4X Games

If you wonder what 4X games are, here’s the answer. They are a kind of computer strategy games in which you can play either in turns or in real time. Your four basic goals are: explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. 4X is an abbreviation.

Let’s discuss each of the 4X components.

  • eXplore means that the players must move their units around the play area to reveal more of the map. In the Civilization series, one of the most famous representatives of the 4X game genre, the player at the beginning does not have any information about the map.
  • eXpand means that the player enlarges the occupied area by building new structures, villages and cities or colonies. In Civilization III, the players also have the option of broadening political influence.
  • eXploit is an act of collecting and using all the available. resources. These can be harvested minerals as well as manpower of the inhabitants of the conquered areas.
  • eXterminate means that the players will eventually attack everyone who is in the opposition, killing the enemies who want to stop the expansion of their territory.


Some 4X games are designed to be played for a long time. An example can be Space Empires V (2006). In many real-time games such as Age Of Empires (1997) or Starcraft (1998), the game is played in a similar mode to the classic 4X titles. Nevertheless, these titles are not included in this genre, so it can be concluded that there are more guidelines that affect the classification of games to belong to 4X. It is also worth mentioning that the term “4X” was first used in 1993 by Alan Emrich, an employee of Computer Gaming World in the review of Master Of Orion (1993). This title initiated the perception of 4X games as a subgenre of strategic games.



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