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4X games typically feature a technology tree, which represents a series of advancements that players can unlock to gain new units, buildings, and other capabilities.
Technology trees in 4X games are typically larger than in other strategy games, featuring a larger selection of choices.
Researching new technology will grant access to new combat units.
Some 4X games even allow players to research different unit components.
In the board (and card) game domain, 4X is less of a distinct genre, in part because of the practical constraints of components and playing time.
The Civilization board game that gave rise to Sid Meier's Civilization computer game, for instance, has no exploration and no extermination.
In response, developers have tried other approaches to reduce micromanagement, and some approaches have been more well received than others.
This is more typical of space 4X games, where players may assemble a ship from a variety of engines, shields, and weaponry.
While some strategy games may offer shared victory and team play, diplomatic relations tend to be restricted to a binary choice between an ally or enemy.
Since then, others have adopted the term to describe games of similar scope and design.
4X computer games are noted for their deep, complex gameplay.