homeworld has had 2015 remaster. It takes the concept of a kingdom to a whole new level – to space. You are on a quest to amass resources, build a base, and start gathering military forces to win upcoming conflicts. The singleplayer version also has an interesting storyline, told to you through cutscenes. The multiplayer one allows you to challenge your skills, especially against players who might have played the game since it came out 18 years ago.
18. The Settlers 7: Paths to a Kingdom
As Princess Zoé of the Kingdom of Kuron, you’ll be tasked with quelching the rebellion of a nearby kingdom of Tandria. But, the lines are quickly blurred – are you a liberator or rebel and inquisitor? Along the way, you need to juggle economics, maintain a large military force, develop technology, build road networks, and more. We included it here because, for the first time in The Settlers franchise, you can develop a settlement along three lines – trade, technology, and military.
18. Make Your Kingdom
We think Make Your Kingdom is an underrated game and people discard it because it looks like a Minecraft alternative. As usual, you’re the leader of a group of settlers with unique desires, goals, and motivations. Meet their needs in terms of a place to live, food to eat, and things to do, and you’ll earn their respect and loyalty. As long as you maintain and keep building, new people will settle in your kingdom. Besides the overall unhappiness of people, your biggest foe is nature. Weather conditions, harsh seasons, and a day-night cycle will force your hand at making hard decisions.
20. Cities: Skylines
Cities: Skylines is a game that’s the modern equivalent of building a kingdom. Only this time, you’ll build a city from scratch and instead of an emperor, you’re the city’s mayor. Control the traffic, pave new concrete roads, raise and flatten buildings and houses, and make sure the economy doesn’t tank. You also need to ensure the residents are happy, safe, and productive by balancing necessities such as police, firefighters, water, air pollution, electricity, education, healthcare, and city laws and regulations.