4X has players control an empire and "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate":
Explore means players send scouts across a map to reveal surrounding territories.
Expand means players claim new territory by creating new settlements, or sometimes by extending the influence of existing settlements.
Exploit means players gather and use resources in areas they control, and improve the efficiency of that usage.
Exterminate means attacking and eliminating rival players. Since in some games all territory is eventually claimed, eliminating a rival's presence may be the only way to achieve further expansion.
4X games are noted for their deep, complex gameplay. Emphasis is placed upon economic and technological development, as well as a range of non-military routes to supremacy, such as diplomatic options. Games can take a long time to complete since the amount of micromanagement needed to sustain an empire scales as the empire grows.
|| Real-Time 4X
|| Features a combination of turn-based strategy and real-time tactical combat.
| Related genres with their own pages
- Not all 4 Xs need to be present. Note the "non-military routes to supremacy".
Examples of 4X:
Space Empires V
Command & Conquer (RTS, not 4X)