Mac gaming can be frustrating at times. The problem is finding games that are available on the platform. Even today, after Steam’s adoption of the Mac, finding games to play can be difficult.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some excellent games. You just have to do a little extra work to find them. Let’s have a look at ten strategy game titles that are sure to please any fan of the genre.
Mac games are relatively rare, and their scarcity increases as they age. The production runs are smaller, which results in fewer used copies, which results in higher prices.
I’m capping the price for games at $60. This leaves out games like Rise of Nations. It’s an excellent title, but the few new copies I could find are priced at over $100. All of the games found here are affordable, which means they are relatively recent releases and many of them are sold on Steam.
AI War: Fleet Command
If you’re a fan of the space-strategy genre and you don’t mind a steep learning curve you’ll love AI War.
This massive game offers players the chance to conquer the stars with gigantic fleets. Building them requires the management of complex resource system, though with that said, this is far from the most hardcore title you can buy.
AI War is available on Steam for $9.99. There’s also a demo available.
Civilization IV and Civilization V
The Civilization titles have supported Mac for some time. The newest version is Civilization V, but its focus on making the series more accessible has angered some gamers while pleasing others.
Fortunately, you have a choice. Civilization IV: The Complete Edition is also available for Mac and it still feels quite modern, so gamers who prefer more complex strategy can pick it up.
This unique title is story-driven, making it different from most strategy games. It places you in charge of saving a virtual world called Darwinia. A virus has assaulted it and its virtual citizens – and only you can stop it.
Darwinia’s lo-fi graphics style is beautiful but also makes the game easy to run on almost any Mac made in the last five years. The game is relatively simple to understand, so it’s a good choice for those unfamiliar with the genre.
You can buy Darwinia for $9.99 on Steam. There is a demo available.
One of the newest games here, Frozen Synapse is a turn-based title focusing on squad combat. It’s one of the few games of its kind to be released in the last decade and it’s probably the best of the bunch.
There are only a few units, so understanding the basics isn’t difficult. However, the complex interactions between units, terrain and fog-of-war result in a deceptively challenging game. Units die quickly to gunfire, so a single round rarely lasts more than thirty minutes.
Frozen Synapse is $24.99 on Steam. There is a demo available.
Gratuitous Space Battles
As the name implies, this strategy game is all about space battles. Fleets of 2D vessels are pitted against each other and attempt to achieve victory with beam weapons, torpedoes, missiles and rail guns. If you’ve ever found yourself re-watching the space battles in Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5 you’ll love what this game offers.
This game sets itself apart from others by taking away direct control of battles. Players are responsible for designing ships and determining deployment. This sounds unusual, but the design lets you focus on building ships and enjoying battles instead of worrying about split-second changes in starship tactics.
Hearts of Iron III
Hearts of Iron has been considered the definitive World War II strategy game since the release of the original in 2002. The game has never been accessible to strategy newcomers, but that’s sort of the point.
The latest edition refines the interface and updates the graphics, but it remains a hardcore title targeted at history buffs and World War II fanatics. The huge number of possible strategies and large number of playable countries makes this a title that you can play for hundreds of hours without exploring every possibility.
Rome: Total War
The Total War series is one of the best strategy franchises on the market, but the latest games have not come to the Mac. The most recent title you can purchase is Rome: Total War.
That’s not to imply the game is bad, however. Rome: Total War is about eight years old, which means the graphics aren’t the best, but the battles themselves are as enjoyable as any Total War title. Anyone who wants to enjoy real-time strategy with extreme tactical depth needs to pick this one up.
The Sims 3
Yes, the Sims is a strategy game. It doesn’t involve killing or conquering – but it does require proper resource management if you want your Sims to be successful.
This is the most approachable game on our list. Strategy game fans shouldn’t write it off automatically as too simple, however. The Sims 3 is the most engaging game in the franchise from a strategy perspective. Managing day-to-day life of an entire family can become a serious challenge.
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
Blizzard’s long-awaited installment of the hugely popular Starcraft franchise was certain to make this list. It is the only strategy title on this list that was built for professional competitive play. This focus is evident in the game’s excellent balance and fast pace.
Gamers who are looking for an engaging single-player strategy game experience may need to look elsewhere. The multi-player, however, is enjoyable for both newbies and experienced gamers. Blizzard’s ladder does an excellent job of gauging skill levels and pitting players against others that are approximately as skilled.
All of the games listed here are enjoyable and affordable. Together, they represent hundreds of hours of gameplay. But if there a title that you enjoy which isn’t listed here let us know by leaving a comment.