Real-time strategies, or RTS games for short, are games focused on battles with one or several opponents, in which each player commands their own troops by giving them orders in real time (hence the name). Furthermore, the players are required to maintain an economy, as recruiting troops costs resources and happens in specialized buildings. Crippling the opponents’ ability to gather resources is a sure way to victory, as it will render them helpless. For this reason, protecting your own base (or bases) while assaulting the others’ is the way these games are played – simply defeating your opponents’ units will not get you anywhere.
In this article, we will cover real-time strategy games available to play on Apple computers. Although Mac owners have a more limited choice of games, compared to Windows PC users, there are still several great real time strategies for Mac lovers to enjoy. Read the article below for the list.
Let’s start with some great news. The most popular RTS of the last decade, StarCraft II, can be played on Mac. If you’re someone looking to see what the RTS genre has to offer – look no further. Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, a company made by its successful RTS games, it is easily the best game the genre currently has to offer.
StarCraft II is a sci-fi game telling a story about three races, the Terrans (that’s us!), the Protoss, and the Zerg, as they fight each other, attempting to subdue the others and become the undisputed ruler of the galaxy. The game’s campaign is split into three parts, Wings of Liberty storyline focused on Terrans, Heart of the Swarm about the Zerg, and Legacy of the Void which is about the Protoss.
Notably, StarCraft II has a free version, which really makes it the best when it comes to those new to the genre. The free version is limited in a few ways: only the Terran solo campaign is available, while the multiplayer is restricted to Unranked play (Ranked can be unlocked by winning ten times in Unranked or against an AI, but this needs to be done each day). Still, it is a great opportunity to experience what RTS games are like, all without paying anything.
Another great RTS to try out would be Northgard. This Viking-themed game offers a beautiful and beginner-friendly experience. Many RTS games require a lot of micromanagement – giving many different commands to many different units, all very quickly, is often a necessity if you want to do well. Not in Northgard! Though it isn’t entirely abolished – you can’t make an RTS without micromanagement – the game’s slower pace makes it more accessible to new, inexperienced players, as well as people with slow reflexes. If you’ve always wanted to get into RTS games but was intimidated by their intensity, this game is for you.
Planetary Annihilation: TITANS
Planetary Annihilation is an RTS game notable for many things, but most importantly its sheer scale. The game didn’t receive its name for nothing – the matches take place at multiple planets at once, and these planets can be destroyed. Up to ten people can participate in a match, while automation features reduce the burden of micromanagement and thus allow players to wield truly massive armies. The TITANS update, released in 2015, further enhanced the game by adding a few appropriately-massive units, a fair amount of less-massive units, a new Bounty Mode, and other improvements.
Company of Heroes 2
Unlike many other RTS games, Company of Heroes 2 is set in a realistic setting, specifically World War II. The game’s setting is not the only reason it stands out, though. CoH2 features several innovative mechanics – for example, the TrueSight™ system makes shooting realistic by accounting for the unit’s line-of-sight, and the enemy’s cover. This, in turn, means that the players have to play tactically, considering terrain and cover. This fits the game’s realistic setting very well. Overall, Company of Heroes 2 is a breath of fresh air for any RTS fan who got tired of commanding super-soldiers in space.
Note: there are several different, standalone, versions of the game available for purchase. Please note that only Company of Heroes 2 (the base game) and Company of Heroes 2: Ardennes Assault feature single-player campaigns. The other two standalone versions, Company of Heroes 2: The Western Front Armies and Company of Heroes 2: The British Forces are multiplayer-only.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III, meanwhile, is here for those of you who are not tired of commanding super-soldiers in space – because you will be doing that a lot in this game. Set in a universe not known for its subtlety, Warhammer 40K, Dawn of War III is equally epic and over-the-top.
In the grim darkness of the fortieth millennium, there is only war, as every sentient race in the galaxy rabidly hates one another. The races present in this game are the Humans, the Eldar, and the Orks. An ancient superweapon, the likes of which can no longer be produced, has been discovered on the planet of Acheron. The races wage war over the control of the world and the weapon, as the victor would be able to wage war against their enemies more. Dawn of War III will plunge you into massive and utterly brutal fights, and you will not regret it.
As many players consider the prequel to this game, Dawn of War II, a better game despite its old age, it is only prudent to mention it as well, seeing as it is also available on Mac. You should consider purchasing DoW II instead of III, or both.
Windows-exclusive RTS games
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Talking about Windows exclusives doesn’t make much sense in an article specifically about real time strategies for Mac, now, does it? But, incredulous as it may seem, it does. There are several ways to play Windows games on Mac – here’s a guide explaining how it is possible. Or, you can install Windows on your Mac, which would also allow you to run Windows RTS games – and any other game too, of course. So Windows exclusives, like Age of Empires IV, Ashes of the Singularity, or Battlefleet Gothic: Armada are, in fact, available to you too.