Please help me accomplish absolutely nothing this weekend.
January 24, 2014 4:22 PM   Subscribe

Are there any good historical city-building games that you can play on a Mac or iPad?

On this long, cold winter weekend holed up in my apartment I would love to have an ultra-engrossing game to play. Way back when, Caesar III was my favorite game and I would love to be able to play it again but that doesn't seem possible at the moment. Do you know of any similar games I might try that will work on either a Mac or iPad and are instantly downloadable? The city building aspect is what I really loved, not so much the war-strategy nonsense. I've played SimCity too and it's fun but I'd prefer something set in a past era.
posted by Jess the Mess to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Spore has a city building stage (but you have to get to it) and is really alot of fun.
Sid Meier games aren't just city building (Civilization) but are highly rated and amazing (but time consuming!). He's got multiple games and they generally have some historical aspect.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:50 PM on January 24, 2014

I've looked into this before myself (o for the endless days playing Pharaoh!) and come up basically dry. The last time I got this itch I wound up buying Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 on Steam, and it more or less scratched that itch for a while, though of course it's not exactly the same. But it does the same general resource-management-toward-specific-goals kind of thing.
posted by Andrhia at 5:43 PM on January 24, 2014

Well since you say ultra-engrossing... Dwarf Fortress is technically unreleased as an "Alpha" version and has a thus-far-poorly-designed interface, so it can be frustrating to learn and play (an understatement) but once you're comfortable with it it's definitely ultra-engrossing. You're essentially designing and managing a colony beginning from the first pioneers' arrival within an open-world fantasy setting, the usual quasi-medieval-slash-early-Renaissance kind of thing.

I think you'd want to download this version, though since I don't have a Mac I'm not sure. It would probably take a solid full day or more of learning and experimenting before you got to the point of being able to play a satisfying game where you can really concentrate on designing things rather than figuring out the basics and (often unnecessarily complex) intricacies.

If you goal is to accomplish nothing this weekend, Dwarf Fortress is definitely the way to go.
posted by XMLicious at 5:48 PM on January 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Here's Caesar III for $6 from GoodOldGamers.

Maybe something from the Tropico series?
posted by bluecore at 5:52 PM on January 24, 2014

Here are some more from Steam, although I haven't played any of them:

Rise of Venice
CivCity: Rome
Anno 2070

Edit: oops, you said Mac. I just now noticed that. I apologize for the previous post as well.
posted by bluecore at 5:57 PM on January 24, 2014

I was going to recommend Tropico as well (super fun, tons of character, and well-designed), but it doesn't seem to be available for the Mac...
posted by TonyRobots at 5:58 PM on January 24, 2014

You can download Caesar III, but will need to figure out a way to run an OS 7 app in OS X.
posted by TonyRobots at 5:59 PM on January 24, 2014

I've been enjoying Cities in Motion on my Mac lately. You build a mass transit system in a city, as opposed to the city itself (though I believe it also has a map editor). It has scenarios from 1900 to the present, so a lot of it is played in an era that's slightly past.
posted by akgerber at 6:38 PM on January 24, 2014

Oh, and I'll vote for Dwarf Fortress as well, though it's definitely a rabbit hole. I need to fire that up again one of these days...
posted by TonyRobots at 7:06 PM on January 24, 2014

I like playing Civ IV on the easiest setting with war disabled for when I just want to waste sometime and make cities.
posted by yasaman at 7:17 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

You should try "Mount and Blade: Warband". It's pretty fun, I recently got it and it keeps me entertained for hours.
posted by vulnus at 7:29 PM on January 24, 2014

I just looked up Tropico, and Tropico 3 and 4 are available on the Mac App Store.
posted by yasaman at 7:51 PM on January 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Anno Online might fit the bill. It runs out of your browser so nothing to download. Should work on Mac but not sure about ipad.
posted by Danniman at 4:39 AM on January 25, 2014

I looked into this again, because I LOVED those Impressions games and would love to play them again. So I installed a Wine implementation called Crossover on a free two-week trial. And I installed a Zeus demo, since I'd never played it. And... it seems to be working really great so far?

This bodes well for spending $6 or $10 on the Impressions game of your heart's desire over at GoG. And it didn't take long, wasn't crazy complicated, and the two-week trial is free. Good luck!
posted by Andrhia at 7:23 AM on January 25, 2014

Let us know what you end up doing, Jess!
posted by TonyRobots at 11:45 AM on January 25, 2014

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