You know how PC gaming is sometimes seen as a second-class platform compared to console gaming? That debate could last for days, but there’s one genre where PC gaming is the indisputable champion: strategy games. After all, they were meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard.

Usually, Mac gamers have to deal with the fact that some of the top games only support Windows, but luckily for you, strategy games are the exception. MacOS can count with every single one of the top choices.

The best strategy games for Mac have always been excellent, but in recent years, they got even better. Whether you’re into fast-paced real-time strategy (RTS), complex turn-based games or more casual alternatives for your MacBook, this list has something for everyone.

And if you’d prefer something entirely different, this massive post with the 100 Best Mac games covers the most popular games across all genres.

Last updated: April 26, 2018

We tested 8 new games released since this guide was last updated on February 2017 and decided to change 2 of the top 10 games, crown a new champion, and mention the games that almost made it.

Our PickRunner-UpBudget PickMacBook Pick
Best OverallA close secondA cheaper optionFor older Macs
Civilization 6 MacCivilization 6XCOM 2 MacXCOM 2Starcraft 2 MacStarCraft 2Northgard Mac artNorthgard
⛔ Very Demanding⚠️️ Fairly Demanding✅ Not Demanding✅ Not Demanding
88 Metascore88 Metascore93 Metascore81 Metascore
Full Review Full ReviewFull ReviewFull Review

How We Decide

Our process is straightforward. First, we evaluate the games we suspect are the best (based on reviews and personal experience), then we buy them if we don’t already own them and finally we test them on these three machines.

We do receive several review copies of games but unless they’re part of our selection, they are ignored.

Our favorites: The best strategy games for Mac

Civilization 6

Civilization 6 is the latest entry in a series I thought was already perfect. I was certain Civ 5 couldn’t be improved any further, but developer Firaxis did it.

In Civ 6, you take control of a civilization and lead it through the course of history. You get to research technologies, create a religion, build trade routes, an army, and more. Opportunities and strategies are endless, making this game extremely addictive. We’ve all been there. You just need to build one last archer before going to bed and it’s suddenly 3 AM and you need to finish that last tank.

Civilization 6 also introduced city-planning for the first time, with districts and special buildings that can be built within cities. And if that wasn’t enough, the Rise and Fall Expansion introduces more units, civilizations, and brand-new mechanics.

For a turn-based game, Civ 6 has surprisingly good graphics and Aspyr did a good job delivering a bug-free MacOS port. That said, this is still a demanding game that requires a powerful machine My 2016 MBP can barely handle it…

A Good Match For: Gamers looking for the best turn-based strategy games. This is, after all, the best Civilization game available.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using Medium Performance impact, Medium Memory impact, MSAA 2X Anti-Aliasing and 1280×800 resolution.



Demand Level: ⛔ High

System Requirements: OS 10.11, 2.7 GHz Intel i5 Processor, 6 GB RAM, GeForce 775M,  Radeon HD 6970, Intel Iris Pro, 1 GB Video RAM or better, 15 GB hard drive space.


XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy game that continues the story of the original XCOM. Humans lost the war against the aliens and the remaining survivors have to live under their rule. The future is grim and the only hope is the tiny resistance army, which you’ll lead.

XCOM 2 features excellent turn-based combat missions where the use of cover and special abilities is crucial. Plus, if one of your soldiers dies he or she is gone forever, making every mission feel tense and important. In between missions, you get to manage your resources, research technologies, train your soldiers and decide where to go next.

Vanilla XCOM 2 is an excellent game as is, but the War of the Chosen expansion makes it infinitely better. In fact, War of the Chosen is so big, developer Firaxis thought it would become XCOM 3. Many call it the ultimate XCOM experience and once you try it, you’ll understand.

Feral Interactive did an outstanding job with the game’s port. In spite of requiring a recent machine to run, you would expect such a great-looking game to be even more demanding. My 2016 MBP shouldn’t be able to run it but it does!

A Good Match For: Gamers looking for action-oriented turn-based strategy games. Most turn-based games favor complexity instead of intensity. XCOM 2 is the exception.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using Medium Preset, V-sync off, FXAA Anti-Aliasing, and 1280×800 resolution.



Demand Level: ⚠ Medium

System Requirements: OS 10.12.5, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor, 8 GB RAM, 1GB AMD 5750, Nvidia 650M, 1.5GB Intel Iris Pro 5200, 78 GB hard drive space.

StarCraft 2

The follow-up to one of the most famous RTS games in history, StarCraft 2 shouldn’t need an introduction.

This space RTS depicts a fascinating war between the Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss. But what sets this game apart is the gameplay. StarCraft 2 is fast, precise and features perfectly balanced factions. The game is definitely easy to grasp and get into, but insanely hard to master. I stopped trying to become “good” at it a long time ago, but I still enjoy playing the campaign, a co-op mission or the occasional skirmish against the AI.

StarCraft 2 could have been our top pick. The only reason it wasn’t was because no other game could be a better budget pick. StarCraft 2 is as budget-friendly as it gets: most of the game can be played for free, including online matches, co-op missions, and the Terran campaign.

StarCraft 2 also features nice graphics that stand the test of time and reasonable system requirements. Our 2013 MBP runs it 33 frames per second without breaking a sweat.

A Good Match For: Gamers interested in only the best RTS games for Mac. The original StarCraft defined the genre and StarCraft 2 continues to push the envelope. Also, gamers looking for free alternatives

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using Medium Graphics quality, Low Texture quality, V-sync off, and 1280×800 resolution.



Demand Level: ✅ Low

System Requirements: OS 10.11, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M or ATI Radeon HD 4670 or better, 30 GB hard drive space.


Based on Norse mythology, Northgard gives you control of a clan of Vikings trying to conquer and settle on a newfound continent.

This RTS reminds me a lot of the glory days of Age of Empires. You have to gather resources, create buildings and train soldiers, fishermen and scouts. But similarities with old-school classics stop there. Northgard introduces modern mechanics that give the game a fresh and interesting feel. For instance, you can’t create people. You have to keep your clan happy and that will attract settlers that can then be trained to become soldiers.

This game is the newest entry and the only strategy game from 2018 in this Top 10 and it shows.

Northgard also features landscapes and weather effects that are simply top-notch. Other entries on this list may be less demanding, but the fact a MacBook from 2013 can run such a pretty game makes it our MacBook Pick.

A good match for: Fans of games like Age of Empires on Mac. Also, gamers looking for the best strategy games 2018 has to offer.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using High quality ground textures and shadows, SAO enabled and V-sync off.



Demand Level: ✅ Low

System Requirements: 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, Nvidia 450 GTS / Radeon HD 5750 or better, 400 MB Hard Drive space.

Also great Mac Strategy games

Total War: Warhammer

Total War: Warhammer took it’s time coming, but when it did, it changed the outlook of the strategy genre on MacOS.

Instead of taking place in a historical period, Total War: Warhammer is set in the fantasy world of Warhammer and features all the monsters and flying creatures you can expect. This turned out to be a bigger change than expected, because the units not only look different, they behave differently and allow tactics that weren’t possible before. That said, this is still a Total War game, with both turn-based strategy and real-time battle modes.

TW: Warhammer is also an impressive game to behold, featuring massive real-time battles with hundreds of units on huge battlefields. While the game makes good use of Metal, it’s still very demanding and will require a recent machine to run.

A Good Match For: Gamers interested in fantasy strategy games, but also those who enjoy the high-level strategy Total War games have always demanded.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using Medium Quality and 1280×800 resolution.



Demand Level: ⛔ High

System Requirements: OS 10.12.4, 2.0 GHz Intel Core i5 Processor, 8 GB RAM, AMD graphics cards from 2014 onwards, Nvidia cards with 2GB+ VRAM from 2012 onwards, Intel Iris Graphics 540 and 550, 37 GB hard drive space.

Company of Heroes 2

Company of Heroes (CoH) was revolutionary when it first came out in 2006. The graphics, the destructible environments. My jaw dropped the first time I saw a Panzer tank drive through a wall and kill my soldiers. Company of Heroes 2 is all that and more.

Just like the original, CoH2 is all about securing resources, building an army and crushing the enemy. But unlike StarCraft 2, this game isn’t about building the biggest army as fast as possible. In CoH2, every unit matters and you’ll have to use the right combination of units, terrain and cover to win. This may sound complicated and slow, but don’t worry. CoH2 is an action-driven RTS with lots of destruction and mayhem.

Feral Interactive did an excellent job with this port, but the game’s advanced physics and great-looking graphics make it particularly demanding. If you have a machine with integrated graphics, our tests concluded you will probably be out of luck with this one…

A Good Match For: Fans of WW2 strategy games. There are others that take place in that period, but CoH2 is the top choice. Also, gamers looking for military strategy games.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using all options set to Medium, Medium Anti-Aliasing, V-sync off and 1280×800 resolution.



Demand Level: ⛔ High

System Requirements: OS 10.10.3, 1.8 GHz Intel Processor, 4 GB RAM, 512MB Nvidia 640M, 2GB AMD Radeon M290, Intel Iris Pro or better , 35 GB hard drive space.


Blizzard is an expert at creating free-to-play games. Hearthstone is a perfect example of how to do it right.

Hearthstone is a digital collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft universe. But before you ignore it because you don’t “like” card games, know this game is amazing, no matter your past experiences with the genre.

Hearthstone is much simpler than you would imagine. In every match, you pull three or four cards (depending on who goes first) out of your customized deck of 30 cards. There are different card types (weapons, spells and minions), but the goal is clear: empty your opponent’s health.

As far as free games go, you won’t be dissapointed here. You can genuinely spend hours playing Hearthstone without having to spend a dime. Plus, the cute yet simplistic graphics are perfect for low-powered machines.

A Good Match For: Fans of strategy card games. Other choices exist, but Hearthstone is the clear winner in this category.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using Medium quality and 1280×800 resolution.



Notice that all machines scored 30 FPS because the game is locked to 30 FPS maximum.

Demand Level: ✅ Low

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 2.4 GHz Intel Core Dual Processor, 2 GB RAM, GeForce 9600/130/Quadro FX 5600, Radeon HD 5870, or Intel HD 4000 with 512 MB of dedicated memory, 15 GB hard drive space.

Europa Universalis 4

Europa Universalis 4 is a grand strategy game that puts the world’s history at your fingertips. The entire Earth is represented and you can own, conquer, and colonize any part of it.

The game gives you an unprecedented level of control of a nation’s military, diplomacy, and economy. And that’s what makes it so challenging. That said, the developer did a lot to make it more accessible. The menus and interface were streamlined and the tutorials beefed up.

Still, this game is hard to get into. If your attention span is as short as mine, you may be overwhelmed early on. But if you’re up to the challenge, and give it some time, it will reward you with a chance to rewrite history.

Among the games featured here, this is one of the most forgiving entries in terms of system requirements. As the purpose is to create an interactive simulation of the World’s history, the game never tries to look fancy.

A Good Match For: Gamers looking for the best Mac grand strategy games. Paradox is the clear expert when it comes to grand strategy games and Europa Universalis 4 is their top-rated game to date.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using everything set to On, Multisample Level set to 2 and 1280×800 resolution.



Demand Level: ✅ Low

System Requirements: OS 10.6.8, 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 2 GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 6750 / NVIDIA GeForce 320 / NVIDIA GeForce 9600 or higher, 1024MB graphics memory required, 2 GB hard drive space.

Homeworld Remastered

Ever wanted to be captain of a ship and sail out to conquer the universe? Homeworld may be your way out.

Released in the 1990s, Homeworld 1 and 2 turned the strategy genre on its head with huge Star Wars-like space battles at a scale never seen before. Over a decade later, many still remember the excitement Homeworld created.

And now that Aspyr has remastered the game and brought it up to modern standards, Homeworld looks just as good as any of the other games featured in this list. The Remastered Collection includes updated graphics, high-res textures, better lighting effects, and a new UI. This, combined with a great story and atmosphere, makes the Homeworld collection a must for space strategy fans.

And as an added bonus, the game has low system requirements that support even the older Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics and machines going all the way to 2012.

A Good Match For: Fans of sci-fi space battles. Few games manage to create such epic space battles, and unless you get Star Wars: Battlefront 2 on Windows, Homeworld is your safest bet.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using Medium settings and 1280×800 resolution.



Be aware that the game kept crashing on the 2013 MBP, making a proper benchmark impossible. This is why that machine’s FPS are set to 0.

Demand Level: ✅ Low

System Requirements: OS 10.9.5, 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, ATI Radeon 3870 (512MB) / nVidia 640M (512MB) / Intel HD 4000, 20 GB hard drive space.

Cities: Skylines

There’s something about city-building games that have always appealed to me. Was it destroying my creations with earthquakes and alien invasions on SimCity 2000 (I was 13 after all) or developing clean tech in SimCity 4?

That all changed when Maxis disappointed lifelong fans with the latest SimCity. Luckily; Cities: Skylines appeared to pick up the slack and easily replaced it as the top city-building game ever. Cities: Skylines’ premise is the same. You get to create a city from scratch: build infrastructure; supply energy and water; control zoning; place roads; provide public services, public transportation, and more.

Cities: Skylines goes a step further and adds challenges, huge maps, no internet connection requirements and a traffic simulation so smart it’s scary. Even better, Colossal continues to provide excellent support with new free and paid updates every year.

The graphics are top-notch too, making Skylines the most beautiful city-building game ever created. We tested it on 5 different machines for our Performance review, and clearly, this is a demanding game that needs horsepower.

A Good Match For: Gamers looking for the best city-building game for Mac. Since SimCity dropped the ball, this remains the top choice.

Expand to see if your Mac run it

Testing conditions:

We tested the game using all settings set to Medium, short Shadow distance, Anisotropic Filtering on, Anti-Aliasing disabled, V-sync off and 1280×800 resolution.



Demand Level: ⛔ High

System Requirements: OS 10.9, 3.9 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260, 512 MB or ATI Radeon HD 5670, 512 MB (Does not support Intel Integrated Graphics Cards), 4 GB hard drive space.

The competition + free strategy games for Mac

Virtually every single one of the top strategy games is available for MacOS. Because of this, creating a Top 10 selection is particularly hard. This is obviously an excellent problem to have, but that also means a few great games had to be left out.

I strongly believe great games can’t be ignored, especially because only 10 can be chosen. These are the games that deserved a spot but couldn’t make it, including the top free strategy games Mac gamers can enjoy:

Filter by nameImageOur takeFilter by Demand LevelFree games only?
FactorioFactorio comparator


If you think Factorio sounds like a factory-building simulation you’d be right. And if all you’re doing is building factories you can bet they’re going to be big, require lots of resources, and attract lots of enemies.

Add in cross-platform cooperative multiplayer, modding support, and a map editor, and Factorio takes factory building to the next level. If you’re a fan of building big, complex systems that do cool things, Factorio is for you.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Read more / Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
RimWorldRimWorld comparator


A single player, sci-fi survival game, RimWorld has you attempting to keep alive the survivors of an interstellar shipwreck on an alien world.

How you proceed is largely up to you: RimWorld provides an almost overwhelming amount of detail you can tweak and there are multiple approaches you can take. RimWorld is also known for its personality; players actually get amused at the weird ways their colonies are wiped out after so much careful building and planning.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
This War of MineThis War of Mine comparator

This War of Mine

Perhaps the most unique game on this list, This War of Mine is single-player survival game simulating war from the perspective of a group of civilians in a bombed out city.

By day you craft, take care of yourself and your group, and plan for the night, when you venture out to gather resources including food, fuel and weapons. With Overwhelmingly Positive reviews on Steam and low hardware requirements, This War of Mine suits many Mac gaming needs.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Read more / Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
Kingdoms and CastlesKingdoms and Castles comparator

Kingdoms and Castles

Kingdoms and Castles, from Lion Shield, LLC, is as you might expect a city building sim set in Medieval times where you start by building your hamlet and graduate to building your castle.

Considered more of a “lite” city sim builder, with low-poly graphics and smallish maps, Kingdoms and Castles offers an alternative to the modern-era city builders.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
Surviving MarsSurviving Mars comparator

Surviving Mars

Along with Northgard above, Surviving Mars is one of the newest games on this list. It offers a unique, Mars-based twist on the city building sim.

Building a city on Mars offers unique challenges, like making sure your colonists have air to breath, and developer Haemimont Games has thrown in some mysteries inspired by classic science fiction depictions of Mars to keep things interesting and different every time you play.
Demand level: ⚠ Medium
Read more / Download from Steam
⚠ MediumNo
0 A.D.0AD comparator

0 A.D.

This open-source, historical, real-time strategy game comes from Wildfire Games, a group of volunteer game developers from around the globe who are obviously big fans of Age of Empires 2.

In 0 A.D, you will begin development of your city, raise a mighty army, build an empire, and contend with rivals to take over the world. Those rivals can be on Windows, Linux, and Mac. And did we mention it’s free?
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from the Official website
✅ LowYes
Endless LegendEndless Legend comparator

Endless Legend

A fantasy entry in the 4x turned-based genre dominated by the Civilization series, Endless Legend comes from AMPLITUDE Studios, who brought us Endless Space and Dungeon of the Endless.

Working to survive and unravel the mystery of why your planet seems on a cycle of doom, you will build and lead a civilization using resources, skills, and magic. Cross-platform multiplayer rounds things out for those seeking a fantasy-based Civilization-like game.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
Dawn of War 3Dawn of War 3 comparator

Dawn of War 3

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III is an RTS set in the Warhammer universe.

Featuring big armies, huge heroes, and an increased focus on multiplayer (only cross-platform between MacOS and Linux), developer Relic has announced the end of DoW III support meaning no new content will be coming. However if you can find it on sale, it should be supported on your machine for years.
Demand level: ⚠ Medium
Read more / Download from Steam
⚠ MediumNo
StellarisStellaris comparator


A universe-spanning, grand strategy 4x game, Stellaris focuses on exploration and story more than combat, though there will be fighting.

Another game from Paradox Development Studio, the connections to Europa Universalis are clear. Explore the universe, upgrade your technology, build fancy ships, meet with aliens and decide the path you want to take to universal domination.
Demand level: ⚠ Medium
Download from Steam
⚠ MediumNo
Hearts of Iron 4Hearts of Iron 4 comparator

Hearts of Iron 4

The latest in the series of turned-based, WW2 grand strategy games, Hearts of Iron is considered the deepest, most authentic simulation of WW2 on a world scale.

Choose your nation and run it exactly as you wish, from making economic, diplomatic and political decisions to how, when and where you fight.
Demand level: ⚠ Medium
Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
StarCraftOriginal Starcraft comparator


That’s right, the original also makes this list, because it’s just that good. And free.

Possibly the best RTS of all time, StarCraft has you gathering and building as one of three races in a story that connects them all. The Brood War expansion is also free, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t grab them and play them (again) now.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from
✅ LowYes
Tooth and TailTooth and Tail comparator

Tooth and Tail

Another lighter RTS, in Tooth and Tail you play as one of four different weaponized animal factions battling over control of the food supply.

Tooth and Tail features short battles, pixel graphics, multiplayer, and system requirements that should appeal to owners of less powerful machines. While the single-player is hampered by some balance issues, the game is an affordable and different take on the genre.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
Crusader Kings 2Crusader Kings 2 comparator

Crusader Kings 2

Another from Paradox, Crusader Kings 2 applies their formula to the Middle Ages, allowing you to rule your domain over generations as the descendants of a family dynasty. The game is unfamous for throwing random events at you that you'll need to handle with grace or put your kingdom in danger.

As with other Paradox games, the strategy is deep and can be complex, but the game is worth it.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
Offworld Trading CompanyOffworld Trading Company comparator

Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company is a rare RTS that features no combat. That’s right, you’ll be collecting resources, but not to build armies.

Instead you’ll be on Mars trying to build the next big company, play the stock market, and defeat your enemies in commerce, not on the battlefield. It also features a difficult AI and cross-platform multiplayer.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Download from Steam
✅ LowNo
Rome: Total WarRome Total War comparator

Rome: Total War

The highest rated Total War game ever Rome: Total War has to be on anyone’s best Mac strategy games list.

With the classic Total War combination of empire building strategy and battle tactics, Rome: Total War allows you to lead one of Rome’s famous families all the way to the top. And as an older title, it’s perfect for all of you with less powerful Macbooks.
Demand level: ✅ Low
Read more / Download from the Mac App Store
✅ LowNo

Our Criteria

Games are subjective and Top 10 list even more so. To keep this list as fair as possible and ensure every game listed here is worth it, we made sure the following set of criteria is always met:


Every game listed here natively supports MacOS. This means they won’t need Wine, Parallels, Bootcamp or any other third-party app to run. Just install any of these games on your machine and enjoy.


Obviously, we think every game on this list is solid in terms of graphics, gameplay, and stability. But performance is also a key factor to consider: we Mac users keep our computers a long time. Mac Gamer HQ is the only place that tests and benchmarks games on several machines and shows you actual performance, not just listed system requirements.

iMac (5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)

3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M290X (2GB)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013)

2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris 5100 (1.5GB)

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016):

2.0 GHz Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, Intel Iris Graphics 540 (1.5GB)

Keep in mind that we test all our games on Medium settings because we continue to believe they are an acceptable compromise for testing across a wide variety of machines.

Strategy games_export

By the way, if you have an older Mac, you’ll probably have a much better experience playing at lower settings than ours. And for your reference, this is how we interpret the results:

Below 20 FPSUnplayableLaggy gameplay, full of stutters and slowdowns.
20-30 FPSBorderlineCan be Ok in slow paced games. Still, not optimal.
30-45 FPSPlayableAcceptable for most (most gaming consoles do this).
45-60 FPSSmoothFluid gameplay, with no perceivable stutters.
60+ FPSVery SmoothFor hardcore and professional players, a luxury for most.

We usually aim for 30 FPS, because 30 FPS is enough to guarantee a smooth and fluid experience.

FPS comparator

Critical acclaim

To counter the fact that games are extremely subjective, we focus only on the games that have received good reviews by critics and average gamers. We’re not looking to please everyone, but we want to make sure these games have been generally enjoyed.


Price tags are not the most important factor, but they still count. Sometimes a game that is only $10 will be superior to a game that costs $60. We know you’re looking for the best value for money. We are too.

Wrapping Up

There’s never been a better time to try a strategy game on your Mac. With top games from AAA developers and independents, there’s something in this genre for everyone.

With options from fast real-time games to collectible card games, there’s a MacOS strategy game for every gamer and Mac. Which strategy game caught your eye? What are you currently playing? What did we miss?

Let me know in the comments section, perhaps you’ll even find fellow Mac users to play with online!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission (this is how we pay the bills). This commission comes at no additional cost to you