If you want a game that stimulates your cognitive senses, here’s our list of the best 4X board games that let you explore, exploit, expand, and exterminate. From exploring uncharted territories to expanding your kingdoms, 4X board games are entertaining and ideal for those who want to bond and spend some quality family time with friends and family. These games have interesting themes and amazing features and tools to keep the players engaged. Scroll through our list to learn more.
7 Best 4X Board Games
Suitable for children aged 14 years and above, this strategy-based board game requires three to six players and offers an average playing time of four to eight hours. A game of galactic conquests and 17 civilizations, players in this strategic warfare board game compete for interstellar supremacy through trade, politics, allegiance, and warfare. The board game ensures competitive and thrilling game sessions. This video will give you a better insight into the classic game that you can enjoy with friends and family.
- Good replay value
- Based on sci-fi
- 51 galaxy tiles
- No repeated levels
- Comes with a detailed rule book
- Promotes strategic thinking
- May not be easy to set up
- Might not be beginner-friendly
2. Best Wargame: Stonemaier Games Scythe
Portraying an alternate history of 1920s Europa, Scythe welcomes players to represent fallen leaders attempting to restore their honor and leading their factions to power. A wargame adventure based on science fiction, Scythe can be played by one to five players and has an average playtime of 90-120 minutes. Every part of the military strategy board game has an aspect of engine-building to it, and its streamlined action-selection mechanism keeps the game moving briskly while reducing downtime before turns.
- Features Jakub Różalski’s stunning artwork
- Colorblind friendly
- Can be played solo
- No player elimination
- Instructions may be challenging to follow for some
- Combat may get a little monotonous
Suitable for one to four players, the Heroes of Land, Air & Sea Order and Chaos is designed for children aged 14 and above. The box includes 80 cardboard structures and elaborate miniatures. Set in the land of Aughmoore, each player needs to strategize to explore the territory, expand, and build cities while exterminating enemies to conquer land and gain board supremacy. Watch this video for a thorough understanding of the exploration and conquest board game.
- Short yet exhilarating
- Features four additional factions
- Large map
- Perfect game for a small group
- Integrates easily with the base game
- Game may be time-consuming
If you want a portable game with the empire building aspect and the features of a 4X board game, Age of Civilization can be a suitable choice. It requires one to four players. The game allows each player to play as three civilizations, and you can analyze eras, face challenges, and develop your kingdom. The territory control board game includes different cards for different challenges, and the goal is to build an empire through conquests. Click here to check out a detailed review of this game.
- Includes a solo mode with five scenarios
- Comes with 91 wooden tokens and 12 event tokens
- Good replay value
- Easy to carry
- Enures fun game sessions
- Might not be beginner-friendly
- Only six rounds
The strategy-based game is suitable for children aged one to five players. It is an expansion of the Tiny Epic Kingdoms build and conquer board game with added heroes, factions, and war towers. You can play this fantasy game of wars within an hour, and it is designed with stunning graphics. The aim of this epic empire board game is to collect resources, learn magic, and invade territories by building towers while keeping your towers safe from opponents, ensuring fun gaming sessions.
- Engaging resource management board game
- Towers help with war/defense as well
- More optional tokens on the board
- Retro graphic design
- Small box and footprint
- Requires base game to play
- Might not work with ultra tiny epic kingdom
Space Empires is a develop-and-expand board game with good replay value and is suitable for one to four players. This build-an-empire board game also involves destroying enemies and their colonies, making it a perfect game for family game night. With various terrains, details, and components, you need to build a fleet by researching diverse technologies to create the most balanced one.
- Retro graphic
- Quality easy-to-understand rulebook
- Fast-paced epic space game
- Playing time of two hours
- Solo level might be too simple
- Miniatures not included
A board game for two to five players aged over 12 years, the Empires of the Void II is a story of eight planets and species living on them. The diplomatic negotiation board game includes unique action and event cards to help you explore ancient ruins, stop planetary battles, save leaders, and protect the planets from invasion. The tactical empire board game with the empire building aspect can be played for two to three hours, making it the perfect game for family game night.
- Helps improve negotiation skills
- Includes 19 technologies to research
- Unique artwork
- Includes a rulebook
- Might take some time to set up
- Might have a high degree of randomness
How To Choose The Right 4X Board Games?
Here are some points you should consider when buying a 4X board game.
- Setting: Consider the theme, fantasy lands, and historical period settings. You may choose build-your-own-kingdom board games, space-colonization board games, and other games that entice you.
- Complexity: Some board games can be complex with lengthy game rules, while others are simpler. Younger players prefer simpler games such as build-an-empire board games, while veterans, teens, and adults may prefer more challenging games such as expand and exploit board games or war and diplomacy board games.
- Playing time: Some 4X games may take 30 to 60 minutes, while others may go on for seven to eight hours. Choose a game depending on the amount of time you are willing to spend.
- Number of players: Consider the required number of players when choosing a game. You would not want to pick a six-player game if you usually have two to four active players.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the difference between grand strategy and 4X?
Grand strategy games have more political or military-based themes where you have to anticipate the opponent’s moves and plan your elaborate scheme to save your virtual empire. In contrast, 4X games are based on fantasy-theme events concerning exploring, exploiting, expanding, and exterminating the empire or nation.
2. How long does an average game session of a 4X board game last?
The average playing time for most 4X board games is one hour, while some last for five hours. A few could even last for eight hours.
3. Do 4X board games contain dice?
Although these are strategy and planning-based games, some may require dice in the gameplay.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Priti Bose is experienced in writing articles about toys and gifts. In this article on 4X board games, she has put together a curated list of games you can play with your family or friends to have a gala time. After reviewing user feedback and suggestions, we compiled this list of the top-rated 4X board games with exciting features, intriguing storylines, and easy rules. A buying guide has also been included to help you choose the right board game.
Playing 4X board games is a great way to spend fun time with family, friends, and loved ones. If you’re a parent looking for a skill-based game for your child, you’ll find plenty of options that promote critical thinking, strategic thinking, and decision-making skills. They’re available in different themes, such as fantasy, space, and historical conquest. Thus, you can consider your child’s interest area and find a 4X board game that will entertain them. Finally, consider the number of players the game allows, as it will decide whether you can use it for a larger gathering.
Infographic: How Is Playing 4X Board Games Beneficial?
Everyone can play board games, whether children, teens, or adults. 4X board games quadruple the excitement since they feature the four key elements, namely explore, exploit, expand, and exterminate. Check out the infographic below to learn about the various advantages of playing 4X board games.