Age of Empires (Series)

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Posted: 5 months ago, last updated 4 months ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.


Age of Empires is a strategy game where you command an ancient civilisation in real-time and must develop from hunter-gatherers to advanced forms of defence and war. This is similar territory to Civilization but focus on resource management and direct warfare rather than politics and religion and is played in real-time.

It initially focuses on events in Europe, Africa and Asia, from the Stone Age to the Iron Age. Subsequent games in the series took players to the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Europe's colonizing of the Americas.

To play, you click on buildings, people and items in the world to direct your population. You must collect resources, build camps and buildings and develop armies to survive. Mining, fishing and farming play a vital role. The combination of real history, with knife-edge strategic gameplay, has seen the series sell over million copies. The main releases are as follows:
  • Age of Empires (1997)
  • Age of Empires II (1999)
  • Age of Empires III (2005)
  • Age of Empires: The Age of Kings (2006)
  • Age of Empires Online (2011)
  • Age of Empires II: HD Edition (2013)
  • Age of Empires: Definitive Edition (2018)
  • Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (2019)
  • Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition (2020)
The recent rerelease of the HD version of the game has brought the series back to the fore. While the Age of Empires Online offers a free-to-play experience utilizing Games for Windows Live.

For families, the earlier games are a great introduction to strategy games. You can take them at your own pace to some extent as well as play together online. Their age also means that they are simpler and easier to understand than more modern strategy games.


Release date: February 1998, updated in 2019

Platforms: Mac, PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox One.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Open World and Strategy.




Duration: This game will take between 20 hours and 30 hours to complete. This is for the original Age of Empires game, the expansions and newer games extending this considerably.
Players: You can play this with 8 players online. You can play with 100 people in Age of Empire Online, but the main Definitive Edition of the game is played with battles of up to 8 people each commanding a competing civilisation.


Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.

You will need Xbox Live Gold (must be 18 to create, then configure family accounts for younger players) to play online with Xbox One.

This game is free with Xbox Game Pass.

Age Ratings

This game has been rated PEGI 12 for depictions of non-realistic looking violence towards human-like and animal-like characters, and use of mild bad language. Not suitable for persons under 12 years of age.

This game has been rated ESRB TEEN.

Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.


Accessibility for this game is as follows:
System Settings

Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games... read more about system accessibility settings.

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Similar Games

The following games are like Age of Empires. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to Age of Empires for younger age ratings.

Age of Empires is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Age of Empires in the following lists:

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These games have an educational element to them, but also offer experiences that are good games in their own right. This isn't busywork to trick you into learning, but clever and innovative ways to encounter history, physics, engineering, maths, geography and language subjects without feeling like you are in school. They also teach softer, deeper skills like long term strategy, planning, balancing systems, emotional intelligence, compassion, team-work and self-care.

Some of these games are aimed at younger players to play on their own, but others (as indicated by their PEGI ratings) are better for teenagers or played together in a family. Find some games that pique your interest, read through the details and decide how your child might benefit from playing them.

Your First Video Game

These games are perfect if you’ve never played one before, opening the door to the gaming world for non-gaming parents and carers. They are short, straightforward and easy to understand, so you don’t need to commit hours to learn to play them, and they are played on technology you probably already have in your pocket or in your home. They address mature themes such as love, hope, power, homelessness and even traffic planning by inviting you to interact and play a part in these worlds and stories.

We've found that it's not just parents who have enjoyed the way these games let them in on the world of gaming, but grandparents, uncles and aunts. In fact it's a great list for anyone who's never played a game and wants to know what all the fuss is about.

Free With Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that provides 100 top-tier games. Once subscribed you can download the game at no extra cost. Of the 100 games available the ones in our recommended database are listed below.

You cannot play games you install when your Xbox Game Pass expires, although you do keep any games you have purchased at a discount with your membership. You will need to purchase any in-game extra content in addition to the subscription, although some games include this content for free.
  • Xbox Game Pass £7.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including Xbox Live Gold for online play £10.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass PC £7.99/month
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also enables you to stream over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles, similar to the service offered by PlayStation Now, on mobile devices.

Xbox Live Gold usually costs £6.99/month and is the Xbox service that lets you play with others online. It also offers a few free games each month and substantial discounts.
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