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Strategy Games You Should be Playing on Your Next Games Night. 6 Sides Talks 4X Board Games.

6 Sides of Gaming brings you some of the best 4X strategy board games around. Check it out.



What The Heck is a 4X Game?

If you’ve never heard the term 4X regarding board games, that’s ok! You’ve likely played one without knowing it. Catan, Carcassone and Risk are some high profile examples of the eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate game genre.

The first 4X games were influenced by board games and 1970s text-based computer games.Turn-based 4X computer games were initially prevalent, but real-time 4X games are now widespread. During the mid-1990s, many 4X computer games were produced, but they subsequently faded away as other types of strategy games emerged. Sid Meier’s Civilization is an excellent example of this early period, and it popularized the degree of detail that would become a standard feature of the genre. Several 4X games have achieved critical and commercial success in the new millennium.

Now that we’ve got the basic backstory of 4X games, let’s look at some of the really good ones!

Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition

Publisher: Fantasy Flight
Number of Players: 3 to 6
Time to Play: 240-480 min

If you’re looking for an in-depth game with a long run time; look no further!

The popular card game Twilight Imperium is a board game set in space. The fourth edition of the game, which was released in July 2014, added several new features to this classic strategy experience. You and six other players take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining. The seventeen species vying for control of the galaxy have many options for success, but only one may become Mecatol Rex’s future rulers.

The game board is built at the beginning of each galactic cycle, using 51 galaxy cubes that range from lush new worlds and supernovas to asteroid fields and gravity rifts. Players are dealt a hand of these tiles and take turns building the galaxy around Mecatol Rex, the central planet in the board. A fortunate gravity rift may save you from your closest enemies, while an unfortunately positioned ion storm might prevent you from progressing through the galaxy. The universe is yours to both build and dominate.

A round of Twilight Imperium begins with players selecting one of eight strategy cards, each of which influences the player order as well as providing a unique strategic action for that round. There may be a variety of different things that these tokens may accomplish, from providing extra command points to allowing a player to control trade across the galaxy. The game is divided into rounds, each of which has several phases. Players take turns moving their fleets from system to system, claiming new planets for their empire, and engaging in battle and trade with other factions. At the conclusion of each turn, players convene in a large council to debate new laws and agendas, frequently changing the game’s dynamics.

Players move up the victory track by checking to see whether they have completed any objectives during their turn and scoring them after every player has taken their turn. Each game consists of ten public objective cards that are established at the start and gradually revealed with each round. At the start of the game, each player is given two secret goals to choose from, with the goal of obtaining as many victory points as possible. A player can claim one public and one secret objective at the conclusion of each round. As the game goes on, more of these goals are revealed and additional secret objectives are doled out, providing players with constantly shifting objectives. Play continues until a player has amassed ten victory points.

So, if battling it out in space is your jam, Twilight Imperium is going to be your fix.

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea

Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Time to Play: 120-180 Min

If a galactic, space setting isn’t your thing, then maybe Heroes of Land, Air and Sea will suit your fancy. Fun, cartoonish miniatures bring some levity to the 4X game genre. As a sort of bonus, this game can be played solo which is perfect for the recluse in all of us.

Heroes of Land, Air, and Sea is a 4X-style board game with miniatures that recounts the epic narrative of orcs vs. humans, dwarves vs. elves, competing kingdoms, and individuals who turn the tables of battle in this 4X-style game.

Players take control of one of these well-known factions, vying to expand their nation’s borders. The game begins with players in control of a tiny hamlet, with nothing more than a basic town hall, a few peons, and one warrior. Players must explore their surroundings, build up their workforce, fortify their army, and expand their kingdom — all through strategic action selection, exploitation, warfare, and resource management.

Benefits are unlocked as players complete stages in the kingdom’s growth. Peons become knights, knights become great heroes, and settlements evolve into castles. Players eventually gain access to water and air travel through creatures and vessels. As the game progresses, these new types of travel speed up gameplay.

War in Heroes of Land, Air & Sea features a cost/reward system carefully detailed on tactics cards from which players must secretly choose. The availability of these warfare tactics cards is dependent on the units taking part in the war. It’s here that players put their minds and legacies to the test in order to exterminate one another.

Heroes of Land, Air & Sea features two economic systems: one being resource gathering and the other utilizing builders to expand your empire. Finding this balance is crucial to victory!

Tiny Epic Kingdoms: 2nd Edition

Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Number of Players: 2 to 5
Time to Play: 30-45 min

Scott Almes and Gamerlyn Games are getting a lot of love from us today and it’s well deserved. Looking for a game with all the 4X goodness but don’t have all the time in the world to play? Tiny Epic Kingdoms is right down your alley!

In Tiny Epic Kingdoms, a 4x fantasy game in a tiny package, each player begins with a distinct faction (which has its own technology tree) and a modest domain. Undead, Dark Elves, Valkyries, Merfolk and Halflings are just some of the faction options available.

Dark Elves Faction

Players acquire resources, explore other areas, battle one another, conduct research on magic, and work to construct a magnificent tower that will guard their realm throughout the game.

You are a little kingdom with enormous goals. You want to grow your population across the realms, master powerful spells, construct magnificent castles, and make your foes tremble at the sound of your name. The only issue is that the other kingdoms desire the same thing, and there isn’t enough room for everyone to succeed.

Tiny Epic Kingdoms is an award-winning 4X game that is fast to play and still packs a big punch. This one is worth picking up or playing at your local board game cafe.

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