Sometimes, it’s fun to be able to manage the world around you. There’s an entire genre of management games out there that allows you to do just that – managing businesses, theme parks, and even the occasional fantasy world. These games have various types of control schemes and different levels of complexity, but they’re all about one thing – taking control.
The ten games below were released across many years and platforms, but they all allow players to take charge of a new world. Whether you want to be a farmer or video game producer, the simulations put you in control.
10 Cool Management Games to Try
1. Stardew Valley
Stardew Valley is a gentle, easy-going farming sim in the vein of Harvest Moon. Unlike that game, it can be played on modern PCs and modern consoles. Even more importantly, though, it adds a few quality of life touches that make the game relaxing and fun at the same time. Definitely worth a play for anyone who enjoys their management games a bit on the quiet side.
2. Game Dev Tycoon
One of the most meta management games ever made, this is a game about making video games. More specifically, this is a game about running a development studio and all of the attendant problems that come with getting to the top of a very competitive industry. The game is simple, but it’s hard to master. And, yes – you can develop a management game within the game.
3. Prison Architect
Prison is an unpleasant but complicated place. Running a successful prison means knowing not only your inmates, but the systems in which they live. This game is a cartoony yet strangely unflinching look at prison life, with the player in the role of the warden/prison owner. While it’s a bit depressing, it’s also one of the best management games currently on the market.
4. Planet Coaster
Planet Coaster is the newest theme park management sim. Taking all the best parts from the venerable Roller Coaster Tycoon series, this game allows players to build and manage a coaster park. While the management portion is a bit dry, the building of coasters is fantastic. This is the best theme park management game on the market by far.
5. Cities Skylines
Cities Skylines is what happens when you take a classic city management game and give players control over all the moving parts. From zoning to traffic planning, you’ll have the chance to make a city exactly how you like it. Keeping it running and in the black, however, is the real challenge. Not for the timid, this is a challenging sim that makes you earn your progress.
The venerable SimCity series is still around, with its latest game finally capable of standing toe to toe with other management sims. The game is still all about building the perfect city, though it’s a bit more of an arcade game than its competitor Skylines. If you’re into making sure your city runs well but still want to have a few wacky disasters, this is a great game. Thanks to a new update, you can now play the game offline – a major plus for players of the classic series.
7. Football Manager
The Football Manager franchise has been around for several years, and each iteration is either the best or worst ever depending upon whom you ask. In reality, it’s a very workmanlike series of games that concentrates on the business behind soccer. If you’ve been intrigued by the behind the scenes number crunches that goes into fielding a soccer team, this series is for you. Just be warned – this is a game about being in charge, not a game about playing soccer.
The Tropico series might be best described as a funny take on running a dictatorship. Set on an island that is certainly not Cuba, this game places players in the shoes of an El Presidente who can either improve or impoverish his island while holding on to power as tightly as possible. The game is a bit dark at times, but it’s a good look at nation building. The later installments are a bit more complex than the first, so give them a try if you are a management professional.
There are several management games that put players in charge of running a country, but few deal with politics as directly as the Democracy series. While the series has had its ups and downs over the years, the core mechanic of exploring and exploiting the democratic system is incredibly addicting. This is also perhaps the most truly educational game on the list and a great choice for government students. While not simple to play or master, it’s worth a look for any student of politics.
10. The Simpons Tapped Out
The sole mobile game on this list, this Simpsons game is perhaps the best of the time-locked management sims available on mobile devices. While it’s a freemium game, it is quite gentle about its attempts to get you to spend money and all of the ‘special’ currency can be earned in game. This is a great city-builder for fans of the series, full of fun call-backs to fan-favorite episodes and timed events that can bring in new characters. The only real downside is that much of the content is gated behind time-locks.
These management games are all about learning new systems and how they can be exploited to do something creative. From running the perfect prison to tightening your iron grip over an island nation, all of these games give you a good chance to feel what it’s like to really be in charge. While there are a number of systems in each game to master, most of the game play comes down to paying attention to learning from your past mistakes. If you want a chance not just to play a game but to be in charge, take a chance on one of these management games. You might find you like having a chance to run the world.
Images from depositphotos.com.