As with all technical blog posts as the technology gets updated things will break - this post will probably become out of date very quickly.
My setup is a 2017 Macbook Pro running Big Sur, playing Age of Empires 2 HD (not the newer definitive edition)… This will almost certainly not work with the new Apple hardware on Apple Silicon.
These steps are modified from this gist which went out of date with Catalina.
I already had AoE HD edition purchased, if you already purchased AoE2, jump straight to step 2.
Create a Steam account, and install Steam on MacOS. From there you'll be able to purchase AoE, but not install it.
If you have homebrew installed that's as simple as
brew install playonmac
Otherwise, head over to playonmac.com and download the dmg and copy it across to your applications folder.
Open up PlayOnMac and jump through it's set up process.
You need to install the windows variant of Steam to enable you to download the Windows version of Age of Empires.
In PlayOnMac click the install button and search for Steam.
There is something interesting in steam so that while it'll boot out of the box, nothing appears in it's webviews, you just get a black void where there should be content.
Select Steam in PlayOnMac, and then click configure.
Under Arguments, set:
wine steam.exe -no-browser +open steam://open/minigameslist
In Wine configuration, set the Windows Version to be
In display, set the Video memory size to be
This should get Steam going, double click on Steam to start it up.
As you purchased AoE in step 1, AoE will be in your game list. You can download it through the miniview.
This took a long time to download for me… might just be me?
Find where Age of Empires has installed on your hard drive. It should be something like:
~/Library/PlayOnMac/wineprefix/Steam/drive_c/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Steam/steamapps/common/Age2HD
In Finder you can press Cmd+Shift+G and paste that line in.
You'll find two
.exe files there, one called
launcher.exe and the other called
That was enough for me to be able to get AoE2 up and running. Your milage may vary. As I said, this pathway was modified from this gist, there are further helpful comments there which might help if you're on a different set up.