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4X games is a sub-genre of strategy video games. In 4X games, players are given control over an empire and they have to do 4 things to achieve victory: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate.
The term was created by Alan Emrich during Master of Orion release in 1993, and since then, other developers and gamers have used it to describe games of similar design.
4X video games are renowned for their deep, complex gameplay. Emphasis is placed upon economic and technological development, as well as a range of non-military routes to supremacy. 4X games can take a long time to complete since the amount of micromanagement needed to sustain an empire increases as the empire grows.
4X games can be either turn-based or real-time titles. The most renowned 4X franchises of all time are Civilization, Master of Orion, and Rome: Total War.
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