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I've seen the term 4X game used to describe games, primarily strategy games.

What does this term mean?

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I wonder if this question should be tagged strategy based upon the answer? –  James Skemp Jun 18 '11 at 22:17

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up vote 24 down vote accepted

According to Wikipedia:

4X games are a genre of strategy video game in which players control an empire and "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate".

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Microxxxxoft? :P –  badp Jul 16 '10 at 1:04
    
Awesome, thanks :) –  Alastair Pitts Jul 16 '10 at 2:38
    
Starcraft fits that definition even though it's not considered a 4X game. Maybe you should also reference 1.1 Difficulties in definition –  jSepia Jun 29 '11 at 9:27
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I thought 4X means winning conditions are based on any of the Xs (Civilization). In Starcraft you only win under one of those (exterminate) as far as I know. –  riv_rec Jun 29 '11 at 13:33
    
@spencer Master of Orion is considered a 4X game, yet you can't win solely by exploration. –  Jasarien Jun 29 '11 at 16:00

These are strategy games in which you explore, build, conquest and conquer.

Its not necessary that you need to exterminate or conquer everything, that depends on the game. Civilization for example, does not force you to destroy everything - there are other means of winning.

If there is one game that can be used as an example to simply describe 4x games in its core form, its Master of Orion.

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