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4X Strategy |OT| eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate

Oct 25, 2017
434
Anyone play Solium Infernum? Game was made by one guy and has a whole lot of crazy different systems going on in it. Plays like a weird mix between a board game and a 4X strategy with a very interesting way of handling conflict through a very ceremonious political system. I played against the CPU a bit back a number of years ago when it first came out, and got it working recently on my Mac via WINE. There's a Discord server with like 20 people organizing games via PBEM, kind of tempted to give it a try.
Looks interesting for sure! And that website definitely has the charm of an old 90s game website!
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,042
Anyone play Solium Infernum? Game was made by one guy and has a whole lot of crazy different systems going on in it. Plays like a weird mix between a board game and a 4X strategy with a very interesting way of handling conflict through a very ceremonious political system. I played against the CPU a bit back a number of years ago when it first came out, and got it working recently on my Mac via WINE. There's a Discord server with like 20 people organizing games via PBEM, kind of tempted to give it a try.
I did some years ago.
Very interesting with friends, but the computer cannot play to save itself. I don't know if it has changed since the version I played, but I remember the game being heavily tilted towards patient resource generation for a while, and then blobbing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
434

New Rome inspired 4x from Slitherine Ltd. Looks interesting.
Looks really interesting actually. Reminds me of Oriental Empires that came out last fall, which was a good but ultimately flawed game. Probably going to pick it up and check it out for a few weeks, thanks for pointing me in its direction!
 
Oct 27, 2017
701
Portugal
The best I've found is Uciana https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.birdshel.Uciana

It's pretty derivative of MOO2, but that's not really a problem in my book. It has enough variety to keep things fresh for at least a while and they keep adding features. I've played probably ~20 hours.
Do you mind giving a small list of good strategy games on mobile?
I have been getting some time outside the house where i can't use the switch and i'd be up for some mobile games. The only 3 game si ahve enjoyed in mobile are: kingdom rush, Star wars galaxy of heroes and marvel strike force.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,717
Anyone play Solium Infernum? Game was made by one guy and has a whole lot of crazy different systems going on in it. Plays like a weird mix between a board game and a 4X strategy with a very interesting way of handling conflict through a very ceremonious political system. I played against the CPU a bit back a number of years ago when it first came out, and got it working recently on my Mac via WINE. There's a Discord server with like 20 people organizing games via PBEM, kind of tempted to give it a try.
Constantly tempted by this - one of my irl friends has recounted plenty of crazy stories in his time playing it. But I just know it's just going to sit in my backlog and I'll barely touch it, and when it's not even on Steam - with the possibility of a deep discount - I'm even less likely to buy it. Even so, though, every couple of weeks I visit their store page and dither about it and then go "nah".

I really ought to pick it up, though. It sounds so much fun.
 
Oct 27, 2017
823
London
Constantly tempted by this - one of my irl friends has recounted plenty of crazy stories in his time playing it. But I just know it's just going to sit in my backlog and I'll barely touch it, and when it's not even on Steam - with the possibility of a deep discount - I'm even less likely to buy it. Even so, though, every couple of weeks I visit their store page and dither about it and then go "nah".

I really ought to pick it up, though. It sounds so much fun.
It's fairly discounted at $15 from where it was originally. Not bad for a self-published game, pretty much as indie as indie gets. I think there still may even be a demo (there was one back in the day with like a 20 turn limit or something) if you wanna try the mechanics first.

It's a shame Vic Davis seems to have stopped making PC games, his game design blog back in the day always had really interesting articles that were always the first thing I'd read when they showed up in Google Reader (RIP).
 
Oct 27, 2017
823
London
Not sure how many of you are able to stomach the pretty atrocious graphics of Dominions 5, but there's been an update that adds a new nation with an extremely interesting mechanic.

Essentially the nation is situated on a volcano, and depending on your luck/misfortune the volcano goes off early/mid mid-game, kills a bunch of your population, and changes pretty much everything about your nation: what you can recruit, the types of magic you get, etc. In a game full of like 90 different nations, they keep coming up with really interesting ways of making them feel really unique in how you play them.
 
Oct 27, 2017
823
London
How is the UI of Dominions 5? That's the one thing that made me bounce off Conquest of Elysium 3.
Definitely better than CoE4, haven't played 3. Still quite a bit clunky, though, you have to get used to remembering how selection works versus moving. I've gotten a lot of the keyboard shortcuts down, which actually help quite a bit, especially when you are sending armies from multiple locations and want to understand how they'll all show up on the battlefield.

Dom5 is still pretty hard to break into, mostly I think because of how intimidating it is to make your God for the first few games. Game is brilliant, though, and has reached my most played game ever on Steam over a matter of months.
 

Tim

Member
Oct 25, 2017
342
The two hardest things to learn in Dominions is building your god (which is frontloaded at the start of the game for maximum frustration) and realizing that 80% of the units in the game are complete trash that you should never actually build. Like seriously, a nation might have 20+ units, but you only really want a few of them. Once you understand those two things, playing vs the AI is pretty easy.
 
Oct 25, 2017
15,818
4X is a weird genre in that the very first example of it is still the best. Master of Orion 1. Not 2, certainly not 3. Not even the reboot.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,042
Never heard of Dominions. Is 5 a good place to start ? Is there some good tutorial, or a list of the things to pay attention to, and the mistakes to avoid, when you begin with this game ?
 
Oct 27, 2017
823
London
Never heard of Dominions. Is 5 a good place to start ? Is there some good tutorial, or a list of the things to pay attention to, and the mistakes to avoid, when you begin with this game ?
Dominions 5 is probably where you want to start, as Dom4 isn't too different, but doesn't have any of the new stuff they've added in Dom5.

The DasTactic video tutorials are pretty good. I actually really like GeneralConfusion for in-depth nation details, but they are probably a bit intense if just starting out, since there's a lot of language around the game he uses that might not make sense.

In terms of avoiding mistakes, I think Dom5 is complicated enough that you have to learn by making the mistakes. Play a few games to like turn 13 with a nation, and then restart and see how differently you play. I've got 120 hours in it now, and I still feel like I'm making a lot of mistakes, and have still really not learned a lot about how to play the late game when magic becomes ridiculous.
 
Oct 25, 2017
434
What are some older underrated strategy games? Not necessarily 4x, but im not interested in click-fest (rts-games) either. Anybody?
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,014
Columbus, Ohio
What are some older underrated strategy games? Not necessarily 4x, but im not interested in click-fest (rts-games) either. Anybody?
Hmmm...depending on how old you mean by old, maybe Majesty? It's a relatively slow paced RTS based around indirect control of units. If you want a knight to defeat a dragon you have to put out a sufficient bounty on the dragon's head...stuff like that. It's interesting.

Also I don't really know how best you can play Myth: The Fallen Lords these days, but that's definitely worth tracking down if you can.
 

Poodlestrike

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,500
Hmmm...depending on how old you mean by old, maybe Majesty? It's a relatively slow paced RTS based around indirect control of units. If you want a knight to defeat a dragon you have to put out a sufficient bounty on the dragon's head...stuff like that. It's interesting.

Also I don't really know how best you can play Myth: The Fallen Lords these days, but that's definitely worth tracking down if you can.
I love the idea of Majesty, but the execution has always been lacking, especially as they pared down the based building elements. Something structured more like an out-and-out city sim would be really cool.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,014
Columbus, Ohio
I love the idea of Majesty, but the execution has always been lacking, especially as they pared down the based building elements. Something structured more like an out-and-out city sim would be really cool.
It's definitely not an amazing game but I think it's an interesting one to try for a few hours at least. I think Paradox owns the IP, I would be interested to see what they could do with it in a modern context.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,302
Majesty with Impressions/Anno style city building would be amazing. But I don't think Majesty 2 sold well enough for them to do another game.
 
Oct 27, 2017
823
London
What are some older underrated strategy games? Not necessarily 4x, but im not interested in click-fest (rts-games) either. Anybody?
Fragile Alliance is pretty cool. You basically start on an asteroid and build up your colony like Sim City lite. Then you scout more asteroids to mine different materials, and eventually start building ships and missiles to shoot at asteroids of your enemies. I remember often I would build an engine into my smaller asteroids and then crash them into my opponents main ones to cause devastation. Only real flaw with the game besides the now atrocious UI is that there’s no species variety at all, every player has access to the same stuff.
 
Oct 25, 2017
188
What are some older underrated strategy games? Not necessarily 4x, but im not interested in click-fest (rts-games) either. Anybody?
I feel like Master of Magic is mentioned less in these threads than it used to be, although I don't know whether it's underrated. I still haven't played a fantasy 4X that hits the same mix of buttons - most either over-simplify the city planning system or don't have the non-city expansion/exploration (claiming nodes, pacifying "neutral" cities) down very well.

If you're open to slow-paced RTS games you can pause at any time...

My favorite non-4x strategy game is Seven Kingdoms II, which had an HD re-release recently. It has some light RPG-ish elements (characters increase in combat, leadership, and espionage skill as they are trained/use them), dynamic loyalty of citizens and soldiers (e.g. place a high leadership general in charge of a city and their loyalty will increase, while a low leadership general of different culture will decrease it - likewise soldiers under them will vary in loyalty), a slow-burn economy built around producing goods while maintaining enough non-factory workers to produce food for your troops... there's a lot of hidden depth, but each individual game takes about an hour, while a campaign (randomly generated, but with several maps and you can bring a few units from previous maps to the next) takes about 5-6 hours.

If you like city-builders, Knights and Merchants and Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom are both somewhat slow-burn economy sims where careful planning will make your city prosper. K&M is more production-line and logistics (e.g. you need corn to raise pigs to make leather to make armor) with no real currency, while Emperor is a bit more high-level and more focused on population and cash economy. They do have troops and combat, but they're not the primary focus and a properly maintained city is much more important... in Emperor you only ever command troops directly if you're invaded, which is fairly rare, and being defeated is not necessarily the end as you just become a vassal state of your conqueror.
 
Oct 27, 2017
701
Portugal
What are some older underrated strategy games? Not necessarily 4x, but im not interested in click-fest (rts-games) either. Anybody?
The following games are probably not too niche but when i started PC gaming they usually are not part of "top/recommended" strategy lists:
  • Tropico - a city builder where you are a dictator President. I liked it because it all about managing your popularity and your work force. Things that make you popular like healthcare and good housing are expensive. To make money you have to "abuse" your population a bit. I find it an interesting concept on where you are balacing popular laws/buildings with those that give you money.
  • Dungeons 2/3 - It is a "dungeon keeper like" full of references of other popular midea like paladin tanos or the dwarf gimli. You are the absolute evil and most compel your minions into victory over the forces of good. I found it easy and relaxing while having enough depth that keep you engaged.
  • Majesty 2 - In this game you don't control your units directly instead you place quests and your heroes go do them if they feel like. It is slightly frustating because it works in very opaque way and the dificulty curve is out of whack; but if you can pass through those problems this is a great game; it feels that your village is alive since you can't order your units around.
  • Black and white 2 - You are a god and most inspire your followers to worship you. The mroe people worship you the stronger you get. You also have a pet that can be taught to either be an icon of you or an unstoppable killing machine. While the game is incredibly simplistic for the premise i still found it fun
  • Ground control - A tactical game where you start with a team of units and you have to use them to complete the mission. It is a similar feeling to XCOM but it is in real time and focuses on "big" battles.
  • kingdom rush - A tower defense game. THe artsyle really sells the game to me! that and the fact that it is really cool to have a lot of heroes to choose from and the tower all have cool OP powers.
  • Defense grid- the best tower defense i ever played. A lot of fun.
  • men of war assault squad 2 - THis is a co-op game in WWII. It tries to be a bit realistic so expect tanks to wipe out infantry very easily but due to their poor visibility are "easily" flanked. With limited ammo this RTS makes for an interesting battles.
  • LOTR Battle for middle earth 2 - It is command and conquer with a LOTR skin. It is as fun as it sound. It also has a pretty cool campaign but is a bit easy.
  • star wars empire at war -AN hybrid like total war but with start wars. THe space battles are outstanding specially with cinematic camera. THe land battles are a bit boring because usually it will be 1 massive army versus 1 small garison. It is very rare for 2 armies to fight each other
  • battlefleet gothic armada - this 40k space battles feel epic. The campaign not only has very cool cutscenes but is also designed so that you can lose a lot of battles without losing the campaign; this makes managing your fleet a lot of fun since you don't get a game over if you underestimate your enemy and end up losing. From broadsides, torpedos, boarding actions and ramming this game has so much varity in the attack vectors of the ships that makes each battle very different to each other. It is also a very pretty game.
 
OP
OP
Hella
Oct 27, 2017
9,911
My mind has been blanking on the question and then karnage hit every game I would've mentioned...

But I have some I can still add!
What are some older underrated strategy games? Not necessarily 4x, but im not interested in click-fest (rts-games) either. Anybody?
Startopia. It's Dungeon Keeper in space, basically, and that's as cool as it sounds.

Stronghold 1 (the original; maybe there's a better one now but this is always the one I liked the most). It's a castle defense game with a lot of personality.
 
Oct 25, 2017
434
Wow thanks alot for all the suggestions! I know most of these games, but quite a few i havent played. Guess I need to start them. Knights and Merchants looks really cool!
 
Oct 25, 2017
188
Wow thanks alot for all the suggestions! I know most of these games, but quite a few i havent played. Guess I need to start them. Knights and Merchants looks really cool!
The best part of the Knights & Merchants version on GOG is that it includes the expansion, which adds a fast-forward button. It wasn't uncommon for scenarios in the campaign to take 2-3 hours of real time, and most of that is waiting for building materials to get delivered. Fast forward makes things much more reasonable.

Also - if you play the campaign mode, do the original campaign first. Peasants Rebellion is much more difficult.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,430
I ould also recommend "Offworld Trading Company", it is more of an economic RTS with 4x elements that is a very interesting twist on the normal gameplay style.

(also endless legends continues to be the best modern 4x game)
 
Dec 19, 2017
3,851
I'm arriving into this thread to give some love for the ignored and forgotten Sid Meier's Beyond Earth (with Rising Tide DLC), because I'm enjoying it 100% more than the much-acclaimed Civ V, a game which I loved initially, but ultimately irked me with its lack of depth and lame victory conditions (with all of them turned on, someone will always win with 'diplomatic', the cheapest victory ever). I know everyone loves Civ V, so I'm in the minority with my disappointment of it.

I find myself pondering tactics for BE when I'm not playing the game, which is a good sign. The victory conditions are really interesting too, take for example the Emancipation victory: after researching the appropriate tech, and raising your Supremacy affinity level, you can eventually build a warp gate back to Earth. You then need to send 1000 strength worth of troops through it. This one victory is more interesting than any in Civ V, as you have to plan ahead to make sure you have enough troops ready to go through the gate once you've built it (while taking into consideration your active troop supply limit and maintenance cost), and then while you're sending troops through, your defences will obviously dwindle making you vulnerable to attack by other Civs. The endgame is nail-biting stuff.

Beyond Earth is not as visually pretty as Civ V or VI, but I'm a fan and this is my seal of approval.

[[[***COGNIZANT'S SEAL OF APPROVAL***]]]
 
OP
OP
Hella
Oct 27, 2017
9,911
I... really didn't like Beyond Earth, but it's time I admit I didn't really give it much of a chance either. I preordered BE and played it for four hours--which is probably my personal record for "why did I buy this" as it's not even backlogged, just ignored. Don't even remember what I disliked about it, so at this point I should probably go back to it; it's just that, without the xpac it feels wrong.

(I've also never played Alpha Centauri. I think I played a demo or watched a video of it aaaggeesss ago, though. And of course I own it, like the backlogger I am.)


Anyways, I'm glad you bumped this thread, 'cause it's a good reminder of something I just discovered: I just began listening to this great podcast, Three Moves Ahead. Basically, it's a strategy gaming podcast where each episode is a focused discussion on a specific strategy game, either a video game or boardgame. And they actually talk about 4Xes! I had heard about it for quite a while now but never jumped in until now, to my regret.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,302
Three Moves Ahead had an episode where they specifically went into 4Xes and what they feel about it (not very positively). I felt it covered a lot of what I feel is a genre that's getting pretty stale, but still enjoy. It's a good listen even if you don't agree with what they're saying.
 
Dec 19, 2017
3,851
Anyways, I'm glad you bumped this thread, 'cause it's a good reminder of something I just discovered: I just began listening to this great podcast, Three Moves Ahead. Basically, it's a strategy gaming podcast where each episode is a focused discussion on a specific strategy game, either a video game or boardgame. And they actually talk about 4Xes! I had heard about it for quite a while now but never jumped in until now, to my regret.
Lol, asking for a podcast recommendation was literally going to be the topic of my first post in this thread, but at the last moment I changed my mind, heh. I tried searching 'podcasts about paradox interactive games' on spotify, but only the official podcast came up and I didn't really like it. I'll check out Three Moves Ahead next week at work.

Apparently the BE DLC Rising Tide DLC was a game-changer that added so much stuff to the game, that the initial release looks half-assed in comparison. I'm not really a fan of the ability to make cities in oceans as they kept getting wrecked by kraken, but the DLC also added personality traits and diplomatic options that give the game the edge over Civ V in my opinion.

Not a 4x game, but Europa Universalis 4 is next on my To Play list, followed by CK2, Vic2, then Total War Shogun 2 and Rome 2, and of course Stellaris. So...lots of strategy games lined up (I'm returning to PC gaming after 15 year absence). But I'll definitely be checking out the 1st post of this thread regularly for more recommendations on what 4x to play next.
 

Anno

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,014
Columbus, Ohio
Beyond Earth post-Rising Tide is pretty good, imo. Better than the place it’s come to occupy in Civ/4X history at least.

Still, I can’t bring myself to play a 4x other than Civ V Vox Populi. Whatever it is about the pacing of that game is just spot on for my tastes.
 
OP
OP
Hella
Oct 27, 2017
9,911
I've been dying to burn some time waiting for XCOM 2's new DLC to come out, and trying Vox Populi sounds like the perfect opportunity. Thanks for the inspiration, Anno !

cognizant you might want to wait on Stellaris a bit. It has some major changes on the horizon. There's no ETA yet, but maybe by the end of the year it will have some significant improvements to the way populations, trade, and expansion work in the game; it should make it even better. And FYI, the Paradox Gaming community is the best place to talk about all Paradox titles, though I think Stellaris fits here too if you want.
Three Moves Ahead had an episode where they specifically went into 4Xes and what they feel about it (not very positively). I felt it covered a lot of what I feel is a genre that's getting pretty stale, but still enjoy. It's a good listen even if you don't agree with what they're saying.
I haven't listened yet, but it will be interesting to see where 4Xes end up in the future cause they do feel kinda stale. Like, my two favourite 4Xes in recent memory are Stellaris and Age of Wonders 3, which coincidentally inject a lot of roleplaying elements into the game (even Civ as of 6 has begun doing this, a bit).

I suspect there's a lot of fans of 4X's traditional numbers-driven gameplay, but I've always craved a more personal touch to the genre.
 

Iggy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,042
I'm arriving into this thread to give some love for the ignored and forgotten Sid Meier's Beyond Earth (with Rising Tide DLC), because I'm enjoying it 100% more than the much-acclaimed Civ V, a game which I loved initially, but ultimately irked me with its lack of depth and lame victory conditions (with all of them turned on, someone will always win with 'diplomatic', the cheapest victory ever). I know everyone loves Civ V, so I'm in the minority with my disappointment of it.

I find myself pondering tactics for BE when I'm not playing the game, which is a good sign. The victory conditions are really interesting too, take for example the Emancipation victory: after researching the appropriate tech, and raising your Supremacy affinity level, you can eventually build a warp gate back to Earth. You then need to send 1000 strength worth of troops through it. This one victory is more interesting than any in Civ V, as you have to plan ahead to make sure you have enough troops ready to go through the gate once you've built it (while taking into consideration your active troop supply limit and maintenance cost), and then while you're sending troops through, your defences will obviously dwindle making you vulnerable to attack by other Civs. The endgame is nail-biting stuff.

Beyond Earth is not as visually pretty as Civ V or VI, but I'm a fan and this is my seal of approval.

[[[***COGNIZANT'S SEAL OF APPROVAL***]]]
I only played the vanilla version of the game before quitting (and moving to, I think, Endless Legends at the time) but the one thing I particularly liked in BE and hoped would pop up in Civ6 was the division of the tech tree in mandatory branches and optional leaves. While it didn't translate well in-game, on paper it was a brilliant idea to make beelining, rushing, and tech-trading much more interesting and give so much more weight to each decision.
Instead, Civ6 got one of the most linear tech trees of the series since 4.
 
Dec 19, 2017
3,851
cognizant you might want to wait on Stellaris a bit. It has some major changes on the horizon. There's no ETA yet, but maybe by the end of the year it will have some significant improvements to the way populations, trade, and expansion work in the game; it should make it even better. And FYI, the Paradox Gaming community is the best place to talk about all Paradox titles, though I think Stellaris fits here too if you want.

I haven't listened yet, but it will be interesting to see where 4Xes end up in the future cause they do feel kinda stale. Like, my two favourite 4Xes in recent memory are Stellaris and Age of Wonders 3, which coincidentally inject a lot of roleplaying elements into the game (even Civ as of 6 has begun doing this, a bit).
Yep, thanks. I'm waiting for Stellaris and CK2 to have major updates before jumping into them. My Steam wish list also has these games that looked interesting to me:

Frostpunk
Oriental Empires
Endless Space 2
Expeditions: Viking
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius
Spire of Sorcery
Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind
Stellar Monarch
Age of Wonders 3

*stares at backloggery list*

I suspect there's a lot of fans of 4X's traditional numbers-driven gameplay, but I've always craved a more personal touch to the genre.
This is an interesting conversation to have. I'm still relatively new to the genre, but I was struck by how the first 10 hours of Civ V were an addictive thrill, but it wore off soon after. I played a game once on epic speed and lost on turn 700-something to a diplomatic victory (I was a few space parts away from a science victory, ugh) and it highlighted how repetitive the gameplay loop was. I play Civ games on quick speed now.

But like I mentioned earlier, BE has kept me engaged because it requires me to think a few steps ahead to accomplish a certain victory. So I think if 4x games can have victory conditions with multiple steps that require doing a variety of things, rather than just mindlessly researching tech and making buildings you can't even see in a linear fashion, then the genre has room to evolve. I also like X-Com's gameplay that transitions between 4x combat and control room stuff. (really didn't like X-Com 2 though, and its timed missions, had to drop it)

I only played the vanilla version of the game before quitting (and moving to, I think, Endless Legends at the time) but the one thing I particularly liked in BE and hoped would pop up in Civ6 was the division of the tech tree in mandatory branches and optional leaves. While it didn't translate well in-game, on paper it was a brilliant idea to make beelining, rushing, and tech-trading much more interesting and give so much more weight to each decision.
Instead, Civ6 got one of the most linear tech trees of the series since 4.
Oh yeah BE's tech tree is ridiculous haha. I thought it was great at first, and then I thought it was a huge mess, but then later I settled on it being great again. I like how every civ in a game can go in wildly different directions, and therefore have different types of military units facing off. Damn shame to hear about Civ 6 being even more linear.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,302
I feel like there's 2 camps of 4X players, those who play it as a minmax optimal numbers game, and those who play it for the roleplaying. Right now the genre is pretty solid for the former players, but it's lacking quite a bit for the latter. Things like random events and story beats might suck for the minmaxer, but I think it will help a lot for the roleplaying group, which I fall in part of.
 
Oct 25, 2017
434
I'm arriving into this thread to give some love for the ignored and forgotten Sid Meier's Beyond Earth (with Rising Tide DLC), because I'm enjoying it 100% more than the much-acclaimed Civ V, a game which I loved initially, but ultimately irked me with its lack of depth and lame victory conditions (with all of them turned on, someone will always win with 'diplomatic', the cheapest victory ever). I know everyone loves Civ V, so I'm in the minority with my disappointment of it.
A lot of long time Civ-fans hated Civ5, including me. Civ4 was the peak of the series imo.

Not a 4x game, but Europa Universalis 4 is next on my To Play list, followed by CK2, Vic2, then Total War Shogun 2 and Rome 2, and of course Stellaris. So...lots of strategy games lined up (I'm returning to PC gaming after 15 year absence). But I'll definitely be checking out the 1st post of this thread regularly for more recommendations on what 4x to play next.
EU4 is awesome, as is CK2. Would skip the Total War-games though, the 4x stuff in those are pretty weak.

This is an interesting, but ultimately very flawed game. The major problem is that the map is too big/expansion is too restricted. This means there is always tons of unclaimed land, making conflict superfluous - why bother making war and spending tons of resources taking their land, if you can just send out a few settlers and claim land that way? This problem plagues Civ5 too by the way.
 
Dec 19, 2017
3,851
I feel like there's 2 camps of 4X players, those who play it as a minmax optimal numbers game, and those who play it for the roleplaying. Right now the genre is pretty solid for the former players, but it's lacking quite a bit for the latter. Things like random events and story beats might suck for the minmaxer, but I think it will help a lot for the roleplaying group, which I fall in part of.
Yeah I tried roleplaying as an Isolationist Japan with one city going for a science victory and failed miserably lol. (that's the game where Greece beat my science victory by just bribing every city state for diplo win, meh). You can roleplay in Beyond Earth though, little story notifications pop up regularly giving you choices that give you various buffs, and your cities and military units visually change the more you raise your affinity in a philosophy. Game is so underrated. :(

Last night I won my first Emancipation victory, two of my cities were under attack, while I was sending my strongest military units through a warp gate back to Earth. Meanwhile a nearby city had built a beacon and was going for the Contact victory, so I had to consider sending troops there to sabotage them, or focus on my own victory. Tense and fun stuff!

I'm going to play EU4 next, but my next game of BE I'll try for the Promised Land victory which involves building a warp gate again, but this time sending Earth colonists to our planet to settle. So I'll need to make sure I have enough territory for them to do that, and enough armies to defend them on their journey as colonists can only move 1 tile a turn.

EU4 is awesome, as is CK2. Would skip the Total War-games though, the 4x stuff in those are pretty weak.
I didn't know much about the Total War series other than that it's a real-time strategy game so I always avoided anything about it, because when I've played RTS in the past I always got overwhelmed quickly and just sucked. But I decided to watch Lets Plays of Shogun 2 and Rome 2, and to my surprise I learned you could slow the combat speed down to a crawl, and that the map had turn-based gameplay. This appealed to me greatly, so I'm interested to see what I think of Shogun 2 whenever I get round to it.

I don't know if it's because I'm getting older or what, but I'm really into strategy games right now. I like that they keep my mind sharp, and ideally I can apply lessons learned in game to real life. If a colleague at work is annoying me, I'll simply wait 6 turns while amassing my troops and invade his territ....wait.

Morfeo said:
This is an interesting, but ultimately very flawed game. The major problem is that the map is too big/expansion is too restricted. This means there is always tons of unclaimed land, making conflict superfluous - why bother making war and spending tons of resources taking their land, if you can just send out a few settlers and claim land that way? This problem plagues Civ5 too by the way.
Yeah, I watched a LP/review of this game, and the combat AI seemed really dumb, but something about the game looks appealing, probably the China setting alone. I'll probably get it when its on sale for cheap, and I don't mind lack of war, sometimes I want a chill game and no conflict. In fact I always play defensively in Civ, because war seems such a hassle, getting all your troops in position alone is time-consuming, nevermind actual combat. Probably a personal preference, as I don't know how they can revamp combat in a turn based 4x game really. (although I enjoyed it in X-Com)
 

Iggy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,042
I feel like there's 2 camps of 4X players, those who play it as a minmax optimal numbers game, and those who play it for the roleplaying. Right now the genre is pretty solid for the former players, but it's lacking quite a bit for the latter. Things like random events and story beats might suck for the minmaxer, but I think it will help a lot for the roleplaying group, which I fall in part of.
I feel like the Endless games are pretty good in the RP side of things, since each race has a scenario that can lead to victory if you clear all chapters. Though it's often annoying if you're midway though the scenario and the next objective involves going to the other side of the map... I often end up with a science or economic victory because it's easier that way.
I did enjoy RP ing in Stellaris a bit, though the events are always the same each time you play so it only really works once. As always with Paradox, the more you wait, the better the experience will be.


I spent the week-end watching tutorial videos of Dominions 5,and... Wow, you were not lying, that poor thing is ugly like a late 90 game with bad art direction on top. The system itself however seems fantastic, like a super complex and richer HOMM. The idea of having 90 different races is tantalizing... Just watching the videos I could see how little QoL there is and how needlessly busy and micromanaging - esque the game can be, but the amount of options really makes me want to give it a try. I'll use the POWER OF IMAGINATION to ignore the graphics and pretend it's an alternate universe HOMM 7 that has gone progressively more complex instead of regressing each entry.
 
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OP
OP
Hella
Oct 27, 2017
9,911
The power of imagination is all well and good, but after stuff like Age of Wonders 3, Total Warhammer, XCOM 2, and Stellaris, I just want the s h i n y g r a p h i c s in my strategy games.

I've become so shallow...

I feel like there's 2 camps of 4X players, those who play it as a minmax optimal numbers game, and those who play it for the roleplaying. Right now the genre is pretty solid for the former players, but it's lacking quite a bit for the latter. Things like random events and story beats might suck for the minmaxer, but I think it will help a lot for the roleplaying group, which I fall in part of.
Yeah, this is exactly it, I think. I never realised the difference until playing Crusader Kings 2, that's when my preference for the latter crystallised into something I could describe.

The "roleplaying" group might just get funneled off into grand strategy in time, unless Stellaris inspires more dramatic changes overall. Paradox has really nailed the right balance between CK2 and Stellaris.
 
Oct 27, 2017
701
Portugal
I didn't know much about the Total War series other than that it's a real-time strategy game so I always avoided anything about it, because when I've played RTS in the past I always got overwhelmed quickly and just sucked. But I decided to watch Lets Plays of Shogun 2 and Rome 2, and to my surprise I learned you could slow the combat speed down to a crawl, and that the map had turn-based gameplay. This appealed to me greatly, so I'm interested to see what I think of Shogun 2 whenever I get round to it.
Personally this is the reason I play total war. The turn based campaign while simple gives meaning to the real time battles. If you name your lords and your units you have a great degree of roleplaying.
Battle wise the fact that you can slow down and even pause the battle at any time makes the game much slower. The fantastic animations make the battle feel alive even when the game is paused.

I agree that is not a 4X game however I think it is worth experiencing because it is unique; there isn't any other started game that makes battles feel real.
 
Oct 27, 2017
823
London
I spent the week-end watching tutorial videos of Dominions 5,and... Wow, you were not lying, that poor thing is ugly like a late 90 game with bad art direction on top. The system itself however seems fantastic, like a super complex and richer HOMM. The idea of having 90 different races is tantalizing... Just watching the videos I could see how little QoL there is and how needlessly busy and micromanaging - esque the game can be, but the amount of options really makes me want to give it a try. I'll use the POWER OF IMAGINATION to ignore the graphics and pretend it's an alternate universe HOMM 7 that has gone progressively more complex instead of regressing each entry.
GeneralConfusion and LucidTactics are the ones to check out on YouTube for learning the basics on a lot of the nations and game concepts. Most of the game isn't too bad as far as micromanagement, though it gets pretty bad if you start trying to manage a Blood Magic economy.
 

Iggy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,042
GeneralConfusion and LucidTactics are the ones to check out on YouTube for learning the basics on a lot of the nations and game concepts. Most of the game isn't too bad as far as micromanagement, though it gets pretty bad if you start trying to manage a Blood Magic economy.
I watched DasTactic's first, and I only started with GeneralConfusion today.

Somehow I'm starting to wonder whether it might be a game that's better enjoyed watching someone who knows the systems and explain them over playing it yourself...
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,430
So, it looks like now that the Silver Age of 4x has ended, people have started to say it was not as good as it should have:
https://explorminate.net/2018/10/08/the-inglorious-state-of-4x-games-an-exposition/
I understand the concept that most of the 4x felt as a repetition of previoush it with a new coat of pain, but they gloss over how it went to different landscapes outside the general traditional landscapes. I would las say that he puts to much emphasis on "defeating" the game. Due to AI, it is never that difficult to beat the game and whenever I play games that allows victory selection (such as Civ) I mostly play with them disconnected.
I think that some unique victories (like those in EL) for factions are an interesting take and actually help make the game feel alive, but being to constrained on having a "victory" harms the game whose main focus should be on having a "one more turn" mentality.
Stellaris (and well more paradox games) are really good in this emergent storytelling which is what I think 4x should strife for as they are the ways we remember them:
-That time your god in Dominion was an obelysk and you actually somehow won.
-That time your king became crazy and married a horse.
4x should just help create the basis for the game and allow you to create your own story. Different playstyles depending on faction greatly help, but having a unique line of mission feels railroady.

Also, I would like to recommend a sometimes forgotten 4x game that has a really interesting take on being a 4x.

Edit:
I think that game actually supports my idea: it has a unique victory condition that is not common in other 4x games but how you reach it is open to you with tons of different ways to get there.
There also are lots of small subsystems that work together to create the game and you can game.
 
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Oct 27, 2017
823
London
My feeling on this last decade of 4X is that there's been all sorts of cool ways to interact with different nations/races in lots of games, and the AI is shit at all of them and makes diplomacy terrible. I don't know a lot of people playing many 4Xs multiplayer, and I think that's pretty sad considering it's 2018 and there should be super easy ways to do asynchronous multiplayer. On mobile platforms where you have amazing async multiplayer experiences for board games like Carcassonne, Ascension, and Words with Friends; you really only ever got a few multiplayer 4Xs like Starbase Orion (which never had players) and more recently Battle for Polytopia, which is pretty 4X-lite. Civ 6 just came out on iPhone (and Civ 5 some years ago), and it has everything except for multiplayer.

So basically that leaves you with a bunch of games that have a bunch of exciting systems to learn and discover, but past that point of learning and understanding the game, it's not as exciting to play once you've got the mechanics down because the games themselves feel a bit lifeless when you are the only one in them.

Also seems really weird to call Six Ages a 4X. Granted, I haven't played it, but I have played Kings of Dragon Pass, and I don't think I'd qualify that as a 4X.
 

Iggy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,042
The problem with multiplayer 4X is that people play at different speed, and the more interesting games have rather long lists of things to do in one turn, even if you automatize most of the micro-management.
I know that for example I would never be able to play with my partner, because in EL I need a minute or two for my turns, while he need at least 10 because he checks and double checks everything and then he forgets so he checks some more. If I were to wait, I would at the same time become super frustrated, and forget what my strategy was from a turn to the other.
Simultaneous turns can alleviate this issue, but only to a certain point. And if you impose a timer (you have 2 minutes to give all your orders, and anything that hasn't been done after that goes to waste) then slower players will feel alienated and just have less fun.

It's not possible to solve this issue with the complexified 4X we have now. One would need to design a new 4X game with multiplayer as its primary design goal, and cut each turn to only a couple of decisions to make them faster. But then it would look drastically simplified compared to the current top 4X. Or you move to a full RTS design, but that's an alltogether different genre.
The other issue is that multiplayer prevents roleplaying most of the time. Except if you role-play as a bloodthirsty psychopathic warmonger.

Edit: for example, Antihero was a good "4X-like game adapted primarily for multiplayer to the point it's difficult to recognize it as a 4X".
 
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Oct 27, 2017
823
London
PBEM has been around for two decades, especially in the 4X genre, there's definitely a way to solve the issue. I'm just surprised that in the world of push notifications and cloud based saves, the best way to play a lot of 4Xs is still through email turns to a host player.

I think roleplaying is going to come out way more in multiplayer, it especially does in Dominions where players are constantly messaging each other and almost every game I've played the players are pretending to be a member of the nation they are playing. I think that's somewhat the point I'm trying to make, is that you've got all these cool constraints and differing abilities in the Amplitude games, but if you are the only human working around those constraints it ends up feeling a bit soulless against the AI.
 
Dec 19, 2017
3,851
Finally got round to watching a lets play of Endless Legend, and it looks fun! Fantasy genre, cool looking factions, lots of victory conditions. I got the collection for £14 on Steam. Onto the never-ending backlog it goes. Moved Civ V off the SSD onto the HDD.Will keep the superior Civ BE around a while longer though.