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Build and Conquer: The 11 Best Base Building Games for PC in 2023

While base building is a part of many different games, only some are truly base building games – and where exactly that line is drawn is a somewhat up for interpretation.

That said, what are the best base building games that stand out from the pack? This list breaks down the best games that focus on building and growing a thriving base and colony.

1. Fostpunk

Frostpunk is a unique base-building game set in a frozen post-apocalyptic world. In the game, you must use your resources and skills to build a thriving city while also struggling against extreme conditions such as cold temperatures and natural disasters. You must manage resources, build shelters, and upgrade technologies to ensure the survival of your citizens.

The expansive game map features diverse biomes that range from snowy tundras to burning wastelands. Each biome provides its own challenges and opportunities, such as mysterious ruins that provide valuable resources or dangerous predators that can threaten your colony’s safety. You will also have to deal with other factions vying for control of the land and its resources.

To survive in this harsh environment, you must focus on three main areas: resource management, shelter building, and technology research. Resource management is crucial for sustaining your population. You will need to gather supplies like coal and wood for construction projects or food for healing illnesses. Shelter building requires you to design efficient structures that are capable of withstanding the elements while providing enough room for all colonists. Finally, technology research can give you an edge over nature by unlocking new resources or allowing you to craft more advanced items like steam-powered tools or machines that generate energy from heat sources.

Frostpunk also offers multiple gameplay modes such as Survival Mode which tasks you with constructing a city from scratch in an unforgiving landscape; Endless Mode which allows players to experience the joys of base building without any time constraints; and Scenario Mode which gives players specific challenges in order to test their mettle in various scenarios such as rebuilding after a disaster or colonizing a new land.

With its captivating story-driven campaign and massive sandbox environments, Frostpunk is one of the best base-building games out there for PC gamers in 2023. It’s deep yet intuitive mechanics make it an enjoyable experience no matter how many times you play it—providing hours upon hours of entertainment as you strive towards keeping your colony alive despite the harshest conditions imaginable!

2. Anno 1800

Anno 1800 is a city-building and resource management game set in the 19th century. In the game, you will play as an enterprising industrialist who must construct, manage, and grow their own thriving society while dealing with all of the unique challenges of the industrial revolution.

You will be tasked with colonizing islands, setting up production buildings and factories, establishing trading routes, and managing resources to ensure your colony’s success. The game features a detailed population system in which you must keep track of your citizens’ happiness, health, and wealth to avoid any negative consequences that may arise due to unrest or poverty. As your population grows so too does the complexity of managing it—you must build housing for each new citizen, create jobs for them to work at, handle taxation as well as other civic functions.

Compared to other base building games, Anno 1800 stands out by providing players with an array of advanced features such as an expansive research tree that allows you to unlock powerful technologies; advanced resource management; dynamic AI opponents who will seek to gain power over you; and even naval battles where you can use your fleet of ships to battle rival factions for control of resources or land. Another great thing about Anno 1800 is that it has multiple difficulty settings which allow players to customize their experience according to their skill level—from beginner-friendly scenarios to more complex scenarios that require deep strategic planning.

The game also has a vibrant modding community which has created numerous user-made modifications that enhance different gameplay aspects such as adding new buildings or units or improving graphics fidelity. This adds an extra layer of depth and replayability beyond the original experience—allowing players countless hours of fun trying out different strategies and approaches on both single player and multiplayer campaigns.

If you’re looking for a challenging yet rewarding base building experience then look no further than Anno 1800—it offers a truly immersive world full of engaging systems waiting for you explore! With its plethora of content offerings, real-time strategy mechanics, and fine-tuned difficulty settings—Anno 1800 is sure to provide PC gamers with endless hours of entertainment this 2023!

3. Banished

Banished is a single-player city-building strategy game set in a fictional pre-industrial world. The primary goal of the game is to build and maintain a successful settlement, with players having to manage their population of citizens while also dealing with various environmental and economic challenges.

In Banished, you play as the leader of a group of exiled travelers who have decided to start a new life in an unfamiliar land. As the chief of your small village, it will be your job to construct buildings and provide basic resources for your citizens such as food, clothing, firewood, housing, and tools. You must also establish trade routes with other villages in order to acquire more valuable resources—such as iron ore or coal—while providing some of your own products in return.

The game features advanced resource management mechanics that will require players to carefully plan ahead in order to avoid running out of crucial supplies such as medicine or warm clothes for winter. Players must also take into account the needs and wants of their citizens by constructing things like churches and pubs which can improve their morale or increase their productivity. The game also features intricate trading mechanics where players can establish lucrative trade routes between villages by carrying goods from one port to another; this opens up interesting strategic opportunities as well as tactical ones since you must defend your ships from both human pirates and supernatural forces while attempting to complete your voyage safely.

What makes Banished stand out from other base-building games is its focus on realism—players are presented with an array of realistic scenarios such as disease outbreaks or natural disasters that often require quick thinking and even quicker actions if they want their village to survive! Furthermore, the game’s difficulty setting can be adjusted according to each player’s skill level—ranging from introductory missions all the way up to more challenging endgame scenarios that can test even the most seasoned strategist’s mettle!

Banished not only offers hours upon hours of entertainment via its immersive single-player mode but it also provides additional replayability via its modding community which has created numerous user-made modifications including new buildings, units, landscapes, maps, etc.; these mods allow you experience different gameplay aspects such as building fantasy castles or colonizing alien planets—adding even more depth beyond what is available on vanilla version! With its deep yet intuitive mechanics; unique approach towards resource management; captivating story-driven campaign; and vibrant modding community—Banished is truly one of the best base building games out there for PC gamers this 2023!

4. Age of Empires II Definitive Edition

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition is a classic real-time strategy game that has been given a modern touch-up to make it more visually and mechanically appealing. This game puts you in the heart of historic battles as you control your army and build up your base. You can choose from 18 civilizations, 8 unique campaigns, and over 200 technologies to create your own unique experience.

The base building mechanic requires you to manage resources, construct buildings, and upgrade them with powerful bonuses. You must collect resources such as food, wood, stone, gold, and iron to build an impressive empire. Furthermore, Age of Empires II Definitive Edition features advanced economic mechanics which allow players to establish trade routes between allied cities in order to acquire rare or valuable resources.

Players must also be mindful of various environmental conditions when constructing their bases; for example, some buildings may require access to water for irrigation or fish farms may need adequate temperature for breeding fish. As the campaign progresses and technology evolves—players gain access to new strategies such as siege warfare wherein they must construct walls around their city and deploy siege weapons in order to deter enemy attacks. Additionally, the game offers dynamic weather effects like snowfall or sandstorms that can significantly alter the outcome of any battle—making each playthrough truly unpredictable!

Perhaps what makes Age of Empires II Definitive Edition so great is its stunning visuals coupled with its intense battles; battles include massive armies that take place on huge maps full of lush vegetation and vibrant colors which help create a captivating atmosphere as you time travel through history! Furthermore, the game includes a deep online multiplayer mode—allowing players from all over the world to compete against each other for bragging rights!

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition offers an incredibly immersive base building experience packed with strategic depth—enabling players to actively participate in one of the most iconic real-time strategy games ever made! With its stunning visuals; solid game mechanics; diverse civilizations; challenging campaigns; dynamic weather effects; and intense real-time multiplayer skirmishes—this is definitely one title PC gamers should give a shot this 2023!

5. RimWorld

RimWorld is arguably the best base building game and has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the community. It’s a sci-fi colony simulator where you harvest resources, construct buildings, defend attacks, manage colonists, build (and destroy) relationship, and explore the world.

While the main goal of the game is to build a ship large enough to get your colonists off the planet, many players ignore that goal entirely and focus on building a colony that can withstand the most intense 100-person late-game attacks.

One of the coolest parts about this game is that there isn’t really a storyline – you create your own through character interactions, world events, random encounters, and faction relationships.

Why it’s On the List

RimWorld is the quintessential base building game. The main objective of the game is to build a base suitable to grow your colony and ultimately launch off the planet (or you just keep building…) and that includes everything from food and defence to entertainment that prevents mental breakdowns.

Not only that, but RimWorld is a highly versatile game. The customizations, interactions, and random encounters make every new game a unique experience.

Game Info

  • Developer: Ludeon Studios
  • Reviews: 96% Steam, 91 GGEZReviews
  • Where to Buy: Humble Bundle

6. Factorio

What’s better than a crafting system? A crafting system can be perfectly optimized and entirely automated. Factorio is a fun and unique base building game where you create automated systems to gather resources and craft items.

  • Turn ore into metal bars
  • Metal bars into wire
  • Combine wire and plastic into circuits…

And that’s just a start.

But beware; pollution and expansion attract some unfriendly guests (pro tip: you can play on safe mode if you just want to focus on building). For most people, what starts out as a fairly organized an optimized assembly line quickly turns into chaos – can you manage the factory?

Why It’s On the List

Factorio is about building a colonist-free base. It’s about constructing an assembly line that pumps out everything from ammo to research points. In-depth reports help you sniff out bottlenecks in the system so everything is flowing smoothly at all times (that’s the goal at least).

Game Info

  • Developer: Wube Software LTD
  • Reviews: 98% Steam
  • Where to Buy: Humble Bundle

7. Oxygen Not Included

Oxygen Not Included is a calm and complex survival-style base building game and one a great one at that. You start with 3 colonists inside a space rock and immediately need to start working to keep them alive.

Running out of food, water – and yes, oxygen – is a constant threat.  But that’s not all. Your colonists get over-stressed, your base overheats, germs spread, and electrical circuits breakdown. It’s up to you to manage your “duplicants” and create a thriving colony.

Something worth mentioning about Oxygen Not Included is that it can take some time to really understand the game mechanics and physics. Understanding how the different gases interact with each other or how heat is dispersed through different materials can take some time to figure out. All that said, it’s still a ton of fun even while you’re learning.

Why It’s On the List

While Oxygen Not Included could be considered a survival game in some ways, but the complexity and customization of how you build and grow your base make it more of a base building game for me. I’ve sunk over 100 hours into this game and am still managing to find new ways to kill my colony.

Game Info

  • Developer: Klei Entertainment
  • Reviews: 93% Steam, 93 GGEZReviews
  • Where to Buy: Steam

8. Surviving Mars


Despite being made by the developers of City Skylines, Surviving Mars is definitely more of a base building game than a city-building game. You land a rocket on Mars and start by using drones to build a base suitable for human inhabitants. Create specialized domes, entertainment districts, and educations centers to keep your ever-expanding colony of alive.

Why It’s On the List

Surviving Mars ticks all the boxes for base building games. The main focus of the game to create a Mars colony that can sustain life as you work towards upgrades and new technologies that help you expand and improve.

It also has many of the familiar challenges of a base building game: managing resources, job specialization, and organizing the chaos.

Game Info

  • Developer: Haemimont Games
  • Reviews: 80 PC Gamer, 78 GGEZReviews
  • Where to Buy: Humble Bundle

9. Prison Architect


In this game you have to build and manage a maximum security prison – and if done well, things can get messy.

First, you need to plan the layout of your prison.

  • Where will the rooms go?
  • The canteen?
  • The yard?
  • The holding cells?
  • The infirmary?
  • The guard room?

But once you start bringing prisoners is when thing really get interesting. You can choose between low, medium and maximum security inmates, just make sure you’re prepared before bringing in a bunch of hardened criminals.

Why It’s In The List

Prison Architect is a base building game unlike many others. It’s a top-down lock-em-up style game that involves not just building but also managing a maximum security prison. Keeping your finances in the green is one thing, but handling the violent gang feuds inside your prison walls is another. It’s a fantastic game and well deserving of a place on the list.

Game Info

  • Developer: Introversion Software
  • Reviews: 87 PC Gamer, 86 GGEZReviews
  • Where to Buy: Humble Bundle

10. They Are Billions


They Are Billions is a “steampunk strategy” game where you build and defend a colony against zombie hordes. Surviving the regular zombies attacks is difficult enough, but making it past the final horde requires some serious planning and strategy.

This game has many of the classic base building elements, with some RTS aspects to the game as well:

  • Planning your base layout
  • Optimizing space
  • Managing resources
  • Creating units
  • Defending your base

Why It’s In The List

They Are Billions is a challenging but fun game. Not many other base building game encourage you to delete entire chunks of your base to prevent them from succumbing to the zombies invasion (which just makes things worse.)

Game Info

  • Developer: Numantian Games
  • Reviews: 85% Steam, 82 GGEZReviews
  • Where to Buy: Humble Bundle

11. Subnautica


Part survival game and part base building game, Subnautica is on of the few (and best) base builders that takes place almost entirely under water.

As with any survival game, you need to maintain hydration and nourishment while also battling some nasty creatures. But along the way, you can build some pretty incredible bases to help grow food and store resources.

Why It’s In The List

One of my favorite parts of this game is exploring the various biomes. They’re big, beautiful, and a bit scary.

I have never considered myself thalassophobic – but playing this game did make strongly reconsider the diving lessons I had planned.

Game Info

  • Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • Reviews: 89 PC Gamer, 91 GGEZReviews
  • Where to Buy: Humble Bundle

Isaac Justesen
Isaac is a coffee drinker who occasionally writes about video games.
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