Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Welcome to the world of 4X games, where strategy and innovation meet to create a unique gaming experience. If you’re a fan of these games, you know that they offer a chance to build empires, explore new territories, and engage in epic battles. With so many options available, it can be tough to determine which one is the best. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to explore the best 4X games of 2023. From the latest releases to the timeless classics, we’ll take a deep dive into what makes these games so addictive and which one deserves the title of the best 4X game in 2023. So, get ready to expand your empire and join us on this exciting journey!

Understanding the 4X Genre

The appeal of 4X games

The 4X genre, short for “explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate,” has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its in-depth strategy gameplay, complex decision-making, and long-term planning and goal-setting. These elements make 4X games highly appealing to players who enjoy a challenging and immersive experience.

In-depth strategy gameplay

4X games typically involve players taking on the role of a leader or ruler of a civilization, tasked with managing resources, building infrastructure, and engaging in diplomacy with other factions. The goal is to become the most powerful and influential force on the map. The depth of strategy in these games lies in the numerous choices players must make at each stage of development, from deciding which technologies to research to choosing which units to build and when to engage in battle.

Complex decision-making

4X games require players to make complex decisions that can have significant consequences later in the game. These decisions often involve balancing short-term gains with long-term goals, as well as weighing the risks and rewards of various actions. For example, players may need to decide whether to invest in defense or offense, whether to form alliances or go it alone, and how to manage their economy and resources.

Long-term planning and goal-setting

4X games are often characterized by their focus on long-term planning and goal-setting. Players must develop a vision for their civilization and work towards achieving that vision over the course of several turns or even hours of gameplay. This requires a great deal of foresight and strategic thinking, as players must anticipate the actions of their opponents and adapt their plans accordingly.

Overall, the appeal of 4X games lies in their ability to challenge players to think strategically and make complex decisions that can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game. Whether players enjoy the depth of gameplay, the challenge of managing resources, or the satisfaction of achieving long-term goals, 4X games offer a unique and immersive experience that continues to captivate gamers of all skill levels.

Key features of 4X games


The first key feature of 4X games is exploration. This involves players discovering new territories, resources, and technologies. In many 4X games, the world is randomly generated, which means that each game is unique and players must adapt to the challenges that they encounter. Exploration is a critical aspect of 4X games because it allows players to gather resources, find new civilizations, and discover new technologies that can help them progress.


The second key feature of 4X games is expansion. This involves players building new structures, expanding their empires, and establishing new colonies. Expansion is essential in 4X games because it allows players to gain access to new resources, technologies, and territories. It also enables players to increase their power and influence over the world.


The third key feature of 4X games is exploitation. This involves players using their resources, technologies, and armies to gain an advantage over their opponents. In many 4X games, players must carefully manage their resources and technologies to ensure that they have a competitive edge over their opponents. Exploitation is a critical aspect of 4X games because it allows players to gain an advantage over their opponents and establish their dominance over the world.


The fourth key feature of 4X games is extermination. This involves players using their armies to conquer and destroy their opponents. Extermination is a critical aspect of 4X games because it allows players to eliminate their opponents and establish their dominance over the world. However, it is important to note that extermination is not always necessary in 4X games, and players can often achieve victory through other means, such as diplomacy or technology.

Top 4X Games to Play in 2023

Key takeaway: The 4X genre of strategy games, which includes exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination, has become increasingly popular due to its in-depth strategy gameplay, complex decision-making, and long-term planning and goal-setting. The top 4X games to play in 2023 include Stellaris: Galaxy Command, Civilization VI, Endless Space 2, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, and Beyond Earth. When choosing a 4X game, consider factors such as gameplay style, theme and setting, length and depth of play, and multiplayer options. To select the best 4X game for your gaming preferences, assess your preferred gameplay mechanics, explore various genres and settings, determine your desired level of depth and length, and consider multiplayer options for replayability.

1. Stellaris: Galaxy Command

Gameplay Overview

Stellaris: Galaxy Command is a 4X space strategy game developed by Paradox Development Studio and published by Paradox Interactive. Players are tasked with building and managing a spacefaring civilization, exploring the galaxy, and engaging in diplomacy, trade, and warfare with other civilizations. The game combines deep strategic gameplay with stunning visuals and a rich, immersive storyline.

Exploration Mechanics

Exploration is a key aspect of Stellaris: Galaxy Command, with players discovering new star systems, planets, and other civilizations as they venture into the unknown. The game features a dynamic galaxy generation system, ensuring that each playthrough is unique and unpredictable. As players explore, they encounter various challenges and opportunities, such as resource-rich planets, dangerous asteroid fields, and ancient artifacts.

Expansion Strategies

Players can expand their civilization’s influence through various means, including colonizing new planets, constructing space stations, and forging alliances with other factions. Each planet has its own set of resources, terrain, and environmental conditions, which must be managed to maintain a thriving civilization. Additionally, players can establish trade routes and diplomatic relations with other factions, opening up new opportunities for growth and expansion.

Exploitation and Extermination Tactics

In addition to peaceful expansion, players can also engage in warfare and conflict with other factions. The game features a robust combat system, with players able to design and build their own spacecraft, outfit them with advanced weaponry, and engage in intense space battles. Players can also use espionage and sabotage to undermine their enemies, or engage in diplomatic negotiations to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Overall, Stellaris: Galaxy Command offers a vast and immersive 4X gaming experience, with deep strategic gameplay, stunning visuals, and endless possibilities for exploration, expansion, and conflict. Whether players prefer peaceful diplomacy or intense space combat, Stellaris: Galaxy Command has something for everyone.

2. Civilization VI

Gameplay Overview

Civilization VI, developed by Firaxis Games and published in 2016, is the latest installment in the iconic Civilization series. This turn-based strategy game allows players to guide their chosen civilization from the ancient era to the modern age, competing against AI opponents or other human players. The objective is to establish and manage a civilization that will stand the test of time, either through military conquest, cultural dominance, or technological superiority.

Cultural and Military Victories

Civilization VI offers two primary victory conditions: Cultural and Military. The Cultural victory requires players to achieve a certain number of culture points, which are earned by building wonders, improving tiles, and maintaining high levels of happiness. Military victory, on the other hand, is achieved by conquering other civilizations’ capitals or eliminating their forces in battle.

Expansion and City-Building

The gameplay in Civilization VI revolves around expansion and city-building. Players must strategically manage resources, balance population growth, and maintain a delicate balance between military and cultural advancements. Cities are the backbone of any civilization, and expanding to new tiles offers opportunities for resource generation, defense, and growth.

Diplomacy and Alliances

Diplomacy plays a crucial role in Civilization VI, allowing players to form alliances, sign pacts, and negotiate trade deals with other civilizations. Establishing and maintaining positive relationships can provide valuable benefits, such as access to unique technologies, resources, or military assistance. However, players must also be cautious of potential betrayals and maintain a balance between cooperation and competition.

In conclusion, Civilization VI offers a rich and complex gameplay experience, challenging players to balance various aspects of civilization management, from resource allocation to diplomatic relations. Its deep strategic gameplay and engaging mechanics make it a standout title in the 4X genre, making it a must-play for strategy enthusiasts in 2023.

3. Endless Space 2

Endless Space 2 is a science fiction-themed 4X game developed by Amplitude Studios. Players can choose from a variety of factions, each with their unique traits, strengths, and weaknesses. The game’s objective is to expand your empire across the galaxy, develop advanced technologies, and conquer rival factions.

Faction Variety

Endless Space 2 features a wide range of factions, each with its distinct characteristics and playstyles. Players can choose from a variety of alien races, each with its unique traits, strengths, and weaknesses. The game offers a high degree of customization, allowing players to tailor their faction’s abilities and characteristics to suit their preferred playstyle.

Research and Technology Trees

Research is a critical aspect of Endless Space 2, and players must carefully manage their resources to unlock new technologies and advancements. The game features a deep tech tree, with multiple paths to choose from, allowing players to specialize in specific areas or explore a broad range of technologies.

Ship Design and Combat

Endless Space 2’s ship design system is one of the game’s standout features. Players can design and customize their ships with a wide range of components, including weapons, shields, engines, and more. The game’s combat system is fast-paced and tactical, with players needing to carefully manage their ships’ positions and capabilities to emerge victorious.

In addition to these core gameplay elements, Endless Space 2 also features a rich story and lore, with players uncovering the secrets of the galaxy as they progress. The game’s replay value is high, with players able to experiment with different factions and playstyles, making it a must-play for fans of the 4X genre.

4. Age of Wonders: Planetfall

Age of Wonders: Planetfall is a 4X turn-based strategy game developed by Triumph Studios and published by Paradox Interactive. The game takes place in a sci-fi setting, where players explore the planet of Harith and attempt to build an empire through conquest, diplomacy, and technology. The game offers a wide range of factions, each with unique abilities and strengths, allowing players to tailor their gameplay experience to their preferred style.

Faction Selection and Unique Abilities

Players can choose from a variety of factions at the beginning of the game, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Some factions are focused on military conquest, while others excel in diplomacy or technology. For example, the Vanguardian faction excels in combat and has access to powerful melee units, while the Elysians focus on research and technology. Each faction also has unique abilities that can be unlocked as the player progresses through the game, further customizing their gameplay experience.

Turn-Based Combat and Exploration

Combat in Age of Wonders: Planetfall is turn-based, allowing players to carefully plan their attacks and movements. Players can choose from a variety of units, ranging from basic infantry to powerful artillery and experimental technology. The game also features a terrain system, where units gain bonuses or penalties based on the terrain they are on, adding an extra layer of strategy to combat.

Exploration is also a key aspect of the game, as players must discover new territories and resources to expand their empire. Players can discover new territories through exploration, random events, or by defeating enemy factions. Resources can be found in these territories, which can be used to build structures, research technology, and recruit new units.

Diplomacy and Alliances

Diplomacy plays a key role in Age of Wonders: Planetfall, as players can form alliances with other factions or engage in trade. Players can negotiate with other factions to form alliances, share resources, or trade technology. Alliances can also be broken, allowing players to engage in war with their former allies.

The diplomacy system is complex, with players needing to balance their relationships with other factions and manage their reputation. Players can also engage in espionage, using spies to gather information about other factions or sabotage their infrastructure.

Overall, Age of Wonders: Planetfall offers a deep and engaging 4X experience, with a wide range of factions, unique abilities, and strategic options. Players can tailor their gameplay experience to their preferred style, whether they prefer military conquest, diplomacy, or technology.

5. Beyond Earth

Beyond Earth is a science fiction 4X game developed by Firaxis Games, the creators of the popular game, Civilization V. The game is set in the future, where humanity has ventured beyond Earth and colonized other planets. The game features a unique storyline that focuses on the challenges of colonizing new planets and the struggles that come with it.

Tech Tree and Resource Management

The tech tree in Beyond Earth is designed to be more focused than the one in Civilization V, with a greater emphasis on science and technology. The game features a variety of tech branches that players can pursue, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Resource management is also an important aspect of the game, with players needing to balance their production of various resources to keep their colony running smoothly. The game features a variety of resources, including food, water, energy, and building materials, which players must manage to ensure the survival of their colony.

Modding Support

One of the great things about Beyond Earth is its modding support. The game features a robust modding community, with many mods available to customize the game and add new content. This makes the game even more replayable, as players can experiment with different mods and create their own unique experiences.

Sandbox and Custom Game Modes

Beyond Earth also features a sandbox mode, which allows players to create their own custom games with no specific objectives or goals. This mode is perfect for players who want to experiment with different settings and scenarios, or just want to explore the game’s world without any constraints.

The game also features custom game modes, which allow players to tailor the game to their own preferences. These modes include things like limited resources, unique victory conditions, and more. This adds even more replayability to the game, as players can experiment with different modes and find the ones that suit them best.

6. Anno 1800

Anno 1800 is a strategic 4X game that takes players on a journey to the industrial age. Players are tasked with building and managing a thriving metropolis while also exploring new territories, establishing trade routes, and engaging in diplomatic relations with other factions. The game offers a unique blend of city-building, economic management, and strategic gameplay, making it a must-play for fans of the genre.

Industrial and Economic Gameplay

At the core of Anno 1800 is its deep and complex economic system. Players must manage resources, production chains, and trade routes to keep their economy thriving. They must also build and maintain factories, warehouses, and other buildings to maximize efficiency and productivity. The game’s industrial aspect adds an extra layer of depth to the gameplay, as players must balance their economic needs with their strategic goals.

Building and Terrain Management

Anno 1800’s building and terrain management system is one of the game’s standout features. Players must carefully plan and manage their city layout, taking into account factors such as terrain, climate, and access to resources. They must also construct and maintain a variety of buildings, from homes and offices to schools and hospitals, to keep their population happy and healthy. The game’s building system adds a sense of depth and realism to the gameplay, making it feel like a truly living, breathing world.

Trade and Diplomacy

Trade and diplomacy play a crucial role in Anno 1800. Players must establish and maintain trade relationships with other factions, negotiate deals, and navigate the complex political landscape of the game’s world. Diplomacy is not just about making friends and influencing people; it’s also about protecting your interests and advancing your goals. The game’s trade and diplomacy system adds an extra layer of depth and strategy to the gameplay, making it a key part of the overall experience.

Choosing the Right 4X Game for You

Factors to consider

When selecting a 4X game, it is important to consider various factors that will affect your overall gaming experience. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Gameplay Style

The gameplay style of a 4X game can vary widely, from turn-based strategy to real-time combat. Consider your personal preferences and the amount of time you have available to play when choosing a game. If you prefer a more leisurely pace, a turn-based game may be a better fit. If you enjoy fast-paced action, a real-time game may be more your style.

Theme and Setting

The theme and setting of a 4X game can also impact your overall experience. Some games are set in space, while others take place in historical eras or fantasy worlds. Consider which themes and settings appeal to you and how they fit with your interests and preferences.

Length and Depth of Play

4X games can range from short, casual experiences to complex, hours-long campaigns. Consider how much time you have available to play and whether you prefer shorter, more casual games or longer, more immersive experiences.

Multiplayer Options

Many 4X games offer multiplayer options, allowing you to play with friends or compete against other players online. Consider whether you enjoy multiplayer gaming and whether the game offers the type of multiplayer experience you are looking for.

Overall, choosing the right 4X game requires careful consideration of these factors to ensure that you select a game that meets your preferences and provides a fun and engaging experience.

Tips for selecting the best 4X game

Selecting the perfect 4X game requires careful consideration of several factors. Here are some tips to help you choose the best 4X game for your gaming preferences:

Assess your preferred gameplay mechanics

One of the essential factors to consider when choosing a 4X game is the gameplay mechanics. Consider the depth and complexity of the game’s systems, including resource management, technology research, diplomacy, and combat. Think about how these mechanics appeal to you and how well they align with your preferred playstyle.

Explore various genres and settings

4X games span across different genres and settings, from sci-fi to fantasy, historical to modern, and beyond. Research the various genres and settings available to find one that resonates with your interests. For instance, if you enjoy sci-fi, you might consider a game like Stellaris, which allows you to explore the galaxy and create your interstellar empire. On the other hand, if you prefer a more historical approach, consider a game like Civilization VI, which offers a more grounded and realistic take on global domination.

Determine your desired level of depth and length

4X games can vary greatly in terms of depth and length. Some games offer a more casual experience with streamlined mechanics and shorter playtimes, while others offer a more complex and challenging experience with longer playtimes. Determine your desired level of depth and length, and choose a game that aligns with your preferences. If you prefer a shorter and more casual experience, you might consider a game like Age of Empires III, which offers a more straightforward gameplay experience. On the other hand, if you want a more complex and challenging experience, consider a game like Imperium Romanum, which offers a deep and engaging experience with a variety of gameplay mechanics.

Consider multiplayer options for replayability

One of the advantages of 4X games is their replayability, especially when it comes to multiplayer modes. Consider the multiplayer options available in each game and choose one that offers the type of multiplayer experience you desire. Whether you prefer competitive or cooperative multiplayer, there are several 4X games that offer exciting multiplayer experiences, such as the popular game, Endless Space 2.

By considering these tips, you can select the best 4X game that aligns with your gaming preferences and provides a truly immersive and engaging experience.


1. What is a 4X game?

A 4X game, short for “explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate,” is a subgenre of strategy games that focuses on the player’s ability to build and manage a civilization or empire. These games typically involve exploring the game world, expanding the player’s territory, exploiting resources and technologies, and exterminating or coexisting with other civilizations or factions.

2. What are the best 4X games of 2023?

As an AI language model, I do not have personal preferences or opinions, but based on current trends and popularity, some of the best 4X games of 2023 include:
* Stellaris: Galaxy Command
* Humankind
* Age of Wonders: Planetfall
* Civcraft: Survival of the Fittest
* RimWorld

3. What are the key features of a good 4X game?

A good 4X game typically features a variety of mechanics and systems that allow players to explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate in unique and engaging ways. These may include:
* A rich and immersive game world with diverse biomes, resources, and civilizations
* Complex and interconnected systems for managing resources, technology, and diplomacy
* Dynamic events and challenges that test the player’s strategic skills and decision-making abilities
* A strong focus on player choice and agency, with multiple paths to victory and opportunities for customization and experimentation

4. What is the difference between a 4X game and a turn-based strategy game?

While both 4X games and turn-based strategy games are types of strategy games, there are some key differences between the two. Turn-based strategy games typically focus on combat and tactical maneuvers, with players taking turns moving and attacking units on a grid-based map. In contrast, 4X games focus on building and managing a civilization or empire over time, with a greater emphasis on exploration, expansion, exploitation, and extermination.

5. How can I find the best 4X game for my playstyle?

The best 4X game for you will depend on your personal preferences and playstyle. Some popular 4X games cater to different playstyles, such as:
* Stellaris: Galaxy Command for players who enjoy sci-fi and grand strategy
* Humankind for players who enjoy a more historical and in-depth approach to building a civilization
* Age of Wonders: Planetfall for players who enjoy fantasy and turn-based combat
* Civcraft: Survival of the Fittest for players who enjoy survival and crafting elements
* RimWorld for players who enjoy colony-building and survival on a distant planet
It’s important to do your research and read reviews to find a game that suits your interests and playstyle.

An Amazing Year For 4X | NEW Turn-Based Grand Strategy Games 2024

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