Author's note: It amuses me to no end that this genre of strategic games has become knows as "4X" games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate). That's because I first heard that term used by my co-designer on this project, Tom Hughes, and introduced it to the hobby vernacular in my numerous columns, reviews, and books. (I served a long and happy stint as the Strategy Games Editor of Computer Gaming World magazine.)
When I started reading other people referring to "4X" genre games, I smiled for days. When I started seeing the term used in ads for these kinds of games, I knew the phrase was coined for good.
It seemed only fitting to me, therefore, that Tom and I should be the first ones to try to raise the stakes and establish an evolutionary new genre of strategy games: that is, the "5X" variety (adding "eXperience" to the list). With Master of Orion III: The Fifth 'X', that's just what we've set out to do. We'll know we've succeeded if we start reading about "5X" games.