Genre: 4X

Group Description

By definition, 4X is the abbreviation of eXploration, eXpansion, eXploitation, and eXtermination, a term originally coined by Alan Emrich. In terms of use and practice, 4X is some what more complex and may have expanded from its original definition.

Traditionally 4X was first popularly used to identify strategy games such as Sid Meier's Civilization and Master of Orion, although 4X games or its characteristics by definition may have existed far earlier than the aforementioned games.

A 4X game must fulfill ALL the following requirements:
  • Strategic Gameplay
    The player usually plays the role of a leader or adviser to a race, faction, country, civilization, nation, or any bunch of blokes in a large scale population against opposing forces. The game genre is usually limited to the strategy gameplay. No other genre's have been identified under 4X.

  • eXploration
    The eXploration category identifies the purpose of exploring surrounding territories, which may signify the use of a map. Exploration is conducted by sending out units to unexplored regions, where newly discovered locations become and remain revealed, depending on the variations of an implemented fog of war effect.

  • eXpansion
    The eXpansion category identifies the objective to expand territory or area of control, usually (optional) after eXploration campaigns have been successfully carried out. The strategy of eXpansion requires a balance between the player's ability to expand as well as the player's ability to defend and hold conquered or areas under the player's control. Existing or new areas/territories (towns, planets, etc.), may then be developed with structural buildings or other enhancements.

  • eXploitation
    The eXploitation category identifies the objective to control resources. Resources may or may not be limited, however the eXploitation category goes hand-in-hand with the eXpansion category as the more territory the player controls, the less the opponent does, thus the more resources the player has to his/her disposal.

  • eXtermination
    The eXtermination category is the result of continuous expansion. Conflict is inevitable and when push comes to shove, extermination of the opponent is eminent. Extermination requires the total elimination of an opponent or to subdue the opponent under the player's direct or indirect control (i.e. vassal, puppet, etc.) via armed conflict or diplomatic devices.

  • Randomly Generated Environments
    See the Games with randomly generated environments game group for further information.

  • Structural Building
    No 4X game has been identified to do without a structural building or similar devices. Anything from a latrine to a planetary doomsday weapon station may be used to further advance the player's purpose.

  • Technological Advancement
    Traditionally, 4X games have identified the use of technology advancements (or popularly known as a Technology Tree). These advancements are usually identified with the requirement to use resources, time to research, upgrade an idea or object, or other steps/factors needed before a certain (new or upgraded) technological benefit, unit, building, or similar devices be available to the player.

  • Diplomacy
    The concept of not being alone in this existence refers to other beings(s) that may have different goals or priorities than the player. Diplomacy is the bridge to those differences of 4X. Diplomacy is used to make allies or enemies, trade resources and information, or even as a channel for espionage. Most 4X games prefer complex uses of diplomacy rather than the standard friend or foe commonly found in non-4X strategy war games.
For purposes of this game group, games where primary gameplay focuses only on eXtermination without any other possible victory conditions are excluded from this game group.

This means games such as Age of Empires, Command & Conquer, Heroes of Might and Magic, or Warcraft should not go here.

Additional Note:
Some hybrid games do not follow the traditional identification of 4X games, disabling one or more of its common features, yet may officially identify itself under the same genre. Whether or not these games should be included remain open for debate.

Related Game Group(s) Related Link(s)
Viewing Page 1 of 5 (items 1-25 of 103) Next
sorted in ascending orderGame TitleYearPlatformPublisherUser Score
Alien Legacy1994DOSSierra On-Line, Inc.3.66
Anacreon: Imperial Conquest in the Far Future2004Windows...
Anacreon: Reconstruction 40211987DOSTMA...
Armada 25251991DOSInterstel Corporation...
Armada 25262009WindowsMatrix Games, Ltd....
Ascendancy1995DOS, iPad, iPhoneLogic Factory, Inc., The3.92
The Blue Planet 20001995DOSPlaycom Software Vertriebs GmBH...
Call to Power II2000WindowsActivision Publishing, Inc.3.63
Civilization: Call to Power1999BeOS, Linux, Macintosh, WindowsActivision, Inc.3.23
Civilization II: Fantastic Worlds1997Windows, Windows 3.xMicroProse Software, Inc.3.78
Civilization II (Multiplayer Gold Edition)1998Macintosh, WindowsHasbro Interactive, Inc.3.97
Civilization II: Test of Time1999WindowsHasbro Interactive, Inc.3.67
Civilization IV Dreierpack2007Windows2K Games, Inc....
Colonial Conquest II1994Amiga...
Deadlock II: Shrine Wars1998WindowsAccolade, Inc.2.98
Deadlock: Planetary Conquest1996Macintosh, Windows, Windows 3.xAccolade, Inc.3.25
East India Company2009Windows1C Company...
East India Company: Privateer2009WindowsParadox Interactive AB...
Emperor of the Fading Suns1996WindowsSegaSoft, Inc.3.50
Endless Legend (Classic Edition)2014Macintosh, WindowsAmplitude Studios...
Endless Space2012Macintosh, WindowsIceberg Interactive B.V.3.91
Freeciv1996Acorn 32-bit, Amiga, Android, BeOS, Linux, Macintosh, OS/2, Windows2.90
FreeCol2003Linux, Macintosh, Windows...
Galactic Civilizations2003WindowsStrategy First, Inc.3.61
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Selected Covers

Endless Space Macintosh Front Cover
Front cover for Endless Space
East India Company Windows Front Cover
Front cover for East India Company

Selected Screenshots

Title screen
Screenshot from Endless Space
Scene from the introduction sequence
Screenshot from East India Company
Title screen
Screenshot from Colonial Conquest II
Game group created by Riamus (8126), additional games added to group by Rola (7750), Patrick Bregger (151686), POMAH (37072), WildKard (12126), 666gonzo666 (53767), MrFlibble (4776), Sciere (360791), Depeche Mike (17185), Xoleras (66060), Игги Друге (44999), Wizo (29293), Cor 13 (174144), Indra is stressed (19990), vedder (20584), Sicarius (60970), DJP Mom (11110) and Macs Black (77759)