Board Games Similar to Real Time Strategy

Welcome to the engaging world of board games similar to real-time strategy (RTS). If you’re a fan of the strategic and fast-paced gameplay in RTS video games, you’ll be delighted to know that these elements have been expertly translated into the realm of tabletop gaming. In this article, we will dive into the intricacies of board games that capture the essence of real-time strategy and provide an immersive and competitive experience for players.

Real-time strategy (RTS) has long been a popular genre in video gaming, known for its dynamic gameplay and emphasis on strategic decision-making. For those unfamiliar with RTS games, they typically involve managing resources, building structures, commanding units, and engaging in battles with opponents in real time. The genre’s appeal lies in its ability to keep players constantly engaged as they navigate complex scenarios and make split-second decisions.

While many board game genres exist, those designed to emulate the thrill of real-time strategy have gained considerable attention in recent years. These board games successfully capture some of the most enjoyable aspects of their digital counterparts, incorporating resource management, tactical elements, and fast-paced decision-making.

They offer a unique gaming experience that combines strategic thinking with interactive gameplay, making them perfect for both avid gamers looking for something new and casual players interested in exploring this exciting genre.

In the following sections of this article, we will delve into the various aspects that make these board games resemble real-time strategy experiences. We will explore how resource management is incorporated into their mechanics, uncover the tactical elements behind their gameplay mechanics, and discuss how they mimic the fast-paced decision-making synonymous with RTS games.

Additionally, we will examine the interactive and competitive nature of these board games and explore different settings within them that resemble the world of real-time strategy. Whether you prefer solo or multiplayer gaming experiences, there are options available to cater to your preferences.

So buckle up as we embark on this journey through the realm of board games similar to real-time strategy. Get ready to elevate your gaming experience as we dive into the world of intricate strategy, immersive gameplay, and competitive fun that awaits you in these tabletop adventures. Let’s jump right in.

Understanding Real Time Strategy (RTS) and Its Appeal to Gamers

Real Time Strategy (RTS) games have long been popular in the world of video gaming, captivating players with their immersive gameplay and strategic decision-making. However, while video games continue to dominate the market, board games have also made significant strides in capturing the essence and appeal of RTS. In this section, we will delve into the concept of RTS games and explore why they hold such a strong allure for gamers.

The Strategic Depth

One of the key elements that make RTS games so compelling is their strategic depth. Players are required to think critically and make quick decisions in real-time, carefully managing limited resources and strategically deploying units on the battlefield. This unique blend of resource management and tactical planning challenges players to balance offense and defense, all while adapting their strategy based on ever-changing circumstances.

Board games that emulate this strategic depth often incorporate similar mechanics that require careful decision-making and resource management. They may utilize mechanisms such as worker placement or action selection to simulate the allocation of resources and actions. By providing players with limited choices on each turn, these board games create a sense of urgency and force them to prioritize their moves strategically.

Interactive Competition

Another powerful aspect of RTS games is the competitive nature they foster. Whether players are commanding armies or overseeing civilizations, there is a constant pressure to outmaneuver opponents and come out victorious. The interactive element plays a crucial role in intensifying the competition as players directly engage with one another through actions like unit attacks or economic sabotage.

Board games inspired by real-time strategy often strive to recreate this interactive competition by incorporating mechanisms that allow for direct player interaction. This can range from combat systems that involve dice rolling or card drafting to diplomatic negotiations between players. By encouraging engagement among participants, these board games elicit excitement and foster rivalries akin to those experienced in video game RTS matches.

Understanding the appeal of RTS games provides valuable insight into why board games that emulate the genre have gained popularity among gamers. By capturing the strategic depth and interactive competition, these board games offer a unique and engaging experience for players seeking real-time decision-making and intense battles.

Top Picks

Real Time Strategy (RTS) games have long been a popular genre in the digital gaming world, capturing the hearts of many gamers with their fast-paced decision making and strategic gameplay. However, for those who prefer a more tactile and interactive experience, board games that emulate the essence of RTS provide a unique alternative.

These board games bring the excitement and challenge of real-time decision making to life on the tabletop, offering players a chance to immerse themselves in strategic battles and resource management.

One top pick for board games that capture the essence of Real Time Strategy is “Scythe.” Set in an alternate-history 1920s Europe, players take on the role of faction leaders vying for control over land and resources.

With its unique combination of area control, resource management, and asymmetric gameplay, “Scythe” strikes a balance between strategic depth and accessibility. The game offers multiple paths to victory and encourages players to adapt their strategy based on their chosen faction’s strengths and weaknesses.

Another compelling option is “Kemet,” which transports players to ancient Egypt where they compete as powerful Egyptian gods. In this game, players must carefully manage their resources such as power tiles, prayer points, and battle units while strategically planning their actions through an action point system.

“Kemet” offers an intense battle system with deep tactical decisions where careful timing is essential for success. With its rich theme, complex strategies, and engaging player interaction, “Kemet” captures the intensity of real-time decision making.

Lastly, “Rising Sun,” designed by Eric M. Lang, combines elements of Japanese mythology with strategic empire building. Players lead clans through supernatural battles in feudal Japan while negotiating alliances and bidding for territory control using honor points as currency. This game embodies the core principles of RTS by emphasizing negotiation skills, tactical combat maneuvers, resource management, and dynamic player interactions.

ScytheA game set in an alternate-history 1920s Europe where players control factions and compete for land and resources.
KemetAn ancient Egypt-themed game where players take on the roles of Egyptian gods, managing resources and engaging in intense battles.
Rising SunA game that combines Japanese mythology with empire building, requiring negotiation skills, combat tactics, and resource management.

Section Highlight

Resource management is a crucial aspect in both real-time strategy (RTS) video games and their board game counterparts. In this section, we will explore how board games similar to RTS incorporate resource management mechanics, providing players with a challenging and strategic gaming experience.

In a typical RTS video game, players must gather resources such as gold, lumber, or food in order to build structures, train units, and upgrade their technology. This element of resource management adds depth to the gameplay by requiring players to make strategic decisions about how they allocate their resources. Similarly, board games like “Catan” and “Scythe” also implement resource management mechanics to simulate the economic aspects present in RTS games.

“Catan,” for example, challenges players to collect and trade resources such as wood, brick, wheat, sheep, and ore. These resources are used to build settlements and cities on the modular game board. With limited resources available on each roll of the dice, players must carefully decide which actions to take in order to maximize their resource production and strengthen their position on the island of Catan.

“Scythe,” on the other hand, introduces a unique twist to resource management by incorporating an action selection mechanic. Players must choose from a variety of actions each turn – including gathering resources – but they are limited by their faction’s abilities and available actions. Balancing resource production with other strategic choices becomes paramount in order to secure victory.

Incorporating resource management into board games similar to RTS not only adds complexity and depth but also enhances the overall strategic experience for players. By managing limited resources efficiently, players can outmaneuver opponents and achieve victory on the virtual battlefield or game board.

Arkham Horror Board Game Strategy
Board GameResource Management Mechanics
CatanPlayers collect and trade resources (wood, brick, wheat, sheep, and ore) to build settlements and cities.
ScythePlayers gather resources by choosing from a variety of actions each turn, balancing production with other strategic choices.

Prominent Mechanics

Real Time Strategy (RTS) games are well-known for their unique and complex mechanics that require strategic thinking and quick decision-making. These mechanics are often the highlight of board games inspired by RTS, as they aim to capture the essence of tactical gameplay found in their digital counterparts.

Resource Management

One prominent mechanic in RTS board games is resource management. Just like in digital RTS games, players must gather resources strategically to build structures, produce units, and advance their position on the game board. This element adds a layer of depth and strategy to the gameplay, as players must carefully allocate their resources to maximize efficiency and gain an advantage over their opponents.

Some board games utilize various methods for resource management, such as a worker placement system where players assign workers to gather resources or control specific areas on the game board. Others may incorporate a card-driven mechanism where players acquire cards representing different resources or use special abilities tied to resource management. Regardless of the specific implementation, resource management in RTS board games offers a compelling challenge that keeps players engaged throughout the game.

Tactical Unit Deployment

Another tactical element commonly found in RTS board games is the deployment of units on the game board. In digital RTS games, players have control over various types of units with unique abilities and strengths. Board games inspired by RTS strive to recreate this aspect by offering diverse unit types that can be strategically positioned on the game board.

Players must consider factors like range, movement capabilities, and terrain advantages when deploying units. Similar to digital counterparts, some units may have special abilities that can turn the tides of battle if used wisely. This mechanic brings a level of tactical decision-making into play, where every move matters and careful consideration is required to outmaneuver opponents and secure victory.

Base Building and Expansion

Base building and expansion are integral mechanics often included in both digital and analog versions of RTS games. In board games inspired by RTS, players are challenged to construct and upgrade their own bases strategically. These bases serve as a hub for resource collection, unit production, and overall advancement in the game.

The mechanics of base building and expansion in board games vary but often involve placing modular tiles or constructing physical structures on the game board. Players must carefully plan their base layout to optimize resource generation, defense capabilities, and unit production. This mechanic adds an additional layer of strategic depth as players must balance between expanding their base to gain an advantage and ensuring its defenses are strong enough to withstand potential attacks from opponents.

Prominent mechanics like resource management, tactical unit deployment, and base building/expansion bring the essence of Real Time Strategy into board games. These elements add depth, strategy, and decision-making opportunities that engage players throughout their gaming experience. If you’re a fan of digital RTS games looking for a new challenge or simply enjoy immersive strategic gameplay, exploring board games similar to Real Time Strategy is a must-try.

Leaning into Strategy

Board games that mimic the fast-paced decision making of real-time strategy (RTS) offer players an immersive and challenging gaming experience. Just like in RTS video games, these board games require strategic thinking, quick decision-making, and efficient resource management. This section will explore how board games lean into strategy to recreate the intensity and excitement of real-time strategy gameplay.

One key aspect of real-time strategy that is often replicated in board games is the need for players to think several steps ahead. In both video games and board games, players must anticipate their opponents’ moves and make decisions accordingly. This forward-thinking approach adds a layer of complexity to the gameplay, as players must constantly adjust their strategies based on the evolving game state.

Resource management is another critical element in both real-time strategy video games and board games. Players must allocate their resources wisely to ensure they have enough to execute their strategies effectively. This can involve gathering resources, trading with other players, or making tough choices about how to prioritize limited resources. Balancing economic factors with military objectives requires careful planning and decision-making skills.

To illustrate these concepts, let’s take a look at two popular board games that lean heavily into strategy: “Twilight Imperium” and “Scythe.” “Twilight Imperium” is a sprawling space opera where players vie for control over the galaxy. It incorporates elements such as exploration, diplomacy, combat, and trade – all while requiring players to manage various resources. Similarly, “Scythe” is set in an alternate history 1920s Europe where players compete for territory and resources through careful planning and resource management.

These examples demonstrate how board games can successfully capture the essence of fast-paced decision making found in real-time strategy video games. By leaning into strategic thinking and resource management mechanics, these board games provide players with a similar level of intensity and engagement.

Board GameKey Mechanics
“Twilight Imperium”Exploration, diplomacy, combat, trade, resource management
“Scythe”Territory control, resource management

Immersive Gameplay

Real Time Strategy (RTS) board games offer a unique and immersive gameplay experience that captures the interactive and competitive aspects of this popular video game genre. In these board games, players take on the role of commanders, making strategic decisions in real time to outmaneuver their opponents and emerge victorious. This section will delve into the immersive gameplay elements that make real time strategy board games so engaging.

Dynamic Decision Making

One of the key features that sets real time strategy board games apart is the fast-paced decision-making process. Just like in video games, players must think on their feet and adapt their strategies based on ever-changing circumstances.

Each turn presents new challenges and opportunities, forcing players to carefully analyze the evolving game state and make quick choices. The element of unpredictability keeps players fully engaged throughout the game as they strive to find the best path to victory.

Interactive Player Interaction

Real time strategy board games emphasize player interaction, creating a dynamic and competitive atmosphere. Unlike turn-based strategy games where players take turns executing their actions, real time strategy board games require simultaneous action choices from all participants. This leads to heightened player interaction as individuals must anticipate their opponents’ moves while formulating their own strategies. The interactive aspect adds a layer of excitement and tension, making every decision feel impactful.

Competitive Gameplay

Real time strategy board games thrive on competition, pitting players against each other in intense battles for dominance. These games often involve developing armies or civilizations, engaging in epic clashes, or controlling territories for resources.

The competitive nature encourages strategic thinking as players vie for limited resources and try to outmaneuver their rivals through tactical maneuvers and calculated risks. Victory in real time strategy board games hinges on skillful planning, resource management, and exploiting opportunities to gain an edge over opponents.

Overall, the immersive gameplay elements found in real time strategy board games create a captivating experience that mirrors the interactive and competitive aspects of the video game genre. The dynamic decision-making, interactive player interaction, and competitive gameplay all contribute to the thrill and enjoyment these board games offer.

Whether you are a fan of real time strategy video games or simply enjoy strategic board gaming, these immersive experiences are sure to keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat.

Solo or Multiplayer

Real Time Strategy (RTS) board games, much like their digital counterparts, offer the flexibility of being enjoyed either as solo experiences or in a competitive multiplayer setting. This adaptability is one of the reasons why these games have gained such a wide following among gamers of all preferences. Whether you prefer to strategize and conquer on your own or engage in intense battles with friends, there is a real time strategy board game that caters to your playstyle.

For those who enjoy the challenge of going head-to-head with opponents, multiplayer real time strategy board games provide an immersive and social gaming experience. These games often feature multiple factions or players vying for control over resources and territories. With mechanics that encourage negotiation, bluffing, and outmaneuvering opponents, these multiplayer titles capture the spirit of competition and skillful decision-making found in traditional RTS video games.

On the other hand, solo players can still indulge in the thrill of strategic planning and resource management through single-player modes offered in many real time strategy board games. Developers have designed these games with artificial intelligence systems that replicate the behaviors and strategies of human opponents. This allows solo gamers to test their skills against challenging AI opponents and experience the satisfaction of victory without relying on others.

How to Make a Strategy War Board Game

To further enhance the solo experience, some real time strategy board games also offer campaign modes where players can embark on narrative-driven missions, unraveling stories and facing unique challenges along the way. These campaigns often feature branching paths and different outcomes based on player choices, adding an element of replayability to keep solo gamers engaged for hours on end.

Section Highlight

One of the fascinating aspects of board games that resemble real-time strategy (RTS) is the variety of settings they offer. Just like in video game RTS, these board games take players into different worlds and eras, allowing them to immerse themselves in unique environments. Here are some exciting settings commonly found in board games inspired by real-time strategy:

Fantasy Realms

Many board games draw inspiration from classic fantasy realms, where players can command armies of mythical creatures and engage in epic battles. These games often feature rich lore, vibrant artwork, and a wide range of fantastical units such as dragons, elves, or orcs. Players get to experience the thrill of commanding otherworldly forces as they strive for dominance on the tabletop.

Historical Conflicts

Some board games simulate real historical conflicts, allowing players to relive famous battles or recreate pivotal moments in history. Whether it’s commanding ancient armies during the Peloponnesian War or leading troops in World War II, these games provide an opportunity to strategize and make critical decisions just like a general on the battlefield.

Science Fiction Futurism

Another popular setting found in RTS-inspired board games is science fiction futurism. Players are transported to futuristic worlds where advanced technology and alien civilizations dominate. Commanding spaceships, mechs, or robotic armies becomes a thrilling experience as players navigate through complex interstellar conflicts and devise strategic plans to conquer the galaxy.

These diverse settings add depth and excitement to board games similar to real-time strategy. Whether you prefer delving into mystical realms, exploring historical conflicts, or venturing into futuristic universes, there is a game out there that caters to your preferences.

The setting chosen not only enhances the thematic experience but also influences gameplay mechanics and strategies employed by players on their journey towards victory. So pick a setting that resonates with you and get ready for an immersive gaming experience like no other.

Recommendations for Beginners

When it comes to board games similar to real-time strategy (RTS), there are plenty of options available for beginners who are looking to kickstart their gaming journey. These entry-level games offer a blend of strategic decision-making, resource management, and tactical elements that are characteristic of RTS games. Whether you’re new to the genre or simply want an accessible game to introduce friends and family to RTS mechanics, here are some top recommendations:


Pandemic is a cooperative board game that tasks players with working together to save the world from deadly diseases. While not a traditional RTS game, Pandemic incorporates many elements found in the genre, such as resource management and strategic planning.

Players have limited actions each turn and must effectively allocate their resources to prevent outbreaks and find cures. The game’s collaborative nature encourages teamwork and communication, making it a great introduction to the cooperative aspects often seen in RTS games.

Small World

Small World is a fantasy-themed board game where players compete for dominance over various regions on a map. Similar to RTS games, players must strategically expand their civilization while managing limited resources and adapting their strategies to changing conditions. Each player chooses from a combination of different fantasy races and special powers, creating endless combinations and replayability. With easy-to-understand rules and interactive gameplay, Small World offers an enjoyable introduction to the strategy genre.


Catan, also known as Settlers of Catan, is a classic board game that combines resource management with negotiation and trading mechanics. Players take on the role of settlers on an uninhabited island and compete for limited resources like wood, brick, sheep, wheat, and ore. These resources can be used to build settlements, roads, and cities in order to gain victory points.

Much like in an RTS game, players must strategically plan their resource acquisition and utilization while also navigating the dynamics of trade and diplomacy. Catan’s accessible gameplay and highly interactive nature make it a great choice for beginners.

These beginner-friendly board games offer an excellent introduction to the engaging world of real-time strategy. Whether you prefer cooperative gameplay, competitive conquest, or resource management, these games capture the essence of RTS mechanics in a more approachable format. So gather your friends and embark on your gaming journey with these entry-level options that are sure to provide hours of strategic fun.


In conclusion, board games that mimic the real-time strategy genre provide an exciting and engaging gaming experience for players. These games successfully capture the essence of RTS, incorporating resource management, tactical elements, fast-paced decision-making, and interactive gameplay. Whether you prefer playing solo or with others, there are options available to adapt these elements to different player preferences.

One of the standout features of board games similar to real-time strategy is their ability to transport players into different settings. From ancient civilizations to futuristic worlds, these games allow you to step into diverse and immersive environments, adding depth and variety to your gaming experience.

For beginners looking to explore this genre, there are entry-level real-time strategy board games available that provide a great starting point for your gaming journey. These games offer a balanced mix of mechanics and strategies without overwhelming newcomers.

Overall, by embracing board games similar to real-time strategy, you can elevate your gaming experience to new heights. The combination of strategic thinking, resource management, and immersive gameplay create a truly captivating and enjoyable adventure for gamers of all skill levels. So gather your friends or challenge yourself solo as you delve into the world of board games inspired by real-time strategy and prepare for hours of thrilling gameplay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of game is real-time strategy?

Real-time strategy (RTS) is a type of game that requires players to make strategic decisions in real-time, rather than taking turns. It typically involves managing resources, constructing buildings, and commanding units to defeat opponents or achieve specific objectives. In these games, timing and rapid decision-making are crucial as the game progresses continuously without breaks.

Players must adapt quickly to changing circumstances and prioritize their actions to outmaneuver their rivals. Popular examples of real-time strategy games include “StarCraft,” “Age of Empires,” and “Command & Conquer.”

What is the most strategic board game?

Determining the most strategic board game can be subjective as different games cater to different preferences. However, one particular board game that often tops the list in terms of strategic depth is “Chess.” With its origins dating back centuries, Chess has managed to endure as a challenging and highly strategic game worldwide.

It requires players to plan ahead several moves, anticipate their opponent’s strategies, and employ complex tactics to gain control over the board while protecting their own king from capture. The vast array of possible moves and positions make Chess an intellectually demanding game that rewards analytical thinking, foresight, and adaptability.

What is the most skill based board game?

While many board games incorporate elements of skill and strategy, one notable example known for its strong emphasis on skill-based gameplay is “Go.” Originating in ancient China over 2,500 years ago, Go enjoys a reputation as one of the oldest board games still actively played today.

In this abstract strategy game played on an empty grid board, players alternate placing stones with the goal of surrounding territory while simultaneously capturing their opponent’s stones to secure dominance on the board. Go stands out due to its simplicity in rules yet offering immense depth through interactions between stones and strategic placement techniques requiring extensive spatial analysis, intuition, pattern recognition, and long-term planning skills to excel at the game.

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