4X games have been around for almost five decades. This game genre is amusing, presents challenges, and offers seamless fun. And they are not going away soon! They may not be as popular as MMORPG or First-Person Shooters, but this subgenre has a fan base of its own.
If you are a loyal fan of strategy games, this article will be of your use. Here we will briefly discuss 15 of the best gameplay that maintains strategy.
What are 4X games?
If you have been gaming for a while now, you may have come across 4X gameplay. In every 4X-based game, the players enjoy four core things; eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate. These games give the players a complete storyline and ensure you are left with a beautiful memory. This games are turn-based and rely upon the strategic decision of the player.
Best 4X Games for Those Who Love to Explore, Expand, Exploit and Exterminate
Alan Emrich initially used the term in the ancient past of 1993. But the concept grew later in different games and novels. We have compiled a list of 15 of the best 4X gameplay for you to play in 2022. We chose modern titles rather than choosing old-school games.
1. AGE OF WONDERS: PLANETFALL
The first game on our list is Age of Wonders: Planetfall, a fantasy-based civilization simulator. The game won’t disappoint you in terms of the core points of 4X gaming. The game combines hardcore war games with moderate 4X strategy values. You can entertain yourself with the fantastic narrative, interactive scrolls, and overall gameplay.
The strategy layer shown in Age of Wonders is smooth, with plains divided into multiple segments. You can explore and conquer the different regions and set up your civilization. You can also reform the nation and build a town from the ground up.
Planetfall has outgrown the previous games of the Age of Wonders series. The whole game is mesmerizing. There are multiple expansion packs for you to try. Namely, Age of Wonders: Planetfall is an outstanding, immersive, & diverse 4X title with a snappy and exciting turn-based combat story.
2. CIVILIZATION VI
Available for free on the Epic Game Store, the Civilization VI is a fantastic 4X city-building game. The game offers different scenarios and characters which are suitable for beginners. Civilization VI is developed keeping in mind the needs of players of all ages. It is evident that we would include a game from the Civilization series. The title offers all the goodness of the series and keeps your mind affixed to it.
Civilization VI took the liberty of expanding the horizon of 4X games. It introduced district mechanics, combat, and other role-playing scenarios to the game. The game also has a large community, and you can get all the help you require from them, including custom extensions and DLC packs.
3. GALACTIC CIVILIZATIONS IV
The Galactic Civilizations IV s off to a good start with expansion packs and custom DLC. The game fulfills every requirement of 4X characteristics. The series has already produced some of the greatest space games. However, Galactic Civilizations IV has undoubtedly managed to achieve the title of the best of them all. The game has a higher level of approachability and a smart strategy design working behind it.
Galactic Civilizations IV features 18 different civilizations maps. Players have to guide their ships through the civilizations and build stable colonies and survival modes. You can build up trading systems, develop transportation methods, and all other things to sustain a civilization.
Stellaris is a space empire building video game offering a 4X game mechanism. It is a fantastic sci-fi experience with advanced strategy and civilization building. The interface and controls of Stellaris look high quality. Not only that, the graphics and audio of the game are outstanding.
Stellaris is a cross-platform single-player simulation game. It gives us an excellent science fiction space strategy experience. Get ready to explore, discover, and interact with numerous species of flora and fauna across the journey in Stellaris. The grand strategy game will not disappoint you.
5. SID MEIER’S ALPHA CENTAURI
Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri may be older by date, but it is still very popular among gamers. It is still the best 4X game 23 years after launch. Alpha Centauri was the continuation of the Civilization game. The game featured the story of technological triumph over the harsh reality of nature and the diversity of space.
In Alpha Centauri, you go about building a civilization and fulfill other responsibilities. You get to uncover different technologies and different alien species. You will know that humans are not the only ones with advanced techs. The game offers us a tremendous 4X narrative and exciting gameplay experience.
6. ENDLESS LEGEND
Endless Legend offers us one of the marvelous and stunning maps in strategy gaming history. The game combines style, substance, and setting into an outstanding experience for the players. It is a Civ-like 4X game offering endless space adventure. It is one of my favorite 4X turn-based strategy games.
Like Alpha Centauri, Endless Legend ventures into different fractions of a planet. Your ship has crash-landed on an unknown world, and you have to do everything to sustain a colony. The game features combat, gathering materials, digging, town-building, and all the experiences of 4X games. Endless Legend is a fifteen and a half hours long game giving you an ample opportunity to enjoy yourself.
7. STARBORNE: SOVEREIGN SPACE
Starborne: Sovereign Space is a free-to-play space strategy game for PC. It is a hexed-based sci-fi MMO game that takes place in real-time. The game’s objective is to obtain as many hexes as possible within a period. Players have to expand their territory and form alliances with other players. Another fantastic feature of Starborne is that the game continues all the projects while you are offline.
Starborne: Sovereign Space offers an in-depth tutorial at the beginning of the game. The game has a large community of players. So, you can quickly get additional help and guidance while playing Sovereign Space. Honestly, Starborne: Sovereign Space is quite a good game.
8. DISTANT WORLDS 2
Distant Worlds 2 is a vast, interesting real-time 4X strategy game. The game hasn’t been modernized like some other strategy games. However, it offers exciting features that attempt to bring us a classic 4X space experience. The shiny graphics and palatable audio engineering make it worth your effort.
Distant Worlds 2 is about freedom with an intimidating complexity. The game is hard to master for this reason. But when you get a grasp of it, you will enjoy Distant Worlds 2. The game allows you to tailor your experience and gameplay to it. You can engage in battles or plan your next move to deal with different scenarios. Overall, a fun and exciting game to play.
9. SHADOW EMPIRE
Another interactive and influential 4x strategy video game is Shadow Empire. It is a deep turn-based war game with a blend of military focus and role-playing games. You have to read and click the mouse a lot in this game. There are no combat or action scenes in this game. You select and give orders via an interface. Shadow Empire is all about strategizing and planning your next move. It has some resemblance to a point-and-click adventure game.
Shadow Empire is a bit complicated and hardcore compared to the rest of its counterparts. The game puts you in charge of society after an apocalypse. You have to ensure your society’s survival and give protection to it. It is hard to leave playing the game when you get hold of the mechanism.
10. WARHAMMER 40,000: GLADIUS – RELICS OF WAR
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War is the first game based on a 4X strategy set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. In the game, four powerful factions engage in a gruesome battle to secure the dominance of the planet. Your task as the leader of one of the factions is to ensure victory. The game allows the player to build, create, plan, and strategize everything to reach the peak.
Gladius – Relics of War gives us a clean and concise user interface. Additionally, the tutorial of Gladius – Relics of War is very detailed and helpful. In fact, I’ve never encountered such a detailed tutorial in a 4X game before. The continuous updates and expansion packs make Gladius – Relics of War worth trying.
11. ENDLESS SPACE 2
Endless Space 2 is one of the most beautiful and in-depth 4X games I have ever played. The seemingly calculated personalization and overall buildup of the game’s characters make it the best. Endless Space 2 offers a satisfying 4X experience and delivers everything it promises to deliver.
Endless Space 2 is a single-player game. However, you can join with your friends in the online PvP mode. It supports cross-platform gaming. You will need the Xbox Plus subscription to play the PvP version.
Endless Space 2 takes you on an adventure in a galaxy that used to be dominated by a highly advanced alien race known as the titular Endless. However, the race was wiped out by chaos and civil war. Ten thousand years later, new life is blooming on the planet, and the players are tasked to make it work. The technologies left behind by the titular race will help you make the place suitable for living and expanding.
12. MASTER OF ORION
Master of Orion brings us The ascendant spacefaring 4X strategy game. Released in 2016, this amazing game modernizes the classic game in every way possible. Master of Orion was the successful game of the trilogy, offering hours of endless fun. Not only that, the game was much more refined and clean compared to its predecessors.
Master of Orion features all ten original races and allows you to customize them. Additionally, the story and narrative will let you dive into a world of space adventure. Master of Orion is a single-player offline game. However, up to 6 players can join the game in multiplayer mode. You can have a go on the browser version of Master of Orion for free.
13. SINS OF A SOLAR EMPIRE: REBELLION
Command a space-based empire with all the facilities required for sustaining in Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. It is a stand-alone 4X civilization-building game combined with real-time strategy.
Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion is a large game offering different things to manage. Everything is up to your authority, from the maintenance of the military to developing new technologies. The sheer number of micromanagement is enough to overwhelm anybody. The real-time exploration of maps and the need to watch everything make Rebellion a complex yet fun game.
The game holds up to its reputation. Additionally, you can download the expansion packs and enjoy the untamed space in Sins of a Solar Empire.
14. HEROES OF MIGHT & MAGIC III
Heroes of Might & Magic III is the third installment of the most popular Heroes franchise. This strategy-based game allows us to experience the thrills of classic 4X video game titles. It is a popular game from the 90s and still holds up remarkably today. The game allows the players to take the role of either combat or magic. There are different species of mazes and heroes you can select to play the game.
Furthermore, Heroes of Might & Magic III introduces some of the greatest adventures and fights in a classic video game. It is a single-player game equipped with console commands. If you want to try out a classic strategy game, I insist you play Heroes of Might & Magic III.
15. DISCIPLES II
Last but not least, we have Disciples II on our list of best games for those who love to explore, expand, exploit and exterminate. It is a game that combines a series of criminally underrated games dating back to the 90s. The Disciples series was not a hit when it came out. However, the sequels soon caught the eyes of strategy game lovers. It is a bridge between real-time strategy and civilization building. Disciples II includes some RPG elements too.
Disciples II features random map generation, multiple AI units, and refined combat modes. The game also has a clean interface and smooth controls. The game comes with an enhanced chat interface while playing it online. Overall, Disciples II will give a good gaming experience.
There are a few other games that we can not but mention. They are as follows. You can play these as well:
- Distant Worlds: Universe
- Warlords IV: Heroes of Etheria
- Galactic Civilizations III
- Warlock: Master of the Arcane
- Civilization: Beyond Earth
4X games are designed for those who enjoy exploring, expanding, exploiting, and exterminating in video games. These games have always been something that has attracted gamers all over the world. I hope you enjoy this article about the best recommended games that maintain strategy.