Curiously, the bulk of Medieval strategy games that do study the Middle Ages revolve upon either the Japanese Sengoku Jidai (Warring States) period or the European High Middle Ages. This makes the Medieval period in human history one of the least covered eras in the genre. Though that’s a discussion for another day, fantasy strategy games have seen tremendous success with the Medieval style.
There is a wealth of opportunity for game developers to express their imagination and passion for the past thanks to the scarcity of strategy games set during the Medieval era. This implies that the few excellent strategy games that are set in this intriguing period of history are all the more remarkable and unique in their reverence for the past. We limited ourselves to one entry per franchise when compiling this list of the greatest Medieval strategy games ever made in order to provide players who are interested in the genre and the Middle Ages with a starting point.
15 Best Medieval Strategy Games of All Time
In this article you can find out the best medieval strategy games list.
15. Medieval: Kingdom Wars
Developer: Reverie World Studios
Publisher: Reverie World Studios
Among the most prevalent components of any Medieval strategy game are Grand strategy, base (or castle, in this case) construction, and martial warfare. The image of intricate politics, calculated military decisions, and combat taking place behind the walls of towering fortifications has a certain attraction. Players can enjoy a plethora of grand strategy, construction, and fighting aspects in Medieval: Kingdoms Wars.
Medieval: Kingdom Wars is essentially a large-scale campaign game akin to Knights of Honor, but it uses squad command and base development, which is more in line with the old RTS style of battle, a la Battle for Middle-Earth. Players will have plenty of opportunities to immerse themselves in the scene and enjoy making entertaining tactical and strategic decisions thanks to this hybrid approach to historical illustration.
Despite the shoddy graphics and awkward user interface that befit the game’s low budget, Medieval: Kingdom Wars is nonetheless a good strategy game on its own because to its exciting and chaotic fighting.
14. Expeditions: Viking
Developer: Logic Artists
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Not all Medieval Strategy Games take place in the High Middle Ages; Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, Northgard, and many others are set during the Viking Age, which is arguably one of the most popular settings overall. The sole historical game on the list, Expeditions: Viking, also happens to be one of the more distinctive strategy games. In contrast to the majority of its strategy siblings, the main attraction of Expeditions is turn-based tactical role-playing, a la XCOM or Baldur’s Gate.
The game’s Viking era scenario is ideal for examining the difficulties of surviving in the harsh Nordic climate and the aspirations of diverse characters to obtain wealth, fame, and fresh territory for farming. The players’ attention is maintained in the predicament of their avatar and the warband they assemble to go on raids by the captivating dialogue and engaging battle.
Though the game’s numerous technical problems prevent it from ranking higher, Expeditions: Viking’s unparalleled character creation and customization system make it one of the greatest Medieval strategy games ever made.
13. Vedelem: The Golden Horde
Developer: Castle Roaches
Publisher: Breda University of Applied Sciences
Vedelem is the only free strategy game on the list. It’s a hybrid of a small-scale castle builder and real-time strategy game, somewhat reminiscent of the Stronghold series. Though players must constantly create and extend their settlement while under constant pressure from ever-increasing hordes of Mongol forces, Vedelem has been heavily influenced by survival games.
Vedelem is a survival strategy game that at least suggests that players take control of the Hungarian kingdoms fending off the Golden Horde’s effort to invade Western Europe, even if it does not reflect any particular era.
Vedelem’s simplicity and ease of use are its main strengths. In both the timed and unlimited modes, players will need to gather resources, buy land, construct their castle, and assemble a wide range of soldiers. The fact that Vedelem is free and its mechanisms function as intended makes it one of the most enjoyable bite-sized strategy games to date, even though it may not be particularly inventive or go beyond its premise.
12. The King’s Crusade
Developer: NeoCore Games
Publisher: Paradox Interactive, 1C Company, Snowball Studios
The King’s Crusade, which takes place during the Third Crusade and takes place from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, lets players assume leadership of both the European Crusader armies and the Saracens under Sultan Saladin. The King’s Crusade’s mechanics are an improvement over NeoCore Games’ earlier Medieval-inspired game, King Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame. Despite their similarities, they blend in fairly well with a historical context.
The turn-based campaign and real-time combat are the two main features of The King’s Crusade. The campaign aspect of the game, which is generally reminiscent of the Total War series, has a strong emphasis on character abilities and role-playing, which makes the strategic layer less open-ended but still engrossing, while the tactical fights are always tough and interesting.
Even though The King’s Crusade is a bit old in terms of both graphics and user interface at this time, it’s still a great example of combining several genres into one cohesive whole.
Developer: Shining Rock Software
Publisher: Shining Rock Software
As the countless cities, villages, and settlements served as the foundation of economic life during the Medieval Period, castles and fortifications may be seen as a symbol of that time. Even though Banished is set in a generic, abstracted depiction of the European Middle Ages, the artwork, architecture, and materials all pay homage to the era without going overboard with creative license.
In the game Banished, players assume control of a group of exiles tasked with building a self-sufficient town that can withstand the harsh weather. The game is essentially a city-builder with a stronger focus on cautious resource and population control.
The continuous threat of population growth, health issues, and overall well-being are all skillfully handled in Banished, making for an exhausting but fascinating experience. The demands of administration in Banished can be taxing and even exhausting at times, but that’s precisely the allure that elevates it to the status of one of the greatest Medieval strategy games ever created.
10. Ancestors Legacy
Developer: Destructive Creations
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Medieval games have also benefited from the success of Company of Heroes’ classic Real-Time Strategy games. Destructive Creations’ Ancestors Legacy is the most popular example of this. In Ancestors Legacy, the player commands squads of soldiers from diverse Medieval cultures, such as the Vikings and Slavs, and participates in narrative campaigns that recount the adventures of historical figures or in open-ended skirmish battles that incorporate base-building.
The fact that the game features a sizable number of campaigns covering several factions is by far its greatest aspect. Even though their overall structure is reminiscent of older real-time strategy games, several of the missions try their best to add subtle stealth elements to liven up the experience.
Because every unit type has advantages and disadvantages in comparison to other types, and because most troops have formations and abilities to enhance their effectiveness, Ancestors Legacy is also a highly micro-intensive game. While the game can be intimidating at first, Ancestors’ campaigns do a good job of easing players into the numerous tools at their disposal, making the game an outstanding Medieval strategy game.
9. Stronghold Crusader HD
Developer: Firefly Studios
Publisher: Firefly Studios, Gathering of Developers, Take-Two Interactive
Throughout its two decades of games, the Stronghold franchise is one of those game franchises that has stayed incredibly steady. This is a blessing and a curse at the same time because every game is instantly identifiable, but there isn’t much innovation—especially in the more recent titles—and the game engine is in dire need of an update.
Stronghold Crusader HD, a remake of Firefly’s second-ever Stronghold game, is the series’ best entry and brings together all of its positive and negative aspects in a pleasant and enjoyable package. To defeat other lords in the game, players must manage resources, construct cities, and engage in real-time tactical combat.
The graphical style of Stronghold Crusader HD is 2D and pixelated, yet the game still holds up very well because of the amazing soundtrack design, vibrant colors, and intricate animation. Stronghold Crusader is still a very intriguing strategy game because of its interesting system combination that lets players balance multiple aspects at once.
8. Carcassonne: Tiles & Tactics
Developer: Asmodee Digital, Firma Studio
Publisher: Asmodee Digital
Platform(s): PC, macOS, Nintendo Switch
The Middle Ages have not been as cruelly treated by the tabletop board game industry, with some classics even finding their way onto virtual platforms. One such timeless board game that successfully transitioned to the PC and other platforms is Carcassonne. Fortunately, Carcassonne has escaped the abyss of bad UI design and technological problems that plague other board games.
Similar to Vedelem, Carcassonne’s appeal is rooted in its simplicity: players only need to arrange tiles in a random manner to create a Medieval landscape complete with fields, rivers, cities, monasteries, and roads. They can also earn points by completing designated landmarks. Observing the last map of each match is among its most thrilling features.
Carcassonne may suffer from monotony because it never truly adds anything to its basic concepts, but the variety of tiles and the naturally interesting process of creating a Medieval environment make the game both ageless and enjoyable.
7. Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
Developer: Forgotten Empires, Wicked Witch Software, Tantalus Media
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platform(s): PC, Xbox Series, Xbox One
Age of Empires, one of the foundational games of the traditional RTS subgenre, is a must-have on any list of Medieval titles. What the Command and Conquer series did for pulpy, ridiculous, and corny sci-fi, this series did for historical strategy gaming.
The tried-and-true combination of resource management, base construction, and microintensive real-time tactical fighting is clearly what makes Age of Empires so strong. It creates very interesting and, above all, competitive skirmish games, particularly when played in multiplayer.
This could prove to be a double-edged sword because there are a lot of things happening at once, which can make the series quite daunting for novice players. Fortunately, Age of Empires 2’s remarkable faction variety and abundance of faction-specific campaigns make it easy for players to get started with one of the greatest Medieval strategy games ever.
6. Sengoku Jidai: Shadow of the Shogun
Developer: Byzantine Games
Publisher: Slitherine Software
Sengoku Jidai: Shadow of the Shogun is the first strategy game on the list with an East Asian theme, and it’s a slower-paced game. Sengoku Jidai is another of Slitherine’s well-known strategy and tactics games with a strong foundation in hardcore wargame design.
Contrary to its title, Shadow of the Shogun highlights underreported events like the Imjin War and the Qing conquest of Ming dynasty China in addition to the Warring States period in Japan. Since the game faithfully recreates the often-overlooked styles of battle in the Far East throughout the Late Middle Ages, it has an advantage over many of the other games on the list thanks to this coverage.
Apart from being exclusive to the setting, the turn-based tactical warfare engine is unmatched, enabling players to meticulously, almost chess-like, plan and execute massive conflicts of the past. Although Shadow of the Shogun isn’t very attractive, its tactical nuance and historical authenticity more than make up for it, making it one of the list’s more accurate Medieval strategy games.
5. Knights of Honor
Developer: Black Sea Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive, Sunflowers Interactive, Atari Inc.
Strategy games that deviate from expectations and take novel approaches to the genre are the most fascinating. One such game is Knights of Honor, which was among the first games (together with the original Crusader Kings) to simulate the Medieval grand strategic terrain using a real-time system as opposed to a turn-based system like the Total War series.
Knights of Honor shares several structural elements with other Total War games, such as an open-ended victory condition and a combination of tactical and strategic modes. In addition to the previously discussed real-time approach to grand strategy, the game introduces a new province administration system that enhances resource creation and war planning.
Even though Knights of Honor’s tactical mode is less complex and expansive than others, it more than makes up for it with a realistic area-of-recruitment system that allows players to create distinctive armies based on geography and a top-notch strategic espionage system that provides players with never-before-seen options for deceit. Although Knights of Honor’s 2D pixelated graphics haven’t stood up as well as, say, Stronghold Crusader, they nevertheless add a vibrant charm and a practical element that make the game one of the most memorable strategy games ever.
4. Nobunaga’s Ambition: Sphere of Influence
Developer: Koei Tecmo Games
Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games, Koei Tecmo, Broadmedia
Platform(s): PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch
A Medieval Strategy game set in Japan would be interesting. Despite being somewhat obscure, one of the longest-running strategy series chronicling Japan’s Sengoku Jidai period is Nobunaga’s Ambition.
As implied by the title, the game centers on the adventures of well-known daimyo or feudal lord Oda Nobunaga, who sought to unify Japan, advance modernization, and succeed as Shogun. All things considered, this game is a great substitute for Creative Assembly’s own historical reporting from the time.
Nobunaga’s Ambition’s best feature is character management, where players can use a large cast of real-life samurai personalities to carry out various tasks, like economic development, leading troops, or diplomacy, despite the game’s clunky UI and potentially bloated content. Nobunaga’s Ambition lives up to the same level as European-made strategy, while having a very different look and feel. It is definitely worth looking into.
3. Field of Glory 2: Medieval
Developer: Byzantine Games
Publisher: Slitherine Software
Field of Glory 2: Medieval is a spin-off of the historically accurate Field of Glory series and is thus an adaptation of the namesake tabletop miniatures wargame from the same developers and publisher who brought you Shadow of the Shogun. Unlike Sengoku Jidai, Medieval’s backdrop is the Mediterranean in the High Middle Ages, which makes for an engaging virtual representation of Medieval battle.
The graphics and user interface of Shadow of the Shogun were lacking, but fortunately Medieval fixed that by greatly enhancing the game’s aesthetic appeal by depicting exquisite and vibrant insignia on knights and their supporting soldiers. From a tactical perspective, this game retains all the intricacy and nuance that its forebears offered. It also faithfully recreates the era’s combat, giving it a heft and clunkiness appropriate for the time when mounted knights and levy infantry ruled.
Although Medieval’s campaign structure isn’t the best among games built on the Field of Glory ruleset, it is the most playable because of how much more straightforward the period-specific combat is overall. One of the greatest Medieval strategy games ever is Field of Glory 2: Medieval because of the insanely large amount of army lists that represent different Middle Ages areas and factions.
2. Total War: Shogun 2
Developer: Creative Assembly
Platform(s): PC, macOS, Linux
In addition to being the greatest Total War game in the series, Shogun 2 is also among the best Total War game of the series, while Medieval 2, a Total War game, is a close second. One of the most popular eras for strategy games is the Sengoku Jidai period, and Shogun 2 makes excellent use of this popularity.
Though it might not be as historically accurate as Shadow of the Shogun or as detailed as Nobunaga’s Ambition, Shogun 2 strikes a good balance between having superb visuals and just enough strategic system depth to surpass its two rivals. Most significantly, CA did a fantastic job of keeping the game’s pacing evenly between the challenging tactical combat mode and the reliable turn-based strategy mode.
Shogun 2’s amazing and unique avatar conquest multiplayer system, a (confoundingly) unique feature for the series and Medieval strategy games in general, is by far its best achievement. Shogun 2 is a Medieval strategy game that will endure for millennia because to its strong character skill system and superb, long-lasting graphic design.
1. Crusader Kings 3
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platform(s): PC, macOS, Linux, PS5, Xbox Series
Undoubtedly, Paradox’s Crusader Kings 3 is the greatest Medieval strategy game ever made. The foundation of the game’s popularity is its amazing character and connection system, which defines how various lords see each other just as much as economic growth and conflict.
Crusader Kings 3’s distinctive real-time strategy approach to grand strategy games also lends the game a feeling of vitality, since there’s always something to do to take advantage of interpersonal relationships or organize a vast alliance and wage war. Players can play practically any Medieval civilization, from the most beautiful count to the mightiest monarchs, thanks to the game’s enormous scope.
Any fan of Medieval history will adore Crusader Kings 3, which places people front and center while preserving the complexity of systems and mechanics in relation to politics, religion, and the economy. For anyone interested in the genre or the era, this is a must-have game that represents the height of Medieval strategy design.