Cover for How to play Age of Empire II DE on MacOS

How to play Age of Empire II DE on MacOS

This article also exists in: French

Age of Empire 2 is one of my favourite games. I’ve been playing it since I was a kid and now, since the release of the Definitive Edition, I started playing it again. I play with my Mac (M1 model) and people on the internet often ask how I do it. So, here’s a quick guide.

Keep in mind that this setup is intended for Silicon chips (M1, M1 max, M2 etc.). If you have an Intel processor, I recommend using Boot Camp.

Option 1 - Crossover

I’m using Crossover which is a paid product.

  1. Install Crossover - You can easily find coupons online or start with the free trial.
  2. On Crossover, clicks ”+ Install” and install the “steam” bottle.
    • It should install a Windows 10/64-bit bottle.
    • on the bottle settings, make sure DXVK is enabled.
  3. Open Steam, log in and install the game
  4. Download “ucrtbase.dll
  5. On the steam bottle, right-click > Open C: drive and place the dll and C:/Windows/System32 (you should replace the existing dll).
  6. Start the game and enjoy!

A screenshot of the game

Option 2 - GeForce NOW

GeForce NOW is the Nvidia cloud gaming platform. Technically, the game won’t run on your mac but on a remote server. But with a good internet connexion, you will barely notice it. The step to start the game are pretty straightforward:

  1. Download GFN for Mac OS
  2. Create a GFN account, connect your Steam account.
  3. Select the game and click play.

I tried it, with my account (on a freemium plan you can play up to 1h/day). I was pleasantly surprised to see that all my hotkeys, mods and game settings were already there.

Although the game is very fluid, the graphics are not great (maybe because I’m on a free plan).


Before starting, keep in mind that hotkeys are personal. I extended the default hotkeys to match my preferences.

I ended up with this:

Age of Empire 2 Hotkeys

I follow a simple logic: if A is the key for my barrack, then ctrl + A is “Go to Barrack” and shift + A is “Select all Barracks”.

For quick walling, Q / Y are also associated with the “villager build” command

Additionally, I use my mouse buttons for this:

  • Wheel + up / down - Next idle military unit / Unit stop. (I also use the wheel for rotating doors)
  • Mouse extra 1 - Select all TC
  • Mouse extra 2 - Go to the next idle villager
  • Mouse extra 3 - Go to the last notification (or P)

Your hotkeys file will be available here: /Users/{MACOS_USER}/Library/Application Support/CrossOver/Bottles/Steam/drive_c/users/crossover/Games/Age of Empires 2 DE/{YOUR_STEAM_ID}/


Again, this is also something very personal. But, here are the mods I use:

  • Advanced Idle Pointer
  • No more plants
  • Short walls
  • Anne_HK - New Fish Border
  • Anne_HK - Better Resource Panel and Idle Villager Icon
  • Anne_HK - Bigger and Eye-catching Relic
  • Anne_HK - Selected Small Trees with Grid Shadow

About the author

Maxence Poutord

Hey, I'm Maxence Poutord, a passionate software engineer. In my day-to-day job, I'm working as a senior front-end engineer at Orderfox. When I'm not working, you can find me travelling the world or cooking.

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