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
515 164
Master of Orion II: Battle at ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

2
409 157
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

3
555 225
Civilization V is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

4
416 166
Civilization IV is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

5
165 42
Stellaris is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Alexey Sazonov added Stellaris 2016

6
250 94
Master of Magic is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

7
282 144
Civilization V: Gods & Kings is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

8
126 47
Endless Legend is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
rafie-gilang added Endless Legend 2014

9
229 118
Endless Space is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
JacobAaenSundby added Endless Space Jun 04 2012

10
81 21
Europa Universalis IV is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Edmund Carter added Europa Universalis IV

11
113 52
Distant Worlds: Universe is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
NathanMartinsMaia added Distant Worlds: Universe

12
166 93
Galactic Civilizations II: Dre... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

13
234 121
Sins of a Solar Empire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

14
98 45
Civilization II is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
NetavoReikalas added Civilization II 1996

The Most Popular Strategy Video Games Right Now

15
111 72
Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

16
113 74
Ascendancy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Ascendancy 1995

17
100 72
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
89 59
Imperium Galactica II: Allianc... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

19
94 61
Star Wars: Rebellion is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

20
50 26
Star Trek: The Next Generation... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

21
72 60
Imperium Galactica is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

The Very Best Dog Breeds, Ranked

22
37 17
Galactic Civilizations III is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Galactic Civilizations III

23
73 62
Stars! is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Stars! 1995

24
30 16
Master of Orion: Conquer the S... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Master of Orion: Conquer the Stars

25
42 32
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
luccgooner added Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic 2003

26
30 22
Civilization III: Complete Edi... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

27
34 31
Sword of the Stars is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
luccgooner added Sword of the Stars Jan 01 2006

28
25 17
Sid Meier's Colonization is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Carlos Benavides added Sid Meier's Colonization 1994

The Best Turn-Based Strategy Games of All Time

29
24 18
Civilization III is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Carlos Benavides added Civilization III 2001

30
31 20
Galactic Civilizations III is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Galactic Civilizations III 2015

31
35 36
Emperor of the Fading Suns is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

32
31 43
Space Empires III is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Space Empires III Jan 01 1997

33
37 48
Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

34
59 61
Galactic Civilizations is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

35
20 30
Dominions 3: The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
luccgooner added Dominions 3: The Awakening 2006

The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans

36
4 3
Star Control II is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
AldarGoa-Baden added Star Control II

37
12 17
Europa Universalis is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Edmund Carter added Europa Universalis 2000

38
14 17
Stardrive is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Stardrive

39
20 27
Civilization: Beyond Earth is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Carlos Benavides added Civilization: Beyond Earth

40
3 4
Star Control 3 is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
AldarGoa-Baden added Star Control 3 Aug 31 1996

41
22 36
FreeOrion is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
FreeOrion Dec 02 2006

42
22 32
Classic Empire is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

The Best Horse Racing Games of All Time, Ranked

43
12 18
Warlock: Master of the Arcane is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
henrik-zabel added Warlock: Master of the Arcane

44
10 19
Space Empires V is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Theotenai added Space Empires V Jan 01 2006

45
15 26
Reach for the Stars is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
MarvinWhite added Reach for the Stars 1983

46
28 42
Fragile Allegiance is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

47
10 20
Warlock II: The Exiled is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
henrik-zabel added Warlock II: The Exiled 2014

48
1 4
Starlords 3K is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
mahks added Starlords 3K

49
27 47
Starships Unlimited is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

50
26 43
Spaceward Ho! is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked