A 4X game contains these phases in the game: eXpand, eXplore, eXploit, eXterminate:
- eXpand. In this phase you expand your resources or material.
- eXplore. In this phase you venture out in new territories in order to create a material, territorial or positional advantage.
- eXploit. In this phase, you are interfering with your opponent's resources, territories or material.
- eXterminate. In this phase, you are destroying your opponent's resources, territories or material.
These phases need not be separated by time or place.