When people think computer gaming, they may not think Macintosh right away. However, there are a host of games both new and old, expensive and cheap, indie and triple-A for the Macintosh platform. The following list, then, is of the best strategy games the Mac platform has to offer; all of these received an over 80 score on Metacritic, a gaming review aggregation site. Most of them are playable on modern Macs, with a few exceptions as noted.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
While StarCraft set the standard for Blizzard’s sci-fi-themed real-time strategy game, the sequel — coming only 12 years later — provided a fantastic iterative improvement on the original. The three race/factions — Protoss, Terran, and Zerg — war across the galaxy for extreme dominance. The second game in this popular franchise gains a more story-focused single-player campaign, updated graphics, and new units to engage the fight for survival.
Standard Edition – $39.99
Rome: Total War
Ancient history is fun again in this real-time strategy game from Activision. The goal here is to conquer, rule and manipulate the Roman Empire and be declared as the Emperor of Rome. The game is set at a time in history when Rome was at its height of power, engaged on many fronts in brutal warfare. Deal with barbarians in Gaul as well as Hannibal’s war elephants while managing a bloody civil war with over 20 hours of gameplay and epic, cinematic battles.
Mac App Store – $29.99
It’s hard to remember that the Warcraft franchise started as a real-time strategy game, before it created the MMO juggernaut we all know and love today. Warcraft III brought the genre to new heights when it was released in 2002, and remains a high point today. Players must gather resources, build and expand their bases, and fight off three of the four races included in the game: Human, Orc, Undead and Night Elves. The single player game takes players through specific missions and introduces the four races in turn. The multiplayer allows more free-ranging contests with up to eight other players via Battlenet.
Battle Chest Edition – $19.99
This is the grandaddy of them all, the fifth installment in a highly-regarded turn-based strategy series. Players lead a civilization from prehistoric times, through the present day, to the future. The maps are procedurally generated, using hexagonal tiles instead of the previous-installments’ square tiles, which brings a whole new style of play. Civilization V players can achieve victory via research, diplomacy, expansion, economic development, government and, yes, military supremacy. Many familiar systems of gameplay from the series have been improved an overhauled, making this a great time to jump in and find out what all the fuss is about.
Mac App Store – $39.99
Myth II: Soulblighter
Released by Bungie in 1998, Myth II: Souldblighter remains a classic of the strategic tactics genre, and is still highly rated on many gaming websites. Players are given a select number and type of units with different abilities. They must be used as given to fight AI or human-controlled opponents in strategic, real-time battles. While the game can seem dated due to the graphics of the time, it continues to be actively developed by Bungie-sanctioned programmers, with a large online following. This title will need a little extra love to run on current model Macs.
Mac OS 9 Version – $29.99