Total Nerd The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked  

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List Rules Vote up the best video games in the 4x genre.

The best 4X games don't necessarily have to be set in space, but many indeed are set in in the cold frontier of space. Wondering what the 4X in 4X strategy games means? It stands for eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate. A cheery and uplifting message, right? So what is the best 4X game of all time? The list below features all the best 4x games of all time for any console or system, according to fans.

Master of Orion II, arguably one of the best 4X strategy games of all time, is set in space. Like with any other 4X game, you need to foster your fledgling empire and turn it into a powerhouse with enough strength to take on your enemies. 

If you're not familiar with the 4x genre, it's a type of strategy game that eschews twitch reflexes and  instead embraces board control and patient strategy. These highly rated 4x games are ordered by popularity, so only the greatest 4x games are at the top of the list. Spanning the entire history of the genre, these 4x games are considered the best in the genre. This list includes all challenging 4x games that have ever hit the shelves, so it doesn't necessarily have all the more obscure or new 4x games.

This list contains games like Civilization V and Civilization IV. This list answers the questions, "What are the best 4x games?" and "What is the greatest 4x game of all time?"
list ordered by

1
+ - 472 144
Master of Orion II: Battle at ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

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2
+ - 381 140
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

3
+ - 523 201
Civilization V is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

4
+ - 376 145
Civilization IV is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

5
+ - 111 20
Stellaris is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Stellaris 2016

6
+ - 227 86
Master of Magic is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

7
+ - 270 130
Civilization V: Gods & Kings is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

8
+ - 108 34
Endless Legend is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

9
+ - 216 106
Endless Space is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Endless Space Jun 04 2012

10
+ - 217 107
Sins of a Solar Empire is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

11
+ - 152 84
Galactic Civilizations II: Dre... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

12
+ - 88 34
Civilization II is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

13
+ - 92 43
Distant Worlds: Universe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Distant Worlds: Universe

14
+ - 49 11
Europa Universalis IV is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

15
+ - 104 62
Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

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16
+ - 105 66
Ascendancy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Ascendancy 1995

17
+ - 92 66
Space Empires IV is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Space Empires IV Nov 07 2000

18
+ - 76 54
Imperium Galactica II: Allianc... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

19
+ - 83 55
Star Wars: Rebellion is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

20
+ - 65 54
Imperium Galactica is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

21
+ - 36 22
Star Trek: The Next Generation... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

22
+ - 20 8
Master of Orion: Conquer the S... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars

23
+ - 63 55
Stars! is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Stars! 1995

24
+ - 35 27
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

25
+ - 21 14
Civilization III: Complete Edi... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

26
+ - 16 10
Galactic Civilizations III is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Galactic Civilizations III

27
+ - 17 11
Sid Meier's Colonization is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

28
+ - 53 53
Galactic Civilizations is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

29
+ - 17 12
Galactic Civilizations III is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Galactic Civilizations III 2015

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30
+ - 22 25
Sword of the Stars is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

31
+ - 15 12
Civilization III is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

32
+ - 18 22
Dominions 3: The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

33
+ - 17 15
Civilization: Beyond Earth is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Civilization: Beyond Earth

34
+ - 27 37
Space Empires III is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Space Empires III Jan 01 1997

35
+ - 28 32
Emperor of the Fading Suns is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

36
+ - 8 11
Europa Universalis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

37
+ - 30 42
Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

38
+ - 9 10
Stardrive is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

39
+ - 3 3
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

40
+ - 21 27
Classic Empire is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

41
+ - 12 19
Reach for the Stars is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Reach for the Stars Jan 01 1983

42
+ - 27 41
Starships Unlimited is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

43
+ - 15 25
Horizon is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Horizon

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44
+ - 7 15
Warlock II: The Exiled is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

45
+ - 7 15
Warlock: Master of the Arcane is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

46
+ - 18 31
FreeOrion is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
FreeOrion 2006

47
+ - 26 38
Fragile Allegiance is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

48
+ - 24 37
Spaceward Ho! is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

49
+ - 2 8
Sid Meier's Civilization Revol... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

50
+ - 20 34
Sword of Aragon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked