Review Policy

eXplorminate Game Review Guidelines

A game review should be:

  • No shorter than 1500 words and usually no longer than 7000 words or so
  • The review will need appropriate art that should be from game footage or official screenshots
  • Should have 2-4 introduction paragraphs about the studio, game history, etc
  • Should have 5 sections titled: eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate, eXperience and a detailed analysis of each of those portions of the game (see below)
  • Might have an additional paragraph or more from other reviewers/editors to bolster the review
  • Should have a TL;DR section that sums up the main points of each section (2 paragraphs max)
  • Will be followed up by a brief synopsis of what kind of gamers might enjoy the game and who should stay away from it
  • A short sentence or two (after the TL;DR section) on how many hours played for the review and the basic specs of the PC the reviewer played the game on
  • A sentence disclosing how the game key was acquired

eXplore – Covers the geography, tech tree, diplomacy, and other uncovered aspects of the game.

eXpand – Covers expansion of your empire and its mechanics and how fun the research is.

eXploitation – Covers empire management, diplomacy, and preparation for the end game.

eXtermination – Covers the art of war aspect of the game as well as the conquest of territory.

eXperience – Covers our overall impressions and anything that doesn’t particularly fit well in to the above categories. Basically, this is the “X factor” category, so to speak.

Our color hex system:

  • A blue (eXemplary) hex represents a game that has done almost everything well and in at least some ways, has done some things extremely well. It also offers some innovations that may lead to a new “gold standard” of certain mechanics. This score will no longer be awarded at release. It is reserved for reeXaminations and expansions.
  • A green (Recommended) hex represents a game that you can safely proceed to buy as a 4X-game lover. However, no game will suit everyone’s needs and while the game in question may be doing a lot right, it still may not be for you.
  • A yellow (Consider) hex is given to a game that have some strengths, but some significant weaknesses, too and may be a game you’d enjoy if you’re after a particular game style or the game’s weaknesses won’t affect your enjoyment too much.
  • An orange (Beware) hex is a game that has more weaknesses than strengths, but might be worth keeping an eye on as it has enough strengths that there’s a sliver of hope for its future.
  • A red (Avoid) hex is a game that should be easy to pass up or a game that is not worth anywhere close to full price.

Here’s a podcast further explaining how our review scores have changed.


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