We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Best grand strategy games on PC 2024

We list the top grand strategy games to play in 2024, from classics like Hearts of Iron 4 and Stellaris to newer releases like Victoria 3.

Best grand strategy games - Victoria 3 screenshot showing the world map on a scroll, overlaid with a medieval figure from Crusader Kings 3 and a Wargamer label reading Best grand strategy games

What are the best grand strategy games on PC? At Wargamer, we have a soft spot for these expansive, detailed, long-play strategic games, because every campaign tells a different story, gradually playing out the consequences of all your decisions across a vast stage. The growing grand strategy genre has enjoyed a golden age of late, so we’ve created this guide to help you find your next deep dive.

Grand strategy PC games present you with a big map, and meaningful decisions to make that’ll affect the people in it. There’s sometimes disagreement about what counts as ‘grand’ – if you’re not fussy about genre boundaries, we have separate guides to the best 4X games and the best Total War games.

For this guide, we’ve chosen history, fantasy, and sci-fi themed titles that play out on a massive scale.

The best grand strategy games on PC are:


Supremacy 1914

The best free grand strategy game.

Where possible, we like to start our ‘best of’ lists with a free-to-play game that we genuinely really like, so you don’t have to spend money to jump into playing – and massively multiplayer WW1 game Supremacy 1914 is our pick here because of its sheer scale, ease of play, and higher overall quality of gameplay compared to other free strategy games. It even works as a browser game, as well as via Steam.

Supremacy is effectively a real-time strategy MMO, putting you in charge of one nation against up to 499 other players in a sandbox-y fight for territory. While you won’t find anywhere near the same level authentic historical details here as most other games in this list, effort has gone into making unit models look era-appropriate, and your tech trees feature some real military advancements and weaponry of the Great War, albeit simplistically.

History buffs may not find everything they want, but if what you’re after is an approachable, multiplayer strategic scrap to while away a bit of time, without the complex systems and learning curve of full-scale grand strategy titles, this is well worth giving a try. 

Best grand strategy games - Victoria 3 screenshot showing borders on the map, and a diplomatic window

Victoria 3

The best political grand strategy game.

For the longest time, grand strategy fans thought Paradox would never get around to making Victoria 3 – but when it finally arrived in October 2023, we were enthralled. Gorgeous graphics, atmospheric UI menus, and a superb classical score immediately immerse you in Vicky 3’s 19th-century world of industrial revolution, imperial machinations, and incredibly deep country management.

Its fundamental gameplay tools, and the core systems for running the economy, will be familiar if you’ve played Paradox’s other grand strategy greats (and especially if you’re one of the faithful who played Victoria 2 back in the day) – but where Victoria 3 really shines is in simulating the political and social history of the period.

Sure, there are warfare systems here – but you’ll be spending far more of your time waging internal, domestic battles: wrangling political parties and pressure groups to your cause; striking a balance between stability and reform; and generally trying to achieve your goals while keeping your people happy.

It’s challenging, but Paradox’s vastly improved accessibility and tutorial mechanics (built off the improvements in Crusader Kings 3) make things much more accessible than you’d expect. Politics tend to play second fiddle to war in strategy games, but if you fancy a title that turns that on its head, play this one.

Read our Victoria 3 review

Best grand strategy games on PC guide - Hearts of Iron 4 screenshot showing various units on the Europe campaign map, with railway supply lines between and aircraft overhead

Hearts of Iron 4

The best WW2 grand strategy game.

In Hearts of Iron 4, you’ll lead one of dozens of playable nations, big and small, through the tumultuous historical events of World War 2, either following in the real-world leaders’ footsteps or choosing alternate paths through history.

You’ll focus on strategic battleplans and combined-arms warfare, waging war on land, sea, and in the air – all while researching new military technologies and upgrading your country’s army divisions, tanks, ships, and planes with the ultimate goal of winning the war and achieving your country’s aims.

None of that’ll happen without a strong war economy, though, so you’ll also be managing factories, supply lines, and logistics. Make no mistake, HOI4 is a WW2 history nerd’s dream.

Whether you’re playing as an Axis or an Allied nation (or those of alternative factions, if you go down an alternate history path) Hearts of Iron 4 will give you plenty of trials and tribulations you’ll need to overcome to be victorious. There’s a lot to juggle, but you’ll need to learn to adapt to the situation at hand, as no plan survives first contact with the enemy.

We wholeheartedly recommend Hearts of Iron 4 as one of the best grand strategy games – and, if you’re interested in getting into it, check out our guides to the best HOI4 DLCHOI4 mods, and HOI4 console commands

Best Grand Strategy games on PC 2023 - Europa Universalis 4 screenshot showing a coloured map centered on Europe with unit symbols

Europa Universalis 4

The biggest grand strategy game.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t include the best known and most expansive grand strategy game on the market: Europa Universalis 4. Inspired by a 1993 board game, Paradox Interactive’s leviathan EU4 transports you to a time when the medieval period is coming to an end – and the world has many changes to look forward to under your rule.

From the beginnings of the renaissance through to the early industrial revolution, Europa Universalis IV lets you chart a course through history, experiencing first-hand the beginnings of many of the nation states that make up our society today.

The entire globe will be your playground as you lead your nation through peace, war, and anything in-between. In-depth warfare, trade and diplomacy mechanics will be at your disposal to help your nation survive and (hopefully) thrive to make its mark in history.

There are hundreds of nations you can play across the entire globe, with many of the countries having unique content such as mission trees or important governmental decisions which further distinguish between them and add even more playtime.

There are continuous updates and DLC packs released each year, which continue to add countless hours of content and expand upon many mechanics present in the game. For those looking for the biggest grand strategy game in town, with vast stores of content to play through, look no further. 

Best grand strategy games on PC guide - Crusader Kings 3 screenshot showing 3D models for three characters, two in armor, armed for war, and one a courtly spy and assassin holding a dagger

Crusader Kings 3

The best medieval grand strategy game.

If you prefer your grand strategy games to have feudal backstabbing, colorful courtly splendor, and a dash of roleplaying attached, then Paradox’s Crusader Kings 3 will be your jam. Counts, Knights, Kings, and Emperors all feature in an impressively realized rendition of the Middle Ages.

Instead of playing as a monolithic entity like a country, you’ll take the role of a specific medieval noble, following their personal story; that of their family; and all the events that happen around them. In many ways, Crusader Kings 3 is as much as a story generator as it is a grand strategy game, and, if you lean into the roleplaying aspect, there are some incredibly fun bishop-tricking, daughter-disowning, aunt-assassinating, and cousin-marrying times to be had.

Even without roleplaying, there is a deep and rewarding grand strategy game at your fingertips, as you vie with other monarchs and courts from Ireland to India to establish yourself as the true power of the medieval world via warfare, religion, diplomacy, and intrigue.

You can command armies, or the assassin’s blade, to achieve your aims – there are multiple ways to deal with almost any eventuality. You’ll need to use all the tools at your disposal, not only to rise to the top, but to stay there. This cut-throat world is where Crusader Kings 3 shines, and guarantees its spot on our list.

For more info, check out our guide to the best Crusader Kings 3 mods

Best grand strategy games - Crusader Kings 2 screenshot showing units in England on the map

Crusader Kings 2

The best classic grand strategy game.

Why is Crusader Kings 2 here when we’ve already mentioned its sequel? Simple: because CKII is a crucial release in grand strategy game history; released over a decade ago in 2012, it’s Paradox’s biggest breakthrough game – the one that finally made this once confusing, ugly, stuffy genre appealing to a wider audience, outside history enthusiasts happy to play a game that’s basically a spreadsheet.

Thanks to its core gimmick of letting you lead your own noble family and play as your own heirs through the generations, CKII proved endlessly addictive and engaging, and revolutionized grand strategy with luscious, colorful graphics, smart, well-written story events, and a gameplay loop that pulls you into writing your own unique historical story every time.

Why play it now, when CK3 exists? Well, because the base game is now free to play – just click that button above and you can get started in no time. 

Best grand strategy games guide - Stellaris screenshot showing a fleet of 3d starships arrayed for battle


The best space grand strategy game.

Side-stepping from fantasy into sci-fi, we have Stellaris: Paradox’s spacefaring bestseller, combining the best of the grand strategy and 4X genres in a lavishly detailed, procedurally generated galaxy full of aliens, random events, and bizarre optional objectives.

You’ll create a unique civilization to your liking, and then, with the advent of faster-than-light travel, explore the unknown galaxy; you’ll find other species, discover ancient ruins and chart maps of the galaxy. In addition, you’ll need to manage colonisation of new planets, manage political parties, and direct your research teams to your liking as well as the usual mechanics such as warfare.

Stellaris starts off feeling like a pure 4X game, but, as your faction expands and your decisions grow broader and more numerous, it transitions into a full-blown grand strategy experience – and one that feels unique among Paradox grand strategy titles due to its early and midgame emphasis on exploration and the sheer, bewildering variety of cultures and species present.

In one game, many of the empires you encounter may be xenophile and working towards a galactic utopia, whereas the next might be chock full of warmongering space fascists bent upon galactic domination – and this vast difference between games is part of its charm.

Compared to its peers, Stellaris is generally a bit easier in terms of its learning curve, too, making it more accessible to new fans of the genre – one of the reasons we’ll always recommend it to any friends looking to dip their toes into grand strategy. 

Best grand strategy games guide - Wargamer original Total War Warhammer screenshot showing Tzeentch daemons and the Legendary Lord Kairos Fateweaver in battle

Total War: Warhammer 3

The best Warhammer grand strategy game.

If you prefer a larger serving of outright warfare and fully-realised, real time battling with your grand strategy, then Total War: Warhammer 3 is an excellent choice.

Bringing an accessible level of grand strategy to the Warhammer Old World setting, Total Warhammer 3 is the ambitious culmination of years of work from the developer Creative Assembly, tying the preceding two games into one massive campaign with dozens of Total Warhammer 3 factions playable.

In every campaign, you’ll be in a tenacious fight for survival in a hostile universe constantly at war. You’ll shape the composition of your armies as you fight tactical real-time battles on a strategic turn based grand campaign map as you fight against the vast number of threats arrayed against you and your chosen nation.

You’ll need to juggle diplomacy, research, and – most importantly – warfare as you struggle to survive against relentless enemies such as the insidious threat of Chaos, the brutal Orc tribes or the perfidious ratmen of the Skaven. To achieve this you’ll need to expand your cities, subjugate rivals, and find great relics to help your heroes reach the zenith of their power. This is both an excellent, lower-complexity grand strategy title, and the best Warhammer fantasy videogame yet made.

Read our Total War Warhammer 3 review

Best grand strategy games on PC guide - Imperator Rome screenshot showing a stack of units in the city of Rome on the in game map

Imperator: Rome

The best Roman grand strategy game.

Also by Paradox, Imperator: Rome takes you to an even earlier time frame, being set in the period not long after the mighty Alexander the Great’s death and just before the rise of the juggernaut of Rome.

In Imperator: Rome you’ll build great cities and metropolises, command legions and lead your state through to the dawn of a new era of civilisation. From the rise of Rome, to the great successor states of Alexander’s glorious empire, to the barbarians inhabiting the uncharted borders of the known civilized world; you’ll command a nation and its people through the time of classical antiquity and the many upheavals you’ll face – such as internal strife, competing kingdoms, and barbarian attacks.

Imperator is a bit of a mix of Europa Universalis and Crusader Kings, in that you play as a nation state, but there are also various named characters from noble houses and clans, both at your command and scheming against you.

It finds a good balance between the two but also brings its own unique spin too – it’s incredibly fun to build up cities and watch as they expand in your provinces on the map, or to command levies made up of your populace which are shaped from which cultures they’re from.

There’s also a thriving modding scene around the game that continues to add additional content – especially important as Paradox has unfortunately stopped active development on the game. For this reason, if you’re planning on diving into this one, we heavily recommend the Imperator: Invictus mod for all future runs, as this adds a ton of fan-created fixes and quality of life improvements.

Read our Imperator: Rome review

Best grand strategy games on PC guide - Terra Invicta screenshot showing the orbital path of an object around the Earth

Terra Invicta

The best grand strategy game for XCOM fans.

Also leaning into the sci-fi theme, but in a bit more of a grounded manner, Terra Invicta (from developer Pavonis and publisher Hooded Horse) has you guarding against an insidious extra-terrestrial threat while leading a transnational group of political, military, and scientific leaders.

The aliens have their own designs for our solar system, and your role is to push back against them while your faction’s aims. Depending on which faction you’ve chosen to play as, these could be to resist against the alien in a manner similar to games like XCOM; plot an escape from earth and escape their clutches; or just join the aliens and help them to fulfil their goals in the hope of safeguarding humanity. Competing human factions have their own aims to complete, and are just as much of a threat to each other as the aliens.

You won’t begin the game with much, but you’ll need to build space stations, control countries, construct mighty spaceships and fleets, and explore the solar system for resources.

You’ll command your fleets in real-time tactical battles, with every ship designed and built to your exacting specifications. If you’re looking for an XCOM-esque title with a lot more complexity, Terra Invicta fits the bill. 

Best grand strategy games on PC guide - Dominions 5 screenshot showing an army attacking in battle, with many cavalry units and wizards behind

Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith

The best fantasy grand strategy game.

If you fancy a similarly pure-bred grand strategy game in a fantasy setting, then Dominions 5 may be exactly what you’re looking for. The simplistic graphics and functional UI belies what is an incredibly deep and engaging grand strategy title, with hundreds of spells and units ready for you to use in your quest to ascend this plane of existence and become a god.

Your servants act as an extension of your will, and they’ll make war in your name as you deal with any rivals vying to achieve godhood at your expense. There are dozens of unique nations for you to command, including undead roman-esque legions and HP-Lovecraft inspired Atlanteans, among others – each with its own fantastical units from which to raise your armies.

You’re not merely a dictator in the sky, though: In Dominions 5, you have your own in-game god unit – your ‘Pretender’ – that represents you in the game, to whom you can equip items, specializing them into your preferred battlefield role. Your commanders will lead mighty armies to conquer territory and increase the resources at your disposal as well as eliminating threats.

There are a lot of decisions you’ll need to make, and hurdles to overcome, before you achieve your overarching goal of godhood – but the journey to get there in Dominions 5 is extremely fun and rewarding. If you’re up for giving it a go, check out our beginner Dominions 5 guide first. 

Best grand strategy games on PC guide - Knights of Honor 2 Sovereign screenshot showing the town and surrounding area of Helsinki on the campaign strategy map

Knights of Honor 2: Sovereign

The best grand strategy game for beginners.

Returning to the medieval period, Knights of Honor 2: Sovereign is an excellent grand strategy title that blends action-rich RTS-style tactical battles with a (drop dead gorgeous) real-time campaign map to create a hybrid that sits somewhere between Crusader Kings and Total War.

In KOH, you’ll command your leaders to conquer nearby lands and expand the infrastructure within medieval Europe and beyond, as you will have competing powers vying for domination and influence in order to achieve victory.

Generally, you’ll want to expand outward as much as possible in order to take more resources and land to fuel your war machine, as resources unlock new upgrades for your buildings, which then buff various aspects of your nation – such as the economy, or the units that make up your armies. This heavy focus on resources is a core component of the game, and one of its more distinctive, enjoyable aspects. There’s also plenty of use of named characters – although they aren’t as detailed, interlinked, or complicated to use as in Crusader Kings.

Knights of Honor 2 is pretty simple to pick up, and it is another game we’d recommend for a newcomer to the grand strategy genre. Despite being, in the main, an entry level title, it can still get very tricky if you overextend in an attempt to expand quickly – so there’s plenty of scope for those who want to master the game to add difficulty, creating challenges for themselves to overcome.

If none of these sweeping strategy sojourns tickle your fancy, might we suggest you go for something a little more lively – check out our guide to the best RTS games. Alternatively, you can always save a few bucks by picking out one of the best free strategy games PC has to offer.