Strategy Games with solid AI


The AI in Total Warhammer 2 received large gold bonuses even on Normal difficulty, but I think they toned it town in the Tomb King update. You could see this playing Lizardmen and cornering Skeggi in one tiny outpost. They could build and maintain 2-3 full armies because the AI base income was so high.

I’m definitely impressed with the tactical AI though (and yes, I know you can cheese any AI. The point is that it has an understanding of how to utilize different types of units together in an effective way).


EU IV shows how good you can make an AI when you know the map and can write a script for each country telling it what to prioritize.

Civ 4’s AI does cheat quite a bit, but it’s done in clever ways to hide it from the player. The bonuses start out small so that they’re not noticeable early on, but gradually ramp up over the course of the game. As the game gets bigger and more complex, the AI gets more help to cope with it.


I’d add HOI IV and Sword of the Stars (the original)


Oh yes, excellent call, that.


Disciples got my favourite opponent. An AI that wasn’t unfair, and knew how to cast spells in the overworld map (that hardly ever happens, strangely).
Sadly, the AI in Disciples 2 was back to the standard terrible ineptitude commonly found everywhere.


Another vote for Euopa Universalis IV AI as being good.

Wait for Stellaris 2.0 With any luck the game on the whole should be much improved when the new DLC drops.


That’s not even really what impresses me about the AI in that game. It’s how it interacts with all the diplomacy, like aggressive expansion, allies of allies, rivals, etc. An ally knows when it’s time to start calling the alliance quits if you start competing over territory or goals with them. For instance, Castile may be willing to ally France, but that alliance might come under strain if France is being dangerously aggressive, if they’ve taken a lot of territory in Iberia from Aragon, or both countries start competing heavily over Italy.

Or maybe not. If the alliance is long-standing and you’ve helped them in several wars, that can really help offset it. And speaking of helping in wars, the AI knows the difference between just agreeing to the Call to Arms versus actively helping in battles, which in turn earns you Favor which make them more willing to help you in your own endeavors.

None of it is rocket science and of course it still has its limitations, but does it ever kill most other strategy games for me. When I get a random war declaration from an ally in Civ5/6 or it’s from someone with literally no capability of even reaching my borders, I just shake my head and quit in disgust.


Is 2.0 the patch that adds the fun? #sorrykindanotreally ;)


Please dont forget Star Ruler 2.


Imperialism II, ya heathens! I’ve played that game for hundreds of hours and still can’t reliably win with the AI getting much more than minor bonuses. I used to beat Hard regularly, but can’t say that I can do so any more.

Another vote for Pandora. These days it’ll beat you like a rented mule if you don’t understand the ins and outs of its slightly goofy economy, even on normal. IIRC the ‘normal’ difficulty even puts the AI on a handicap!


Does that include the Pandora expansion?


Is there any wargame with good AI? I’ve never seen one that was even passable, but my experience with the genre is very limited over the past 15 years or so.


Korsun Pocket had a relatively aggressive AI, which is quite rare I guess?


@Desslock my experience is limited but the AI in field of Glory 2 has left me with a favourable impression.


AI War has a nasty habit of exposing weakly defended choke points…


Seconded! The best AI I have seen, especially with the recent patches.


I believe the latest paych is only for the expansion, so yes. Which is kind of a shame since I don’t like the expansion all that much, but I’m willing to put up with it for the better balance and AI.


Same for me. I have to thank Paradox as they mostly cured me of buying a ton of games on sale that sit in my backlog. Now I just buy DLC for their strategy games.

Still have Breath of Wild, Monster Hunter, and the new Etrian Odyssey sitting untouched as I have been on an EU4 bender since Thanksgiving.


I don’t agree with either of these, though I love both games!

HoI4 still has some really, really, boneheaded moves when moving armies. I mean, I give them credit for trying to solve a hard problem, but I wouldn’t call it solid. Also Expert AI is such a jump in terms of division design and production planning that I can’t call the production AI solid. There is hope in the next patch though.

The AI at the operational level is solid enough. It can crush unsuspecting players, though I think that comes a lot from the economic development model being a bit different from other games. It was extremely expensive to colonize marginal planets, and putting in only one colony ship was a recipe for very slow growth. Plus starting colonies are very easy to kill and people weren’t used to the idea that 5 destroyers wasn’t very much of a defense. In terms of ship control though, the AI’s one idea was “charge!”.

OK, I’ll relent and say SotS AI was solid enough overall.


The AI for Race for the Galaxy is extremely competent. It’s not programmed directly, but derived from a “temporal difference neural network.”