Mount and Blade is a popular medieval strategy series that prides itself on historical realism and engaging open wold environments. The sandbox genre also gives the player complete freedom to play the game however they want. Strategy is a focal point of the series which ups the engagement level and the countless mods help with devising tons of original and inspiring scenarios.
While Mount and Blade belongs to a league of it’s own with it’s uniqueness and visceral gameplay, there are many alternatives that will help you scratch the same itch. M&B being so unique is also the reason it is incredibly difficult to find games that are similar to it. The games mentioned here share varying degrees of similarity to M&B but aren’t a perfect replica. I’ve also included games with non-medieval settings that share some aspects with Mount and Blade for people looking to branch off into a different environment.
So let’s dive into the list of alternatives which will help you tide over the recently released Mount and Blade: Bannerlord Early Access release period until it’s in a more complete state:
1. Total War: MEDIEVAL II – Definitive Edition
Developer: Feral Interactive, Creative Assembly
Platform: Steam (95% positive reviews)
Release date: 15th November 2006
We’re starting off with an oldie as I feel it’s one of the best strategy games and a great entry if you’re new to Grand strategy. It’s a classic but still holds up. Graphics are quite dated, but modern PCs will have no trouble running the game at max settings you can play the best version of the game.
Not overly complex and still huge in scope. This game took what Total War: Rome had to offer and made it much better. Arguably considered by many to be the best Total War game in the series, it allows you to pick many different types of units and infantries. And put them into a massive battle whether that’s a siege or a field battle. The battles are very epic and you have to think about what you to do. It’s very tactical, especially when you go online against other players or play with friends as it can get quite competitive. It’s overall a very enjoyable experience being part of massive battles unfold before you.
The gameplay genuinely makes you feel like you’re constructing an empire from scratch. And the game offers a broad amount of customization that seeps into diverse areas making the game feel more dynamic while micromanaging.
The mods available for this game is extensive and one of the most popular ones is Third Age. Pitting you directly into the Middle Earth, this Lord of the Rings mod allows you to use LOTR-textured units and experience scenarios like the Siege of Minas Tirith in the game. All of which just adds to the already great experience. There tons of mods also available from different movie universes.
2. Tiger Knight: Empire War
Genre: Strategy, Action, Free to Play
Developer: NetDragon Websoft Inc
Platform: Steam (62% positive reviews)
Release date: 30th April 2018
The game integrates winter weapons and strategy wars in order to produce the magnificent battles between the Han dynasty, Roman empire, Parthian empire and the Persian empire in the 3rd century. While the game isn’t exactly from a medieval time period, it offers just as much fun as other entries in this list and was hard to leave out for that reason.
The idea of the game is to command your own soldiers with your own tactics. Instead of sitting back and watching your soldiers fight, you yourself can get involved in the action killing as many enemies as you can. The game bolsters an immensely realistic style. As it has references, lots of historical data and the devs had adopted the Unreal Engine 3 to re-create the the troops, weapons and armor from the 3rd century.
Players can unlock and upgrade weapons and troops. And there are three main game modes:
– The first one where there are 10 to 14 players in both camps and each one can command up to 40 soldiers. The idea is to command troops and utilize strategies to defeat the other team.
– The second mode is duel mode which is a battle between generals. Players can join the battle without soldiers. And this mode also supports up to 16v16 battle with generals.
– There’s also Epic War, which is the third and final mode. It is a team co-op PvE mode where players can join a team to fight AI. Or participate in realistic wars to experience famous battles of the Three kindgom period. The battles consist of epic sieges which are a lot of fun.
Tiger Knight is brilliant but is marred by matchmaking problems as the player population is very small. The next entry in this list is very similar to this one with a much higher player population, but not nearly as good as Tiger Knight.
3. Conqueror’s Blade
Genre: Strategy, Action, Free to Play
Developer: Booming Games
Platform: Steam (59% positive reviews)
Release date: 6th April 2020
Another F2P entry in the list, this game is more like a fusion of Bannerlord, Total War and For Honor. It combines action combat with tactical unit control to participate in superb battles. The game did not have a great initial reception. But has seen numerous updates and improvements since then and is worth playing now.
Starting out, you go through a siege tutorial that gives you a taste of what’s to come and a feel of the combat. Following this, you’re asked some questions. Based on which your starting stats are determined. There’s a character customization screen after which you’re thrust into the world of the game.
The combat is satisfying and most of your kills will come from smart use of strategy than just brute forcing your way. The quest system and open world, along with local chats will also make you feel like you’re playing an MMORPG. The gameplay and controls are easy to manage and still feel satisfying. The game receives regular updates and is only improving with each of them. Hence definitely worth a try as it’s free and you aren’t losing out on anything.
4. Sid Meier’s Pirates!
Developer: Firaxis Games
Platform: Steam (94% positive reviews)
Release date: 11th July 2005
This classic game was a strong inspiration for Mount & Blade. It offers the same kind of freedom and dynamic, independent world as M&B with a great pirate setting.
Not unlike Warband, there’s a ton of depth that you get to experience over time – for example, the way the economic and military systems within the game interact to influence the growth or decline of a given settlement. The player can have an enormous impact on the ‘living world’ by making specific actions that have ripple effects throughout the world.
This game doesn’t have much in common with the combat of M&B, but the overall campaign gameplay is pretty much identical, with only a ship rather than a horse. The game was quite revolutionary at the time of it’s release as it had had unique gameplay and never-before-seen mechanisms. If you want to experience a game like Mount and Blade, what better than to play the game that started it all? It provides a long, entertaining and substantive playthrough.
5. Battle Brothers
Genre: RPG, Strategy, Indie
Developer: Overhype Studios
Platform: Steam (88% positive reviews)
Release date: 24th March 2017
A great game that’s like M&B, instead it’s 2D and has hex-based tactical combat. The game is for the weak of heart, as doesn’t hold your hand and you often, quite brutally. Perfect for players who like to be challenged from the get go.
Battle Brothers is about re-building a mercenary group that has been reduced to only 3 men. The game is mostly about managing and hiring mercenaries, you will be able to hire a lot of them each with their own traits and backgrounds. Some of them will die along the way, so I’d prolly advise against getting emotionally attached to them. You’re able to equip them with different types of armors and weapons. Each of these weapon having different abilities and utility making the choice of loadout between each battle very important. Hence the customization can quite in-depth. And learning what works and what doesn’t can take a bit of time for a new player.
The game also has a fair bit of RNG which can make thing quite unpredictable and increases replay value as things are never the same at the beginning of a game. It’s a very well made sandbox experience so you’re not limited to a narrow scope, and have freedom to play how you want. It is set in a low-fantasy open world and the art style serves compliments it well. Excellent game, especially if you like 2D. And it’s a game where you might never feel bored at all.
6. Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare
Genre: Action, Strategy
Developer: KK Game Studios
Platform: Steam (81% positive reviews)
Release date: 1st February 2018
This game is a very fun M&B clone but with a twist: You have guns instead of medieval combat. Very much feels like a combination of Mount & Blade and Arma. The game is quite beginner friendly with tons of options to fit your play style.
Strategy isn’t small part of the game. As you’re consistently rewarded for making smart decisions whereas you can fail if you act hastily. You can apply guerrilla style tactics against other armies to gain an upperhand and combat can get pretty tense. The world map is nicely setup, towns are in place, you can interact with it: attack, trade, or recruit soldiers, you can also see other armies and bands on the map.
The game is quite barebones right now. And further development a bit slow at the time of writing this article. But it’s worth picking up on a sale, if you’ve ever wanted to feel like what Mount and Blade with guns would play like. And if the developers keep supporting the game, it will only get better over time.
7. Chivalry: Medieval Warfare
Developer: Torn Banner Studios
Platform: Steam (83% positive reviews)
Release date: 16th October 2012
Spun up from one of the many Half Life 2 mods – known as “Age of Chivalry”, Chivalry is an excellent multiplayer game with stunning visuals and very engaging mechanics. And gore. Tons of exaggerated gore. The backdrop of the game is the fictional nation of Agatha which is embroiled in a Civil War between two factions – the Agatha Knights and the Mason Order – both fighting for the control of the region.
You can choose from up to four primary classes, along with weapons and skills of choice. It captures the feel and combat of medieval times perfectly with it’s plethora of combat options. You can use some exciting tools like ballistae, a battering ram and catapults. It also features many game modes, playable in both first and third person. It an easy to pick up, and hard to master game.
Chivalry can be equal part fun and equal parts frustrating. Partly due to the community, as cheats and hack are tend to be common. And there’s no shortage of players trying to grieve in you multiplayer games of these nature. After level 15, you cannot play with other beginner players anymore and this is where the fun and frustration starts. Regardless, the game grew to be very popular as it offers countless hours of fun and is a game worth experiencing if you enjoyed the combat in M&B. Mordhau is a similar game but more recent and active, so that’s next up in the last and is a good alternative to Chivalry.
Platform: Steam (83% positive reviews)
Release date: 29th April 2019
Can be considered a spiritual successor to Chivalry, this game allows you to customize your very own knight. And the game emphasizes skill-based sword fights. Hence the combat has quite the learning curve but also feels incredibly satisfying. There are other playstyles and classes such as an archer, etc. Customization options are enormous. Along with abundant choices of weapons and armors to use.
There are many modes to keep you engaged for hours of entertainment. Looking for Battle Royale? There is an official BR mode waiting for you in the matchmaking queue. Battlefield-style large scale engagements? Frontlines (64 player team based) mode is present for you – with capture points, objectives, horses and other niceties. Not big on PvP? You got a horde mode. (the AI isn’t super smart, but it can hold its own in a fight). Old school deathmatch? It’s there too.
Game also tons of meme potential if you just wanna screw around with friends and not take it too seriously.
9. Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders
Genre: Action, Strategy
Platform: Steam (93% positive reviews)
Release date: 28th February 2020 (Steam)
Came out back in mid-2000s on Xbox. It is more of a niche game than the previous entries. If you can look past the dated graphics (it did receive a remaster release) it is a fun little game. The Crusaders is a RTS sprinkled with hack n slash elements taking place in a dark fantasy universe. It comprises of 4 campaigns and two factions – the humans and the dark legion (orcs and dark elves).
You engage in fights and control a hero group, plus any additional troops you want to strange along. The troops you control are groups of units instead of single units (like Total War). You control your troops and go into a Dynasty Warriors style mode when your hero troop is engaged in battle.
The campaigns primarily consist of two factions: humans and the dark legion. Both factions have different unit jobs you can control like infantry and so on. Each role has their own strengths and weaknesses you have to get better at in order to crush your enemies and not be defeated yourself. After every battle you can level up, buy equipments and hire mercenaries for more troops.
10. Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes
Genre: Action, Strategy
Platform: Steam (82% positive reviews)
Release date: 24th June 2020 (Steam)
Heroes is a prequel to The Crusaders, and similar in style. Amazing game for everyone who enjoy playing RTS with some action elements. You’ve got troops that you can upgrade and gear up in your missions, including your chosen character that you control on the battlefield.
Oh, and both these titles sport a heavy metal soundtrack that’s bound to loosen some hairs on your head.
Genre: Indie, RPG
Developer: Fractal Softworks
Platform: Developer Website
Release date: Early Access, TBA
Starsector is very different to other games in this list yet has been aptly dubbed as “Mount and Warband in Space”. It is in 2D and has a top down view. Being developed by a very small indie team, it has been development for a long time and is still getting new features and updates every month. The developer has choosen not to release the game on Steam until it’s completely done so you can support them by buying the game at a reduced price on their website.
As for the game itself, it’s M&B but with spaceships. Your party is made up of ships instead of individuals. The ships are more difficult to acquire and more valuable than a unit in M&B early on. Every ship can have its load out customized in detail, or you can choose one of the pre-made loadouts for your ship.
The game has way more more variety of play styles than M&B. In M&B things like trading, questing and other side activities seem to just be there to supplement the play style of engaging in wars. Whereas in this game, they all seem equally viable and fleshed out as a dedicated gameplay styles. There are some cool other stuff added like colonizing planets, exploration, bounty hunting and scavenging which all have their place alongside the big faction wars.
Battles work quite similar to M&B. Your party, along with other parties can be seen roaming around the map. You command a single ship but you can issue orders to other ships in your fleet.
12. Life is Feudal : Your Own
Genre: Action, RPG, Sandbox
Developer: Bitbox Ltd.
Platform: Steam (65% positive reviews)
Release date: 17th November 2015
This game can double as an excellent medieval survival simulator. It’s extremely realistic and atmospheric, the survival mechanics are pretty spot on, to an extent it feels like you’re really there surviving in the wilderness. It also has combat system similar to M&B.
You’re offered a great variety of armor and weapons you can choose from and a crafting system that highly supports team gaming. The game hasn’t seen much active development recently and there’s no telling if the developers are keen to work on it in the future. It has great potential, and worth a try if you’re into this type of game.
13. For Honor
Another entry in the list with visceral combat and engaging mechanics, For Honor allows you to play tons of historical roles such as samurais, vikings, knights, etc. There are total of 4 factions you can choose to play from each with their own unique sets of skills, combat styles and weapons (while keeping the core mechanic consistent). It has a number of multiplayer modes to play as well ranging from Skirmish, duel, Eminination, etc.
For new players, the game has a very noticeable learning curve. The game does make an effort to teach you the basic skills needed and some more advanced techniques and nuances. But many things aren’t explained and will either be learned from external sources or through direct experience. You have to be patient and learn all of those things in order to be able to deal with most situations. You are usually paired against people who are on the same skill level as you so this wont be so bad but against more experienced players, it can be quite brutal.
The game has somewhat of a mixed reception and the only way you’ll find out if it’s your type of game or not is when you try it. Advised to pick it up on a sale or and Ubisoft often gives it away for free as well. You will also encounter long matchmaking queues if you live in a low population region like Australia, CIS, etc.
14. Dynasty Warriors 8
Developer: Omega Force
Platform: Steam (82% positive reviews)
Release date: 13th May 2014
Dynasty Warriors is a hack-n-slash based on the era of Three Kingdoms of China and the novel of the same name. In its stages, there are thousands of enemies of various forms to mow down. You got your fodder that go down in a few hits, your commanders that are a little tougher, your generic named officers that are a threat, and other playable characters that have the same abilities you do. You have more or less equal amount of allies on your side, and how they fight is determined by your side’s overall morale. Which itself is determined by your performance. Each character has their own string of combinations and play styles.
The game is pretty deep, and there are many modes to play and explore. You get to play stages through Free and Story mode. Each factions have their own story modes which also have different paths to take. You unlock additional stages through gameplay or by buying the DLCs. The gameplay can get a bit boring if you’re not invested in the story but it’s still an excellent game to try out, although it’s not very similar to M&B.
Genre: Strategy, Simulation
Developer: Ludeon Studios
Platform: Steam (98% positive reviews)
Release date: 17th October 2018
Another entry that’s very different from M&B but shares the similar and satisfying feeling of the sandbox experience.
Rimworld is a colony building game. You start with a few people and with them you have to maintain a colony until you can build a spaceship to escape RimWorld.
The events in this game are managed by an AI Storyteller. The AI decides which event would suit your colony most, is it time to create disaster? Is it time to give bonuses with drop pods from space? Or to create drama? An affair to a married couple? Anything can happen while you busy managing your colony.
It’s not only about building your colony, but also a management. You are stranded in a strange planet. In order to build spaceship, you have to research technologies, settle yourself, secure food supply, build shelters, plan your defense against raiders or the dangers of nature like seasonal change, cold or heat waves. It also has a procedurally generated world that’s done right. So, are you up to the challenge of escaping RimWorld?
16. Pirates, Vikings, and Knights II
Genre: Action, Indie
Developer: Octoshark Studios
Platform: Steam (87% positive reviews)
Release date: 12th February 2010
This game is class based, with tons of charm and bright art style. The melee combat is somewhat similar to Mount and Blade. You have directional attacking and blocking. Momentum increases your attack damage and some weapons can also parry attacks. You can charge up attacks to increase their strengths and also do feints.
There are ranged weapons too (most of them projectile based), but unless you choose one of the specialist classes like archer ammo is very limited.
All this means that the time-to-kill is quite high compared to other multiplayer games. Some people will like that because it unlocks more opportunities for interesting and unique player interactions than just eliminating people the moment they pop up on screen. It’s a lot less tilting for everyone involved when instant death isn’t an immediate worry. It’s a decade old now but often gets updates and is still quite a fun experience.
17. Honorable Mentions
Gloria Victis (Steam – 69% positive reviews)
The games mentioned in this section didn’t make the main list. It is because they were either not well-received or too different to M&B. They might not exactly be M&B alternatives but people who are looking to dig deep in search of one are recommend to give these a try.
Happy Gaming! Let me know your thoughts below.