A good 4X strategy game is a bit like a slow-burning fire--something to be stoked every now and again with a click of the mouse and watched through half-lidded eyes into the late hours. When that contented sort of complacency sets in, I'm more easily coaxed into "just one more turn." These empire-building games make it easier still because they tend to defer the consequences of poor moves. Mistakes amount to small hang-ups in the otherwise effortless forward momentum of upgrades and technological developments, lost in the spaces between ascending data points on one of the genre's ubiquitous end-of-game line graphs. It's only when I come out of my daze a few scaled eras later that I often find myself long surpassed by opposing empires, the graphs telling a story of steady mediocrity since, oh, sometime in the Middle Ages when production took a brief turn towards the slightly sub-optimal.