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
477 145
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
383 143
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

3
526 204
Civilization V is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

4
384 148
Civilization IV is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

5
118 23
Stellaris is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Alexey Sazonov added Stellaris 2016

6
231 87
Master of Magic is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

7
271 132
Civilization V: Gods & Kings is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

8
109 36
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
217 108
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
218 107
Sins of a Solar Empire is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

11
157 85
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
NetavoReikalas added Civilization II 1996

13
96 43
Distant Worlds: Universe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
NathanMartinsMaia added Distant Worlds: Universe

14
53 12
Europa Universalis IV is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Edmund Carter added Europa Universalis IV

15
104 64
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
106 67
Ascendancy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Ascendancy Jan 01 1995

17
94 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
86 55
Star Wars: Rebellion is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Star Wars: Rebellion Jan 01 1998

19
77 54
Imperium Galactica II: Allianc... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

20
40 22
Star Trek: The Next Generation... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
hendrik-bitzmann added Star Trek: The Next Generation: Birth of the Federation Jun 01 1999

21
65 55
Imperium Galactica is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Imperium Galactica Mar 01 1997

22
22 9
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
65 55
Stars! is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Stars! 1995

24
35 28
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
luccgooner added Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic Jan 01 2003

25
19 11
Galactic Civilizations III is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Galactic Civilizations III

26
21 16
Civilization III: Complete Edi... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

27
20 13
Galactic Civilizations III is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Galactic Civilizations III 2015

28
19 12
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 Jan 01 1994

29
54 54
Galactic Civilizations is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

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30
23 25
Sword of the Stars is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
luccgooner added Sword of the Stars Jan 01 2006

31
18 16
Civilization: Beyond Earth is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Carlos Benavides added Civilization: Beyond Earth

32
15 13
Civilization III is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Carlos Benavides added Civilization III Oct 30 2001

33
18 23
Dominions 3: The Awakening is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
luccgooner added Dominions 3: The Awakening 2006

34
28 37
Space Empires III is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

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
14 19
Reach for the Stars is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
MarvinWhite added Reach for the Stars 1983

37
4 3
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Bruce Lombardo added Elemental: Fallen Enchantress

38
8 12
Europa Universalis is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Edmund Carter added Europa Universalis 2000

39
9 10
Stardrive is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Stardrive

40
30 43
Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

41
21 27
Classic Empire is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

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

43
0 0
Starlords 3K is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
mahks added Starlords 3K

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44
8 15
Warlock II: The Exiled is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
henrik-zabel added Warlock II: The Exiled 2014

45
8 15
Warlock: Master of the Arcane is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
henrik-zabel added Warlock: Master of the Arcane

46
15 25
Horizon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
zzzerk added Horizon

47
18 31
FreeOrion is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
FreeOrion Dec 02 2006

48
26 38
Fragile Allegiance is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Fragile Allegiance Mar 31 1997

49
24 37
Spaceward Ho! is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Spaceward Ho! Jan 01 1990

50
6 16
Space Empires V is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Theotenai added Space Empires V Jan 01 2006