I'm nominating this article for featured article status because there has been no other video game genre article that has reached featured article status. I am occasionally disappointed that most of the featured video games-related topics are about specific games. I think it's about time that we started focusing on topics that define video gaming in general, and that can help readers understand broad game concepts. This article is well-sourced, thorough, accurate, and neutral. I have attempted to get some advice to improve the writing style, and recently took a lot of great advice from a peer review. I believe this article may still need some work, but with your patience and guidance I hope to address every last criticism. Thanks in advance! Randomran (talk) 04:51, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
If I had to summarize, the issues have been (1) improving verifiability by maintaining statements with reliable sources, (2) merging paragraphs and sections to improve organization, (3) reducing the use of individual game examples to make broader generalizations, and (4) copy-editing for consistent formatting, clearer grammatical structure, and less redundancy. I hope this can explain some of the history of this article. Randomran (talk) 18:29, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
"HTML" format does not need to be specified every time Gary King (talk) 05:08, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Question: How often should I use it? Once? Not at all? Randomran (talk) 05:17, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I suggest to not use it at all for web references. After all, they are web references; it is assumed that they will be in HTML. If they link to PDF pages then specify PDF, though. Gary King (talk) 05:20, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
C-Evo is open source and free. As for the screenshot from Civilization II, I think the fair use is justified since it helps to show the essential gameplay of empire-building, and also shows off the point that the Civilization series are a notable example having sold over 8 million copies. Randomran (talk) 18:01, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
The C-Evo article suggests that the graphics aren't free use, only that the source code is. Image:C-evo 0.14.0 fr capture ecran.jpg is hosted on Wikimedia Commons, yet has a Fair Use rationale attached. You've used an edited thumbnail image at Image:C-Evo UI A thumb.png. Why is it so small? Why didn't you edit the full size version so people can get a clearer view when they click on it? - hahnchen 21:06, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Excellent points. I've had some help from Kariteh to find a better image. The new one is truly free. Randomran (talk) 23:17, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
"Civilization II, a prototypical example of a 4X strategy game." – remove the period from the non-sentence
Fixed: I made this into a simple sentence. Randomran (talk) 05:17, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Ideally I'd like to see some print/web third-party source that relies on them for information, something like a big media company or something. Given that this isn't exactly highly contentious information, it might slide by without showing that, but it'd be better if we could demonstrate that. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:51, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how I would go about finding this kind of thing. You mean this? You're not going to find many reliable gaming review sites relying on information from their competitors. Just as it's really rare to find the Washington Post talk about a New York Times article, unless the article itself became controversial. This guideline offers the standard that I've been using to assess reliability. PALGN has editorial review. Do you have any suggestions as to how else I might be able to show reliability? Randomran (talk) 18:55, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Is the author one that is published in other magazines or sites? The main problem is that (correct me if I'm wrong, I've slept since I last read the article!) you're using a review of a game for information on the whole genre. If you were using the review as a review for the specific game, there would be no problem. It's taking the genre information that makes the author and/or site need to be more reliable than just a plain jane review. We need to know that their views on the genre are relaible. Ealdgyth - Talk 19:45, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
The author's reliability needs to be asserted in these situations. I've asked the VG project to see if anyone can do so. —Giggy 01:08, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
that's been the general consensus here at FAC that things from joystiq and kotaku need to show that their author is reliable. So far we've not be able to demonstrate that the whole sites themselves are. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:51, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
The referenced statements go back to the developers of the game, rather than the interviewer Jason Dobson. And there's good reason to believe that Jason Dobson didn't doctor or misrepresent the interview. Here's information on Jason Dobson that says he also writes for Gamasutra. Some of his work can be seen here or there. I think this shows that Jason Dobson at Joystiq is reliable, at least to the degree that he can conduct an honest review and report it accurately. Randomran (talk) 18:38, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
works for me. Struck. Ealdgyth - Talk 18:46, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
The piece in question is written by Kieron Gillen; I think the article asserts his notability (specifically, having written for at least 10 reliable well known publications (8 with articles)). —Giggy 01:06, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Works for me on this one. Ealdgyth - Talk 16:51, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
In ref one the magazine title needs italics. Check all.
I fixed this, please check the rest. I think Giggy was misunderstood. He meant the title of the magazine, not the title of the article. It was backwards. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:05, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Fortunately, that's the only reference that relies upon a magazine. So I think the rest of the references are okay. Randomran (talk) 06:20, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
First image caption really could have a lot more said in it. I mean, the scene being... um... screenshotted is a perfect example of most of the aspects of 4X.
http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3157333 doesn't mention StarCraft or AoE at all ("Many strategy games arguably contain a similar "explore, expand, exploit, exterminate" cycle, including non-4X real-time strategy games such as Age of Empires or StarCraft.")
Ref 7 is one of few with a wlinked publisher. Be consistent. —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
"The 4X genre saw an increase in published games in the mid-1990s, but were outsold by the real-time strategy genre in the late 1990s." - I think the "were" should be a "was". —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
For ref 10, can you just say "All retrived on <DATE>"? —Giggy 01:55, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
All above/below fixed, with this exception: Unfortunately, reference templates can be kind of a crude tool. I've been told repeatedly to use reference templates, so I'm stuck with that format. Randomran (talk) 09:51, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Citation templates are certainly not a requirement. If I'm feeling energetic I'll try and fix this up at some stage. It's not a requirement. —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Earth should be capitalised (noticed at "setting such as earth..." - check throughout).
Got about halfway through, I'll look at the rest later. —Giggy 01:55, 27 July 2008 (UTC) More comments —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
"Technology trees in 4X games are typically larger than in other strategy games, and feature more technology choices" - rmv the second "technology"; it's obvious that's what you mean. —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
"rather than by tactics" - I would contest that tactics are required for the development of superior military technology and that this phrase should be removed.
Rephrase? I tried to rephrase. The point is that what you build is more important than how you use it. Technology trumps battle tactics. Randomran (talk) 00:23, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, that's true. I just objected to what seemed like saying that tactics plasy no part. —Giggy 10:10, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
"4X games vary in how combat is controlled. Some 4X games, such as Galactic Civilizations," - can you merge these into one sentence... something like "...how combat is controlled; some, such as..."?
Done I just dropped the first short sentence. The point comes across without it. Randomran (talk) 00:23, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
"which often involves researching some very difficult technology" - not necessarily a technology; I'm thinking Wonders in the AoE series (not a 4X but it's the same concept)... I think that phrase should go as it's not always the case. —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Rephrase? Many games offer some kind of technology based victory. So I made the statement into an "or" rather than an "and". Randomran (talk) 00:23, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
"This is in contrast to most RTS games. Dune II, which arguably established the conventions for the real-time strategy genre..." - use the same name for it every time (RTS or its full name), and no need to wlink it again. —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Now up to the History header. More later. —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! I hope I managed to address your criticisms thus far. Randomran (talk) 00:23, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Even more comments (everything above is fine)
Board game titles shouldn't be in italics (Risk, Civilization)
"was released on the Apple Macintosh" - does anyone still call it that? :-) Just use Mac or Macintosh (which is what the article is called, too).
"Spaceward Ho emphasized relatively simple gameplay that was still challenging. But 4X space games were ultimately more influenced by VGA Planets and its more complex gameplay" - merge these to one sentence?
Check overlinking in the Peak section; Meier and the Mac link (check its naming throughout) at a glance, there might be more.
real-time strategy must be linked at least 10 times in the article. Please check throughout (Ctrl+F is your friend).
Civilization (series/game articles) is/are also linked a lot.
"Game publishers eventually became risk-averse to releasing 4X games." - you've been talking about game publishers all article; does it need a wlink here?
That's to the end. Please check throughout for overlinking; it's a rather big deal in this case. —Giggy 10:10, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Done. Let me know if there's anything else I need to do. Randomran (talk) 16:28, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Support. It's looking so much better. —Giggy 23:35, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
"Board game titles shouldn't be in italics (Risk, Civilization)"
Say what? I'd say they certainly should (the WP MoS is silent on the exact subject), as another example of an 'extended creative work'. Only traditional games (specifically) don't get italicized or capitalized. Otherwise, they're titles the same as for novels, movies, or... video games. --Rindis (talk) 20:15, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
If I can get a straight answer either way, I'll gladly change it. Or if anybody else wants to handle it, Wikipedia is free. Be WP:BOLD. Randomran (talk) 22:38, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Good move. I think this makes it more readable. Thanks! Randomran (talk) 04:22, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
I'd like to think that I've addressed all the comments above. Some of them, such as the fair use of images or the reliability of sources, may be things that reasonable people can disagree upon. I think that I've explained why they are the way they are, and so these issues have been addressed. But if anyone would like to press these issues further, let me know. Otherwise, continue to identify issues in this article and I will do my best to address them. Randomran (talk) 19:25, 27 July 2008 (UTC)
Object. The article has ample room for expansion; it should discuss more titles - like Lost Empire or Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Space Empires series and its III installment are mentioned, but what about relatively successful IV and V? Why aren't they mentioned? Master of Magic is mentioned, but not its more modern reincarnations (Age of Wonders, Dominions III). What about the open source projects like Free Orion? I'd like to see a graph with "4X games releases per year"; something about popularity of this genre (and sales) when compared to others (and trends, too). Why was MOO3 a spectacular failure - I believe it was a very widely talked about event in the 4X community, with lasting repercussions. Why do people still play old games like Stars!? Which games have the largest communities (for example, from what I read, Space Empire series friendliness to modders is an important factor).--Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:17, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Disagree I appreciate your suggestions, but discussing multiple individual titles would drag the article off topic. Isn't that what the articles on Lost Empire, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, Space Empires IV, Space Empires V are for? There's also List of strategy video games. This isn't supposed to be comprehensive information about every game in the genre, but information about the genre as a whole. In fact, several peer reviews pushed the article away from a specific examples (e.g.: this game has this, that game has that) and more towards generalization (most games have this, most games have that). I'd love to see a graph about 4X games released by year, but that strikes me as original research. Otherwise, the genre is contrasted with RTSs in terms of popularity in the history section, and MOO3's reception is mentioned twice in the article to the degree that it's relevant to the genre's evolution. (Otherwise, its reception is better dealt with in its own article). I'm not going to act on these criticisms unless others can support the view that this is a legitimate problem. Randomran (talk) 18:37, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Randomran here. —Giggy 23:44, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
We'll have to agree to disagree then. If there's a reliable secondary source that covers what a 4X game is and the significant milestones, I'd venture to say that it's in this article. If there were an article that talked about the sales cycles of 4X games in more detail, I would have found it. Short of covering every single game and engaging in original or unreliable research, it's comprehensive. Randomran (talk) 18:22, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
I think the article is enough for a general overview of the history of the genre, going through its origin, peak, and recent history (though perhaps the title of the last sub-section could be changed). Going into the specifics of each 4X game's impact on the gaming industry might be too detailed, and we have to consider how important all those details are (compared to the genre as a whole) when moving 5, 10, or many more years into the future. In the game's individual articles, perhaps, but the general focus of the current 4X article is sufficient in my view. Jappalang (talk) 02:10, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Image issues resolved, --MASEM 01:24, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Images (I know you've cut down the number, looking at specifics)
I note you say reducing the size will reduce the quality of the image (you'll encure blurring), but I think the general gist of the image can still be told if it was reduced by 3/4th (600 by whatever that is).
The rationale should explain why this particular image, over any of the existing or possible free images, is unique (eg. why not use a free software screenshot that shows the map and info sidebars that are common to 4X games?) I understand how important the Civilization series is to the 4X genre, but if FreeCiv can provide the same type of image, why not use that?
Fixed? I've replaced it with a lower quality image and a better example of the points we need to communicate in the lead, with a more comprehensive fair use rationale. Does this fix the problem? Randomran (talk) 22:50, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Image:Moo2GalaxyAndSystem400.png - actually , no problems, however, just wanted to point out that the other non-free images should the same type of explanation of what is unique on this screen to need it as non-free.
Done Thanks. I see your point much more clearly now. Randomran (talk) 22:50, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
I think is a case where going too small hurts the image - being diplomacy, it is text based but at the present size it is too small to read it, thus making its usefulness per non-free hard to rationalize. I don't know if it helps taking a similar diplomacy shot from a smaller resolution game screen (less text, but will be legible when in lower resolution) or the like.
As with the Civ2.jpg image, make sure to explain what is going on and why needed for non-free use (sorta there in the rationale, just a bit more expansion)
I believe the images to all be in NFCC and appropriate for the article. --MASEM 01:24, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Comment Given the number of images pulled from free software above, is there some way to mention the popularity of 4X games both in the free software market as well as massively multiplayer online web-based games? --MASEM 19:54, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Done I'm not sure if there's ever been a 4X MMO, but I added a mention of FreeCiv and C-Evo (since those were the two games I could find reliable third-party sources for). Randomran (talk) 22:50, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
Other than those last two images that I will replace, ... let me know if I've addressed your concerns or if I need to take another shot. Randomran (talk) 22:50, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
"4X is a genre of strategy video game" - this is confusing. It sounds like it should be plural upon first read, but you realise it does make sense a few seconds later. Even though it's grammatically correct, could you consider rephrasing it for the benefit of readers?
"describe any game with similar game design" - second "game" is redundant to the first. Pipe the link.
"The earliest 4X games borrowed ideas from board games and from 1970s text-based computer games." - second "from" is redundant.
"In the new millennium, several 4X releases have been critically and commercially successful. One well-known 4X game is Sid Meier's Civilization, which popularized the level of detail that has become a staple of the genre." - here, it sounds like Civilization is a "new millenium" game, when it clearly isn't.
"in Computer Gaming World by Alan Emrich, where he rated the" - "where" he rated? How about "in which he rated"?
"Sometimes these four elements of gameplay are described as phases, which often overlap." - awkward. I see two plausible options: 1) remove the comma, and 2) "which" -> "and".
Good work, the prose just needs some brushup. These are only examples, please copyedit the rest of the article as well. Nousernamesleft (talk) 01:13, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Done: Admittedly copy-editing is never done. But I addressed your concerns. Hopefully others can identify the remaining major issues, if there are any. Randomran (talk) 01:25, 29 July 2008 (UTC)
Support: Most of my initial issues were addressed in the last peer review, and reading through the above comments and the article again, it appears to have progressed even further. The article looks to be well-written, well sourced with reliable sources, and fairly comprehensive. It may be a bit weak in detailing the reception of the genre, but I feel it still conveys the major points of that by detailing the overall history. This is fine example of what an article about a genre should be. (Guyinblack25talk 22:56, 30 July 2008 (UTC))
Comments:What makes MobyGames a reliable authority on what constitutes a genre? MobyGames is not particularly a reliable source, and most books have only considered it as a good site to go to for the credits (i.e. ludography). Hence, there is no issue with its use to prove Sid Meier's involvement with Civilization. However, the current article () seems to imply it is a game reviewer, as in "Game reviewers have confirmed [...] Even though MobyGames uses this requirement", and a reliable source for classifying the 4X genre (per the 18 references to "Moby Games' 4x games Group Description"—ref  and ). Could there be less (or no) reliance on this source for the genre specification?Jappalang (talk) 01:55, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I've taken efforts to reduce the reliance on Mobygames. I don't think it's completely unreliable, but I've gone to efforts to reinforce the most central points of the article with other reliable references. I think this was something that should have been fixed a long time ago: the article relied on MobyGames and then turned around and said it was wrong anyway. The other sources do a better job defining the genre, and are more reliable. Let me know if that helps. Randomran (talk) 05:56, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
Yes, your changes have done a lot to ease my mind on reading the article. I strike my comments on reading this version. This is one video game genre article that fully deserves the chance to be judged at FAC. It is comprehensive, fairly accessible to the general readers, and reliably sourced. Jappalang (talk) 06:17, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
On the Moo picture, it's rationale is fine - it may not be in the preferred FUR template, but it hits all key points for NFC including why its being used here in 4x. --MASEM 13:35, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
I looked pretty aggressively for images that summarized the diplomacy. None of the open source games seemed to have any. Perhaps they only have a rudimentary diplomacy model. Either way, if someone were able to find an alternative picture, I would welcome them to replace it. The fair use rationale on this is pretty tight, though. Randomran (talk) 04:01, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Leaningsupport - some questions however:
"Many 4X games were published in the mid-1990s, but they were outsold by real-time strategy games by the late 1990s" Perhaps it should be explained how RTS and 4X differ then, if 4X can be real-time as well?
Why are there citations in the lead?
"Gaming authorities have stated that 4X games are distinguished by their greater complexity and scale, and their intricate use of diplomacy beyond the standard "friend or foe" seen in other strategy games. Game reviewers" - why not state who these authorities/reviewers are?
"...was considered the PC game of the year according to several major game news websites and reviewers" - again, name them, or a few of them.
Done, with the exception of removing the citations in the lead. There have been past discussions where editors have criticized certain statements for their point of view, and as such they have been attributed. If anyone feels strongly enough about removing these references, I encourage them to be WP:BOLD and remove them. All these statements are re-stated and referenced in the main body of the article. Randomran (talk) 05:49, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Comments - Sorry I came late. I'll try to do a brief review.
Is it possible to find page numbers for the two printed references (Nos. 1 and 35)? Don't worry if you can't, but it's always better to provide the most details possible.
Does economic need to be linked in the lead?
Definition: Okay, I'm officially worried about overlinking. Scouts is questionable, but do we really need map or resources linked? Are there any gaming articles that expand upon these concepts?
Combat: Galactic Civilizations was linked in a previous section.
Complexities: "On the other hand, Master of Orion III' reduced..." Excess apostrophe.
History, Origin: This sentence needs work: "Spaceward Ho! is notable for its similarity to Master of Orion released in 1993..." I think another comma will fix this.
Recent history, by Civilization IV: Hyphen for second best?
"over 8 million copies" Numbers below 10 are usually spelled out. Don't change any game titles, though. Another example later: 6th best.
Since I promised a fast review, that's it from me. Giants2008 (17-14) 01:00, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
Done except for adding the page number for the second print reference. I'm not sure which reference you were talking about, so I couldn't fix it. But I did add page numbers to the first one. Randomran (talk) 03:34, 13 August 2008 (UTC)
If the second print reference was for Master of Orion - Game manual by Steve Barcia (ref 45), I believe Randomran has fixed it by now. Jappalang (talk) 00:56, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
Support prose - First, I must apologize because I gave you a wrong number. The reference is number 25 (Sid Meier's Civilization II manual). I will only comment on the writing since I'm not sure what is considered comprehensive for this kind of article. From a general size vantage point, some further expansion is possible, but as a non-expert on strategy games I don't know what specifically could be added. Oh, and the hyphen in the instruction manual (ref 1) should be replaced by an en dash. Giants2008 (17-14) 03:30, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! I added page numbers to that other reference too. Randomran (talk) 18:21, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Spot check: History, origin
"Also drawing on earlier 4X games such as Reach for the Stars, Master of Orion set a new standard for 4X games and is considered a classic"—Clause-initial "also" raises alarm bells. Why not "Master of Orion, which also draws [drew?] on earlier 4X games such as Reach for the Stars, set a new standard for 4X games and is considered a classic." Easier order of info for the reader, yes?
Hmmm ... it's rather heavily imbued with ref citations: just about every sentence. I wonder whether you could remove a few without disadvantage to the verification? Usually, once readers know where the info comes from, you can get away with a little assertion that is not precisely, locally, cited. The more contentious and specific-paraphrase kind of info, yes, but see what you can do. This comes under the requirement of a "professional standard" of formatting. Like overlinking, overciting can make the reading harder.
I think the prose is generally quite good. Tony(talk) 06:05, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
PS " Game publishers eventually became risk-averse to releasing 4X games."—surely the development, not the release, is the expensive bit. "sixth-best". Tony(talk) 06:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Done with the exception of removing citations. This article has been the subject of a lot of peer reviews challenging the veracity of certain statement. It was even subject of a threat of non-notability and AFD at one point. I know it's not pretty, but I'd rather err on the side of caution. Randomran (talk) 06:25, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
There's probably a few that can be removed without harm - basically if you are citing the same source within one to three sentences of its previous use, and its a continuation of the same thought, it's probably only needed once (as long as either doesn't contain direct quoting that needs that source). For example, the early definition of each "X" is one case that you may only need it once (though I can see this being a contentious area) while the paras about certain games have this too. --MASEM 19:24, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I cited the definition of the four X's just once, now, and removed the extra references. Randomran (talk) 19:56, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Comment - All references check out with the Doi bot. --Meldshal42? 19:33, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
As I said, when the density of references starts to clutter the reading process, you know there's something wrong. Antagonists in previous review processes should probably have been challenged, because now there's an unnecessary problem. No, don't err on the side of caution: try to get a better balance. I strongly recommend some pruning. Tony(talk) 13:52, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Can you point to a particular paragraph? It might help our discussion if we could focus on a specific example of unreadability, and discuss how to remove citations without harming verifiability or provoking original research. Randomran (talk) 18:24, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, let's have a quick look at the short section, "Definition".
Two in a row (Ref 1, Ref 1): just leave the second one, unless the first is for a particularly contentious statement; but it's not, here, is it? The two sentences are closely related, and could indeed be glued together with a semicolon.
The term "4X" originates from a 1993 preview of Master of Orion in Computer Gaming World by Alan Emrich, in which he rated the game "XXXX" as a pun on the XXX rating for pornography. The four X's were an abbreviation for explore, expand, exploit, exterminate.
You could remove all citations from the lead that appear in the body of the text in support of the same or similar statements.
Doubled up: "Sometimes these four elements of gameplay are described as phases which often overlap.". Ref 12 ("Pyro") is already one of the two sources in the just-cited ref 10. If you'd needed to slip it in somewhere as a unique source, well, maybe, but just Ref 11 alone will do, since readers are apt to assume that your refs are "for example" refs. In addition, this is bloatng your reference section. While it needs to be a certain size, beyond that, it's not convincing anyone. Quality, not quantity! You could lose a third of the citation numbers and no one would complain, I suspect. Look at a few other FAs for guidance.
An hour or two spent weeding 'em out would instantly improve the attractiveness of the text, visually and in the reading experience. BTW, the "Sometimes" sentence would be better as "These four elements of gameplay have been described as phases that often overlap." Tony(talk) 02:40, 17 August 2008 (UTC) PS And MoS breach in "four X's"—no apostrophe, please.
Despite a few objections, I've swept the lead clean of references. Everything in the article is already referenced, and referencing the lead isn't necessary. I've started to deal with redundant referencing. To be clear, you are concerned about double referencing such as [a][b]? Randomran (talk) 05:14, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
As above, certainly consecutive a, a. And when there's a reference for consecutive sentences, see if they're close enough to share the second ref alone (sometimes not, I guess, but check). Particularly where a statement is not contentious, consider citing only one ref for a statement that now has two; the reader expects them to be "for example" refs. Only cite two if they provide different angles that you think are important, or if it's a contentious statement that you think might need to be bolstered by more than one ref. Tony(talk) 13:29, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Done? I've gone to a lot of effort to reduce consecutive references, and double-referencing. I think going any further would begin to compromise verifiability. If you compare the current version to this old version, I think you'll be pleased, even if it's not as minimal as other articles. This just happens to be a difficult topic to research, with a few contentious facts. Still, if you think there are any paragraphs that are particularly unreadable, we can try to handle them on a case by case basis. Randomran (talk) 00:43, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Support—Seems pretty good now. There were only a couple of issues I wasn't able to clarify:
"These four elements of gameplay have been described as phases which often overlap." The article fails to explain the use of the word "phases" here. Does this mean a phase (as a subcomponent) of each game turn, or a phase (as an interval) of the full game?
"...can demand several minutes to play a single turn." Is a maximum of several minutes typical? This seems pretty short to me. I take it a game can consist of hundreds of turns? (Example given: (12 hours/game)/(2-3 minutes/turn) => 240-360 turns.)