Some video game genres give you a quick fix, while others are slow burners designed to suck hours of your life away. Kingdom building and base building games are definitely the latter, and you can lose whole nights playing them.
There are lots of kingdom building and base building games available to play these days. In this article, we sort the wheat from the chaff, listing the best base building games and kingdom building games you can play right now.
1. Rimworld: Base and City Builder
Rimworld is a base and a city builder, as it is “a sci-fi colony sim driven by an intelligent AI storyteller.” It doesn’t let down. Your Rimworld game begins with just three survivors. With these three survivors, you must start a new civilization.
Rimworld is engaging, making no qualms of the non-competitive sandbox mode. Your survivors’ story is led through an AI storyteller. The storyteller creates pirate attacks, traders, storms, random flocks of chickens, and more.
The AI storyteller isn’t just a random number generator, either. It is modeled on the AI Director from Left4Dead, meaning the encounters and scenarios create a narrative, rather than a series of random destructive events.
Rimworld left Steam Early Access in October 2018 and still receives regular updates. It also has a bustling Steam Workshop full of mods, extensions, and new AI storytellers.
2. Stardew Valley: City Building and Farming Simulation
Stardew Valley is one of the best indie games you can buy on Steam. It’s an extremely popular “open-ended country-life RPG” with a strong Harvest Moon influence. Stardew Valley straddles several genres. It isn’t strictly about building a city or a base, but about contributing to the healthy development of your city through a farming simulation.
On the face of it this sounds a little dull. But there is a good reason Stardew Valley players log thousands of hours in this incredibly engaging indie title.
Stardew Valley is a qualified indie success story. Its first week of sales in February 2016 saw Stardew Valley ship around 425,000 copies. In under two years, over 3.5 million copies of Stardew Valley had been sold.
Sole developer, Eric Barone, was taken aback with the universal appeal of the game, saying, “I never expected it to have such wide appeal. I mean, I’m super happy about it and blown away by the reaction, but I’m surprised too.”
Stardew Valley holds extra appeal as one of the great games you can play with integrated graphics.
3. Factorio: Base Building and Automation
Factorio players will be happy to learn that this article was entirely automated using a series of conveyor belts and mechanical grabbers. If you are yet to delve into the world of Factorio, get ready to book two weeks off of work as you build an enormous factory with the aim of building a shiny rocket.
Factorio is a true base builder. You harvest resources to feed a continually expanding factory. Researching unlocks new facilities, appliances, conveyor belts, and alien technology.
It sounds simple. In practice, your first base will become a twisting maze of spaghetti-like mechanical arms, pipes, and sorters powered using a variety of energy sources and protected with giant weaponry.
Factorio is elaborate and can feel hectic. You will definitely fall asleep wondering how to squeeze more efficiency from your logistics robots. Since its February 2016 release, Factorio has maintained a sensational 98% positive review rating on Steam, with nearly 2 million sales.
4. Subnautica: Base Builder and Undersea Exploration
Enter an alien world submerged deep underwater, filled with all manner of beautiful and horrific sea life, amazingly vibrant coral reefs, and stiflingly dark deep ocean trenches.
Brought to you by indie developers Unknown Worlds Entertainment, Subnautica has won many plaudits for its open-water survival style of gameplay, and a constantly expanding and developing ocean world for you to explore.
Subnautica spent four years in Early Access, and finally released proper in early 2018. Since then, it has sold millions of copies and maintains an excellent 93% positive rating on Steam.
You might sigh at the thought of yet another indie voxel survival base builder. But you shouldn’t. Subnautica will hold your attention from your first dip in the water to the murky, face-eating monster depths of terror.
5. Dwarf Fortress: Base Building and Kingdom Management
What base, city, and kingdom building list could exist without Dwarf Fortress? The incredible city building and kingdom management game is an indie gem, through and through.
Dwarf Fortress is complex. You view the world in ASCII, making your screen feel busy. The controls are extensive, and you must micromanage your dwarves lest they kill themselves in any number of gruesome or amusing methods. Dwarf Fortress is completely open-ended, too, without any main objectives.
Dwarf Fortress also features on our list of the best free PC games of 2019.
6. Islanders: City Builder
Islanders is a bright and vibrant city builder set on a tiny island. Your job is to build and maintain your island utopia through its fledgling village stages to a vast, bustling city.
There is no resource gathering in Islanders. You unlock new buildings via your high score, placing them like a puzzle to maximize your real estate. Buildings link together in a modular fashion, with each placement earning you more points.
Each island is procedurally generated, meaning no two places are the same. It keeps Islanders fresh, with a new challenge each time you play.
7. Planetbase: City and Base Building
The newly established space colony trope gives developers an easy entry point. Setting your space colony city builder apart from the rest is more difficult. Planetside manages to rise above the rest as you guide a group of settlers toward the genesis of a new civilization.
In Planetside, you switch between the role of colony manager and base architect. Switching between and combining the two roles gives you a rounded approach to maintaining development while keeping the colonists happy, and, importantly, alive.
One important thing to note is that Planetside has you manage your ecology. Run out of oxygen, water, and food, and death will come knocking on your interlocking chamber doors.
8. They Are Billions: Base Builder
They Are Billions is a base-building strategy game where you must overcome the infected hordes of a post-apocalyptic planet. You take control of one of the last remaining human colonies. Your task is to build and defend against the billions of infected attackers that arrive, wave after wave.
They Are Billions uses a custom game engine to power the decision making of the infected. You can face up to 20,000 units in real-time, all attempting to wipe out your colony. The They Are Billions infection is extremely virulent, too. If just one infected breaks through your defenses, the first workers it comes into contact with will contract the virus.
9. Banished: City Builder
You control a group of exiled travelers, searching for the perfect spot to build a new town. Banished doesn’t make restarting life easy. In the beginning, you only have the clothes on the travelers backs and pack-cart, depending on the difficulty level.
Winters come and go. Each time, you wonder how many people will die of starvation as your summer crop yields were low. You wonder if the children will survive because your hunter caught an illness and died. You wonder if a trade vessel will arrive. And if it does arrive, will it be carrying anything useful?
Banished stopped receiving updates in 2017. However, there is a decent modding community that brings additional features to the game.
10. The Universim: City Building God Game
The Universim asks, “What would you do with the power?”
In The Universim, you are the creator, the almighty. Your actions shape the development of the world. In your infinite wisdom, guide your world from its genesis into a mighty kingdom. Reward the faithful and punish the disbelievers.
The Universim is an ecosystem, too. Every aspect is linked, and tweaking one area can have unintended outcomes elsewhere on the planet. Nature rolls in and out and is unpredictable and at times, dangerous and destructive.
The Universim is still in early access and receives regular updates and bug fixes.
What Is the Best Kingdom or Base Building Game?
With so many kingdom and base building games available to play, and so many choices that didn’t make the list, there is no definitive answer to this question. How can you choose the best base or kingdom building game with so many options available?
The trick is not to pick just one. Play all of the games on this list that appeal to you, and you’ll never be bored again. Just be sure to stock up on coffee for those all-night sessions.
If you want a more casual city building experience, you should check out the best browser-based city building games instead.
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