• Not many grand strategy games are set in modern times, but some Cold War-based examples, like Balance of Power, offer unique gameplay experiences.
  • Games like Supreme Ruler Ultimate provide a range of era-based sandboxes for strategic play, from World War 1 to scenarios based on 2017-2020.
  • For those interested in diplomacy and managing nations, Rogue State Revolution and World Empire 2027 are great, more unique games to try.

Part of the fun in grand strategy games is getting to see a plan come together. Picking the right units, skills, and upgrades, then rewriting history to become the new equivalent of Alexander the Great/Cao Cao/Shaka Zulu, etc. (possibly literally so depending on the game). Yet they tend to either stay in the distant past or end right where the modern era begins like Victoria 3 and Europa Universalis 4.

Some say it’s due to older battle tactics being easier to replicate in video games, or developers not wanting to step on any political toes. Rocking the boat is a good way to get their work banned. However, that isn’t to say there aren’t any grand strategy games set in modern times. There are a few out there, and these are the best of the bunch.



The 12 Best Grand Strategy Games Of All Time, Ranked

The best grand strategy games are often played out over several centuries, with some leaning into the immersion and role-play aspects of these eras.

Updated on April 8, 2024, by David Heath: Pickings remain slim when it comes to modern-day grand strategy games. The player’s cup runneths over when it comes to ancient, medieval, or World War 2-set examples. There are even a few Cold War examples if one looks hard enough. But for most strategy games, grand or otherwise, the modern day is the finish line rather than the starting point. Nonetheless, this list has been updated with a few more top examples of grand strategy games that took place well after WW2. Some of them are mixed bags, but others are old-school classics, and others take things in a different direction beyond military or economic conquest. It shows that, for some, a modern setting is an invitation to take a novel approach to the genre.

12 Balance of Power

GameFAQs Score: 3/5 Stars

Modern Era Grand Strategy Games- Balance of Power

  • Developed by Mindscape
  • Era: 1980s

The “Modern Era” could mean anything depending on the context. This list will keep things simpler and cite it as anything post-World War 2. 80+ years seems pretty big, but that’s still quite tiny compared to the multiple centuries and millennia Civilization and other strategy games can cover. It also means Cold War-based games can count, including Balance of Power. It’s one of the oldest games on the list, dating back to 1985.

The mid-80s was the last time people thought the Cold War might get hot. So, developer Chris Crawford thought it was the right time to make a game where the player had to pick either the US or USSR and avoid pushing the button by keeping the peace. Failing to do so results in one of the most iconic game-over screens, which states plainly “There is no animated display of a mushroom cloud with parts of bodies flying through the air. We do not reward failure.”

11 Geopolitique 1990

GameFAQs Score: 3/5 Stars

Modern Grand Strategy Games- Geopolitique 1990

  • Developed by Strategic Simulations.
  • Era: 1990s.

For another old-school selection, Geopolitique 1990 also focuses on the Cold War but takes a simpler approach. Players play as the US only and try to outmaneuver the USSR, played by the CPU. By 1990, one would think there wasn’t too much for the player to do, as the Soviet Union dissolved into the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1991. But this game was made in 1983, so the Soviets can last until the player does something about it.

It has one scenario based on actual 1980s history, and 6 more based on hypothetical 1990s situations. The player chooses 2 out of 3 goals to achieve; Trade, Prestige, and National Security (basically economic, political, or military victory). If they succeed in them, they win! If they only get one or none, they lose. Considering it’s a largely text-based Commodore 64/Apple II game, it might not do much for fans used to more graphical takes. But it’s free to download from MyAbandonware.com, so they won’t lose anything if they give it a go.

10 Supreme Ruler Ultimate

Steam Score: 3.5/5 Stars

Modern Era Grand Strategy Games- Supreme Ruler Ultimate

  • Developed by BattleGoat Studios
  • Era: World War 1 to 2020

Still, 1985 is nearly 40 years ago now. Surely grand strategy games can get more modern than that. Supreme Ruler Ultimate manages to do that and head back to the past at the same time. It’s essentially a combination of the previous Supreme Ruler games, so it offers players a range of era-based sandboxes to strategize in.


10 Best Grand Strategy Games For Diplomacy

Fans who love the diplomatic aspect of grand strategy will find plenty to enjoy with these games.

With the use of their military units, cabinet departments, and keen knowledge of the game’s economic system, players can fight it out during both World Wars and the time in between them. Or they could heat up the Cold War, or go through various scenarios based between 2017 and 2020. The game was released in 2014, so they’re more fictionalized takes that see the States splitting apart, or uniting against (or under) a certain contentious figure.

9 Supreme Ruler 2010

Metascore: 69

Modern Grand Strategy Games- Supreme Ruler 2010

  • Developed by BattleGoat Studios
  • Era: 2010s

Supreme Ruler Ultimate combined every feature from Supreme Ruler 2020 and Supreme Ruler 1936, which is why it had such a wide scope of eras. But it didn’t include features from 2020‘s predecessor Supreme Ruler 2010, which is technically the first in the series. It was a remake of the 1982 TRS-80 game Supreme Ruler and took five years to go from a concept in 2000 to its full release in 2005.

It’s up to the player to unite the fragmented states of the world and become their supreme ruler, so to speak. They can restore former nations like Canada or China, make completely new ones, or make the whole world one nation under their command. Of course, this all hinges on whether they can keep track of their hand-picked ministers, regulate their economies, and handle the tricky AI. Getting into the game is easy enough, but the difficulty spikes sharply later in the game.

8 SuperPower 2

Steam Score: 3.5/5 Stars

Modern Grand Strategy Games- SuperPower 2

  • Developed by GolemLabs.
  • Era: 2000s.

The SuperPower games aren’t the most stable series around. Their Steam re-releases sort out most of the bugs and issues they had compared to their original early 2000s versions, but they still have the odd hiccup. Nonetheless, it has built a fanbase thanks to them sharing the same goal as the Supreme Ruler games: pick a nation, then either fix its resources, unite the world in peace, or conquer the planet entirely.

The best of the bunch is SuperPower 2, which offers all 193 of the UN-recognized nations. It all runs in real-time too, and all the other nations will be controlled by the CPU working towards their own individual goals. It’s an ambitious game and one that gives the player a lot to get used to through its multiple options (and issues). But if players fancy a challenge, SuperPower 2 will certainly give them one.

7 Storm: Frontline Nation

Metacritic User Score: 8.0

Modern Era Grand Strategy Games- Storm Frontline Nation

  • Developed by Colossai Studios
  • Era: Early 2010s

Storm: Frontline Nation is older, being released in 2011, but skips the political satire in favor of gameplay. Picking one of 45 nations, players navigate through a more tense take on modern politics. Alliances are few and far between, but firepower is on the rise. It’s all too easy for someone to declare war and force their will on their neighbors.


13 Grand Strategy Games With The Best Economy Systems

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

It’s up to the player to manage the production, diplomacy, research, and coordination of their troops to either hold out against their rivals or take over Europe and North Africa for themselves. The critics’ reviews were cooler than, say, the Crusader Kings games, but it still received positive feedback from players. Plus, those games didn’t let the player use more modern military fare like anti-tank rounds or chemical warfare.

6 Rogue State Revolution

Steam Score: 3.5/5 Stars

Modern Era Grand Strategy Games- Rogue State Revolution

Rogue State Revolution
March 18, 2021



Little Red Dog Games’ Rogue State Revolution has a smaller focus, as the player can only control the fictional nation of Basenji. However, they have to be aware of the cultural differences of their nation’s 5 provinces to appeal to their voters. Then they have to appoint ministers and make sure they don’t get too popular, or they might stand against them at the next in-game election.

The political intrigue is at the forefront of the game, but the player still has to maintain and improve Basenji’s infrastructure, manage diplomatic relations with other nations, and keep an eye out for any unexpected events. If they falter on any of all of those points, they could find themselves voted out of power, or worse. Just because the player’s in control doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way.

5 Fate of the World

Steam Score: 3.5/5 Stars

Modern Grand Strategy Games- Fate of the World

  • Developed by Red Redemption.
  • Era: 2020s.

Why play as one nation when players can be responsible for the whole world? Fate of the World skips the political angle for an environmental one. Players play as a fictional international organization that seeks to sort out the world’s social, technological, and environmental issues, based on a range of scenarios based on actual scientific research.

The biggest one is avoiding catastrophic climate change, using climate prediction models based on research by the University of Oxford’s Climate Dynamics group. It’s not as easy as just replacing all motor cars with electric variants, as they’ll have to consider public opinion, industrial production, human development, and more. Some regions will be more open than others, making saving the world a delicate balancing act that could easily go awry.

4 Conflict of Nations: World War 3

Steam Score: 3.5/5 Stars

Modern Era Grand Strategy Games- Conflict of Nations WW3

Conflict of Nations: World War 3
March 15, 2018

Dorado Games

Real-Time Strategy

If players want something bigger in scope, there are few games bigger than Conflict of Nations: World War 3. Set in the late 20th Century/early 21st Century, the game was made with the intention of sessions lasting days, if not weeks. In multiplayer, it can support up to 140 players, and all of them have to strategize on who’s best to ally with to fight against another foe.


14 Grand Strategy Games That Support Co-Op

Grand strategy fans don’t have to tackle the world alone. These grand strategy titles are great for those who would rather join forces in co-op.

Together, they can plan out more stable defensive tactics, or a stronger offense altogether. They’ll have plenty of modern tech to play with too, provided they build up their economic, military, and weapons research doctrines properly. It could even produce chemical ICBMs and nuclear weapons. But the player has to be careful about using them, or they could cause the rest of the world to turn against them.

Metascore: 64

Modern Grand Strategy Games- Naval War Arctic Circle

  • Developed by Turbo Tape Games
  • Era: 2030

What used to be some far-off future date from a sci-fi story is now only six years away, and growing ever closer. There aren’t any Skynet cyborgs, flying cars, or ethical billionaires, but in Naval War: Arctic Circle, there is a conflict. Players choose either NATO or Russian forces and compete in their own single-player campaigns, or against another player in the online multiplayer mode.

As the name suggests, the game is all about naval war tactics. Players manage their troops across the North Atlantic, Arctic Ocean, and Baltic Sea, commanding their units across a 35 million square-kilometer map. They’ll have to strategize around day/night cycles and realistic weather conditions and watch out for civilian ships and aircraft. It’s not the prettiest or most challenging game around, but it is unique with its naval setting and focus.

2 World Empire 2027

Steam Score: 3.5/5 Stars

Modern Grand Strategy Games- World Empire 2027

  • Developed by iGindis Games
  • Era: 2027

For something broader than sea battles, World Empire 2027 goes back to the old formula of taking one country to the top during a global crisis. The world markets have crashed, the superpowers are focusing on their own issues, and old alliances play second fiddle to just having enough resources to survive. The player has to pick their country and use their know-how in diplomacy, economics, and warfare to become its Supreme Commander.

The game came out in March 2022 but is still being updated with new features and scenarios. Most recently, the game enables the player to form alliances with other nations in case they need help against another rival. There are also unique missions and scenarios based on recent history, which can make those alliances harder or easier to form. It may be 2027, but knowing the past can go a long way in World Empire 2027.

1 World Warfare & Economics

Steam Score: 3.5/5 Stars

Modern Era Grand Strategy Games- World Warfare & Economics

  • Developed by Okron Studio
  • Era: Present Day to Near-Future

It doesn’t feel completely fair to recommend this game as, of this writing, the game isn’t fully out yet. World Warfare & Economics is available in Early Access, offering some playable countries, full economic and political management, AI opponents, and real-time battles set across 4,000 regions in the modern world. Even in this form, the game received some glowing feedback.

But the full game aims to provide 220 playable countries (195 UN-recognized nations, then 25 colonies and disputed states), each with their own economies, militaries, and tech to advance. They can take part in real international events, play the political game to garner support, and change history. Players can even take the fight into space if they advance their tech enough. But for now, they’ll have to keep their scheming earthbound in the Early Access demo.


6 Grand Strategy Games With Extremely Hard AI

The AI in these strategy games is quick to punish even the smallest mistakes.


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