Select Page

The 10 Best Strategy Games for Mac

If there’s one type of game where computers blow consoles out of the water, it’s strategy games.

And the Mac is just as capable as Windows PCs on that front.

With a few exceptions, the Mac has all the top games the genre has ever delivered.

These include not only all the major series such as Civilization, XCOM, and Total War, but also some excellent indies:

GameNameGenreRequirementsPC Metascore
Civilization 6 MacCivilization 6Civilization 6Strategy⚠️️ Medium90
XCOM 2 MacXCOM 2XCOM 2Strategy🔥 High88
Company of Heroes 2 MacCompany of Heroes 2Company of Heroes 2Strategy⚠️️ Medium80
Homeworld Remastered Collection Mac artHomeworld RemasteredHomeworld RemasteredStrategy⚠️️ Medium86
Total War Shogun 2 MacTotal War: Shogun 2Total War: Shogun 2Strategy⚠️️ Medium90
Starcraft 2 Legacy of the Void MacStarCraft 2StarCraft 2: Legacy of the VoidStrategy⚠️️ Medium88
FTL Faster than Light MacFTL: Faster than LightFTL: Faster than LightStrategy✅ Low84
Hearthstone Mac artHearthstoneHearthstone: Heroes of WarcraftStrategy✅ Low88
Europa Universalis 4 MacEuropa Universalis 4Europa Universalis 4Strategy⚠️️ Medium87
Cities Skylines MacCities: SkylinesCities: SkylinesSimulation⚠️️ Medium85

Remember, the point with these Top 10 lists is to help you discover the true macOS gems. This is why you’ll notice different system requirements, price points, and mechanics. I’m sure one of these will be right up your alley.

And if you're looking for even more amazing games, do not miss our massive overview of the 100 absolute best Mac games.

Civilization 6

We might as well start with my personal favorite and go-to game of the moment. Civilization 6 is the latest entry in the series and aims to perfect the formula Civilization 5 nailed many years ago. Civ 5 was an outstanding game I thought couldn't be improved much further, but developer Firaxis pulled it off.

Civ 6 has everything that made Civ 5 great and more. As always, 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. Without going too much into detail, let me just say you’ll start a gaming session expecting to play for an hour but will end up playing for three. “One last turn” anyone?

Civilization 6 also introduces complex city-planning for the first time. You can now build districts and special buildings within cities and choosing the right placement will grant bonuses.

Among the hundreds of other improvements, Civ 6 also sports improved graphics. For a turn-based game, the graphics here are second to none and Aspyr did a great job keeping performance on check. If you want to be certain that your Mac can run it, head over to our detailed Performance Review. But in summary, you'll need:

⚡ A recent Mac with a powerful graphics card.

XCOM 2

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 have to lead.

XCOM 2 is a special game and the story of Captain Harris is a perfect example. Harris was a rookie when I first recruited him. Smart lad, although a little nervous (literally “panicking” during missions). He eventually became an accomplished sharpshooter with many alien kills to his name. Until one day a Sectoid appeared out of nowhere and blew his brains out. And then he was gone forever.

Because that’s XCOM: if a soldier dies, it’s permanent. This gives a sense of gravity and tension to every mission. The key is to take cover and use the different classes and abilities right. After all, it is your squad, and you can customize it to suit your style.

In between missions, you get to manage the resistance’s headquarters. You can decide what technologies to research, how to use your limited resources and where to go next.

Things wouldn't be the same without Feral Interactive. No one pumps out as many AAA Mac ports as they do and XCOM 2 is one of the best strategy games for Mac they’ve delivered so far. The game is still demanding, but only because the graphics look great:

⚡ A recent Mac with a powerful graphics card.

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 CoH, the game is all about collecting resources, building an army and crushing the enemy. But instead of cutting wood and mining iron, you’ll need to control strategic points that grant resources. This will force you to face the enemy early on.

Other than that, Company of Heroes 2 has destructible environments, cover mechanics, buildings that can be occupied (and destroyed, so be careful) and impressive units, such as Sherman tanks and snipers.

This is one of Feral’s best Mac strategy games and reminds us how many great games they have ported so far. As can be expected from them, the game plays smoothly and without bugs, but you will still need:

⚠️️ A recent Mac with average specs.

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, no game managed to match the excitement Homeworld created.

But now that Aspyr remastered the game and brought it to modern times, Homeworld looks just as good as any other modern game. 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 this collection a must for space fans.

For a long time, players debated whether this was one of the best Mac strategy games of all time. Now that Homeworld has been modernized, the debate can continue. And as an added bonus, this isn't a demanding game and only requires:

⚠️️ A recent Mac with average specs.

Total War: Shogun 2

Shogun 2 may not be the latest Total War game, but it certainly is the most accessible Total War experience on Mac right now.

During your campaign to become the ruler of Japan, you’ll get to discover the game’s two unique sides: turn-based strategy and real-time combat.

Shogun 2 feels like two different games. When it’s time to manage your land, economy, and armies, you get to do it turn by turn, like you would during a Civilization game. But as soon as a battle takes place, you get to control your army in real-time.

I could compare this side of the game with Company of Heroes 2, except Shogun 2 puts you in charge of thousands of soldiers at once.

For those keeping track at home, you’re probably thinking newer Total War games exist on Mac. And you’re right, Creative Assembly ported both Attila and Rome 2. It’s usually great when developers handle their own macOS version, but it’s undeniable Feral Interactive is better at it. In fact, Shogun 2's port is so well optimized, you can easily enjoy it on:

⚠️️ A recent Mac with average specs.

StarCraft 2

The Starcraft series has a special place in my heart. I spent years trying to master the original Starcraft (with little success) because it felt like the perfect real-time strategy (RTS) game: fast, precise, with a perfect balance between factions.

Yet Blizzard did the impossible and created a worthy successor. Just like the original, Starcraft 2 is a space RTS that tells the story of a war between three races: the Terrans, the Zerg, and the Protoss. But all you need to know is Starcraft 2 plays fast. The key is to gather resources and build the biggest army you can as soon as possible. Starcraft 2 is definitely easy to grasp and get into, but insanely hard to master. I stopped trying to become “good” at it, but I still enjoy a few matches every now and then.

If you’re not sure this is for you, you can try the Starter Edition, which includes loads of quality free content. And if you want more, you can grab Legacy of the Void, which is the latest expansion and includes a new cooperative mode and a new campaign.

⚠️️ A recent Mac with average specs.

FTL: Faster than Light

“But Ric, I just want a good game that can run on my old Macbook”, you say. And I hear you, some of these games do require a powerful Mac. But there are still some great games that opted out of the graphics race and just focused on the gameplay. FTL: Faster Than Light is one of those games.

FTL is a roguelike game that puts you in control of a spacecraft holding critical information. Problem is, a large rebel fleet is on your tail and you’ll have to move fast. This journey takes you through many planetary systems, each filled with random surprises that could be good or bad. The entire game is full of random events and no two games can be the same.

Besides fighting rebel forces, you will also be in charge of recruiting crew members and upgrading your ship. Last warning: Death is permanent and losing your ship or crew will force you to start all over again.

The retro-looking graphics look great, but they are nonetheless forgiving. To enjoy, you'll need:

✓ Any Mac, even an older one will do.

Hearthstone

Blizzard is an expert at creating free-to-play games. Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm (a personal favorite) are perfect examples 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 strategy games for mac go, you can't go wrong here. This means you can genuinely spend hours playing it without having to spend a dime. Plus, the cute yet simplistic graphics are perfect for low-powered machines. Looking for a good free game that can run on your old Macbook? Look no further:

✓ Any Mac, even an older one will do.

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 control of a nation and its military, diplomacy, and economy. You'll have an unprecedented level of control and that makes Europa Universalis so challenging.

That said, the developer did a lot to make this game 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 best strategy games Mac can handle, this is one of the most forgiving games in terms of system requirements. The graphics never try to be fancy, as the purpose is to create an interactive simulation of the World’s history:

⚠️️ A recent Mac with average specs.

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 or after all)? Or trying to develop clean tech in SimCity 4?

Unfortunately that all changed when Maxis dropped the ball, disappointing lifelong fans with the latest SimCity. But then Skylines appeared out of nowhere and did something that seemed impossible just a few years ago: replace SimCity as the top city-building game ever.

Developed by Colossal Order, Cities: Skylines managed to right most of SimCity’s wrongs. You still get to create a city from scratch, build infrastructures, supply energy and water, control zoning, road placement, taxation, public services, public transportation, and more. Much more in fact.

Cities: Skylines goes a step further and adds fun challenges, mini-missions, huge maps, no internet connection requirements and a traffic simulation so smart it’s scary. It may all sound too complicated, but Colossal Order manages to make it all extremely fun.

The graphics are also top-notch, making Skylines the most beautiful city-building game ever created. This, however, means that will need a recent machine to play it, although my older 13-inch MacBook Air could handle it at lower settings:

⚠️️ A recent Mac with average specs.

Your turn

You no longer have an excuse not to try a strategy game on your Mac. With so many options, ranging from fast real-time games to collectible card games, the Mac has something for everyone. Are you currently playing one?

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

Want even more great macOS games?

2 Comments

  1. John Best

    One question that I've asked before. I know that TombRaider II has been reissued for recent Macs. When and why hasn't TombRaider III, probably the best of all the early TR series ever be reissued? It's fun dragging out an ancient Mac and playing it but it would be nice to play on a current machine, too.

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *