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?"
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list ordered by

1
529 167
Master of Orion II: Battle at ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
1996
Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares is a 4X turn-based strategy game set in space, designed by Steve Barcia and Ken Burd, and developed by Simtex, who developed its predecessor Master of ...more

2
421 160
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
1999
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is a video game in the 4X genre which is considered a spiritual sequel to the Civilization series. Set in a science fiction depiction of the 22nd century, the game ...more

3
429 170
Civilization IV is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
2005
Sid Meier's Civilization IV is a turn-based strategy computer game and the fourth installment of the Civilization series. It was developed by lead designer Soren Johnson under the direction of ...more

4
565 233
Civilization V is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
2010
Sid Meier's Civilization V is a 4X video game in the Civilization series developed by Firaxis Games, released on Microsoft Windows in September 2010, OS X on November 23, 2010, and Linux/SteamOS ...more

5
184 52
Stellaris is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Alexey Sazonov added Stellaris 2016

6
258 96
Master of Magic is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
1994
Master of Magic is a single-player, fantasy turn-based strategy 4X genre video game created by Simtex and published for MS-DOS by MicroProse in 1994. The player is a wizard attempting to ...more

7
137 50
Endless Legend is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
rafie-gilang added
Endless Legend is a turn based 4X fantasy-strategy game developed by Amplitude Studios and published by Iceberg Interactive for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X in September 2014. The purpose of ...more

8
237 120
Endless Space is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
JacobAaenSundby added Jun 04 2012
Endless Space is a turn-based strategy, science fiction 4X game developed by Amplitude Studios released on July 4, 2012 for Microsoft Windows and August 31, 2012 for Mac OS X. It sold over ...more

9
283 148
Civilization V: Gods & Kings is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
2012
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods & Kings is the first official expansion pack for the turn-based strategy video game Civilization V. It was released on June 19, 2012 in North America, and on ...more

10
126 53
Distant Worlds: Universe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
NathanMartinsMaia added Distant Worlds: Universe

11
91 25
Europa Universalis IV is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Edmund Carter added

12
171 95
Galactic Civilizations II: Dre... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
midnightq2 added 2006
Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords is a 4X turn-based strategy by Stardock for Microsoft Windows. It is the sequel to the original Galactic Civilizations, and was released at retail and on ...more

13
239 124
Sins of a Solar Empire is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
2007
Sins of a Solar Empire is a 2008 science fiction real-time strategy computer game developed by Ironclad Games and published by Stardock Entertainment for Microsoft Windows operating systems. It ...more

14
104 47
Civilization II is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
NetavoReikalas added 1996
Sid Meier's Civilization II is a turn-based strategy video game developed and published by MicroProse. It was first released in 1996 for the PC and later ported to the Sony PlayStation. In 2002, ...more

15
116 75
Ascendancy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
1995
Ascendancy is a 4X science fiction turn-based strategy computer game. It was originally released for MS-DOS in 1995 and was updated and re-released for iOS in 2011 by The Logic Factory. ...more

16
112 75
Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked

17
94 60
Imperium Galactica II: Allianc... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
2000
Imperium Galactica II: Alliances is a real-time game featuring aspects of RTT, RTS and empire-building computer games from the Hungarian-based studio Digital Reality. It is the sequel to Digital ...more

18
102 74
Space Empires IV is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
2000
Space Empires IV is a turn-based 4X strategy computer game developed by Malfador Machinations and published by Strategy First as part of the Space Empires series in which players control an ...more

19
96 63
Star Wars: Rebellion is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
1998
Star Wars: Rebellion is a real-time strategy game released in 1998 by LucasArts and set in the fictional Expanded Universe of Star Wars.

20
53 27
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 1999
Star Trek: Birth of the Federation is a 4X turn-based computer strategy game developed by Microprose and published by Hasbro Interactive. The game was initially released on May 25, 1999 for ...more

21
44 19
Galactic Civilizations III is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
Galactic Civilizations III

22
73 61
Imperium Galactica is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
1997
Imperium Galactica is a computer game made by a Hungarian company Digital Reality that combines many of the features of 4X games with some of the features of real-time tactical games. The same ...more

23
76 63
Stars! is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
1995
Stars! is a complex turn-based computer game in which planets and fleets of spaceships are managed, using the 4X game model. The game has been around since 1995, and still has a strong

24
33 18
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
46 33
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best 4X Strategy Games of All Time, Ranked
luccgooner added 2003
Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is a turn-based strategy video game in a fantasy setting. Shadow Magic is the third incarnation of the Age of Wonders series, and is a direct sequel to Age of ...more