17 Real-Time Strategy Games Like Stronghold

The Stronghold strategy games developed by Firefly Studios focus on the expansion of a militaristic and economic superpower, but after playing through all eight Stronghold games, it’s time for a change. In this article, we explore 17 games that are similar to Stronghold, either through their management system or the battle system.

1. The Age of Empires series

With a legacy of over 20 years, as the first game was released in October 1997, this historical real-time strategy series originally spanned from the Stone Age to the Iron Age in its gameplay, eventually expanding into the Roman Empire, the early modern period, and mythological worlds. If you enjoyed the historical fantasy and the military strategy aspects of Stronghold, this is by far the best series for you to engage with.

2. The Sid Meier Civilization series

Excluding this world-famous turn-based world-building game from a list of games similar to Stronghold would be a grave error. You can choose which civilization to control and move military units around on the map, develop technology, build or improve your cities, and negotiate with other players, both human and computer. The original game took place on a 2-D map, but the most recent installments take place in a 3-D world. If you enjoyed the city-building and management aspects of Stronghold, these are the games for you. Gather your friends and see if you can get Mahatma Gandhi to nuke you!

3. Battle Brothers

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This deceptively simplistic-looking game pairs a board game setting with difficult tactical strategy gameplay. If you are interested in a challenge, this is the game for you, because this game comes with nothing but challenges. With turn-based combat and tactical strategies, you are bound to spend hours perfecting the battle system in this game. It was released in April 2015, and it is available for the PC and for the Nintendo Switch.

4. The Total War series

The Total War series allows you to wage war and conquer territories in a variety of ancient civilizations, from feudal Japan to the Dark Ages of Europe to ancient Troy. You can conquer new lands, play as different families, and build up your civilizations. There is also a spinoff series, including one that takes place in ancient Sparta. The first game, Shogun, was released in June 2000, and the most recent game in the main series was released in August 2020.

5. Imperium Romanum

If you are more interested in the city-building aspect of Stronghold, this game is ideal for you because it features that alongside navigation of historical events such as the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. If you want to build Rome from the ground up, pick up a copy for your PC today and get building on the Circus Maximus, the Coliseum, and more.

6. Lords of the Realm

If you are more focused on the military aspects of Stronghold, Lords of the Realm is right for you. Battles between parties take place in a real-time environment, with the player being able to control individual units as well as entire groups of soldiers. The warring units seek to be either the King of England or the King of Germany. If you enjoy military strategy games in a medieval setting, this game is the ideal choice for you.

7. Rise of Nations

This 2003 PC game focuses on the concept of gaining territory, with an infinite supply of resources available for harvesting. You must balance offensive and defensive war strategies with your economy. Much like a game of chess, one strategic mistake can cause major issues later on. If you think you can take on the high-level strategic gameplay, Rise of Nations is right for you.

8. RimWorld

If you’re more interested in the management aspects of Stronghold, this indie top-down construction and management simulation may interest you. The player’s job is to ensure the survival of a colony of people, fighting against unpredictable events such as natural disasters. The story is generated randomly by an AI storyteller of your choice: Cassandra Classic, Phoebe Chillax, and Randy Random. Your colony can also become more technologically advanced, which is central to the gameplay. If you’re more enthralled by the management aspects of the Stronghold games, then this 2018 PC, iOS, and Linux title is for you.

9. Praetorians

In this military-focused real-time tactical strategy game, the player has the choice of controlling one of three major empires during Rome’s sieges around Europe. The player can play as the Roman Republic, the Ptolemaic Kingdom, or a generic Barbarian tribe based off the Helvetii, the Gauls, and the Celts. Each civilizations has unique strengths and weaknesses. This game was met with mixed reviews, but if the concept of a 3-D RTS game taking place during the age of Ancient Rome interests you, why not give it a try?

10. Knights of Honor

The 2004-2005 PC game takes place in Medieval Europe and carries the player into the early second millennium. The map of Europe spans from Ireland to the Caucasus Mountains and from Scandinavia to the northern coast of Africa. Religion plays an important role, with four to choose from. You can spend your resources on upgrades, military units, and buildings, and they can be earned through taxes, trading, and monarchic power. If you’re interested in PC game that you can extensively mod, this is the game for you. As of 2019, the sequel, Knights of Honor II: Sovereign, is currently in the works.

11. Company of Heroes

Company of Heroes is a 2006 real-time strategy game set during World War 2. With up to eight-player multiplayer available, you can fight as either the Allies or the Axis during the Battle of Normandy and Operation Cobra. If you are interested in a game that allows you to see both sides of the Second World War in a real-time strategy setting and that was ranked 9.4/10 by IGN, this is the game for you.

12. The Empire Earth series

By the same software label as the City Building series, Empire Earth is a real-time strategy series which incorporates a morale system and a hero system, with two different types of heroes: Strategists and Warriors. It carries the player through the entire history of humanity, from the Prehistoric Age to the Nano Age, with 21 different civilizations to choose from in each era. If you are interested in a real-time strategy world-building game, you are going to have great fun with the Empire Earth games.

13. The City Building series

The City Building series, including the Caesar games, Pharaoh, and Zeus: Master of Olympus, focus on city-building and can, in a lot of ways, be considered a version of SimCity that takes place in ancient civilizations. The series began with Caesar, and the latest installment in 2002, Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, taking place in ancient China. If you are a fan of the city-building aspect of Stronghold, this is the series for you.

14. American Conquest

American Conquest is an often-overlooked real-time strategy game set between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries of American history. The player has the option to play the European factions or the Native American factions. You can build dwellings via a peasant workforce and train the peasants to be soldiers. With 8.2/10 on IGN, this game is well worth a try if you’re a fan of the Stronghold series.

15. The Settlers series

Originally released in 1993 by the German offshoot of Ubisoft, Blue Byte, this city-building real-time strategy game is highly similar to Anno 1404 and, more importantly, to Stronghold. With eight games in the main series, none of the games are connected in terms of plot or story. The only thing that they all have in common is their gameplay and setting. If you are interested in a simulation of a supply and demand economy, this is the series for you.

16. Anno 1404

This 2009 real-time strategy game emulates the management system and city-building found in Stronghold. Though it is based on historical events and takes place in the medieval and Renaissance history (e.g. the Crusades, the Gothic era), as well as the rise of early capitalism and mercantilism. A 2010 expansion, entitled Venice, added multiplayer and multiple new features. If you are a fan of building economic systems from the ground up and engaging with historical fiction, this is the game for you.

17. Aarklash: Legacy

This lesser-known 2013 tactical RPG was the subject of mixed to average reviews, but it incorporates the same strategy and planning as Stronghold and others on this list. You work to learn enemies’ weaknesses and coordinate your heroes to defeat them. If you are a fan of single-player tactical RPGs on PC, this game is worth a try.

Our number-one choice for games similar to Stronghold was the Age of Empires series. Do you agree with our choice, or do you think another game deserves the top spot? Let us know in the comments below!

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