4X Games 101

Strategy games are great fun, the 4X genre being one of my favorites, I'll teach you how to play, and bring you up on some common strategies, what to avoid, and even how to handle certain frequent situations. We will play for fun frequently, and players of all skill levels may join!

  1. Lesson 1- The Basics of the Genre

    First lesson, enjoy and please share any questions/concerns!


-A computer (do I really need to say this?) -Either Civ V, Sins of a Solar Empire, and/or Endless Space (Yes you can apply this class to the free 4Xs provided or other 4Xs you might own/play, but some lessons/practice sessions will focus on these games specifically.) -The ability to watch Let's Play series -A streaming client of some sort, or recording software.


Lesson 1- The Basics of the Genre. This is more of an introduction, we'll cover the most popular 4X games, including a few free ones, and core gameplay elements.

Lesson 2- What are the X's in 4X? Going over Exploration, Expansion, Exploitation, and Extermination, and how different games handle each of the four, some let's play videos will be assigned for viewing.

Lesson 3- Freeciv, FreeCol, and FreeOrion Free remakes of some of the more popular, early 4X games, trying them out, and showing how the genre has evolved, links to each will be provided.

Lesson 4- Which Game is Right For You? The pros and cons of the biggest 4Xs right now, including Civ V, Sins of a Solar Empire, and Endless Space, from this point on, students should find a partner playing the same game(s) as them to practice with.

Lesson 5- Location Location Location. (Explore) How to pick a good start in Civ V, SoASE, and Endless Space, a great start is the basis of any victory.

Lesson 6- Extending Your Power (Expand) Learn how/where to expand outwards, the pros and cons of rapid and slow expansion/

Lesson 7- Upgrading Your Empire (Exploit) This is more general, covering improvements/buildings, technology, and other forms of upgrading and exploiting existing settlements.

Lesson 8- Rule With an Iron Fist, or Not! (Extermination, and how to avoid being on the receiving end of it.) This groups together combat and diplomacy, how to survive, thrive, and conquer.

Lesson 9- Give it Your All! Livestream/Record you playing, if livestreaming, time must be set at least 48 hours prior, and must fit into my schedule, recording is preferred. You wont be graded on winning, but how you play against the AI on a normal difficulty environment. A win based off of luck, or a very sloppy win would be less than a lose where you know what you're doing.

Lesson 10- There Can be Only One... Tournament for each of the free, and regular 4X games (unless we're lacking in some game, like SoaSE, or Endless Space.) This is just for fun, and to see who learned what.

Additional information

This is a for fun class, not on a competitive level.

Teacher qualifications

Playing the Civilization series since III, grew up on Master of Orion II, and have been playing strategy games for years. What were you expecting, a degree?

Latest Update
Lesson 2 written up. (2012-12-21 20:02:21)

"Back from my own finals, class is resuming today, with some weekend homework, also enjoy the steam sales, and happy holidays! http://www.reddit.com/r/4XAcademy/comments/158s3m/lesson2the4xsofthe4x_genre/"