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Best City Building Games for the PC


My fascination with city building games started with Will Wright's "SimCity Classic." Games have come a long way since 1989, with plenty of city building games released along the way. And without further ado, here are my favorites.

1. "The SimCity Box"

The SimCity Box
Courtesy of Pricegrabber.
"The SimCity Box" comes with 4 games from the series: "SimCity Societies," "SimCity Destinations," "SimCity 4 Deluxe," and "Sims Carnival SnapCity." This collection is an excellent buy for many city building gamers, especially for those who do not own "SimCity Societies" or "SimCity 4." "Sims Carnival SnapCity" is a puzzle city builder. "SimCity 4 Deluxe" is classic city building with the "SimCity 4" expansion. "SimCity Societies" is the newest sim that focuses not on city management but the residents. "SimCity Destinations" is an expansion for "SimCity Societies."
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2. "SimCity 4 Deluxe"

SimCity Deluxe Box Cover
Box Cover © Electronic Arts.
If only own one city building game, "SimCity" should be it. Building roads, managing finances, providing city services, and zoning commercial, industrial, and residential areas are still the main features. What "SimCity " does add is regions, ability to connect cities, terrain editor, MySim mode, and enhanced graphics. "SimCity Deluxe" includes the "Rush Hour" expansion pack.

3. "Caesar IV"

Caesar IV Box Cover
Box Cover © Vivendi.
"Caesar IV," a city builder based on the Roman Empire, is not a ground breaking game. There are residents to be put to work and feed, food to be grown and processed, demands to be met, and wars to be fought - typical cycles of city builders. This is not to say that "Caesar" is boring or feels uninspired. It has all the classic gameplay elements needed for a city builder, all the while giving the gamer hours of game time that will quickly pass. The right mix of difficulty, playing modes, and entertainment help "Caesar IV" stand out among other city builders.

4. "City Life World Edition"

City Life World Edition Box Cover
Screenshot © CDV.
"City Life" is not your typical city building sim. While there are hospitals, businesses, residences, factories to build, the biggest focus is not on the buildings that make the city run. It is on the people who lives there and their relationships with each other. The six social classes depend on each other (Elites won't work at a windmill, but sure will use the power) whether they like it or not. Because the focus is on social classes, the city management features are not as sophisticated as say the management of "SimCity 4."

5. "Glory of the Roman Empire"

Screenshot © CDV.
"Glory of the Roman Empire," like "Caesar IV" is set in ancient Roman times. I recommend this game to those who haven't played a city builder before. "Glory of the Roman Empire" is an easy game to jump right into and is not hard to master. Veterans to the city builder genre will most likely breeze through the scenarios.

6. "Children of the Nile"

Children of the Nile Box Cover
Box Cover © Tilted Mill.
Ruling an ancient Egyptian civilization is not easy. Being Pharaoh involves making trade partnerships, keeping enemies at bay, while keeping the citizens working and your prestige rising. "Children of the Nile" is not a game for casual gamers, but for those who love watching their city grow and mature, and look past the flaws.
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