Question Any Strategy games with good and smart AI?

Jan 27, 2024
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Does anyone know of any strategy games with good and smart AI?

I play strategy games almost always in singleplayer mode, and one of the flaws that I notice in many of these games is that the AI is usually poorly programmed, that is, they either have no strategy or any goals in mind, their builds are sub-optimal at best, they don't know how to implement basic combat tactics (e.g. flanking), and so on...

Do you guys have any recommendations for games that contain good, competent, and fair AI? And by that I mean, AI that does not cheat and gets unfair bonuses compared to the player, like knowing your location through fog-of-war all the time, getting a higher multiplier / more resources than the player, having more units than it could possibly produce, etc.

Rather, what I'm looking for is an AI that starts with the same amount of resources as you do, abilities, technology, etc. as the player would in their position (more or less if their starting faction/race gives them such bonuses/penalties), have strategic goals in mind (e.g. like winning via Science/Culture/Economy route, or conquering everything), have buildings and build orders that support their goals, implement smart tactics in combat and exploration, and generally play to the best of their abilities just as a player would in their situation.

Now, I know that this might be asking for a lot, especially since I know that AI development isn't a strong priority for developers, but I'm hoping someone here might know of such games that implement these things, the more the better.

As for the games themselves, I'm not too picky. So, the game's release date doesn't matter, the setting (whether it's Sci-Fi, Medieval, Modern) doesn't matter as well, the graphics don't matter, and the genre (RTS, TBS, 4X, etc.) doesn't matter as well.

Do any games like this come to mind?

Additionally, any AI mods that improve the game's AI are welcome as well.
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I don't think it's poor programming that's the problem - it's making the AI more human-like. In a 4X game, for instance, an AI could balance its economy every single turn and do so precisely - none of this "set the tax rate at about 20%", it would calculate exactly what was needed and would set the rate at 22.624%. It could create a ridiculous number of ship/unit templates and easily calculate whether it's worth updating every single unit every turn, too. Heaven help you in a RTwP 4X like Stellaris where it could do that stuff every tenth of a second! Playing against that isn't going to be fun. So, developers have to make the AI dumb, but not TOO dumb.

Stardock has always made non-cheating AI a priority. I'm not sure what Gal Civ 4's state is, but Gal Civ 2 and 3 were good.
Welcome to the forum :)

I've seen mods which "improve" base game AI in RTS and 4X, but don't pay much attention to them since what you're seeking is not realistic in either multiplayer or real life—ie actual available resources and abilities are almost never equal and are often heavily skewed.

Here are some mods which I've seen regularly praised, there may be AI tweaking in some:

Red Alert 2
Mental Omega

Red Alert 3
The Red Alert
RA3 Reloaded
RA3 Revolution

Command and Conquer 1
Dawn of the Tiberium Age
Tiberian Dawn Redux

C&C Generals
C&C Generals Evolution
Rise of The Reds

Command and Conquer 3
Tiberium Wars Advanced

Civilization 4
Better BAT AI
Advanced Civ
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