Grand strategy games generally share many common similarities. They all tend to pit the player against other factions, countries, or another form of adversary. The action generally takes place on a large map, showing faction boundaries and allowing the player to plan their ongoing strategic moves.

Most grand strategy games include geopolitical gameplay features. Depending on the setting of the game, these gameplay systems can be the main focus of the game, or simple additions that offer little in the way of utility. However, some games have implemented deep, meaningful political mechanics that set them apart from others.


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8 Crusader Kings III

Create A Family Dynasty

Crusader Kings III Geopolitical Game

Crusader Kings 3
September 1, 2020
RPG , Grand Strategy

The third installment in the Crusader Kings franchise is arguably the best one so far, even though quite a few well-known features from the previous two games have been changed. The player controls an initial character, with the goal of protecting and nurturing their dynasty. When the original character dies, the player takes control of their heir.


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Geopolitics are front and center stage in Crusader Kings III. Forging alliances, undertaking cross-border espionage, declaring war, and initiating trade deals all carry weight in this game. If Crusader Kings III has one failing, it is that the interplay of these political systems means the game has a steep learning curve.

7 Civilization 6

Classic Civ Gameplay, Updated

Civilization VI Geopolitical Game

Sid Meier’s Civilization 6
October 21, 2016


The current evolution of the Civilization franchise is set to become a classic that new grand strategy games will need to face off against. This much-beloved series of games wrote the rulebook for strategy games in many ways.

Geopolitics in Civilization VI are a little different from other games. Before the player can begin wielding political tools against their enemies, they must first progress through the evolution of political systems and governments. There are three tiers, and only the higher tiers have access to the full range of geopolitical options.

6 Stellaris

Galactic Domination On A Grand Scale

Stellaris Geopolitical Game

May 9, 2016

4X , Grand Strategy

Since its release, Stellaris has received regular updates and additional DLC, all of which have refined the way that politics work in the game. Key to the political landscape in Stellaris is how the player decides to set up their empire initially. Will they be a democracy or a dictatorship? Xenophobic or alien-friendly? Will empire borders be open or closed?


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Depending on empire choices at the start of the game, a range of political options are available, including espionage, trade deals, research agreements, and, of course, war. The game also has a well-rounded vassal system.

5 Sins Of A Solar Empire: Rebellion

A Complex Political Landscape To Overcome

Sins Of A Solar Empire Rebellion Geopolitical Game

One of the older games in the Sins of a Solar Empire franchise, Rebellion is admired by strategy game players for its deep political systems. This is mainly due to the main challenges that the game presents, in the form of the player needing to successfully rebel against the opposite faction (depending on which faction the player chooses).

The game takes place in a divided solar system. It places the Trader Emergency Coalition in direct conflict with the Vasari Empire, and adds a further political twist by having these factions split internally as well. Altogether, this creates a complex political landscape. Sins Of A Solar Empire: Rebellion will take intelligence, a strong sense of logic, and perseverance to complete a playthrough and come out on top.

4 Tropico 6

RTS Meets GST In Perfect Union

Tropico 6 Geopolitical Game

Tropico 5
May 23, 2014

Haemimont Games


The Tropico series does grand strategy a little differently. Indeed, these games often play more like a real-time strategy game than a grand strategy game.

Tropico 6 refines and extends the previous five offerings in the series. Although this game focuses more on resource management and building, it does have excellent geopolitical systems in place. The player has to deal with both external politics in the form of foreign powers, and internal politics in the form of home factions. How the player handles political relationships will have an impact on whether they win the next local election or not.

3 Victoria 3

A Stately Relaxed Take On Geopolitical Conflict

Victoria 3 Geopolitical Game

Victoria 3
October 25, 2022


As the name suggests, this game takes place in the Victorian era, between 1836 and 1901. This grand strategy game puts the primary focus directly on geopolitical gameplay features. The player can choose from any one of 100 countries to control at the start of the game.

The gameplay revolves around expanding the size and influence of the player’s country, and minimizing the growth of other countries. This is done almost entirely through political mechanics. Trade, espionage, bribery and simple fast talk are all viable options, with war being something of a last resort.

2 Democracy 4

Sometimes Quirky But Always Fun

Democracy 4 Geopolitical Game

The fourth installment in the quirky Democracy franchise made this list because it is so different from other strategy games. For a start, it was made by a small indie development team, rather than an established AAA developer. This shows in the game design, as it does away with the complexity of many other strategy games to simplify political systems. As such, this is a great game for new aficionados of the grand strategy genre.

Instead of an ongoing, complex political landscape that the player has to exploit to win, Democracy 4 breaks politics down into what it terms “situations.” These are bite-sized political problems and challenges that the player must solve and overcome.

1 Total War: Three Kingdoms

Total War With An Oriental Flavor

Total War Three Kingdoms Geopolitical Game

Total War: Three Kingdoms
May 23, 2019

Strategy , Tactical

Part grand strategy game, part battle simulator, Total War: Three Kingdoms follows a similar approach to gameplay as most other Total War games. In Three Kingdoms, the player chooses one of 12 factions, and has the goal of unifying China to win the game.



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Politics plays a big part in the gameplay of Total War: Three Kingdoms. However, it must be said that the game tends to force political confrontations into a war state, as pitched battles are a very big part of the game’s attraction.


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Players who enjoy managing the economic aspects of their nations in grand strategy titles can’t go wrong with this selection.


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