Anno Games Ranked From Worst to Best

The Anno series has been producing some of the most exceptional 4X-strategy games since the 1990s.

What is 4X strategy? Simply put, a subgenre of strategy that focuses on 4 key pillars- explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. By taking the initials from each of these 4 key components, you get 4X.

Unlike your average RTS game, 4X can be both turn-based as well as real-time (or a combination of the two).

You don’t just collect resources and build an army in 4X games. Instead, you explore a gigantic map filled with unique biomes and factions who you can turn into allies or enemies.

Victory in 4X games can be achieved through a variety of methods ranging from militaristic expansion to diplomatic relationships. 

Which is the best Anno game? This is a hard question to answer. Each one is unique and introduces new mechanics/civilizations. However, you’ll also notice a bunch of similarities between all Anno games.

For instance, every Anno game since the first has had a year attached to it, denoting the time period it takes place in.

Anno of course is short for Anno Domini (AD) which tells us the year according to Julian/Gregorian calendars.

Every Anno game is set during a pivotal part of human history, with a couple of exceptions. There are two Anno games set within a futuristic timeline-Anno 2205 and 2070. 

Anno Games: Ranked Worst To Best

Clearly, the Anno series of video games are loved by strategy fans all around the world. But which Anno is the best?

Here’s my personal list of the best mainline Anno games, ranked worst to best. The ranking is based on my preference, but you’ll find that most Anno fans more or less agree with how I ordered these games. 

7. Anno 1602

Developer Max Design
Release DateFebruary 1, 2000 (1998 in Europe)
Platforms MS Windows (PC)

The first of its kind, Anno 1602 was originally released all the way back in 1998.

It puts the player in charge of managing the economy, military, and infrastructure of several island groups.

You’d also be able to expand your empire by colonizing and/or establishing diplomatic treaties with neighboring AI empires.

Anno 1602 has a progressive AI system which basically means that the game pace will slow down or increase depending on your decisions.

The first Anno game, 1602 sold very well upon launch in Germany.

In fact, it was Germany’s most popular computer game in 1998 (while also attracting a significant female player base). 

6. Anno 1503

Developer Max Design
Release Date April 4, 2003
Platforms MS Windows (PC)

The sequel to 1602, Anno 1503 didn’t revolutionize the classic formula.

It added little things here and there to smooth out the experience while building upon its predecessor’s success.

Just like the previous Anno game, you can wage war on both land and sea. Or you can focus on trade and diplomacy to bypass military conflict with neighbors while also improving your own economy.

For Anno 1503, Max Design tweaked the combat system.

The result is more options for tactical planning before a battle starts. The map sizes, unit variety, and AI are also a big improvement over Anno 1602. 

5. Anno 1701

Developer Related Designs
Release DateOctober 30, 2006
Platforms MS Windows (PC)

Ubisoft Mainz was formed back in 1995 and would be known as Related Designs. This Ubisoft subsidiary is renowned for developing one of the best Anno games of all time, Anno 1701.

In Anno 1701, you have two primary game modes- continuous play and scenarios. Continuous play mode puts you in an open-ended world with the potential for limitless expansion and customization.

In scenarios, you are placed within pre-crafted mission templates and given certain tasks to complete.

You can customize world size, island location, and environmental factors such as pirates, natural disasters, etc.

Much like previous Anno titles, your success depends on how efficiently you manage your economy and military. 

4. Anno 1404

Developer Related Designs, Blue Byte
Release Date June 23, 2009
Platforms MS Windows (PC)

This is one of the few legacy Anno titles to get a remaster, which is titled “Anno 1404- History Edition”.

The History Edition remaster features slightly better graphics and support for 4k resolution. Plus, it’s optimized to work properly on modern PC hardware.

History Edition also adds better multiplayer support with bonus content in the form of wallpapers, soundtracks, etc.

It should be noted that Anno 1404 plays a bit differently from its predecessors. There is a lot more focus on city-building (and the variety + detail in buildings has been improved significantly). 

3. Anno 2205

DeveloperBlue Byte
Release DateNovember 3, 2015
PlatformsMS Windows (PC)

The first of my top 3 Anno titles, 2205 marked a significant departure from the legacy of Anno games set during humanity’s revolutionary/renaissance periods.

This one takes place in a future with advanced space travel, omnipresent nuclear power, and artificial intelligence.

And yes, the futuristic megacities in Anno 2205 have flying cars (which adds a further layer of complexity to city planning).

At the start, you’re put in charge of a giant corporation that’s in fierce competition with rival corporations.

Unlike previous Anno games where you managed islands on Earth, you can now manage settlements both on Earth and in space.

You build futuristic cities filled with skyscrapers and technology research centers, including robot-manufacturing plants. 

2. Anno 1800

DeveloperBlue Byte
Release DateApril 16, 2019
PlatformsMS Windows (PC)

The latest and best-looking Anno game, it’s what I’d recommend to most people who are just getting into Anno for the first time.

You’ll find an endless supply of walkthroughs, guides, and tutorial videos that are sufficient to convert you from a newbie into a pro.

Plus, the latest Anno game features quality of life features that make playing the game a lot easier for newcomers.

Set during the beginning of the industrial revolution, Anno 1800 features everything from steam locomotives to petroleum power plants.

And you also have to plan out each city while minimizing pollution and congestion.

Not an easy task, considering the fact that you have to strike a balance between citizen satisfaction and economic growth. 

1. Anno 2070

DeveloperRelated Designs, Blue Byte
Release DateNovember 17, 2011
PlatformsMS Windows (PC)

Anno 2070 is my personal favorite of the lot, and it barely wins out over Anno 1800.

The level of player freedom and customization in this game cannot be rivaled by any other Anno title.

In fact, one of the main criticisms for Anno 2205 was that it took away several game mechanics from its predecessor (2070).

Unlike previous Anno games, politics is no longer a divisive topic that marks a difference between each faction.

Global warming has melted the ice caps and flooded several cities, so all of humanity is working together irrespective of culture or nationality. And there is one global government. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Does Anno play like Civilization?

A: Not really, even though both are grand strategy games with giant maps and extensive levels of detail in their respective worlds.

The latest Anno 1800 plays somewhat like a city builder with a smattering of strategy. Previous Anno games play more like authentic 4X games.

Q: Do I need a powerful PC to run Anno 1800?

A: You can get by with a gaming PC that is 4 to 5 years old, but the game will slow down while zooming and panning around your city.

As long as you have a quad-core and at least 8GB of RAM, you can run this game on minimum settings.

Q: What is the best way to move my camera in Anno?

A: You can use edge panning/ scrolling. If that isn’t enough, you can also bind WASD to the camera for faster movement. 

Q: How to rotate buildings in Anno?

A: Different games will have different shortcuts. For instance, Anno 2070 uses “,” and “.” while Anno 1800 uses the middle mouse button. Since these are PC games, you can easily rebind the keys according to your personal preferences.

Q: Does Anno have multiplayer?

A: Anno games have always had some form of multiplayer, whether it be online or LAN. For example- Anno 1800 supports online cooperative play with friends. You can also play against your friend or team up against AI.


You don’t need to play the Anno series in any particular order, since they act like standalone titles. Each with its own historical setting and storyline.

But if you do play a couple of these games, you’ll notice that game mechanics and systems carry over between titles.

The game features civilizations based on real historic empires, with a somewhat realistic depiction of the culture for each one of these civilizations.

And as for this list of mine, it only contains the mainline Anno titles. Spinoffs such as Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery and Anno Online haven’t been included.

Because if I discussed all the spinoffs, it would make this article far too long and tedious for most readers. 

If you’re new to Anno, don’t worry about the spinoffs- the main series is plenty to keep you busy for months. And these are also the best Anno games. So dig in, take your pick, and start playing some Anno.