IDK, man, Christian really wanted to write about this game thing
by Christian Decker
Growing up as a pretty consistent gamer (though in recent years I haven’t had much time anymore), I’ve always enjoyed playing the strategy games. One of my first games was Pokémon Fire Red for the Gameboy. Although Pokémon is an RPG, there are so many strategy elements. Perhaps that’s why I’ve found a home playing 4x games.
What are 4x games you might ask? The four x’s are explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate. In these games you play as an empire, taking control of your civilization and building wonder’s, training armies, exploring, and interacting with other nations and empires. One of the first 4x games I played was Civilization Revolution, which was a game for the DS that spawned out of the long list of Civilization games that came out for PC. At the time I wasn’t very good at the basic concept of the game, so I mostly just spammed a bunch of military units and steam rolled everyone in my path.
That’s part of the fun in 4x games though: you CAN choose to just annihilate everyone in your path. You’ll soon see however, that your actions have consequences. Having a lot of soldiers at once drains your treasury, and often, other nations won’t look to kindly upon your warmongering.
One of the best things about 4x games is that there’s so much variety. The Civilization series allows you to play as iconic leaders of different nations through the ages and build real life wonders that help contribute to your civilization. You don’t even have to fight if you don’t want to, there are plenty of victory options for you to choose from, and often depending on your civ there are some that are more geared to certain victories than other’s. For example, the Mongols get horse archers, which are perfect if you’re going for early game domination.
I’ve recently been having a lot of fun with the Amplitude games, Endless Legend, and Endless Space, 2 specifically. What’s cool about both of these games is that they exist in the same shared universe, one that takes place in space, spanning entire galaxies and planets, and the other in a more high fantasy setting taking place on one planet called Auriga. What Amplitude has managed to do with these games is astounding. Each faction feels completely unique, with different technologies to research and unique units and playstyles that are just really fun to explore and try out. For example, in Endless Legend, there’s a faction called the Broken Lords, that are spirits trapped in suits of armor. Since they don’t eat anything, you don’t generate a food resource, rather you actually have to build your population rather than having it naturally generate. Another example are the Cultists. They can build only one city, but they generate more resources by spending a resource called influence to convert minor factions to the cult, which provide you mercenary units over time. In Endless Space, there’s an entire faction called Horatio, which is literally just one guy who found ancient cloning technology and cloned himself over and over again. Beauty and perfection are the top status indicators in this empire.
What makes these games great though, is that you don’t need a supercomputer to play them. They’re mostly turned based, so you don’t need to be doing a million things at once. Even if the graphics suck, you still get the gist and the feel of the game. I just hope that more people play and try to take me on sometime!