Rise of Nations

aka: RON

Description official descriptions

Rise of Nations is a real-time strategy game which covers a long period of time, from the early stone age up to the modern-day technology.

The game offers many unique features that you can not find in other RTS games, such as: National Borders, Rare Resources, "Conquer the World" risk-like campaign, Citizens can occupy themselves, 18 Historical Nations (with unique powers/units), Multiple victory conditions, and many more. Also, a multi-player mode is included and offers a ranking system.


  • 国家的崛起 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 王國的興起 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

147 People (127 developers, 20 thanks) · View all



Average score: 86% (based on 39 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 54 ratings with 4 reviews)

More like Empire earth meets Civilization.....

The Good
The idea that you have actual cities rather than a collection of buildings is very neat. Being able to capture and plunder his caravans and cities, really adds realism in this admittedly best RTS to come out since Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings, (except for Age of Mythology;) The use of borders and attrition damage give you more of a feeling of ruling a real empire. Add to this some real nice graphics and buildings, and it's truely a delight to look at. It also has a slew of civilizations, just like Age of Kings.

The Bad
Unfortunately, it hasn't learned from the mistakes of other recent RTS games cough Empire Earth cough.. like in EE, the planes circle overhead in large sweeping arcs like big buzzards. It's not as bad as other ones though, as the planes are faster and refuel quicker. Nuclear weapons also make the game less fun. You can just nuke the other guy's capital, killing most of his economy, and essentially greatly setting back his civilization. The maps are also pretty small, so you probably won't be able to get more than 5 cities. Also, this shares one other trait with other not-as-good-as-age of empires-games. It spans a far too long time period. AOE is probably about 300-400 years. Empire Earth and Rise of Nations and Empires: Dawn of the Modern World span 1000 years or more. This means in RON, you will find that you've advanced to the Modern age, and now need oil to build anything wort building, although you have great food and wood economies. it just makes your economy a pain.

The Bottom Line
Although better than other recent poor RTS, it falls short of being better than Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings

Windows · by James Kirk (150) · 2004

Age of Empires meets Civilization…FINALLY!

The Good
The aforementioned summary describes a wonderful game hybrid, which I’ve been dreaming about for the better part of a decade; the chess-like strategy of Civilization mixed with the intense real-time combat of Age Of Empires, which Microsoft and Big Huge Games seem to have achieved with ease.

The real-time portion of the game will be spent in the Age of Empires-like universe. From Age of Empires, the easy-to-read, no-nonsense interface has been utilized when it comes to advancing through the ages, creating/moving units, constructing buildings, and gathering resources. This in my opinion was always the Age series’ best feature. Even a complete novice could grasp this system with no problem. Also, the buildings, unit animations, and overall appearance will very much remind one of the Age series (which is to be expected since Microsoft published the game). Logically, the turn-based part of the game gives a nod to the Civilization series, where we have a “world map”, in which the player has the option of moving their armies in for attack/occupation, and conducting diplomatic business with other nations, and purchasing territories. There is also of course a “turn” button, where the player can decide whether they want to attack a location, or skip out on battle altogether and receive money for it from military surplus. As strange as this may sound, it’s almost…almost…possible to the play the entire game without fighting, much like in Civilization. But hey, where’s the fun in that?

It should also be mentioned that even when in real-time mode (or “Age mode” if you like), the concept of nation borders and city construction is vital to winning the scenario. The more cities you build, the larger your nation borders will become, just like in Civilization (the borders can also be extended by constructing buildings such as castles). Enemy units and the player’s units can also suffer attrition damage when crossing over an opposing nation’s border. Excellent!

The Bad
Sadly, even my dream strategy game has a flaw or two, like any game does. For one thing, I found the time limits to be a bit annoying. Occasional time limits are acceptable when it applies to the victory conditions, such as preventing the opposing nation from finishing a Wonder for instance, but a time limit in every scenario is unnecessary. Much of the time I felt rushed, blazing through my research and scrounging for every single bit of resources I could find before the damned clock ran out. It didn’t really allow for careful city planning, so my nation ended up being scatterbrained in a number of ways, with my poor little trade caravans running all over the place. In addition to this, there were times when I thought the “Age mode” was a bit too easy, even at high difficulty settings. In no time, I would have the opposing nation’s borders run over and taking out their cities one by one, killing their units and stealing resources in the process. I don’t know if it’s an AI issue or what, but the opposing nations oftentimes didn’t seem all that assertive in protecting themselves from my wrath (including nuclear strikes). Oh well. Of course a game like this is a fairly new thing, so hopefully this type of game design will be improved in the future.

The Bottom Line
In conclusion, this is a game that will win over all sorts of converts. Novices, RTS fans that hate TBS, TBS fans that hate RTS, or gamers that don’t care for strategy at all; I believe that they’ll all find something to love in this game. Also, it has enormous replay value, be it single player or multiplayer. As another reviewer said, this is indeed the next-generation strategy game, and I hope other strategy franchises take note of this truly awesome game, because it is a force to be reckoned with.

Windows · by BJ Hoskins (9) · 2003

The next-generation RTS

The Good
As many did, I waited for this game for months looking for the new AOE style game, AOM and EE didn’t make it for me but this one is great and has the potential to...

I like:

1) How were implemented the rare resources and the nation borders from the Civilization series.

2) The mix between RTS and TBS.

3) The diversity on civilizations and their bonuses.

4) The fact that multiplayer works great not as many games ship these days.

5) The fact that scores isn’t fully related to military therefore the last player can have the strongest army and win the game.

6) The fact that you can (recommended) add generals and supply wagons to your army.

7) The risk-like campaign is great.

The Bad
A few points but let’s go...

1) As a strategy lover I feel that techs are researched to fast and after 30 mins of game you are at the latest ages... I don’t ask for slow developments like you have in a TBS but I dislike the fast ones.

2) The fact that first player to reach nuclear power have a big advantage at that point.

3) The fact that if your capital is taken by enemy and you can't recover it on 5 mins you are out and the total of your cities are now part of your enemy nation.

The Bottom Line
If you like RTS is a must-have, if you like TBS and never tried RTS because the differences this one can be a great start.

If you like Multiplayer games this one is for you and if you prefer single player the risk-like campaign will provide you hours of fun...

Windows · by Cabeza2000 (689) · 2003

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Rise of Nations appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


  • 4Players
    • 2003 – Best PC Strategy Game of the Year
  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2004 - #5 Game of the Year
  • GameSpy
    • 2003 – #7 PC Game of the Year
    • 2003 – PC RTS Game of the Year
    • 2011 – #19 Top PC Game of the 2000s
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2005 - #36 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 9227


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Frederic Hutow.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Unicorn Lynx, Indra was here, Cabeza2000, Paulus18950, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added May 21st, 2003. Last modified July 20th, 2023.