Best War Games for the PC

One of the main elements found in most every turn-based or real-time 4X strategy game is some type of military warfare that includes battles between soldiers, tanks, spaceships, and more. The list that follows details some of the best war games for the PC, that is games which centers around war and conquest.

Europa Universalis IV
Europa Universalis IV. © Paradox Interactive

Europa Universalis IV is a historical empire building like no other. Players will guide a nation from history from its early beginnings through expansion and conquest in an attempt to build the most powerful and dominant nation on Earth. There are literally hundreds of historically accurate nations/states for players to pick and players can play through historical scenarios/conflicts or a grand strategy campaign. The timeline of Europa Universalis IV starts in the late middle ages and goes through the early modern periods which roughly covers from the mid-15th century through the late 19th century.

Gameplay and features of Europa Universalis IV include warfare, diplomacy, trade, exploration, religion and more. Everything you would expect from a historical based 4X war game. In addition to the base Europa Universalis IV game, there have also been nine DLC expansions released which add new features, nations, historical scenarios and more. The game also has a number of third-party mods available through Steam Workshop which adds units, gameplay features and more. More »

of 09

Best Sci-Fi War Game - Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity
Ashes of the Singularity. © Stardock

Ashes of the Singularity is a real-time strategy game from Stardock entertainment released in 2016. Set in the year 2178, man has left planet Earth and has colonized new worlds. New threats now face mankind as a new force called The Substrate threaten to destroy and eliminate the human race. It is up to the players to save mankind.

Ashes of the Singularity has been inspired by Stardock's Sins of a Solar Empire but has pushed the scale of both the game world and combat to the limits. It has been billed as the first native 64-bit real-time​ strategy game which allows the game to take advantage of your PC hardware to create a massive game world in which tens of thousands of units can be involved in combat/warfare ay once. It includes both a multiplayer and single player skirmishes allowing you to fight as humans trying to save the galaxy and mankind or as the Substrate as you try to wipe humans from existence.

Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault
Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault. © SEGA

World War II is always one of the most popular settings for PC gamers and a there are dozens if not hundreds of war games, strategy games and first-person war games set during World War II. ​Company of Heroes 2 stands as one of the best tactical war games in terms of game balance and game play. The game features mechanics that bring some realism to warfare and include true sight where units (and players) can only see enemy units in their line of sight, weather and the controversial Order 227 which does not allow Soviet troops to retreat.

Company of Heroes 2 was released in 2013 to somewhat mixed reviews but it has been continually updated and improved. It includes both a single player campaign that takes place on the Eastern Front with players controlling the Soviet Army as they try to push back the Germans beginning with the Battle of Stalingrad. The game also features a multiplayer skirmish mode that allows players to fight in tactical war game skirmishes in 1v1 up to 4v4 format. When it was released the game included just two factions the Soviet Union and the German Wehrmacht Ostheer. Through the release of Theater of War packs (DLCs) the game now includes five factions which include the United States and United Kingdom. More »

Crusader Kings 2 Screenshot
Crusader Kings 2 Screenshot. © Paradox Interactive

Crusader Kings II is a grand strategy game released by Paradox Interactive in 2012 and it is the sequel to Crusader Kings. The game is set during the middle ages from 1066 and the Battle of Hastings and will take players through 1453 which has been noted by historians as the end of the Middle Ages. In the game, players will guide a dynasty through conquest across Western Europe by controlling a king or noble from history. Gameplay includes kingdom management including resources, diplomacy, trade, religion, and warfare to name a few. Playable leaders include famous kings such as William the Conqueror, Charlemagne, El Cid and more. It also allows players to choose a lesser known noble such as dukes, earls or counts and create and grow a new dynasty.

Crusader Kings II also includes 13 expansion packs or DLCs that add new gameplay features, leaders, scenarios and more. Crusader Kings II is fairly open-ended ending when the player's leader dies without an heir, the year reaches 1453 or players lose all titles to land. Some of the expansions also expand the game's timeline.​ More »

Total War Warhammer
Total War Warhammer. © Sega

There are a number of fantasy-based war/strategy games and many worthy of the "Best Fantasy War Game" but Total War: Warhammer features massive real-time battles and warfare, unlike the others. Total War: Warhammer is a real-time tactics war game set in the Warhammer fantasy game world and is the tenth installment in the Total War series of strategy games. Similar to other Total War games, Total War: Warhammer combines a turn-based empire building with real-time battles of conquest that feature thousands of fantasy based units and heroes. Factions available include the Empire, The Dwarfs, the Vampire Counts and Greenskins. These factions feature all of the races from the Warhammer fantasy world such as Dwarfs, Goblin, Men, and Orcs. Each faction also has unique units and strengths/weaknesses.

Total War Warhammer is the first of a planned trilogy of Total War Warhammer games. Since its release in May 2016, there have been four DLCs released for Total War Warhammer through December 2016 with more planned in 2017. More »

StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. © Blizzard Entertainment

Nearly every video game or war game released for the PC includes some type of multiplayer component. Few, however, are as addictive and compelling as that of Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. The balance of gameplay between factions is unparalleled in PC gaming. While StarCraft II contains a stellar single-player storyline, it is the multiplayer component that shines. Take part in competitive ranked and unranked skirmishes with up to 8 players or user-created custom games that present a host of challenges and multiplayer fun.

In StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, players take part in the continuing inter-galactic struggle between the Terran, Zerg and Protoss factions. Each faction contains unique units that each have their own strengths and weaknesses. The game is the third and final release in the StarCraft II trilogy. Previous games in the trilogy include Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm which include a single player campaign/story about the Terran and Zerg factions respectively. More »

Civilization VI
Civilization VI. © 2K Games

Sid Meier's Civilization VI leaves no stone unturned when it comes to grand strategy games. This, the sixth edition in the long-running series can easily trade places with Europa Universalis IV as the best historical game but the nature of Civilization is better suited to a global domination. In Civilization VI, players start with one of the great civilizations from history and try to expand and conquer from the dawn of human history through to the modern era and beyond.

The turn-based strategy game is easy to learn but difficult to master with players having to manage dozens of cities, armies, research, construction and more if they hope to stand a chance against both the game's advanced AI or other human opponents online. Making a return to Civilization VI is the hex grid system that was introduced in Civilization V. New features introduced to the ​Civilization series include city districts which allow players focus certain tiles within the city limits on things such as military, theater, campus and more. The technology tree has also been updated to reflect the terrain surrounding cities, some cities will not be able to construct certain buildings based on location and terrain. More »

of 09

Best Naval War Game - World of Warships

World of Warships
World of Warships. © Wargaming

If you're looking to take your wargaming to the open seas look no further than the free game World of Warships. World of Warships is a naval-based massively multiplayer action war developed and published by Wargaming in 2015. The premise behind the game is very similar to that of other Wargaming PC games including World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. In the game, players will command a World War II-era naval combat ship as they take part in team-based battles online. There are four different types of ships available to select each with ten technology tiers. The four ship types include Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships and Aircraft Carriers. The number of ships and technology tress gives players a wide array of ships to choose from. At the start of a player's career, only a few ship types may be available to play until players earn enough experience.​

Ships included are from a number of nations including the United States, United Kingdom, and Imperial Japan to name a few.

World of Tanks
World of Tanks. © Wargaming

World of Tanks is a massively multiplayer tank battle war game developed by Wargaming and was released first in 2010 in parts of Europe and 2011 in the US and elsewhere. The game is a free to play a game that allows full access to the game without having to pay but also has pay option that provides some premium features. The game is a team-based multiplayer war game where players will control a tank trying to destroy opposing team's tanks or complete various objectives. There are dozens of different maps to play on and hundreds of tanks and tank options to choose from. Tanks available for play are primarily made up of mid to late 20th century tanks. Tanks included in World of Tanks includes those from countries such as the United States, Germany, Soviet Union and others. Tanks are categorized into five different types and are driven/controlled by players in a first-person point of view.​ More »